Eating Animals

Martin and I both read the book "Eating Animals" by Jonathan Safran Foer over the holidays. It's a non-ficton book about the author's switch to vegetarianism after researching where meat actually comes from. I'm not sure if it's Safran Foer's fiction background that makes the book so convincing, but he really manages to bring home the horrors of factory farming in a way that makes it real. As he points out in the book, most of us on some level know what is happening at factory farms - but manage not to think about it too much. I'm not going to go into the specifics of the book here - but would encourage everyone to read it.

Martin and I have been vegetarian (with a few lapses, mainly on my part) for many years - but this book has inspired us to try to eat even fewer animal based foods (eggs, milk, etc.) and if we do eat those foods, to learn more about where they have come from and how they are produced. I have been cooking lots of vegan dishes lately, and have purchased a few cookbooks - Vegan Yum Yum (both the book and the blog) are great. I have made some delicious bananna bread from the Vegan Yum Yum book two times now - and Martin reckons it's the best he's had. I also made some choc chip cookies from Babycakes - those were not quite as successful, but I think that's my fault, not the book's! Adding a bit to the challenge of cooking vegan is that I am trying to cut back on gluten as well. Tonight, we will be having Smitten Kitchen's Mushroom Bourguignon - I'm really looking forward to it!

If anyone out there has any suggestions on great vegan/gluten free recipes and/or cookbooks - please send them my way! Now, to the bourguignon....


Tegan and Sara

Saw Tegan and Sara last night and they were really great. Lots of material from their new album "Sainthood" (which I am not that familiar with - yet) and lots of old faves. I love the photo of them and their band from their blog. If you aren't familiar with Tegan and Sara, I would highly recommend checking them out - they are one of my favorites!



I have been working the last week or so on photographing and uploading my stock to Etsy, and I have been using Picnik as my photo editing software. It's a free online program (but I upgraded to premium service which allows more uploads and a few more effects for $24.95 per year) and I really like it. I have taken a Photoshop course, but could never seem to get the hang of it. I find Picnik really intuitive, and they have all kinds of cool effects - I can do polaroids, cross process, sepia, etc. - all in the click of a button. Something that (for a novice like me) would take many, many button clicks in Photoshop. Picnik also seamlessly links up with photo sharing sites like Flickr - but I haven't really explored that feature yet.

Back to listing!


Cool Viennese Shop - Motmot

First in what might become a series of cool shops I saw in Vienna - Motmot. They sell great t-shirts, zines and ceramics with graphics of their own design - the photo above is just one of the great offerings on their website. I bought Martin a fantastic t-shirt for x-mas that says "chimps are people too" with a big chimp head on it - love! The best bit is that you don't have to go all the way to Vienna to get some great Motmot merchandise because they have an online shop - enjoy!


Photo Albums in the Shop

I'm getting a cramp in my hands from listing so many photo albums - the shop has never been so full! Head on over and check it out....



Back in the swing?

I don't know where to start in talking about my amazing holiday trip to Vienna. We had so many great experiences, met so many wonderful people, spent time with people we love, ate so much yummy food...and, well - it was just the best. We have been to Vienna a few times now and just love the city - it's beautiful and feels accessible and safe. The holiday season there is especially nice - everywhere you go there are Christmas markets selling "punsch" - a hot alcoholic drink that is delicious and all sorts of yummy Austrian foods. Christmas traditions are taken really seriously with things like real candles on Christmas trees. I love the fact that people take the time to stop and relax in front of their Christmas trees playing music and having a drink - I think that so often we don't take the time to stop and appreciate all the work that goes into the holidays.

That brings me to another thing I love about Vienna - it's just a different way of life. People stop and linger in cafes (above is me and my brother-in-law Stephen at Cafe Dreschler - an art deco cafe), shop at fresh food markets - things are busy as in any city - but I feel that there is also an appreciation of all those little things that make life special.

We just had so much fun - the photo of us above during a visit to Graz sums it up - we goofed off - a lot. I'm just going through all my photos now (and editing some in Picnik and adding groovy effects, as in the first two above) and might post more soon and talk about some more experiences - but it's hard to put the whole thing into words. I'm trying to get back into the swing of things at home, but I'm not quite there yet.
In other news, I'm trying to photograph lots of the stock I brought back from OOAK to post on Etsy - have a look at ye olde shoppe to see what I've posted.