All is right with the universe again…

Why, you ask? Because honey crisp apples are back at the farmer’s market. Can I get a woot?.

Yesterday, a co-worker and I made a rendezvous to the Farmer’s Market in Dewey Square. We trotted over to my favorite farmer: Kimball Farms to see what they had for delectable, homegrown veggies when what to my wandering eye should appear?  Honey f*cking Crisp Apples.  I said to my co-worker, (within earshot of the owner) “Quick, you distract him while I make off with this crate of apples…”  He heard me, laughed and reached over to squeeze my arm.   I wasn’t 100% joking. [You know the proverbial saying, “truth in every joke“.]  Seriously, if I could have absconded with that crate of honey crisp apples, you know I would and then I would have eaten every. single. apple. until I blew up like Violet Beauregarde.

And that’s all I have to say…

Well…actually…that’s not entirely true. I do have one more thing to say: what the fffffffffffffffff is up with Clint Eastwood?!?! Was he outside his head last night or what?  Clint, Clint, Clint, stick to directing, or even acting but for the love of God, please please please abstain from politics and comedy, it’s not your thing, m-kay buddy?

It couldn’t be helped, it just couldn’t….

I’m sorry. For what you ask? I don’t know exactly… I think I’m sorry for my complete and utter obsessions with vintage. I honestly do not know what has gotten into me. I’m generally not a shopper; in fact, I hate shopping. I hate clothes, well maybe hate is a strong word but I do not care for following the latest trends in clothes. I don’t give a rat’s fuzzy what some Hollywood actress or singer is wearing.   I much rather spend my money on my house, my cats, animals in shelters, Farm Sanctuary, organic vegetables, soy lattes from SBUX, 60% dark chocolate, honey crisp apples, and wine…but is a deep dark glorious black hole of vintage.  [Sigh]  As a fallen away Catholic, I do not necessarily subscribe to the whole heaven and hell thing, I mean c’mon, the walls might not be red, but isn’t this hell right here on good ole Mother Earth?  [Let’s not go there.] Anyway, I think my idea of heaven is going back to the 1950s like that movie Back to the Future, minus M.J. Fox (I was never a fan).  Leave me Doc; at least he seems more interesting to hang out with. Load him up with liquor and watch him blow shit up.  Did I just say shit? I did.  Sorry for that too.

This past Tuesday, I was home, sick from work and bored out of my effing mind. I recently cut the cord with cable so there wasn’t anything on TV and I was too sick to do anything productive like, say, tend to my garden so what’s a GiRRL-Earth to do?  I know, SHOP! Shop for what? Vintage shit (there I go again) Shop where? where else? Sheesh!

So in a hazy shade of sickness, I purchased two more coats.  If all goes well, I’ll post the link to the sellers.  Of course, you know I am hopelessly devoted to DaisyandStella (you never forget your first, do you?), but I like to spread the wealth around, I mean, it’s the least I could do for the economy, right? Riiiiiight.

With the smell of fall lurking around the corner like an ugly snake ready to scare the ever living shit out of me [this actually happened to me. Last weekend I happened upon an ugly snake in my basement (blech). I may blog about that at a later time depending upon whether or not I want relive the entire, horrible, shook-me-to-the-very-center-of-my-core experience].

As I said, with fall lurking, I bought the following coats.  Feast your eyes on these beauties.  Not that I want to rush the summer or anyting but c’mon let’s be honest, Thanksgiving will be here before you know it and I’ll be bitching about how I have to remind everyone I am a vegan and no I do not want any G.D. turkey, especially one  who lived a horrible existence before being slaughtered… but I digress.

These are the coats.  Aren’t they groovy?… Admit it, they are, c’mon…you know you love them. Well, I do and that’s all that matters.

Coat Numero Primo [and no that is NOT fur. As if!] :

9/2/2012 Update:  I received the above coat yesterday (Saturday 9/1) and it is even more beautiful in person! The photo does not do this coat justice.  Additionally, as it turns out, this coat is also a Youthcraft. So this purchase was a win-win all around.  Lastly, I purchased the above coat from the following (awesome!) Etsy vintage  seller: ByMidnight Sparkle.


And coat Numero Secondo [which is a Youthcraft! Also, seller is throwing in the scarf for free because she said, “…based on your Etsy profile pic, the scarf would look fabulous on you.”  Wasn’t that sweet?]

I cannot WAIT to wear these coats… I’m giddy with anticipation…


© 2012 GiRRL_Earth

Arguing with stupid…

The other day, I read a Freshly Pressed blog post from an RD explaining the differences (and benefits) of grass fed vs. grain fed beef.  One commenter said she “…loves being a vegetarian.” I responded to her comment and said, “Amen! I love being a vegan.”

And then another commenter responded to my comment and said the following:

I doubt you are a true Vegan. You don’t own a leather hand bag? Your car doesn’t have leather seats…or you would walk rather than riding in a car that has leather seats? You clearly would never fly JetBlue then. If you have a son, you won’t let him play baseball…the ball and glove are leather. Because to be a true Vegan, you can’t use ANY product that comes from animals…even though the animals were put here for us. And don’t forget, if Vegan’s were around back in the good ole days, our society would look quite different now. It would have been kind of hard to expand West without eating a Buffalo or two. Those long journey’s would have been really tough going across Nebraska eating nothing but tumble weeds. In the immortal words of Denis Leary – “not eating meat is a choice, eating meat is an instinct.” 

