Bottle Design for Village Juicery

July 26, 2016 // - - - - - - - - - - - - -

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Being the token vegan millennial that I am, it’s safe to say that I’m a big fan of cold-pressed juices. I mean, who wouldn’t be? They manage to hide tons of fruits and veggies while still tasting great. I’ve been familiar with Village Juicery for a while now, picking up the occasional bottle at Te Aro whilst in Toronto’s East End and Kupfert & Kim in the Financial District. They’re definitely one of the best juice spots that Toronto has to offer, in my opinion, both with ingredient quality and product range — and I worked at a competing juice bar just last year, so that’s saying something. Shade has officially been thrown.

A few months ago I went into Village Juicery to get some samples for Vegan Girlfriend. I ran into Village Juicery’s owner Omar, who said he was a big fan of my illustration work. I responded with a “Thanks, I do freelance!” quip, wink and all — little did I know that they actually wanted me to design their next bottle. Whoops.

This was my first time doing packaging, and it was so much fun! Designing the wrap-around label was a new challenge for me, but Village Juicery has a killer creative team that provided me with guidance regarding sizing and layout. I’ve included my hand-inked illustration for the bottle’s base design in this post as well, for a bit of a behind-the-scenes look of how something like this is created step-by-step .

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Since this bottle was intended for seasonal purposes and would be rotating with different flavours throughout spring/summer 2016, I decided to go for a fresh, floral motif. To cohesively fit with Village Juicery’s local presence and mentality (most of their ingredients are locally sourced as well), I specifically incorporated cherry blossoms à la Toronto’s High Park, which is very close to VJ’s HQ in Roncesvalles. 

The first flavour to roll out in the seasonal bottle was a strawberry mylk in April, and right now a watermelon cold-pressed juice is in circulation. I love that both flavours so far have been pink since it looks so pretty and feminine paired with the white lines, but I can’t wait to try whatever flavour is coming next! You can get these juices at a variety of different health food stores and cafes across Toronto. Most recently I spotted the mylk at Rooster Coffee House in the King East Design District. You can also go to Village Juicery’s storefronts on Dundas Street West, Yonge Street or College Street, at which they have a variety of drinks, foods and custom cleanse packages to choose from.

If you buy one of these bottles and snap a pic, be sure to tag @villagejuicery in it on Instagram. You can tag @meganstulberg too, if you want! I’ve been lurking away, and love all the creatively arranged photos I’ve seen so far.

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All photo credit to Emily from Village Juicery.

AMANDA BROOKE PERRIN’S ALBUM RELEASE!

July 11, 2016 // - - - - - - -

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The internet is a wonderful place. Seriously, I love it so much. I started following smart funny lady Amanda Brooke Perrin on Instagram years ago, and due to some sort of miraculous act of the gods, she followed me back. We met IRL in the summer of 2014 when Amanda commissioned me to do a watercolour painting of cats incorporating the phrase “Don’t be a baby bitch” for another smart funny lady Anne T. Donahue.

Amanda Brooke Perrin is launching her first ever album “AKA Randy” today! I attended the stand-up show at which the album was recorded, so I can personally vouch that it is very very very good. You can probably hear me laughing like a hyena at some point in it. And last but not least, I did her album art. So considering all of these things, it only made sense to dedicate a post to her album.

Amanda was a ton of fun to work with. She literally said “I have a photo of myself, can you draw a bunch of things I like around it?” and so yup, that’s what I did. No further explanation for the meaning behind this particular illustration needed.

Here are some miscellaneous other things from her list that I didn’t have room to include, but she also likes:

  • Peter Dinklage
  • Friends
  • Dogs
  • Tattoos
  • Powerful women
  • Hot dogs
  • Nachos
  • Shopping
  • Brains
  • Celebrity Crushes (Michael Keaton, Ryan Gosling, Peter Dinklage again)
  • Rom-Coms
  • Charcuterie boards (Please note that I did, however, include cheese)
  • Social anxiety
  • Succulents
  • Picnics
  • Festivals

All good things! You can buy her album on iTunes and Spotify.

 

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I remember when I met Ama, but at the same time…I don’t. In the summer of 2013, we both attended a mutual friend’s birthday party. I thought she looked familiar and figured I recognized her from Instagram or something, so I walked up to introduce myself. She responded firmly with “No, we’ve met before”. And that’s the first thing I learned about Ama. She is very blunt and very real, and that’s something about her that I admire to this day. After that I started writing for Fat Girl Food Squad, curated an art show with her and Yuli Scheidt, sought her out for advice when I started freelancing on the reg, and now we’re actually really good friends. 

Whenever I mention Ama to anybody who also works in Toronto’s media sphere, they’ll almost always already know who she is. Even last week I ran into her at the WWF’s inaugural Pandamonium fundraiser and my +1 said afterwards, “Wait, that was Ama Scriver? Everybody in my office loves her”. She’s becoming a household name in Toronto when it comes to sizeism and fatphobia advocacy, and if you haven’t heard of her yet…you will soon.

My Q&A with Ama is the first in my “Girl Crush” series, where every so often I’ll feature a different female entrepreneur that I’ve met and admire.

