BOOK REVIEW: The Last Mile by Blair Richmond

The Last Mile
 by Blair Richmond
Ashland Creek Press

The final installment of The Lithia Trilogy is finally here. And it was well the worth the wait. By now Richmond’s fictional town of Lithia is as well known and well loved to me, as is Rowling’s Hogwarts. It is a place of great mystery and mystique. Where the living and the dead walk amongst each other still searching for answers to the questions that Richmond so deftly illustrates, if plague us in life, will surely plague us in death.

Richmond seamlessly blends together stories of love and betrayal with deeply resonating underlying themes such as veganism, the environment and Shakespeare. “The Last Mile” is the perfect culmination to the trilogy. Unearthing the lengths we must go to live in harmony with all of nature, and to save not only those we love, but ourselves in the process.

Humbly Reviewed by Erica Settino

Cool Product: Vegan and vegetarian answer cards available

As vegans or vegetarians, we all get those questions and comments—you know what I'm talking about. "Do you eat fish?" "Are you still a vegan?" "Where do you get your protein?" "Don't you miss meat?" "I could never stop eating meat!"

And one question leads to another and another. At This Dish Is Veg, we thought we would make your life easier by creating some informative (okay maybe sarcastic and humorous come to mind as well) answer cards. Now, rather than engaging in a long conversation, you can simply hand the curious individuals one card that answers all their possible questions.

Each of the card designs has a spot on the back that can be customized with your name, website and social media links. Or you can leave the space blank so you can write a personalized note. 

Click on the image to get more information about the product or visit the Zazzle storefront.

Current line of answer cards:

Mousepads also available:

Top 10 Workout Songs for September 2014

 Summer might be winding down, but you'd never guess it from this set of sunny songs. The top 10 list below kicks off with a remix of Calvin Harris' ode to the warmest season and continues to heat up from there.

The biggest winner of the month is Nicki Minaj—who appears once with some help from Sir Mix-a-Lot and again alongside Jessie J and Ariana Grande. Her first song “Anaconda” is perfect for starting a workout—with its abundance of energy and attitude to spare. Meanwhile, her collaboration “Bang Bang” is the month's fastest cut—with a tempo of 149 beats per minute (BPM)—making it ideal for running.

If your playlist is already heavy on Top 40 tracks—and you're looking to branch out—the last few weeks have provided a number fun, accessible tracks that have been making more noise in the clubs than on the radio. To that end, you can check out the latest in Nero's string of nightlife epics and a remix of Robyn and Röyksopp's latest single. The hook of the latter finds Robyn announcing that she's going to do what she wants—and then do it again. So, if you're looking for a go-to track when your energy is running low, this blast of assertive enthusiasm might be just what you need.

Generally speaking, the competition between acts to release the “song of the summer” should have died down by this time of year. Nevertheless, the last few weeks have seen the release of one anthem after another. If you take advantage of this bumper crop of pop and get yourself outside for some exercise, you just might be able to squeeze an extra month out of this summer.

Here's the full list, according to votes placed at Run Hundred--the web's most popular workout music blog.

To find more workout songs, folks can check out the free database at Visitors can browse the song selections there by genre, tempo, and era—to find the music that best fits with their particular workout routine.

Posted by Chris Lawhorn from   


Free Fun and Food at DC VegFest September 20

Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, or veg-curious, DC VegFest is the place to be on September 20th from 11am-6pm. More than 15,000 Washingtonians and visitors alike are expected to attend this yearly celebration of the best of everything vegetarian in and around the nation’s capital.

“From free vegan food samples and cooking demos to a kids’ activity area and live music, DC VegFest has something for everyone,” says Erica Meier, Executive Director of Compassion Over Killing. “Now in its sixth year, this free outdoor event is the perfect way to spend a beautiful fall afternoon with your family and friends – including your furry four-legged friends who can enjoy free treats in our new Barking Lot.”

During this day-long celebration, more than 100 exhibitors, partners, and sponsors will showcase a wide range of products, services and resources to help Washingtonians discover why eating a plant-based diet and choosing vegetarian foods is one of the best ways to help protect our health, the planet, and animals.