My initial reaction to this commenter was to laugh because in the almost two years I have been a vegan (former vegetarian), I have never heard of the phrase *true vegan*.   I also found his (assuming it is a he) comments idiotic and not worthy of a response.  Generally I make it a point to avoid getting into debates with non-vegans whose minds are completely closed to the idea of living a vegan lifestyle (like the commenter above).  When I run up against anti-vegans, I find most are quite hostile and tend to make blanket statements without any factual data to back up their claims.  And then this morning, I decided to share the comment above with two fellow vegans, one more seasoned (his name is Greg) and the other who is relatively new to the vegan scene (his name is Thomas) and this is what they had to say:

From Greg:

“They are not all bad points. I would tell him that being vegan means you don’t “support” animal cruelty to the best of your ability. For example, I didn’t get the hybrid Ford Fusion because it had leather seats. I chose to get the stripped down version of the car because I didn’t want leather. If he did his research he would have mentioned that the tires in your car probably have animal products, that’s something you cannot practically avoid in my opinion. You can also tell him you look at the ground when you walk so you don’t step on ants, you have the PETA bug catcher for spiders and flies in your house, you wash microbes off your tomatoes before you eat, you don’t use products that were tested on animals, etc. but it won’t matter. The bottom line is you want to be the best person you can be and not eating or wearing animal products gets you there. Even if you walked to every place you went he would argue that you can’t eat anything that was trucked to its destination because of the tire affect. That is, if he was informed enough.

The ignorance shines through in his other points. I don’t have to tell you that humans evolved as herbivores but rather than explaining evolution to somebody that may not have the capacity to understand it just simply ask how elephants or giraffes would do it? They travel clear across countries in order to get to water. I’m also pretty sure you could find more than tumble weeds in Nebraska. I resent the belittling of humans… The same species that created the pyramids are not capable of dragging food across a state? And it’s not surprising that he’s looking up to Denis Leary. A comic who makes a living off of re-ensuring people’s biases.  Maybe he should turn off Comedy Central and pick up a book written by Peter Singer, a well respected philosopher who will tell him why meat is absolutely a choice here or the China Study which would inform him of the dangers of eating meat. Lastly, if eating meat is an instinct, why doesn’t he run after a deer, or rabbit or even a turkey in his back yard and sink his teeth into its flesh for dinner tonight?

From Thomas:

“I take strong exception to his post. First of all, who said that animals were put here for us? What is his source, The Bible? What about the dozens of other hominid species that preceded us? Were they put here for us as well? What about Homo neanderthalensis (Neanderthals) that lived concurrently with modern humans? They were bigger and stronger than us and their brains were about as large. They looked virtually identical to us. Did God intend for us to have dominion over them as well? What about the 99% of all species that have ever existed on Earth that are now extinct, most of whom preceded the emergence of Homo sapiens? Were they all put here for us as well? Billions of years of evolution and progress and extinction, all just to make fossil fuels for our Sea-Doos? What about microbes and bacteria and viruses? Were they put here for us, so that we might have dominion over them? One could argue that many of them have dominion over us. To simply say “animals were put here for us,” without so much as citing a single source or conveying any rationale for such a profound and sweeping statement seems to me a very arrogant thing to do.

[This portion is written directly to the poster] As for your Denis Leary quote, I object to the notion that eating meat is an instinct. Whenever I’ve watched young children interact with the world, and in particular with animals, I’ve never concluded from those observations that eating other animals is instinctual for human beings. Think back to when you were a child and you first encountered a cow or a chicken or a horse. What was your instinct then? Did you salivate at the sight of the animal? Did you feel an irresistible urge to pounce on it and sink your woefully inadequate teeth into the animal’s hide and its warm, pulsating flesh underneath? Do you enjoy raw, blood drenched flesh? Does that satisfy your instincts, or like most humans do you find it repulsive?

Just because you and I and so many others have been conditioned since a child to enjoy highly disguised animal flesh that has been cooked and modified and processed to the point where it no longer evokes in you any association with an actual living creature does not mean that eating meat is “instinctual.” Eating meat is instinctual for many animals. That fact is easily observed in kittens that will salivate at the sight of a rodent and pounce on it and kill it. They genuinely do appear to savor and enjoy raw flesh. However, I have yet to see a three-year old human compelled by instinct to behave in the same fashion and, when I think objectively about it, I don’t believe I am inherently endowed with even the slightest instinct to devour other animals.”

In closing, I think both of my fellow vegans have made strong arguments against the blanket ignorant statements made by the anonymous poster (Full Discloser: I do know the commenter’s blog handle; however, I refuse to direct any traffic to his blog) and I don’t think I could have said it any better.   As a vegan, I am faced with the challenges of living among non-vegans, which society caters to.  To that end, if I can live in harmony with meat-eaters, why can’t non-vegans do the same?  Why must non-vegans/anti-vegans become so enraged over my choice to live a vegan, earth friendly lifestyle? What are they so afraid of?


Vintage Clothing

For those of you who know me personally, you know that I love vintage, especially vintage 1950/60s clothing. Lately, I’ve been wearing 1950s shirtwaist dresses (Think: Edith Head). One of the women I work with, who is in her early 60s, continues to remind me that I was born too late. I have to agree, I was.  However, I blame MadMen for creating the vintage monster I have become. (Sorry Matthew Wiener.)

