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Decorating Our New Apartment with FLOR Carpet
Jun04

Decorating Our New Apartment with FLOR Carpet

For the past few months, we’ve been making all kinds of fun decisions about our new apartment in New York. During the renovations and decorating process, our focus has been on making animal- and eco-friendly choices that reflect our personal style and fit our family’s day-to-day lifestyle. Typical of a pre-war co-op, ours has beautiful hardwood floors; so the pups definitely needed some carpeted areas that wouldn’t be quite so slippery under their paws, and we wanted some areas that were warm and soft under our own feet, too. The challenge with area rugs is that most often they are made of handwoven wool. As I’ve written about before, I do my best to seek out wool alternatives (see my previous post, What About Wool?). Finding rugs for our new home was no exception. I’m delighted to report that there are a variety of rugs now available in the marketplace, such as those using natural fibers like jute or synthetic fibers like olefin. Many make use of recycled materials. Again, for our own home I was looking for cruelty-free, stylish, and practical: while a jute rug can be a wonderful accent in the right room, I wanted something more cozy for my pups at nap-time (probably 60% of their day). My search led me to FLOR Carpet Design Squares. Design FLOR rugs are comprised of squares roughly 19.7 inches in size; the use of squares lends itself to incredible versatility both in size and look. For an 8 x 10 area rug, you’ll purchase 30 squares. Need something a little smaller, or not quite standard? Just use fewer squares. Also, many of the squares that feature patterns have a random placement — that is, no delineated top, bottom, or sides. So your placement creates a wholly unique pattern. And, although we decided to go with one particular pattern in each area, a FLOR representative also will help a customer mix and match patterns, colors, and textures for a totally unique creation. Installation This is a DIY operation, but the squares are super-easy to install: using adhesive “dots” on the floor, the tiles stay in place (no padding underneath). A perk of this DIY approach is that it’s as easy to remove or replace one square as it is to install it. If there’s a spill, it’s easy to lift just that one square, wash, and put back in place. What a great thing for families with canine kids and human kids alike! Also pretty handy if you tend to throw your fair share of cocktail parties, where it’s just a matter of time before someone’s vino winds up on the floor....

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Accessorizing with Freckled Sage
May14

Accessorizing with Freckled Sage

It was while wandering around Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia that I discovered the local design company Freckled Sage, which specializes in items made from oilcloth. This “retro fabric” that was popular during the 1950s is made from a combination of linseed oil and canvas. It’s durable, waterproof, fade-resistant, easy to clean… and no animals are used in its production. This fun fabric is perfect for so many items, especially as summertime is approaching. I love the big tote bags — ideal for trips to the pool or beach. And the tablecloths that come in vibrant, bold designs would brighten up any patio dining or picnic table. Other products include cosmetics/travel bags and aprons. There are even some items for companion animals available: I love the food mats for cats (shaped like a fish) and dogs (shaped like a...

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Shopping with specials by Vegan Cuts
Jan11

Shopping with specials by Vegan Cuts

For those of you who get super-excited whenever you find a deal (and who doesn’t?), Vegan Cuts offers weekly specials that make it fun and easy to shop vegan while staying within the budget. It’s the GroupOn for all of us trying to use products and services that are aligned with a cruelty-free lifestyle. Deals range from food products to cosmetics to fashion. To give you a better idea of the possibilities, here are some recent highlights: 52% off Nicobella Organic and fair Trade Truffles Assortment $12 for 10 PureFit Bars ($19.90 value) 43% off Vegan Cosmetics & Skin Care (by various companies including Aubrey Organics, Beauty Without Cruelty, Ecco Bella) 50% off gift card for Compassion Couture Vegan Cuts is a terrific way to find bargains, and it’s also a fun way to learn about and try new products. As we all know, trying out new products can be risky business; no one can love everything, and so sometimes it seems easier just to stick with what we know. But when you can get such great prices on products and services, even the most risk-averse among us are likely to re-discover their inner-adventurer. And keeping it fun — so that choosing cruelty-free is more about what we can have, rather than what we can’t have — is the surest way to make a cruelty-free lifestyle a lasting life-long commitment. Enjoy exploring alternatives with the help of Vegan Cuts, and  please let me know if you discover any new...

