Bob, Anti-Bob

At least once every year (and by once I mean 6+ times per year), I am convinced I need a bob again. Logically I know that every single time I've bobbed my hair the enchantment lasts a week. Then it starts growing in like Moncchichi hair and I have to get it cut every 4 minutes so it doesn't grow out weird and start getting flippies. Within the first month I get pissed off that you can't do very much with a bob. (Never mind that I almost eternally have a ponytail. That is failure on my part but I could have more than a ponytail.)

Additionally, it's really hard to grow in a bob without some awkward as heck hairstyles.

And for all of these reasons, I will not have a bob. Won't.

Needless to say, I love them on everyone else.

Bob, circa 2006

bob 1


(basic) black & blue

All of my favorite clothing articles are black cotton with silver studs on them. I haven't decided if this is kickback to my hair metal days or if this is truly my life's aesthetic calling. Is my mind is hard-wired to love this combination, its place in trending be damned? Nature? Nurture? My mother did dress me in tiny rocker baby clothes, adorned with Rolling Stones lips logos and the like.

Speaking of the way-past past, the other day I felt compelled to wear a bracelet-chained-to-ring combo. (Not the Rachel Bolan nosering-chained-to-earring though; that was never my thing.) If I find one secondhand, I'm on it.

favorite sweater
skirt/vintage, tailored
tights/maggie's organics
shoes/cri de coeur hearts of darkness, splendor

Outfit scorecard (animals, people, world): The skirt's secondhand, the tights are organic and carry decent labor practices. The shoes are a vegan brand and have a "sweat-shop free" claim to their China manufacturing. The sweater is sweatshop. I bought it on a day I was underdressed for the weather and it's about 2 years old now, and in heavy rotation. All vegan, of course.


overnight stowaway

Rescue kitty by jesse.anne.o.
Rescue kitty, a photo by jesse.anne.o. on Flickr.
We interrupt self-involved posts about clothing to show you this guy. This little peanut was rescued by my old neighbors. It looks like she was owned and dumped by the cemetery. She's with me overnight so I can bring her to the rescue shelter tomorrow morning.

All she wants is to sit in someone's lap and give little tiny headbutts. She'll be up for adoption soon and hopefully she ends up with some wonderful people.


What's that bunny saying? Makeup and Animal Testing Labeling

What’s that bunny mean?

Have you ever been in a store or watched an ad where someone deliberately tries to gloss over things or make them confusing to get you to do what they want (buy something)? Sure you have. And this is basically what happened to “no animal testing” messaging over time. How the hell are you supposed to know what vague text claiming no animal testing really means? Or if the bunny logo on the bottle means anything? I’m here to walk you through it.

If you want the cheat sheet, here we go:

Leaping Bunny (logo above) – best, most rigorous process for the companies (no ingredients or finished product tested on animals; must open entire product chain for independent audit; must promise to stop animal testing after a certain date when they sign on)

Cruelty-Free bunny (logo above) – okay, it’s a promise from the company (no ingredients or finished product tested on animals; company gives its word but no proof is required)

“no animal testing” text (no logo) – be careful, this (and other logos that are not the above) can mean anything as these misc logos and text claims are not regulated or checked up on by anyone (check the Leaping Bunny list of the company name, check the company’s website for their policy on animal testing and if you need help, let me know)

If you want to know the whole bunny debacle, put your seatbelt on.
Let’s get into how necessary animal testing is first. In the US there is no law requiring that cosmetics, personal care products or household products be tested on animals – there are either effective non-animal tests available for companies to use or there are a host of current ingredients that already have an MSDS available from years ago for companies to use. So between being able to test without using animals and using ingredients already proven safe, companies don’t need to test cosmetics, personal care products or household goods on animals. Period. No requirement. The FDA doesn’t require it. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission doesn’t require it. No one requires it.
In fact, the European Union has outright banned animal testing on finished products or ingredients of cosmetics/household goods AND the marketing of items that have been guilty of such testing in their markets as of 2009, with further research into whether certain toxicity tests will remain valid by 2013. {see here}
The tests are pretty sick and usually don’t tell you how toxic something would realistically be to humans anyway, since the tests on animals are so extreme or the amounts of product forced on the animal in the test is usually something that a human would have to make a conscious effort to eat or stick in their eye for an extended period of time on a dare. If you do a little online research you can find some gruesome examples on your own; I figured you'd already be against it and I'd spare us all the downer for today.
Okay, now that we have covered why animal testing for cosmetics, personal care and household products is ridiculous, which you probably already knew, we can cover the two main bunny logos and what they mean.
Leaping Bunny looks like this:

