Tag Archives: challenge

Sunday, March 1 2015

Operation Vegan Breakfast


I knew today was DAY ONE of a self-imposted one-month vegan challenge, but I didn’t really prepare.

So it’s 10 a.m., I’m STARVING and scrambled eggs on toast isn’t a vegan option.

Cereal is my other go-to, but my boyfriend tells me that even though we’ve got almond milk, our cereal isn’t vegan. What animal products are in Froot Loops and Crispix?


FANCY MOLASSES? Interesting.

I don’t see any animal or milk products, but the Internet says that many cereals that have added vitamin D, get their vitamin D from sheep’s wool. Awesome.

To confirm, I headed to the Kellogg’s website:




Thankfully PETA offers a list of recommended vegan cereals that include at least one type of cereal I like: Life. Off to the shop I go.



Sunday, March 1 2015

Going Vegan in Vancouver (for a month): Day 1


cover_vegucatedI love meat, I love dairy, eggs and milk in particular. I’ve never been vegetarian, vegan or ever considered giving up meat because I don’t like a lot of vegetables — I HATE SALAD — and death by malnutrition seemed likely.

My boyfriend and I were perusing the documentary section of Netflix and checked out Vegucated, a movie about three people challenged to go vegan for six weeks.

I had avoided seeing videos of inhumane slaughter practices on animals for my entire life, but being faced with what’s going on in modern farms or “meat factories” in the movie, it’s difficult to not feel at least a bit shit about it. Pigs trying to swim in boiling water, castration without any anesthetic, perpetually pregnant cows strapped to milking machines for their entire lives, and chickens — chickens have it the worst of all.

The reason behind me trying to go vegan for a month is more about the experiment, because I’m just too big of a hypocrite to go full vegan forever. I have multiple pairs of leather boots, one leather jacket, one suede purse, down pillows, a down duvet, boatloads of makeup that’s tested on animals and then there’s my wardrobe.

For me, it’s going to be about baby steps, and trying to eat vegan for a month is where I’m going to start. In the least, I am hoping to add new healthy recipes to my repertoire (of three recipes), and expand my vegetable palate horizons.


Thursday, October 17 2013

Teach an old door new tricks — Upcycle Challenge

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In high school, I chose musical theatre class over woodworking because I was afraid I’d lose a finger. It’s been 10 years but I’ve finally realized this was a huge mistake.

The Vancouver Home and Design Show has, for a second year, invited me to participate in the Ultimate Upcycle Challenge. This time, there’s a twist: ‘Unhinged’ as the competition is called, would see seven individuals transform an everyday door from the Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore into something worthy of purchase at the home show’s silent auction (running Oct. 17-20 at BC Place).

Every DIYer has their comfort zone, and sawing wood is about as far out of mine as possible. Still, I wanted to push myself to try something new with this door challenge, and despite countless miscalculations/errors/accidents, I managed to execute my hanging shelf concept: something to help organize towels and toiletries in the bathroom, or scarves and belts in the bedroom.

My first foray into furniture design will be open for bids starting today at the home show, with all proceeds going to Habitat for Humanity.

If you’d rather do it yourself, than buy it yourself, the hardest part of this DIY is sawing straight with a handsaw. Lucky for you, I’ve found an absolutely foolproof way to get a straight line every time.


  • door
  • sandpaper
  • towel bar
  • shelf brackets
  • power drill
  • paint
  • handsaw
  • Rust-Oleum satin paint + primer, white

How to: Door-turned-wall-organizer

  1. First, saw the door in half. The secret to sawing in a straight line with a handsaw is a physical guide. I learned this the hard way and after my first crappy cut I used the bottom half of the door to guide me. I recommend getting wood long enough to span the door and weighting that down or using clamps. As you can see, I used art books, all of my art books!
  2. Draw a line where you’re going to cut. Mark your starting-point line with the handsaw by doing a few back strokes, moving the saw up towards you. Then start sawing, using the wood edge as a guide and using your free hand (in glove) to push lightly on the saw to minimize the bouncing (this is supposed to cut down on damage to the bottom cut). After that, saw off the bottom piece (below the blue line in the ‘Before’ photo), this will be your shelf.
  3. Fill holes, sand and wash your door to prep for primer and paint (primer optional).
  4. Paint the base colour (half Martha Stewart Craft Paint in Beach Glass and half Titanium white) on the top three-quarters of the door piece and then the shelf (don’t forget the sides). *Note: If you’re mixing your own paint, for heaven’s sake save some extra in containers in case you need to do touch-ups. Otherwise any extra paint you have to mix afterwards is unlikely to be the exact same colour. 
  5. Hardware: OUTSIDE (!) take Rust-Oleum and spray paint shelf brackets, screws and towel bar. Do a couple coats in short bursts and let dry before you go for another round. Tip: Use a coat hanger for the shelf brackets.
  6. Ombre the main piece with the Rust-Oleum white, spraying at the bottom and going past the three-quarter mark where the mint colour ends. Hold your arm straight as you sweep across with white to get that nice gradient, ombre effect.
  7. After all elements are dry, attach the shelf and then the towel bar using a power drill. You may have to touch up the paint on the brackets afterwards, for me paint got chipped off during the drilling portion.
  8. Mount shelf-towel-bar-upcycled-door thing on the wall and you’re done! Leaning optional.
Thursday, October 3 2013

Unhinged — DIY Upcycle Challenge with Habitat for Humanity


Once again, I’ve been invited to participate in what is essentially the DIY Olympics: the Upcycle Challenge for the Vancouver Home + Design Show (running Oct. 17-20).

This year, myself and eight competitors were tasked with finding a door from Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore, which we will transform into something worth auctioning off at the home show. I say worth auctioning off, because my biggest fear is that I will mangle the door and make it worth less than it was to begin with (approx. $5).

The doors (in their various forms) will be on display at the home show for a silent auction with all proceeds going to Habitat for Humanity.

My completed door (before photo seen above) is due MONDAY so I expect to make five more trips to the hardware store and ruin several more shirts between now and then.

Wish me luck!

Last year’s entry: a revamped vintage desk from the Sutton Place Hotel



Sunday, October 14 2012

Ultimate Upcycle Challenge gets press from Upcycle That and The Vancouver Sun

As a journalist, being written about is both weird and exciting. And unless I get back in the papers for something else (pie eating contest most likely), this probably won’t happen again, so I’m shamelessly documenting it.

Check it out!

Friday, October 12 2012

Touchup kit 2go

My desk (well not ‘my’ desk, but it feels that way) upcycle project is now sitting at the Vancouver Home and Design Show getting poked and prodded and hopefully bid on (proceeds go to Habitat for Humanity Greater Vancouver). However, it got a bit banged up in transport and so I am going with a stealth touchup kit to see if I can do some minty damage control. Hoping this is allowed and no one shoos me away…