DC VegFest will take place at Yards Park, corner of N St and 1st St SE, Washington, DC, and attendees will have the opportunity to: 

·         Sample free delicious vegan food (Tofurky, Treeline cheese, So Delicious dairy-free ice cream)
·         Learn from expert chefs hosting cooking demos
·         Hear from nationally renowned speakers (ASL interpreters will be on the main stage)
·         Enjoy live performances from local musicians, including Steve Gellman
·         Participate in the Kids’ Activity Area featuring our popular “Ask a Vegan Family” booth and a kid-friendly cooking demonstration from Doron Petersan, owner of Sticky Fingers Sweets and Eats
·         Relax in the beer and wine garden — sponsored by Bread & Brew

Organized by Compassion Over Killing, the DC VegFest highlights the many benefits and flavors of vegetarian eating and shows how easy and delicious it is to choose healthier, more sustainable, and kinder foods.

Bring your appetite: With more than two dozen food vendors to choose from – including Vegan Treats, Sticky Fingers Sweets & Eats, Woodland’s Vegan Bistro, Dama Ethiopian, The Randy Radish, and more – there’s something to tempt everyone’s taste buds.

DC VegFest 2014 Speakers include:
·         Robin Quivers — Co-host of the Howard Stern show and author of The Vegucation of Robin
·         Joe Yonan — Washington Post Food Editor and cookbook author
·         Erica Meier – Executive Director of Compassion Over Killing
·         Lesley Parker-Rollins — Vegan mom and host of Ask a Vegan Family
·         Bryant Terry – Eco-chef and author of The Inspired Vegan and Afro-Vegan
·         Dr. Neal Barnard – President of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
·         Doron Petersan – Sticky Fingers Sweets & Eats
·         Alexis Fox and Micah Risk of Lighter Nutrition Coaching and Community
·         Dr. Betty Smith — 73-year old ultra-marathon runner
·         John Schlimm — activist, artist, and international award-winning cookbook author

Attendees can also peruse exhibitor booths from such animal-friendly organizations and companies as Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, the Humane Society of the United States, Conscious Corner, A Well-Fed World, Animal Rescue Bar, Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness, and many more.

Plus, the DC VegFest is partnering with Nourish Now to host a vegan food drive at the event!

In addition to this event being free and open to everyone, the first 1,000 attendees will also get a free 2014 commemorative DC VegFest tote bag loaded with veg-friendly products, coupons and more!

The DC VegFest was originally founded by the Vegetarian Society of DC and has been organized by Compassion Over Killing since 2009.

For more details, visit | Please use #DCVegFest14 to follow along with us on social media.

Husband and wife team document feral cat colonies across the country

BALTIMORE, MD—For over five years Jason and Elizabeth Putsche have documented the mysterious lives of a regularly misunderstood animal—the feral cat. Also referred to as community cats, alley cats, street cats, stray cats—controversy surrounds them, headlines vilify them, and scientists scrutinize them, yet millions of people feed, care, and advocate for them. Because they aren’t adoptable they have the highest kill rates in animal shelters, and though talked about and debated regularly, they are rarely seen.

The Putsches’ photographs bring feral cats into focus, showing these inconspicuous creatures in their natural habitats. Urban, rural, industrial, suburban—constant chameleons, they adapt to any conditions. These felines captivate and fascinate—and the Putsches’ photos contend that their magnificence ought not be overlooked.

Through their nonprofit organization, Photographers for Animals, the couple is in the process of producing a documentary that details the lives of community cats and the people and programs that help them.

“Many people draw a distinction between their pet cats and cats that live outside, but they are really the same,” says Elizabeth Putsche, founder and executive director of Photographers for Animals. “The care and compassion we give our animals at home should be extended to these cats, even if we can’t pet them. Each has a personality and individuality—and each has a story to tell.”

An every growing number of communities have adopted Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) programs to prevent community cats from being brought to and killed in shelters. Through TNR cats are humanely trapped by volunteers, and in some cities by animal control officers, before they are brought to a clinic to be neutered and vaccinated. During surgery the tip of the cats’ left ear is removed (“eartipped”) to identify the cat has been neutered and vaccinated—to avoid retrapping the same cats.

“There are a lot of misconceptions about community cats,” says Putsche. “We want people to see them as they truly are—independent, healthy, loved, and thriving outdoors.”

For the best odds of photographing these elusive felines the Putsches work with caregivers who feed a group or ‘colony’ of cats on a regular schedule. Unsung heroes, they are men and women from all walks of life who typically spend their own money to feed and neuter the cats—providing a public service to the community.

