Masks

She had blue skin, and so did he. He kept it hid and so did she.

They searched for blue their whole life through, then passed right by – and never knew.

Shel Silverstein

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Because Dignity is Beautiful

Community, I believe, is a huge part of a happy and satisfying life. I also believe that it is especially important to women dealing with the ongoing stresses of living below the poverty line and this is where Beauty Night Society comes in. Beauty Night is very special non-profit organization that provides evenings of healing, friendship, sisterhood, pampering and life skills for low income and marginalized women, primarily in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

Caroline MacGillivray, the dynamic founder and Executive Director of the organization, created BNS after volunteering in the Downtown Eastside as a research project for a role she was preparing to play in theatre class. After hearing the stories of abuse and neglect while helping the people who lived in the neighborhood, Caroline decided something had to be done, and then decided that she was the one to do it.

See article in Fresh Vancouver.

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waterfallBNS is an amazing local charity, changing lives in a part of town that many Vancouverites like to pretend doesn’t even exist. When event planner extraordinaire, Vernard of LuvnGrace Entertainment recently hosted a fundraising fashion show for Beauty Night at a Vancouver landmark, the magical Waterfall Building, I had to attend to support the cause.

The venue was magnificent with vibrant local art showcased on the white walls of the pyramid shaped room and Arthur Erickson’s iconic waterfall flowing in the background.

For me, outstanding wedding gown designer Pure Magnolia was the star of the runway with their custom made, eco-friendly frocks, many constructed from gorgeous vintage fabrics. Such beautiful and romantic designs, I fell in love….

It was a lovely evening in support of a local charity that is helping to heal a neighborhood desperately in need of love and understanding. It was also a night of fun, friendship and laughter. The very things Beauty Night provides to those who need it the most.

“As we work to create light for others, we naturally light our own way.” ― Mary Anne Radmacher

Gorilla Food

10Going down the steps to Gorilla Food is a bit like entering another world. A beautiful, mellow, healing world where the fragrant scents of mango and papaya greet you as you walk through the door. My happy, healthy, hippie oasis in the middle of the city.

As I perched on my favourite stool beside the window the other day, I couldn’t help but notice how many obese, unhealthy looking people walked by. If there ever was a time for a food revolution, it is now! I recently read how the giants of the food industry are messing with the processed food we eat in ways that are truly outrageous and seriously addictive (see CBC News and New York Times). We all have so much power over our health and vitality with the food choices we make but, unfortunately I don’t think the average person realizes this. It’s time to really educate ourselves on where our food comes from, what exactly is in it and to take a long, hard look at factory farming practices. Since we literally are what we eat, this is the most important thing we can possibly do to improve our lives and overall health.

Study after study shows that an organic, plant based diet delivers the most optimal nutrition possible and eateries like Gorilla have this in spades, serving the quintessential “slow food” that nourishes our bodies, our souls and our minds.

If your diet is in need of a little makeover, try adding a few raw, vegan items. I guarantee you’ll be amazed!

The Rainbow Bridge

Last weekend a friend of mine was driving home from work and lost control of her vehicle. She veered off of the road and, just like that, was gone.

She was one of the sweetest souls I had ever met. Gentle, compassionate, a gifted artist and an impassioned animal advocate. Basically she was the kind of person we need a whole lot more of in the world.

Her death has placed the fragility of our lives at the forefront of my mind. We tend to live our lives in distraction, thinking of the past, planning the future, dwelling on trivial details and not fully experiencing the magic of being present in the here and now.

So, if you find yourself in a situation that doesn’t serve you well; a relationship that isn’t meeting your needs, a job that isn’t supporting your growth, a town that isn’t quite right for you, take the steps to change what needs to be changed. If you have unfinished business with someone you love, muster up all of your courage and address the issue. You never know when this beautiful, tragic, comedic adventure we call life is going to end and it may end in a heartbeat.

When a beloved animal passes on we say that he or she has crossed the Rainbow Bridge and I believe that’s where Chelsea is now too. Where else would this lovely rescuer of homeless animals want to be? I can see her sitting in a sunny meadow, smiling and surrounded by the beautiful animals she loved.

Rest in Peace Chelsea Marie

CHELSEA

The Farmers Market

My neighborhood Farmer’s Market opened last weekend and I am so excited to have easy access to fresh, local, organic fruit and veggies again. I’m sorry Whole Foods but your mangoes and bananas, imported from Chile and Mexico, don’t hold a candle to this!

Wandering through the tented stalls, with the aroma of freshly baked bread and scents of just-picked fruit, was heaven. My favourite purchase of the day was a carton of strawberries. Not the conventional, too-big, too perfect looking, bland, watery-tasting, possibly GMO strawberries but small, dark red, velvety, oddly-shaped, super-sweet, bona fide organic strawberries. Strawberries the way they are supposed to look and taste. Strawberries so mouth-wateringly sweet and delicious I devoured them all before I even left the market.

For the first time ever I decided to barter a little with the farmers; well actually my budget made the decision. I gathered my courage to ask them if I bought, say, four bunches of arugula and two bags of kelp, could they give me a deal? And, yes, they could! I guess it works out well for both of us. They sell more of their produce and I save a little money, so we both win. I happily filled my bags to the brim and concocted this tonic when I got home:

The Market Special

I cup blackberries

1 cup wild greens

I pinch parsley

1 leaf lemon balm

1 apple

1/2 cup organic apple cider

Fresh, local goodness.

The Reward

The long awaited “End of Cleanse” dinner is here!

A plate of organic greens topped with delicious grilled wild salmon, a glass of icy cold, dark, micro-brewery beer on a seaside patio with a magnificent sunset to watch.

It’s been a tough week at times but a really great experience in green, raw living. I’m feeling healthier and more energized than I have in quite a while. And now it’s time to celebrate.

Sante!

Day Five – The Juice Truck

Who’s my best friend on Day Five of the cleanse? The Juice Truck in Gastown, that’s who!

This big, happy, watermelon-coloured truck, at the corner of Abbott and Water, has some of the most delicious, freshest and healthiest juices in town. With ingredients like organic cucumber, kale, wheat grass, ginger and mint, it’s a mobile pharmacy that will cure your ills.

Hung-over? How about a ginger, lemon, cayenne wellness shot. This shot will wake you up and balance your electrolytes fast! Having a mid-day slump? A Matcha tea, blueberry, banana smoothie will give you a nice, subtle hit of energy. Suffering from an upset tummy? The Remedy green juice goodness will help make it better. Happily, the list goes on and on.

These yummy, uber-healthy concoctions make me feel nourished, satisfied and so happy that I’m doing a really good thing for my body.

Let food by thy medicine and medicine by thy food – Hippocrates