Things I’m Excited About #23

This post will be a little hard for me to write because honestly, I’ve really, really procrastinated this time. I chose to write however due to some requests via Twitter and emails from people asking “what’s up?” and the more demanding from one particular reader, “WRITE SOMETHING NEW”. So I can take a hint my friends…I’ve been thinking all day of some little things that I think are pretty cool and maybe, just maybe, you will too.

The Saga of the Disappearing Worlds Best Meatless Meatball continues. For those of you that keep up with me on Twitter, you know I’ve been somewhat pestering the lovely folks at PC about this product (and also about what appears to be a vanishing selection of meatless/vegetarian options). Last I heard was on January 3, 2014 was this: “@chere_michelle We are working to get the Meatless Meatballs back in stores ASAP. We are not decreasing our Veggie options” So imagine my surprise when LAST WEEK I heard from a fellow Vancouverite they are back in stores, but texture was different and they were falling apart…then a reader left me a post just the other day saying available in Loblaws in Ontario. I still CAN’T find them in my local Superstore or Extra Foods…so I don’t get the a) secretiveness about when will be available and b) why the heck they were gone for so long in the first place. If they are truly available, then I’m happy. But I need to investigate further.

Next up is a new beer I’m super excited about- Fat Tire by New Belgium. I owe this discovery to my dear friend Rebecca (of Row the Pacific fame, of course) and one night at a local watering hole called The Five Point. It’s a deliciously refreshing amber ale that isn’t heavy or drab in any way. It was served quite chilled, just as I like it, and had a gorgeous creamy head. This stuff was heavenly. I’m so incredibly sick of the almighty hop and the ‘hoppiness’ of IPA-this-and-IPA-that crap…so when I get a beer that’s big on malt I embrace it with open arms. Check out the website for some super cool beer art on their labels too. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!

photo(8)So since I’m talking about beer anyway, this leads me into my next point of interest. I’ve embarked on a new journey with 2 lovely ladies or ahem, “birds”. Stay tuned for the launch of www.beerbirds.com in the near future. This is a site about beer for the ladies! Between the 3 of us we’ll break the whole craft beer craze down, sample and give you honest opinions. It’s an amazing market and I don’t believe it’s at it’s saturation point- there is so much more to learn! Keep your eyes and ears open; we’ll be landing very shortly…

Last but not least is an author I can’t seem to get enough of: Hugh Howey. I first found him when I dove into the Silo Series; Wool, Shift and Dust. I admit I’ve been one somewhat of a Dystopian fiction haunt lately, and these books completely grabbed me. I’m not done yet but suddenly there’s new reason to love him even more! Sand, his latest work, is out! I subscribe to his mailing list and got to read a sneak preview a few months back. It’s dystopian again I assume (not sure of time frame), but this time the world appears to be a desert and there are workers who have to go down into the sand….buried cities and secrets lie beneath…

Stay tuned….and if you want more, do follow me on Twitter and Facebook. I post a lot of random “stuff” when the mood strikes.


“Drink Oxylent Breathe Life”

I didn’t make up that catch phrase, it belongs to Oxylent- the Oxygenating Multivitamin Supplement Drink. My dear friend Rebecca, one half of the Row the Pacific crew, passed me a box about a month ago and said, “Try this. You’ll love it!”  (OK truthfully probably more than a month ago, but my loyal readers know I am the Great Procrastinator!)

So. Why do I love this multivitamin? First off- I was given a variety pack…and variety, as we’ve been led to believe, is the spice of life! It’s true in this case. I get bored fast with some stuff and when I have something I’m to take every day, who doesn’t want a little switch up? This pack has 3 flavors: blackberry pomegranate, mandarin and mixed berries. There’s another sweet little twist to this drink: it’s effervescent! Bubbly goodness. (I know you’re wondering what my fave flavor is! Mandarin. I’m a sucker for anything orange…)

When I’ve told people about this drink, one of first things they comment about is the added sugar and calories. It’s with great pleasure I can tell them ZERO CALORIES and sweetened with stevia.

I’ve got a bottle of a popular drug store brand of multivitamins here beside me, to compare with the Oxylent to give you an idea of what’s inside…

Vitamin C- Oxylent boasts 1000 mg. My drugstore brand? 60 mg

Vitamin D- Oxylent has 1000 IU. Other brand? 200 IU

Essential B Vitamins are the same…as is Folate. (And Oxylent, by the way make a PRENATAL SUPPLEMENT TOO!)

