Saturday, November 9, 2013

Hello everyone!
Lots has happened since my last post.

I had some surgery, but that story is for another time & another post.

I got a bad haircut.
I got it fixed, with pink (thanks Becky!!!).

I met my future baby daddy. ;)

Twice (winkwink).

Teehee... just kidding (maybe).

And I even had a birthday.

But one thing has stayed the same: I'm still vegan (duh)!

So, I was thinking... how about we sort of start at the beginning with what it means to be vegan?
The actual definition of a vegan is someone who does not use animal products in any way, food or otherwise. For me it's someone who lives the most cruelty free live possible (both definitions mean the same to me), and it is an ongoing transition into that lifestyle... the learning never ends (my fave part!).
Then what is the next step?
Honestly, I'm not sure...

They say to do what you love and you will always love what you do. While I actually do love being a customer service representative (it's my nature to help other's in some way) I do want more out of life. And who wouldn't want to combine their passion with their source of income? Add that to how tired I am of health issues and others' negativity keeping me from what I want and...well...

I guess that is my next step.
And blogging more would be part of it.

Look for my next post, it should be coming soon.

Monday, July 15, 2013

On the search for organic produce...

This weekend/week has already started off pretty busy, so while I had a second I wanted to post a quick update.
Sure, I can get some organic produce at some of our local grocery stores... but sometimes it's just lacking or not the quality I would hope for. To be completely honest about it, the quality of all of the produce at my main grocery store has declined so much in the past year that I'm surprised they don't know me by name from all the emails I have sent about it. So I finally did something I've been meaning to do for quite some time, I went to our local Saturday morning market.
Here is the link:
I ended up spending less money than I thought I would, and I was a bit disappointed in the lack of healthy meal/snack vendor options, but I did see a couple of local booths that offered organic veggies & fruits. I even scored some homemade salsa, pickles, and the last of this years blueberries from one stand.
Tomorrow I'm taking the girls (that means my dogs, including LilBit who I'm puppysitting for) to my moms for some fun play time at their nana's house (and a vet visit so Kalifornia can finally get her teeth cleaned) and plan on bringing a lot of the veggies over there... especially the pesticide free ears of corn I got.
Yes, I very much love corn.
Now that my fridge's veggie bin is all but overflowing I need to figure out what I want to do with all the yumminess. Can't let that goodness go to waste! This may be easier if I had a grill....
Next time I make it to the market I will take some pics to post. I love picking out the produce or asking the stand owner to pick out a "good one" for Spending the time outside is great, too. Some people did bring their dogs, even had a rescue group with some of their pups there, but I'm not sure if they are ready for these three crazy canine girls...

I've also discovered that I love hemp milk so much more than soy milk!!!! Wonder what will be next on my new stuff to try list... (Vegan Cuts seem to have some great subscription boxes...).

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Vegan Tip of the Week (VTOTW): How to get started...? (AKA Written for another)

This was originally written for a vegan website whose owner was looking for guest writers/admins on their facebook page. I was give free range to post about anything, with it being under a "tip of the week topic". Long story short, this didn't quite fit what that owner was looking for it seems (I didn't stick to one tip, and I honestly have forgotten the other complaint) and I wasn't asked to write another post. I saved it just in case, and thought I might as well share it with you guys. Not only does it give some tips on how to get started, but it also gives insight into how I started on my cruelty free lifestyle. So... here ya go!

