Friday, November 17, 2017

The Story Behind Go On, a New Single by Jody Quine

Guest Article By Jody Quine

In the fall of 2014 I went through a depression. At the darkest silence, heavy and feeling so alone, I sat at the piano. It was in that moment this song came through me.

Having faced some other dark times, and also being somebody who meditates, I knew that in this space, I could also make choices about who I wanted to be as I healed. I decided I wouldn’t fake anything and be open to what brought me any sense of joy. I knew one thing and that was I needed be able to make music. Everything else was empty.

The first thing that brought me a sense of any smile was my daughter running towards me when I was picking her up at school 3 days later. While I knew as a mother, my children were my my purpose, it was also important to absolutely trust my spirit to guide me through this difficult time. That’s the moment I decided that if a choice or opportunity wasn’t about those two things - music, my children and therefore my family - it wasn’t worth my energy or my worry. 

I lived that way for over a year and rebuilt my strength and spirit from that moment. Now whenever things get heavy or hard, I remember to slow down and listen to my internal guidance system, my spirit, and ask myself; is this about my family or music? and if not, then I let it go.

Every step in our lives, every struggle, is an opportunity to love ourselves a little more and listen to what it is that might truly bring us enough joy to Go On.

Music Video Directed and Edited by DC Lessoway ( North Vancouver, November 15, 2017

Join Jody's mailing list to receive free digital downloads and other exclusives! LYRICS Go On My heart is aching I feel so alone All my dreams are breaking I don’t know how to go on Go on and on go on on. It’s a new day rising, leaving me laying behind I can’t seem to find my wings I don’t know how to fly to go on and on go on on And my mother said this too shall pass this will pass And light will shine again into your days and then your nights These things can just take time so trust yourself and you will find your light you’ll shine. You must go on. And a new day rises I can almost hear her say you’ve just got to get on up you can face the day and go on and on go on on. And my mother said this too shall pass this will pass And light will shine again into your days and then your nights These things can just take time so trust yourself and you will find your light you’ll shine. You must go on Go on and on You must go on I will go on.

Don't Let Fear Paralyze You!: A Guide To Your Own Personal Freedom by Michael Challenger

Have you ever felt weakened by fear? Do you sometimes feel misunderstood and wonder what steps you could take to meet life’s challenges head on and regain control your life?

Synopsis - 

If you’re ready to embrace change with an enlightened courage and discover your unlimited potential and ultimate freedom, this powerful and inspiring book has been written just for you. With candor and keen introspective, author Michael Challenger offers a glimpse behind the curtain into a world where his version of paralysis was as real as it gets. 

Don’t Let Fear Paralyze You! is a bold and unique perspective of a journey into self-realization. Each chapter offers strategies, discovery and interactive inner guidance to live boldly and let go of fear-based behaviors that are holding you back. Begin the healing process today and step into your true and authentic self. By sharing his personal path to victory even when he faced his darkest days, Michael will help you uncover the many disguises of fear and embark on a step-by-step transformational journey of hope, self-discovery, and appreciation as you dare yourself to do the things that once felt impossible.

Review - 

In Don't Let Fear Paralyze You!: A Guide To Your Own Personal Freedom, Michael Challenger offers wisdom one small chapter bite at a time on how to move from a place of holding back to one of freedom.  He wants everyone to reach for their dreams instead of allowing doubt, fear and negativity from other to hold them back.

While this is laid out in a traditional book format, it really is a combination book and workbook. Don't let the smaller page count fool you. In 20 chapters he covers a broad range of topics that ask the reader to look within.  Trust, courage, doubt, self-sabotage, responsibility, authenticity, truth and one I feel strongly about and have also asked people to consider - "What Are You Willing to Sacrifice?" - are discussed.  Each chapter looks at just one piece of the puzzle with the focus of finding the answer by looking within. The author doesn't give THE answer as it will be different for every single person. He works to lead readers to discover the truth that is right for them.

At the end of every chapter, and sometimes in the middle, there are workbook style questions asking you to reflect and turn inward followed by a space to write your answers.  There is something powerful about putting pen to paper. It helps bring the message home. Be prepared to take your time with this book. You want to delve into each chapter and then take time to process what you learned to and allow it to sink in.  

Buy The Book: -

Meet The Author - 

A successful career as a singer, dancer, choreographer, producer and director, led him to believe he was at the top of his game. This idea came crashing to a halt by incidents he witnessed during the four years he spent in Los Angeles attending the New York Film Academy to garner his BFA in 2012.

This was a time fraught with negativity from all avenues and directions. It literally paralyzed
him, until he realized he could control the situation and in acknowledging that fact was able to analyze the process and ultimately he created solutions that can be utilized by anyone.

Montreal-born and world-traveled, Michael Challenger is now in a position to challenge you
to overcome your fears and live the best life possible. He is a peaceful warrior with a passionate curiosity and zest for life. Through spirituality, yoga, healthy eating and physical training, this “Challenger” becomes more centered and grounded every day. Michael is an award-winning director-producer who has built his career through high energy, business savvy and goal-driven habits with a natural talent for innovative, unique creative ideas and artistic concepts. He’s a triple-threat professional performer with expansive professional credits including theatre, dance, film and television. 

Connect with the Author:  Website - Facebook - Instagram 

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Spaghetti Squash Chicken Pad Thai (Vegan/Vegetarian option)

Non-meat option from
I made a Spaghetti Squash bowl before and really loved it. When another Spaghetti Squash 4 Ways video appeared on Facebook the other day - one over several out there - I decided to give the Pad Thai version a try. The original recipe is on a site called and this recipe lived up to that description. It was tasty.

