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Hi all! I just wanted to let everyone know that I have officially moved this blog from LiveJournal to a Wordpress page that can be found here. I haven't been happy with the way my browser works with the tools here and Wordpress gives me a lot more freedom in the look of the blog. The only thing I will be missing with wordpress is the community that LJ allows you to create (okay, and my Booth/Brennan mood theme, hehe). I am going to keep this profile in order to keep up with people and comment on the boards, but will probably not be posting anything new here.

Thanks to everyone who has read and commented in the past. I hope you will all continue to read my postings over at the new page! I think I am going to be better about updating now that posting is easier. :)

Much love!

Tonight I went to the Upper West Side NorthFace store to attend a discussion on living a compassionate lifestyle, with style.  The panel members were four eco-fabulous rock stars who are paving the way in the mainstreaming of the eco-friendly, cruelty-free movement.  They were: Joshua Katcher from TheDiscerningBrute.com, Michael Parris DuDell from Ecorazzi.com and VEGdaily.com, Chloe Jo Berman from GirlieGirlArmy.com and Elizabeth Olsen, creator and designer of Olsen Haus Shoes.

The subtitle of the event was "Glam, Food, Fashion and Buzz" which was basically the areas of which each member of the panel spoke.  Even as someone who is already a vegan and has done her research on why it is such a fab choice, I still found the discussion interesting and picked up a few more tidbits along the way (for instance, the fact that it takes over 5 thousand gallons of water to raise one animal for food!). 

I have to say, though, the part of the night I enjoyed the most (aside from meeting the panelists) was learning how each of them came into the vegan lifestyle.  It has always fascinated me how people take such different paths to arrive at the same place, working toward a common goal.   In this case, it seemed like each of the four panelists represented a good cross-section of the many possible ways people end up as vegans.  One had first done it for health but has since discovered the other benefits.  For another, it was a choice made at a young age because of the environment.  And for another, it was all about the animals.  Different lives, different backgrounds, different ideas, now using their experience to spread their ideals using what they are good at: writing, fashion, design, networking, cooking, etc. 

This is something we all have the ability to do, in whatever moves us in our lives.  So if it is not animal rights or the environment for you, make it something else.  There are about a million ways you can use your voice to have an impact.  I, myself, am going to try to get better at updating this blog and continue to do work with Farm Sanctuary and with the other non-profit I volunteer for, The All Stars Project.  If you live in the NYC area I recommend checking out both of these organizations.  They are very different groups, both doing important work. 

Also, if you happen to live in the Northern New Jersey area and have an interest in animal advocacy you should check out the NJAAA (North Jersey Animal Advocacy Association).  It is a new group my friend Tracie started due to the lack of such a group in the area.  We are very small so far, but have some dedicated members and great ideas.  Check out the website for information on our next meeting.


Things That Make Me Proud to be a Veg

Anyone ever watched the pop culture beat down show Best Week Ever on VH1?  Well, I am a big fan and even a bigger fan of the show's blog.  Seriously, if you need to be entertained by the most ridiculous stuff while at work, this is the blog to add to your feed.

Anyway, today in their ongoing blog category of "Things That Exist" they posted this:

This is a whole cooked chicken in a can.  A whole. chicken. in. a. can.

It's bad enough what is done to the chickens while they are still alive, but to shove their poor dead bodies into a can?  Just, wow.

And you think it sounds bad?  Wait until you see what it looks like. 

"Sweet Sue: Creating vegetarians one can at a time."

Easter Musings

This morning I realized that Easter was going to be here soon.  And with that, it also dawned on me that one of the biggest things our culture does to "celebrate" this holiday, egg-dying, is not exactly vegan-friendly.  Actually, that is an understatement, it is very much not a vegan-approved activity.  Knowing what I do now about the suffering caused in order to get these eggs, I am certainly not going to condone it by buying the product.  However, egg-dying remains a tradition in our culture and was always a big part of my Easter memories.  I found myself thinking to the future when I want to make similar memories with my children.  What can you dye like an egg that isn't an egg? 

Well, no sooner did I pose this question, did I happen upon a post from the Farm Sanctuary blog Making Hay that addresses just this issue!  It also touches on other ones like parents who buy their children real animals for the holiday (really?!) and candy.  Their answer to the egg-dying dilemma is to make paper mache eggs using small balloons and painting them.  While this will not exactly simulate the same wonder I had as a child when my egg turned purple or blue or pink, or when my mom would give me a white crayon to draw hidden designs that would show up when I dyed the egg (you have to admit that is still pretty cool), I realize that this is a very small sacrifice to make for choosing a more compassionate way of life (and passing it on to my kids).  There will be other ways to create wonder for them and opportunities to make new memories and traditions. 