Today, I am wearing a chocolate-brown shirtwaist dress. This morning on the Commuter Rail, a couple of women stopped me to comment that I looked fabulous. (Awe shucks!) One woman said I was “rocking it” with the dress, the plain white sneakers and my pixie haircut. She said I looked like a modern day Audrey Hepburn.  (And another: Awe shucks!)

Today at lunch, I decided to purchased more vintage dresses from the 1950s (2 dresses to be exact). Now, with that said, I am not sure if any of you following this blog have noticed but I love to give shout-outs to other blogs I admire. Well today, I’d like to give a shout-out to one of my favorite vintage sellers on Etsy.  So without further adieu, I would like to introduce all of you to: DaisyandStella at

If you love 1950s/60s vintage as much as I do, and want to do your part in recycling clothes versus buying new stuff, that was probably made in some 3rd world sweat-shop, then please take a moment and check out their wonderful Etsy store.

Yours truly,



© 2012 GiRRL_Earth

P.s. here is a photo of one of the vintage dresses I purchased… meant to include it before but forgot.

Changing the appearance of my blog

Helloooooo GE Followers,

I had a moment of creativity after my hair appointment tonight (did I mention maintaining a pixie haircut is mucho trabajo?) and decided to change the appearance of my blog.  Not sure how I feel about it — I wanted something earthy and I don’t think this theme expresses earthy, do you?

Your thoughts?…Anyone?.. Bueller?…



I just realized that my blog picture is outdated as it shows me with long hair, which I painstakingly grew back after a disastrous haircut in 2009!  More background: I have had long hair my entire life until 2009 when I decided to chop it off. Unfortunately the girl who cut it, didn’t have the skills or vision to cut my type of hair (curly) so I went through the painstaking process of growing my hair long again.  Long (no pun) story short, in 2011 I found a fabulous stylist (young, hip, cool, and who follows trends, as well as mucho talent) . I went to this new stylist with pictures of a pixie haircut that I liked on an actress who has the exact same hair texture, color and even skin coloring as me (not an easy task, btw).  The actress is: Morena Baccarin

In closing, when I mention above that I have a pixie cut, this is what I am referring to. I am sorry I do not have actual pictures of me, but it’s really tough to take pictures of myself, at least pictures that are decent enough to post.  Oh and the reason I say pixie cuts are mucho trabajo is because I have to go every 4 weeks to maintain it, otherwise as it starts to grown, my damn curl comes back, which is so frustrating.  :-/


Ok, I found one picture, it was taken immediately after my hair was cut and wasn’t styled yet.  I will say, my hair has morphed since and this first cut was a bit conservative (Kim was nervous seeing as I was going with such a drastic change). My pixie is even shorter now. Anyway, I hate this picture, but it’s the best I can come up with. I think I have some pictures on my iPhone showing the process of going long to short so maybe I’ll post those… not that anyone really cares. Ha-Ha!

Long Hair before Pixie Cut (May 2011)

First Pixie Cut (has morphed into a much shorter, closer to head pixie). I hate this photo and I really wished I had had my eyebrows done before this was taken (yeesh!) they were so overgrown in this photo. Yuck!

My first pixie cut with new stylist, Kim. (May 2011)

Found one of the photos with all of my hair on the salon floor…

My hair, swept into a pile on the salon floor, after Kim cut it all off…

OH! Here is a photo of me with my hair straightened… cannot believe I used to spend so much time straightening my hair! What *!@#^* was I thinking?!?! Oh and that’s our hunk of burning love: Seti “Beefcake”

Me (with straightened hair) and my Seal Pointe Siamese Cat, Seti

DISCLAIMER: All content and photos on GiRRL_EARTH.COM©2011 are protected by COPYRIGHT. Pictures and content can only be used with prior consent of GiRRL_EARTH and they have to be linked back to this blog. It is forbidden to use the pictures for commercial reasons.

Photography by GiRRL_EARTH or GiRRL_EARTH.COM©2011


Composting = Reduction in curb-side trash. Can I get a woot?!?!

Howdy GE Followers!

Today is trash/recycle curbside pick-up on my street. Last night, as I wheeled the recycle bin out to the curb, I looked down my street (both ways) to see how many people had placed both their trash and recycle bins on the curb. Answer: everyone, except…moi!  In my household, it takes almost 2 months to fill a trash bin. How can that be you ask? Because I compost – and I compost just about every darn thing you can think of. There is a list (and probably more extensive) on what you should never compost and some of those items are:  meat, bones, dairy, fish, cat litter and cat poop. I know there are others  items you shouldn’t compost but I can only remember these items.  Of course, I do not have to worry about composting such nasty items because I am a vegan.  Can I get an atta girl?

I won’t bore you with the list of things I do compost but suffice it to say, if the item cannot be thrown into the recycle bin, well then I am tossing it into the composter. In fact, last week, someone-who-will-remain-nameless ate a Lynwood’s pizza and left the cardboard circular remnants behind on the kitchen table, so I happily Frisbee tossed those into the composting bin.  Score!

IMHO there is no reason why you shouldn’t (or couldn’t) compost.  Unless of course, you live in the city were composting is near impossible.   Granted I have a garden, which benefits from my composter but you can compost, despite a garden.   I often wonder why more people, especially in the suburbs do not compost, seeing as it’s so easy (and reduces your trash).

