The Goods / Feb 15, 2017

On this day in history… Canada’s current national flag — the big bright red and maple leafy flag we all know and love — was adopted in 1965 during what was known as the Great Canadian Flag Debate. They had considered one of these the alternatives, yikes. Today is also National Flag Day of Canada. Fly that red and white high today 🇨🇦

Soon you’ll be able to Shazam everything you see. Pinterest recently released a beta of its visual discovery tool called Lens. Yes, finally! Thanks to this experimental tech, we can all photographically “Shazam” that stanger’s sexy d’Orsay flats. We’ll have what she’s wearing. #shopthelook 👠

photo credit / source: The Verge, March 2016

There is just too much media focus on the U.S. President, his ragtag team of an administration and his already lengthy list of controversial moves these days. So we thought it’d be nice to bring back some #hope and remind us of what good looks like.

To us, good looks like Michelle Obama.

Let’s take a step back

How many previous First Ladies can you name? Let’s say you hit up Wikipedia and you look it up. Okay, so you got Laura, Hilary and Barbara (in descending order from most recent). Cool, but can you list anything they’ve done? Probs not. Maybe it’s thanks to social media, but most of us can’t instantly name anything concretely put in place by previous FLOTUS. These ladies, for the most part, were a little more quiet, stood a little further back in the shadow of their husbands, and seemed distant from the everyday citizen. Not Michelle though. She had a chance to do something, and boy did she ever.

Sowing A Legacy

Growing up on Chicago’s South Side to a blue-collar family, Michelle earned everything to her name. She worked hard as a top student and took on debt to graduate to go to law school. After a few years of practising corporate law (where she met Barack — he being a junior and she being his adviser, love it), she pivoted her career towards public service and worked in the nonprofit, health and educational sectors.

It is throughout the last eight years, however, that Michelle has been planting the seeds of her legacy. Some of her accolades include being a big proponent of organic food (she planted an organic garden at the White House), spearheading numerous health and wellness programs (like fighting child obesity) and standing behind educational initiatives (like Reach Higher, encouraging high school students to dream big.) To keep her pulse on the lives and realities of others, she even organised a mentoring program to meet with groups of disadvantaged girls on a regular basis to talk about their career goals. Love it.

What’s important to note is that, if she wanted, Michelle didn’t really have to do much at all as First Lady. She could have played a quieter role. Instead, she made the most of her time in a position that few in history have had, and did it all while staying down-to-earth. A perfect example is when recently talking about the appearance of her first gray hairs, she just laughed it off claiming that “I earned it. Every one of them.” (#aginggracefully)

Speaking of First Ladies, Eh

We’re not the only ones impressed by Michelle’s grace. It’s clear that Canada’s own lady numéro 1, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, has been following a similar path to make the most of her time in the limelight. Sophie has shared her spirituality and good vibes with over 20 Canadian organizations doing good for others, and continues to stay humble. In her own words, whether she is talking to international celebrities or local farmers, “I live from a place where I do not believe in a fundamental difference between human beings.”

Damn. We absolutely love that.

Both Michelle and Sophie are inspiring girlbosses who are changing what it means to be in the political and national spotlight. They’ve set the bar high for what it means to be a mother, a wife and a woman of the 21st century. They were both given a golden opportunity to forever change what it means to be the wife of a national leader, and did they ever completely re-write that job description.

Your takeaway: If you’ve got a chance to speak at an event, during a meeting at work or in a heated convo with friends, grab that proverbial mic (or real one if applicable) and be sure to speak from your heart and mind. You’ll feel good and you might just be preparing yourself for your own set of future national policies :)

[good luck Melania]

Alongside Halloween and Easter, Valentine’s Day is one of those seasonal events which reminds us of the countless shapes and forms that chocolate can take. From hearts to bunnies, and from trees to ghosts, companies from around the world have been shaping the food preparation known as chocolate as we know it today since the late 1800s.

>> Fun fact: There is evidence of the Mayans drinking a chocolate-y beverage back in 1900 BCE. The more you know 🌠

Reality Check

Yesterday’s theme of love in choco-form reminded us of why we have been serious about where our chocolate comes from for a few years now. We watched a 2012 documentary called Semisweet: Life in Chocolate (see link below), and it forever changed our perspective on everything cacao.

The film follows the journey of chocolate through four different stories: a raw foodist couple selling homemade chocolate, a French chocolatier, an employee at Hersheyland (yes that’s a thing) and children who work in the cacao fields of Mali and Burkina Faso.

Needless to say, the juxtaposition of the first three stories to the exploited and abused workers is a powerful message. In fact, when compared together, the reality of chocolate seems ridiculous. We’ll let you watch it yourselves to make your own conclusions. For us, it definitely resparked the question: where does our food comes from? Because we all generally associate chocolate with candy, birthdays and all around fun, we never really stop and think about the origins of this food product.

Thanks to this doc, we know a little more truth about our world. Let us remind you all that knowledge is power. The ending of Semisweet really blew us away. Yes, we did feel a little terrible about our chocolate purchases up until that point, but from that moment, we knew what our decision was to be: only buy chocolate from reputable sources.

Good Chocolate

We are totally in favour of supporting those who are doing chocolate right. For example, Theobroma (from Québec City) has fair trade certification (a big plus for ensuring that producers are paid well and that working conditions are safe). Also, their cacao is organic. And if you think that, oh, not with the organic-spiel again, sorry, not sorry — organic makes a big difference. This type of chocolate is free of synthetic food additives, dyes and GMOs (many of which are known to be carcinogens). Most importantly, be sure there is a ‘fair trade’ logo on your choco.

Without sounding too disheartening, it’s vital to know that the chocolate industry has been oft described as modern-day slavery. It is based on human trafficking, harsh use of chemicals and practices that (other than make profit) make no sense.

Don’t feel bad about not knowing the truth behind those Dollarama choco-hearts you thought were a cute idea at good price. You didn’t know the real cost of those so-so tasting, sugary products. Now you do. The choice is yours. Next time it’s your mom’s bday, we know you’ll do the good thing.

[go big, go certified]

*NB: we do not have any kickback nor commercial incentive in advertising for Theobroma. We simply want you all to be able to put a face to the name of who’s doing what, right.

Wishing you all a wonderful hump-month,

– The Goods

Brought to you by:

Annique “Power Handshake” Beaudreau

John “First Man” Mongeau

*************

Links worth clicking!

🍪 Your cookie jar is looking a little empty ;)

🎥 Put 1 hour aside and stream this choco doc.

🎶 Check our girl Sophia Bush in this creative and unique music video.

✌🏽 Meet Tim, our yoga man

👵🏼 Friendship has no age *warning: eye candy*

Like what you read? Sign up for more good stuff here.

<< Last week’s edition // Next week’s edition >>