This Leaping Bunny makes companies submit their entire product process chain for independent audit in terms of the ingredients and finished product not being testing on animals. This bunny asks for more than the Cruelty-Free bunny below. What if a company wants to sign up but they’ve done animal testing in the past? Leaping Bunny asks for a “fixed date” – which means this company won’t test any finished products or ingredients on animals or contract anyone else to do so after a specific date in time. After this date, all new ingredients or products must NOT be tested on animals both by the company and its ingredients suppliers.
A “fixed date” agreement is better than a “rolling date” – which is what some shady companies use to say they don’t test on animals. A “rolling date” is not a date per se, but a time period, like “5 years”. Using that example, they won’t use an animal-tested ingredient released in 2012 from 2012 through 2016 but in 2017, they are allowed to use that ingredient and still try to claim “no animal testing”. It enables companies to use basically any ingredient tested on animals, as long as they wait long enough to use it. This does nothing to prohibit animals from being used in tests. It does, however, give them a way to falsely advertise that they don’t test on animals. When you want to buy something not tested on animals, this is probably not what you’re looking for, right? As the Connect Four commercial used to say, “Pretty sneaky, sis”!
So, Leaping Bunny means no ingredients or finished product tested on animals with a set fixed date when all of this starts happening. Companies are subject to audit at Leaping Bunny’s discretion.

Cruelty-Free bunny looks like this:

The companies who carry this logo have signed documents with PETA stating basically the same things that Leaping Bunny up there asks for – no ingredients or finished product tested on animals. No labs contracted by their ingredients supplier or their own company to do animal testing. But there is no opening their supply chain to independent audit. This agreement is a matter of trust and PETA notes that they hope the bad press a company would get if they signed up for this bunny and still did testing would deter any company thinking of doing that from even trying. (I am poking around as to whether this bunny means there’s a fixed date or not – something else to consider.)
Strangely, companies can be on the Leaping Bunny or Cruelty-Free shopping lists and chose not to license the logo to put on their bottles. So if you have favorite brands you use and it doesn’t have a Leaping Bunny logo, you might want to try checking their list online. If you decide that the Cruelty-Free standards are enough for you to trust the company isn’t tested on animals, you can check their list as well.

This leaves the variations of the “no animal testing” text claim. This can be anything from “no animal testing”, which might mean they are using that sneaky 5 year rolling rule above. It could mean the ingredients are tested on animals but not the finished product. It could mean the company contracts labs to do the testing. It could also mean any of the things in the Cruelty-Free standards. Because there is no general oversight or regulation of using such words as “no animal testing” or “cruelty-free”, we’ll never know exactly what they mean and the best we’ll get is a company policy that hopefully says the things we want to hear (no ingredients or finished product tested on animals by them or contracted parties and a fixed date!). But most of the times you don’t get that. “Finished product not tested on animals” most likely means the ingredients are. “Cruelty-free” can mean anything. “100% Natural” can mean anything. (I’m always amazed by how many products I find that say “no animal ingredients” and they have lanolin, beeswax, honey or even more obviously animal-derived things in them. Seriously. Where do they draw the line in removing that claim? Beef tongue?)
If you are using products that make these claims, check to see if they’re on the Leaping Bunny list. Check to see if they have a no animal testing policy stating what that means on their website. And if they don’t, now’s a good time to put their customer service department to work!

So there you have it. The good, the bad and the hideously ugly.
If you have any questions, pop on down to ye ol’ comments and I will do my best to answer them.


You do it yourself

Is it bad that I have a whole list of DIY projects I want to do but I really secretly want someone else to come over on a Sunday afternoon and have coffee with me at my dining room table while completing all of my DIYs while I look on and ooh and ahhh and then I get to keep all of them? My dream: YDIYD. (you do it yourself, dude)

Once I am in the crafty swing of things I dig it. But before I actually start craftin' I have horrible flashbacks to when my friend S and I used a tutorial to make men's button downs into cap-sleeved lady button downs. With nary an iota of success among us. Okay, among moi. Capsized cap-sleeve project. Miserable little esteem killer.

