Saturday, November 01, 2014

Happy World Vegan Day!

I've been putting off writing this post: I kept thinking that I want to do something big, something super inspiring and educational, something heartfelt and that can encompass all the feelings I have about eating and being vegan.

Too much pressure!

So let me just keep it simple and say what I really think: I wish everyone in the world would eat a vegan diet. I wish everyone knew about the horrors of animal abuse in the meat and dairy industries, and that everyone had the resources they need to make the switch. I wish eating a peaceful plant-based diet was a topic wide open to discussion, and I wish everyone would ask more questions and be willing to make changes in their lives to avoid suffering.

cook girl 1
This is me holding a huge bowl of salad! I look like one of those uber-healthy vegans, right?! Truth is, I don't care for this much salad. Give me vegan pizza or a bowl of oatmeal with peanut butter and I'm happy.

My Veganniversary is April 6, 2013. I gave up meat right after Halloween in 2010. So it's been 4 years since I last ate a piece of animal flesh, and 1.5 years since I quit eating animal secretions (cheese, eggs, milk).

Honestly, it feels like way longer. It blows my mind that I never made the connection earlier that cows have to be pregnant in order to make milk. I'm astonished that I knew meat comes from animals in factory farms, but never stopped to ask myself, "Am I OK with that? Am I cool with participating in this system and paying another person to do my killing for me? Does this align with my values?"

signs

It's way too easy to go along with the crowd. To push aside your conscience whispering feelings of unease. To justify your choices with illogical reasons and lies. Making changes can be hard, yes. But my perspective is that once you know better, you have the moral obligation to do better. And making difficult choices is much easier when they at least align with your values.

For me, it's no question if I want dairy cheese on my sandwich. I will NOT eat it; it's from an animal and the animal that made it suffered. I will not consume that suffering and the inequality, violence, and speciesism that accompanies it. Oops, you accidentally put cream in this dish? Take it back, I requested no cream. If you can't accommodate my dietary preferences, I will leave.

Truths that remind me why I'm vegan:
  • Humans are the only species who drink another species' breast milk.
  • Dairy cows are forced against her will to be pregnant in order to keep producing milk.
  • Eggs are a hen's period. Her reproductive cycle is altered and exploited for the sake of more eggs and more profit.
  • Just because you did not kill it yourself doesn't mean you are less guilty. By buying meat, you are paying other people to do the killing for you.
  • All animals killed for their meat are murdered before they reach their natural life expectancy age. Every piece of meat you eat is from a baby.
  • There is no difference between your pet dog and the chicken that was slaughtered for your lunch. If you can't stomach killing and eating a dog, you shouldn't eat a chicken.
  • Humans do not need to eat animal flesh or secretions to live a long, healthy life. In fact, eating a plant-based diet is proven to reduce dietary diseases.

My advice: Quit eating animals. Don't know where to start? Start here.

Or start where I started: Vegan Podcast by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. Or check out her short videos over on YouTube.

I make a point to not write too many posts about veganism on RubyBows, since that's not my focus here. I have a totally separate blog for that! It's called DirtyStove, and it's a tumblr blog. Check it out!

dirtystovedotcom

Friday, October 31, 2014

Hocus Pocus Halloween Vibes

Fall is my favorite season. Halloween can be fun, but celebrating Halloween isn't what I love about the season. I love the colors, the crisp air, and the mood. I love walking through the fallen leaves. Bundling up in layers. The smell of apple cider and a cozy fire.

glowing-leaf-2

I've written about autumn before: remembering the leaf pile we played in as kids, collecting leaves, and that back to school vibe.

feet-leaves

The past couple of weekends, Rob and I walked to different neighborhoods around DC. Here's me by a colorful red tree near the Tidal Basin. The Washington Monument just happened to be there, too :)

me-wamo

We passed this old junior high building. I have no idea if kids still go here. A building this old plus those looming dark clouds made this place look like a scene out of a movie.

jr-high

It reminded me of the school from Hocus Pocus!

hocus-pocus-after-school

Or maybe this junior high is a cross between the Hocus Pocus high school and Max Dennison's house. Either way, creepy old skool vibes. I love it. (PS: Check out real-life photos of these Hocus Pocus filming locations!)

dennison-house-hocus-pocus

During one of our strolls around DC, we stopped near the Tidal Basin and I collected some leaves to decorate our apartment. I made a stack and carefully tucked them into my bag.

maple-leaves

Today is Halloween. I had pressed my leaves in a cookbook and was twirling one today, thinking of how to use them as decoration. I held one up to the light and it looked amazing!

glowing-leaf

The intricate detail, the texture, the colors... Leaves are so cool.

leaf-autumn

I took some photos with my macro iPhone lens.

leaf-texture

leaf-veins

When you get close enough, it looks veiny and alive.

