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I Won!

I don’t win things often.  Almost never.  When I saw that Bargain Babe had a contest to win an EasyLunchbox system and all I had to do was describe what I would pack, I knew I was in.  Bargain Babe has contests all the time.  All you have to do is sign up for her email list to enter most of them.

So what will I be packing in my EasyLunchBox?

In the large compartment, I would pack an egg-less salad sandwich on homemade sourdough bread with red leaf lettuce.

In one small compartment I would have black bean, mango, and avocado salad. In the other I would have dried strawberries.

http://www.bargainbabe.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Easy-Lunch-Box-packed-container-from-site1.jpg

Leave it to a vegan to win a contest about food!

http://bargainbabe.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/cartoon-julia1.png

Thank you Bargain Babe and EasyLunchboxes!

How about another contest I’ve entered.  One that will help stop pet overpopulation by contributing much needed funds to the Animal Coalition of Tampa, a nonprofit spay and neuter clinic.  Well, it’s Spay Day!

Make a $5 donation, give one of my handsome boys 5 votes, and the money will go to ACT.

Vote for Will.
Vote for Toby.
Vote for Moses.

http://www.actampa.org/images/ACT-Logo.gif

January 29 Mash Up

Welcome back!  Let’s jump right in!

I received an email from Kellogg’s today in regards to the non-vegan reformulation of Chic-ketts:

Sara,

Thank you for contacting us regarding the addition of milk and egg ingredients to Worthington® Chic-ketts®. We apologize that as a result of this change the product no longer fits within your dietary restrictions.  We will share your comments with our nutrition and development team.

We work hard to offer a variety of products in order to meet the needs of our diverse consumer base.  We regret that this business decision which was made in order to keep the production costs viable and the selling price affordable for most consumers, had such a personal impact.

We do still have some vegan products available in the market that we hope you will try. These products are:

Morningstar Farms® Grillers® Vegan Veggie Burger
Morningstar Farms® Grillers® Chik’n Veggie Patties
Morningstar Farms® Hickory BBQ Riblets
Morningstar Farms® Meal Starters Chik’n Strips

Worthington® Chili
Worthington® Choplets®   meat substitute
Worthington® Low Fat Vegetable Steaks™
Worthington® Multi-Grain Cutlets®
Worthington® Loma Linda® Big Franks
Worthington® Loma Linda® Little Links
Worthington® Loma Linda® Low Fat Meatless Big Franks
Worthington® Loma Linda® Redi-Burger patties
Worthington® Loma Linda® Tender Bits
Worthington® Loma Linda® Linketts® protein links
Worthington® Loma Linda® Vege-Burger® patties
Worthington® Vegetable Skallops®
Worthington® Vegetarian Burger™

We appreciate your past purchases and loyalty of our products.  We hope to retain you as a loyal consumer.  We are sending you a coupon by mail which you should receive in 7 – 10 business days to try one of our remaining vegan options.

Sincerely,

Victor Velasquez
Consumer Affairs Department

So, do good, share your opinion, and you may be rewarded with cheap/free stuff!  It’s still sad about Chic-ketts, but maybe if enough people make noise this time, they’ll think twice about un-veganizing their remaining vegan products.  Get your coupons by sharing your opinion here!

Here’s a deal you may want to take advantage of if you have kids (or know someone who does).  The Institute for Humane Education is offering their book  So You Love Animals:  An Action-Packed, Fun-Filled Book to Help Kids Help Animals for just the cost of shipping ($2.50 discounted from $14.95).  Even if you don’t have or know kids, you could shell out the $2.50 and donate the book to your local library!  Order yours here.

http://humaneeducation.org/media/images/3/de077ed72e450d2416a21812b593629.jpg

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_tRlky1tMPAI/SigLnrKFOkI/AAAAAAAAC90/_1cxQ6pxH-0/S880-R/funkyheader.jpg

Another giveaway you may want to take advantage of comes from The Funky Monkey.  This is a great blog featuring unique products and genuine reviews.  Their giving away Soap Nuts by Demetria Organics.  If you want your chance, follow the instructions on this blog entry.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_tRlky1tMPAI/S18EsTZky4I/AAAAAAAAGXY/0gyuvUhnHvM/s400/14.jpg

Finally, Mitch is very excited because we’re finally transitioning our dogs to a vegan diet!  This is the same Mitch who scoffed at the idea of vegan dogs not that long ago.  How he’s changed!  We have the beans cooking today, and we’ll be mixing it with their current kibble until they run out of the kibble, adding veggies, quinoa, etc.  We’ll let you know how it goes.  They already love veggies, so I think they’ll be plenty satisfied.  What are your thoughts on vegan dogs?

