What an excellent month it has been — for me and for the blog! I’ve finally felt the right combination of inspired and organized to keep up with the blog and create content that I’m proud of. And, astoundingly, people are reading!

Thanks to everyone who has been so enthusiastic in the Urban Garlic “community” (ugh, I need to find a better way to describe “people who like my blog”).

Back when I first started this blog I had a sort of “Things I’m loving lately” feature, which I used to enjoy doing, but I think I got more out of it than anyone else. But ya know what? I’m bringing it back!

This month was a great month of truly getting my shit together, so I wanted to share some of the tools I used to do that, and also just some of the little bits of inspiration I found along the way.

  1. These printables from Chickpea Magazine — $5 for a meal-planner I can re-use over and over again. This was my first time ever making a week-long meal plan and sticking to it entirely! You don’t need a tangible meal-planner, but if you’re like me and you need to squeeze out every last bit of motivation, something like this totally helps!
  2. Sam Turnbull’s cookbook, Fuss Free VeganNow, this came out in October, and I was going to review it, but as you know by now, I was going through a bit of a blog funk. But the amazing thing is, Sam’s cookbook will literally never get old! There are so many back-to-basic vegan classics that even I, as a five-year vegan, wouldn’t have thought to make. I’ve finally found a vegan cheese sauce I could serve to my Mom, and I never run out of sandwich ideas. Whether you’re a vegan veteran, new to the plant-based game or just veggie-curious, I don’t think you can possibly go wrong with this cookbook!
  3. Did you know that Milk Makeup is entirely vegan* now? I love Milk (ironic name, huh?) and have been using their matcha toner for almost a year now, and even wore their lip colour (“Wifey”) to my wedding. When I found out that Milk had gone 100% vegan I wanted to make a purchase to show my support, so I picked up a tube of Ubame MascaraLet me tell you! These give me doll eyelashes! I’ve never been much of a lash girl since there aren’t a lot of good vegan mascaras on the market (I personally don’t care for Too Faced’s Better Than Sex), but this tube has turned me into such a girlie girl.
  4. It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of YouTuber Carly Cristman (and hey, Carly’s gone dairy-free! Maybe through positivity and good examples, someone can encourage her to go vegan)! I’m a big fan of her fashion and style, but what I extra-love about Carly (besides just her very genuine and confident personality) is her organization videos. Her 10 small closet organization video from this month has really got me inspired to clean out my closet. I’m considering getting rid of my dresser (it’s only at about 1/3 capacity and is mainly a hiding spot for Ben) and possibly replacing it with a 2×2 IKEA Kallax, so I’ll definitely be using Carly’s video to make the most of my closet.
  5. I recently got this Anker Bluetooth speaker so I could listen to music through a better speaker while I’m writing in my home office. I love how tiny it is and how high quality the sound is! Seriously, this fits in the palm of my hand.
  6. I haven’t bought a lot of new clothes in the last few months, but what few I have, I’ve focused very hard on buying local. The Pink Martini Collection, made and sold in Toronto (although it ships across Canada) is totally my style — elegant but casual, and affordable without the stink of fast fashion.
  7. I’m not late to the cauliflower party in general, but I’ll admit I’m a little late to the “roasting a whole damn cauliflower smothered in tahini” thing. Don’t know what I’m talking about? You’re welcomeWe made this just last night (although I’ll admit the recipe posted here calls for WAY too much salt; we halved it and still felt it was too much). It’s definitely a great main that yields a lot of leftovers, and would also be great over rice!
  8. Shortly before Christmas, Hello 123 opened up on Queen West, and we’ve been there 1, 2, 3 times now! To me, it’s the perfect vegan “date night” haunt. My favourite thing on the menu is the smashed avocado burger, but if you’re splitting an app, I’d highly recommend the tempeh tomatillo — perfect tempeh! I’m also amazed at their vegan cocktails. Aquafaba in place of egg white (ew!) makes a great “genuine” bourbon sour!
  9. I’ve found a great new athletic apparel company called Muscle BabesMuscle Babes actually started as a podcast (which you should also check out) to empower and uplift women in fitness (I’ve been really into bodybuilding the last few months and I feel amazing). Their apparel line is a great way to support them, and the best part is, 5% of their proceeds go to Planned Parenthood! I got the pink cropped flowy shirt. Not into crops? They have full-length Ts, but I’ll also note that I don’t find the crop shirt to be suuuper short. Speaking for myself, I have a fairly long torso (I am only 5’6″, but still) and when I wear a mid-rise legging, it shows no belly.
  10. Do you know Chloe the Cat? If there’s one Internet cat you follow, I’d recommend it be Chloe. Chloe is paralyzed from the kitty-waist down, but on Instagram you’ll still see her running, climbing and rolling around with her adoptive brother Dougie. I first heard Chloe’s story from her foster mother, Hannah Shaw (aka the Kitten Lady). Hannah has an amazing YouTube account where she talks about the good work that is done when you foster cats — and all the amazing kitties she’s brought into the world. You can watch this video to get you up to speed on how Chloe got to where she is today, and check out Hannah’s channel to learn more about fostering kitties!

* Note: Milk’s official disclaimer is that everything on their website is 100% vegan as they’ve discontinued a lot of non-vegan products as of December. This means that if you go to a Sephora, there may still be a small chance that you’re grabbing some non-vegan inventory. Research, ask questions and check ingredients, as always!