If you already have children, what are some things that you do to make their Easter special without egg dying or Cadbury Creme eggs? 

One thing that I think would be fun to make a tradition out of is bringing your children to an animal sanctuary to visit real chicks and bunnies.  And instead of buying them real animals, you could participate in something like Farm Sanctuary's Adopt-a-Farm-Animal program.  You will even get a picture and adoption certificate to put in your child's Easter basket!

If there is any doubt in your mind that even non-domesticated animals have emotions and feelings, and can create the same types of bonds as humans do, this video should remove it.

Farm animals make the same kinds of friendships when they are given the chance at places like Farm Sanctuary.

Dirt Candy (emphasis on the dirt)

I was going to try this new vegetarian restaurant called Dirt Candy that opened recently in Manhattan, until I read this article on the Huffington Post

I did my homework on Amanda Cohen and found that she did in fact say those things and they weren't taken out of context.

With all the really non veg-friendly restaurants out there, it is sad to see someone who could possibly bring so much to a veg-friendly place instead using her voice to put a wedge between vegetarian and vegan eating.  And especially between meat-eaters and veg*ns.  I can understand wanting to attract a diverse crowd to your establishment and not being pigeon-holed as a "crazy vegetarian" place, but doing so by alienating what could potentially be a large number of your patrons is not only poor business but bad manners. 

What I find most strange is that after putting down vegan restaurants who try to recreate non-vegan dishes, the menu at Dirt Candy says any of their dishes can be made vegan.  How is adapting your vegetarian recipes to be vegan (somehow replacing all that cheese and cream and eggs you seem to revere) any different?  I think if you are going to stand for something then you need to stick to that philosophy or get out of the kitchen (so to speak).  If you don't want to be vegan-friendly, that's fine, just don't talk one thing but then try to do the other.  You're not fooling any of us.

Next Up

I've been slackerish about updating with exciting things like, oh, I don't know, meeting Emily Deschanel!  So, I promise I will write posts soon for:
  • My visit to Farm Sanctuary in California where I did not meet anyone worth noting (*cough*).
  • A very Furkey-Turkey-Tofurkey Thanksgiving - now with 33.3% more vegans!
  • Volunteering at Farm Sanctuary's Winter Wonderland party, where I may or may not have insulted Corey Feldman and got my coat stolen (not by Corey Feldman, at least not that I know).

Stay tuned for all that and more!

Mrs. Furkey's Tofurkey

It's almost TurkeyDay and in honor of those ugly bastards (I'm sorry, vegan or not, I still think those are fugly animals), I am going to tell you something new about me. If you already know this, well it's because you're not just my internet friend, so shut it. For those that don't know, the big news is that my last name is Furkey. You're probably like, "uh, so what?" Well, I hesitate to write my last name in a public forum where I share my thoughts because there are not many Furkeys in the world and if you Google search it right now, this entry will probably pop up pretty high in the list  (Update: Ok, so this entry doesn't pop up yet, but the first entry is the Urban Dictionary and finding that is worth the 2 seconds it takes to Google it).

ANYway, unless you don't have any innate rhyming capabilities you've probably already figured out why I'm bringing this up now. Yes, Furkey rhymes perfectly with turkey. Actually, it practically IS turkey. Oh, my grammar school days were so fun! Especially in November. My poor mother actually teaches first grade with that last name. Can you imagine? She has a deal with the kids that they are only allowed to call her Mrs. Furkey-Turkey during the month of November. She even has a giant cloth Turkey she puts up that says Mrs. Furkey's Thankful Turkey on it. They have to get it all out in those 4 weeks or forever hold their peace. If anything, we Furkeys are a smart flock.

What obviously makes my name even more hilarious (who knew it was possible) is the fact that I am now a vegan and what do I have to buy for Thanksgiving dinner this year? Why, a Tofurkey of course! A food that actually even has my last name IN it! I'm a little wary about the Tofurkey. Possibly because it has my name in it but also possibly because it'll be my first Thanksgiving without a real turkey. Can it measure up or will my mouth water all day at the real bird in the pot? (Just keep thinking rotting bird flesh, right?)

My mom is really trying to make this Thanksgiving as vegan as possible for me though. Granted there will only be 3 of us at our family Thanksgiving so making people happy is a little easier, but she's making the mashed potatoes with soy milk and vegan butter and the stuffing with vegetable broth. Of course, then she said she had this great recipe for a stuffed turkey breast where you cook the stuffing inside the turkey breast in a bag.