About Jason Putsché Photography 
Jason Putsche Photography is a husband and wife photography and videography team located in Baltimore, Maryland. They specialize in capturing candid moments, subtle expressions and exchanges and delivering unexpected images. Their photographs have appeared in numerous publications including USA Today, The Washington Post and The Baltimore Sun. True animal lovers, their animal photography has appeared in Best Friends Magazine, Cat Fancy and Animal Wellness. Their website is

About Photographers for Animals
 Photographers for Animals is a 501c3 nonprofit organization which uses film and photography to inspire positive change for animals. Founded in 2014 by life-long animal advocate, Elizabeth Putsche, the organization produces documentaries, online videos, and photographs independently and in conjunction with other animal protection organizations to raise awareness of animal issues. Its website is

photo credit: Jason Putsche Photography

Kelly's Bake Shoppe brings charms of childhood to grown ups

Dynamic mother and daughter duo, Kelly Childs and Erinn Weatherbie, are bringing the charms of childhood to grown ups everywhere one sweet treat at a time.

Kelly’s culinary journey began at the age of six when her father gave her an Easy-bake oven. A self-proclaimed wellness warrior, Kelly has made it her mission to change people's lives through delicious and nutritious food.

Erinn spent her weekends in the kitchen helping her mom craft her culinary masterpieces, increasing her passion for health and the environment.

Their mutual desire to educate the public about the benefits of healthy living is the foundation of Kelly’s Bake Shoppe. Kelly and Erinn’s love for the environment and their customers is what sets them apart from the competition. Their award winning gourmet goodies are so deliciously decadent you’d never guess they’re guilt-free!

As a gluten-free vegan bake shoppe, located in downtown Burlington, their entire menu is free of dairy, eggs, nuts, butter, and casein. You wont find a drop of artificial colour, flavour, or preservatives in their kitchen and all of the ingredients used are organic and fair-trade. Anyone in their right mind would jump at the chance to sample their treats for review and I was positively giddy with anticipation.

The desserts arrived packaged to perfection in bright pink boxes laced with leopard print tissue paper. Handled with care and great attention to detail, it felt like receiving a special present from my very best friend. I tore open the treasure to find an incredible array of cupcakes, cookies, and one very sinful looking brownie.

While all three of the cookies I was given to try (chocolate chip, snickerdoodle, and the world peace cookie-a hearty blend of oats, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, raisins, cranberries and chocolate chips) were delicious, my favourite was the snickerdoodle; chewy on the inside with a hint of crisp on the outside and a delightful burst of cinnamon sugar flavour. It offers the perfect blend of sugar and spice and will definitely be making an appearance in my home this holiday season.

The mile high brownie more than lived up to its best dessert award from the Toronto Vegetarian association. With layers of chocolate frosting and vanilla buttercream sandwiched between rich chocolate brownies and topped with homemade caramel sauce, I can see why it’s their best selling bakery item.

The mainstay of Kelly’s Bake Shoppe is their cupcakes and after tasting them I can honestly say all other gluten-free cupcakes I’ve eaten before pale in comparison. The frostings are light and creamy, with a whisper of sweetness and while many other gluten-free cupcakes are dense and heavy, Kelly’s are light, moist, and fluffy.

The standout amongst the flavours I delightfully devoured (Dulce de Leche, Red Velvet, Vanilla Bean, and Coffee Break) was the Coffee break cupcake, a specialty item offered on Wednesdays and Saturdays as part of their daily features menu.

The chocolate mocha cupcake with vanilla espresso buttercream topped off with a mini cinnamon sugar doughnut boasts a bold flavour and originality, not unlike the girls themselves.

In addition to treating yourself well, Kelly’s sinfully scrumptious treats are so beautifully presented they make an enchanting go-to for parties and special occasions, such as baby showers or weddings. If you’re simply looking to relive the joys of your childhood there is no better time to visit the shoppe than now when the cupcake of the month is none other than the classic Root Beer Float!

Jessica Grosdanof | Bio | Website
Toronto, Canada Jessica is a Toronto based actress who has been working in film, television, and theatre for the past seven years. She has recently taken a leap of faith and co-founded Empty Suitcase Theatre, a company that strives to produce shows that put strong women front and centre. She is a proud Canadian, vegan, and crazy cat lady.

Photo credit: Jessica Grosdanof

CHARITY: Share a picture of you with a cup of coffee and your favorite pup

Pour yourself a cup of java, call over Fido and snap a picture of the charming scene.

