5 Ethical Style Things I Did This Month: April

I cannot, in good faith, say I've been all that great in April. My spending kind of went on unchecked after vacation. Maybe before? Who can recall? Part of my justification was that I am still a bigger size and half my wardrobe is useless. But how I find this out is that I randomly try something on, it fits or it doesn't -- and if dares to not $#@$# fit, I go into a pissed-off buying spree of "Treat yo' self"-ing. (Except the "fine leather goods" and "MIM-oh-sahs" parts.) So, I basically need to be cut off for a little while. Gretchen Rubin goes into this whole spiel about moderators or abstainers and knowing which you are so you can better manage yourself. I'm a $%#@$@#$ abstainer. Cut me off so I know I'm cut off.

5 Ethical Style Things I Did in April:

1) I took this black jersey infinity scarf from my friend S at the Vegan Ladies Clothing Swap we did last month or so...but I didn't realize it was an infinity scarf. I hate them. But I realized that since this was jersey (unlike all my other infinity scarves), I could actually just cut this one open and make it one big long, wide comfy black scarf. Since then I've got a lot of use of of it. So, re-use and adjusting something so it's usable. Check and check.


2) I finally just dropped off 5 things at the tailor. I'm having 2 tunics cut into shirts because baby got back. And the back doesn't fit into the tunics any more! But as shirts I will still be able to wear them. This will hopefully make more of my wardrobe usable. I should walk out with 3 dresses and 2 shirts. I'm glad that instead of getting rid of stuff that didn't fit my butt, I just made it fit what I look like now.

3) I liked the colors of this scarf (picture below) but not the style and I finally broke down and put it in my discards pile even though I really really like the blue on it (which is more of a dark robin's egg blue in real life.) But then I realized I could still enjoy it without wearing it if I gave it to the cats as a blanket in one of their baskets. So, Olivia is getting use out of it now. The excellent thing is that it doesn't really collect cat hair (it's one of those fake "silk" poly pashminas I bought on the streets of NYC when I was freezing) so it's kind of perfect for the cats. So, re-use and adjusting something so it's usable. Check and check.


4) I cut myself off. For a month at least. I can't buy anything else until June. (This is 5 year-old me crying at my birthday party when I told my moms it was cool to give out the extra party favors but 30 seconds later had a meltdown because I really really wanted that pack of Old Maid cards that I just said she could give away. Yeah. It started early with me.) I'm a ridiculous baby for having to do this but OH WELL. It is what it is. I'm a giant 40 year-old baby who is not allowed to buy any clothes or makeup until June.

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5) I actually used freebie swag. I had some animal welfare swag foisted on me (sunglasses!) but they are neon green. I figured I'd pass them on to someone else but with the new lilac streak (which is there to help me grow in the rest of my hair salt & pepper - freedom!), they actually kind of work. They're still ridiculous but now passable -- and now I don't need to pass them on to some poor sucker someone else. (I swear my hair doesn't look like that all the time - this was after a long day. I do like, wash it and stuff.)



March Petit Vour Beauty Box

Yes, it's that time again. When I give you my unflinchingly honest opinion about my Petit Vour's beauty box contents. I am still really pleased with the Petit Vour beauty box - I think it's the best vegan beauty box out there.


Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Repair CC Cream: Oh man. I liked this one. It's thick, which I think CC creams are supposed to be. I remember reading some beauty post that crap-talked tinted facial moisturizers passing themselves off as CC creams but that's not what we have here. It's not as thick as the Andalou CC cream I sometimes use but close - and it smells nice, to boot. Like, refreshing. From an olfactory perspective, I feel like I'm rejuvenating my face. I'm not - I'm just applying CC cream. And I still mix it with a light daily facial moisturizer. I like that this CC cream has an SPF of 30. It's like $40 a tube so I'm glad to have gotten even a sample size of this in the box. I got the "warm glow" color and it's perfect for this pale I-talian.

Vert Mont EROS natural perfume oil: This has patchouli in it, which I hate, but I like it anyway. If you're into patchouli-laced heavier scents, this is for you! I'll use it. And that's saying a lot - because I really hate patchouli. 

MSC (Metropolis Soap Company) Lip Cream: This was your standard lip balm. It didn't impress or disappoint me. It is, however, totally white, which is weird. (GHOST BALM!) It goes on transparent, though.

The Little Alchemist Cacao & Banana Face Glow: Like everyone else who reviewed this one, I also thought it smells kind of acidic when dry and then delicious when mixed with water. I felt this worked like any facial mask. My skin was the better for it but it wasn't transformative. I do like that you let it dry on your face (10 minute wait time) so you watch the color change from dark brown to light brown as it dries. 

Here's the perfume, if you want to know all the ingredients: 


Yay - Juice Beauty CC cream; The Little Alchemist facial mask

Meh - Vert Mont perfume - although it would be really great from someone into this kind of scent; totally standard lip balm from MSC

Bleah - Nothing was bad! You go, Petit Vour!