There are some great online activism tools swirling around the Internets right now that are worth sharing with your friends.

One of the neatest ideas was brought to my attention yesterday.  It’s called Take 5, Save 5, and it’s so simple with the potential to be so effective.  Basically, you click a button and the website automatically chooses a random Craigslist or other forum for you.  You log in with your own email and create a post advertising a Free Vegetarian Starter Kit.  Request that people send you their mailing address so you can send it to them.  Then feed the addresses you get back into the Take 5, Save 5 site.  I’ve posted in East Idaho (flagged :( ) and Tri-Cities, WA, and (of course) Tampa Bay so far.  Try it yourself!  Take 5 minutes and you could save 5 lives!

http://www.vegstarterpack.com/images/resourcesbar/VegStarterPackTop.jpg

Next, Kellogg’s has reformulated their chicken substitute Chic-ketts to include eggs and milk ingredients.  That’s right, a product that was aimed at those of us limiting our animal product intake now includes animal products.  Apparently it was “cost effective.”  Would you take another 5 minutes and tell Kellogg’s how ridiculous this decision was?

I just finished watching yesterday’s Oprah featuring Michael Pollan/Food, Inc., Alicia Silverstone, and Chipotle.  I didn’t hear anything unexpected from Pollan or Chipotle, although, it would have been nice for the Chipotle founder to mention the market testing they’re doing on their faux chicken.

However, I was a little disappointed with Alicia.   I’m happy they had someone representing veganism, but I wish she could have stood a little more firm to the great and powerful Oprah.  Rather than admitting she sneaks cheese every once in awhile (am I the only one who doesn’t do this???) she should have mentioned the improvements being made in non-dairy cheeses like Daiya or Sheese if you really need a fix.  Also, rather than laughing off Oprah’s question about animals that are treated really well, particularly dairy cows, she could have pointed out the dairy/veal connection.  I guess I should probably just come to terms with the fact that mainstream TV is still pretty far from having die-hard abolitionists on talking about real veganism.

Just as I hit publish, I got an email from Idealist.  In case you didn’t know, this is a great place for us activist, nonprofit enthusiasts/weirdos to find jobs, internships, volunteer opportunities, etc.  As the financial crisis has caused a drop in hiring for many companies, Idealist is hitting their own crisis as fees for employment ads were their main source of income.  If you have used Idealist, you may want to consider donating to help them out.

http://idealistnyc.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/idealist_logo_brushstrokes.jpg?w=496&h=315

On a simply cute note, if you’re tired of you’re boring old screensaver, try this one:)

And by the way:
http://www.alternativeoutfitters.com/productimages/shirts/altout/FakeFurShirt.jpgReal Women Wear Fake Fur.

January 2010

I’m a bad blogger.

Okay.  That part’s over with.  Let’s talk about things that have happened so far this year.

I got the results from the St. Louis Walk for Farm Animals, and I just have to say… WOW!  You guys did fantastic!  We raised *insert drum roll*
$3,348
Just in case you’re wondering, that’s more than 5x what we raised in 2008.  I’m really sad that I had to leave St. Louis at such a pivotal time for the WFFA, but I hope someone will jump in and keep this momentum going.  Who knows, if you keep it up, you might even make it into the top 10 in 2010!  The overall amount raised was over $330,000 (geez!) with more than 3,600 walkers.  Beth Begany did a fantastic job as the national coordinator, and you can check out her recap blog at Making HayFarm Sanctuary is such an awesome organization, and I know the money will go to great use!
http://walkforfarmanimals.org/support_the_walk.jpg
In other news, I started my new job at the beginning of the month at the SPCA Tampa Bay!  On top of that, I’m still employed despite cutbacks due to low donations and slow business.  Hooray!  We have some awesome specials going on this month too.
– Adopt any dog, cat, puppy, or kitten and get a free oil change from Advantage Tire & Auto.
– Get a free adult cat (over one year) if your birthday is in January.
– Get a free adult cat (over one year) every Wednesday and Friday (well, one per person of course).
– Get a free dog or cat if you are a veteran.
– Rabbits are $10, or free if you purchase a carrier from us ($18,99+tax).
Plus the usual discounts like 30 days of free pet insurance from Sheltercare, a coupon to The PetangoStore, and 15% supplies and toys in our pet boutique the day you adopt.
So, you know you need a pet…
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_e85CaOzLWIg/SoYQiVtXbAI/AAAAAAAALNM/MVobDj1js-g/s400/spcaimage.jpg
Looking ahead to February, get ready for vegan baking for a good cause.  The St. Pete Vegetarian Meetup is hosting a Vegan Bake Sale for HaitiSweetbay Organic Farm has offered to let us sell at their Sunday Market for free!  Proceeds will likely go to Animal Relief Coalition of Haiti (a joint effort of World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) and International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)) — although it’s still up for debate on the event page.  This all came about through the Post Punk Kitchen’s blog on doing exactly this.  I think it’s an awesome idea, and we already have lots of people offering to bake and sell!  You can find the Facebook event here.
By the way, just noticed there’s another Vegan Bake Sale for Haiti in St. Petersburg, January 30 at The ARTpool.  I don’t know who’s hosting, but yay for more vegan goodness!
In the same line, Tampa Bay based H.A.L.O. – The Planet’s Animal Ambulance has joined forces with San Francisco non-profit Animal Balance to provide medical supplies to veterinarians in Haiti. They have been deemed the US headquarters for supply intake. They will be taking all donated supplies to the port in Palm Beach where all will be shipped at no charge and no customs fees to Emma Clifford, (founder of Animal Balance) who is in the Dominican right now.
That’s it for now.  If you know me, you know I can’t make any promises as to when I’ll write again.  Just keep your eye out!

