Category Archives: General

Random musings…

Ten Years of Roller Derby

This year is the 10th anniversary of the Rat City Rollergirls, Seattle’s roller derby team. I can’t believe it’s been a decade. I was a founding member and it seems like yesterday.

It all started in 2004, when my friend Lilly asked a group of her friends (myself included) if we wanted to start a roller derby league with her. She’d fallen in love with the sport after watching the Texas Rollergirls play in Austin.

Meeting One was between Hurricane Lilly and two of her friends, Rae’s Hell and Dixie Dragstrip. Meeting Two expanded to seven. I remember meeting in a living room and planning what would become part of the fabric of Seattle–although we had no idea at the time.

founding members

We researched locations, looked into things like insurance and marketing, and planned fundraisers, media strategies and recruiting events. The league needed uniforms, coaches, managers, players–everything! It was almost a full-time job, and we all had jobs!

We were engineers, writers, developers, baristas, managers, you name it. We combined our skills and passion and built up the league from humble beginnings in a rink in White Center to Key Arena! I never played at the Key though. I played at the hangars at Magnusson in front of 1500 screaming fans, but after season one, I retired.

I’m Jean of all Trades, and I didn’t have the commitment to devote to one thing. I was busy with motorcycles, art, animal rights, and I had a boyfriend and friends to fit into the mix (not to mention a new job).

skates and helmet

But I’ll always remember the year and a half that I was Lady Die #83. I met powerful women, made great friends, and reached a level of athleticism I didn’t know I had.

Lady Die 83

I’d highly recommend catching a bout and celebrating season ten. Roller derby has exploded onto the scene in the last decade and there are other leagues in Washington State, the country, and all over the world. There’s probably one near you. If you go to a Rat City bout, you’ve got to cheer for Grave Danger, my former team.

grave danger season one

(starting back row, left to right) Edie Brickwall, Daisy Mayhem, PamOpticon, Lil’ Hateful, Sake Bomb, Bruise Lee, Lisa Lawless, Rettig to Rumble, Lady Die, Darcy Rant, Tashya Round, Ann Munition, Jinx (Photo by Lilly Warner)


Filed under Events, General

Celebrating Thanksgiving at Plum Bistro

I blogged about my Thanksgiving feast on my vegan blog yesterday and I thought enjoying delicious food is something everyone loves, so I’m reposting my experience here.

For Thanksgiving this year, hubby treated me to a four-course meal at Plum Bistro, a vegan restaurant in Seattle. Most restaurants were closed today, but Plum had a special prix fixe menu. Hubby thought it would be nice to eat without cooking or cleaning up. He was right!

We started our meal with roasted heirloom carrots and Brussels sprouts with a maple and thyme glaze. I could have gone home happy at this point, but there was more.


Our appetizer was Plum’s famous smoky mac and yease. It was creamy and delicious–vegan comfort food at its finest.

mac and yease

For the main course, we dined on smoked seitan roast with gravy and cornbread stuffing. The stuffing, with cranberry reduction on the side was so satisfying I didn’t need dessert.

main course

But when dessert came–a bourbon chocolate pecan pie–I didn’t hesitate to devour it. It was drizzled with caramel, covered with a dollop of smooth, dairy-free whipped cream, and garnished with pomegranate seeds and a pecan.

pecan pie

I have a lot to be thankful for, and this meal was no exception! I enjoyed a cruelty-free meal and I loved seeing everyone in the packed restaurant enjoying healthy, vegan food too.

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. If you’re in Seattle, you’ve got to visit Plum!


Filed under Ethical, Events, General, Healthy Living

Liebster Award

I’ve been nominated for the Liebster award twice and I have two people to thank–and one to apologize to.

Megan, The Fashionable Bureaucrat, nominated me last August! I’d meant to write a post about it and it slipped my mind–until yesterday. Celeste, of Honk If You’re Vegan nominated me yesterday, and that’s when I remembered the first nomination! Now that “did I forget my keys” feeling is gone. Phew!

So thank you both! I love Megan’s quirky, fun style, as well as reading about her Canadian adventures. And recently started following Celeste’s blog and love her reviews, recipes, and tales of a vegan SoCal life. And Megan, I’m truly sorry for dropping the ball on the award.

liebster award

The Liebster Award is given by bloggers to bloggers who have less than 200 followers. Each blogger gets a set of questions, answers them, nominates eleven new bloggers, and asks them eleven questions.

