Random Acts of Feminism


The other day I was at a local thrift store searching for some vintage kitchen treasures¬†when I strolled past the toy section. I stopped. dead. in. my. tracks. WHAT THE EFF IS THIS? Oh, I’ll tell you what it is. It’s a list of “the best toys for boys” and “the best toys for girls” separating into two toy sections.


Well, I OBVIOUSLY could not allow this to stand. I mean, I can still barely wrap my brain around how it was even happening. Did I open a door to the past?

Take a look at that image. The “girl’s toys” are Barbies, dresses, and jewellery. On the sign for boys, there are pictures of video games, building toys, a tent, and superheroes. What the actual hell?

So, I went into the “boy” section, grabbed a big car and placed it directly under the girls only sign.

Then, I went into the “girl” section, found the biggest, pinkest toy I could, which happened to be a sweet My Little Pony, and positioned it to peek around the boy toy sign.


Oh, hello My Little Pony! I hope a nice young boy finds joy in your sweet face and pretty blue hair!

Come on people. Toys don’t have genders. Any child can find joy in playing with any type of toy. It’s 2016 and we still need to waste energy on this BS? I’m so over sexism. I can’t even.


An “Ethical” Product Review: Part 1, Influenster

Influenster sent me a Keurig 2.0 for review

I thought of a dozen different titles for this post:

  • the Ethics of Product Reviews
  • How to Review to Your Own Standards
  • Balance in Blogging


  • An Environmentalist Reviews a Keurig 2.0

dun dun dunnnnnn

Yeah, you read that right. Buckle up folks, this is going to be a long one. In fact, I’ve decided to turn this into a series. Parts 2 and 3 will include the product review and aligning its uses with my environmental standards.

How the Influenster Review Works

So far, reviewing products through Influenster has been fun. The website partners bloggers (and other social media types) with companies for product reviews. The site also hosts a number of themes under which users can post reviews. Users are also encouraged to link their various social media networks through Influenster to generate a “social impact” score. The more reviews and linked networks (and, I’m assuming, followers within those networks), the higher a user’s score.

Based on scores and other profile, Influenster selects users to complete a survey to “qualify” them to receive a Vox Box (Vox Box = free product for review). The surveys are generally vague enough to indicate a category of product but rarely a brand and never the product itself. I’ve completed a number of invited surveys and have only been selected to review a few products (including shampoo, mascara, and some smaller items like gum, candy, stick-on nails, etc. ).

The most recent survey I was emailed was regarding coffee. It included questions about how I brew my coffee, what types of coffee I enjoy, and so on. I was truly, genuinely surprised to receive a follow-up message indicating that I had been selected to review a Keurig 2.0! (And that’s not all, the Vox Box also included a set of Van Houtte Specialty coffees.)

I was so surprised because I never expected to have the opportunity to review something big and expensive like that, and also because it seems kind of odd that a self-proclaimed environmentalist would be selected to review a product that has been overwhelmingly criticized for its negative environmental impact. Perhaps, though, it has something more to do with the fact that I talk about coffee ALL THE TIME.

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Naturally, however, my excitement to participate in a product review was tempered by the fact that I was clueless as to how to review the Keurig 2.0 objectively and stay true to my own standards (both as an environmentalist and blogger). Hence, breaking the review into several posts. My aim in doing so is to be as transparent as possible.

I suspect some might ask why, if I wasn’t sure as to how to proceed, I didn’t just refuse the product and skip the review. Well, my friends, that very suggestion in and of itself was part of the the conundrum. I enjoy doing product reviews (read: I like free stuff) and, as a small-time blogger, being paired with products through Influenster is the best way for me to do this. (Side note: if any big companies want to send me some other great stuff, I’m open!) Influenster, though, has a huge network of users just waiting to be selected for reviews. I’m a teeny fish in a huge pond. If I refuse to review – or worse, accept the product and skip the review – I’ll be removed from the pool altogether and be ineligible for future reviews.

So, with all this in mind, I commit to you, dear readers, that I will be has honest as possible with my reviews of the Keurig 2.0 and the accompanying Van Houttee coffee. Check back on Wednesday for Part 2!


Five Million Litre Oil Spill in Northern Alberta

The media is reporting that Nexen Energy’s pipeline ruptured sometime between June 29th and July 15th. The spill resulted in 5 million litres of heavy crude, or, 31,500 barrels. The double-layered steel pipe was only 8 months old and Nexen Energy has yet to provide an explanation or any other information beyond a feeble “apology.”

Watch the video report below:

But how? How does this happen? You have a warning system to specifically prevent this from happening! Nexen Energy isn’t sure yet and it could be months before the public is informed.

Meanwhile, 16,000 square metres of muskeg is slathered in bitumen, sand and produced water.

Nexen Energy CEO, Fang Zhi, has contributed little insight on the matter.


okrry(1)okrrdSenior Vice President, Ron Bailey, isn’t so full of answers himself.

But it’s okay, guys, because they’re both disappointed and sorry.

This is the second spill that has taken place at this site. Residents of local First Nations communities are concerned about the long-term impact this will have on the environment and wildlife, and rightfully so.

Regardless of your politics on the issue of oil drilling, at the very least, we should all be able to agree that enforcement of responsible drilling has to be a priority. How many accidents until an apology doesn’t cut it anymore?


Interested in other environmental issues? View this post and many others at www.greenphonebooth.com where I post as Mindful Echo.