Sunday, August 31, 2014

Gardein Chipotle Black Bean Burgers!!

I don't eat much processed food for two reasons, health and money. I feel best eating real food, and most processed vegan, especially organic is way out of my range. But about once a month, I let myself have some kind of treat, especially if I spot a sale. I do enjoy having something easy in the freezer for those times when cooking just isn't going to happen.
Well, I noticed a sale on Gardein products awhile ago, and decided to try the Chipotle Black Bean Burgers. That flavor was new to me, and I was surprised to see that they are gluten free, and also the ingredients aren't too funky.
When I decided to have one for dinner, I was impressed to see that there are whole black beans, and pieces of red pepper, and corn. I cooked mine in the oven, and it was quick and easy as convenience food should be. I stuffed my burger in a pita with some shredded romaine lettuce, and some Just Mayo mixed with some hot sauce. Wow, it was beyond my expectations. I've had other Gardein products so I knew I wouldn't be disappointed, but wow, these were everything I've ever wanted my homemade black bean burgers to be, and more. I love the pop of corn kernels  in veggie burgers, especially with the flavor of chipotle. I am a spice fan, so I didn't find these spicy, I found them to be more smoky. And they were a great texture, crispy but no too crispy on the outside, and soft but definitely not mushy on the inside. They are a little bit oilier than some other veggie burgers, but again, it is a treat, so to me not that big of a deal. It would be great with tomato and avocado, and if you were feeling really flush, some Daiya  pepperjack  cheese. But as I said, it was delicious in a more basic presentation as well.
All in all I think this burger is great to have on hand. It tastes great, and it's a nice balance of being not to healthy, but also not to healthy. And I know I will never make a black bean burger this good myself, so it's great to have this choice. And I think if you know a meat eater who is a fan of tex- mex  flavors, I think this would impress. You can't deny good flavor, and these burgers aren't trying to be meat, they are proud to represent the humble black bean.
Again I think it is important to support companies like Gardein, because they are making some delicious vegan foods, that just plain taste good, vegan or not. And at this point the vegan choices need to appeal to non- vegans in order to save animals. I think Gardein is doing that. This burger had bold flavor, and it was juicy in a way that other vegan burgers are not.
If you are looking for a great meatless option for Labor day, I say give these a try. The instructions say they are great for grilling, and they are great in an oven if you get rained out!

Friday, August 29, 2014

I Wanna Be Like Mike

I love those moments in life where you unexpectedly discover someone who is so amazing you can hardly believe you haven't heard of this person before. I had one of those moments two days ago. It was a mundane day of cleaning my apartment, and I found a video on YouTube to listen to. It was an interview on The Breakfast club, which is a radio program on a radio station, which is Power 105.5 in New York if anyone is interested. Anyway, the guest was someone named Killer Mike, who I had never heard of before. Well, my mind was blown. Killer Mike is a rapper, and his real name is Michael Bender, and he calls himself Killer Mike, because he kills the mike as in microphone obviously. Anyway they were discussing the events in Ferguson, MO and this man blew my mind with his very intelligent thoughts, and his feelings on how to change things. What was the most interesting to me was that he said he is a proud member of the NRA and I still like him! I don't mean to offend, but  I am not a fan of guns, and most people that I have seen who are pro gun types really piss me off. So that was also a cool reminder to myself that we are all individuals! Anyway, the interview is about thirty minutes, if you want to hear a really positive approach to fixing things, and if you agree that racism needs to STOP, I suggest looking this interview up. His father was a police officer, and I believe he said his cousin is a police officer currently, so he is actually more pro police than I am!
What was even more awesome was the same day that I saw him on The Breakfast Club, I started nerding out and looking up everything I could on him, and I came across a clip of him on a Fox news show talking about Ferguson! I can't imagine myself ever choosing to watch anything Fox news related. I think I'm somewhat allergic. The people remind me of bullies who never grew out of it, and why do they always yell? Anyway, wow it was amazing.
And as an added bonus, I found some of his music, and wow he is amazing. I have always loved rap music, and I don't think some of these guys and gals get the credit they deserve for how damn smart they are. I'm not really talking about the typical top 40 music, like everything else I;m talking less mainstream, that's where you find the smarts! I like his style of rap, and I like that I can feel his emotions in his songs. It is very real and raw in the best possible way.
Please look this guy up. He's been around for awhile, I am just really late to the show. I want Killer Mike in some position of power. We need to start solving issues as human beings. He spoke of us losing empathy as human beings, and I feel like enough of us feel that way also that we should be able to change something, right?
Please find his interviews, he is getting a lot of support on social media, so hopefully he is going to get more and more exposure on mainstream media. Lets get some thoughtful, logical, and most important, caring opinions out there, and actually change things.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Warning: Venting Ahead, Proceed with Caution

For as long as I can remember, the powers that be push the Christmas season down our throats pretty much as soon as Halloween is over. Now last year I noticed a few stores just said screw it let's go for the gusto, and put out Christmas stuff at the same time as Halloween. But let me tell you something, we have reached an all time low people. On Tuesday when I was at the grooming shop, my boss had some home shopping network type show on as she does, and they had a whole Christmas scene set up and they were hawking Christmas stuff! I seriously almost had a heart attack. And Maureen (the owner) was so  calm about it, and when I expressed shock, she seemed shocked that I was shocked.
I have accepted that we are over consumers, and I have felt for awhile that we pay no attention to the moment, but COME ON! It is still August for the love!!! And the worst part is that they were hawking decorations for outside and inside the home. At a certain point doesn't everyone just have Christmas stuff for the home? Even I have some crap, and I'm not even that much into buying Christmas "stuff"! It's not as if  we outgrow decorations, or they go out of style right? Santa is Santa, Baby Jesus is Baby Jesus, Rudolph is Rudolph, and so on and so forth. I am so disgusted, and if I see Christmas candy before Halloween candy, heads are going to roll!
I also think it's hilarious that Christmas is a religious holiday, yet crap is being pimped out in August. Jesus is so proud of his little angels right now. ( eye roll, tooth suck)
Will people ever just have enough? Will we ever take a second to appreciate a moment? Will the selfie  trend ever die? So many questions.
Off to another amazing morning with Robin. It is so cute to see his little face, and I can see the fear, and when he chooses to be brave, it's the sweetest thing. He sometimes chooses to be in the same room as me, like when I'm in the kitchen cooking, and he will keep his distance, but watch every move I make. I cannot recommend taking in a wild kitten enough. I know there are tons out there. It is very little work, with a huge reward!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Where the H am I going with this Thing?