Questions (I had two sets of questions so I got to pick and choose)

  1. Do you currently have all your organs? Believe it or not, I do. They don’t all work though! (I had my tubes tied because I know kids are not for me.) For some, that might be TMI, but I like to think of it as a public service announcement for doing what’s important to you, regardless of what’s “normal.”
  2. For a pet, would you rather have a crow, a fringed lizard, or a taxidermized wolf? A crow for sure! I really like crows. I’ve even named the two who visit my backyard (they’re Cheryl and Russell).crows
  3. Favorite decade – 1970s, 1980s, or 2000s? I love the 80s! I was a teenager in the 80s and that’s when I discovered great music, wild fashions, and really got to do my own thing. There’s a sense of innocence that I still attribute to the 80s. Everything seemed easier then. No bills, no adult responsibilities (but there was a lot of boy drama!).
  4. Do you prefer routine or variety? I like variety. For me, a routine gets boring and predictable and I feel like I’m missing out on things. That’s probably why I don’t have a lot of traditions. Every year I do something different at Christmas, New Year’s, for vacations, etc.
  5. Do you sleep with your bedroom door open or closed? Open. If I close it, I’ll immediately have my dog and two cats “knocking” at the door. If I leave it open, they don’t always come in, but they like keeping an eye on things.
  6. What makes your heart sing? A delicious vegan meal. Every meal I eat is vegan, and it makes me really happy to know I’m eating cruelty-free and doing my body a favor by eating healthy.
  7. If you could choose anywhere in the world to live, where would it be? For now, it’s here. I like the mild climate, and the rain keeps everything green. I have amazing friends, and I feel like I’ve got roots here (with hubby and the house and a history that goes back 13 years). That said, I miss Toronto and my family and I daydream about what it would be like to retire in a place like Costa Rica.
  8. What did you have for breakfast yesterday? Oatmeal with a bowl of fruit, and a soy latté. It’s something I eat a few times a week because it’s in the cafeteria at my work.
  9. What is a goal you’re working toward right now? I’m working on getting more paintings and drawings done so I can replenish my Etsy shop. Creating art is fun! Finding time for it is tough.
  10. What’s one thing you like about yourself? I like that I’m willing to try new things. I’ll learn to ride a motorcycle, join a roller derby league, or start an online shop. Some things stick, others don’t, but at least I’m open to new things.
  11. Why do you blog? I blog for a few reasons. I enjoy style but I work in tech. Blogging at Jean of all Trades gives me an outlet for writing about clothes, art and other style-related things. I started Sunshine and Slaughter because even though I mention my cruelty-free choices in my style blog, it’s meant to be light and fun. My plant-based blog is where I can write more in-depth about serious topics and cover things like vegan restaurants.

I’m nominating the following bloggers:

And here are the questions:

  1. What’s a place you’ve always wanted to visit?
  2. What defines your personal style
  3. What’s your dream job?
  4. Would you rather live in a penthouse apartment of a countryside ranch?
  5. Have you ever rocked a mullet?
  6. What would it take to give up your car for a year?
  7. What’s the scariest thing you’ve done?
  8. If you had a whole day to yourself, how would you spend it?
  9. Unicycle, juggling, or trapeze: which would you rather learn?
  10. What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?
  11. If you had to wear one color for the rest of your life, what would it be?

And the rules:

  1. The award is given by bloggers to bloggers who have less than 200 followers.
  2. Each blogger should answer the questions the tagger has set for them.
  3. Choose eleven new bloggers and link them in your post.
  4. Create eleven new questions for the chosen bloggers.
  5. Go back to their page and tell them about the award.
  6. Each blogger should post eleven random facts about themselves.
  7. No Tag Backs!!

Have fun!


Filed under General

Meeting Spinner Dolphins in Hawaii

Today was the day I’d been dreaming about for the past month. We’d booked a catamaran tour and were hoping to see dolphins, whales and turtles off the west coast of Oahu. Nothing in nature is guaranteed, so I didn’t know what to expect.

We headed over to the Waianae Boat Harbor as the sun was rising. The west coast is the least touristy (and some would say slightly dangerous). Sure there’s poverty, but I think the dangerous reputation is exaggerated. The rumors might benefit the locals though, who probably don’t want swarms of tourists invading their towns.

highway to Waianae

A rainbow at the harbor was a good sign. There were three couples on board, us included, and three crew members: Captain Tori, a marine biologist, and two grad students who were studying the behavior of the animals we were hoping to see.

rainbow at harbor

I chose Wild Side Hawaii because they focus on conservation and ecologically sound business practices. The tours are small and put the animals first. Like me, they don’t condone captive swim-with-dolphin programs or marine parks that emphasize “entertainment.” Dolphins don’t belong in chlorinated cement tanks. I’ve seen the movie The Cove and I’ve learned that untold numbers of wild dolphins are slaughtered to catch the few that are suitable for captive programs. Families are torn apart and I don’t want to be any part of that.


