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Faux-Fur Design Competition at Parsons
Oct11

Faux-Fur Design Competition at Parsons

Several months ago, I was thrilled to attend the Cool vs. Cruel Competition Awards held at the TriBeCa Grand Hotel. The event was the culmination of  the creative efforts of both the Humane Society of the United States and students of the Art Institutes. The designs on display (and on models looking gorgeous as they mingled with the rest of us) were all so fantastic — proof that, even when there is a resurgence of fur on the runways,  it is possible to be fur-free and cutting edge at the same time. I especially love the HSUS Fur-Free Campaign for its work with fashion students; these budding designers are the future trendsetters of the fashion world. Giving them this kind of incentive early on, and helping them become more mindful in their design process of the potential impact on animals, is simply AWESOME! Since 2009, The HSUS has been presenting at the prestigious design school to educate students about the problems associated with animal fur. Now, more exciting news in the realm of cruelty-free fashion: The Humane Society of the United States and Donna Salyers’ Fabulous-Furs have launched a faux-fur design competition at Parsons The New School for Design. Parsons alumni include Donna Karen, Marc Jacobs, Jason Wu, Tom Ford, Isaac Mizrahi, Anna Sui, Mark Badgley and James Mischka. So the winner of this competition will be in good company. The contest challenges students to create faux fur designs within the categories of women’s wear, menswear, children’s wear, or accessories, to be developed for inclusion in their senior thesis or other major studio project. Later this year, six finalists will be selected by a panel of industry experts to receive sponsored material from Donna Salyers’ Fabulous-Furs. The finalists will be judged for inclusion in future exhibitions at Parsons and will compete to win cash prizes awarded by The HSUS. I can’t wait to see what they come up...

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Whale Watching, Cape Cod
Oct07

Whale Watching, Cape Cod

During my travels, I’m always looking for ways to interact with animals — whether it’s by visiting a local animal sanctuary, hiking through the woods, or walking along the beach. When in Cape Cod, one is almost certain to feel the pull of the whale watching opportunities. I was just a young girl the first time I experienced the thrill of the whale watch, with my family during a a stay on the Cape. A little later in life, I would be privileged to receive a grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities to spend the better part of a summer researching and discussing with a select group the different aspects of Herman Melville’s work — Moby Dick, of course, a focal point of our work. The magnificent white whale. Mythic. Epic. And, just as in literature, sighting a whale is among the  most mesmerizing and humbling experiences in life. Responsible Whale Watching: WhaleSense.org We know too much about the horrors of Sea World or other similar entertainment parks to partake in those kinds of interactions. However, it’s also important to do a little homework before signing up for a whale watch. As always, the idea is that we want to observe wildlife without being disruptive; and whale-watching is largely a self-regulated industry with few laws looking out for the welfare of the mammals. I was happy, then, to discover Whale SENSE, an organization whose mission is to ensure the safety and well-being of the whales and other sea animals while allowing us to enjoy these commercial whale watches. Participating companies agree to: Stick to responsible whale watching guidelines Educate naturalists, captains and passengers to have SENSE while watching whales Notify appropriate networks of whale problems (injured or entangled whales) Set and example for other boaters for responsible whale watching practices Encourage ocean stewardship Check out the Whale SENSE web site to look up the company and see if it is a participant. The site lists whale watching companies in Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York. You’ll also find some great information about the different species of whale and dolphin there.  ...

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Green Lotus Cafe, Hyannis
Sep30

Green Lotus Cafe, Hyannis

During a recent stay in Cape Cod, I was ecstatic to discover a relatively new vegan cafe in Hyannis, Green Lotus Cafe. Located on the town’s quiant Main Street, this cafe is an absolute vegan haven in a place that is only slowly getting on board with accommodating vegan diners. (I’m encouraging local pancake houses to include vegan pancakes on the menu — craving a short stack with local blueberries!) Owner/Chef Nate Fanara opened Green Lotus about five months ago. A native of the Cape, he lived in San Diego for many years before heading home and realizing there was a need for vegan fare that was based more on whole foods — no tofu here. He makes his own seitan on the premises, and will soon also be making tempeh on site as well. And, other than offering Daiya cheese as a vegan option (the menu caters to both vegetarians and vegans), look for ingredients like cashew cream and eggplant bacon rather than the usual processed vegan substitutes. Everything sounded so enticing here that my husband Seth and I made two separate trips for lunch during our vacation. On the first day, we shared the E.L.T. and the Veggie Reuben. We came back a second time to try a couple of the other sandwiches. What I love about this place is the unique touches — such as using shaved slices of seitan in the Reuben or the eggplant bacon on the E.L.T —  as opposed to the more typical vegan versions that use tempeh. And the coconut bacon on The Maui was a revelation. Wow.   Other delicious-sounding menu items include a roasted seitan wrap and a roasted red pepper hummus wrap. Beyond sandwiches and wraps, daily specials include vegan soups and seasonal ingredients for a “Build Your Own Salad” menu option. Finally, the cafe has a nice selection of organic coffees and tea and some vegan baked goods if you’re looking for an afternoon spot to just sit and read for a while. What a wonderful addition to the Cape Cod community — I’m looking forward to revisiting the next time I’m in town… and wishing Green Lotus great success! Moreover, I’m hoping Green Lotus will inspire other existing restaurants to start offering more vegan options, and maybe some additional new vegan-friendly places on the Cape as...

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Snacks!
Sep13

Snacks!

