Tag Archives: vegan

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.

Living Your Ideals

 

I am vegan. This is one of my truths that took quite a while to discover. I wish I could say that it was ethics that brought me to my awakening, but it wasn’t, at least not initially. I was vegetarian for about 8 years and I was the kind of vegetarian who thought vegans were “extreme”. I was also guilty of using the shameful “But I love cheese too much!” excuse to resist going vegan. But in 2007, while struggling with my Crohn’s disease, I decided to see a naturopath (my experiences with natural medicine will most likely fill another blog post entirely) who urged me to remove dairy from my diet. I balked at first. My beloved cheese! However, I now had an actual medical reason to go dairy-free. Since it was dairy all along that had stopped me from going vegan, I decided it was finally time…eggs, honey and gelatin went too. Though I got nothing else out of my visits with the naturopath, I will admit that she was right about one thing: going vegan improved my health. I was able to much more easily manage my Crohn’s disease with a dairy-free diet. I am also living proof that you can have IBD and be a vegan (obviously, IBD affects everyone differently, though, and I recognize that).

In addition to feeling better physically, I felt more at peace. For so long, I had lived with such a cognitive disconnect, professing to love animals while still participating in and supporting the system that tortures and exploits them. I began to learn more about the horrors of the dairy industry and the ridiculous myth of “humane” meat and eggs. Slowly, I began to transition my wardrobe and makeup to vegan items. I won’t lie, it wasn’t easy at first. You don’t realize just how much we use animals until you start to rid your life of the cruelty we impose on them. Initially, winter items were the most difficult for me. Having just moved from Virginia, I was facing my first Chicago winter and I was terrified. I learned to layer and amassed a collection of fleece socks and cotton scarves and hats. I even found a super warm (albeit ugly) parka from Land’s End for the most bitter days. Shoes were also a bit tough at first, until I figured out where to look and what to look for. Now I can zero in on a hot pair of vegan heels in a second. (Tip: There are so many vegan options on Endless and DSW; just check in the under $50-60 price range. Also, Madden Girl is almost always vegan. Same goes for Michael Antonio and Two Lips, just watch out for the suede.)

It does take a bit more time and planning to be vegan but it’s easy once you get the hang of it. I know that there are certain things I can only get at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s so I make a list and once there’s enough on it, I’ll make one big trip. I buy in bulk a lot. I stock up. This goes for makeup too. As a femme and performer, that’s one area that can still be pretty tough, but it’s getting easier, thanks to sites like Cruelty Free Face and companies like Urban Decay and Sugarpill Cosmetics who clearly label which of their products are vegan. I wait for sales (Sugarpill has them often!) and then stock up on colors. Costuming is definitely more difficult for me than for my non-vegan dance sisters, as tribal belly dance accessories are frequently adorned with feathers or shells and belts are often leather. This, of course, is where craftiness comes in. It also helps decrease procrastination. I don’t have the luxury of leaving costuming to the last minute because there are often items that require special ordering. I can’t run to Walgreen’s right before a show and grab some lipstick to go with my color scheme. This is far from a big deal.

I do not lead a life of sacrifices. I eat a more nutritious and varied diet now than I ever did before going vegan. I actually like cooking now! I’m not deprived or malnourished or humorless. As a queer feminist, the life I live is fully aligned with my ethics. I fight for those who are oppressed and exploited, human and non-human alike. And I look damn fierce doing it, too.

(L.O.V.E., which stands for Living Opposed to Violence and Exploitation, has some really great resources for going vegan. Check them out!)