But on this day, I was thinking of the free dolphins in the waters and wondering whether they’d choose to make an appearance. Even if they didn’t, the views were amazing, and the day was perfect. The clouds were blowing away, I had on my reef-safe sunblock, and I was ready for anything.

ready for anything

on a boat

We got to see a surfing competition from “backstage.” I’ve never seen something like this from the ocean side before!

surf from behind

Captain Tori explained all about the indigenous people who used to live in the valleys on Oahu and how they were agrarian and self-sustaining. Some were fierce warriors too and greatly feared.


Then, we saw a humpback whale! Wow! It was amazing to see her come up for air and “wave” to us. Then she disappeared into the water with a splash.


humpback again

I decided to live in the moment instead of living through my camera lens, so the pictures here are less than stellar. But I have the memories that will stay with me forever.

When the dolphins arrived, I was giddy. We watched them surf our wake and easily keep up with the boat. Spinner dolphins are small compared to the bottlenose dolphins people are familiar with. A male might be 6′ long at the most.

dolphins arrive

dolphin with boat

They still seemed big to me.

dolphins from boat

When the captain gave us the all-clear, we jumped in the water. I’m hope you’re not disappointed that I don’t have stories to tell of me riding dolphins or giving them kisses. These are, after all, wild animals. I was honored to be in their environment. I snorkeled quietly on the surface and watched pods of five to 13 “float” by under me. They seemed to move without even trying and the effortless way they glided through the water was not lost on me, a lousy swimmer.


I’m new to snorkeling and I’m still getting used to the calm, silent otherworld-ness of being underwater. And this was a great place to practice. The water was warm, calm, and clear to the bottom (even though it was probably 40′ deep). I didn’t use any lens filters–it really is that blue!

dolphin flukes

I have to include a farther-away shot so you can see the dolphins aren’t in a blue-painted tank. It is the ocean!

dolphins leaving

I would love to go back and snorkel again. I still have to see a sea turtle! If you want to experience nature and wild, free dolphins and whales, check out Wild Side Hawaii.


After the tour, we drove to the North Shore, a famed surfing location, and stopped for lunch and for a refreshing fresh fruit smoothie at Kahuku Farms. We continued clockwise around the island until we got back to Kailua. When we got back to our bungalow, we got ready for dinner and found a delicious Greek restaurant nearby.

Our trip was nearing its end. Last stop: A morning at the beach before flying home.


Filed under Ethical, Events, General

Getting Over Sticker Shock

My dad taught me a neat trick and I am so impressed with it I just have to share.

Have you ever bought something with an annoying price tag that you can’t peel off? Maybe you peel off the top layer and the sticky backing stays behind? It happens to me a lot, and I’m left picking at the remnants or looking for nail polish remover to clean up the mess.

The remedy? A hair dryer!

dryer and sticker

My parents and I were at the Habitat for Humanity store a few weeks ago and they picked up some neat artwork. The sticker was smack dab on the front of one of the paintings. My dad pointed the dryer at the sticker and slowly peeled it back. It came off clean with not sticky residue left behind.


He says it works on a variety of surfaces: wood, metal, plastic. If the material can handle a bit of heat, give it a try.


Filed under Art, Decor, DIY, General

Seattle’s Space Needle Turns 50

My house and the Space Needle are the same age–and both show no signs of slowing down. Middle age suits these two buildings well.

space needle

Mid-Century Modern design was all the rage in 1962. The Space Needle was built for the World Fair. The fair was comprised of structures and exhibits that showcased science, technology, art, fashion, and the world of tomorrow. To celebrate the half century mark, the owners of the Space Needle painted the top galaxy gold, just like it looked during the 1962 World Fair.

After the fair, the Space Needle remained, of course, along with the other buildings. The area is called Seattle Center and is the home of the Pacific Science Center, Experience Music Project (a recent addition), International Fountain, and the brand new Chihuly Garden and Glass, featuring work by local glass artist Dale Chihuly. It’s also where the monorail departs from.

Just peeking at the Seattle Center site, shows an enormous number of events. In addition to walking the grounds and taking in the art and architecture, on any given day, you’re bound to find music events and cultural celebrations.

point of view

When I first came to Seattle I was disappointed that the Space Needle wasn’t taller. The CN Tower in my hometown of Toronto is over twice its height. But after living here since the needle was 38 years old, I realize that size doesn’t matter. The character, the history, and what the needle represents is what’s important.

Even though the Needle isn’t the tallest building in Seattle, it appears that way from Highland Park in Queen Anne. That’s where I took these pictures. From this vantage point, the needle is in the foreground and the city is behind it. Downtown Seattle is almost a mile away from the Seattle Center.

view from Highland Park

If you’re in Seattle, check out the park–it’s just a strip of land, but has fabulous views. Then, head over to the Needle. Instead of paying (and waiting) to go to the observation deck, I recommend going straight up to Sky City, the revolving restaurant at the top of the Needle. You won’t need to pay for an elevator ticket and you can bypass the lines. Once there, you can enjoy panoramic views of the city and Puget Sound while you eat.