I should mention, as cool as it is for us adults to drink our vitamins and actually have them taste good- this stuff is also available for kids! Formulated for their needs and eliminates those sugary, “gummy” style vitamins.

I’m really liking the ease and the TASTE of this product. I swear it makes me feel better and I know what I’m putting in my body, doesn’t have anything artificial or fake. I like that.

Thanks Oxylent & Row the Pacific!



Things I’m Excited About #22

I haven’t been this excited to share stuff in a long time! That’s gotta be a good sign, right? Literally bursting at the seams with juicy info. Okay, so maybe not on the edge of your seat bursting like I was for the Breaking Bad finale, but….you get the picture. So! Read up!

There’s a new Nut Milk on the market by Sol Delicious! Cashew Milk is available in the US, and hopefully in Canada VERY SOON. But that’s not the best part! This yummy stuff is carageenan-free. This is pretty big for me. If you haven’t already, check out how many milk alternatives have this little ingredient in their nutritional info. Yes, it’s natural and comes from seaweed….BUT it’s a major cause of intestinal upset in so many people; myself included. Although it’s not yet available in Canada, I’m ecstatic So Delicious opted to make this “milk” without it. It’s one more choice, and that’s never a bad thing. Now if the Coconut Creamer could be made without I’d be one happy camper.

While tossing and turning last night in the wee hours, my mind kept going back to a time when I lived in the West End and made Eggless “egg” McMuffins. I remembered baking the tofu and the taste when I bit into the sandwich was mind-blowing and ‘eggy’ tasting. So there I was at 2:12 am searching online for ideas, anything that sounded remotely familiar. All I could find was the ever-present, but tasty, tofu scramble. So I had no choice but to climb out of bed and begin to rummage through the scraps of paper in a tattered binder that serves as my recipe book. The point is- I found it! I can’t wait to do this again. It’s simple really- slice your tofu, (after draining and pressing of course) and cut into either squares or a circle (use a cup as a guide) to fit on an English muffin. Preheat oven to 450, and mix equal parts apple cider vinegar, olive oil & a pinch of salt. Place the tofu pieces in this mixture in a flat dish, let sit for 20-30 minutes, then pop in hot oven. 10 minutes a side should do it! In that marinade you can also put turmeric if you want that “eggy” color, and black pepper, or really whatever flavors you want. I prefer it simple. Straight up style.

I had a very fruitful trip to the library yesterday and found a copy of a super new vegan cookbook titled Betty Goes Vegan. This book is from a totally quirky couple whose blog I’ve had the pleasure of reading for awhile now. I couldn’t be more excited- this cookbook is for REAL people using real ingredients we can all find. And it uses all the mainstream ‘mock meats’ such as Gardein and Tofurky.

Jump in!

Jump in!

That’s it for now. I have to make a very, very important phone call now………….more to come :-)




Beer, Beer Everywhere…

It was a crazy, jam packed August. Not only was I on vacation, but it seemed a plethora of craft beer was falling into my lap. Currently my fridge has 5 varieties and I just want to hold on to summer a little longer…the fruit ales and hefe’s will hang on for several months. I hope!

First off, was the grand opening of Deep Cove Brewers and Distillers in North Vancouver on Aug 23. In attendance with me was Nickel and Mike of Mikes Craft Beers! First thing I noticed? Slick operation. Beautiful building. The details were everywhere showing us there was thought, consideration and ample planning that had gone into this little brewery. 3 beers were featured that will be available year round: Loud Mouth Pale Ale, Wise Crack West Coast Lager and Quick Wit Wheat Ale. It’s no secret I’m not a fan of the Hop, and that makes me somewhat of an oddity in this whole craft beer phenomenon. But, like the trooper I am I had to try ALL the beers. And yes, at 58 IBU’s it was too hoppy for me but with that said, if it was the only beer available I would be able to drink it since it wasn’t over the top with hops! (Like Bergers fave, Fat Tug) The one I was most excited to try was the Quick Wit Wheat; a Belgian Wit promising to be “lively with fruit flavors”. quick witMy take on it? Clearer than I was expecting, but the taste was refreshing and crisp; what I would expect in a wit. But it didn’t have me completely sold. I’m keeping my eye on this one. I want to try it again…This past weekend I also got to try their first seasonal: a Tea Saison. Was gorgeously golden, nice head, sweet first taste…was a damn fine beer. In conclusion, I think the crew over at Deep Cove needs to be watched closely- I believe there’s good things up their sleeves and I can’t wait to see what’s in store…