Volunteering for the Holidays

Well, it’s been awhile, but what better time to do some good in the world than Christmas!

I joined a group on Meetup called Lend a Hand.  It’s all about volunteering and giving back to the community.  The organizer Kelly used to organize meetups for The United Way, but now she’s struck out on her own.  She has a lot of great things coming up and ideas for the future like working with Habitat for Humanity and feeding the homeless.

Our first Meetup was at Metropolitan Ministries in Tampa.

http://www.metromin.org/app_themes/metromin2/images/logo.gif

Metropolitan Ministries’ Mission Statement:
Metropolitan Ministries’ mission is to care for the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless in our community through services that alleviate suffering, promote dignity and instill self-sufficiency…as an expression of the ongoing ministry of Jesus Christ.

Originally, there weren’t any spots left for the first trip, but someone dropped out at the last minute which let me raise my hand to jump in.  When we got there, we went through a brief orientation.  Then, we chose our positions in the Holiday Tent.  The Holiday Tent is an amazing operation.  Families register to come in, and rather than being given a box of food and some toys, they get to do their own shopping.  There is also childcare and refreshments, not to mention that it’s decorated beautifully.

On Friday, I worked in the toys section.  The toys are separated by age group and gender.  Each person comes in with their shopping cart and a piece of paper that says how many children they have and of what age and gender.  They get to pick out one “A” toy, one “B” toy, one stuffed animal, and one stocking stuffer per child in addition to one game or book for the whole family.  It was so much fun helping these mothers and fathers find toys their kids would like!  However, as of today, Metropolitan Ministries is scheduled to run out of toys! If you live in the Tampa Bay area and can donate something, consider giving to Metropolitan Ministries.  They can always especially use infant/toddler and 12-14 year old items.  Maybe your workplace would even consider donating?  You could volunteer to be the official shopper for your employer!

Kelly booked another last minute trip to the Holiday Tent yesterday, and I jumped a the chance to help out again.  This time, I helped with food shopping.  It was similar to the toy shopping (although of course not as fun!).  The food was divided into cereal, starches, vegetable, yams, stuffing, beans, fruit, cranberry, gravy/broth, sweet, jello, and miscellaneous.  They got a certain number of each category based on the number of people in their families.  Once again, Metropolitan Ministries could use donations of food items, especially cereal, gravy, cranberries, and sweets (cookies, cake mixes, etc.).

Also, don’t forget that you too can volunteer for Metropolitan Ministries.  In addition to the positions I described, they also need computer savvy people for registration, Spanish speakers, childcare providers, and people to just be good company to the homeless.  Lend a Hand will be headed out again on Christmas Eve.  They also need help after the holiday season, though.  In January, they will need people to take down the tent (and it’s a BIG tent).  All year, they need people to help serve meals (they serve around 1500 daily).  Consider giving back this Christmas!

And don’t forget to check out Lend a Hand and the great opportunities they have coming up as well!

http://photos4.meetupstatic.com/photos/event/7/f/4/8/global_11852584.jpeg

Another fun way I got to give back involved, of course, Will & Toby.  PetSmart hosts Christmas photos with Santa and your pet, and the proceeds go to local animal rescues.  The day we went, a local Greyhound Rescue was the beneficiary.  It’s only $10 and you get a cute picture frame.  They’ll be doing it again this weekend at the PetSmart in the Largo Mall.

Will

http://photos-h.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc3/hs079.snc3/14638_514755041135_152400133_30574916_3008991_n.jpg

Toby

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Finally, just in case you still don’t know how to help out this holiday season, check out this article by Michael Parrish DuDell:

5 Budget-Friendly Ways to Give Back This Holiday Season

What’s up.

