My Joyful 2-Year Veganniversary!

August 3rd, 2010 - posted under: Food and Health


Yay Yay Yay! Happy happy day, Happy Veganniversary to meeeeeee!!! Last year I honored the day with a party hat and a piece of spice cake, but to be totally honest, I felt like poo! I was solidly into my first trimester morning sickness, and, well, we took a LOT of pictures to get that single semi-decent one.

But this year – this year was a true celebration! And would you believe that the cake up there is entirely RAW vegan?! It’s true – I made it myself!


No, this year there was no morning sickness. Instead we took our gorgeous little veg baby on a fabulous vegan picnic in the park. It was one of those magical days, Waits was all smiles and the weather was perfect and the conversation flowed so easily. Simpatico. Damian and I had the most amazing talk, the kind that leaves you feeling so fulfilled – challenged and heard and hopeful.

Our discussion ranged all over the map, but one central them was, of course, veganism. We spent a lot of time musing on our own, personal understanding of our veg*nism, which is quite different for the two of us. I love this sort of reflection because, at least for me, my relationship with my veg*nism is totally dynamic. It changes, it’s always changing, as I come across new information or reconcile ethical disparities or challenge myself to confront a difficult idea. I am definitely not the same veg*n that I was 2 years ago!

IMG_1161‘Buckwheaties’ gRAW-nola with fresh fruit and coconut water.

IMG_1162Orange chocolate cheesecake with coconut snow. Mmm yes I totally ate dessert for brunch. You get to do that when it’s RAW!

Over the past few months my diet has gone through another transformation. I’ve been so incredibly inspired surrounding food, in the realms of both flavor and nutrition. I’m completely in love with what’s around me – uncomplicated, fresh, seasonal produce in simple preparations. And simultaneously I’ve been furiously studying health and wellness, applying what I’ve learned in the ancient tradition of ‘food as medicine’.

I’m the happiest little witch in my kitchen, concocting the most delicious and nutritious magical creations. And, I feel so good.


But veg*nism isn’t just about food – there’s no such thing as a ‘dietary vegan’ (no one stops buying wool to lose weight, or skips the circus for their health). This is a lifestyle, and it impacts every aspect of living. Sometimes I forget how I used to be, all balled up and stressed out, carrying so much anxiety and angst. This weekend I remembered the gift that veg*nism gave to me – permission to relax into a more peaceful existence. Living each day with my actions reflecting my belief in compassion, unconflicted.


I’m certainly not perfect and I’m still working on figuring all this out. You’ll notice that I try to refer to my own lifestyle as ‘veg*n’ as opposed to ‘vegan’. It’s just that I’d rather not argue about the minutia, and so I’m more comfortable this way. I have mad respect for those who, for example, will trade in all their old leather as soon as they go vegan. But that’s not where I’m at – and I think that’s okay!

It’s a journey, to find our own truth, and then to actually live it. That’s the hard part of course – to be honest with ourselves, and then to live up to that. So, my veg*nism is a beautiful tool for me. A tool that keeps me thinking, and growing, and striving to be the best version of myself.

Plus, you know, look what I get to eat!


So happy Veganniversary, and here’s to many, many more!

Monday Monthly Mission #13 CONTINUES: 'Spreading The Love' Extends And Expands!

August 2nd, 2010 - posted under: Furthermore » Monday Monthly Mission


Well, after overwhelming support, I’m keeping last month’s mission going for another round. Yay! After all, the whole point was to spread the love, and who couldn’t use more love?!

A lot of you reported that you were unable to fulfill this mission as completely as you’d hoped, so now’s your chance! Others posted their accomplishments and – *WOW* – what an inspiring collection of stories! You guys are AMAZING. Definitely check out the comments in the wrap-up post for a ton of great ideas and a goodly dose of motivation.

illumipositiveI Have Everything I Need“, “This Is The Sign You’ve Been Waiting For“, & “You are ready. Calm your self. You are gaining in strength

So that’s the extension, but what about the expansion? Well, I’m so thrilled to announce that Bonzai Aphrodite has teamed up with Shango Los of illuminationPositive! Shango began the project in 1993 and has kept it going, underground and in some form or another, ever since. This INCREDIBLE endeavor is very similar to the little handwritten messages I made last month, except way cooler and on a much grander scale. The project has run over 15 years and has participants around the world, but it’s always been kept underground. Now, illuminationPositive is going BIG, and I for one am more than happy to help!