Next up is an ale that has seriously stolen my heart. Whistler Brewing Company Paradise Valley Grapefruit Ale. I was so freaking excited to try this beer it wasn’t funny. I’m not a fan of grapefruits really- I don’t buy them, and think they’re too tart. But I just knew the grapefruit would be a perfect pairing with the beer, and I was so right. Nickel and I traveled to Whistler to taste the ale in it’s element; where it was brewed….it’s home. It didn’t disappoint. It’s a darker ale, the grapefruit comes out at the end of the sip, on the back of your tongue slightly tart, almost bitter. Delicious. Really.  Grapefruit_6pack_webI loved this beer so much I bought 24 of them! (OK so I was tipsy and thought I bought 12…) I now have summer captured in a bottle, here in rainy Vancouver! Thanks to the amazing folks at the brewery- friendly bunch who know beer :-)

Staying with Whistler I also tried the Pineapple Express Wheat Ale. I’d say it’s the sweetest beer I’ve ever tasted and because of that, I could only have one but what a lovely pint it was! This beer would be fabulous with Thai food…Mmm, I can taste it now. I don’t know if these are available for much longer so if you can, run out and grab a few and keep summer close as long as you can!

Also, the remainder of 2013 will see some new breweries popping up in the Mount Pleasant area…*yum* (AKA Brewery Creek District).

I’ve got a ton of stuff to blog about in next few days so stay tuned. Better yet, subscribe so you don’t miss one! I’ve been fortunate enough to be given a 30 Day sample of Oxylent, the daily effervescent Multi-Vitamin drink that’s powering the women of Row the Pacific! I’m on Day 3 and loving it! Plus, a great little craft beer joint on the water in Kelowna…and much more!


Please Give from Your Heart

There is a really special little guy in my life.

He may be young, but he’s a pretty wise kid and he’s been through some tough situations. He knows first hand what the Burn Unit at BC Children’s Hospital here in Vancouver is like; how it helped him and his family. Liam is asking everyone he knows, and those he may not, to help him raise money to help the BC Professional Fire Fighters Burn Fund build some new digs for children and their families while receiving treatment. Liam was lucky to live here in Vancouver so he had his loved ones by his side while in the hospital- others aren’t so fortunate. We all know how important family and friends are to healing. Give what you can, with your heart and put a smile on Liam’s face :-) DONATE HERE


Things I’m Excited About #21

I know! I know! Been a long time coming, eh?

Have a fur-friend in your life? Pet? Love puppies? Do you get upset when you hear animal abuse stories in the news and wish those who did the crime, actually “did the time?” Please take a moment and read this petition to be sent to our government & Christy Clark. The total is now over 200 and I realize these things take time, but with more & more horrific acts of violence coming to light, isn’t it time we all spoke up and made a change?

I found out this week that Superstore stopped carrying Tofurky products. I’m pretty devastated- so maybe this isn’t something I’m excited about BUT it’s worth mentioning. It was a cheap place to get the products in comparison to Whole Foods for instance. They still have their PC vegetarian line up and I pray those don’t disappear. Speaking of disappearing acts, the Worlds Best Meatless Meatball will be back I’m told, mid-late September. Now I hassled the folks at Presidents Choice on Twitter trying to get an answer; I hope it’s true and not just trying to shut me up :-) Seriously though, they are always very helpful and respond to all inquiries.

