What happened to me on the subway - the salmon story

So, there I am on the subway this morning, and there is a group on the other end of the car. They have a group leader guy speaking to them but also the rest of the subway car - he's projecting pretty loudly. There are a bunch of people sitting around him and a bunch of people standing, hanging onto the subway poles, listening. It's clearly a religious group because they keep mentioning rabbis, donations and Hebrew at various points. (This isn't a commentary on any religion - just that it might be a known story.)


And the group leader starts to tell this story. It's about a prince who loves salmon. Long story short, there is a 6' speaking salmon who knows this about the prince and is so happy the prince loves salmon, even up until the point that he's caught by a fisherman and laid in front of the prince. The prince is laying out exactly how he loves salmon (food preparation techniques) and the salmon finally realizes what's going on. His dying words to the prince are:  "You don't love salmon. You love yourself."


At this point I'm thinking that there is a surprisingly good message here. Wow, what a fully compassionate story to be steeped in religion and told on the subway, right? I was impressed with its radical compassion. And that's where it gets weird. The rest of the story is about the "hierarchies" of being. Inanimate objects. Plants. Animals. Humans. (Personally, I would argue humans are animals but whatever.) And how it's okay for humans to use the things "underneath" them. It's okay to eat salmon as long as you're doing something useful with your life. You are then - get this - "elevating the salmon" to a higher level.

That turn in the dialogue floored me. I don't know why. We live in a culture where people use animals for their own perceived needs with little thought to the animals' being every day. There are many reasons society (and people, individually) use to justify this every day. Maybe this story floored me because it came so close to having respect and understanding of non-human beings and yet managed to make the narrative about why it's okay to use them. That whole story seemed to be built to justify that, which in itself is crazy to me. That using other beings is such a conflicted moral issue that this story needed to be created to justify it.

I just wanted to share the experience because I struggle with people's perspectives on this issue. It is really strange to have a position that I personally feel is rooted in compassion but I'm aware my perspective seems to be so out of touch to so many people. Thoughts? 


How I am surviving winter

Winter is officially kicking my ass. Work is busy. I have worn the same street salt-encrusted rubber ankle boots for months now due to snow and ice and the necessity to layer socks for warmth. This morning I actually surprised myself while peeling off layers in my office - I'd forgotten half the layers I had on. "Oh, I had another scarf on? And this vest? And this is what I'm wearing today? Delightful!" You know what's cool? Being inside. And you know what's even cooler? Summer.

Vaute couture
^ Vaute Couture Emily in Luxe
^ Baggu leopard print duck bag ^
^ Maggie's Organics leggings ^
^ REI socks ^
^ sweatshop rubber boots ^

So, this is what I'm doing to deal with winter:

  • Wearing warm coats. Vegans don't do wool or down so until recently coat selections has been pretty limited, especially if you're hoping for decent labor standards. Not surprisingly my go-to is Vaute Couture - they are made in the USA and all vegan. Leanne researches and creates her own fabrics as well. Some of the coats are warmer than others so if you have the opportunity to try them on, you should do so! I have a first season Vaute Coat, an Emily in Black Luxe and a Lori in dark blue (it's the sample). My Vaute and Emily are really warm. I also have a few Spiewaks, including a Sloan - Spiewak makes some vegan options and are mid-weight warm but they don't have any positive labor standards (written about here). However, I still own them so I still wear them to get use out of them. 

  • Wearing warm socks. This is the first year that I've fully understood that cotton is not really your friend in winter. My boyfriend (also vegan) had already been through the ordeal that is vegan-friendly performance wear sock shopping at REI so he helped me sock for socks. (Kidding, it's not an ordeal or that hard if you can read.) And all of those heavy-weight vegan socks are...synthetic. Not cotton. Apparently cotton can get damp and retain cold. It's not wicking. REI has a few gray-blend and green-blend hiking socks that are pretty toasty -- and made in the USA. Unfortunately no black goth hiking socks, though. Yet.