Where am I going with this blog? I ask myself that every day. And I still don't have an answer. Every single vegan blog I read has beautiful pictures, and most have delicious recipes. That was what I thought my blog was going to be like also. Obviously that is not the case with my blog. I was starting to get that dorky feeling again, and starting to think why am I even doing this. But yesterday I was thinking about it when I walked to work, and I realized that I don't have to go anywhere with my blog, and I don't have to have a plan or a storyline, it's a blog. And everyone is different, and everyone is on a different journey.
My journey is currently very lonely. I have been blessed in my life in that I have always been able to find some kind of connection with someone pretty much everywhere I have lived, except now. And while by nature I'm very much of an introvert, I've come to realize the value of connecting with other like minded people. Truth be told I cry more than I would ever admit to anyone, wondering how I ended up here. But sitting in front of my laptop and writing/venting/ranting about what I'm feeling about whatever I'm feeling has been very therapeutic for me. There are days where I feel physically lighter after I'm done ranting. So this blog is my friend, and my therapy right now. I also realized yesterday that I might even help someone. Weirder things have happened in life.
Maybe giving some of my tips I've learned along the way to be earth friendly and have a non toxic life on the cheap will help someone else. I know that I used to let money stop me from healthier things, until I learned that life isn't so black and white, there is this whole amazing grey area! So now I might still live below the poverty line, but I'm non toxic and as organic as possible! So maybe someone else will find that useful.
So for the time being, my blog is my therapy, and I think making myself continue even though I have so many doubts, and no pretty pictures, is helping me more than any therapist I've ever been to.
Small kitten update: Robin is becoming more open to me. This morning I got a few full body pets, including the tail! He is a big fan of his head being rubbed. It continues to be very heartwarming, and I am so happy that he is safe.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tales of Dry Brushing and A Kitten

I have been dry brushing my skin on and off for well over three years, and very consistently for about the last year and a half. I first heard about dry brushing from the amazing Kris Carr.
If you have never heard of it, I'll give you the CliffsNotes version. Dry brushing is a technique of exfoliating skin using a natural bristle brush. However those can be pricey, so I bought two organic shower mitts that work wonders, and were much more affordable, and can be washed very easily. You start at your ankles, making circular motions towards your heart. Dry brushing has a myriad of health benefits that include increasing circulation, shed dead skin cells, unclogging clogged pores, and helping release toxins from your skin which is by the way our largest organ!
Once again this was something that I thought I couldn't afford to do, as some of the brushes suggested are a little too pricey for this girl. But I feel that I am getting results using my method as well. Truth be known, I have also used a dry washcloth also, and continue to use a dry cloth to do my face. I dry brush three to four times a week, however some people insist it should be every day. Truth be told, I don't shower every day, and sometimes I don't have the extra time, so I find three to four times works for me. And boy have I seen results! Moving from the mild weather of Seattle, Wa. to the much harsher east coast temperament did a number on my skin. Especially in the winter! And I was noticing some lumpiness on my thigh area that looked like it could possibly turn into the dreaded c word! ( cellulite) ha. I feel like my skin not only looks softer, but it feels so soft! And I remember about a month after I had started dry brushing, my thighs seemed smoother. And it kind of helped set the stage for stepping up my eating and fitness game. I really recommend it. I would not still be dry brushing if I didn't notice a change. And I notice a difference in how my skin looks and also I feel more sluggish if I fall off the wagon. It is recommended that you brush for ten to fifteen minutes, which I do take the extra time on my detox bath days, but on a normal day, I spend maybe five minutes. It is really worth it, and you don't have to invest tons of money on a brush, and you don't have to invest a ton of time on days when you are rushed. You do want to do this before you shower, so you can wash away all the dead skin and funk you've just brushed up. As I said I only gave the CliffsNotes  version of the benefits, if you do a quick Google search, you will be amazed at how beneficial and healing dry brushing is.
And because I know that the world is waiting with baited breath, Robin the kitten rubbed against my leg before breakfast, and let me rub his head, and I got in a few more full body pets. So we are making progress, and trust is slowly being built! It feels amazing and it has been really wonderful to witness and be a part of. For as long as I can remember, animals are always able to lift my spirits when humans have broken them. I think overall Robin is pretty thrilled with life being indoors, and having food and friends!

Monday, August 25, 2014

So Fresh and so Clean Clean

So I had my detox, rejuvenate day yesterday. I do feel better, and darling my skin looks gorge, but emotionally I am still feeling a little blue. Considering the ugliness of the city I live in, and how homesick I am for anywhere other than here, a little blue is not bad.
I want to talk about the detox bath, and how you can detox and pamper yourself without having to find a lot of  fancy, expensive specialty items. As a side note, I totally appreciate that there are vegan companies that make what I'm sure are some amazing products, however they are so far out of my budget that I personally can't use them. But you don't have to look gray and toxic my friends, Beauty and pampering are now for everyone! My bath was 3 tablespoons of powdered ginger, which I buy in bulk at the local co-op, I buy about one or two dollars worth, and it lasts me quite awhile. Then I added a handful of Miracle sea salts, which I also got at the co-op for under two dollars. I sat in the tub and sweated out those toxins for about twenty or thirty minutes. When I got out of the tub my face was so red, it looked like I had just run a ten mile marathon!! I let myself cool off for awhile, then slathered myself with coconut oil. Today my skin feels so amazing! Over the winter I came down with a little cold, and I stumbled across an article about ginger baths, and I feel like it helped me get rid of my cold much faster, and I have been taking one a week ever since. I feel like it helps keep me on the right path. Especially yesterday, I needed to take that time to do some self care and love. And to keep myself as healthy as possible. The way I see it, I'm struggling emotionally, so my body has to step up a little to get us over this hump. The worst is when you are struggling both physically and emotionally, and you just are really stuck. I know, I have been there.
I hope my little cheapie tips help someone. It makes me very angry that certain organic non-toxic things are so freaking expensive. So I hope people like me know that we can still pamper and feel good, which helps us do good!
As a little p.s. you can use Epsom salts if you can't find the Miracle sea salts. I use Epsom salts often and you feel just as good.
I was listening to a podcast yesterday morning, and I heard a quote that I wanted to share. " What happened in Ferguson didn't just happen to Ferguson, It happened to America". I could not agree more, and I think those of us who believe in equality for all need to let it be known that Racism is just not allowed anymore.

