Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Choose Bravery: Face the Storm...and Bark at It?

Rocky & Shirley

Today's post is about being brave. Rocky was never scared of thunder and lightening, storms, or fireworks. Not until he met his late friend Sammy. Sammy was scared of those things. She was also big, strong, and tough. Rocky knew it. My guess is that if Sammy was so brave and still afraid of those noises, that Rocky should be too, because the noises must be a big deal. Rocky started fearing storms and fireworks.

A few years after Sammy passed, as you know, we decided to adopt a pup from a shelter. The tragedy of Sammy's passing hadn't left us, but we felt as people who have the means to rescue another animal, we should do it. Nine year old Rocky started becoming a chipper young pup again with the new addition to our family. We met her at her foster home, the next morning after her shelter transfer. They called her Shirley. Her sister named Laverne. Laverne was already adopted. Knowing us, we would adopt them both not to separate the sisters. Shirley seemed like she was doing just fine, however. Brave little girl.

She was this little ball of fur, but very muscular with big paws. Shirley is the toughest pup I've ever met (so tough that when she was only about 40 lbs she sent me to the hospital with a contusion - almost broken nose - during "play" - but thats a story for another post). 

Spring approached, Shirley's first spring, and accompanying it was the first big thunder storm of the season. Living in the countryside, I now get a taste of storms in a much different way than when I lived in the city. It brings me back to my childhood, the nature that I thought was long gone (global warming, I assumed). In the city, in a third story apartment, you do not get to experience seasons the same way as when you live in the country. This spring storm's thunder rocked the house. I was pretty frightened. Rocky was shaking and I pulled him up onto the chair to sit with me. We both looked at Shirley, who was standing guard. The first thunder boom looked like it gave her a scare. She studied Rocky and me. The next thunder boom happened, now sounding louder than before. Shirley ran off the couch, onto the chair at the window, puffed her chest out, and barked at the storm. She let out a booming thunder of her own, a bark so terrifying that the neighbors might have thought my companion animal is a T-Rex! 

Shirley could have chosen to feed off Rocky (the way he did from Sammy) and be afraid of the storm. Instead she chose to be protective; she chose to be brave. She chose to suck it up and fight the thunder. Today's lesson is about bravery. No matter what life throws your way or how many people tell you that you should be cowering from it, choose to face your fears and be brave. Puff up your chest and stand tall. You are tougher than you think. And for now, the Dirty Vegan is signing off.

Shirley - one tough broad

Friday, May 27, 2011

Vegan & Eco-Friendly Mineral Make-up

Picture taken from Mixology's website - look at that stunning look created with mineral make-up!
We've talked about vegan beauty products before (here and here about Tarte). Today I wanted to talk specifically about mineral makeup. I received some samples from Mixology Makeup to try out. Their mineral makeup is all vegan, all natural, and eco-friendly (they were voted Best Green Make-up in the 2009 Beauty Olympics); I just adore Mixology! Their products are free of chemicals, dyes, and any other harsh ingredients that are responsible for causing breakouts or allergic reactions. I love that their stuff is vegan friendly. That makes it easy because you don't have to seek out what is and what isn't vegan, you can shop with peace of mind. Please keep in mind that this is my very first time using loose mineral makeup like this. I didn't know what to expect whatsoever.

The same look in artificial (indoors) light
Mineral makeup look in natural light
As you can see, this look is very light and pretty.

So here is what I did with Mixology to achieve this flawless yet natural, beachy, and fun look!

Once cleansed and moisturized, I applied my first Mixology sample, which was their Mineral Foundation called Sand Girl. A little bit goes a very long way with this. I used a complexion brush (E.L.F's Studio Complexion Brush - and I love how on their website you can search "vegan" or research brushes and it says "vegan" if the brush is - amazing!) and lightly dipped it into the foundation. It's buildable coverage, but I found I didn't need much at all! After trying the product it really justifies the price - if something is quality and goes a long way, I think it is totally worth it. This foundation felt weightless on my skin and almost like my skin felt better after putting it on.

Next, I used their Paste Eye Primer on my lid. I used my finger and it definitely feels like paste. It went on well and was sticky at first, but I think that helps the shadow stick better. I found that I used too much on the first lid. A tiny amount definitely can go a very long way with this also.

Then I used Dune shadow (a pretty light sandy color - pigmented with a slight iridescent sheen) all over the eyelid, building more color on the lower lid and inner corner. I used Parlay shadow (a brown with a little plum or purple - very pigmented with a little shimmer) in the crease and blended that in. The two colors complimented each other beautifully and created a gorgeous natural beachy look that can be kept light or made glam by adding more Parlay and lots of liner.

