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Bathing Beauties: Soap bars, Scrubs, and Body Butters
Sep17

Bathing Beauties: Soap bars, Scrubs, and Body Butters

A while back, someone on the CFF Facebook page asked about cruelty-free bar soaps, and there were some great suggestions. Although I’ve already written about bath products that are faves (bunches to explore in the Personal Care & Cosmetics category!), I decided to break away from my tried-and-true to check out some other products so I could share new finds with you… Kiss My Face I’m a big fan of many KMF products: always good quality, relatively inexpensive, and pretty easy to find at local stores and pharmacies. The olive-oil based bar soaps are no exception. The Olive Oil/Aloe is my favorite, but the unscented is a good one, too. LUSH Bubble Bars and Body Melts take soap to a whole new — and fun! — level. So many of my friends, vegan and non-vegan, are huge fans of this Australian-based company that’s taken the US by storm. If you’re lucky enough to have a store nearby, treat yourself to a browse. It’s kind of like a grownup’s candy store. Strawberry Hedgehog Thanks to my lovely friend Kezia for turning me onto this line of handmade soaps! I had to order mine online because my local Whole Foods is not one of the locations that carries them. Bar soaps include Lemongrass-Ginger, Ginger-Peach, Strawberry Basil Lemonade: I’m hardly opposed to using anything on my skin that sounds yummy. That said, some of the other less fruity bar soaps are equally enticing. Among the many choices, I added a Bamboo Detox bar to my online shopping cart. And to smooth on the body after a bath, try SH’s Organic Whipped Creme: a thick, heavy-duty moisturizer that I’ve been using on my feet, knees, and elbows for some extra TLC. Dr. Bonner’s An old standby all-purpose soap. In the past, I’ve especially liked the Baby-Mild Unscented and the Almond soap bars. Here’s the rub, though: if you’re going to use Dr. Bronner’s, buy the liquid soap rather than the bar — the bars have palm oil in them. Although palm oil is not derived from animals, palm oil production is responsible for decimating the natural habitats of orangutans and elephants, leaving many little ones orphaned. The liquid soap, on the other hand, is palm oil-free… so, still a great cruelty-free alternative. The Orange Owl Here’s a company that offers a wide range of products with which to pamper yourself. The bar soaps come in some lovely fragrances: at the moment, I’m in love with the Masala Chai. Looking for a good body scrub? “Sun Shower” sugar scrub combines tangerine, grapefruit, spearmint, and a hint of patchouli. And now that we’re all exfoliated, we...

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NYC to OBX: Delaware Delights
Jul14

NYC to OBX: Delaware Delights

Last week, I wrote about our recent vacation to North Carolina’s Outer Banks. As promised, today I’m sharing with you some delightful discoveries on our road trip south from New York City, during our overnight stay in Rehoboth, Delaware. We chose Rehoboth simply because it was a good half-way stopping point on our route. What a pleasant surprise this little seaside town turned out to be be for us — the pups  included! Not only would I recommend Rehoboth as a a terrific stop for those on the road, but I also would recommend this as a nice weekend getaway. It’s just over three hours from Manhattan, including a scenic ferry ride from New Jersey’s Cape May crossing over into Delaware; and for those of you in the DC/Virginia area, it’s also not too far of a drive. Take note, there’s a lively LGBT community here as well; so while there’s definitely a laid-back seaside vibe, there’s also a lively night life happening around here. Where To Stay The Homestead Inn is one of the most charming pet-friendly Bed & Breakfasts I’ve stayed in — my thanks to BringFido.com for the recommendation. Innkeepers David and Joe are the perfect hosts — Joe came out to greet us right away as we first let Otis and Galileo run around the enclosed grassy backyard area before checking in. The common area is a cozy space of a few tables and, in the midst of all materials for travelers about local businesses and events, there’s an array of stuff for the pups, from treats to beach towels. When we made the reservation, we let our hosts know we were vegans (a rule of thumb when doing the B & B thing), and they could not have been more accommodating: for breakfast the following morning, we were treated to tofu scrambles that were chock full of vegetables straight out of the backyard garden and roasted potatoes. They even gave us bread that was vegan so we could sample the homemade preserves. Delicious! Meanwhile, Otis and Galileo enjoyed some oatmeal before we all piled back into the car and continued on our way. Where To Eat Upon Joe’s recommendation, we went into the center of town for dinner at Hobo’s. Though not specifically a vegan restaurant, Hobo’s has plenty of vegan options. While we enjoyed the patio dining (dogs are welcome — if only we’d known!) and “music poaching” (a woman’s singing Broadway tunes and standards at the place across the street), Seth had a Buddha Bowl. According to our server, the Buddha Bowl is perhaps Hobo’s best-known menu item: a healthy serving of rice topped with seasonal vegetables...