Sunday, August 24, 2014


I am still feeling emotionally drained, as I was already feeling blue, and working in a toxic environment on Friday night kind of did me in. I allowed myself to really just wallow in my feelings yesterday, a lot of crying, and general all of the things that go along with wallowing. Today is the day that I plan on working to pull myself  out of the funk. I don't like it. I like the sun to much to be in such a dark place.
Since I am still feeling all that positive, I will keep this post rather short, and hopefully sweet, because I have a great development in my feline family! So Friday marked a week since Robin has been roaming freely in my apartment, and while all is well on the feline front, Robin is still not that into me, which I understand his fear. However, about an hour ago he let me pet his head two times. And he didn't run away afterwards! He just kind of backed away a little bit. So that made me feel really great, like I'm slowly earning his trust. Overall this has been a wonderful experience, and I am so glad that I was able to save him. Humans could really learn a lot about co-existing from animals.
Today is my detox, recharge day, I am going to pull myself out of this funk one way or another!
I hope you're able to do something you find rejuvenating today!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Non-Toxic Calgon Take me Away!

Have you ever had one of those days where you just can't shake the blues, and the universe seems to take a certain amount of joy in messing with you? Well I have had one of those weeks. I have had a couple of things happen which while not horrible tragedies, they kicked me down a bit. And not really having any kind of support system has made things a bit more challenging.
What gets to me the most is that along with the couple of bad things, I did have one personal goal that I met, and it pulled me out of my funk, but it didn't really sustain me, because I had no one to celebrate with, no one who would say something encouraging.
I tend to hold my true feelings very much to myself, especially about certain more painful parts of my past. I think that a lot of people sometimes hold in their sad feelings for various reasons, even people who have a support system. So for the most part, I'm okay keeping my sad feelings inside, what is kind of killing me is not knowing one person who will say anything nice about any accomplishment I might have made.
I guess this reminds me of one of my very early posts where I wrote about The Shame of Happiness. I feel ashamed for doing anything to take care of myself, or anything in the pursuit of happiness. It can be challenging for me, as I have been known to douse my feelings with alcohol and nicotine in the past, and sometimes I do get that screw it feeling. I haven't even touched alcohol in months, and I don't even want to drink, but damn at least a couple of beers would celebrate with me.
I have to work at my serving slop job tonight and I can very safely say that it will be an energy drain. But I've already planned a detox weekend. I plan on taking a detox bath with ginger and Epsom salts, which by the way is amazing if anyone is curious. You can use freshly grated ginger, or powdered ginger, I use 1/4 cup of freshly grated, and 2or 3 tablespoons of powdered. And I use about a handful of Epsom salts. If you feel a little something coming on, it will really help. And, your skin will feel so amazing I promise. It's a cheap healthy way to pamper yourself. In addition to my bath, I will be making my favorite face mask involving a turmeric, spirulina paste. I had some powdered spirulina that I just could not tolerate the taste in my smoothies, and I didn't want to waste it so I found a great recipe for a mask, and I love it! It is a very scary color when on your face, but it makes your face glow! And I am going to do lots of yoga, and playing with kitties, maybe I'll even get Robin to let me touch him! HaHa.
I hope that I am able to reclaim my happiness, and I hope I can learn to be stronger, and not let negativity bring me down. And today I am going to compliment and encourage anyone I can today. We all need a high five every now and then.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

More Reasons that Animals Rule, and People Drool

Yesterday marked a week since I grabbed Robin and brought him inside. I have to be honest, when my neighbor said that she couldn't take him, I was feeling very stressed and overwhelmed, and scared. And if I am being 100% I was a little pissed too, although I wasn't sure who I was pissed at!
Well, a week later I still feel a little overwhelmed, but the stress and irritation for the most part are gone. And I have no one to thank except my lovely cats. Robin is so smart, teaching himself to use the litter box, and he is so brave to face this hostile environment all alone! And my adult kitties have gotten over themselves, and there has even been a little bit of play here and there, so all is good in my cat hood.
I feel very warmhearted about this experience because seriously, that first morning was very scary, and I wondered if my cats would ever warm up. And I've come to realize that I also needed this experience as I have become a much more cynical person, and I very much needed this positive experience, and a chance to see kindness, and acceptance.
In my opinion the human race has become less and less kind, and less and less sensitive, and I happen to live in a city that is abnormally insensitive, and intolerant, and it really has had a negative effect on my attitude towards people, and I have to really fight to have any optimism. And to me, that is a very dark place to be. So once again, how amazing are animals!
And as a sidenote, I am living proof that you can have multiple animals in a home, and if you are willing to accept that you will have to be doing some extra scooping, and vacuuming you can still have a clean and fresh smelling home. And, you don't have to use fake smelly, harsh toxic cleaners either, I promise.  You do need to have a constant supply of lint rollers on hand for clothes, as most of mine come out of the dryer somewhat furry. Ha ha.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Not just for the Bourgeois