I used their Jet Liner with a liner brush and smudged it into the top and bottom lash lines. It created a very natural look on my dark eyes, accentuating features without looking too dramatic. The liner has a little sparkle to it when you look closely, which I like for twinkly looking eyes.

Last out of my Mixology samples was the Rosy Cheeks Blush in color Rosy Cheeks. This was also buildable and a little bit on my blush brush went a long way. You can use a little on your apples for some rosiness or build the color on your cheekbones. This can also be used very lightly on the face to add warmth and color. A very beautiful blush.

I really like mineral make-up! For my first time using it, I felt it was easy to use. I can't believe how much of the samples I have left, really demonstrating that a little does go a very long way. I would say it is worth it when you find a product like this that you like, since it will probably last you a long time. I love the way the make-up felt on my face after wearing it for a long period of time. It felt almost like I had no make-up on and somehow made my face feel enriched. I think I just found my new fave make-up! Thank you Mixology, I'm sure I will be ordering in the future (it may not be anytime soon since it seems I can use what I have from these samples for a while)! And for now, the Dirty Vegan is signing off.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Spread Peace!

If every single one of us who are not being abused took a stand and fought to help those victims who are being abused, this whole world would become a better place a lot faster. Everyone has problems, or issues, or annoyances, or stressors. But there are those that are being agonized day in and day out. Maybe someone is being bullied or picked on in school. They feel emotional pain, or even physical hurt. They cry, they wonder why these things are happening to them, they feel awful. Maybe someone has found the love of their life and are so excited! They want to tell the world. They want to shout it from the rooftops! But they can't. People look at them the wrong way, people tell them they cannot marry or have the same rights as heterosexual couples just because they are woman and woman, or man and man. Maybe you're a baby animal being born with optimism and hope for a comfortable future as your instinct would first lead you to believe. Then you are treated with violence and disrespect. Ripped from your mother, not feeling comfortable at all or clean. You don't get the things your body and instincts need. You are hit, ripped apart, altered, sexually abused, all while still being alive - thinking "why me?", then finally you're spared with death, and they call you food!

All these victims were not regarded as special beings - but they are so special, so wonderful. There are so many more instances of victims being abused right this very minute. You might be reading this from work. Your boss may be riding you to get a report or project done - or anything/ anywhere else. But let me assure you as big as our problems may seem to us, there are others out there suffering much worse. If we have the means to help, we better help them. You don't always need money to donate, while its a great help, your voice is big and its beautiful and its powerful. Use that strong voice of yours to make phone-calls, to spread the word, to write letters. Pick a cause(s) and help victims. If every single person reading this today helps someone, then tells another, and another, we can make caring viral! We can spread peace like crazy and others can live good lives - everyone can live a good life.

If you can do something today to help another, please do. Sign a petition, write a letter, make a phone-call, choose kinder food and lifestyle choices - do it! I hope all of the victims hang in there. I feel so much empathy for those animals and people being treated cruelly. They are more loved than they know. There are lots of activists out there doing the same, fighting for good, and doing the right thing. Thank you to all the kind hearts. Some people may say that "the right thing" can be interpreted differently and why is my "right thing" the right thing. Well I define the right thing as helping to free others of suffering. If someone is physically or mentally in pain and I can do something to stop it from happening, that to me, is doing the right thing.

Let's all stand up and make a difference in someone's life today. Let's do it peacefully, but with strength and purpose. Use the most important things - your voice and your dollar. Do not purchase from cruelty. Speak up about cruelty. This is the Land of the Free - not the Land of the Free if Society Says You Are Allowed To Be Free. Everyone deserves the right to be happy; to feel peace and comfort. Let's change the way society views things. I know we can do it.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Vegan Balls of Fury!

I wanted to do a slightly different, even better, version of my protein balls recipe that I originally adapted from Zuzana and Freddie's balls (my balls, your balls, everybody's balls!). This can be eaten as a large lunch-size ball or made into two or three snack portions, like in the first recipe.

I used Maranatha's peanut butter, which is rich in Omega-3 Chia seeds. Also, this peanut butter has as much Calcium per serving as a glass of dairy milk (which is only 10% by the way, but a lot for PB) - why not get your peanut butter mustache on instead, and ditch the dairy!

I also used Eden Organic barley malt syrup which is low in calorie and the sprouting of this product created enzymes that convert starch to sugar. Low in sugar (about 4g in this recipe), this is as good as agave, or maybe even better since it contains a little protein. Barley malt syrup or agave nectar are both great vegan substitutes for honey. Now onto the balls...