Since moving into an old 1915 home (previous owner lived there for 75 years), I no longer have the following amenities: garbage disposal, dishwasher, and microwave (did I just hear a gasp?).  How do I function without these amenities you ask? Quite easily as a matter of fact.   I won’t lie, having had a beautiful kitchen, I did have some concerns about moving into such an outdated home with an outdated kitchen.  But to my surprise, I can live without these amenities; furthermore, I do not miss them.

In one corner of my pantry, I keep a kitchen counter composter (KCC) lined with bio bags (that I purchase from Gardener Supply).  I toss everything into the KCC and I do mean everything: food scraps, used tissues, PT, shredded junk mail etc. When the bag is full, I knot the top and toss it into my composter, give it a bit of a stir, and walk back into the house. During the colder months, I kept a galvanized bin with a lid in my enclosed back porch.  I toss my full bio bags into the bin and when that becomes full, I take the bin down to the composter and toss the contents. I don’t worry about stirring the composter because it was winter, so like, who cares, right?

Two years ago when I read the The Kind Life, Alicia Silverstone recommended doing away with your microwave (for health reasons).  I never really used the micro much, but it was nice to have around just in case I needed to nuke something.  I moved into my current home during school vacation week (February 2012) and I have been microwave-less since. Quite honestly, you may not believe it when I tell you: I. Do. Not. Miss. Having. A. Microwave. What if you want popcorn or need to reheat leftovers, you ask?  Worry not dear GE follower, I have the answer.  Some time ago, my boss had given me a very generous gift cert to Crate & Barrel (as a house warming  gift) and I used that gift cert to purchase a popcorn air popper (among other things) and I have to say, I love air popped popcorn more than microwave popcorn.  I had tried popping corn the old fashioned way, in a pot with safflower oil, but I found the popcorn to be a bit heavy.  I’m not worried about the calories (if that’s what you’re thinking) because after all, I’m a vegan, so the only way I can get fats into my diet is via oils, coconut oil, avocados etc.  As for reheating leftovers – simple: I use the stove like people used to before microwaves were invented (and I remember when they didn’t exist!).

I’ve read that washing dishes by hand wastes more water than if you use a DW. Well, if that is true, I suppose the Environ Police are going to slap me with a citation because I wash by hand. Do I miss not having a DW? Suuuure! I really could have used one when we celebrated my 45 birthday (this past March) and someone-who-will-remain-nameless insisted we have it catered by our favorite Indian restaurant (the man sure does love his chicken tikka masala! And whose birthday is it anyway?).   Actually, having Indian at my party was a win-win for all because I ordered vegetarian, vegan and non-vegan items.

In closing, there really isn’t any reason why you cannot compost, especially if you live in the ‘burbs. If you’re worried about it smelling or attracting animals, well you need not worry. There are many different styles of composters (check if you don’t feel like making one) and because you are not tossing: meat/bones/dairy/fish you will not attract animals. Occasionally I’ll see a nosey squirrel rooting around in my composter but very rarely does he climb out with anything edible in his chops. In fact lately, he (or maybe it’s a she) has been giving my mammoth sunflowers (which recently bloomed) the hairy eyeball so I’ve got bigger problems on my hands.  Said squirrel went so far as to jump on my roof in an attempt to Navy SEAL his way down so as to land on top of one of my sunflowers — funny to watch – not so funny when he/she nearly broke the flower stalk.   As for smell – seriously, it’s a non-issue. I keep 2 bins behind my garage (which receives ample sun/rain/circulation) and I have never ever smelled the contents of my composter – even when I’m standing next to it.  That’s another thing: make sure you composter receives sufficient sun/rain/circulation – so it thrives. You do not want your composter to receive too much sun (drying out is a bad thing) but you also do not want it to reside in a place that is dark/shady causing your composter to remain soggy.  Maintaining a thriving composter does require one to take such factors into consideration, which may sound like a lot of work but seriously it isn’t.  Besides, composting is a nice thing to do for Mother Earth and don’t you want to do nice things for her?

Yours truly,


© 2012 GiRRL_Earth

MadBlog ~ Barbara Lippert

I am a fan of Barbara Lippert’s MadBlog.  During MadMen season, I (im)patiently await her Tuesday MadBlog post commentary about the most recent MadMen episode (to call me a MM fan would be an understatement!).  During off-MadMen-season, Barb blogs about other media related topics.  Today, she has blogged about the passing of Helen Gurley Brown, which I have decided to share with you. Enjoy!

Shout out to Hooked on Houses!!

Greetings GE Followers,

Last week I posted about my obsession, nay, LOVE for Apartment Therapy  However, this morning, as I finished reading the latest update from Hooked on Houses, I realized I failed to give this fabulouso blogger a shout out on my blog.  If you have never heard of Hooked on Houses then click on the link and get on with it.  Please note:  Hooked on Houses is addictive! And consider yourself warned. 


Could we chat about Laundry Detergent?

Have you seen the latest laundry detergent commercials? My particular favorite (Note: sarcasm) is the one with the young couple with triplets who switched to a cheaper laundry detergent, but found themselves using more because their laundry wasn’t coming clean, so they switched back to Tide.  O.M.G.! Give me an [effing] break! Laundry detergent is laundry detergent. Sure, some might contain more water, but they all contain the same principle ingredients, one of which is:P-E-T-R-O-L-E-U-M; yep, good ole Mr. Crude.  Imagine? You’re washing your laundry with a petroleum-based product.  Believe it or not, laundry detergent leaves a residue on your clothes, which in turn weighs down the fabric, causing it to appear dull.  Back in the ‘80s or ‘90s (I cannot recall when) several companies started marketing ceramic disks that claim to clean your laundry without detergent. Turns out, the manufacturers figured out that there were enough detergent residues on your clothes, from previous washings, that you could literally wash your clothes again (even after wearing them) without the use of detergent.