Uniform: The Regulars

I've mentioned so many times how much I'd like to have a uniform. A go-to. And then when I wear things to death, I rarely post them here or mention it because they're so second-nature to me that they're kind of boring. So, in the interest of transparency and not being ungrateful that I got what I wished for - here they are - the things I wear/use most often lately:

^Everlane boat-necked striped shirt^
^sweatshop skinny jeans^
^leopard print Baggu recycled cotton duck tote^
^Keep Jamal Ramos shoes^
^LA Eyeworks green frames^

They're just easy and they work. All of them. 

I wish Everlane made more dark colored striped shirts because I would buy a few and call it a day. As it is, I wear this shirt all the time, repeatedly, day after day on the weekends. I have a similar shirt I got at a Score! swap years ago but the length is too short for wearing with jeans (it's a tuck-in only kind of shirt) so it's nice to finally have one that's longer.

The Baggu duck totes are more versatile than I originally thought. I can fit a lot in them, although it's sometimes hard to find stuff again. It can be carried by the handles by hand, with a shortened strap on the shoulder or with the lengthened strap as a cross-body and there are days where I use it all 3 ways. I only cross-body it when I have a jacket on since I can't stand how cross-body bags look on me when the strap transects the ladies. 

I find Keep's shoes pretty comfortable and they're a known-quantity and a vegan brand (with monitored manufacturing) so I am happy to keep buying them as my default when I need new sneakers. I wish they made more black-on-black versions with dark soles. I have a pair of Homers and Ramoses in black and I wear them all the time. 

If I'm not in jeans, I'm in an American Apparel tent dress (or similar) with a pair of leggings, a necklace or bracelet and a pair of flats. (Or sometimes, black sneakers.) Which is great. No muss, no fuss.

But now I'm going to have to figure out what to do about a summer uniform. My guess is a cotton tent or shift dress with short sleeves and Cri de Coeur flat sandals. We'll see. My size is still bigger than before I got sick so I'm not sure what will still fit from last year. (I would so rather be on this side of the fence than underweight so I am grateful that I'm no longer watching myself frickin' waste away!) I have a new sympathy for people who have a fluctuating weight and are not sure what's going to fit day-to-day. A flexible wardrobe is downright tricky and having to deal with that on the regular can mess with your head.

{I am fake-reading All the Light We Cannot See in this picture, if you need to know. It's one of the more engaging books I've read that's written in third person.  I usually find third-person writing kind of soul-less and boring so I'm happy to have had this one recommended to me by a coworker. I feel like Doerr keeps a nice pace and is good about translating characters' perspectives in third person.}


5 Ethical Style Things I Did This Month: March

I am crankily awaiting spring, under the willing delusion that work will be less busy then and I will get to have a real life again one day and I'll no longer have to be an adult with responsibilities. (And I mean real weather-related spring and not just this calendar BS.) If I enjoyed the look I might think about joining a krishna cult in California to get away from it all. But I don't. It's one of those months where I'm not sure if I'm drinking too much coffee or not enough coffee. In all fairness, I've also had a few really decent slices of vegan cheesecake, did some introductory bird watching walks (nerdatron) and my frail and sickly cat is still hanging in there and wants to give us as many cuddles possible so I can't say life is bad.

5 Ethical Style Things I Did in March:

1) Almost got rid of these shoes at the swap but then realized that I was okay with them for short time periods and that I could just keep them in my office at work. You know, for those days I show up with Keep mid-top sneakers on but then need to not look like I'm trying to dress like a 17 year-old girl when I'm really 40. So I kept them. And I've worn them.

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2) As predicted, wore that Everlane striped shirt millions of times. I am wearing it right now, as I type. And I held off on the urge to buy a second duplicate shirt.

3) Diligently updating my "Things I'm Considering Buying Right Now" Pinterest board so I can weigh what purchases I should actually make. This hat ended up on the "Things I Bought" board as a kind of impulse buy (thanks for nothing, Streets I Know! *shakes fist at Melanie*) but hopefully I'll get use out of it. Usually pinning stuff to consider buying it later alleviates the itch so while it doesn't work all of the time, it works better than not doing it at all.

4) I put my tax refund right into my savings account and it wasn't until I saw someone else mention that they were struggling with not spending it on clothes that I realized I don't even consider doing that any longer. But once upon a time, I did.

5) I have stayed a larger size. I'm so hesitant to buy new (to me) things when my size might be changing again. Since I recovered from being sick and did a really excellent job of force-feeding myself, my metabolism is still kind of off and I'm just getting back in the hang of remembering how to eat normal amounts and not feel like a pre-teen with a mean mom who put me on a diet. My plan is to wait a few months to see if it evens out and if it doesn't, then I can add more pieces to my wardrobe at a new size. We'll see. I might have a breakdown about not having any summer clothes.


