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H-Couture Fashion Show, L.A.
Oct03

H-Couture Fashion Show, L.A.

On September 22nd, I attended H-Couture in Los Angeles, an evening celebrating fur-free fashion that included cocktails and a silent auction, a runway show that featured cruelty-free designs for both women and men (my fave was a men’s suit by John Bartlett), and a VIP after-party where animal advocates and celebrities mingled over drinks and vegan hor d’oevres. This first-ever event was hosted by The Humane Society of the United States, organized by its Fur-Free Campaign. Wayne Pacelle, CEO and President of the HSUS, opened the evening speaking about all the great work the HSUS is doing in various areas on behalf of animals, but he then quickly turned the spotlight specifically on the fur industry. With so many alternatives available, fur-free fashion is perhaps one of the easiest ways to make a big difference in the lives of animals. After Wayne Pacelle’s opening remarks, celebrity co-hosts Paul Wesley and Torrey DeVitto of “The Vampire Diaries” took over the stage to get the fashion glitz officially underway. Lights, music, models, and some truly gorgeous creations on the runway. The five designers contributing to the show were Victoria Bartlett, John Bartlett, Charlotte Ronson, Mark Bouwer, and Kimberly Ovitz. Here are just a few photos to give you a peek at the inspired designs: At the after-party, a “wall of sweets” was a nice touch: shelves of mini vegan cupcakes, and an array of candy bins from which party-goers could scoop their own cruelty-free treats (Swedish Fish, Hot Tamales, Mike & Ikes) into little cellophane bags. Everyone also had a lot of fun with the photo booth — all big smiles (or funny faces) while holding up a sign of the Fur-Free logo. Although I didn’t win with my bid on the Jaan J. vegan non-silk ties, I went home with an awesome swag bag filled with cruelty-free goodies — cosmetics by Urban Decay, FACEFACTS, Everyday Minerals, and Jane; products by San Francisco Gourmet Coffee, ONE Coconut Water, POM Wonderful, and Snikiddy Snacks; and gift certificates to some L.A. salons. Congratulations to the HSUS team and the designers for creating such a spectacular event.  A special shout-out to my dear friend Michelle, Fashion Outreach Manager of the Fur-Free Campaign, who spends much of her time traveling to fashion schools throughout the country, educating our future generations of designers and encouraging them to make more compassionate choices in their work.  She was integral to the planning of this H-Couture event, and I am so proud of all the work she is...

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Sharing YOUR Favorites
May31

Sharing YOUR Favorites

It’s summer vacation! I’ll be traveling quite a bit during these next few months, and I also want to make the most of the time I have left with my family here in Tucson before moving back to New York, so this post will be the last for a while. Nevertheless, our CFF community can still enjoy finding out about cool cruelty-free stuff… Sharing on Facebook Although I’m taking a break from blogging, I’ll be posting all sorts of goodies on the Cruelty-Free Faves Facebook page (and re-posting some old faves, too!). If you haven’t checked it out yet, I hope you will visit the page, “like” it, and use it as a way of discovering and sharing favorites of your own. I love hearing about your faves… and reading everyone’s comments that follow. It’s so quick and easy to share a photo of something you’ve cooked up in the kitchen, or a  link to a favorite product. With our blossoming FB community (4600+ and growing!), possibilities are endless for learning together about new cruelty-free alternatives. Cruelty-Free Faves Archives With 260+ posts accumulated over the last few years, the Cruelty-Free Faves site can be a resource for anyone looking for alternatives as the need arises, either by browsing the categories or using the search feature. Please remember to share the blog with friends, especially those just starting to make cruelty-free a priority in their day-to-day. Keeping it easy and fun is the surest way to keep it going. Have a wonderful summer, everyone! And let’s continue making those little choices each day that add up to a BIG difference for animals, people, and our planet. Peace, Sharon  ...

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Summer Reading
May21

Summer Reading

For me, poolside reading in the summertime is one of the ultimate pleasures in life. Whether in the serenity of one’s backyard, in the midst of mingling families at the local pool, or lying in the sand with the sound of ocean waves and sea gulls in the background — just give me a good read in the sunshine, and I am blissful. So if you’re like me, and you’re looking for some great books for the upcoming months, here are a few recent reads that I recommend adding to your summer reading list. Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer Some of you may be familiar with Foer’s other works, such as Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. In this book,  as Foer faces becoming a parent, he is considering his own eating habits and how they reflect his values. It’s a thoughtful piece, rather than a preachy one. A good one to share with omnivore friends to shed light on the realities of industrialized farming and the lives animals in agriculture endure just to end up on dinner plates. The Bond by Wayne Pacelle I’ve had the pleasure of hearing Mr. Pacelle, CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, speak on numerous occasions. While he always  is quick to point out that there is still so much more work to be done on behalf of animals everywhere, he also always leaves you feeling fired up by his stories of the victories on behalf of animals that demonstrate just how generous humanity can be. This book examines the bond we have with all kinds of animals — companion animals, farmed animals, and wildlife — and how these complex, sometimes contradictory, relationships have evolved over time. One of my favorite passages in the book discusses how our relationship with whales has changed over the years from one of dependence on the whaling industry for fueling our lamps to an avid whale-watching community that has come to appreciate the magnificence of these amazing creatures in a whole new light. Pacelle concludes the book with fifty ways any person can help animals through personal behavior, work in the community, and in a broader context that includes legislative efforts. This poolside read will educate any reader as well as inspire. (And, if you love this book as much I did, also check out Farm Sanctuary by Gene Baur.) Letters To Pushkin by … ME! If you’ve ever wondered where my personal inspiration to work on behalf of animals came from, this is a big part of it. A little beagle named Pushkin opened my heart and changed my life forever when I brought him home to my...