Noodle on that for a bit…

People argue about cutting our dependence on foreign oil and yet are blithely unaware of how many products they use on a day-to-day basis that contains petroleum.  To name a few: laundry detergent, fabric softer, lip gloss, lip balm, baby oil, Vaseline… the list goes on.

I have known people who dump more [pardon my French] shit in their washing machine believing it will make their clothes cleaner and fresher.  If you are pouring anything other than white vinegar and washing soda, well then Sweetie, you are wasting your hard-earned dollars.  Manufacturers of laundry detergents have bamboozled the American public into believing more detergent = cleaner clothes and fabric softener in its array of manufactured *scents* means our clothes smell as clean as they look.  Wrong!   Most people do not even know what clean laundry smells like.  All they smell is the perfume they have dumped on their clothes during the rinse cycle.

Oh I can hear you now: “Ok Girrl-Earth, what should we wash our laundry with if detergent is a no-no.” Non vi preoccupare (don’t worry), I have the answer and it is: Charlie Soap. I bought a container of Charlie Soap over a year ago and I’m still dipping into it.  It comes with a measuring scoop so you only need a little bit.  What about fabric softer and dryer sheets, you ask?  Listen! Do me, you and Mother Earth a favor and STOP USING THAT SHIT!!!! In the words of Charlie Soap: “If you want perfume, buy flowers.”

Now, with all that said, there is a process to using Charlie Soap. First you have to remove the detergent residue from your washing machine, and then you will see the results of Charlie Soap. If you have the patience, it is worth it.  My sheets, towels and clothes never looked or smelled better.  Side Note: if you find your towels are a bit stiff, and you find yourself being drawn back to Mr. Fabric Softer, before you do, add a cup of white vinegar to the wash and your towels will turn out fluffy and soft  — and then please step…away…from…the  fabric softener!

And for those of you concerned about he   washing machines, rilassare (relax), Charlie Soap is safe with all he  machines.

And if you are wondering about Method laundry detergent, quite honestly, I have no idea if their detergent is petroleum-based or not. Since I have been using Charlie Soap I highly doubt I will waste $$$ on Method.

Here are the instructions for a first time user of Charlie Soap: or see below:

Are you a first time user of Charlie’s Soap for Laundry?


1) Run a large/heavy empty load with two (2) doses of Charlie’s Soap and a few old rags to clear your washing machine of any residue left by other detergents. (I used old towels).  2) Your garments may require several washings before you notice the lasting benefits of using Charlie’s Soap – low suds, softer clothes, clean scent, etc. For a good demo, wash the same load (bath towels, for instance) three (3) consecutive times. This simulates a month’s worth of doing laundry removing most residues.  3) If you have any questions, please call or email us at

In closing, I know there are a lot of people out there who don’t give a rat’s fuzzy you-know-what about the impact they are having on the planet. Their mindset is, I have the money, so I can afford to buy case-loads of laundry detergent, bottled water, convenience packaged foods for my kids, et-cetera, with nary a care. And there really isn’t anything I (or anyone else) can say or do to convince them otherwise.  But past experience has proven that these very same people are the first to cry out when an injustice happens, asking, “Why didn’t someone do something about this?”  as if they are exempt from the problem, when in fact, they are the problem.   Big corporations slap pretty labels on everything to ease the guilt of consumers.  They make their products *recyclable * which in turn, causes the consumer to think, It’s ok if my family churns through case load after case load of individual bottled water, the bottles can be recycled (whew!).  Or  I do eat meat but it’s grass fed or I only buy organic, free-range eggs.    If you believe these labels, you are buying into the propaganda and quite honestly, it makes me sad.  There is no such thing as *happy meat or eggs* and most convenience food packaging and empty bottles of water are never recycled – they wind up in landfills or the ocean.   The next time you shop at Costco or BJs ask yourself, Do I really need this pre-packaged, individual servings of this product, or can I buy a large container and measure out portions in re-usable containers? As for water? Invest in a Zero water filter/pitcher and non-BPA water bottles and call it a day.  Grazie.

Your’s truly,


© 2012 GiRRL_Earth

No Pointe shoes for me…

I generally do not like to get too personal on this blog because the point of my blog is to spread ideas on living green and educating people on animal cruelty (lately more of the latter than the former). That said, sometimes, there is only so much lecturing a girl can do before she has to step down off her soap box. I guess today is that day.  

Back to why I’ll pass on the Pointe shoes…  Three weeks ago, I hurt my foot.  I wish I could tell you I hurt it while landing from a beautiful grande jete but sadly, my injury was not caused by something as glamorous as that.  Believe it or not, I injured my foot while walking around my property, in flip-flops no less (note: I hate flip-flops and rarely wear them).  There’s a section of my yard where there was an old drainage pipe. One Sunday, three weeks ago, I was showing my neighbor some ideas I had for the property and because I was looking up (while walking), I stepped into this hole-where-the-drain-pipe used-to-be and injured my foot *FACEPALM*.