Have a ton of info on the vegetarian scene in Vancouver that has me not just excited but SUPER excited. REALLY. First up is a new haunt on the East Side, off of Main but I fear, will end up as Hipsterville soon enough. It’s called The Black Lodge and you may need to dig back into your memory bank and recall that little TV show that swept North America by storm- Twin Peaks. It may not have run for very long but I’d say it left a lasting impression. Who killed Laura Palmer ring a bell? I’m more than curious as to the timing of a Twin Peak themed joint now, after all these years. The reviews are amazing, the food is VEGETARIAN and the service, so I’ve read, awesome. And it’s VEGETARIAN! I’m so excited- did I mention? The only flaw I can see is according to one reviewer on Yelp, the beer list (mainly draught I’m talking here) is lacking. I’m looking for a spot for tonight’s Beers ‘n Bitches but I can’t take the chance no good craft beer on tap…Instead, we’ll plan a lunch there soon- ease into it slowly before it’s overrun with hipsters…

Second is, did you know the Irish Heather in Gastown does a Meatless Monday? Again I discovered this on Twitter which I couldn’t live without; I mean that. As part of their Long Table Series, this is a 30 person communal, plant based dinner with entree & a beer for under $20. If you want appies or more beer (and who wouldn’t?) then you pay extra for that . This is done in some US cities, but the Irish Heather was first Vancouver restaurant to jump on this after our city council declared Meatless Monday on June 10!

My perfect summer beer? The Hefeweizen. As some of my readers know, I’m not a fan of the hop *shudder* so most hefe’s come in around 15-20 IBU’s and that suits me just fine, thank you! The “weizen” part of the word is wheat…so yup, it’s a wheat beer. Golden, delicious, often with notes of fruit- it’s absolutely perfect for summer. Or better yet? Save a few for those rainy fall nights when you WISH the sun was shining! My top 3 picks, in no particular order are:

- King Heffy by Howe Sound Brewing. The extra bonus? If you buy it at the liquor store, you get a funky bottle. If you like that kinda thing.

- Robson Street Hefeweizen.

- Hoyne Honey Hefeweizen

Enjoying a Hoyne Honey in Bastion Square, Victoria.

Enjoying a Hoyne Honey in Bastion Square, Victoria.

Now I must go back to Day 1 of my Vacation and doing nothing :-)


A Flurry of Activity

Phew. I’m exhausted. Really. I feel like this past week has been GO GO GO and I finally made myself slow down yesterday. I said to Nickel “Lets find a secluded river, put our chairs in the water, sit in the sun and DO NOTHING.” And we did. Granted the water was glacial run-off and turned my feet to ice blocks in seconds, it cooled us down in a flash the moment the sun became too much. Coconut oil was great on my skin and provided just the right amount of SPF as I had a slight base tan already. *For those that have asked me if Coconut Oil has replaced my love of body butter? HELL NO. I use that stuff daily! In fact I get a little freaky when I get down to 4 tubs left*

Even though the intent was to relax, I had much on my mind. On Friday, July 12th a petition was released by COPE 378 titled Pets Before Profits- help save the largest (and busiest) pet hospital on the North Shore. I’m about to sound corny, but I truly don’t care: it brought tears to my eyes. To have the support, and the ear of so many people and knowing they CARED was almost too much for me. I don’t want to lose my job. Our clients and their pets mean the world to me and to not see my c0-workers every day? I don’t want to think about that. If this business was failing or was no longer needed in the community, it would be easier to deal with. All I know is AT THIS MOMENT, the support is huge and it validates how we, as employees in this community, feel about our work place. We’re being listened to and that’s a damn powerful (and emotional) feeling.

Because I’m a twit, it’s also brought immense pride to see some hash tags started like #savecapet and #petsbeforeprofits on Twitter. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE.

Nickel spoiled me this weekend. As well as taking my mind off work, he also bought us new Brita Water Bottles with a BUILT IN FILTER! How cool is this? I’ve been using it today and yes, the water tastes clean and crisp. It also fits in the water bottle holder on bike which is a huge bonus since Nickel just tuned it up too! Normally we don’t buy too many plastic bottles of water, but we have on occasion when out and about for the day and we run out. Now we can use any ‘ol tap water!

A brief stop at St. Augustines’s in the early evening had us both refreshed with some good beer and biggest damn plate of nachos you have ever seen! I decided to do a paddle this time and tried 4 beers (not all new to me) Howe Sound Brewery King Heffy, St. Ambroise Apricot Ale, Logsdon Farmhouse Ales Seizoen and a Huckleberry one I can’t remember name of. That’s OK cause it was by far the WEAKEST. It was watery, thin and tasteless. There was nothing redeeming about it which was super disappointing…The winner? King Heffy of course. All hail to the king of beers. Budweiser has nothing on this god-like golden ale. Summery, citrusy, mellow and refreshing.