February Petit Vour Beauty Box Review

It's that time again. Our monthly "what the heck did I get in this vegan beauty box" post. Bought the box. No freebies so I'm not blogger-beholden to anyone. First of all - the item card in this box had a helpful pronunciation tip for us on Petit Vour. I have no roots in French so I had no idea it was pronounced "petty vohr"! Go figure. I was pronouncing it "petite vore" all this time.


Lily Lolo black mascara: I already posted about this on Instagram here, complete with creepy eye photo. Quoting myself:

While the application feels thicker/slower than other mascaras, this stuff certainly builds up some drama layers. This was a regular application and my lashes look so long and built up that they look fake. If you want a natural look, this isn't for you. This is, however, for me.

Harvey Prince perfumes - Damask Rose & Imperial Gardenia: I will say I've received Harvey Prince perfumes in beauty boxes before that I would not wish on anyone. I'm not really a spray perfume type of person. I prefer solid perfumes. These are sprays. I tried the rose first, because I kind of love rose although I know most people hate it and consider it grandmotherly. I liked it though, for a rose spray perfume. It wasn't overpowering but probably not what I want to wear. I was afraid to try the gardenia because I hate "floral-y" florals and boy, was I right! I tried it on before going to sleep one night and it made me nauseous. I had to wash my wrists a bunch of times to stop the olfactory assault. The rose, however, wasn't so bad. For point of reference and so that you don't think I hate all smells - I'm a big fan of Pacifica's solid perfumes like Mexican Chocolate, Tuscan Blood Orange and Hawaiian Ruby Guava.  {Update: I hated the Gardenia so much that I left it on the free table in my building with the hopes that ones of the little old ladies in my building will like it!}

ellovi butter in Mint Chocolate: I frickin' love the smell of this. Truly. It smells like chocolate chip mint ice cream and I find myself huffing my own hands after application. However, if you apply too much you look like you slathered your hands in Vaseline. A little goes a long way. It's not the most absorb-able and can be slightly slippery for a while. I don't think this is my favorite lotion/butter consistency although I love the smell so much. Like, so much. Other people seem to really love everything about this stuff, though.

Balanced Guru's ScrubMe Nice & Gritty body scrub: I liked this one. I like the scrub consistency - it's fine but not so fine it isn't somewhat abrasive (as it should be). It didn't smell overwhelmingly like coffee but of something else that I kept thinking was bergamot. I checked out the ingredients and maybe it's the spearmint and lavender together with the coffee? Anyway, I enjoy it. It's an invigorating smell. Application is nice as well - it's not overly oily or packed together like old brown sugar like some scrubs you get, nor does it have to be mixed with anything to use. Too bad it's $23 for 8oz or almost $3 per ounce or I'd consider buying a full size version.

Yay - mascara, scrub
Meh - body butter (smell is great, consistency is meh); rose perfume
Bleah - omg gardenia perfume


5 Ethical Style Things I Did This Month: February

In January I tried my hand at ripping off another blogger's concept of listing 5 ways I had ethical style habits. (The Non-Consumer Advocate does 5 Frugal Things, which I read both as a voyeur and as an "eco" reminder from time to time.)  I figured I could at least commit to doing this monthly.

5 Ethical Style Things I Did in February:

1) I mended or fixed 3 things: a skirt, shirt and bracelet

2) I ordered clothes from People Tree when they had a sale and returned everything that didn't fit well or I didn't love (People Tree is "sustainable" and has decent labor practices, so that part is good as well -- but this is more about being a selective shopper than where I shop.)

3) Co-hosted a vegan ladies clothing swap. Unfortunately the snowy weather meant it was under-attended but some swapping was done, indeed. I ended up with 1 dress, 2 shirts for the gym/yoga (striped pullover hoodie & tank), a scarf, pleather leggings and a black shirt with sheer inserts. I unloaded a bunch of stuff, including shoes. Leftovers are being picked up by an area thrift store.

4) Purchased something I think I'll wear all the time -- an Everlane long-sleeved striped top. For better or worse (whether trite or not), I have a fondness for stripes. As far as long-sleeve striped shirts go, I have ones of the tighter variety, which I only wear with a more voluminous bottom to balance how tight they are. That means I have nothing to wear with jeans (which are always skinnies - sorry, trends). So, this fit the bill as I know I will wear it to death and it's a decent company. I was surprised by how sturdy it is and I've worn it a bunch already.

5) I finally wore the Betina Lou bamboo/acrylic sweater dress I got this summer. I bought it and then suddenly decided I was only ever wearing leggings and tent dresses or jeans. Hoping that the more I wear less-worn pieces, the less bored I'll be with my wardrobe and less tempted to buy more.

^ betina lou dress ^
^ golden ponies shoes ^
^ maggies organics tights ^
and O'timothy the cat, rescued from outside 
in Park Slope on 11th St., over a decade ago


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?