Still alive

As promised, the majority of my extra time is going towards a little tabby cat named Simone.  She's pretty cool. We can't keep her though because she hates other cats so we're working on moving her to a foster who will not have other cats and eventually to a home of her very own.  My cats will be so relieved to get her out of our apartment.

I'm still on Day 4 of the Sustainable Style Challenge, and hopefully I'll be picking that up again this weekend. A lot of "off topic" life stuff has been happening so my attention really hasn't been here.  It's been...everywhere else.

Here's a random assortment of half-Instagrammed (75% Instagrammed?) photos until I can actually start doing the Sustainability Challenge again.  Basically, in short, I'm not dead. Also, cat.

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^ American Apparel tent dress & Clyde's Rebirth necklace ^
(also, Pacifica's Firebird Devocean lipstick)

Outfit Simone
^ American Apparel sweater, Etsy necklace, Simone kitten ^

^ thrift vest & scarf, Etsy shirt, Simone kitten ^

^ Pacifica Amethyst Castle 7-free nail polish (meh) & Great Frog NYC ring ^

^ Runs in Rows Mata Traders dress & Vera Meat necklace ^

^ Simone! ^


November Vegan Cuts Beauty Box Review

I am behind on my 20 Day Sustainable Fashion Challenge because now the instructions are to actually do stuff instead of just think stuff.  So, I'll be doing my challenge chores over the weekend and will have some updates on Monday.  In the meantime, here is my Vegan Cuts Beauty Box review for November.  I buy the box - I don't accept it free - so I don't feel like I have to blow smoke up anyone's booty over it. These are my honest opinions.

Vcbb November

Left to Right:

The All Natural Face Black Kohl Eyeliner: I don't use kohl liner because I find it smears pretty easily.  This goes on hella black though, so that is pretty cool. It's like putting your eyeliner on with a Sharpie (which I enjoy). However, like all other kohls, it just melts into your face and you look like you've been out partying all night after a few hours. I am planning on using this as a base and then using liquid liner over it for when I want to get all sorts of Cleopatra. I figure that will help it from melting all over my face.

Evolv Shampoo: I didn't even try this. And I probably won't try it in the next few months. I usually take all the shampoo and conditioner bottles from beauty boxes and shove them in my travel kit drawer. I find them one of the most boring things to try in beauty boxes so I'm sure this is shampoo and it works like shampoo but I cannot confirm or deny.

Mullein & Sparrow vegan tinted lip & cheek stain:  I was really excited by this one because I love tinted balm and cheek tint.  I tried this on my lips first and there is no color at all.  Nothing. Furthermore, it's a little firmer than Rosebud (petroleum) salve but it's got the same shiny greasiness.  I would never put this on my cheeks unless I wanted to break out like Rik from The Young Ones.  Such a bummer - I used Mullein & Sparrow's dry shampoo and liked it so my hopes were high for this one.  * sad trombone * I will use this as (clear) lip balm.

La Mav Serum: This is a nighttime serum. I like getting serums, especially during the winter months. When I'm done with the argan oil I'm using (also a beauty box item), I'll start using this.  I've tried it once on my eyes before bedtime and, you know, it just seemed like using oil as a moisturizer. Maybe once I use it regularly I'll notice something more magickal but I'm not holding my breath. It will help keep my skin moisturized though, at least.

Demes Butter Me Up (tangerine vanilla):  Okay, I really liked this one. I need moisturizer to live in the winter like regular people need water. Essential life force. This is a little (shiny) greasy but it absorbs okay and it smells delicious. It comes in this little paper tube, which I like in theory but then I realized I can't really shove it in my bag because the damn cap falls off and then it's like having a moisturizer push-pop in your bag or pocket. This will be an in-house use item only.

There was also a Shorganics soap I forgot to even photograph. I consider beauty box soap in the same category as beauty box shampoo - I'm sure it works like soap and I'll use it one day but I'm not really interested it it.


Day 3 - Getting Dressed in the Morning

Day 3's question was:

When you get dressed in the morning, how do you usually feel? Do you have trouble deciding what to wear? Do you constantly feel like you have wardrobe full of clothes but nothing to wear? Are you are creature of habit, preferring to wear the same few outfits each week? Do you like to wear something different every day of the month?