Vegan Tip of the Week: How to get started…?
My first step was kind of an accident. I was tired of the small container of cows' milk expiring before I could finish it, and a friend recommended soy milk. I wasn't a fan at first, but per her instructions I began using the vanilla soy milk in my cereal and just like that I was hooked. Keep in mind that at this point I had no idea that the word vegan even existed. Most start by giving up some form of meat, like most of my vegan friends. One of them, Michael, decided to give up veal and other young flesh back in the early 1980’s after learning about the horrific treatment they go through. Ten years later he was vegetarian, but after learning the truth behind milk and egg productions he realized going vegan was the only way to be intellectually honest with himself and also at peace with his conscience. No matter what it is, that first small step may be one of the biggest in your life.
Giving up dairy and eggs was my next step, but I was still feeling not so great and was ready for more.  Thanks to the great and wonderful internet, I found some support and the most amazing book: Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin. It’s a no nonsense book that tells you that if you don’t want to feel like crap then stop eating it. Skinny Bitch in the Kitch was my first vegan cookbook, and they have expanded their series. They even have Skinny Bastard just for the guys. Another book I’m madly in love with is The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone (huge fan, love this woman!). It includes 3 different steps to living a plant based life and she has created The Kind Life, a great online community for support and information. I didn't know any vegans in person when I started on this lifestyle, so this community really helped get personal tips instead of online reviews on almost every and any aspect of life.
These books aren't it, either. There are so many more out there, something for everyone. I can’t even begin to count the number of vegan cookbooks on the market. This leads us to another important step: cooking. Anyone can cook, no matter what you've been told. I still wouldn't say I’m a great cook, but I am pretty darn good when it comes to some bbq tofu and sweet carrots! Find a cookbook that fits your needs, and just follow the recipes. I like to take my cookbooks grocery shopping with me and use them instead of making out grocery lists for ingredients. Soon you will learn what you really need and don’t need, what you really like and don’t like, and it will all become second nature. This may take time, but it will happen. There are also books about veganism (like Becoming Vegan) that can help as a guide into a plant based lifestyle without focusing on just cooking.
Need some real life interaction? Check out and search for a local vegetarian/vegan group. They also have many groups for other things (gaming, yoga, even saw one for board games and puzzles once) that will meet in person. No matter what the interest is, I think it always helps you to grow as a person to be around others that share that interest with you. Life is for learning, and learning does help us grow no matter how old or young we are.

The main thing to remember is that living a cruelty free, vegan, plant based, or whatever you call it lifestyle is also about being kind to yourself. Do not expect things to change overnight. Just like anything else in life this is a process and can take time. Making mistakes, having slip ups… this happens even to some seasoned vegans. Accept it happened, learn from it (and how to avoid it next time), and move on. If I can do this, I know that you can.  

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Super easy laundry soap recipe!

I've been making my own laundry soap since before I even went vegan (over 5 years ago, in case anyone has forgotten) and have always loved doing it (or at least that I do it, I am quite lazy). I love being able to take pride, even just a little bit, in doing things for myself. Not to mention having control over the ingredients in the things that I put in or on (yes, even though it's to wash your clothes it's still there and eventually on your skin which is our biggest organ-teehee) my body is just smart with there being so many too many toxic things on sale for public and regular use... yeah, I could go on this rant for a while.
But I won't.
The recipe I used previously involved castile soap, which meant lots of grating if I wasn't able to splurge on the liquid stuff. It also involved a big bucket or taking the time to cook it a big pot on the stove. But now... NOW... thanks to the amazing and super awesome Sadie from I have found the easier answer that lazy butts like myself love to hear...
There is an easier way!
I did have to tweak some things, as usual, so here is my version:

Easy Laundry Soap (32 to 64 loads - 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup per load)
6 Tablespoons Borax
6 Tablespoons Washing Soda
16 cups water - boiling or just about that hot
4 Tablespoons eco-friend dish soap (I currently am using Seventh Generation's Lavender Floral & Mint)
1 gallon jug (or a bit bigger, I am using one of the large glass apple juice jugs from Earth Fare- apple juice already finished off, of course)
A funnel definitely will make things easier, and make sure your measuring cup can handle the super hot water. Having at least an oven mitt, maybe a pot holder as well, never hurts.
I add a couple of cups of the water (after boiling in my teapot on the stove) in the jug first. Sometimes this just makes it easier to keep things mixed. Remember to pour slowly so you don't spill because this is going to get hot. Then I use the funnel (ok, it's the cut off top part of a 1 liter soda bottle, so it's not suitable for the boiling water but you may have a funnel that is... so use it!) to add in the powder parts. Swish to mix it all up, remember this is going to be hot so the oven mitt/pot holder can come in very handy. At this point I start adding in the rest of the water, but like to dissolve the dish soap in with one along the way. I think things mix a bit better this way. When the jug starts to get full you may want to go slow to help prevent any over flow.
I use an old scoop from something that just happened to be about 1/4 cup in size to measure it for each load, and I do feel like my clothes are a lot cleaner than with my previous recipe. Feel free to add any essential oils you may like, but depending on the dish soap you may not have to (I didn't this time, but sometimes love how the smells do fill the house while I'm washing clothes).