While most of the recipe I used as is, there were a few minor changes to suit our family. My husband and youngest son are serious meat eaters, so I added some shredded chicken to the mix.  I didn't feel it needed both raw green onion and regular onion, so just went with the green onion. I used shredded carrots instead of sliced. As they are not cooked I felt this would be easier to eat.  And last but not least I cut back the Sriracha Sauce slightly as my husband doesn't like things too spicy. All those changes are reflected in the recipe below. You can view the original recipe HERE.

The only thing I want to address when I try this in the future was I found it a little soupy, which made it a little messy to eat. Not sure exactly why, but I suspect the hot spaghetti squash on the raw vegetables drew out some moisture. I may try less sauce next time or  may cut out the water in the sauce.  It can always be added back in.

For anyone interested, here is the original video with all 4 ideas at the bottom.

= = = =

Spaghetti Squash Chicken Pad Thai (Vegan/Vegetarian option)
Serves 2 (double for 4)


1 spaghetti squash
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Filling - 
½          English cucumber, skin on and cut into bite-size pieces
1 C       Carrot, Shredded
1 C       Red Bell pepper, diced
½ C      Green onion, chopped
¼ C      Fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 lb   Shredded or chopped cooked chicken (my addition - leave out for Vegan/Vegetarian)

Peanut Sauce -
¼ C       Warm water (may reduce or omit next time)
3 T        Soy sauce
1 T        Sesame oil
2 T        Honey, or agave
2 T        Fresh lime juice
2 T        Sriracha (I cut this down slightly for my family, but it's really not hot).
½ C       Creamy peanut butter
1 ½ T    Fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 T        Garlic, minced

Sprinkle on top (Optional) - 
Chopped or crushed peanuts and additional cilantro.


Preheat oven to 400ºF (200ºC).

With a sharp knife, slice the squash in half. Scoop out the seeds, brush with oil, and sprinkle with salt, and pepper. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a fork can easily pierce the skin. Mine took longer so I finished off with a couple minutes in the microwave on high. You don't want it mush though, so err on the crunchy side.

While they are cooking, combine water, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, lime juice, Sriracha, peanut butter, ginger, and garlic in a bowl, stirring to combine. I found this hard to mix in, so you may need to warm the mixture in the microwave or in a sink full of hot water.  Once the peanut butter is warm, it's easier to combine.

In a bowl mix together the cucumber, carrots, peppers, green onions, onions, peanuts, cilantro, and sauce.

Remove squash from the oven, with a fork pull at the edges to produce that stringy “spaghetti” quality.  Add the spaghetti squash to your bowl of vegetables and drizzle with the sauce. Mix well.
Serve in the squash shell garnished with cilantro and peanuts.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Interview with EFWA Upcycling Designer Sara Armstrong

Share about the journey that led you to fashion design.

I was always into “design," but never really expected to be a “fashion designer”. I was in university for a bachelor of fine arts, I began my degree in painting, then moved my focus to sculpture and new media. I was doing woodworking, welding, trying all mediums and making public sculpture. Our school didn’t have a textiles department so once I finished I thought my next journey would be into textiles.  I went to a fashion design school which also didn’t really focus on creating textiles.... so out of class time, I took all the workshops I could find on felting, spinning, dyeing, screen printing etc. 

Image by Diana Klonek
I ended up really enjoying pattern drafting and draping. It has such strong parallels to my previous interests and education. Fashion design stuck: the materials are easily available and people often can “understand” its purpose so I felt it was more accessible for me to create an audience. Once I finished my design diploma I did go back into carpentry for a few years, while building my label on the side. I believe construction is construction and if we can understand the way something is built, anything is possible. I may not make “clothes” forever but I will always be in the world of design.

I know you trained at Blanche Macdonald. Talk about the highs and lows of studying fashion design. What did you find easy? What was a challenge?

Having just finished a Bachelors in Fine Arts less than a year before my move into fashion school, the transition was seamless. I had the knowledge and skill in forming full concepts and executing them in a variety of different mediums. The challenge I faced was in becoming a master in accuracy for just one medium – textiles. I found this restricting at first.

Who you are as a designer? Aesthetic? Customer? Brand? Etc.? Do you offer a new line each season, create custom work or both?

I design concept collections as well as non-seasonal, gender inclusive separates. My aesthetic is often changing, but I think the themes I bring forward are in the large shapes I often am gravitate toward. I do wholesale in small batches, but I often prefer custom, because I know the piece is going to a wearer immediately.

From left to right - images by Marchel Creative, Megan Toriglia, Peter Jensen & From Website

I am so thrilled to have you a part of the EFWA Upcycling Challenge by Marilyn R Wilson. Have you ever upcycled used garments before?  If so, how?

When I first began design, I only upcycled and had a strong eco-focus for many seasons. My graduate collection was all made of recycled wedding dresses, and the shoes were made from repurposed furniture. I often re-use fabrics and make them my own. I do have an eco-focus in the fabrics I choose and that the pieces can withstand wear and become transformable for the wearer’s lifestyle, making longevity a key moral of my design brand.

Images Left by @lizDunate -Image Centre by Matthew Burditt -  Image Right by Diana Klonek
Please share a little about your approach/inspiration for creating your runway look for this international show? What can the audience expect?

I have made a menswear look with a twist on the feminine form. I have recycled some of my own past pieces to create the shorts. 

Links -