So I have been loosely following the Raw till 4 lifestyle, and I do feel great! And I do feel like my body responds very well to a high fruit diet. On those end of the week days when I'm running low on fresh produce, I notice a difference in my energy levels when I haven't eaten fresh fruit for breakfast.
My dinners vary in what I eat, but needless to say my diet is 95 percent unprocessed foods. Because of my economic status, and also my love of cooking, that has been the way I've eaten for years. That is one positive thing about being on the underpaid side of life, eating out, or premade is just really not an option. This summer I have been eating a lot of Bibimbap, and lots of chopped style salads. For the most part, my dinner is often at least half raw also. It has been pretty easy so far. In the past when I would look into a more Raw lifestyle, it seemed very intimidating to say the least. Some of the videos I have seen on YouTube seem to devote every minute to either eating, or preparing food. For me, it has always seemed unrealistic, and not only that, but as someone who comes from an eating disordered past, I am not going back to a place ruled by food. Another issue I had was of course finances. I cannot afford to buy mass quantities of organic produce. I live in a city that doesn't even have a farmers market! And the few farm stands I've come  across use pesticides. In terms of organic, I don't have the luxury of buying all organic, however I definitely try my best to follow the dirty dozen. So I say all of that to say that I have to make a pound of organic strawberries last for at least two meals, or two to three smoothies. So for all of those reasons I always thought of a raw diet as not realistic, and like many things in life, not for us poors.
Well thanks to Fit on Raw, and Freelee the Banana Girl, two awesome YouTube channels, I learned that I too can eat Raw foods, and it just felt more comforting to have the option of eating a cooked dinner, especially here on the east coast,because, well winter. I discovered both channels around the same time, and it was within that same week that I started doing Raw till 4. Both channels are inspiring, and are great examples of the lifestyle, as they both glow with health, which just radiates a certain natural beauty that no pill, lotion or surgery could ever give you. Neither one of them use a dehydrator, and they don't have such high maintenance eating/preparing food habits.
In the end, to sum up my babbling, I am so happy that through the interwebz I learned this new lifestyle, and a relaxed way of looking at it. It doesn't always have to be all or nothing. Sometimes I can't eat Raw till 4, sometimes I eat Earth Balance cheddar squares for lunch, but I am a)doing my best and b)eating more fruit at a time than I have ever the majority of the time and I feel great!
We are all different, and so a high carb diet may not work for everyone, I am certainly no where near being a doctor. But a lesson I have learned is whatever kind of vegan someone needs to be, it is attainable. There is information for anyone, any income, and any dietary restrictions. There is no reason to feel obsessive about food. And when you find what clicks with your body, well it is pretty amazing!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Reality Check

With the brutal murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, I just want to remind anyone who is living someplace liberal, and multicultered, that racism to that extant is so alive that it is sickening. I know because I see it every day of my life, and if you would have told me four years ago that in 2014 there were places that you could spew out hate in public, and it is accepted, and the majority agree.
I think that as a vegan, I mostly focus my attention to making the world a better place for animals, and will always be what is most important to me. But I cannot sit back and not say anything about this topic. This boy was UNARMED AND HOLDING HIS HANDS UP IN THE UNIVERSAL SIGN OF SURRENDER! He had his whole life ahead of him, and because of the color of his skin he will not get the chance to grow old. I do agree that this excessive use of insane weapons is a serious issue that needs to be dealt with, but in this particular case lets not confuse the issue, he is not dead for any other reason than the color of his skin.
I feel very strongly that those of us who are not racist, no matter what the color of our skin need to be speaking up and letting people with this mentality know that this is not accepted. The cop who did this is on PAID LEAVE. As far as I am concerned this is a murder case. There are no excuses, but it is going to get a political spin, and we as a nation will have already moved on.
We really can't move on. It is 2014 and white people are still using the n word, and African Americans are being murdered by policemen who are sworn in to protect and serve.
Please believe me when I say that although it is 2014, there is still so much work to be done to end racism. At least with Donald Sterling that was appalling, but he was just a racist rich old man. When cops are racist, people are getting murdered, or getting away with murder as in the case of George Zimmerman.
To end on a lighter note, although Robin the kitten is still scared of me, almost all hissing has stopped, and for the most part, it's all one happy feline family. I couldn't be more proud, and I think we humans have a lot of nerve thinking we are smarter or better than animals. And we are no where near as kind.
Have an open hearted kind day!!!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Dr. Bronner's for the Win

If you are interested in cleaning your house with vinegar, but you still feel that you need soap, may I suggest you try Dr. Bronner's castile soap? It comes in different scents, and my favorite is rose, and also lavender. It is made with various oils, including coconut and hemp oils. The scent is all natural, and it really is so soothing, and it balances out the scent of the vinegar. I also use a vinegar, baking soda, Dr. Bronner's mix to do my laundry.
It is a great value because a little dab will do you. It is very concentrated, so you don't have to add much. I bought the smallest bottle that the co-op had, it is pretty much a travel size bottle. That was two weeks ago, and I still have over half of it left, and I use it often.
I know that most stores in my area that do sell it sell the full size bottles for around seven to nine dollars, depending on where you go. The full size bottle lasts a very long time. I'm talking six months or so, so it is definitely a great deal, much cheaper than most other eco friendly cleaners. Not to mention now that companies have caught on that there are people who don't want all the toxins, there is a lot of green washing going on, so I don't always trust the "earth friendly" cleaning section of most grocery's. Not to mention that the cost of organic and earth friendly have certainly not gone down as was promised. So for these reasons and more I make my own stuff and I love it. Dr. Bronner is a company that has been making this product since really the Eighteen Hundreds, but it became marketed and sold in 1948! So way before eco friendly, organic, non-toxic, etc. were trendy ways to make more money.
It also takes stains of the hairball variety out of carpets! There are a million ways to use it. I've used it as a body wash, you can use it to wash pets hair, human hair, it really goes on and on. If you check out the website you will be amazed.
I think we all have a responsibility to take care of the earth, but we all don't have the funds to buy all of the products out there, so this is a way to be gentle on the earth and yourself.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