What an amazing concept, right guys? So simple, so elegant, and yet profoundly impactful. If you’re excited by the project and want to be a part of it, there’s a couple of things you can do. You can friend them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. And, for my readers, the first TEN people to email me (info at bonzaiaphrodite dot com) will be sent their own little bundle of illuminationPositive cards to pass out! Yay!!! (Okay, ten emails and ten winners! All gone!)

I want to give a huge THANK YOU to all of you guys, who inspire me more than you’ll ever know. I can’t wait to hear about how you ‘Spread The Love’ this month!

And of course a huge THANK YOU to Shango and illuminationPositive, for all the love you’ve already spread and all the love you’ve yet to give. You’re awesome dude!
*** all images credited to illuminationPositive

Diapering The Bonzai Bum – Part II

July 12th, 2010 - posted under: The Farm » Family

. . . continued from Part I . . .

So I’m sure you’ve figured out that there’s more to diapering than just diapers! For example, you’ll need a surface to ‘take care of the business’, you’ll need space to store the supplies, you’ll definitely need a spot to stack diapers, and of course you’ll need to dump the dirty ones. But don’t get overwhelmed, and don’t go thinking you need a ton of stuff.

Early into our procreation planning we realized a nursery just wasn’t for us. A nursery is meant to harbor *stuff*, which we’re not really into. We knew we would use a co-sleeper, so it only made sense to share the rest of our bedroom as well. Our low-impact parenting philosophy made this a lot easier, as we would not be purchasing roughly 90% of standard new-baby paraphernalia (like, you know, a crib). But there was no denying that we would need a changing area.


Our solution was simple: we relocated a lamp and then outfitted my tallboy dresser with a changing pad (this organic non-toxic one). We added a shelf for the associated accoutrements, with a click-touch led light on the underside for nighttime changes (this was Daman’s idea and it came in so handy! highly recommend!) A bit of rearranging and Waits got 2 small drawers for clothing and one giant drawer for diapers. The decorative hook holds the bag of clean cotton wipes, and the old dog food bin made an excellent diaper pail. Voila! A first rate changing station, DIY style.


Along with cloth diapers we use cotton baby wipes. I made them out of old tee shirts, and they work *great*. I recommend using light colors to you can see what you’re wiping up. In the orange spray bottle is plain water with a few drops of tea tree oil. I spray the wipe to get it good and moist before putting it to use. You can just use plain water as well, or a bit of castile, or other essential oils. The point is that you don’t need to buy any fancy formulated wipes, especially not disposable ones! We also use tea tree oil, an antibacterial and antifungal, to keep the diaper pail fresh.

My diaper collection currently hovers around 25, give or take a few as he grows/I shop. When Waits was a newborn we were washing diapers every other day and could barely keep up, but now at 4 months he goes a lot less and we launder every three days without worry. I use my own laundry detergent recipe and it’s a great non-toxic cleanser, strong enough to sterilize but naturally gentle on delicate skin. I usually throw some Biokleen in there too, but that’s more for stains than for sanitation. I also hear great things about Charlie’s Soap, and a Bonzai reader recommended Rockin’ Green Soap, but I haven’t tried either of these.

But washing can only do so much when you’re dealing with caca on white cloth. If you really want to whiten, there’s nothing more powerful (or more eco-friendly) than that big ol’ bleacher in the sky. That’s right, the sun. And bonus – it naturally kills germs, too! An afternoon on the clothes line does wonders for my precious pads. Check it :

IMG_0357‘Before’ – fresh out of the washing machine . . .

IMG_0432‘After’ – A few hours hangin’ in the summer sun!

Not bad, right?!

So that’s the extent of our diapering drill – that’s all there is to it. But someday (soon! Oh EEK it goes by so fast!) Waits will start on solids, and that’s a whole new potty ballpark. Breastfed baby poo is all soft and friendly, almost sweet smelling and essentially liquid. But real food makes for real poops. And when that time comes, I expect we’ll set up a DIY diaper sprayer, a hack similar to this one. Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to blog about it!