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Hair & Makeup at Fabulous Stylez, L.A.
Mar28

Hair & Makeup at Fabulous Stylez, L.A.

While I was in Los Angeles for The Genesis Awards, I needed to have my hair and makeup done for the event. I wanted to find a place near our hotel, The Beverly Hilton; I also wanted to ensure that whatever products the salon used would be cruelty-free. As many of you know, I’ve been a fan of Aveda products and salons for a long time, so an easy way for this out-of-towner to find a place for prettying up was by checking out the Aveda site. There were a few locations listed on the Aveda web site that were within just a few miles of the hotel. After a little extra searching on the internet for some customer reviews, I decided on Fabulous Stylez on Melrose Avenue in the West Hollywood neighborhood. First, Ashleigh did my hair in an up-do inspired by the hairstyle worn by actress Berenice Bejo at this year’s Academy Awards. (This proved particularly fitting, as I ended up hanging out with the canine star of The Artist, Uggie, later that evening.) After my hair was taken care of, Alexia worked some make-up magic. Thanks to both ladies at Fabulous Stylez for helping me get ready for a truly fabulous evening. Bonus tip! I’ve visited Aveda salons in several cities. If you find yourself in a town you don’t know very well and you need a hair cut, a touch up, or an up-do, Aveda is like an old friend you can always count on. NOTE: After posting this, one of our CFF Facebook friends pointed out that Aveda is owned by Estee Lauder, a company that still tests on animals. Although Aveda operates as a separate entity and is admirable for its own stance against animal testing, I’m hoping its parent company gets on board with cruelty-free...

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Feminine Products
Feb09

Feminine Products

Ladies, there’s plenty to talk about when it comes to products we use on a monthly basis that end up in landfills and in our oceans. Let’s pause and just think about all those plastic tampon applicators we’ll go through in one year alone. Plastic wreaks havoc on the environment — taking up to 1,000 years to degrade — and it imperils marine life. In addition, if you’re a tampon girl like I am, let’s think about what we’re putting into our own bodies on a regular basis! If ever there was a product I wanted to be organic, chlorine-free, and dye-free, it’s the tampon I’m using. Organic cotton only, please! There are a few products to choose from — tampons and pads/liners that are available at Whole Foods and other natural markets: NatraCare Organic tampons and pads/liners. Personally, I like the pads with the wings. The tampons are without applicators… not my thing. Seventh Generation Organic cotton tampons and chlorine-free pads/liners. Tampons also without applicators. Azalea Brand launched by Whole Foods. Tampons have an organic cotton core, paperboard (recycle bin!) applicator. For those of you who are really adventurous… Glad Rags Washable pads. A little too earthy for me, but I know some people consider this the best option. The Diva Cup An alternative to the conventional tampon. Reusable cup made from silicone (latex-free) that you can use for up to ten years. I haven’t tried it; but, again, some of you may find the cup is the option that best suits you. *For other  favorite ways to reduce a household’s use of plastic, please check out my previous post: Plastic bags — so...

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Vegan Beauty Market online
Jan25

Vegan Beauty Market online

I’ve written in the past about vegan megastores that make it easy for anyone anywhere in the country to practice cruelty-free living. I’m excited to share with you today an online hub for skincare products and cosmetics, Vegan Beauty Market. This one-stop shop is like walking into a huge cosmetics department or a store like Sephora that’s home to multiple brands, with the added assurance that every single product for purchase is cruelty-free. Verifying that cosmetics and skincare products are, in fact, cruelty-free sometimes can be tricky business. Cosmetic companies often are fuzzy on the details when it comes to their animal testing policies. They also might be making “cruelty-free” claims that are misleading: they might be outsourcing any testing; or, they might be testing individual ingredients but not the product per se, and so they’re able to add the “not tested on animals” to their labels. For this reason, I’ll take any help I can get to ensure my purchase power is not supporting animal testing. It’s nice to have VBM bringing together the products that truly pass muster. Categories of products available: Face Body & Bath Hair Make-up Fragrance Kids Sun Gifts Free Samples! When it comes to skincare and cosmetics, I’m always on the lookout for new finds, but I always want to sample because I need to see how my skin is going to react. At a walk-in store, I’m drawn to the “tester” items, and I’ll accept any little packets of moisturizer, hand lotion, or shampoo that someone offers me (also great as a “travel-size” for the next overnight stay somewhere). Buying online from VBM, we don’t miss out on this aspect of the shopping experience: free samples come with every purchase. “Giving Back” Policy One more reason VBM is a fave: a percentage of profits are donated to nonprofits that support environmental, animal rights, and humane causes. Bonus Tip! For the lowdown on some of your usual cosmetic and skincare items, check out the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database for details on companies and specific products. In addition to a company’s animal testing policy, the site provides information about the individual ingredients and an overall safety rating for each...

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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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