Work It With This 'Vegan Energy Balls II' Recipe

1.5 tbsp peanut butter (preferably the Chia kind for added Omegas)
1 tsp barley malt syrup
2 tbsp ground flax seed
2 tbsp almond slices/ slivers
2 tbsp raisins
1 tsp shredded coconut

Combine first 5 ingredients. Roll ball in coconut (last ingredient), to coat. Due to consistency, you can eat them right away with no need to refrigerate or set. You can also store them in a container in the refrigerator or pack them in your lunch. These make great take-alongs. Enjoy these tasty power balls - now go conquer the day!

Holy Balls!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Easy Crockpot Thai Food!

"Anyone who tells a lie has not a pure heart, and cannot make a good soup." -Ludwig van Beethoven 

Luckily, we are all honest people here and this soup is amazingly delicious! You will love it!

Enjoy My Flavorful 'Crockpot Thai Coconut Vegetable Soup' Recipe

1/2 onion, chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
1.5 cup frozen broccoli
1 block tofu, drained & cubed
2 portobello mushroom caps, cut in chunks
1 can coconut milk
2 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp Bragg's Herb & Spice Seasoning (or other mixed seasonings)
1 tbsp Bragg's Liquid Aminos (or soy/ shoyu/ tamari sauce)
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
14 tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp agave nectar
sea salt & pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in crockpot. Cook on High for 4 hours. Serve in a bowl alone, over rice/ noodles, or with crusty bread. Enjoy!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Mister Winky's Sweet Giveaway: Announcing the WINNER!

The last blog post introduced Mister Winky and his super sweet giveaway. I am excited to announce the winner in today's post. We asked you guys to be creative with a photo with Mister Winky for a chance to win $30 worth of Dirty Vegan Foods goodies. This was such a hard decision to make; all of the entries were so good, funny, and imaginative! The chosen winner is the entry we felt to be the most original in use and creativity. Thank you D.J. Hops for this awesome picture and Congratulations! Please e-mail your mailing address and we will send out your prize! info@dirtyveganfoods.com

Again, thank you everyone for your entries; they were so all amazing! And don't worry, there will be more fun and exciting giveaways to come very soon! Don't forget that for the rest of May, if you order $30 or more of product (before tax and shipping) from www.dirtyveganfoods.com/ you will receive $5 off!

And for now, Mister Winky the Dirty Vegan is signing off!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Mister Winky's Sweet Giveaway!

Introducing Mister Winky! This adorable and creme-filled cartoon wants to make your acquaintance in style - by giving you free dessert! The Dirty Vegan and Dirty Vegan Foods are announcing Mister Winky's Giveaway! Please read on to find out how you can win a box of sweet goodies from www.dirtyveganfoods.com!

Dirty Vegan Foods - Home of the Original Winky!

The Prize: 

Sweet treats from Dirty Vegan Foods!

Send me a picture of you and Mister Winky (using the above picture) or show me the funniest, coolest, unique Mr. Winky somewhere (click on the picture of Mister Winky to print him out). The chosen winner will be the one with the most creative and original photo. You can send the photo to me:

Via E-mail: thedirtyvegan.blogspot@gmail.com OR info@dirtyveganfoods.com

Via Twitter for ex. by Twitpic: @theDirtyVegan and/or @DirtyVeganFoods (don't forget to follow us!)

Via Facebook wallThe Dirty Vegan Facebook Page OR Dirty Vegan Foods Facebook Page (and don't forget to "Like" us on Facebook!)

 Entries must be received by Thursday, May 19th at 9:00 PM EST.

*by entering you are agreeing that we can announce your name and share your photo if you win* the Dirty Vegan reserves the right to change the prize in the unlikely event that the prize is no longer available* - Good luck!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Wildlife-Friendly Gardening

"Adopt the pace of Nature: her secret is patience." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Garlic has been a well-known natural way to keep away unwanted insects. Maybe you like to observe insects in their habitat like I do, but realize that the two of you don't quite mingle well. Their way of life might destroy your home. They don't do it on purpose, it is instinctual. Garlic can keep away bugs and other wildlife from your home or gardens. I also hear they keep vampires away too (unless they are the Twilight kind, then you might want to find ways to attract them - wink, wink).