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Recent Finds for the Home
Jun28

Recent Finds for the Home

Last week I blogged about some new discoveries made simply because I was running low on my usual toothpaste. Although it’s easy enough to get comfortable with a few brands, sometimes stepping outside the comfort zone — even when you’ve found a cruelty-free comfort zone of products to rely on — can result in some pretty spectacular finds. A couple of recent finds that now have become “usuals” in my own home: Seventh Generation Automatic Dishwasher Gel Already a fan of Seventh Generation products, I’m now also hooked on this one, too — infinitely better than powder detergents! In addition to sparkling glasses and squeaky-clean dishes, why this product gets “fave” status: the gel is chlorine and phosphate free; it’s made from plant-based enzymes and essential oils; and the formula is biodegradable. Also, the product is “Leaping Bunny” certified, which ensures that it was developed without animal testing. We’ve used the Grapefruit scented gel and also the Fragrance-Free. Method Pro-Chef Multi-Surface Kitchen Cleaner I use the specialty cleaners by Method for my granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances, and wood furniture pieces. However, my local Whole Foods has not been carrying the Daily Granite Polish as of late; and as the contents of my bottle dwindled, I decided to give the multi-surface cleaner a try. More than just a polish for the counter tops, this product is the perfect clean-up tool after more elaborate cooking ventures, when I need a non-toxic spray that still packs a powerful punch. And Method is certified as “Cruelty-Free and Vegan” by PETA’s Caring Consumer program. Spike’s “Business Bags” for Dogs I ordered these little biodegradable bags from One Lucky Duck, and I LOVE them! As the Tucson summertime temperatures top the 100-degrees mark, daily poop patrol of the backyard is a must. Beyond their utility and the fact that they biodegrade in 45 days (plastic bags are SO terrible for the environment and harmful to animals!), these corn-based bags appeal to the performer in me as well: written across each bright green bag, the line “There’s No Business Like Dog Business.” Cute. So, I’m posting about household products in anticipation of heading home today after a wonderful time in Portland, Oregon! Although the main purpose of my stay was taking a Farmed Animals class at Lewis & Clark Law School, I also had fun exploring the city. Stay tuned for...

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One Lucky Duck
May11

One Lucky Duck

Some of my NYC friends already may be familiar with the raw vegan restaurant Pure Food & Wine. If you haven’t been there yet, now is the perfect time of year to enjoy a meal at Pure, with its backyard-garden dining — great food and a great vibe!  Among the dishes to try: King Oyster Mushroom Scallops in Lemongrass Coconut Broth,  Sweet Corn & Cashew Tamales with Chili Spiced Portabella, and — dessert! — the Salted Chocolate Caramel Tart: pecan caramel, dark chocolate ganache, sea salt, and vanilla cream. And Pure, staying true to its full name, has a fantastic wine list, all vegan-friendly. But the fabulousness of Pure  is not limited to Irving Place, thanks to their One Lucky Duck Juice & Takeaway locations in Gramercy Park and Chelsea. Also, for those of us not in New York at the moment, there’s a whole host of treats available via the One Lucky Duck online store. Offering so much more than just gastronomical delights, other shopping categories are Glow (cosmetics, bath & body),Wear (hemp hoodies and bamboo baby socks!), Nest (books, kitchen appliances, and… an infrared sauna for $3,395), and Pet (see my purchases below). My recent little online splurge: One Lucky Duck Blonde Macaroons One Lucky Duck Buckwheat & Hemp Granola SkinnySkinny’s “Fetching” Dog Shampoo Biodegradable “Business Bags” by Spike Simply Fido Organic Pup Toy Since I’m in Tucson and it soon will be nearing the usual summertime 100 degrees again, I decided to pass on the sauna for...

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Pillow Talk
Mar24

Pillow Talk

I confess that I can be super-fussy about pillows. I like them to be truly supportive of my neck as I move around (I’m a back/side/stomach sleeper), and so I tend to replace pillows quickly when they’ve lost their oomph.  For a while, it got to the point where we would make jokes that I needed to join a “pillow of the month” club. But I’ve finally found pillows that I am SO happy with — Indulgence by Isotonic. The ultimate down-alternative pillows! These have all the luxury of  down pillows without the feathers. I’ve written before about choosing alternatives to down: it’s wonderful to find options that are kind to animals and kind to those of us with allergies. I don’t think I’ve ever slept so well. For those  of you who prefer pillows that are less squishy than “down”: Laura Ashley Home: Natural Elements Natural Living Extra Loft Down Alternative, with Ingeo Fibers These pillows are available for purchase online. We bought ours at the local Bed Bath & Beyond. Bonus Tip! If you’re looking for a great down-alternative comforter, check out the organic down-alternative comforter by West Elm. We love ours… along with the rest of our West Elm organic bedding. Sweet dreams!...

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