Oh me, oh my! It’s been another great month on Urban Garlic. From finally getting my shit together with photos to producing a healthy mix of breakfasts, suppers and desserts, this month on Urban Garlic has been all about gaining confidence in my content. I’m writing the kind of content I would want to read myself — the kind of resources I wish I had when I first went vegan. When I write posts now, I smile instead of agonizing!

March was a relatively relaxed month for me, but April and May are about to get tough. There’ll be some pretty heavy lifting coming up at work. Now, I’ve never been afraid of a little challenge, but I’ll certainly be glad to have some great go-to vegan foods ready to cook when I get home every night.

Aside from food, there’s a lot of other great vegan and eco-friendly developments in my life. I’ve started to make a lot more progress toward a zero-waste lifestyle (although I know that absolute-zero is not achievable, but that doesn’t mean I can’t try and make some improvements!) and I’ve finally found a vegan tap shoe I’m saving up for. Check out some of the things I’m all about this month:

  1. The Soap Works bar soap — In my quest to reduce waste, one of the most obvious solutions has been to swap plastic-contained shampoos, soaps, conditioners, etc. for bar versions. This is not only completely free of packaging (no plastic wrap or paper labels), most of the soaps are vegan friendly (those which aren’t are clearly labelled), and they’re cheap as hell! I buy mine at Bulk Barn for only a few bucks per bar. Great, simple, earthy smells. My favourite are cucumber and calendula for my body, and tea tree oil for my face!
  2. Millennium Dance Complex TO — I’ve been dancing a lot more lately, and I’ve had a lot more confidence in my dancing. While I like to go to all the local studios, Millennium is the newest in Toronto, and I really dig the teaching and the environment there. I especially love that there are a couple great tap teachers there who are so focused on technique. I love meeting with other tappers and trading skills!
  3. Ruben Sanches tap shoes — I never thought I’d ever find a vegan pair of tap shoes, so I’ve been wearing the same pair I bought when I was 18, but my tap teacher, Johnny, recommended these shoes for me. The website can be a bit confusing, but I checked with a customer service rep, and every shoe that says “leather” is indeed a vegan leather! They’re also just really good looking and sounding shoes. So… which design do you think I should get?
  4. Gift-a-Green planter greeting cards — There’s a fantastic patch of kale microgreens growing in my office window from a greeting card I got. I’m normally not a fan of “instant” plants that are designed for growing in novelty containers, but I took a chance on this gift and they have grown amazingly! Of course, microgreens are actually pretty hard to screw up. Try it!
  5. Chickpea Magazine “Mindfulness” issue — I have always been a fan of Chickpea Magazine (I just hate having to wait so long for new issues! I wish they were monthly!) but I really love the latest issue, which has a great guide to zero-waste cleaning.
  6. Hosal wall grid organizer — One of the few times I’ve ever given into my urge to get something I see on Instagram. But hey, this has actually served me extremely well! Not much to really describe here, it’s just a wall organizer!
  7. Rifle Paper Co Gold Foil pocket notebooks — I’ve never been a journal keeper, but I’ve had to keep an ongoing journal in order to keep track of my recipes. I love this journal for its simplicity and the elegance of its cover, and it’s small enough that I actually don’t get super-complainy if I have to drop it in my purse or bag.
  8. Vegaline and Strawbeline by Beeseline — Because I grew up worshipping at the altar of Tyra Banks, I always loved Vaseline as my #1 beauty tool. Of course, Vaseline isn’t vegan. This brand, Beeseline, isn’t 100% vegan either (if you can’t tell, their flagship product is beeswax-based) but they have a lot of vegan products (they’re rice bran wax-based) including Vegaline and my new favourite, Strawbeline!
  9. Crash Override by Zoe Quinn — This isn’t a new book, but it’s new to me. I’ve always been fascinated by the mobilization of GamerGate, and have always wanted to hear Zoe’s own story. Crash Override doesn’t just tell Zoe’s story, it also draws parallels with the current fake news crisis that plagues society as a whole. A great and surprisingly digestible read.
  10. Spoonful of Sugar-Free’s sugar-free ketchup recipe — I’ve been working on finding more sugar-free alternatives to certain things, and ketchup has always been one of my favourite condiments, so this is one I’m looking forward to trying!

An honourable mention, because I found it shortly after I finished this list: I’m really whipped rose shaving cream tutorial by A Beautiful Messlooking forward to trying this . Totally vegan, and will definitely help me achieve my zero-waste goals. I’m currently using a store-bought (vegan!) variety but when that runs out will look to replace with something that creates minimal waste.