In an effort to raise $10,000 for the American Humane Association, BRIM is asking all pet lovers who also love coffee to post their pictures on Twitter or Instagram. For every picture with the hashtag #JustSayJoe, BRIM will donate $1 to the organization dedicated to the welfare of animals and children.

For more information visit

Daelyn Fortney | email |@daelyn
Greenville, SC Daelyn is the co-founder and managing director of This Dish Is Veg. She handles the daily operations of the site including advertising, story idea generation, and website promotion as well as managing the volunteer contributors. Along with her work at TDIV, Daelyn is an editor for a gift-giving website and mother of three daughters.

Photo credit: Tori Spelling Twitter

Sabra launches second year as official hummus and salsa of Boston Red Sox

Sabra Dipping Company, the leading manufacturer of refrigerated dips and spreads, announced today the beginning of its second year partnering with the Boston Red Sox to be the Official hummus, guacamole, and salsa of the team. Sabra will be celebrating with fans at games in Boston by giving away free samples of their delicious salsa at Fenway Park during August and September as well as free tickets to select games they’re sampling at.

“We are excited to team our fresh salsa with the current World Series champion Red Sox this season,” said Eric Greifenberger, Director of Marketing at Sabra. “Great for taking to parties or eating with friends and family, it’s also a delicious snack after practice at the baseball park. It’s always the perfect time for Sabra.”

Known for its award winning hummus, Sabra re-launched its eight refrigerated salsas with new recipes and packaging and is supporting with a fun video featuring in-field farmers singing to vine-ripening tomatoes, a #salsalove sweepstakes and much more. Sabra’s line of refrigerated salsas includes Homestyle Medium, Homestyle Mild, Mango Peach, Restaurant Style, Roasted Garlic, Pico de Gallo, Southwestern and Garden Style. The newly re-launched recipes feature more crisp vegetables for a fresher, chunkier salsa bursting with flavor.

“We’re excited to once again work with Sabra and share their many great products with fans at Fenway Park,” said Red Sox Senior Vice President Corporate Partnerships Troup Parkinson. “We look forward to continuing to build on this great partnership throughout the season.”

Sabra salsas can be found in the refrigerated section of the deli at grocery and convenience stores, supermarket and club stores nationwide.

About Sabra Dipping Company, LLC
Sabra Dipping Company, LLC is a leader in the refrigerated dips and spreads category and producer of America’s top-selling hummus. Sabra’s award-winning hummus, available in more than a dozen flavors, and a wide range of authentic, healthy and vegetarian dips and spreads, including salsa, guacamole, and Greek yogurt vegetable dip, can be found nationwide in club stores, supermarkets, specialty retailers and through food service. Sabra operates a silver LEED certified factory in Virginia, and has received an A-Classification from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) audit board for food safety for its California Salsa plant every year since 2011. Find Sabra at, and @Sabra on twitter. Sabra Dipping Company was formed as a U.S./Canadian joint venture between Strauss Group and PepsiCo.

The Seed Experience offers two-day vegan lifestyle immersion experience

In America's top foodie city, there's one healthy niche that's survived diet trend after diet trend: Veganism. And in an effort to welcome skeptics and lifelong local vegans alike into one happy, healthy and inspiration-driven place, New York-based The Seed are pleased to announce a third installation of The Seed Experience.

Beginning Saturday, August 9th at 10 am, the Seed Experience will kick off to the public, inviting ticketed guests to enjoy a two-day vegan lifestyle immersion experience. Showcasing talks, yoga insights, readings, cooking demonstrations and more, this indispensable guide to veganism will host esteemed keynote speakers including the founder of the nation's first organic food truck, Adam Sobel, fitness guru Scott Jurek and vegan lifestyle trainer Victoria Moran. From healthy living to smart eating to animal loving, this year's Seed Experience is sure to serve as both an engaging primer for the vegan-curious and a refreshing dose of everyday wisdom for the vegan devotee.

A special VIP cocktail reception featuring presenters and special guests will take place on Saturday, Aug 9 from 6:30 pm till 9:30 pm at The Spot in the Trump Soho. This event will kick-off the charity component that will highlight this year's Seed Experience, including a 100% donation of all VIP ticket sales to Farm Sanctuary, a New York-based farm animal retreat focusing on saving animals from factory farms, educating consumers about the consequences of their food choices, and advocacy for laws to prevent animal suffering. Farm Sanctuary president Gene Baur will be Saturday's honored keynote speaker.