glowing-oak

This oak tree glowing in the light reminded me of the spellbook from Hocus Pocus: "it is bound in human skin."

hocus-pocus-spellbook

These leaves are prettier, though, and significantly less gross!

oak-leaf-texture

The other book from Hocus Pocus: the storybook one seen in the very beginning:

hocus-pocus-book

The spell book has some nice old-fashioned calligraphy in it, which you can see glimpses of a few times during the movie.
hocus-pocus-spell-book

I bought a pen & nib set several months ago - the type of pen you use with ink to do calligraphy. I'm not very good at it, but I think it makes nice-looking strokes that feel really old and important. I was practicing making some semi-calligraphic letters the other day:

october-2014-washington-dc

So that's it for my Halloween vibes for you today! Hope the day is sweet, chilly, and a little bit spooky. And you better be wearing black and orange! I am :)

halloween-outfit

Related reading:
2012: Halloween Hippie
2012: Childhood Halloween Costumes
2012: Hocus Pocus Style - Allison

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Colorful Catch-Up

Since my last blog post, I went to Las Vegas for work:
sunset-airplane

Helped set up the Soul Flower booth there at the POOL tradeshow:
soul-flower-booth

soulflower-headbands-rainbow

Watched the entire Breaking Bad series:


Saw a couple of really gorgeous sunsets in DC:
dc-sunset

Ate at least a half dozen ZPizza Berkeley Vegan pizzas (our new favorite restaurant in DC):
z-pizza-berkeley-vegan

Went to DC VegFest to support some vegan food trucks:
dc-vegfest

Visited the mysterious colorful repurposed church art gallery, Blind Whino, here in DC for a Creative Mornings talk:
blind-whino-dc

Discovered my new favorite kind of flower, Lantana (I LOVE the colors!):
lantana-flowers

Visited a full DC row house for the first time in my life (I had only ever seen a basement). We dropped in on a random open house, where the rowhouse was on the market for $865,000. It looked similar to this:
dc-row-house

Created a logo for the fictitious clothing line Dumbure Couture (see the videos here):
dumbure-couture

And that was my August/September/half of October!

Friday, August 08, 2014

Sketchbook-a-Week Update: Book 1 Finished!

It's hard for me to believe, but I actually filled my entire first sketchbook - all in the past 7 days!

finished-book-1

Today I'm starting Book #2, which is a much larger notebook (about twice as big), and it has grid lines on the pages.

1-is-done

This doodle sums up the week:

computer-hands

I fell behind on the weekend, and didn't really catch up again until Wednesday night. But I managed to fill my sketchbook with all sorts of random stuff. Here's an assortment!

Breakfast:
breakfast-palette

Lunch (I watched a part of a Project Runway episode during lunch, which explains the quote):
lunch

List of nutrient dense foods while watching this video of Dr. Joel Fuhrman:
nutrient-density-line

A reminder from Dr. Fuhrman that salad is the main dish! GOMBS is his acronym for good foods to make your meals out of:
salad-is-the-main-dish

I used a lot of Crayola colored pencils in this sketchbook. One day I picked up a blue pencil, looked at the name, and it was cerulean. It reminded me of this scene from the movie Devil Wears Prada. So I put the movie on --of course I own it :) and watched that scene again, pausing at two different moments to capture Andy and Miranda.
cerulean

A crazy sketch of Tim Gunn while watching Project Runway:
tim-gunn-drawing

I did a couple of these 21 Day Drawing Challenges that are being posted daily right now. Day 1 was Draw a Cat. We were instructed to draw a couple of studies first before doing the final drawing. All of these cats are from Pinterest.
cat-doodles

In the end, I did two cat drawings: one close up so I could draw those cute tiny kitty teeth(!) and another kawaii-inspired cat:
cat-drawings

I wrote a lot in this sketchbook. There are pages and pages of journaling and random thoughts, none of which I'm sharing here. But here's an illustrated journal entry:
running

I filled a bunch of pages with collages. I'm kind of obsessed. Collage is one of my long-time loves that I just can't get away from. Over and over again, I gravitate toward collage, and end up decoupaging all my stuff.
collages-1

Themes above: Princess, Sparkly, Blue Techno, Colorful, Desert Natural Earthy, Moonlight Sonata.
Themes below: Fran├žais, Gold, Pink Colorful, Autumn, Witchy Woman, Rocker Chic.

collages-2

I only did 3 OotD (outfit of the day) drawings, but they're cute:
ootd

Last night, I had over a dozen pages to fill in order to finish the sketchbook. Time was running out. I felt SO close, I knew I had to just do whatever to finish. So I just doodled some shapes, patterns, and lines. This is my definition of "doodling":
doodles

And that's it!
last-page

On to week 2...
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