Segue: Look at this cute FIV+ kitten who was rescued by Design*Sponge and found a home the same day! Doin' good kitten deeds! Kitten miracles! FIV+ cats can live a nice long life inside in a low-stress environment. Lucky little dude.
urban renewal dress (deadstock, not sure if made in usa) maggie's organics tights vintage shoes via etsy

Outfit scorecard (animals, people, world): Overall this outfit was pretty decent. The Urban Renewal dress didn't indicate where it was made (they are usually within the US), which I didn't realize until after I'd ordered, but it is deadstock. Maggie's Organics has decent labor practices & uses organic cotton. The shoes are vintage (reuse) via Etsy and tagged vegan, which always makes me more likely to buy the item.


Winter Glasses

New-ish glasses. While I annoyed you with questions over what kind of glasses I should get (clear acrylic? teal?), I never told you what I ended up with. For inquiring minds: I got the clear.

Winter glasses

Don't let the Brooklyn Museum lobby fool you - we saw all of 10 minutes of Hide/Seek before the museum closed. Hide/Seek, indeed.

There is nothing particularly sustainable about my eyeglasses aside from them allowing me to lay off my contacts. My corneas are thankful for them. Maybe one day I'll invest in those wood frame glasses.


New Reading Material: Sunjo Over the Moon

My friend S has started a blog. Finally! After all of my harassment. (Consistent harassment pays off; let that be a lesson to you.)

You will want to read this:
Sunjo Over the Moon

S always impresses me with her vintage collection (she was the first and only person I saw with a collection of Vested Gentress dresses) as well as the modern brands she gives her attention (I learned about Prairie Underground from her first). She is an all-around good person, one of my favorite shopping companions (with 2 cute dogs!) and one of the limited number of folks I've let in on my favorite Brooklyn thrift store.

Welcome to the blog-o-sphere, Sunjo Over the Moon!


There she rose

I wore this to:
- work
- get eyebrows threaded (truthfully relaxing)
- make horrible, offensive-looking face at camera

I rosed myself because I look like the meanest bastard on earth in this picture. Like I would sell off your baby brother for candy money. Like I would pretend I was throwing up next to you on the subway so you'd get out of your seat to avoid being puked on and then I'd steal your seat. (Okay, I saw some guy do this.)

It just reminds me of Hard Liquor, Soft Holes. (Safe for work.) Except he dresses better.

island getaway
shirt/park slope beacon's closet skirt/american apparel tights/maggie's organics vintage pleather loafers/etsy

Overall, a fairly sustainable labor-friendly outfit. I'm unsure when I started wearing black tights and brown shoes but - that's how she goes, I guess. (All vegan, of course.)


Go Go Lunch

I brownbag lunch pretty much every day. Mostly to eat better and save money. But also to avoid buying lunch out with all its relevant wrap/container/box/bag waste.

I started by doing an Americanized bento every day because "cute" food was the only motivating incentive. All of those got posted on the Vegan Bento and Vegetarian Bento flickr pools.

Lately I've just been shoving leftovers into a container but this lunch looked slightly better than some past leftover lunches so I figured I'd throw it into bento pools and share it here so I can talk about some of my favorite to-go containers.

Happy Tiffin stainless steel leak-proof lunch bowl
Plastic double-tier bento via Ebay

Dollar store hankie for apple-wrapping
Plastic store-bought snack container for dressing

How my apple travels to work

(usually has a layer of paper towel under it,
which I use to dry off the apple when I wash it

but it helps act as a buffer, too)

For sandwiches and snacks I use these guys:

picture from Wrapped in Mercy

Having to-go containers that I liked and that worked for me was an important part of getting in the habit of bringing lunch regularly. For a while I was using double-tier bentos on a daily basis. Sometimes I put a lot of carb or protein rich stuff in the bigger portion and only brought one. Other days I loaded up two. But I couldn't do anything that would leak because the bentos are not sealed tight, even with that little band. Too bad - they're so cute otherwise and a good size to tuck into bags.

That's when I got the Happy Tiffin leak-proof lunch bowl (in two sizes) so that has expanded my lunch horizons. I can fit them in my regular bag if I really want to although the larger one is a stretch. But they're really handy.

Do you brown bag it? If you do, what do you use to bring your lunches in?