Speaking of coexisting with wildlife and attraction, bees are one of those buggers that are doing such a brilliant instinctual job at their tasks that they can be pretty damaging to a home, or on rare occasions, dangerous to us. There are so many species of bees that if I were to talk about this all today, it would be very lengthy, maybe even novel-size. Briefly, some species of bees, wasps, hornets, etc. are friendlier than others. Also, some are considered scavengers (living mostly alone or few together and just looking for food) while others are considered territorial (forming large colonies, protecting queens, and if anyone gets in their way, they can be aggressive - especially if threatened). The best way to keep bees from building hives in your hive is to maintain your home and plug up any little holes or crevices on the outside of the home. This will also prevent them from getting inside. Another great idea is to plant bee friendly plants that will attract those bees to another part of your yard, preferably furthest away from your home. Basically, make your dwelling undesirable to them and make another area more habitable for bees. Bees are very important for pollination and to our environment. Not only would killing them be sad, it also contributes to the scarily dwindling bee population - which is a problem. Everyone can live happily, it just takes some thought and a little effort. The karma you will receive for being kind to all wildlife will be great. Also, the outdoors is their home - be respectful of that.

Other wildlife that are absolutely stunning but can practically inhale your plant-life are bunnies and other ground critters. They will get into your lettuce, carrots, zucchini, tomatoes - pretty much all vegetables besides onions. I've yet to see bunnies eat onions (as onions are also used to repel), but I'm sure some critters like them. A trick to help solve this is planting vegetables in pots high off the ground. Your bunnies will not climb up on them and you can take them inside during frost. You can buy a plant ladder or make one yourself. A neat idea I saw in a magazine recently takes a wooden step ladder, securing planks of wood across the steps, painting it a super-cute color, and placing your pots on them. Note this will not help if you have gracious deers visiting your yard. A very high fence might help with that, but please know that deer can jump over high fences. To be honest, I love seeing wildlife and enjoy them in our environment - I don't do too much to keep them away! I will be deterring the bees with some rose bushes in the far yard. I will also be trying the potted plants, like herbs or grape tomatoes in recycled and decorated pots on the step ladder. Once the tomatoes get too large for pots, I might give them to a city friend who gardens or just plant them in my yard and let our wild bunny pals have their day. 

Enjoy wildlife, enjoy your garden and nature. And have a honeysuckle sweet kind of day!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Get Your Dreams, Super-Vegans!

"Better to do something imperfectly than to do nothing flawlessly." -Robert Schuller

What is your dream? Do you have a goal that you would like to reach but think that you can't get there, so you just haven't tried. Well today I'm writing this blog post to tell you that you can do it! Yes, you can't fail at something if you don't try, but why not try? Go for it! If you try and try and try it is much better than wondering if you could have reached something but never knowing because you didn't try. Regret is awful and can be daunting. I know that if you work hard at something you cannot fail! That is the mentality I keep every single minute with Dirty Vegan Foods. When things seemed so difficult and out of reach I pushed and pushed and kept thinking to myself, "if you work hard, work every minute, then you can't fail, you just can't". Think about it, how could you fail? If you never give up, failure just isn't and option. Failure happens when you give up, so don't! Take the word fail right out of your vocabulary. I'm not saying it will be easy. In fact, it will be damn hard! You might cry some days. People in your life might frustrate you or get you down. Some people might not realize how hard you are working and expect time from you. Try your best. Keep your goal clear in your mind and in your heart. Use that goal to be your motivation. Work for it. The greats aren't great because they were handed their success, they had to work for their accomplishments. You will too. I believe you can do it. Why not, there is nothing stopping anyone. Socially disadvantaged? Get on Twitter - you will find a community of individuals just like you with the same goals you have - if not, start that Twitter community. Don't know where to start? Go to the library, or a book store, read business books or books about your dreams. Contact offices and ask lots of questions. Write everything down. It is not going to be a piece of Snack Cake but as long as you outline the steps you need to take to succeed, and follow them dutifully, I believe you can do it. Believe in yourself too. There will be bumps in the road. That is inevitable. For every step forward, there might be 3 steps back. Bumps in the road, mistakes, they are just lessons that help you be better at whatever you are trying to do.

"The way to succeed is to double your error rate." -Thomas J. Watson

With DVF we started with several dreams. Firstly, to save the lives of animals. Our goal is to make vegan food more affordable by cutting out the demand for animal products, thus making vegan food less expensive. Basically, if more people buy it, it will be easier and cheaper to obtain. Vote with your dollar! If we cut out animal products, we can free and save the lives of animals. That is a beautiful thing. I support every vegan food company in this quest to change the way we look at food. Food is not animals. Animals are animals. Food is food. Lets work together to create this distinction. We also are working towards helping the environment and snacking in a wholesome way, thus bettering human health.