And my answer is:

I like to have no-brainer uniforms to throw on. I don't like to think about it.

What I usually actually feel is overwhelmed by what fits with what. Not just which shirt "goes" with which skirt but remembering the different lengths of my tops and what needs to be tucked in or what's big enough to go over jeans, etc.

^ top & leggings/American Apparel ^
^ shoes/Keep Company Ramos black waxed ^
^ bag/Cri de Coeur ^
^ brooch/vintage ^

Outfit brooch

This has improved slightly when I gained some weight and bought a bunch of American Apparel babydoll and tent dresses at one time because I can really easily throw one of those on over black leggings and call it a day. I want to say that's the way I always want it to be but I can feel myself getting bored with it already. I wonder if I need more of those kinds of outfits (or a list of possible outfits) or if I just need to find ways to stop myself from being bored with it.

Deep down I know I don't want to have to think about getting dressed in the mornings so I'm wondering if a good solution is:  having a list of easy "uniform" outfits with accessories being a variable so it's really easy but with enough different accessories, I don't get bored.


Day 2 - My relationship to "fashion"

Day 2's question is about my relationship to fashion, but all of the examples talk about a relationship to shopping.  So below is my relationship to shopping.

I like to buy a mix of contemporary and vintage at resale and thrift shops like Beacon's Closet and Housing Works.  I don't like when vintage isn't comfortable or looks like a costume.  I also like smaller brands with good ethics and I'm willing to pay more for them.  (Vaute Couture, Mary Meyer, Make It Good, Maggie's Organics, Threads for Thought, PACT, Keep Company, Cri de Coeur, Kandals are a few.) And I lean on American Apparel way more than I should.  I like knowing which brands work for me. (I will never ever buy Melissa shoes ever again.)

I prefer to shop in person unless I know the brand well.  (I know I take a size 7 in Keep shoes, an XS in Mary Meyer stuff and so on.)

I like a lot of what I consider basics.  Black, navy, gray.  Stripes, dots, bleached patterns, black-based prints. I like basic shapes - skinny or straight leg pants; scoop neck or boat neck shirts; black leggings; black side-buckle shoes or black plain sneakers. I am a big fan of cotton. I prefer to have a uniform. But I also am always scanning the world for things that are "just right" instead of what is available or what I already have. I do wonder if anything is "just right" once you get it and have it for a while.

I don't like shopping online unless it's accessories.  Fit is really important and I find it nearly impossible to get a decent fit online unless the item is supposed to be oversize. I don't need more things to tailor.

Why did she ask this question?

Understanding your relationship to clothes, and knowing your shopping habits will give you a better understanding of what you need to address to make your wardrobe more sustainable.
If I had to take a guess right now, I'd say my biggest issues are:

  • getting bored with what I have
  • not knowing when to cap my wardrobe (e.g. I cap my wardrobe when I have 30 outfits)
  • not making alterations in a reasonable time post-purchase
  • not keeping my stuff organized and forgetting what I have (laundry day sometimes feels like "surprise shopping")
  • leaning on dry cleaning for some items

If I was answering this question as my relationship to fashion, I'd say I'm weirdly specific about what I want to wear and feel unreasonably "off" if it's not something I want to wear.

^ shirt/Etsy seller from China ^
^ pants/American Apparel from Beacon's ^
^ boots/OTBT org cotton, recycled tire tread boots ^
^ necklace/Verameat, made in Brooklyn ^

Welcome to my nightmare:  Earlier this week I put on a pair of pants that I hadn't worn before and they weren't as skinny as I thought. I figured I could cuff them over a pair of combat-style boots and they'd be fine. I had to talk myself out of a meltdown on the subway because they were still wider than I was used to. I ended up pegging them but continued to have an internal monologue about what I'd do if the pegging didn't hold up.  I can't tell you how much mental space was taken up by the prospect of MY STRAIGHT LEG PANTS NOT STAYING PEGGED LIKE IT'S THE '80S. I'm sure that speaks to some weird borderline OCD issue but the truth is that my brain needs things the way I want them when it comes to things I wear. I can have wrinkled shirts, bedhead and any other manner of slovenliness and it's fine - but flappy-wide straight leg pants are REALLY SQUARE and I do not want them.

I'm weirdly picky and obsessive about my clothing.