Despite the fact I injured my foot, I continued to walk to/from the train everyday as well as attend my Wednesday evening advanced ballet classes.  I warned my teacher that I injured my foot so my abilities during class would be limited.  She used to dance for the Boston Ballet so she fully understands what it is like to dance with an injury.  (She totally rocks, btw.) Some background:  I used to take private classes on Saturdays at a different studio.  However, about two years ago, I stopped taking privates and joined a new (Note: new to me) dance studio that conducts adult advanced classes on Wednesday evenings. Taking private lessons definitely has its advantages but I much prefer the camaraderie of the group classes.  My Wednesday evening class is comprised of women of alls ages: 25-60 and it is a fun class.  Jessie is the one and only 25 year-old in the class so yes, she is the youngest. Jessie is incredibly talented (understatement) but doesn’t take herself too seriously. She’s such a good kid too. She’s the kind person you hope your kid turns out like.  Anyway, Jessie is 5’ 11” and has the longest most beautiful legs I have ever seen.  When we are left-hand on the barre, Jessie is in front of me, so I have the (unfortunate) pleasure of watching her amazing young 25 year old body do things that my old addled 45 year old body cannot do [sigh]  – it is what it is, right?  Jessie could have been a professional dancer but atlas; she would rather be a veterinarian. Currently she is enrolled in vet school (kudos to her!).  We all get a kick out of teasing Jess about her long legs and how she can cover more floor space with less leaps and turns than the rest of us shorties.   Jess is a doll, and takes our taunts in stride, as any healthy, normal person would. 

This past Wednesday, I had to skip ballet class because my foot is still killing me. (Argh!) I called my ballet teacher to let her know I would not be in class (because God help you if you don’t call to tell her you’re not coming).  She agreed that I need to stay off the foot and dancing these past two weeks probably wasn’t such a good idea after all.  I have been icing my damn foot but unable to stay off of it because as previously mentioned, I walk to/from the train.  Plus, I’m remodeling an old house which requires all of my free weekend time.  Besides, I am like a shark, if I stop moving, I’m dead.  I cannot sit around on the weekends – it’s not my thing.  Everywhere I look there is a project to tackle or a garden to tend to. I took last Friday off so I could have an extended weekend to work on projects.  Suffice it to say by the time Monday rolled around my foot swelled up like a loaf of bread.  (Ugh!)  I know I should go see my doc but quite honestly, I have had my fill of doctors and hospitals. Azz loooooves to tease me that I’m on the frequent flyer program with all the Boston Area Hospitals. Sadly, there is a shred of truth to that joke (isn’t there always?).

Saturday is supposed to rain, which will put a damper on my project plans. Plus, Azz wants to go see a movie.  Sunday might be a bit clearer but I don’t know if it will be worth it to start a project.  Perhaps I can take this weekend to rest and stay off my foot.  Vamosaver (we shall see).

Yours truly,



© 2012 GiRRL_Earth





I have a confession to make.  I am wholeheartedly 100% in love with and addicted to…ready?…wait for it… Apartment Therapy!  OMG! I cannot get enough of this site.  This post in particular: The vintage kitchen (cabinets similar to mine) and bathroom (tile similar to mine) is, in a word, awesome. Swaaaaoooooooooooon!

“Welfare labels, as they now operate, are thus not only useless, but may ultimately cause more animal suffering than they prevent.” –James McWilliams

Hello GE Followers,

This post is directed to you non-vegans who justify your meat consumption by buying into “labels” that ease the guilt of your actions.  If I haven’t’ said it five times, I haven’t said it once, labels such as “humane” “grass-fed” “free-range”, DON’T MEAN SHIT!  If you continue to buy into this propaganda, then you should call you Primary Care Physical tout suite because, and I hate to be the one to say it, you are suffering from head-up-ass disease.  The only way to ease the guilt of eating animals is to become a vegan – plain and simple. There is no other way. Stop funding the egregious treatment and slaughter of innocent farm animals. As Phillip Wollen said, “…2 million animals are slaughtered per week.”  If we keep going the way we are going, “we will need two planet earths to sustain us and we only have one and she is dying.”  Wake up people! My crusade against the meat/poultry/dairy & fish industry isn’t for my own benefit; it is for the benefit of animals and the planet. 

If you do not believe or trust a word I say, then perhaps this article from Free From Harm will convince you.  I have copy and pasted the article in this post for your ease, as well as included the link.

Animal Welfare Labeling: What They’re Not Telling You

By James McWilliams | August 8, 2012 |

In the angst-ridden quest for an ethical cut of meat, conscientious consumers, voting with their forks, have deemed Niman Ranch the paragon of animal compassion. The reputation seems well deserved. Niman’s welfare standards, initially approved by the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), were once among the world’s strictest. AWI certification requires producers to follow stringent regulations designed to enhance a farm animal’s quality of life.  An AWI-approved pork chop, for example, comes from a pig that was never crated, never pumped with growth hormones, never tail docked, never affixed with a nose ring, never transported, and never denied easy access to a verdant pasture.

Niman Ranch, however, abandoned AWI standards several years ago. As demand for humanely raised meat increased, supply lagged. To bridge the gap, Niman (according to an anonymous source) supplemented its responsibly supplied meat with meat sourced from large-scale industrial producers. This decision abruptly ended Niman’s relationship with AWI, which refuses to certify industrial feedlots. If Niman Ranch hoped to sustain its reputation, and maintain profitable relations with companies such as Whole Foods, it would have to acquire new certification. To do this, it turned to Global Animal Partnership (GAP), a welfare certifier supported by the Humane Society of the United States and Temple Grandin, the noted animal behaviorist known for her book Animals in Translation (and her autism). GAP quickly complied with accommodating labels.