I hope you’ve found it helpful to see the choices we’ve made in our little green family. Of course, everyone does it a bit differently. There’s not a ‘right’ way or a ‘wrong’ way! What I’d love for you to take away from this, is that cloth diapering is totally doable, even – dare I say – a pleasure! You don’t need any fancy bells or whistles. You don’t need any special set-ups or expensive cleansers. As with everything I advocate, a little imagination and a little metaphorical elbow grease will go a long way. It’s just like I always say: Be creative, and have fun with it!

The Friday Feedback Forum

July 9th, 2010 - posted under: Furthermore » Feedback


IMG_0560Some outtakes from shooting for this article.

Well oi there! Hello! We’ve had a scorching couple of days here in p-town and now we’re all set for a lovely, mild weekend. And you know what the weekend means – it’s time for this week’s comments, critiques, thoughts, support, and suggestions.

How is your summer going so far? And what have you got planned for the rest of the season? Are there any sun/summer related posts that you’d like to see from me in the coming weeks? (sunscreen! I know, I’m working on it, ack!) Tell me watchya watchya want?!!

As usual, the Feedback Forum will remain here at the top of the page all weekend, so if you’ve got an idea or a question or you just want to introduce yourself and say ‘Oi!’, you can stop back by any time. This is your community, so get involved and have your say!

Oh, and check out this awesome video of Waits cracking himself up in the bathroom mirror. <3

Hope you have an energizing weekend! (not *too* hot)


Diapering The Bonzai Bum – Part I

July 8th, 2010 - posted under: The Farm » Family


“To cloth or not to cloth?”, that is . . . a different question. An important one, yes, and one that we’ll cover soon in this series. But today, the focus is on cloth. Because that’s how I roll.

To be clear, this is an opinion piece. If you want me to tell you which brands of diapers to buy and which materials are best and what sort of system makes the most sense, well, I can’t! I can’t do that because if there’s one thing I’ve learned on this crazy cloth diapering carousel, it’s this: every baby is different, every bum is different, and different bodies make for different diaper experiences.

For example, I know this sweet new vegan named Sula. Just a few months older than Waits, we met her parents by sharing a table at our favorite, particularly crowded, Sunday brunch buffet. Months later we ran into them again and discovered that we were both pregnant! And now when we bump into each other at brunch we talk babies, as new parents tend to do . . . and of course we also talk cloth, as crunchy folk tend to do.

Sula’s parents swear by the gDiaper system. LOVE THEM. They’re all she wears, with their cloth insert for home or the flushable option for going out, they say it’s the perfect diaper. Which is lucky for them, since gDiapers are one of the less expensive brands. I wish I could love them too – but I don’t.

I have one lovely lipstick red gDiaper and I every time Waits wears it, I end up getting peed on. It leaks. Every. Single. Time. And it’s not just him – I hear this complaint a lot from [ex] g-users. You either love ‘em, or they’re worthless. It totally depends on the shape of your baby.

This anecdote is meant to illustrate why I couldn’t just tell you which brand is ‘the best’. And, why I caution against investing in an entire single-brand system before your baby is even born. If I’d bought only gDiapers, I’d be screwed!

So here’s what I CAN tell you, and if you read this site I’m sure it will come as no surprise. When it comes to cloth diapers: 1) organic is better, and 2) shop secondhand. Here’s what I did . . .

I had *no* idea what I was doing when I jumped into the grand cloth-diapering game. All I knew was that cloth was in line with my values, so cloth it had to be. I imagined the diapers I wore as a baby, bulky fabric held in place with pokey pins, but we’ve come a long way since then. From prefolds to pocket diapers, all-in-ones to ‘longies’, there is an entire world of technology beyond the relics of our own infancy.

IMG_0525Someday Waits will inform me of his own gender identity. But for now, I have no qualms about putting my little boy in hot pink hand-me-down diapers. These are from Bonzai reader Eden – thanks again lady!