  • Wearing warm under layers. Here is another area where cotton is not really your friend. This year I invested in some shirt and long-johns under layers from Jockey. I had heard (I think in one of the interviews around that t-shirt stories project) that Jockey was striving for decent labor standards and doing a decent job. Their labor info is here. I got black, black and black. If you get some of these, don't be so desperate to wear them that you don't wash them first and then accidentally dye your legs...and then uh, sit on your white toilet seat and transfer dye to it as well.

  • Moisturizing. I am not some basic bitch who is going to tell you to drink water. I am a basic bitch who is going to gush over hand cream. Lush's Dream Cream. Vegan. Not tested on animals. It's why I'm still alive at the end of February. 

Also, eating a lot of carbs and chocolate. Are you guys still alive? How are you doing?


Petit Vour January Beauty Box Review

Keeping up with my tardiness habit - here is my review of January's Petit Vour beauty box, one month behind. This one was edited by My Kind of Life. I do follow that blog but all I remember about it is 1) I have a tote bag featuring the blog name given to me by the blog's author at last year's Vida Vegan Con and 2) she told us she was a model. I think I've also read some body acceptance articles by the blog's author on Mind Body Green before I had to unsubscribe because of their pesudo-science articles and their daily listcicles about how to improve your life. That said, I've always gotten a good vibe from My Kind of Life's blog! As always, I buy the box so this review is not tainted by freebie-bias.


EVOLVh SmartStart Leave-in Conditioner: Didn't notice a major difference in my hair when I used this but I'm all for any efforts towards extra conditioning, especially in this weather. I also have shampoo by the same brand and it's fine.

Modern Minerals Eye Shadow: I only really wear eye shadow to provide a base for my eye liner (so it's not in direct contact with skin when I open my eyes because it smudges more when that happens - and I don't love most primers out there). So I only wear neutral colors for the most part and I was kind of bummed to see all this pink sparkle. But it goes on pretty understated and I actually really ended up liking it. I didn't feel like I had pink eye shadow on and I liked the feel of it. It's a little darker than I'd like for my entire eyelid so I'm guessing I just have to use this in places where I want a slightly darker color.

RawSkinCeuticals Cheek Creme: I'm always excited to try cream blush. It's my jam. (Cream blush and tinted lip balm.) They were not kidding with the instructions to use just a little because it's very potent. I thought the consistency of this one was a little clay-like (you really need to use a tiny amount and blend like hell or it's too opaque) so I wasn't surprised to find zinc high up in the ingredients list. ('Sup, Zinka and Surf Fetish-era flashbacks.) It's staying power is better than more transparent cream blushes but not sure it's worth the hard application. My boyfriend was like, "What the hell is on your face?" with this one but to be fair, he says that about a lot of things I put on my face and he hates lipstick. This is a little too lilac-based for me color-wise but still usable. 

100% Pure French Lavender Hand Buttercream: Totally suitable heavier lotion but absorbs well --- also smells like lavender. Thumbs up. Good for winter, for sure.

Overview: I'm not head over heels about the eye shadow or cheek creme but I like them enough that I'll use them. Like the moisturizer and I go through moisturizer like crazy so that's always useful. I can take or leave the leave-in conditioner but I'll use it.


Mending: it doesn't suck as hard as I thought

I'm not the craftiest person out there so I hesitate to do my own mending. I know how to thread a needle and I have a sewing machine but have bad flashbacks of fighting with bobbin-winding so I never use it. Recently I cleaned out my office organization boxes and got all my hand-sewing and jewelry stuff in the same spot and knowing where it all was made it hard to make mending excuses. I watched Gilmore Girls on Netflix while mending so fueled by my hate of Loreleis, I actually managed to fix so stuff.  (Stars Hollow hate watch.) Success!


^ the challengers ^

1) cat nail-made hole in snake print shirt
2) broken bracelet
3) too small skirt needs button moved


^ the offending cat, Olivia ^


^ fixed a broken bracelet by attaching a new jump ring ^


^ moved a button over an inch to make this skirt fit me ^


^ using a sewing book diagram, did a really sloppy job darning ^

Super professional? No. Free and DIY? Yes.