I’ve been incredibly busy lately and fallen behind on my blogging.  This weekend I finished up my class in Nonprofit Management.  Learned some great information, a lot about fundraising, marketing, and development which are probably my favorite areas of nonprofit (although I might add volunteer management to that list).

I was given responsibility of the St. Pete Vegetarian Meetup Group, and I’ve started some work there.  We have our first meetup on Tuesday.  It’s a new member meetup at Rollin’ Oats in St. Petersburg, and I’m really excited to meet everyone!

Tuesday I’ll also be going to a grant workshop hosted by the Nonprofit Leadership Center of Tampa.  I’m looking forward to learning more about the crazy world of grants.

I also just started a new Meetup group.  You can run three on one membership, so why not?  The Tampa Bay Activist Network is a place where people can gather to discuss issues that are important to them and share upcoming activist events.  I give full credit from my experience with Adam Shriver’s St. Louis Activist Hub.  Tampa Bay needed something too!  If you’re in the area, I hope you will join us!

Otherwise, I’ve been alerted to some things over the past week that I feel like I should share:

Ellen featured Jonathan Saffran-Foer, author of Everything is Illuminated and his new book Eating Animals, on her show.  I haven’t read the book and don’t know much about Foer or his position, but I think this is a great thing to see on such a popular national television show.  (By the way, if you would like to see the debate over it between Alex and me, check out my main Facebook profile).

Check out the video.

I was also alerted to this alarming write-up by the Tampa Bay Animal Rights Meetup on Animals & Politics.  Basically, legislation is passing that exempts animal agriculture from reporting to the EPA.  Seriously ridiculous.  I’m not sure who you should contact about this, but someone needs an earful!

This is one post I intended to do awhile ago now.  When I had the great joy of visiting the Ithaca Farmers Market in New York back in September, one of my favorite parts was looking at the artists’ booths.  I gathered business cards, and now I’m finally revisiting these great works.  Please check them out and support them if you can!

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Mary Michael Shelley

This was the first artist booth we came across.  Mary Michael Shelly does beautiful and quirky wood carvings.  My favorites were her sheep and dogs.  Check out her website to see her awesome work and maybe by one for yourself.  If I had $415 to spare, I would totally buy this one:

http://maryshelleyfolkart.com/userfiles/image/portfolio/folk-art-f-sheep-3-B.gif

If you’re looking for something a little cheaper, check out her prints, ranging from $48 to $138:

http://www.maryshelleyfolkart.com/userfiles/image/portfolio/Folk-art-print-garden-BB.gif

You can contact Mary at:  info@maryshelleyfolkart.com

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Right across the way was JPop Studios by Jenny Pope – Creative Creature Reasearcher

Jenny does really interesting woodcuts featuring, well, creative creatures.  She categorizes them in groups like Endangered Animals, Bird Migration Myths, and Invasive Species.  Check out one of my favorites from the Poodles group called “Male Poodles:”

http://jpopstudios.com/images%2027%20x%2032/poodles/male%20poodles.jpg

This piece runs at $700.

Jenny also does commissioned work.  You can contact her at jpopstudios@gmail.com

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If things have seemed a bit rich so far, check out:

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Here you can buy products from more than 30 artists printed on cards, journals, and more (all using eco-friendly paper).  For example, you can get this Monarch Butterfly journal for just $11:

Monarch - Click Image to Close
Acorn Designs also does wedding announcements and custom work.  You can contact them at info@acorndesigns.org
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One artist we were able to support ourselves that day is Polly Joan who does photography and greeting cards.
http://pollyjoanphoto.com/img/gallery_logo.gif
Polly Joan’s work is beautiful, and you can buy prints from $20 up.  I bought a 5×7 of this awesome Milkweed print:
http://pollyjoanphoto.com/img/large/fall_b4.jpg
You can contact Polly Joan at pollycat@pollyjoanphoto.com
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Sundance Designs Clothing Company was one that Mitch really liked.  She doesn’t have a website yet, but you can check out some of her hand-dyed, painted, and printed clothing right here:
http://img340.imageshack.us/img340/8462/dump091109017.jpg
Owner & designer Susan Rollings does ship, so you can contact her at (617) 279-6535
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One of my favorite artists was:
http://spiritandkitsch.com/img/banner-w.gif
This is an artists’ collective featuring the work of Alice Muhlback.  They do a lot of work with ravens and cartoony figures, but my favorites are her painted records:
http://ny-image0.etsy.com/il_fullxfull.95641472.jpg
These are completely affordable at $8, and you can buy them at her Etsy shop.
You can contact Spirit and Kitsch at alice@spiritandkitsch.com
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