My battery is almost dead so I have to cut this short. Thanks to everyone who signed the petition- no matter where you live, your voice IS important.

Happy Summer. xo


Summer Fun in The Sun Part 1

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Vancouver is one helluva city to live in. So much going on amidst the most perfect landscape, but I wish it wasn’t so damn expensive. I did a post about fun stuff to check out in the Summer last year, and it was such a success I thought I would revisit!

Anyone who lives here, knows it’s summer time when Bard on the Beach rolls around! Have you checked out one of Canada’s largest (and most successful) not-for-profit Shakespeare festival? Celebrating it’s 24th year of bringing the dramatic, and often oh so tragic, stories of William Shakespeare to life- this event is world famous! For 2013 go see Hamlet, Twelfth Night, Measure for Measure and Elizabeth Rex. Tragedy, love, scorn, revenge and  more…under the stars.

Getting in touch with your inner zen more your speed? What about a huge, Canada wide yoga love-in? Happening July 6 is Canada Loves Yoga. Toronto and Vancouver will be ONE this Saturday but anyone can join in via the wonderful world wide web! Stream in, breathe deep and strike a pose.

Maybe FREE weekly yoga is more your thing? Vancouver can do that too. Every Wednesday in July and August, grab your mat and water bottle and head on down to Jack Poole Plaza at noon. It’s the FREE NOONER YOGA BY LULELEMON. Sure it’s a little more advertising for Lulelemon but this city seems to be nuts for yoga so they’re just giving the people what they want. Did I mention it’s free?

I heard about this amazing celebration of Latin American life this morning on CBC! Carnaval del Sol hits Granville street this weekend, Saturday July 6 and Sunday July 7. Experience the culture, food and people of Latin America right here in our own city. It promises to be a weekend of spice, color, music and taste!

This weekend is HUGE.. Epic: Sustainable Living Festival is also on at VanDusen Gardens July 6-7. It promises “19 food trucks, 18 bands, 22 wineries & breweries and 1 good time.” With sponsors like Whole Foods, Choices Markets and 102.7 The Peak you KNOW it’s gonna be good.

Underwear Affair? Booty Hunt? Hundreds of people walking the streets scantily clad all sweaty? Yup. It’s happening this weekend too on July 6. I wish I had discovered this earlier! An urban scavenger hunt through the city while fundraising to support cancers ‘below the waist.’ Nice.

Always the right time to SUPPORT LOCAL and what better way then to head to one of the many Farmers Markets? (even better on your bike)

This event isn’t free, but I’ve always wanted to do real afternoon tea! Tea for Two at VanDusen Gardens sounds like just about the perfect way to spend an afternoon after strolling through the flowers.

Phew. I’m exhausted just writing this! To be continued my lovelies…



What’s Up?

It’s been on my mind to write for a few days now, but as usual, something else always comes up, or distracts me. Oh who am I kidding? I’m a total procrastinator in EVERY sense of the damn word. So yes, my mantra is “tomorrow is another day, I’ll do it then…” for most everything. Day after day I come home to find the mound of dishes growing beside the sink and little Benny sleeping all day. Just once, to have the dishes done would be a god-send but he’s only a cat. Boo!

Terrific past weekend. Brews in the park with 2 amazing people and 1 fur-friend. Only thing missing? Our lovely other friend- the dark haired beauty with the sly smile:-) you know who you are…we missed you much. The sun was shining but I played it sun smart. I tried some new to me beers and Hot Berger even made us Pimm’s! Lovely drink and I have to say I was smitten…All in all, a great day (and evening) and one I’ll treasure.

I came home today after a particularly mentally draining day to find a gift waiting for me! I live below the BEST people- the atmosphere is easy going, relaxed, fun, creative and non-judgmental…They took a trip to Portland and got me goodies!

photo(8)Lucky girl, right? The almonds I was warned would take me to my “happy place” and indeed, they did NOT disappoint. It’s little gestures like this that go far in my world…

Tonight I came home from a walk to find a pack of gummy bears atop the green bin in the car port. I’d like to think this is another sign, a gift from maybe an admirer? But it’s more likely they belong to the amazing chicks upstairs and maybe they just set them there and forgot about them. It’s tempting. I love gummy bears so. (How could anyone just leave gummy bears though?)

