Friday, December 12, 2014

Project Life 2014 : Weeks 19 - 49 Update

Wowzas, I haven't been updating about my Project Life pages at all! My last post was up to week 18, way back in May. I got a little bit behind on actually creating the spreads for a couple of months this summer, but one day I powered through and got completely caught up. Since then, I haven't gotten more than a couple of weeks behind. Proof I've still been doing this project:

Project Life update: weeks 19-49

Digital Project Life has been a lot easier this year since I have been using the exact same template all year. Remembering that I have pages to fill helps remind me to take pictures: take more photos than you think you need, snap photos of anything and everything. The worst weeks are the ones where I don't take enough pictures and the slots are hard to fill.

Looking back on these spreads is always a treat, and by having this record of our life, I remember more things. I guess that's why I keep doing it. I'm pretty good at abandoning/failing projects that I start, but this simple form of memory keeping is now like an extension of my brain. I don't want to lose it!

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?"


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!


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.


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


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 :)


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.


It reminded me of the school from Hocus Pocus!


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!)


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.


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!


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


I took some photos with my macro iPhone lens.



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


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


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


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


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

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:


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 :)


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:

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


Watched the entire Breaking Bad series:

Saw a couple of really gorgeous sunsets in DC:

Ate at least a half dozen ZPizza Berkeley Vegan pizzas (our new favorite restaurant in DC):

Went to DC VegFest to support some vegan food trucks:

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

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

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:

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

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