Zoetropes (I have an answer for everything)

For all of the daily focus I put on having the will-power to spend consciously, in alignment with my values, my most successful phases seem to come out of nowhere. For the past few weeks I’ve come up with reasons to not buy just about everything I think of and pretty much the only purchase I made was on a pair of Everyday Apparel shoes that have been on my wish list for months. And it’s not because of committing to a shopping ban. Or a tidy list of do you really need this?-type questions. It’s an inexplicable mental smackdown.

“You don’t need another dress.”

“Look for a picture of those boots on someone on flickr first before you buy them to see how bulky they look in real life.” (They looked bulky.)

“It’s too hard to buy clothes online and know that they fit well and aren’t going to cost me a litter of kittens in tailoring.” (Often true for things I’ve had the benefit of trying on in a fitting room anyway much less sight unseen.)

When this happens, I don’t know from whence it comes. It’s usually when my life is really busy. But it feels like I’m more in my element; more in control of my values, choices and my dollars. It doesn’t always last although it happens more frequently these days. I wish I could bottle it.

Do I think it’s the result of asking myself all those do you really need this?-type questions in the past? A result of trying many a failed “shopping ban”? The result of making myself list every item I purchased from a store without decent labor practices as “sweatshop” on my outfit pictures? Of writing blog posts about what sustainable and cruelty-free style means to me? I think so. I think all of those things add up to an unconscious voice that sometimes gets its day to boss me around. (For a good cause.)

So for all of those times that I shopped in a way that disappointed me and where I took the trouble to deconstruct why and how I let happen – thanks for doing it, Past Jesse. It’s given me the groundwork to escape mountains of advertising messages and social constructs that expect me to consume for a few minutes. It’s given me a little bit of room to breathe. And that kind of feels like freedom.


Dolphins & Squirrels

For those of you who are interested in the animal-type stuff on this blog:

Just passing on the word that my friend E is in Japan, cataloging the dolphin round ups and capture/killing. You are probably familiar with this practice thanks to The Cove, which I am still too much of a baby to watch. (I know what goes on in it and and I know I'm opposed to it - I don't need to see a bloody sea to be convinced.)

picture from Ocean on Fire

You can find his blog Ocean on Fire here, documenting that the round ups are still going on. And you can find the info on dolphins here, at the Sea Shepherd site.

To make this less of a bummer post, look at this squirrel I saw eating out of a spoon!

spoon squirrel


Better Luck Tomorrow

This picture is from a mere two weeks ago. Between then and now, winter properly arrived. There will be no pulling off ankle socks and bare legs now.

more dresses - 21st

I guess sometimes the 'all sweatshop items' thing just happens with an outfit. I try to remember there are other things I can do to make sure my wardrobe is more sustainable and fair to the world, even if I made a few sweatshop labor mistakes.

1) Take care of what I have - being careful with the dress, socks and shoes will help them last longer and most likely deter me from buying another dress, socks or shoes in the future. (I haven't quite figured out if it will deter me from replacing these items or if I will keep a consistent volume in my closet - replacing any dress with any other style dress, or a shirt, etc.) I have been thinking about sustainability and clothes for a while and even so, it hasn't been until recently my response to a tiny hole in a sock has been to sew it vs. throw it in the textiles recycling pile.

2) Taking some comfort in the fact that while none of the items likely had great labor practices, none of them consist of animal hair or hide - so I purchased aligned with my strongest value.

3) There's the opportunity to do better next time. That is why I label things "sweatshop" instead of the actual retailer - to remind myself that this was something I was hoping to avoid. (That and I was tired of advertising retailers I wasn't proud of.) So, better luck tomorrow, Future Jesse.


Kicking out something, alright

It's already the 5th and I'm just now getting around to posting what I wore for New Year's Eve. We ended up going to three different parties - from Queens to Brooklyn.

dress/Buffalo Exchange (Chelsea)
tights/American Apparel
shoes/my friend Suzanne!
(who doesn't have a blog but should)
NYE light-up headband/sweatshop

I am pretty sure that when I said my resolution for 2012 was to kick out the jams, I didn't mean "be really congested and sick the first week and lay around watching episodes of Trailer Park Boys". But you take what life gives you. You make lemonades out of lemons. You get what you get and you don't get upset.

Anyway, in the near future I hope to have a few things for you -- an overview of "no animal testing" logos and what they mean and how vegans keep warm in the winter.

And with that I leave you with Bubbles explaining why he loves flea markets (warning of f-bombs):