It’s tempting to see this change as an innocuous, if not a positive, turn of events. Grandin, for example, is widely respected for her unique insight into animal minds. But GAP and Grandin are no AWI. Most notably, they routinely certify–one might even say cater to–factory farms. In so doing, they not only undermine the strict welfare standards of a certifier such as AWI, but they perpetuate an insidious paradox. In certifying industrial farms with a humane label, they empower big agriculture to capture niche markets once supplied by sustainable farms–farms that already treat their animals with relatively high standards. Welfare labels, as they now operate, are thus not only useless, but may ultimately cause more animal suffering than they prevent.

Ninety-five percent of meat eaters today express an avid interest in animal welfare. Given the extent of this concern, certification has become big business. Unlike “organic,” however, there’s no legal definition for “humane.” Interpretations therefore flex as far as industrial producers can convince their certifiers–who are paid by producers–to stomach. Turns out the biggest certifiers can stomach quite a bit of suffering. Consider the following sketches of the dominant welfare labels, the ones you are likely to see in high-end chains such as Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Fresh Fields, and Wegman’s:

American Humane. AH was founded by Tim Amlaw. Amlaw came to the business of welfare certification by way of the cattle industry. American Humane Certified has been described by one Canadian watchdog group as “the worst of the worst,” doing little more than providing industrial farms with “a meaningless label conferring a meaningful marketing advantage.” The AH label is extremely popular with chicken farmers hoping to avoid pasture requirements. American Humane doesn’t believe pasture time is essential to animal welfare. It never audits the slaughterhouses that process its animals and it places no limits on how far animals can be transported (a terrifying experience for all farm animals). AH is the bottom of the barrel.

Certified Humane. This label, offered by Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC), holds equal appeal to industrial producers, largely due to its tacit allowance of farrowing crates–cruel confinements that prevent sows from moving enough to even roll over–and for its lax pasturage standards (CH beef can be fattened in feedlots). CH does not require outdoor access. Its meat is processed in industrial slaughterhouses and, as a result, the label allows the unlimited transportation of farm animals. CH audits its slaughterhouses, but only to ensure that they meet American Meat Institute standards, which were designed with industry oversight in 1990 by none other than Temple Grandin.

Global Animal Protection. Mentioned above, GAP has a five point rating system that offers something for everyone. A rating of 1 is all a producer needs to achieve to earn the label. This rating allows for intensive crowding, minimal access to pasture, castration without anesthesia, and nose ringing for pigs (a painful procedure that prevents them from rooting up pastures). Every other GAP improvement (2-5) is elective. Standard 1 is so lax that its packing density requirement for cattle (250 sq/ft per cow) is less than that of the cattle industry itself (350 sq/ft). Four out of GAP’s nine board members work in industrial agriculture.  Whole Foods, which helped initiate the 5-point system, is the most famous retailer of GAP certified meat.

These dominant certifiers, in bed with industry, stand in stark contrast to certifiers that refuse to lend legitimacy to industrial farms–organizations such as AWI, Britain’s Soil Association, and previously Canada’s PGI, a stringent certifier that walked away from certification because of widespread cheating across the marketing group. These stricter certifiers are insistent that, as one representative told me, “certification has done nothing to break the stranglehold of industrial farming.” Smaller certifiers have every reason to be spiteful. When AWI fired Niman, it lost over 500 farms.

The reason is simple: there’s no oversight. The growth of industrialized farming has been made possible by the total lack of governmental regulation of animal welfare. In the 1990s the livestock industry, under pressure from welfare groups, established voluntary guidelines for producers to follow. These regulations were duly ridiculed. Further pressure came in the early 2000s, with the publication of Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nationand Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Industry responded this time by seeking third-party certification. However, if the growing popularity of labels from certifiers such as American Humane, Certified Humane, and GAP are any indication, this solution is equally ineffective. Fact is, it’s worse than ineffective. What we now have is business as usual parading under the banner of righteous reform. When consumers see a “humanely raised” label they think they’re getting “happy meat.” All they’re really getting is a dose of slick marketing.

There are, finally, two other aspects of animal welfare that never enter into discussions about “humanely” raised animals, but must.  They’re absolutely central to an animal’s quality of life. In order for standards to have more than symbolic meaning, the following three aspects of animal production should also be considered:

Genetics. The Virginia farmer Joel Salatin was made famous by Michael Pollan in the Omnivore’s Dilemmafor his system of rotational grazing. Salatin strikes me as half-nuts but his farm has captured the attention of the food movement. Chickens fertilize pastures, pastures produce vegetables, vegetable waste feeds chickens, foodies spend big bucks. But there’s a catch to Salatin’s scheme, one Pollan neglected to mention: he uses birds that were bred to live in industrialized settings. You can’t take the narrow industrial genetics of poultry and expect the birds to do well in an open environment. These birds–mostly Cornish X’s– suffer a long list of health problems (namely bone fractures) because they aren’t “designed” to move about as their wild ancestors once did. The genetics and the environment don’t match. A genuine government welfare program would take into account this factor, rewarding farms that paid attention to adaptive genetics as they moved to open-pastured arrangements.

