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? 


How I am surviving winter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Petit Vour January Beauty Box Review

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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


^ the challengers ^

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


^ the offending cat, Olivia ^


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


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


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

Super professional? No. Free and DIY? Yes. 


December Vegan Cuts Beauty Box Review

This will be my last Vegan Cuts Beauty Box. I like both the Petit Vour and Vegan Cuts Beauty Boxes but realistically I only "need" one box so I had a make a decision. ($35 on sample size makeup each month is a little ridiculous.) I tend to like the colors I get in the Petit Vour boxes, use more of the stuff they send and it's the smaller and cheaper box (while I'm drowning in so many sample sizes from getting two boxes for so long) so - Petit Vour was the winner.

Therefore I'm am very melodramatically announcing that this is my last review of a Vegan Cuts Beauty Box.


Becca & Mars Lavender Love Mask & Scrub: This wasn't even listed on the inventory card included in the box so I'm guessing it was an extra, like the nail file. It, like most scrubs these days, comes as a powder that you combine with water. How much, you ask? I have no idea! There are no instructions so I had to find their Etsy store to get directions and to figure out what was in the scrub. Not to be outdone by scrubs that instruct you to combine them with a liquid as pedestrian as water, this scrub suggests liquids such as milk, yogurt, carrot juice, olive oil, honey...oh wait, water too. So, I used...water. Anyway, I tried it and it was so abrasive that I actually checked to make sure it wasn't a just body scrub. (It's a scrub and mask so it will still be abrasive when trying to get it off your face.) Will use as a body scrub. 

Bellapierre Cosmetics Copper Brown Polish: Not my favorite polish color; it "read" as metallic black once on. I ended up putting a coat of silver glitter over it to look less goth. The quality of the polish was pretty decent though - it went on well and lasted a decent amount of time though, in this color's case, I kind of wish it hadn't. Would buy other colors by the same brand. You can see the color on me in this post: here.

Delizioso Cream Blush in Outrageous:  I'm not sure if the color is named Outrageous and it's just the only color so far or if the Cream Blush is branded as "Outrageous" (and, also, only one color is available). Seriously, these are things I ask myself ?  Anyway, it's bright pink in the pot. It looks really pigmented when you first apply (think Brett Michaels in Poison) but it blends well. It's a respectable pink blush color and I'm happy to use it. I enjoy creme blush and I am still using the last of my Urban Decay cream blush in Score (which I'd stockpiled before they were bought out by a company that tests on animals). I'd like other color choices in the long run but this is do-able. It has a similar consistency to some whipped moisturizers in the pot.

21 Drops - Essential Oil Blend #18 Sleep: When I get essential oils in beauty boxes I'm dubious. I feel like I have very little use for essential oils. I know I'm crunchy but, come on. There's a limit to my woo woo-ness. I especially hate oils that request you do not apply them to your skin. If I'm getting a beauty box, I expect everything in it to be safe to put upon my person in its designated area. I don't want stuff I have to dab on my pillowcase. So, two things in this oil's favor: 1) apply directly to the skin, 2) it actually made me sleepy. Good job, #18. I don't know if I've fallen victim tot he power of suggestion but my boyfriend has found this vial in our bed because I've fallen asleep with it clutched in my grubby little paws. Others received #09 Focus -- and if #18 Sleep works so well, part of me is infatuated with how productive I could be if I bought #09 Focus? I will let you know if (when?) I spend the $30 on essential oils for productivity.

I cannot withhold this customer review because it's too good (yes, it's in all caps and misspells "concentrate"). This is what I'm missing out on.


North Coast Organics All Natural Spray Lotion: I have used NCO's Death by Lavender deodorant and liked the product so I was happy to try another of NCO's products. What is spray lotion, you ask? This seems to be an oil-based lotion (it separates in the vial), that is dispensed by a pump. It feels like an oil vs a highly absorb-able hand lotion. Nice lavender smell, if you like that thing. However, too oily for me to be interested in! Sorry, NCO! 

Vegan Cuts Nail File: It's always nice to have an extra nail file around.

Overview: Liked the cream blush, liked the essential oils. No thanks on the polish color (but the brand is decent) and the spray lotion. 


December Petit Vour Beauty Box Review

Here's my review of the December Petit Vour Beauty Box. I know, I'm really tardy. I buy the box myself so no one is currying favor with me by giving me freebies. Also, December was the deadline for me to pick which beauty box I'd keep subscribing to -- Petit Vour or Vegan Cuts. I had been getting both for a while and I just don't need that many tiny bottles. It's overload. I ended up keeping my subscription to Petit Vour -- so, this very box. Why? I liked the products (and color choices) better more consistently -- and it's cheaper. I also like the design better, although that wasn't a deal-breaker. There were a lot of things I liked in the Vegan Cuts boxes, too, but I had to make a choice.

Despite all that text, I swear it only took me about 5 minutes to decide. I'm aware it wasn't like, deciding which of two children gets to live or something.

Dec pv beauty box

Meow Meow Tweet Lavender Deodorant Cream: I am a big fan of Schmidt's and Soapwalla for all my natural deodorant needs so that's the bar I use for any new contenders. (For full disclosure, I follow up all natural deodorant with baby powder because they are not antiperspirants, so I never use them solo.) This cream is way softer than either of those and works well...but not quite as well as Schmitd's or Soapwalla so I don't see a reason to switch but I'm happy to have tried it since I heard so many people recommend it.

Trust Fund Nail Polish in Just Talk to My Lawyer: This was a deep dark red with a more metallic look - yes, it included sparkles but not like glitter. Microsparkles. I thought the application and wear on this one was pretty great. I appreciate red variations so I'm happy to have this color but it reads pretty dark - people thought I was wearing black metallic at times. Would definitely buy this polish brand again.

Everyday Minerals Power Blush in All Smiles: I usually use cream/creme blush but I have used powder bronzer so I understand how to apply colored powder to my face. But because this is loose powder, I feel like I have a little less control with how I apply it to the brush before I apply it to my face, which means it's a little less consistent than I'd like. Help? Other than that, I like the color - I think it works on me and it seems like it would be pretty versatile.

Blissoma Peace Evening Calming Creme: I have to say that when I looked at this I was not that excited. It's yellowish in the bottle and it has a strong hippie-ish smell. But I found that I actually really liked it. I can't say that I actually saw any noticable difference in my skin but it just felt better. In fact, I looked up how much it costs and uh, I'll probably just use this bottle sparingly. I like it but I don't know if I $26-per-bottle like it, nahmean?

Overview: I liked pretty much everything in this box. Good job, Petit Vour!