You could use this right away, but remember the water was boiling not long ago (aka IT WILL BE HOT) and some clothes don't like hot water.
And here is the link to the original post by Sadie

I still use the same "fabric softener" recipe, with a bit of a tweak.
But if you don't already know what happens when baking soda and vinegar get together, you are going to learn now.
Super Easy "Fabric Softener"
One part baking soda
One part white vinegar
Two parts water
Whatever essential oils I feel like using when I'm making it.
Funnel & a glass bottle to store it in
I first add in the baking soda. This will settle easily and will have to be shaken from time to time. Then I add in the water that I have dashed in about 30 drops of whatever essential oil or combo of essential oils I feel like using (today it was 20 of sweet orange and 10 of tea tree oil -always a good choice- or so, I am sure I lost count). Then you SUPER SLOWLY ADD THE VINEGAR. Seriously, go slow or you will have a mess. Your counter will be super clean when you are done, but it will be a big mess.
I use this with my Downy Ball (have had this thing FOREVER and it is a huge help since my washer doesn't tell me when to put the fabric softener in) as I would the store bought kind.
Please don't expect this to act like store bought fabric softener. It's mainly great for prevent static cling and helping to add a fresh scent. I don't think anything home made can do what the store bought stuff can do, but I love my clothes and adding a chemical that weakens the material of my precious clothing... no thank you.

I'm always interested in learning more, so if you guys have any tips or tweaks of your own you would like to add - or even a great recipe to share - please do so in the comments!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Update to "Crafty: Fixing My Tom's"

Ok, I will be the first to admit it: I was wrong! I was rushing things a bit, trying to not have to buy anything new and use stuff I already had (great and easy way to save money AND be eco-friendly). But using wood glue (ugh) to fix my Tom's wasn't the best idea.
They are too stiff.
I plan on visiting a local crafting store today to see what they have available, but my previous searches in the real world didn't get very far. Honestly, our crafting stores here kinda suck. Sometimes I can find some cute beads, and for those who sew there seem to be a lot of things to go along with that... but for my random crafting? Eh.
I will keep updating on this, and my next life adventure: eating more of a raw/fruitarian diet! 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Getting the crafty bug again (finally!): Fixing my Tom's

Several years ago (probably over 5, really can't remember) a friend's dog chewed up my favorite pair of Tom's just enough to where I could not wear them. I hadn't had them long, so I was furious... but I couldn't stay too mad at the cute furry butt that did the crime. For years I've asked some crafty friends about how to fix them, and they were even in the possession of a friend who swore she could do it (she couldn't, so didn't) and my mother who said she would take them to a repair shop for many months.
Fast forward to a couple of months ago. I finally had to come to the realization that my favorite jeans, what I called my hippie jeans, were just too worn to wear anymore. Holes appeared in places that couldn't be patched and would risk public embarrassment... and we can't have that. Oh, no. But I couldn't just throw them out, and my scrap material storage space is growing super small. Then it hit me: I could use some pieces from them to patch up my long holey Tom's!!!
Sadly, for many months the crafty bug left me and all my crafty stuff was truly neglected, including the jeans and my beloved Tom's... until tonight.
Unfortunately, taking before pictures slipped my mind. But I am pretty sure this is just step one in a process that mainly requires the glue to dry. Fun note, I used the wood glue I had handy to glue the denim in place. I did have some outside inspiration a while back, though. I read a blog, not sure which one or where I saw it, that had a tutorial on the patching of the toe part of a pair of Tom's.
As you can see from the pic, the right shoe got the worse of it. The toe area had a couple of good holes in it, and the part that would go over the top of the heel was chewed out to the point of it not staying on. The left shoe had minimal damage, but still needing patching on the heel. I'm using clothespins to hold the denim in place while the glue dries, but they didn't fit for the toe so I had to hold it... and scrub glue off my hands. Definitely not a problem. Just wish the clothes pins would go a bit farther to hold more of the denim to the heel area.
I do plan to trim some of the excess denim off, and possibly have to patch them up a bit more. For all I know the whole thing will be a waste of time and supplies and the patches will just fall off, but I do plan on reinforcing with something (stitches, idk yet) once I get the patches in place. So we will see!