It’s proving to be a challenging week. As no concrete details about work come to light, rumors run a muck. Our fate hasn’t changed, we’re still out of a job come the Fall, it’s just WHEN that hasn’t been released. We’re confused as to the delay and it’s making for some difficult times. I’m still trying to understand and sort through the emotions and the “why”…it’s going to take some time to accept and to let go.

For those I know who have personally gone through a lay off and loss of a job they love, I take comfort in knowing they made it and they coped just fine. So I must believe I too will be okay AND those I work side by side with as well…I have to trust the universe has some sort of other plan for me- for everyone. Something greater?

Something greater is going on as we speak. All around us, all around me. Just have to be open to receive it. I have Nickel by my side, I have my little Benny happy & healthy, I have a roof over my head and some food in the cupboards. I have my friends. I am loved.

I’ll get by. I always do….xo

PS And just because I shamelessly ask for money for the animals, don’t forget to donate whatever you can to the BCSPCA Paws for a Cause



Things I’m Excited About #20

Can you believe it? My 20th “Things I’m Excited About” post is here! It’s kind of appropriate ’cause I got a TON of stuff to talk about tonight. I’m feeling slightly mellow from a massage I had 2 hours ago, but sadly, I can feel the tension creeping back in. It was a new masseuse today, and she was a tad too gentle for me. She kept bringing me almost to the point of that sweet pain that goes deep into the muscle, but despite my urgings to please go deeper, I don’t think she had the physical strength. So, enough about my sad muscles…(or lack of)

I’m slightly confused as I planned to mention the Stanley Park Brewery 12 pack featuring their Amber, Pilsner and Witbier, BUT it’s not on the website! I saw a flash of it on Facebook yesterday and thought, ‘ now there is my summer beer to buy’.  I can’t say I was a super-huge fan of their dark beer over the winter, so to see a wheat beer has sent me over the moon. Summer comes upon us tonight, but until these dismal rains lessen up I certainly won’t be enjoying a cold one outside anytime soon! But keep these guys in mind for when the sun DOES shine.

I feel like nobody loves me. I have 2 donations (bless their amazing hearts) for the BCSPCA Paws for a Cause walk in September. I’ve hit up gazillions of people. I’ve yet to set up a box at my work; the Clients there gave so generously last year and it was truly a special thing to see. I’m pretty excited about it and *hoping* someone, anyone, shows me their love for animals. It’s also about the importance shelters and adoption centers like the SPCA have in our towns and communities. The work is tireless and often goes unnoticed. I ask you to give with your heart.

I’m not particularly excited about this next tidbit of info: No Junk June isn’t going so well for me. I’m being totally honest. The news about my job has totally thrown my entire attempt at no junk out the freaking window! I still don’t have junk at home BUT I stuffed one of those Ferrero Roche chocolate covered nut ball thingys in my mouth the other day. I don’t think I even tasted it. And today, after spending most of the morning dreaming about cinnamon buns with my co-workers I just had to go get one- dripping in icing I might add.

I mentioned the Vancouver Green Bin project last time. I can’t remember if I shared this tip I got to how to keep the smell down and fruit flies at bay. PUT THE BIN IN THE FREEZER! I line my bin with a paper bag, keep it in the freezer and when it’s time to dump into the large receptacle, it falls out cleanly in a big ‘ol food scraps block! Love, love, love.

Are you supporting the amazing duo behind Row the Pacific 2014? OK even if you’re not (but why aren’t you??) you would still look damn fine in one of the *NEW* supporters t-shirts! Available in cotton OR technical, so you can, you know- work out and get sweaty in it. Like Leanne & Rebecca do. You can contribute to the race online, grab a shirt or see them down at False Creek this weekend at the Rio Tinto Alcan Dragonboat Festival. I’ve made it as easy as I possibly can for you to get your hands on one of these t-shirts and to be a part of history in the making…

Mark Sunday June 23, 2013 on your calendar and hope for clear skies. It’s the night of the SUPERMOON. Also known as a perigee full moon, this celestial stunner packs a whollop. And you thought strange things happened on a full moon? Prepare for the unexpected…

Sugar high has left me…I’m spent. G’night lovelies.