Day 1 - Rate Yourself

I decided to do the 20 Day Sustainable Wardrobe Challenge after seeing Inelegant Horserider doing it.  I signed up, started getting the emails (then got bummed that it wasn't what I expected) (then decided I'd do it anyway) and I thought it couldn't hurt to share my answers here.  At best, you will read it and say some relevant stuff.  At worst, I will share where I am on this topic, which is probably less far along than you guys might assume, and you will all be disappointed with me and leave me disapproving comments.

Day 1:  Rate yourself on how much you know about sustainable fashion on a scale from 1-5.

I rated myself a 3.  I'm no rockstar in this area, despite having a blog that should actually make me a rockstar in this area if I put more work into it.

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^ horrifying mannequins in the Garment District, NYC ^ 

I know to watch out for:

  1. buying less
  2. buying used
  3. buying either recycled materials or materials that can be recycled
  4. favoring materials that take less energy or pollution 
  5. ...that includes NO resource-intensive animals or animal by-products that help subsidize the meat industry and carry a big ticket in terms of agricultural waste - not to mention the heinous and pretty much omnipresent cruelty
  6. buy quality vegan items that last, not Payless
  7. waste materials for garment production
  8. envionrmental waste from source materials
  9. how far the source materials travel to the manufacturer
  10. "eco"/reduced-impact for dyes, screenprinting, etc
  11. labor standards

However, I know there is a lot more that goes into it.  There's a lot I don't know about cradle-to-grave use, source material growth/recycling/production, how to weigh out different factors -- and many other issues I am sure I don't even know about. (Cue Op Ivy's "all I know is that I don't know nothing...")

This link was included as "top tips" for sustainable fashion and it doesn't include anything I hadn't already thought about but includes some interesting details and a reading list (I've read none of them).  Not included was anything relevant to animal-sourced items. 


The reason for living

Twice in the past week I've had people question what I do.  I've had a rough week given the euthanasia of a cat I was working with whose behavior made it not possible to find placement for him.  He wasn't mine so it wasn't my decision although I understand it.  But of course it was heartbreaking and I sat in a great deal of sadness when it happened and wished his little soul peace and love in his travels.  I came home that day and cried in bed for a a while.  In the meantime, Simone is doing better and will be up for adoption very soon.  So I feel grateful and that makes me immensely happy.


^ Simone's first bed ^

There seems to be a sentiment that if something makes me sad, I shouldn't do it. If something takes a lot out of me, maybe it's not worth doing.  I understand that I need to take care of myself but I also understand that my purpose here is to help others and working with animals is the most hands-on way I do that.  If I had to stop doing so, the loss I would feel would make my life fairly pointless.

I honestly believe we're here to help reduce suffering for others and that we all do that in different ways.  I actually started this blog partially as escapism from my work with animals.  I needed a place where it was still "helping" but wasn't draining. But that means a lot of times I just don't bother talking about feelings behind the causes.  Often it's not necessary. But sometimes it is, if only to remember that we all do our part and pay the price in whatever way it manifests.  Maybe I'll start talking about that stuff more.  Even if sadness touches this blog - which I never intended - I'm still glad to have it. 


That 10 Pound Problem is Solved

I've spent most of my spare time doting on a ferocious rescued tabby kitten lately (see Instagram evidence) so I haven't been all that present here.  Simone now rules my life and likely will until I get her adopted.  Her spay appointment isn't until the 11th though so she'll be with us for a little while longer.

The last time I checked in I was trying to size-up some of my wardrobe by "buying used" -- less impact, more time searching, whatever.  I did find one pair of pants that I still need to get hemmed, although I'm still not sure about the fit.  It was frustrating to dig through racks for an immediate need and I was tired of feeling bad about myself for a big-f'n-deal 10 pounds.  And then I just decided to get a number of American Apparel tent and babydoll dresses (some of vintage fabrics) and call it a day.  It's not my proudest moment but I just couldn't mentally deal with it any longer.  At least I'll be able to use them once the weight is off - and if it never comes off now, who cares?

I wore this to:  
work and then see The Dark Crystal 
on fan night at BAM, nerd-style

American Apparel tent dress
Mata Traders silver Global Echo necklace (c/o Mata Traders)

jao tent dress and babydoll dress aa