Participating sponsors Nuwi and Whole Foods will also be honored for their generosity and helping facilitate this experience, which promises to bring together a strong community of healthy New Yorkers motivated by change.

The Seed Experience is slated to take place at 82 Mercer St in downtown NYC August 9th and 10th from 10am to 6pm. One-day general admission tickets are $30, or $50 for a two-day pass.

Study: Most American households have someone monitoring or restricting part of their diet

Most Americans (87%) say they're making an effort to eat healthy – and with good reason, as a majority say they or someone in their household monitor or restrict their intake of a nutritional component like gluten or sugar, according to a new Harris Poll. Six in ten American adults (60%, a slight uptick from 57% in 2011) say they restrict at least one nutritional component from their diet.
These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,234 adults surveyed online between March 12 and 17, 2014. (Full results, including data tables, can be found here).
Sugar and salt lead limitations; gluten restrictions grow
Sugar (36%, up from 32% in 2011) and sodium/salt (36%) top the list of ingredients American households have at least one person restricting or monitoring, followed by carbohydrates (22%). Over one in ten say they or a member of their household monitors/restricts intake of dairy (13%, up from 10% in 2011), meat or meat products (also 13%, up from 10%) and lactose (11%). The percentage saying they or someone in their household monitors or restricts gluten intake has nearly doubled over the past three years, to 10% today from 6% in 2011.
"With six in ten American households having at least one member restricting certain foods from their diet, this raises important implications for the food industry as a whole," says Todd Hale, Senior Vice President Consumer Insights, Nielsen. "We've seen that a restriction for one, especially in the case of allergens and other health risks, can turn into a household ban. This can present both a challenge and an opportunity for retailers and food manufacturers."
Perhaps not surprisingly, Matures (73%) are more likely than any other generation (54% Millennials, 62% Gen Xers, 60% Baby Boomers) to say they or someone in their household restrict or monitor intake of at least one of the tested nutritional factors.
"As Americans age, they develop stronger opinions and restrictions around nutritional choices. Those 68 and older are the most likely of all generations to pay close attention to nutritional labels and restrict corresponding dietary choices such as sodium or sugar," said Hale. "Given the number of people, young and old, describing themselves as knowledgeable about food labels and making an effort to eat healthy, these generational divides suggest that actual implementation of change may stem more from necessity than knowledge."
Consumers consider freshness to be top driver for food and beverage purchase decisions 
When consumers consider making a food and beverage purchase, freshness is the most important factor, with nine in ten U.S. adults (89%) considering it important.
  • Eight in ten say fiber is important (80%), while roughly three-fourths say the same for whole grain (77%), calories (75%), portion size (73%) and fat content (73%).
  • Roughly seven in ten place importance on sodium or salt (71%), saturated fat (71%) and dairy (69%), while roughly two-thirds indicate the same for sugar (68%), natural (68%) and carbohydrates (67%).
  • Looking at more specialized nutritional factors, 49% place importance on whether food and beverage products are genetically modified, while 45% say the same for organic. Nearly four in ten place importance on glycemic index (38%), roughly three in ten say the same for lactose (31%) and gluten (28%), and knowing whether items are vegan is important to just under two in ten (18%)
Most of these factors' perceived importance increases among older Americans, though with some exceptions. The percentage placing importance on knowing whether food or beverages are genetically modified hovers at roughly the halfway mark across generations (48% Millennials, 51% Gen Xers, 49% Baby Boomers, 48% Matures), while younger Americans are more likely to place importance on whether items are organic (55%, 50%, 38% and 35%, respectively), contain lactose (37%, 28%, 28% and 27%, respectively) and are vegan (27%, 19%, 13% and 12%, respectively).
Looking to diet and/or weight management, roughly eight in ten Americans consider protein (82%) and calories (78%) to be important considerations, while roughly three-fourths indicate the same for fat (77%), whole grain (76%), saturated fat (75%) and sugar (74%). Roughly seven in ten believe carbohydrates (72%), cholesterol (70%) and sodium (68%) are important in this regard, while just over six in ten say the same for hydrogenated oil (62%).
  • Perceived importance levels again are generally higher among older generations and women.
This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between March 12 and 17, 2014 among 2,234 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.
All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, The Harris Poll avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.
Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in our panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.
About Nielsen & The Harris Poll On February 3, 2014, Nielsen acquired Harris Interactive and The Harris Poll.  Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence and mobile measurement. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit

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