So I read the reviews, settled on pockets and covers, found a few highly-rated brands, and then I began my search. I’d hit the used baby store, which became one of my favorite haunts while I was pregnant. The good diapers disappear fast, so check back often! Craigslist is another excellent resource for secondhand diapers. Etsy is amazing if you want ‘new but ethical’, just be warned – it’s easy to lose control over there in the face of all that cute. You could do some serious financial damage!

Over the course of my pregnancy I amassed a modest collection of various brands, from bumGenius (my faves, but expensive) to Fuzzi Bunz (widely available, but S-M-L means you need more of them) to Swaddlebees (so awesome, organic and soft, but also come S-M-L) to Blue Penguin (really not my favorite), to the gDiaper and more. Some were pocket diapers (the Fuzzi Bunz and the Swaddlebees), some were size-adjustable (the bumGenius), some were all-in-ones (the Blue Penguins), and a few were off brand/homemade fitted diapers with off brand/homemade covers. All said and done I started motherhood with roughly 20 diapers.

IMG_0524The diaper drawer, with: cloth diapers, cotton inserts, emergency back-up unbleached non-toxic disposables.

I suggest starting with 15-25 diapers, depending on how much time you’ll have. You’ll need more eventually, but it’s better to start with a small varied supply. Then you can figure out what works for your baby and stock up on that. However, with only 15 diapers you’ll be doing laundry every day, so if that doesn’t seem realistic for your lifestyle you may want to start with a bigger stash. I should also note that we began with a box of newborn-sized disposables, which we ended up using almost exclusively for the first 2 weeks. Newborns are just so small for all that fabric! It’s a good idea to always have ‘sposies on hand (like for when the laundry slips your mind). We just started using them for overnights too, since Waits sleeps through the night (bless his heart!) and cloth ends up leaking. A lot. And we share a bed, so . . . yeah no.

. . . To Be Continued . . .

The 2010 Micro-Farm Is Chuggin' Along Into Summer

July 6th, 2010 - posted under: The Farm » Flora

IMG_0339Petunia Blue guards the henhouse from evil invaders.

Hello from HQ! It’s been a while since I’ve posted garden pictures, and this year’s tiny plot is finally taking off. These images are actually from a few weeks back, so there’s even more action now. We’ve had an exceptionally wet June and the extra moisture stunted some growth (tomatoes) while simultaneously stimulating others (gourds and greens). So it’s a mixed bag this year and who knows how it’ll all turn out . . . with my incredibly limited garden time, I’m just thrilled to be growing anything at all!

Let’s start in the front yard. You may remember my cherry tree discovery from last year. Well, this year was even more bountiful!



And recently Damian spent an afternoon high atop a ladder, harvesting . . .


We got maybe 6? Maybe 8? pounds of cherries. I can’t wait to show you what I did with them! Coming soon . . .

Moving around to the back and my 2 raised beds :

garden_with_labelsFor reference, this was the layout as of mid-May, just a few weeks after planting.

And here’s the righthand bed, as of mid June :

IMG_0310The beets (up top) and all the greens are flourishing.

IMG_0297Kale blend: mostly Red Bohr, some Dino.

IMG_0300The chard is so bright and beautiful. Thriving!

IMG_0304Happy little chard. Grow baby Grow!

IMG_0330The collards . . . mmm . . . I can’t wait to make them into RAW summer wraps!


IMG_0327And just like last year the pak choi bolted at the first sign of sunlight. I’ve already torn out this entire patch and replanted with some Farmer’s Market tomato starts! Meanwhile these guys went straight into my blender, NOM

To the far right of the bed (not pictured), strung up on an old box spring frame, are some sugar snap peas that I may have started too late. And on the other side of those (protected in their shade) are 6 little basil plants.

IMG_0331Cross your fingers for these guys – I’m *really* hoping to preserve pesto this year.

The lefthand bed is split between squashes and tomatoes. I started most of my tomatoes from seed sown directly into the ground. Not ideal, but I was busy with baby! The poor little guys damn near drowned in all the rain we’ve been having and they’re seriously stunted in growth. I don’t think any of the Goldens or the Green Zebras made it. But the cherries and the reds are finally starting to take off!

IMG_0318Precious cherry tomatoes that fed me so well last year, you can do it! I believe!

And the gourds are doing GREAT. I planted both pumpkin and acorn squash and got them in early enough for once. I expect I’ll be carving my homegrown goods this Hallowe’en!