Happy birthday Space Needle!


Filed under Architecture, Art, Events, General

Skull and Flowers Tattoo

You know I love tattoos, and you know I keep adding to my collection, so it won’t be a surprise that I have a new one.

skull and flowers tattoo

Suzy Todd, at Two Birds Tattoo in Seattle, designed and inked this for me. The outline, leaves, and skull background were done in July. In August, I went back for the paisley and daffodils. The skull is on the side of my left thigh.

I wanted this design because I like the idea of Mexican sugar skulls and the Day of the Dead/All Saints’ Day celebrations. This is a bit like that, but different. I wanted pink and purple paisley to commemorate my Oma (her favorite colors and shapes) and daffodils to commemorate my grandma (her favorite flowers). I’m not sure my grandmothers were fans of tattoos, but surely they wouldn’t complain about the sentiment behind this one.

Speaking of tattoos, I recently went to the Seattle Tattoo Expo with my friend Amy. She’s shopping for an artist who can design a Japanese Maple and sleeping Buddha piece. We saw dozens and dozens of booths with artist from all around the world. A few stood out from the crowd:

The best portraits I’ve ever seen were by Ganso Galvão, an artist from Brazil. If you ever want a photorealistic grayscale or color portrait, it’s seriously worth the trip to South America for his stuff.

Rich White at Action Tattoo in Auburn, Washington, is an amazing portrait artist as well. I’ve never been interested in realistic pieces, but Ganso and Rich and making me change my mind.

Tribal Rites Tattoo in Fort Collins, Colorado had such creative designs and wonderful color. I loved the birds, moths, and other creatures they created.

Of course Suzy was there too–in fact, I saw her getting a tattoo. The tables were turned and she was a client. Two Birds had a booth too though.

All the artists were talented and creative, but Amy didn’t make a decision that day. She was there solely for research. She gathered business cards and looked through portfolios. Talking to the artists is important too; you have to like the style of the work and the person who will be using your body as a canvas.

A week after the expo, Amy booked an appointment with Eddie at Super Genius Tattoo. I’ll be sure to share the end result with you.


Filed under Events, General

Boston Trolley Tour

Here are some shots from the trolley tour I took in Boston. It’s a beautiful city with a rich history.

This is Trinity Church, the only building in Boston (and only church) honored as one of the “Ten Most Significant Buildings in the United States” by the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

Trinity Church Collage

Here’s the beautiful Boston Public Library.

Boston Public Library

Some people look like they can walk on water.

walking on water

Even a non-baseball-fan like me knows about Fenway Park and The infamous Green Monster.

Fenway Park

The architecture in Boston is amazing.

Boston residences

more residences

The Massachusetts State House is recognizable by its gold dome.

MA State House

A plaque dedicated to Paul Revere, patriot in the American Revolution.

Paul Revere plaque

Custom House, a skyscraper, near the waterfront.

Custom House

One of the last remains of the elevated arterial road that used to cut through downtown. The road is underground now, thanks to a project called the Big Dig, America’s most expensive highway effort.

steel post


Filed under Architecture, General, Photography, Travel

Summertime in Boston

A few weeks ago I went to Boston with my friend Donna. We took a road trip a couple of years ago and liked the idea of exploring another part of the US. We’d never been to Boston, but we’d heard great things about it. Let me tell you: Beantown didn’t disappoint!

The original Cheers

We walked all over the city, exploring the quaint antique stores and shops on Charles Street, wandering through Boston Common and the Public Garden, dining and window shopping on Newberry Street, wandering the winding, cobblestone streets to Faneuil Hall and the waterfront, and shopping at the SOWA Market in the south end.

On our first day, we focused on Boston Common, and Charles Street.

Boston Collage

We got to meet Kristen, The Boston Fashionista and Katy Rose of Modly Chic. We found The Fashion Truck. There’s so much history in Boston–we even took a trolley tour to learn about the city. I took over 300 photos that weekend, and culling it to just a few was hard! I promise to share more with you soon.

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Filed under Fashion, General, Travel

Happy Independence Day

Happy 4th of July! Today is Independence Day in America, my adopted home.

American flags

When I looked up Independence Day on Wikipedia I saw a long list of places that celebrate independence. What a happy thought! To be autonomous and free! The 4th of July celebrates the Declaration of Independence, signed on July 4th, 1776, when thirteen American colonies declared themselves independent and no longer part of the British empire.

George Washington, the country’s first president, celebrated the 4th by giving his troops double rations of rum. So raise a toast to Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness!

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Filed under Events, General