More Peace than War

Well, things are turning around in my crazy cat life. When I got home on Friday, I noticed that my bedroom door was open and clearly cats had been going back and forth, and no one seemed worse for the wear. The kitten would timidly come in the living room, get hissed at and go back into the bedroom. I felt so relieved that it was just normal hissing, and that no one sounded like a deranged wild beast out for blood. I decided to leave the door open while I went to my serving slop job, and I was so nervous, but when I came home once again everything was fine. No one has actually warmed up to the kitten yet, but things seem to be progressing as they should from everything that I have read.
The kitten is still desperately afraid of me. It runs for cover when I  come in the room. It is normal according to the webz. What can I expect, I did grab it, bring it into a house against it's will, and then let it get terrorized by a psycho. I sound like a real dick! I see it watching me when I'm petting everyone else, so I think that we have hope, but like most things it will take time. I was mostly concerned with the feline interaction, so as long as that is progressing, I am beyond happy. And I just have to keep mentioning that this kitten litter box trained itself! And I am so amazed. because it has only been five days since I brought it inside! I know I'm preaching to the choir when I say this, but animals are AMAZING!!!!!
Once again, the fact that pet stores and pet breeders exist is infuriating to me. This beautiful little kitten was unwanted, roaming these mean streets alone! And there are millions more where this one came from.
I've decided to name the kitten Robin. It seems fitting, as Robin Williams loved all animals, and this kitten has had a rough start in life, as did Robin Williams, and I plan on giving it a wonderful life, hopefully full of kitty laughter.
Have a great day, and hug an animal!!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Three Ring Circus

So like I was talking about yesterday there are so many animals who need homes. But not just animals in shelters. In my neighborhood, there are at least five homeless kitties that I feed. I spoke of Al, he is the OG.  Well, about two weeks ago I saw a kitten, no more than two or three weeks on my deck. It was very scared of me, and it would show up with Al to eat. My goal became to save this kitten. So in the meantime, I talked to one of my neighbors who saved a lost kitten herself last summer, and is a big animal lover. She told me she would take the kitten if I could get it. Well, it took two weeks but I finally gained the kittens trust two days ago, and I grabbed it and got it inside. Much to my surprise Stevie, my mama kittie went insane and tried to kick this kittens ass! It was total chaos until I got the kitten barricaded in my bedroom. Needless to say the kitten absolutely hates me. I feel so bad that this little thing is so traumatized.
Well, guess what? My neighbor told me yesterday that her hubby put the kibosh on her plans to take the kitty. ( Men! ) So I do not know what to do. I've been researching online how to get adult cats to accept kittens, and I have been trying but the guttural growls that are coming from Stevie tell me that she is not into acceptance. I have been taking Dylan into my room because he is so sweet, and through the years he is always okay with any cat I have ever brought home. This poor kitten is so hungry for the company of a cat  that it immediately starts purring, the problem is Dylan kind of has no interest. And the kitten still is giving me the stink eye and hissing if I come close. The good news is that it is eating and drinking, and also using the litter box! Which by the way, is very impressive to me as no one showed it what to do. Animals are so smart! Anyway I just don't know what to do. I'm not opposed to keeping it, but I don't want it to get beaten up. It's too little. But I feel like I am imprisoning it by keeping it in my room. I know I can take it a shelter, but that is not really the perfect choice either. I feel like it was happier outside, at least grumpy old Al played with it.
I have the weekend off, so I guess I am going to try to see if I can get my kitties to be civil. I told Stevie that she should be nicer, as she was living under a van, and what if Dylan had treated her that way?
If anyone has any experience or ideas please let me know as I am struggling and I don't know what to do. And whatever I do, I want this kitten to have a better life than it would have had outside.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Hashtag Shelters

This is my sixth week working at the grooming shop. I still enjoy it, and it definitely beats serving slop to people for three dollars an hour, I also have learned that the grooming business is not for me.
I feel sad because I have maybe washed two dogs who were just totally mixed and purchased at a shelter. And they keep coming in. I know someone who is purchasing a maine coon kitten from a breeder. What the hell! I am out of the loop because seriously I did not even know that there were cat breeders! I know of one cat shelter here that is bordering on hoarder status because not enough people are adopting. This seriously has got to stop.
I don't know how we can shift the perspective, and where do you even start? I seriously think that some people feel like it's a status thing to have a fancy little dog. That going to a shelter is akin to god forbid shopping at a thrift store.
I know I just talked about my love of stray/ shelter animals, but I think that it needs to be talked about everyday. Why do breeders even still exist? I seriously do not understand. I'm sure that anyone who would read a vegan blog feels as strongly, but we have to figure out a way to get to the masses. Either that or maybe pool together some money for lottery tickets and win millions and start buying houses to give these sweet animals someplace to live that isn't a cage.
I know that Robin Williams was an animal lover, and also a vegan. His death has made me feel sad and I can't quite shake it, so in his honor brag about a shelter pet to someone hell bent on fancy dogs. I do everyday. I keep hoping that one of these days I convince Maureen that although Shelties are pretty cute, so are a ton of dogs that are in shelters.
I will not give up until shelters are the new pet store/breeder, and animal sanctuaries are the new zoo.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Give and Take Hugs

I am still very sad about the death of Robin Williams. It's so sad to me that he was not only loved by the public at large, but he seemed to have a very loving family as well.
I think it also has hit me hard because I really struggled emotionally this past weekend, and I even took an online loneliness quiz, and my score was extreme loneliness. To live the way I've been living since leaving Seattle, with no emotional connections or support is really starting to mess with my head. I have suffered some really hard, sad, and even lonely times in my day, but this really takes the cake. I have always had someone in my life, whether it's a friend, or a co-worker, or sometimes you even meet a stranger on the bus who you connect with, life is awesome that way. But I have lived in this city for four years, and have not made one friend. I do not have one person in this city who I know I could call, and who would really get me, and even care.
I will be fine because although I do fight sadness every day, I also have a plan to get out of this town, and so I have been forcing myself to focus on that, And most importantly, I am not allowing myself to drink alcohol, which I know is not only a depressant, but duh it would cut into saving money. But I understand people who succumb to drink, even if it is just a temporary fix.
I am by no means an expert but I don't think that there is a "cure" for depression, I think it is something that comes and goes, it happens to the rich and the poor, it happens to those who have support, and those who don't. And everyone handles it differently. I do think we need to take a look at what the hell is going into the food we eat, and how have we gotten so removed from real food, and I think that we all have to take responsibility for how we treat one another. When is the last time you talked to someone in person, without looking at your phone? I think we have become slaves to anything distracting, and meanwhile shit is going down all around us, but I guess it's okay as long as I can tweet and instagram it.
If you are feeling lonely, please know that eventually you won't feel lonely, and then maybe you will again, and so on and so forth. Life is an ebb and flow deal. Yesterday I talked to a dear friend from Seattle, and even though in person is always best in my opinion, this was still pretty great. It reminded me that I can and have had friends, and have had people who care about my thoughts and opinions. And it gave me the strength to re-focus on plan buy r.v. / van/ bus and move to Oregon.
In closing of my nonlinear rant, I saw a clip of Robin Williams on Oprah, and he said he wanted people to understand that suicide is a permanent fix for a temporary problem.
We all deal with pain differently, and we all handle the ups and downs differently, and not everyone is great at asking for help, so I vote for compassion compassion compassion. I'm not saying kindness would solve all the worlds problems, but wouldn't it be nice if we tried? It seems like we are willing to try everything else.
Have a wonderful day, and if you need a hug, ask for one, and if you don't need one, then give a hug. Or, if you don't do hugs, give a compliment. Make the world a more cheerful place.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Nanu Nanu