Me: So are you going to leave some of the stuffing out of the turkey?
Her: (silence on the phone) Wait, why?
Me: Um because if you make vegan stuffing and shove it in a turkey carcass to cook it kind of defeats the purpose.
Her: Ohhhhh. HAHAHAHAHA. You have a point.
Her: I'm still getting used to all this vegan stuff! Yes, I will definitely leave some out for you.

I know I've said it here before, but I love my mom. Hilarious.

So, this year some of the Furkeys will eat turkey and some will eat tofurkey, and once again they'll all be thankful when November is over.
Today I am blogging from my new workspace at my new job in NYC!  This is my second week and so far it has been great.  I hit the ground running here and have had project after project.  It's awesome!  My office is in Rockefeller Center and I love walking around the area on my lunch hour.  I'm definitely still in tourist mode.  Earlier today I inadvertently walked through an area where they were taping a scene of Lipstick Jungle and saw Kim Ravier with Kathy Lee Gifford and her cohost on the Today show (the one that airs later in the day).  NBC had signs on the sidewalk that warned that by walking in that area you were consenting to possibly being on TV.  Um, okay!  So then I walked back and forth 8 times.  Kidding.  I only walked by twice because I had to go back to my office that way.  So if you watch that show, which I don't, keep an eye on the street for a blond girl in a black coat with green scarf and a bright pink umbrella.

News on the vegan-front:

The down side of working in midtown Manhattan is the food options for veg*ns basically suck.  Everything veg-friendly is downtown (lower east and west, the Village, etc.) or more towards the park (at least that from my limited experience).  I recently found out there is a place called "Free Foods" not too far from me, so the next time I decide to splurge on lunch out I'm going to give it a shot.  Mostly I've been trying to pack my own lunch because it's way cheaper and I get sick of eating salads from Tossed in the 30 Rock concourse (one of the only places I've found something I can eat).  They do make fab salads, but there's only so many times you can do salad for lunch.

Last week I went to a book-signing for Sarah Kramer's new pocket vegan travel guide/cook book Vegan a Go-Go.  It was held at "Moo Shoes" in the lower east side and they had all sorts of vegan food and drinks on hand.  I got to meet Sarah and do a little vegan-shoe window shopping.  It was my first time there and I definitely need to go back.  Over the weekend I made two of the recipes from the new book, I don't remember their exact names off hand but one was a pumpkin sausage pasta sauce (I know, weird but really tasty) and the other was a quinoa black bean dish.  I love both of them and am really happy to have the leftovers in my freezer!

And the most exciting vegan news I have?  A friend and I are flying to California on November 21st to visit her family and go to Farm Sanctuary's "Celebration FOR the Turkeys" on the 22nd!!  I am so ridiculously excited about this, mostly because I can't wait to meet all the animals at the farm and have a vegan Thanksgiving for the first time, but also because Emily Deschanel is going to be there!  She is one of the speakers at the dinner and it will be so amazing to hear her talk about veganism and Farm Sanctuary in person.  I hope I get to shake her hand and tell her how much she inspires me to be a better vegan.

Well, that's it for now.  Today is my birthday so I'm having a dinner with friends at a Japanese restaurant in midtown later.  I'm really looking forward to some veggie sushi, terriyaki tofu and edemame!

How is everyone else?

A change gonna come...

SO, big things are afoot in la vida de chariot, which is why I have been mostly MIA from this blog lately.  Along with the aformentioned show I was in, I have also been teaching dance, working at Banana Republic and doing some online work for a former employer.  And of course right in the middle of all that I was invited for a second job interview in NYC for a position that had been put on hold in July due to a hiring freeze.  Well, the hirng freeze is up and I am happy to report that I finally, finally, FINALLY have a new job!!  I start on November 3rd and am in the process of finding a place to live in NYC.  I think I'm going to have to settle with renting a room in a two bedroom place and moving in with someone I don't know, which could be interesting and has potential to be good.  I have never had roommate problems in the past, so I will go in anticipating the best.

It should be interesting to see how the vegan lifestyle works out with a roommate too.  Since I don't really care what anyone else eats and having meat around doesn't bother me, I don't expect any problems.  I am a little nervous about the NYC food situation though.  I am not sure what types of foods their general grocery stores will have on hand and how much more expensive things will be.  If there are any asian markets in the area I will have to check those out and one apartment I am going to look at says it is close to a weekly farmer's market which would be awesome. 

If anyone from the city has any advice or tips for NYC vegan living please feel free to share!  I plan on purchasing the book that's out there about being vegan in NY too.  I know there has to be resources out there, I just will have to wait and see what will be close to my apartment.