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Q: As a full time freelancer, what’s a typical work day look like for you?

A: I’ll usually wake up between 8 and 8:30am, check my e-mails and make a to-do list for myself. Being freelance, I have various different publications and clients that I work on, with different deadlines and expectations. The thing about being freelance is that, you get to make your own schedule and go at your own pace. If anyone tells you that being your own boss is easy, they are lying to you. It’s hard work, but it’s hella fucking rewarding and fun. I love the fact that I get to work with so many amazing individuals on so many incredible projects. My days are busy and challenging and worth it.

Q: What was your first “step” into the body positive movement?

A: I would have to say that my first baby steps into body positivity would have to be thanks in large part to Tumblr. Without communities like Tumblr (and now Instagram) –  I would not have understood or realized what body positivity or fat activism was.

Q – What article, photo spread, public chat, panel appearance, etc. are you the most proud of and why?

One of the moments I’m most proud of is the NOW Magazine cover shoot that I did alongside Fat Girl Food Squad co-founder Yuli Scheidt in December 2014. It just recently won the People’s Choice Award for the National Magazine Award. That cover was so important because it showcase two fat bodies visible (and happy) in printed mainstream media. All too often fat bodies (and fat voices) are made to feel invisible in media. We are marginalized, shut out and told to remain hidden.  This cover gave us a platform and an opportunity not just attempt to breakdown some of those stereotypes, but also share some of the advocacy work alongside so many others. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say this, but participating in any kind of activism work can be very mentally and emotionally exhausting.  With a lot of participation and dialogue online, sometimes it can be very lonely and doubtful to know the message you’re delivering is really making an impact. So I feel incredibly honoured and privileged to be recognized when people have asked me to teach workshops and speak at conferences across Canada and the USA (at Venus Envy in Halifax, University of Toronto in Mississauga, Allied Media Conference in Detroit, etc.) has been so incredible as well. It demonstrates and showcases to me that the message and work I’m doing is impactful and meaningful, even if just in a small way.

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Q: It seems like you have (for the most part, correct me if I’m wrong) strayed away from food blogging to pursue focusing more on fat culture/activism. What can you say about the connection between the two, and how was the transition?

A: No – I still do food writing, quite regularly. However, I have changed the type of food writing that I do, quite dramatically.  For starters, I have strayed away from restaurant reviews of any kind, as I have found that there are a lot of politics attached to these types of pieces.  There is quite a divide between ‘bloggers’ and ‘journalists’ – so I’d rather not get caught in the crosshairs of that, as a personal preference.  What I really love to do is focus more so now on profiles.  This can be of producers, chefs, mixologists or it can focus on a trend that is happening. For example: I have just recently pitched a publication on one of the first tea farms to exist in Canada. Another story I just recently pitched was about the Syrian refugees and their breakfast traditions. To me, these food stories have more oomph that the previous stuff I was writing. With that being said, because I’m pitching a lot of it – it comes down to if an editor sees value in these pitches or not, and sometimes the pieces don’t even see the light of day.  Regardless, I’m still doing a lot of food writing for View the Vibe and Foodism – but more or less, I’ve tried to expand my palette to other opportunities and larger stories.  My biggest goal for this year is to have something produced in print.

Q: Admire you SO hard for quitting your day job to pursue your dreams. What made you take the plunge?

A: I actually wrote an entire blog post dedicated to it: http://www.amascriver.com/view-glass-ceiling-sucks/ – I think this post summarizes why I left. I basically didn’t like the person I had become and I hate being sad all the time. Everyone thinks that money makes you happy, but sadly it’s not the answer to all your problems. Every since I have left and started working on my own terms, I have seen a dramatic change in my mood and my outlook on life.  Even today, I had an appointment with my therapist where I was discussing with her just how much I’ve changed in the last three months (since leaving my job).  I know it sounds cliched, but don’t continue to do the things that make you unhappy.  Follow your heart and the rest will follow.

Q: What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to overachieve with body pos culture?

A: One of the things I find incredibly frustrating is that there is still a lot of sizeism and body shaming that happens within the body positivity community that is passed off as ‘activism’. While I get that fat activism and body positivity are not one and the same, there are a lot of overlap between those two communities and a lot of snarking and dismissing going on of others lived experiences. I feel like for many, these experiences creates further divide, more shame and can be incredibly harmful rather than helpful.  We must come to understand (and accept) that all bodies exist in our society and we need to continue to view them as positive and worthy and continue to empower them.

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Q – Who are some bad ass body-pos babes that you admire?

In no particular order:
Alysse Dalessandro
Jodie Layne
Ariel Woodson
Sam Dylan Finch
Aarti Olivia Dubey
Stephanie – Nerd About Town
Jill Andrew and Aisha Fairclough

Q: What’s your favourite thing to write about?

A: I would have to say just life in general – there are so many different things to write about – so many stories to tell.

Q: And on a completely unrelated note, any summer plans?

A: Hoping that I can get away to Montreal, but we’ll see. At the moment, nothing fancy planned.  Also, how it is almost July?!?