I woke up this morning and first thing I heard was that Robin Williams has committed suicide. I can't even fully describe how I feel. Robin Williams has been in my life one way or another for my whole life, making me laugh, and sometimes cry. I knew that he had some issues with drugs, and alcohol back in the day, but had been clean and sober for many years. I remember a few months ago TMZ (a guilty pleasure) reported that he had gone back into rehab to "keep his sobriety". It's not like you hear about him being out of control or starting problems, so I kind of thought good for him, and didn't really give it another thought. I dated a comedian years ago, and he got the comedy and tragedy faces tattooed on his forearm, and he was definitely very intelligent and hilarious, but he had a dark side as well. There are numerous quotes about how the funniest people are often the saddest, and most damaged. I know for myself I almost always make light of things that deep down are really hurting me, and I rarely let anyone know the extent of my unhappiness. So of course someone as energetic and hilarious as Robin Williams this is unbelievable.
I don't know what we can do to help people, because the bottom line is depression is real, and not everyone wants to be medicated, and quite frankly I myself have many horrible experiences with psychiatrists and medication, and I know a large number of people who are on anti-depressants who are still just so unhappy and miserable, so it's like why are you putting that crap in your body. And I have been saying this forever but this world is not for the sensitive.
I wonder what the suicide rates would be if we all practiced compassion. I wonder what the statistics of drug use and violence would be if we all practiced kindness. When someone famous kills themselves, it gets talked about and talked about, but I notice that we never discuss what can actually be done to make the world a kinder place.
It is so sad to me that someone who worked hard to make us laugh and feel good, felt so little joy himself that he felt he couldn't take this life anymore.
Today I'm grateful for all the laughs Robin Williams has given me through the years. I wish I could have given you a hug and said thank you in person, and told you that you really mattered.
RIP Robin Williams

Monday, August 11, 2014

Earth Balance Vegan Cheddar flavor Squares

Earth Balance has really been making some amazing snacks lately. I was at my local co-op on Saturday stocking up on bulk goods, and on my way to check out I noticed that they are now carrying the Cheddar flavor squares made by Earth Balance! I couldn't resist I grabbed two boxes! Normally I would never buy two of anything on the pricier side, especially something that I've never tried, but I've had so much success with all of the other goodies they make I felt like living on the edge. Well my risk paid off with these amazing crackers! One thing that I really like about all of the Earth Balance snacks I've tried so far is they are not as greasy as the non-vegan versions. It has been a million years since I've had  a Cheese It, or a Nip, but one thing I remember is how greasy they were. I remember that if I ate too many, my stomach would hurt from the grease. The E B cheddar squares look like an it or nip, maybe a little less nuclear orange, but still right away that familiar look is there. And they are crunchy, cheesy and salty, all the things you want in a cheddar square! I thought that the cheddar style chips were my fave so far, but I think the squares have taken over!! They have done such an amazing job of capturing that cheesy flavor, without the weird aftertaste that some vegan cheesy products can have. The Earth Balance snacks are on the pricier side( for me anyways) so it's a treat when I get these, but so far every splurge has been well worth it. Just like with their chips, I feel if you put these squares out in a bowl with some non-vegan peeps, I don't think anyone would think these are vegan. I could not be happier about these snacks, not only for us vegans, but for everyone. I feel that vegan food is becoming so effing delicious, that it is truly getting harder and harder to use taste as an excuse for cruelty.
If you can't find these where you live, if you happen to have a co-op, ask them to carry these. That is what I did. The co-op where I live is pretty good about stocking things that customers ask for. And although there are definitely some ingredients that look scary, I feel that they can't be too bad because natural food co-ops are pretty picky about ingredients.
Even though my gratitude challenge is over, today I am grateful for Earth Balance. Every company who is working hard to make delicious vegan food is really working hard to end cruelty in my opinion and for that I am eternally grateful.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Gold Star for Me

Today is the last day of my twenty -one day challenge to rewire my brain to be happy by recalling three things I'm grateful for every day. I can't say that I feel an overwhelming surge in happiness, but I notice that I do feel a little extra skip in my step as I'm walking to work. So I guess my feeling is that it wasn't some huge change, but more of a little daily nudge towards happiness. The fact that on a daily basis I can think of three things to be grateful for is very humbling. I wonder when it became not okay to be grateful for what we have, when it shifted to never being happy, and always needing more. I feel like the fight and struggle to keep up and get more is causing so much damage. And I've noticed that it's a lot of times people with more possessions that are some of the unhappiest. It must be so frantic constantly trying to have enough, or be enough. And I would imagine empty.
I really recommend this challenge. Especially if your going through any kind of emotional struggle. For me the timing of this challenge was perfect as I am really struggling this month with feelings of deep sadness, and loneliness, and I was struggling. But as day after day went by, and I was able to come up with three things every day it kind of put things into perspective.
Today for the last day of the challenge, I am grateful for 1) clean drinking water 2) the beautiful sun which always cheers me up 3) the fact that not only do I have food to eat, but I have different foods to choose from!!!
If you decide to try this challenge, good luck! It is actually easy and very fulfilling.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Stray Cat Strut

