Tag Archives: chicago

Finding the light

Chicago has been experiencing a bizarre yet beautiful early spring over the past few days and before that a blessedly mild winter. In spite of nature’s kindness, though, things have felt dark. The Chicago queer community lost a beautiful spirit this week to suicide. Just last month, a good friend’s boyfriend took his own life. My heart is heavy with these losses, not simply because of the hole they leave in their communities and families but because I know that dark place, that hand that pulls you under. I know how hard it is to break free from its grip. I’ve been there. Sometimes I’m still there. Ultimately, I’m among the lucky ones who had the ability and the support system to fight my way back. It’s heartbreaking that these two young people did not have that chance.

If you know someone who is suffering, please don’t let them do it silently. Don’t wait until it’s too late to celebrate their life. Boost them up while they’re still around. Tell them they matter. Offer your support. Reach out to them and help them find the resources they need to survive. Make it known how important they are to you. I’m not saying that will turn the tide. It’s never that simple. But you owe it to them to not stay quiet. We owe it to each other.

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It’s a Very Vegan Femme Xmas!

Hello lovelies. I am doing my damnedest to get into the holiday spirit and I was inspired by FuckYeahFemmes‘ recent post on gift ideas for femmes to make a little list of my own. (Forgive me for borrowing/expanding on a few ideas, S.)

1. Handmade lotions and potions!

I am generally all about pinching pennies but every once in a while it’s nice to splurge. It’s also nice to support independent (and vegan!) artisans. My very favorite soap is made by a small company called Metropolis Soap Co., which I discovered at the Renegade Craft Fair here in Chicago a couple years ago. All natural ingredients and the soaps smell divine. (And they’re all vegan!) They contain coconut and shea butters so they’re super moisturizing. My very favorite is the Agave Nectar and Green Tea (though being a neo-hippie, the Earth and Patchouli comes in a close second). Metropolis also makes whipped shea butter, lip cream, aromatherapy oils and herbal spa soaks.

If you’re more the DIY type, you can use this simple recipe to make your own moisturizing sugar scrub:

Mix one part sugar (I like to use turbinado) to one part oil (I find that almond or jojoba works best). Generally 1/2 cup of each is good for a small jar. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil(s) and mix. And that’s it! (Sandalwood, frankincense, lavender, bergamot, and patchouli are all good choices for things such as anxiety, depression, fatigue and stress.)

Merry pampering!

2. Tools of the Trade

Hi, I’m VeganFemme and I’m a makeup junkie. Admitting is the first step, right? Even though I’ve already got quite the collection, I can always use more. Luckily, there are more and more companies putting out vegan cosmetics nowadays. The entire e.l.f. line is now vegan and a bonus…it’s cheap! I have some brushes from them and honestly have found zero difference between those and the ones I used to have from Sephora. They also have huge eyeshadow palettes with all the basics any artist would need at great prices (and they have sales all the time).

Another favorite of mine is Sugarpill cosmetics. I’m on a mission to collect all of their loose shadows along with every matte shade that’s vegan (all the loose ones are).

Of course, all of that requires storage solutions. And lesbians love storage solutions, right? Caboodles ain’t just for teenagers, femmes. That is why this bad boy is on my own Xmas list.

3. Sexy stuffs

Tired of the typical boring, ugly harnesses available to us fabulous (vegan) femmes? Yeah, me too. But have you seen these?

This is my new favorite, the Veronica, available at Good Vibrations. There’s another equally cute one in the same style with a red-and-white horizontal stripe pattern. So femmetastic.

                           If you like sparkles, there’s the Princess from ASLAN, available via the Sensual Vegan. That same style also comes in a sleek, shiny black vinyl and can be found at a few different online retailers as well as the wonderful Smitten Kitten in Minneapolis.

Finally, there’s this cute purple corset number that Early to Bed carries. It even has tabs on the inside to attach garters!

4. Self-care!

Y’all know how important self-care is by now, right? And you probably also know then that it isn’t always easy to budget for self-care.  So wouldn’t that make a fantastic gift for friends and family? Here in Chicago, as I’ve mentioned before, we are lucky to have the Sage Community Health Collective. Sage offers trauma-informed, harm-reductionist healing services such as acupuncture, bodywork and herbs on a sliding scale basis. They also offer gift certificates and this holiday season are selling wellness soup packs, Chinese herbal tea and more. And if you don’t have something like Sage in your community, try calling local acupuncture and/or massage clinics to see if they offer gift certificates.

5. Cruelty-free Warm Fuzzies

I think the only tolerable thing about winter is the cute accessories you get to wear. And everybody could use another scarf or hat, right? Etsy has lots of vegan options. Cammobear has some super cute slouchy, pom-pom hats and softspoken makes lovely scarves and berets. And I am absolutely loving this “accidental cowl” from The House of Hemp.

6. Femmespiration

Nowadays there are tons of blogs, websites and Facebook groups dedicated to femmes. I love the great and almighty interwebz, don’t get me wrong, but there are certain great texts that are worth owning. Here are some classics:

The Persistent Desire: A Femme-Butch Reader edited by Joan Nestle
The Femme’s Guide to the Universe by Shar Rednour
Brazen Femme: Queering Femininity edited by Chloe Brushwood Rose and Anna Camilleri
Visible: A Femmethology, Volumes 1 and 2 edited by Jennifer Clare Burke
Femmes of Power: Exploding Queer Femininities by Ulrika Dahl and Del LaGrace Volcano
Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme edited by Ivan E. Coyote and Zena Sharman
Sometimes She Lets Me: Best Butch/Femme Erotica edited by Tristan Taormino

7. Charitable donations

If, by chance, your femme happens to have every little thing they need, you might want to consider making a donation to a worthwhile charity in their name. Here are some excellent organizations that could use whatever you can spare:

Sasha Farm
Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary
Best Friends Animal Sanctuary
Transformative Justice Law Project of Illinois
The Night Ministry
Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE)
Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN)
Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP)
National Network of Abortion Funds

Happy Holidays y’all! Fellow femmes, what’s on your list?

Broad Shoulders Animal Rescue 3rd Anniversary Vegan Brunch!

(Note: I’m still alive and kickin’, dear readers. October was a bit of a brutal month and it’s crunch time for grad school applications so my attention span has been more suited to Tumblr updates rather than much of anything with length or depth. But I will return to this space soon.)

Just popping in to do a bit of promotion for my favorite rescue organization, Broad Shoulders Animal Rescue. It’s run by some friends of mine and in addition to furthering the no-kill mission also advocates veganism. I’ve been volunteering with BSAR for a few years now and have fostered several cats through them. (I even gained a cat when I accidentally fell too in love with a timid, fluffy ginger boy.)

The rescue’s 3rd anniversary vegan brunch is being held this coming Sunday, November 13 . We had a huge turnout last year and we’re hoping for an even bigger one this year. In addition to all-you-can-eat vegan waffles with tons of toppings, we’ll have tofu scramble, veggie hash, frittata, cinnamon rolls, fried (seitan) chick’n. Gluten-free options will be available. There will also be a silent auction and music will be provided by DJ Veganinblack.

So if you’re in the Chicago area, you should come eat waffles with me! (Some will even be made by me.) Buy your tickets now to save some money and ensure yourself a spot!

Go here for more information and to buy tickets.