IMG_0312Pumpkins in the foreground, acorn squash behind, w00t!

And of course beyond the boxes lies the strawberry/sunflower patch. My sunflowers were started from seed in the ground, but the made it!

The strawberries have been demoted to mere slug deterrent. Waits gets gas when I eat them, and if I leave them on the bush they draw the slugs away from my greens. So, this veganic method is working well for us this year! You can also see in some of the other pictures, I’ve lined the beds with copper tape. This has been *excellent* for keeping slugs out of my goodies. Highly recommend!

IMG_0334The strawberries and the sunflowers (with the compost in the background).


And that’s the micro-farm! So what about you, my dears? How are your gardens growing??

Monday Monthly Mission # 13

July 5th, 2010 - posted under: Furthermore » Monday Monthly Mission

On the first Monday of every month, we take on a ‘mission’ – a shift or habit or inspiration – to work on together. There’s strength (and support) in numbers! On the last Thursday of the month, we reconvene to see how far we’ve come.


Lucky number 13! But this mission isn’t about luck, good or bad. Quite the opposite in fact – it’s about karma.

Before we jump into all that, just a reminder that last month’s wrap-up is here. I’d really love to hear from all of you, as I’ve been keeping you in my thoughts as you’ve worked this mission and now I’m curious to hear about it! So please please, hop on over and let me know how you did (even if it was less than stellar – that’s okay too!)

So now for this month’s mission! Last month was bad habits (boo), and this month we round it out with good deeds (yay!) Because it’s so easy to get caught up in the flurry of life, to focus only on the future. You just get swept away in your schedule, never really pausing to look around at the *now*, never really snapping into the present. This is a concept we addressed in relation to our bad habits last month, and it’s an idea you’ll see me explore in my work throughout this site. Because it’s really, really important.

I know that for me, if I don’t check in with myself I can easily get so stuck in a ‘forward moving’ mindset. Just put my head down and plow forward with “gotta get this done, then gotta get this done, then gotta . . . “. But that’s no way to live a life! And not only will it keep us from dealing with our demons, but it also keeps us from . . . noticing that the person in front of us couldn’t pay for their coffee . . . or that the old man who we just passed gave the most genuine smile . . . or that the mom wrestling two kids and 3 bags of groceries could probably use a hand . . . or that the homeless guy really does look hungry . . .

And that’s all I’m asking you to do. To wake up, look around, and find something kind to do for a stranger. Maybe, once a week? Or more if you’d like. It could be anything, from buying a kid a cookie to helping a little old lady across the street. Just do something nice, and pay attention to how it feels.

***extra credit for over-achievers: try making a smile your ‘default face’. When you’re standing in line or walking to work or talking to a cashier, slap on a big grin, look people in the eyes and really smile at them, and man . . . just watch what happens!***

So whether you believe in karma or not, whether you believe that God punishes you or that the Universe will provide for you, well . . . when it comes down to it, it doesn’t really matter! The fact is that doing a good deed makes the world a better place. And that, my friends, is all we can hope to accomplish.

So, Pay It Forward once each week in July. You in? Do you accept this mission?

Special thanks to Heather who’s idea inspired this mission.

The Friday Feedback Forum

July 2nd, 2010 - posted under: Furthermore » Feedback

IMG_0393VEGAN BABIES!!! All within a few weeks in age – um, Waits is HUGE.

And now, Oi! Most Epic FFF Ever:

1) Firstly, I have to give a delighted and Heartfelt THANK YOU to Ann, who was so sweet to send Waits an awesome gift off of our registry – an organic cotton ‘fruit basket’. Ohmygod so cute! Thank you so much, he loves to shove them in his mouth (along with everything else these days), haha. The grapes are the best. =)

2) Second, I want to apologize for the light posting schedule this week. Work’s been kicking my ass. Obviously Waits and my family are my first priority, but oh how I wish the blog could be second in line! Usually it is. Sometimes though, I gotta go for the $crilla.

Maybe someday this blog and the $crilla will be one-and-the-same . . . a girl can dream, no?