There is a feral cat who lives in my neighborhood who I have been feeding for over two years. He still hisses good morning to me and I have accepted our relationship. I named him Al, as that name is fitting for a grumpy man. Somehow he lived through this horrible winter we had last year. There were days that school was cancelled due to temperatures, not snow! I cried the first time I saw Al this spring. I put food out all winter, but I didn't see him at all, and I wasn't sure who was eating the food. I spent many winter days crying for Al, I just can't imagine being outside. And all I could think was what an awful way to die, freezing and starving to death. So I am just amazed by Al's strength, and amazing will to live, and I am so happy I got to meet him, and that I am able to feed him. And I really miss starting my day off with a hiss when I don't see him! I have thought about trying to get a pet in, but his eyes let me know that he his not afraid to cut me. Al is amazing, and he has as much of a right to live as anyone else, and I am glad that although he won't let me try to find shelter for him, I can at least provide food for him.
Today I am grateful for 1) All of the Als of the world 2) The bodies amazing ability to heal itself  3)All the clean drinking water I want.
Have a great Friday!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

It's a Hard Knock Life

Since I've been working at the grooming shop, I've noticed how very few plain old "mutts" I've washed, and how many "pure bred" dogs I've washed. It seems like they are coming up with more and more combos, like now they are mixing poodles and Shih Tzus and calling them Shih-poo? Don't get me wrong they are so cute I could die, and please goldendoodles had me at hello. But where are the ethics in mixing all these combos, when there are so many homeless animals already. I always ask the shop owner what kind of dogs I'm washing, because growing up I was more of a getting a dog from a shelter kind of girl, so I am not knowledgeable on the fancy expensive dogs. I can think of  maybe five dogs since I've worked there that have been from shelters. The rest have been fancy, bought from wherever you buy such dogs. I don't think puppy mills have gotten much exposure in these parts, because anytime I have mentioned the word, I get a lot of blank stares. I just feel sad because I can't think of a single way that animals haven't suffered because of humans. When I mentioned to the shop owner that I think it's sad to see so many dogs in shelters, her response was "people want what they want, like me, I love Shelties." Well that's fine, but these aren't inanimate objects, these are living things who have feelings and most importantly, THEY MATTER TOO!
I am so over the arrogance of humans, and our need to control everything and make a profit off of everything. I know without a shadow of a doubt that if animals ran things, we would not be treated the way we have treated them.
I know for myself that every single animal I have ever adopted from a shelter has been so awesome, and I have taken in many kitties off of the street, and likewise I have nothing but good things to say. As a matter of fact, one of my kitties I have now, the momma kittie is so loving and sweet that I'm always telling her I can't believe she was homeless and living under a van! I have been blabbing to anyone who will listen about how shelters need help, and shelter animals are amazing, and on and on. I really hope someone hears me and tries. The thought of all these animals in shelters living in cages, and just wanting to make someone happy is heartbreaking. There are people who spend THOUSANDS of dollars on these fancy dogs, and then they are hardly allowed to be dogs, because when you are that expensive, your supposed to be "fancy" even though you are a dog, and you really want to play, and find some butts to sniff.  So that kind of life is probably also just a different kind of cage.
Please spread the positive word if you have had wonderful experiences with pet adoption, whether from a shelter, or the "streets", because it is a message that needs to be spread, and then spread again, and then we have to do some more spreading.
Today I am grateful for 1)perfectly ripe bananas 2)Clean drinking water 3) my mish mash of felines from every walk of life who make me happy.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Beauty Can be Cheap!

I wanted to kind of retouch on what I was going on about yesterday, Minimalism! More specifically using little or no hair and skin products. It has now been easily three or four months since I stopped using traditional shampoo and conditioners. I have been washing my hair with baking soda, which by the way I also use to wash my face, and then I condition my hair with apple cider vinegar diluted with water. My hair has never felt better, and I could be imagining it, but I swear my hair feels thicker! And it is noticeably shinier! It is such a relief to not have to budget shampoo and conditioner into my life. It really used to stress me out when money is so tight, because if you want non-toxic, organic hair and skin products, it does not come cheap. It's unfair in my opinion that organic and non-toxic are luxuries, and us poors have to deal with all the carcinogens. So now I laugh in the face of corporate America and celebrate the diy hippie in me. I cannot recommend using this method enough.
I have also been using coconut oil as a skin moisturizer for almost a year now and I cannot put into words the improvement of my skin. My skin stays soft, even after this past brutal winter that the east coast had. I look for sales, but even when it's not on sale, I spend maybe seven or eight dollars and it lasts me months. It lasts way longer than any lotion I have ever bought.
I think that when you are eating healthy, and giving your body what it needs from the inside, it's easier to give it what it needs on the outside too. I truly think it is unfair that organic everything is so expensive. So it's nice to know these little inexpensive ways to make yourself pretty, or handsome.
Today I am grateful for 1)diy beauty choices 2) clean drinking water 3) the peace and stillness of the early morning.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Veganism = Minimalism

