I think you know me by now, Gorgeouses. I’m a little intense. I have a lot of causes I believe in and fight for and think about on a constant basis. Most of my causes are environmental. Of course, as a mother, I’m passionate about children’s causes, as well. But, to me, healing the environment, defending wildlife, and changing the process in which our “meat” arrives on our plates is all about our children — is a children’s cause. I take colder showers than I used to for the environment for the children, I spend more money than I have on organic foods for the environment for the children, and I give to reputable charities to help heal the environment so our children have a bright future here. This is EVERYTHING to me.

Of course, there’s only so much money I can give — being a stay-at-home mom with little time to truly get out there to promote a small business. So, I write letters in support of animal causes, and I eat a vegan diet, and you know, colder showers, and so on and so on…. You’ve heard it all before.

Needless to say, I was ELATED to receive a gift certificate to CanadaHelps.org. And, I’m so excited to check out the charities and DONATE! Here’s a little blurb about what/who they are:

December 31st 2008 is approaching fast, so this may be your last chance to reduce your 2008 taxes with a charitable donation. With the help of CanadaHelps, you can…

1) Find a cause you’re passionate about from the 83,000 registered charities in Canada…
2) Easily divide your donation between more than one charity…
3) Make a donation via credit card, gift card or even stocks and mutual funds…
4) Get a tax receipt emailed to you immediately….

CanadaHelps (www.canadahelps.org) is a charity that helps charities. The reliable one-stop website fosters giving by making it easy for donors to find Canadian charities and make a donation online.

Just to clarify…, CanadaHelps is available year-round, but they want to get the word out now that, if you want a tax break this year, let them help you make your charitable donations quick and easy — in time for the December 31st deadline.

I think this is a real find for Canadian Gorgeouses! So, check it out, and tell your friends. And, guess what, if you leave a comment (below) about a cause you’re passionate about, you will automatically have a chance to win a $25 CanadaHelps gift card! (The winner will be random, of course — I’ll have the Monkey pick a number or something.)

Thanks, Gorgeouses! And, I’m eager to hear what your causes are….


xo Haley-O

Update: Congratulations to Marie-Christine! And, thanks everyone for participating!

*UPDATE: Since writing this post, I’ve come to realize how important this book is. I am now a vegan and fully support this book (and PETA). The cover and feel of the book may be misleading, but they got the message out to the mainstream. And, they must have converted hundreds of people to veganism — saving thousands of animals. It is NOT okay to disrespect, violate and torture animals for a burger or a fancy latte. NOT okay.

**UPDATE: Again, I started eating vegan pretty much because of this book — and after I saw the infamous Meet Your Meat video. Since seeing that video, I haven’t been able to look at milk (even when my son drinks it) without thinking of the cows, of their calves. The least I can do in this case is give thanks (because it is not my choice to make my kids vegan – and that’s for another post). ANYWAY, Skinny Bitch is a great introduction to veganism, but the diet’s a little restrictive and relies too heavily on processed soy products, like meat substitutes — which I don’t think are healthy because of the isolated soy protein in them, and because they’re processed. And, the Skinny Bitch authors would agree. I’ve read interviews where they’ve said their diet and cookbooks are designed to help people transition smoothly into veganism.

I am so sick, Gorgeouses. Like, ewww.

But, I’ll be a’iight. Just sitting in my bed. Three pillows behind my back, a dosing wheezy rascal and a pile of used-up Kleenex by my side, and a humming humidifier giving us both a smidgen of relief.

I’m also so attractive right now? You don’t even KNOW. My hair’s pulled back in a sloppy bun. Nose is running, red from all the blowing (shut it, pervs — I’m in NO MOOD). Jaw is agape, lips dry and cracking from the dreaded mouth breathing. Eyes red with bags, and (speaking of bags) braless, in uggers oversized shirt. Doesn’t get more attractive than THAT, eh? (Did I just say “eh”?) I’d post a picture of myself, but I don’t want you to get all mad at me if your life is never the same again because of it….

Just like my life will never be the same since reading Skinny Bitch: A No-Nonsense, Tough-Love Guide for Savvy Girls Who Want to Stop Eating Crap and Start Looking Fabulous. (How was THAT for segue of the century!?)

Like any other unsuspecting girlie girl on the planet, I thought this was going to be a cute, light “chick” read. I mean, look at the cover! And…, the TITLE!

But, NOOoooOOOOooo! It was NOT. This was a DIATRIBE, Gorgeouses — a DARK DIATRIBE — against everyone from the USDA to the dairy and meat industries to what the authors call the “selfish whores who eat veal”! How am I supposed to look at my meat-eating husband again, or even FEED my monkeys, if I’m going to buy everything they say in this book — let alone consume ANYTHING with ANY TRACE of animal product in it WHATSOEVER?

I’m telling you: if I don’t put this book down NOW, it’s liable to hurl me headfirst into the ABYSS OF INSANITY (which, as you probably suspect by now, I’m already on the edge of)!

Sigh, anyway, while it’s good that the book opened my eyes even wider to the HORRORS that occur in the slaughterhouses, it sucks that I can’t STOP THEM. The only thing I can do is, once and for all, to turn completely vegetarian.

Even vegetarian is no good, though, for authors Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin (no wonder they’re bitchy!). They want the world to go VEGAN. And, I’ve been toying with the idea because the authors are MEAN (“bitchy”?)!

But, I can’t live life without cheese. And, since Skinny Bitch says that the dairy industry is just as evil as the meat industry, I’ve decided I will spend my life savings on ORGANIC dairy and eggs from here on in. And, now I’ll SHUT THE DAMN BOOK FOREVER. (If I don’t, I’m liable to give up everything sweet in life: I actually had a decaf green tea instead of my beloved Starbucks Grande Soy No-Wather Tazo Chai Latte yesterday, BECAUSE THEY SAID SO, and my day sucked.)

My one saving grace right now is that I hear the Skinny Bitches are in cahoots with PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) — a CUTTHROAT animal activist organization. It’s a very one-sided diatribe, that Skinny Bitch. And, I’ve heard some TERRIBLE, HYPOCRITICAL things about PETA (*edit: I have no idea where these stories came from, nor do I believe they’re true) lately, which I hope aren’t true because that would disturb me almost as much as the horrific slaughterhouse stories I’ve spent my weekend crying over.

Am I rambling? I think I’m rambling. Maybe time to check the feeeeeever again….

Sigh…. At least the animals in MY house are happy — one thing I CAN control….

I went downstairs THREE times today. Twice for orange juice and tea with honey, and once for something Skinny Bitch would HANG me for — starts with “coo” and ends with “kies.” Anyway, this is what I saw:

First trip downstairs:

Second trip downstairs:

Third trip downstairs:

My poor, poor brown sweater…!

As for Skinny Bitch…. While I pledge to do my part in fighting animal cruelty in the slaughterhouses and helping to save the environment (important causes for ME) by going vegetarian* and by supporting the organic farm companies,** CHEATY DOES NOT RECOMMEND SKINNY BITCH (EDIT: Cheaty now recommends it, with the caveats in the updates above). It’s dangerous, potentially eating-disorder promoting, and it’s just plain darkly and horrifically far from what it presents itself to be.

*Alas, I cannot impose vegetarianism on my children. I WILL cook organic poultry and fish (sticks) for them.

**Alas, I WILL give up chai teas during the week so that I can buy organic foodstuff without denting my “pocketbook” (does ANYONE say “pocketbook” anymore?). Decaf green tea will take some getting used to, and maybe a few bad-mood posts here for a while, but it’s for a good cause and, me-hears, a very healthy alternative.