3) Let Live was AWESOME! That pic up there ^ is from the conference. I’d planned to write up a post about it this week but time just didn’t allow it (see #2). So here’s the super quick re-cap:

IMG_0426Tabling in the main ballroom, tons of literature and resources.

- Babies and lectures are oil and water. I tried to see a few panels but the little dude just tried to talk along with the big kids and I had to duck out. No worries! We had tons of fun hanging out in the ballroom.

- This was as much a social event as it was an informative one. That’s one of the things I love about activist communities. The ‘big players’ and movement leaders all mingle easily with everyone else, allowing for awesome dialogue and a real sense of empowerment. No pretense. Just positivity and optimism.

- So many babies! I think there were five little ones under 6 months, which was so cool and inspiring. It was great chatting with all the vegan Mamas – including (unbeknownst to me) Kim McCoy of Sea Shepherd/Whale Wars (I thought she looked familiar!) Her son is just 10 weeks old, and damn cute I must say. Yay for vegan babies!

- For a more in-depth overview of the conference, check out this writeup from Epicurvegan, or here at Liberation BC Blog. And at the Let Live facebook page they’re posting videos of the talks!

IMG_0424Waits chillin’ with Brian of Scapegoat Tattoo (he did mine)

4) Um, this is so effing hysterical to me I just had to share. Hit’s a *little* close to home . . .

Soooooo, after all that yakking, it’s also time for comments, critiques, thoughts, support, and suggestions. What’s on your minds???

As usual, the Feedback Forum will remain here at the top of the page all weekend, so if you’ve got an idea or a question or you just want to introduce yourself and say ‘Oi!’, you can stop back by any time. This is your community, so get involved and have your say!

Happy 4th of July to all you Americans! Have a fireblast-tastic weekend!


MMM12 Round-Up: Breaking Bad Habits

July 1st, 2010 - posted under: Furthermore » Monday Monthly Mission

vices1 * 2 * 3 * 4 * 5 * 6 * 7 * 8 * 9 * 10 * 11 * 12 * 13 * 14 * 15 * 16

Well guys, we made it! I know that for a number of brave readers this was maybe the most challenging mission yet. I want you to know that no matter how much you accomplished, I am so proud of you! Because you set a positive intention, and you held it, and you worked towards it. You made a choice to be mindful and that is a huge act of courage!

My goal was to eat less salt. And I’m thrilled to report that I did it! I had a few slips (Sundays were hard for me), but for the most part it was easier than I’d expected. I did it by keeping salt off the table, period. I wasn’t allowed to salt my food unless Damian insisted that it was appropriate (if food was very bland). In those rare cases I trusted his judgement and allowed him to salt my food, but only as much as he salted his own.

And that will be my plan from here on out. I still don’t totally trust my palate, so I’ll take my cues from my dining companions and only salt as much as they do. I think, with careful consideration and more time, I’ll really be able to beat the salt monster, ha!

So what about you my dears? How did your mission go? And have you devised a plan of action to keep your momentum?

I can’t wait to hear from everyone!

MMM #12 Third Check-In

June 21st, 2010 - posted under: Uncategorized

vices1 * 2 * 3 * 4 * 5 * 6 * 7 * 8 * 9 * 10 * 11 * 12 * 13 * 14 * 15 * 16

Into the third week of our 12th monthly mission, and hopefully you’re all still chugging along. Because of the nature of this particular endeavor, we’ve been touching base each Monday to re-inspire ourselves and remain on track. As well, these frequent check-ins provide a much-needed support network. There’s nothing like strong community to help you overcome a tough challenge – and dealing with inner demons is the toughest!

In my own struggle, I had another salt slip yesterday. What is it about Sundays man??! I can do so well through the week without even trying at all. Then come Sunday it’s just an uphill battle from the moment I rise. I’ve been eating loooots of nuts and seeds these days (and *really* high raw – feels SO good!), and once again I got too salty with the almonds and cashews. *sigh* So, my next big goal is to not only make it through this week (should be easy) but to clear the weekend without backsliding. I’ll be proud to report a clean bill to you next check-in, I promise!

And what about you my dears? Have you been good to yourselves? Or has it been hard? Let us know where you’re at with this Mission, and how we could possibly help.

Good luck and keep truckin’! BONZAI!