I was thinking about minimalism and veganism and how they go together, and one makes the other easier. When I first started becoming a minimalist, I was a vegetarian, and I was kind of forced to become a minimalist, due to lack of money to buy anything extra. I didn't really even look at it as minimalism, I thought of it as being broke, poor, destitute, they all could have applied at certain points. It wasn't really until I became vegan that I really started thinking about my impact on this world, and that I could try my best to always make kind choices.
I believe that veganism is a compassionate choice, and even if people are vegan solely for health reasons, I think that you naturally start to care more about your impact. Maybe I'm wrong, but I hope I'm right.
I was listening to some news programs over the weekend, and one was talking about different corporations with terrible worker's rights policies, and I am proud to say that I don't go to any of them. If your curious, the places mentioned were Wal-Mart, Burger king, Mcdonalds, and Target. I personally have been boycotting Wal-Mart for years now after hearing a million horrible stories about their practices. As far as I know, there really isn't anything good about Wal-Mart, but hearing that about Target was a little bit of a surprise. I think I've spent money at a Target maybe five times in my whole life, so it's pretty easy for me to cross that company off of my list.
I think if more people wandered into thrift stores they would be amazed! I know that I was. It's hard for me to admit but there was a time where I had tons of clothes, all new, and was constantly buying more clothes, and the thought of used was, well let's just say not really a thought. And I was always trying out new makeup, lotions, shampoos, conditioners,etc. I look at that time as a dark time. I was also heavily into bingeing an purging, and smoking cigarettes, and just unhealthy inside and out. None of that stuff or behavior made me happy, nor did it fill any holes in my heart. I kind of feel that it made more holes in my heart as I made many poor dating choices, so I suffered some broken hearts as well, and just all around nothing good, and I know I was only thinking of myself at the time.
As all of my rants have shown, I am clearly still searching for happiness, but not being such a self absorbed asshole has really helped. I don't have that shaky, sweaty what can I buy, eat, drink, to feel better. I'm being active in my own life, and trying to figure out what I can do to change the things I need to change. And when I do need clothes, I love rocking the thrift store duds. I like knowing that I'm not going to see a million people wearing the same thing. And a thrift store tip I'm sure most people know is go to a thrift store in a "ritzier" part of your city, as it never ceases to amaze me what wealthy people deem as no good.
This post was my fiftieth post which for me is huge. I am braving through the fear of TOTAL DORKINESS! That's really why I babbled on about minimalism, and veganism because for me, those are the two messages I want to spread the most. I think no matter how anyone feels on the topic, it's hard to argue that we need to start cutting down on consumption, and we vote with our dollars more than anything else, so it's important to be making the gentlest, kindest choices possible.
Today I am Grateful for fingers to type with, the beautiful sun that warmed my face yesterday, and the clean water I have access to all day.

Monday, August 4, 2014

This Blog is a Work in Progress

So I wanted to give a little update on my quest to learn more about improving my blog. When I lived in Seattle, I had a plethora of friends who would have easily taught me what I need to learn. Unfortunately, I don't have a plethora of friends where I live now. And as far as the person who I asked awhile ago, he is a person who drinks a lot, and kind of all day, so I don't want to take my laptop to a smoky bar and try to learn something from a half drunk man who I don't even know that well.
So I figured I would teach myself, and that just hasn't worked out yet, mainly because it is summertime. This past winter on the east coast seriously traumatized me, so when the sun is out, I will be on my little deck in the sun, with a book and a big glass of stinging nettle iced tea, not inside trying to teach myself how to upload a "pic". And lately also my mind is very much on coming up with a game plan to move. Actually manifesting a way to move is my number one priority.
Once fall comes, I'm sure I will start becoming more studious. I'm pretty smart, and I do like to learn, and I definitely like to look at pictures of food porn, and I would like to add my own pornographic images to my blog. So probably in about thirty days I will be taking myself back to school so to speak. But I do really appreciate anyone who reads my words with no pictures!
Today I am grateful for 1) summertime vegetables 2) clean drinking water 3) my health.

Sunday, August 3, 2014


I have one more week of my Gratitude challenge. Last week was a very emotionally draining week for me, but man I still had three things to be grateful for every day! I think maybe that can help balance out the rest of the day. I think I'm going to start reminding myself of what I have to be grateful for before I fall asleep, as well as in the a.m.. I think in all my ranting last week, I realized that I don't feel a real balance in my life right now, and last week it was coming to a head and  I felt dangerously close to just drinking my problems away. But the problems don't go away, either does the pain, the problems and the pain actually get worse, your just too out of it and miserable to notice.
I feel today that all I really want to say is that  I am grateful to be grateful. In this moment right now I feel a peace that was lacking in the rest of my days this week. If I weren't able to get a grip, I would be pacing, desperately trying to find a way to fill the void. So today I am lucky to be grateful, and if you have a safe place to call home, and food, and clean drinking water, you have three things to be grateful for yourself.
Here's to focusing on positivity and change!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Grateful to Leave

I read a quote the other day that said three solutions to every problem: Accept it change it or leave it. I feel that definitely is something I need to keep repeating to myself. I cannot accept the attitude of stank in this city, and as much as I want believe change is possible for  anyone I also know that you have to want to change, and I just don't see that happening here. So I have to leave it. I have to get extremely creative in how I can move myself and my fur babies. If it were just me I would have been gone so long ago. I just know that I am at the end of my rope. I truly understand that not everyone is going to feel the way I do about life in general, and we all have different values and beliefs. I feel that I am extremely open minded, and I love learning, and discovering, and changing. As a matter off fact, even in Seattle I knew very few vegans, and it was fine. But I do have a problem with racism and hunting, and a general hatred for anything that isn't typical white bread Christian American. And because my skin happens to be white, random people I don't even know feel that they have a kindred racist spirit and spit their rants onto me, assuming I will be adding to the " discussion". Seriously this has happened when I was doing my laundry. The laundry attendant went on a hate filled rant and she was disgusting! I felt depressed the rest of the day. And really, isn't  having to go to a Laundromat already kind of a day spoiler? I also have various co-workers who feel it's okay to spill their nasty views. It truly is too much for me to handle. The owner of the grooming shop is the only person I have talked to in this city who has not shown any signs of racism, and quite frankly my guard is up even with her, because I have been caught off guard so many times.
It feels like I will never get anywhere on my own personal path to inner peace and happiness because I already have issues with the human race, and being surrounded by hate, and people who have so much ,yet bitch and moan about every little thing, and hate anything that isn't white is not helping with that problem. You need to have balance in life, and things are very unbalanced  for me here.
So I have to leave it. I am seriously considering saving up for some kind of van/rv kind of thing. I could easily drive myself and my fur family anywhere and bonus, could live in it for awhile till we find a real home!If anyone has any other ideas feel free to let me know, as the more ideas the better because seriously I need to bust out of this joint. I seriously feel like if George Zimmerman and Donald Sterling needed a safe place to live free of ridicule, they should come here.
Onto Gratitude. 1) I am grateful that I am able to safely drink all the tap water I want. 2) I'm grateful I can walk down the street without the fear of bombing, or kidnapping, or any other crime of war. 3) I'm grateful that I am able to freely express my feelings, even if it is on the good old interwebz.