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Stellar Vegan Salad with Roasted Nectarines
May16

Stellar Vegan Salad with Roasted Nectarines

Ever since I was a kid, I have loved creating salads, making the most of whatever seasonal fruits and vegetables I could find in the fridge. I love colors, textures, and playing with combinations. But I also don’t like my salads too fussy or fancy. Often the best salads are simple ones with just a handful of ingredients. Around this time of year, I’m always anticipating summer’s fruits — peaches, plums, nectarines, and watermelon. All of them will find their way into my salad bowl in the upcoming months. To share my passion for salads, I’ve had a little side project going on for a while: the creation of an e-book entitled Stellar Vegan Salads. It’s still in the works… slated to become available in the fall. However, I thought I’d give my Cruelty-Free Faves friends a sneak preview with this salad that’s very easy to put together. In my home, I usually make one big bowl that my husband Seth and  I share. One bowl, two forks!  Enjoy! Summertime Sunshine Salad ingredients: Living butter lettuce Alfalfa sprouts Roasted nectarine* Roasted sunflower seeds Fresh mint Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil White Balsamic or Champagne Vinegar directions: Slice one firm nectarine into eight wedges and roast in oven.* Toast sunflower seeds over medium heat for about 3 minutes. SEt aside. Place rinsed butter lettuce leaves in bowl. Arrange sprouts in circle along the outer edge of the bowl. Cur up fresh mint and sprinkle generously over the lettuce; set aside a sprig for the center as garnish. Add olive oil and vinegar. Place 6-8 nectarine wedges in the bowl; add some more sprouts aruond the wedges. Sprinkle sunflower seeds and add center garnish. Ready to eat immediately, while nectarines are still warm! *Oven-Roasted Nectarines: Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees. Place wedges in an oven-safe glass dish and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for approximately 30 minutes. You want the wedges to be warm and slightly soft, but not mushy....

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New Fashion Finds! Brave GentleMan & Forgotten Souls
May10

New Fashion Finds! Brave GentleMan & Forgotten Souls

Here are a couple of recent finds in the fashion department that make choosing cruelty-free easy, fun — and stylish! Brave Gentleman  For all the sexy vegan men out there looking for fashions that express their personal style as well as their ethics: you need to know about Brave GentleMan.  New York-based designer Joshua Katcher launched the online mens shop in 2010; it offers vegan fashion and accessories, including cruelty-free custom made suits. Although there’s lots for the vegan man — and for us girls to buy for our vegan men — I couldn’t resist buying a Houndstooth Plaid Tie for myself, to wear every once in a while for an Annie Hall-inspired look. The vegan ties are made with organic cotton and recycled hemp, and stiffened with a process that uses recycled plastic bottles. Bow tie designs also are available, if that’s more your style. Bonus Tip! Check out Katcher’s site, The Discerning Brute — “fashion, food & etiquette for the ethically handsome man.” Forgotten Souls Organic, Ethical Clothing A few Forgotten Souls organic tee shirts came as part of the Candle 79 gift bag that I won at  the silent auction following The Genesis Awards.  These super-soft tees are made from 100% herbal dyed organic cotton, and the organization uses sustainable methods in all aspects of production — from the water used in the dying process to the biodegradable bags used in packaging. What makes wearing FS a win-win: part of the profits go to help animals worldwide. Since its launch in August 2010, Forgotten Souls already has donated $12,000 to worthy causes such as helping street animals through the Bali Street Dog Fund and protecting Australia’s wildlife through the Wombat Awareness...

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Movie time!
May02

Movie time!

I have so many favorite movies, several that feature animals and tell stories about our bond with them. Key to my enjoying such films is knowing that they have been made without exploiting the animals themselves. Here are a few films I highly recommend. Big Miracle Is there anyone out there who doesn’t have at least a little crush on Drew Barrymore? She’s as cute as ever in this film based on a true story about efforts to save a family of whales trapped under the sea ice in Alaska. And that guy from The Office is pretty likable, too. This recent film does a great job of showing how people with very different interests can still come together to help animals in need. Greenpeace and oil companies working together?! Yes, it’s an uplifting film that’s perfect for “date night”; or the whole family can enjoy this one together, and it should stimulate some thoughtful discussion afterwards. Watch the Trailer: [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUbDNXbdLSk&w=600]   Chimpanzee This one just hit the theaters a few weeks ago, coinciding with the 2012 Earth Day celebration. Kudos to DisneyNature for making a donation to the Jane Goodall Institute for every ticket sold during the film’s opening week. I was among those who went opening weekend — a great Sunday matinee experience with my husband Seth and my parents. In just 78 minutes (that goes by very quickly), the audience gets a glimpse into what life is like for chimpanzees in their natural habitat.  The baby Oscar will melt your heart, and the film does a good job of showing how these animals bond with each other as extended families. The kids in the audience were loving it as much as the adults. I applaud DisneyNature for this and its other films that let us connect with animals and share with children just how amazing animals are — a wonderful alternative to taking them to the zoo. Watch the trailer: [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cb8AeSh1rGs&w=600]   Dolphin Tale This film was one of this year’s nominees at The Genesis Awards, which recognizes major news and media for producing works that raise awareness of animal issues. Based on the true story of a dolphin named Winter who lost her tail, Dolphin Tale provides another example of people working together and doing extraordinary things for animals. Morgan Freeman is the one developing a prosthetic tail for Winter — which she will need to survive. Meanwhile, Ashley Judd, Harry Connick, Jr., and two adorable kids become Winter’s friends and support system as the dolphin faces the challenge of learning to accept and use the prosthesis. It’s a terrific cast, but Winter — the real-life inspiration...

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