Enriched Environments.  Farm animals adapted to free movement require more than space. They need enriched space–something, as my previous post suggested, we may not be able to accurately provide. Even a strict certifier such as AWI believes that access to the outdoors is enough to keep, say, a chicken happy. But this is incorrect. Animal ethologists are quick to note that chickens, especially heritage breeds, require shade and shelter to behave as they normally would under natural conditions. To be comfortable they need places where they can seek shelter from predators. A free range pasture without trees that chickens can hide under or roost in, or pastured pigs out on the range without enough material make paddocks–both common arrangements–can lead to animals that are just as confused and tormented as they would be under intensive industrial conditions.  This factor, too, must be taken into account.

If these prescriptions for welfare labeling overhaul sound impossible to achieve, well, yeah, that’s kind of the point. The act of raising, killing, and commodifying sentient beings capable of feeling pain and pleasure is so ethically complex that, should we truly take farm animals’ welfare seriously, we’d be looking at a task as complex as anything the government has ever attempted. There are, and thankfully always will be, people who evaluate the situation as it now stands and quit eating animals. However, given the reality of the western diet–that is, given the endless depth of our dedication to eating meat–we have an obligation to think seriously about establishing a legitimate welfare label. Should we continue to brook the unregulated welfare designations that are growing in popularity, we’ll only fuel the industrial beast that caused all this suffering in the first place.



Naughty Vegan Polenta and Seitan Parmigiano (or casserole if you prefer)…© 2012 GiRRL_Earth

I like to explore things that interest me, so for those of you who know me personally, you know that I went to culinary school, as well as worked in the field. Granted, my focus was pastry but I still had to train on the savory side.  —And please don’t’ ask me what the best knives are. Knives are like underwear – you have to buy what feels and fits right. There is not one knife brand that trumps all others.  I’ve tried many different knives and I have to say, Global knives work best with my hands.  Global knives are Japanese and there is just something about them.  A friend of mine is a hairstylist and she prefers Japanese scissors.  Like me, she agrees there is just something about the way the Japanese make things. I had German knives in school and I hated them. —

But I digress…

I have been a macrobiotic vegan for almost 2 years now. Prior to that, I was a dairy eating vegetarian. Despite being devoted to macrobiotics, every now and then I get a craving for a non-macro, non-vegan meal from my past — in this case, eggplant parm. Now I know what you’re thinking, **eggplant is a vegetable** and yes, that’s true it is, but it is a nightshade vegetable and not macro which is why I avoid it (I think my Nonna just rolled over in her grave).  In my quest to satisfy the non-vegan/macro in me, I created the above subject dish. I must admit,  generally I do not like to post pictures on this blog but seeing as I posted my recipe on The Kind Life and needed a necessary picture to accompany said creation, I decided to post it here on my blog.

As for the main ingredient: Polenta, well… polenta is is something I learned to make at a very young age – it hails from my mother’s side of the family: Ancona, Italy.  Polenta is tradition accompanied by superstition (Read: Folklore).  I must admit, it was a bit of a challenge trying to veganise the tasty polenta I grew up eating (and making).  So what’s the folklore around polenta you ask? Well, it is believed to be sfortuna (bad luck) to stir polenta in a various directions. It is also sfortuna to stir it with anything other than a wooden spoon (wire whisk you say? Heaven’s no! Not in an Italian home.).  Ahhh those superstitious Italians – gotta love ‘em. 

Once I nailed down a vegan version of polenta, I whipped up a quick sauce, and assembled the ingredients I always have on hand.  I’ll spare you the gory details of the process, unless you want them? So without further adieu, here is what I came up with [see picture].

Naughty Vegan Polenta & Seitan Parmigiano (the Parm is actually Daiya vegan Mozzarella *cheese*) So why didn’t I use eggplant? Again, due to it being a nightshade vegetable, I figured it would be best to avoid it.  Why the Seitan? Well, I thought it couldn’t hurt to add a little wheat protein. In the past, I have added sliced zucchini and summer squash. On other occasions, I have added Portobello mushrooms.   Basically, I work with what I always have on hand: polenta, seitan, canned (ground/peeled) tomatoes, onions, garlic, evoo, veggie stock, almond milk and Daiya Cheese.  And then I will add whatever in-season veg strikes me.  Unfortunately, my zucchini plants are not thriving so I had to opt-out of adding any garden fresh vegetables (aside from the basil which is from my garden). 

It aint Eggplant Parm, but it satisfies my psychological craving for foods from my past.  Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Naughty Polenta & Seitan Parm

© 2012 GiRRL_Earth

N.B.: note the cheap bottle of wine in the background? That’s my go-to cheapie when I want a glass of red, but cannot bring myself to waste a bottle of something nicer as I rarely can finish a bottle, the teetotaler that I am.

Oh and before anyone gives me a tongue lashing over the background shot of the jar of honey, know this: I owned it before I became a vegan, so in keeping with the vegan philosphy, I will use it until it’s gone and then I will not replace it.

A little tug on your heart today…

Every day my personal email inbox is indundated with horror stories about some form of egregious abuse towards animals — all animals, including farm animals.  Often times, I become demoralized by all the horror stories and I find myself asking what is wrong with the human race? Why are humans so inherintly cruel? 

And then, every once in a while, a story with a happy ending will be sent to me by someone who knows my passion for protecting the voiceless and today is that day.  This morning, my dear friend Erica sent me a story that I would like to share with you.  It is a wonderful story about someone who went out of his way to save a dog’s life. 

You can read about the story here and I encourage you to do so.  Thanks.