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Cruelty Free: Body & Bath

When it comes to bath and body products, I’m a real adventurer; I’m always trying something new, though I’m loyal to some of my favorite finds. In addition to choosing animal-friendly products, I’ve tried to eliminate products with parabens and sodium lauryl or laureth sulfate. In my bath area, there’s always a good mix of “luxury items” (translation: costly but worth it) and items that are easier on the wallet.  I’ll leave the topic of “saving face” (cleansers, scrubs, masks, and facial moisturizers) until tomorrow… Here’s what you’ll find in my bathroom: at the sink — EO Essentials Hand Soap (Orange Spice) Nature’s Gate Organics Hand Soap (Lemongrass and Clary Sage) Nature’s Gate Fragrance-Free Moisturizing Lotion for sensitive skin Sparitual “Instinctual” Organic Moisturizing Lotion Alba Botanicals Pineapple Enzyme Facial Cleanser Trader Joe’s Toothpaste with Fennel, Propolis, & Myrrh Desert Essence Dental Floss with Tea Tree Oil Dr. Tung’s Smart Floss Trader Joe’s Deodorant Giovanni Organic Hair Care’s L.A. Hold Hair Spritz Nexxus Headress Leave-In Conditioner *I’ve got a John Masters Organics leave-in conditioner waiting for me to try when I’ve finished with this tube of Headress. at the tub — Collective Wellbeing’s Charcoal Body Wash EO Essentials Hinoki Ginger Bubble Bath — a top-favorite indulgence (only $10 a bottle!) lots of soy candles 🙂 in the shower — Alba Botanicals French Lavender Bath & Shower Gel Alba Botanicals Shaving Foam Nature’s Gate Organics Hemp Conditioner (for dry hair) Aveda Camomile Shampoo EarthScience Olive & Avocado Deep Conditioning Masque (for hair) Best Value! Whole Foods “365” shampoo and conditioner (fragrance-free) While we’re in the bathroom… Ecover Toilet Bowl Cleaner Trader Joe’s Bergamot & Coriander Air...

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In the Kitchen (products)
Jun23

In the Kitchen (products)

One of the first and easiest places to convert your home and lifestyle to being more animal-friendly is in the kitchen.  And I’m not even talking about the food in the refrigerator yet — we’ll save that for another day! Here’s what you’ll find in my kitchen: at the sink — Trader Joe’s Liquid Dish Detergent Nature’s Gate Organics Liquid Soap Avalon Organics Hand Lotion Environne Fruit and Vegetable Wash under the sink — Method Stainless Steel Cleaner, for appliances Method “Daily Granite” Cleaner, for countertops Method “Wood For Good” polish, for dining chairs, cabinets, and other wood furniture around the house Trader Joe’s Pure Castile Soap, for my butcher block table Trader Joe’s or Seventh Generation Dishwashing Detergent (powder) Ecover Glass & Surface Cleaner Best value! Trader Joe’s Multi-Purpose Cedarwood & Sage Cleaner I’ve used this to clean countertops, the glass windows in the microwave and oven, and as a quick “spray and wipe” clean-up job for a spill on the tile floor. The 34 oz. bottle is inexpensive and very handy to have...

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In Memoriam

I was privileged to have Tommy Harper as a colleague and count him as a friend. However brief, in the time we worked together, he became a standard, an idea, a role model. In 2006, I re-entered the Literature classroom (as opposed to the classroom in which we were more concerned with questions of statistics and ROI). After a long self-imposed exile I returned, if only temporarily, to having my days revolve around the likes of Keats, Shakespeare, and Hemingway. My classroom was at the very end of a wing on the periphery of the campus, practically my own little universe — I thought I couldn’t have been happier with the arrangement. But it did get even better because, as it turned out, Tommy’s classroom was right across the hall from mine. After many, many years as a public school teacher, he’d semi-retired to the role of a part-time teacher at this private school, teaching a couple of classes back to back each morning; he was seventy years old, and it was his goal to teach until he was seventy-five. Unlike myself, Tommy was a morning person. While I was still working on my first cup of coffee and therefore only slowly coming into full consciousness, Tommy would be in his classroom bright and early, very often helping a student before the school day officially began. Always, he’d have some classical music playing. He’d often tell me it was a piece he was currently practicing himself; I suspect an ulterior motive was to expose his students to music outside their normal scope of influence, because that was the kind of teacher he was. Beyond that, Tommy Harper was someone who surrounded himself with beauty, in the truest Keatsian sense of the word, and you couldn’t help feeling like some of this magical world he lived in would rub off on you whenever you were near him. Sometimes I’d deliberately set my door wide open, so that the sounds of the cellos and violins would bleed across the hall and into my room. I believe most of the students who had him as a teacher during these last years of his career will remember Tommy fondly as the sweet old man who loved to talk about books… and also manners. Then there will be those who really listened, and who let themselves be changed by the experience of having him in their lives. They will be the ones who more fully appreciated the breadth of his knowledge and the personal wisdom that infused his interpretations of Hardy and Plato. Tommy himself was like something that stepped right out of an...

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Clickin’ My Heels
Jun30

Clickin’ My Heels

It was an autumn afternoon in Austin when the package arrived. I had waited weeks for my custom-made tap shoes, delivered all the way from Israel. I slipped my feet into the black leather oxfords, practically orgasmic at the smell, the fit, and then… the sound. One tap on the kitchen floor was like running the bow along the strings of a Stradivarius. I was having — truly, madly, deeply — a ruby slippers moment: unadulterated magic. Since then, I have had many moments of genuine pleasure slipping into my shoes. I could wax poetic about a pair of black boots I had, thick high heels and smooth sexy leather running up my shins. I still get nostalgic thinking about my first pair of grown-up Mary Janes that saw me through my first years as a teacher and seemed to go with all my loose flowing dresses. And didn’t I think I was something in my combat boots during that brooding Bohemian phase. But not until this afternoon have I had another ruby slippers moment. And this time – whaddaya know — it came from the arrival of a pair of red (thankfully, more maroon than red) sneakers.OK, let me elaborate. The sneakers are emblematic of a larger change happening in my universe right now. You see, this weekend, I drove a trunk-load of shoes down to the local vintage re-sale shop and rid myself of ALL my leather shoes. Now, I’m not going to get on a soapbox and start proselytizing — that’s not what this about. But understand that, for me, this is a huge move. It’s like everyone who goes vegetarian and gives up that almighty makes-you-weak-in-the-knees hamburger. Lucky me, I’ve never been a hamburger person; in fact, I’ve been a salad artist of sorts since the age of three or four, so going veg was, I know, not as much of a challenge for me as it is for those who are not as wild about their greens. But how I do love those leather shoes! Admittedly, I think I actually clung to the boot box, lingered just a little too long not to notice, before handing it over to the boutique’s salesperson. So my challenge now, after surrendering the beloved shoes, is finding the vegan replacements. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that even my fabric pumps were not acceptable (ugh — leather soles!). For a few minutes, I honestly thought I bit off more than I could chew, as I stood there sizing up the empty shelves: all that remained were a couple pairs of flip-flops, a pair of Converse, and a single...

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