Most of the time we stick to whole foods in our home, so snacks are fruits, vegetables, and sometimes a big bowl of fresh-popped popcorn. But we also can get a little wild in the kitchen, roasting garbanzo beans or making our own kale chips. And, then there’s the occasional guilty pleasure, the immediate satisfaction of a ready-made snack. Whether you have a sweet tooth or are craving something a little salty, I recommend these for snack time… The Buccaneer by Go Max Go If you haven’t tried a chocolate bar by Go Max Go yet, go go go to your nearest Whole Foods and buy one. My preference is  The Buccaneer, which is light and airy — similar to a Three Musketeers. My husband just tried the newest bar — the Thumbs Up — which is very similar to a Butterfinger. I’m thinking a Thumbs Up blended with So Delicious Coconut-Milk Ice Cream is going to happen in our kitchen very soon. Simply Sprouted Way Better Snacks I got to sample these tortilla chips during the Hoedown weekend at Farm Sanctuary. The variety of flavors includes Black Bean, Sweet Potato, Multi-Grain, and Blue Corn. Bite-size squares with just the right amount of salty goodness. A little guacamole dip would be awesome with these chips… but they were great just straight out of the snack bag. Primal Jerky I was never a jerky girl, and so it’s taken me this long to give these seitan jerky strips a try. Eureka! I surprised myself when I had to admit I liked the Texas BBQ flavor, which has a slight sweetness to it; and I also liked the Teriyaki. There’s a Hickory Smoked flavor, too, that my husband really enjoys.The jerky strips are low in calories and fat (BBQ has 81 calories and 1 gram of fat), which makes it even better. And my pups Otis and Galileo insisted I share this treat with them. “Just Like Honey” Rice Nectar Often, snack time for me is a piece of Ezekial sprouted-bread toast and a cup of tea. So when I discovered this alternative to honey or agave nectar (which is more processed than I would like), I was SO happy. Made by Suzanne’s Specialities, of Ricemellow Creme fame, the rice nectar really is “just like honey” and transforms a cup of tea into a collection of sips of bliss. Easy Homemade Snacking: Roasted Garbanzo Beans I learned about this simple snack while attending a fundraiser in Beverly Hills. SO easy to make and so good. It’s great as an afternoon snack, but it also is quick enough to enjoy late night....

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My “Route 27” Salad
Aug26

My “Route 27” Salad

A friend of mine recently posted a simple recipe for a marinated cucumber salad. The recipe included tomato and onion as well, and it instantly reminded me of the fresh tomato salads that I grew up with in New Jersey — everyone so generously sharing the fruits of their gardens around this time of year. I promised myself I would try out the recipe soon. And so, as we made our way back to the city from the Hamptons last week, we stopped at one of the myriad local produce stands along Route 27. I loaded up my market bag with all kinds of goodies, including the ingredients for what I will now forever call my Route 27 Salad — a variation on the recipe posted my friend. Thanks for the inspiration, Al! Route 27 Salad ingredients: 1 medium cucumber 1 large tomato 1/2 Vidalia onion 1 ear of corn, steamed  (let cool before cutting from cob) 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar 3 tablespoons olive oil 1/2 cup filtered water 1 teaspoon sugar (I used a pinch of stevia) sea salt & coarse ground black pepper Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. ***Stellar Vegan Salads  — My new book is almost here!*** Some salads, like the Route 27, are simple and quick; others are more elaborate but well worth the effort. Making the most of what’s local and in season is always fun. My upcoming book provides tips and recipes to help you tap into your inner salad artist. Click here to learn more....

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Dog Days of Summer in the Hamptons
Aug19

Dog Days of Summer in the Hamptons

Our companion animals Otis and Galileo deserve a respite from the city as much as we do. Lucky for us, c/o The Maidstone in East Hampton offers the perfect family getaway for all of us. This boutique hotel’s rooms are named after various Swedish authors and artists, and come with a nice supply of bath and body products by Malin + Goetz.  The Maidstone makes every aspect of one’s stay relaxing and dog-friendly, including suggestions about where to enjoy some beach time with the pups or places to explore in East Hampton and the neighboring towns with them. Late afternoons, it’s time for “Yappy Hour” in the cozy lounge or on the patio; sip one of Leandro’s amazing Strawberry Mojitos while the pups enjoy something off the Woof Menu. And, in the evening, the four-legged guests are invited to dine along with you in The Living Room Restaurant. The Living Room embraces the slow-food philosophy and is vegan-friendly, with plenty of fresh, local produce at work in the kitchen. Beach time! In the mornings and early evenings, we enjoyed long family walks on Main Beach, just three minutes from the hotel. (During summer season, dogs are allowed on the beach before 9am and after 6pm.) Other great spots for some beach time with the pups: the area surrounding Montauk Lighthouse, undeveloped coastline with pretty views into the horizon, and Maidstone Park Beach, secluded and serene. The Faves List The Hamptons has so much to offer when it comes to dining, wining, and relaxing. Here are some of my favorites — from the upscale dining experience to the super-casual neighborhood coffee joint. Nick & Toni’s (East Hampton) The fine dining experience you won’t want to miss. Great atmosphere, food, and wine. Reservation is a must during the summer season. Seth and I ordered the same thing: Seared Herb Polenta served over an array of roasted vegetables. To start, try the Watermelon Salad: a beautiful combination of melon, spearmint, red onion, and Kalamata olives (hold the pecorino romano cheese!) Babette’s (East Hampton) Babette’s is hugely popular for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It’s a great place to dine outside and people watch, too. You can go for something simple and classic like Bucatini Pomodoro with shitake mushrooms and basil (add pan-crisped tofu); or, get adventurous like I did and order the Creole Casserole. Definitely a culinary experience outside of my usual focus on whole foods, this dish is an insane (indulgent, gooey, delicious) combination: garlic mashed potato, layered with kale, succotash, roasted garlic pecan, bbq tofu, salsa, and baked-on soy cheddar. On a healthier note, my usual pick would be the Pistachio-crusted...

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