 Photo credit in order: Patrick Tomasso (1st and 2nd), Caroline Brassard  and Rochelle Latinsky. 

ILLUSTRATIONS & INDIE88: FIELD TRIP ’16 RECAP

June 6, 2016 // - - - - - - - - - -

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Earlier this spring, a colleague tagged me in a Bunz Trading Zone post looking for an illustrator to work on a project with Indie88, an indie-rock radio station based here in TO. I sent an email and the rest followed suit.

Flash forward to last week, when She Does The City asked me to do some media coverage with mega-talented photographer Yuli Scheidt at Field Trip Music & Arts Festival. I found out the next day that Indie88 would be handing out one of my Toronto-themed illustrations as postcards at Field Trip! I was jazzed about this coincidence, and to have the chance to snag a few postcards at their first “public appearance”.

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If you’re reading this and are like “lolwut”, let me explain. Field Trip Music and Arts Festival is held annually at Fort York, a historic site on the outskirts of downtown Toronto. Essentially it’s two days straight of eating, drinking, hula hooping, giggling at pretty girls in flower crowns, watching bands perform and admiring the other artistic installations and activities that the festival has to offer. You can find more details on Field Trip’s website here.

I was exhausted by the end of the first day, but in a good way. I did all of the things! I ate vegan mushroom poutine from The Portobello Burger food truck, a personal favourite I discovered last fall at RiotFest. I also drank copious amounts of freshly-squeezed lemonade, took advantage of Wild Altar‘s plant-based installation wall for a photo op, and witnessed Broken Social Scene’s Kevin Drew sing a questionable-but-sweet song about butts on the kid’s stage.

indie88westendfixedsizingcolouryuli-scheidt-SDTC-FT2016-JULYTALKThe highlight of the festival for me was finally seeing The National perform. They’re one of the few bands that have the ability to create music that physically hurts my heart to listen to. The same thing happened when I saw Daughter at the Phoenix back in 2012: my chest grew tight and my eyes welled up as my mind flashed to various noteworthy experiences I’d had while listening to their music. While listening to Matt Berninger croon “I Need My Girl”, I thought about when I watched their Saturday Night Live performance at a stranger’s house in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. During “I Should Live In Salt”, I thought about my 4th year morning routine of listening to their 6th studio album while walking to campus and chain-smoking. During “Sea of Love”, I thought about the summer when I started biking to the beach on weekend mornings, plugging in and watching the sunrise.

The first memory recalled above, I was with my partner of the time but was unhappy. The second, I was alone and unhappy. The third, I was alone and happy. Binge-listening to The National during my early twenties helped me appreciate independency and mental clarity, and for that I will always appreciate them. Experiencing that realization all over again was not something I expected from attending Field Trip, but was definitely a welcome reminder.

If you didn’t attend Field Trip but want to cope one of my illustrated postcards, keep an eye out! Indie88 will be handing these out at events all summer long.

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All photos (except for the subpar one I took of the postcards) were taken by Yuli Scheidt

RAW KEY LIME AVOCADO TARTS

May 31, 2016 // - - - - - - - - -

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A word to the wise: I’m vegan. I also have Celiac Disease — an autoimmune disorder that means if I try to eat or even go anywhere near gluten, baaaaaaad things will happen to my body. That being said, every recipe I post on here will be 100% vegan and gluten-free. Also sesame-free, cranberry-free and amaranth-free because my immune system is a cruel joke.

I started Vegan Girlfriend with my best friends Aine and Alex in early 2014. We wanted a project to keep ourselves busy while in school, and now we have a stupid amount of followers on Instagram (I love each and every one of you). We’re all extremely busy with our own hustles — Alex runs a wholesale business, Aine’s a sketch comedian — but we’ve still kept VGF afloat. 

Behold, the first of many crossposts from vegangirlfriend.com! I first made these raw key lime avocado tarts last spring, and have made them countless times since. Keep ‘em in the freezer and they’ll last *almost* forever.

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INGREDIENTS:

For the crust…

-2 cups raw almonds

-1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

-1/4 cup coconut oil

-2 tbsp 100% maple syrup

For the filling…

-10 key limes, juiced

-2 avocados, pitted and scooped

-1/4 cup coconut oil

-2 tbsp 100% maple syrup

-1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

1) In a high-speed food processor/blender combine almonds, coconut, oil and syrup until finely incorporated.

2) Line a standard cupcake pan with plastic wrap. Press the crust mixture into each cup firmly and evenly. Set aside.

3) Blend juice from key limes, avocado meat, oil, syrup and extract together into a smooth but workable cream.

4) Pour filling on top of each crust. Top with additional key lime slices for garnish if desired.

5) Place tray in freezer for 2 hours to set. Remove tarts from pan and let thaw at room temperature for 1 hour before serving.

Freeze leftovers immediately or avocado cream will turn brown.

Makes approximately 9 servings.

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  • Hi, I'm Megan! I'm a lifestyle blogger, social media specialist, illustrator, writer and vegan recipe maker-upper based in Toronto. Let's work together: megstulberg@gmail.com.
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