There was a vegan snack food void. I hope we have and are just beginning to fill this void. We have so much to still accomplish. It is a hustle every single day. When you are trying to change the world, you don't take breaks. Superwoman and Superman didn't really take breaks. When Batman's spotlight flickered, alerting him that he was needed, he non-hesitantly returned to duty. He didn't say, "Well, I always help them and have done so much already, let me just sit this one out". Nope, superheroes work towards goals until the goals are achieved, and even after, they maintain them. Be a superhero in someone's life. Whether it is for animals, the homeless, gay and lesbians, victims of bullying, domestic violence abuse victims, children in poverty or in need of help, the environment, anyone or anything - I know you can do it! Together, we can and will change the world for the better. If enough good hearted people work together at goals to make the world a better and happier place, how could we fail? Fail has been taken out of our vocabulary, right? No one is perfect, however. I am still figuring out my blog settings and how I can better this page for you, my readers, my friends. How can this page can be more user friendly (if you know, tell me!)? I'm always changing things around, adding search options or little helpful things on here. DVF is evolving. The packaging is getting better, the labels are getting better, the website is getting more refined and content that you are requesting is being added, setbacks are important lessons, feedback is critical so we know how we can better ourselves. You will also have to weed out the criticisms and learn what is right for you and your dream. Be flexible but never loose sight of your dreams; never let anything compromise your beliefs. Beliefs are your morals. There will be bumps in the road but don't be too hard on yourself, look at them in a positive way, a way to make yourself better and stronger at what you do.

"No one is perfect..that’s why pencils have erasers." - Author Unknown

I interact with you all. You e-mail me, we chat online, on the blog, on Facebook and Twitter. You are all smart, capable people with the BEST ideas. You have good hearts. I feel like Dirty Vegan is more than a blog and a name in snack food, this is also a community. It is great to meet you at the farmer's markets and around. I love to hear about your stories and your life. I am humbled and flattered that you take the time to read this blog. Your time is valuable. I try to make it as interesting, fun, witty, uplifting, and happy as I can make it. I know there are a gazillion other blogs you can be reading and the fact that you take time to read mine - I appreciate you. We aim to make the best tasting, cutest looking, and most fun snack food around, so your snacking experience will be exciting! And the point of this is, I know my readers by name or handle, we build relationships with our customers and clients. I interact with you guys and we have a friendship. Therefore I know what you are capable of. BIG THINGS! You all have such amazing aspirations. Go for it! Go for those dreams. Nothing is out of reach. Believe me I've been there. The times where all your chips are down. The times where life has knocked you down so many times that getting back up doesn't seem like a possibility. But you have to. The world is counting on you. It is not going to change itself, is it? Let's make it happen. 

"Every passing minute is another chance to turn it all around". -Vanilla Sky

Thank you for supporting The Dirty Vegan and Dirty Vegan Foods. Every e-mail we get from readers and customers fills our hearts. Happy sweet-snacking! And go get those dreams!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Homer Simpson, Vegan Donuts, Farmer's Markets, and Sugary Fun!

Donuts are fun! Just ask Homer Simpson...

Unlike Homer's situation, Dirty Vegan Foods donuts are not forbidden, they are just so good that they taste like they are.

This is the *Butter Cake Donut with Chocolate Frosting dusted in Coconut*!
Other varieties of Vegan Donuts include:
*Chocolate Glazed Donut*
*Strawberry Glazed Cake Donut*
*Strawberry Glazed Hemp Cake Donut*
*Hemp Cake Donut with Chocolate Frosting dusted in Coconut*
*Chocolate and Coconut Dipped Cake Donut*
Honestly these are the best donuts I've had in my life...gone are the days where vegans had to be without donut shop style donuts!

Also, Dirty Vegan Foods is now offering chocolaty and creamy Whoopie Pies!

You can find all of these new products along with the Winky, Knock Knocks, DVF Cupcake, and Rocky Bites, on DirtyVeganFoods.com in the online shop. If you like Dirty Vegan Food and would like to come meet The Dirty Vegan Crew and pick up some famous sweet treats, please see the farmer's market schedule below:

Mondays (May 2nd- October 24th): Whole Foods Market University Heights, Providence, RI 3:00-7:00 PM

Tuesdays (May 17th- October 25th): Whole Foods Market Garden City, Cranston, RI 3:00-7:00 PM

Wednesdays: TBA

Thursdays: TBA

Fridays (July 29th- October 7th): Rhode Island College (RIC) 3:30- 6:00 PM

Saturdays: Various Festivals & Events TBA

Sundays (June 12th- October 30th): Elmhurst Farmer's Market, Fargnoli Park, Providence, RI 11:00 AM- 2:00 PM

Thank you everyone for all of your support! It makes me so happy to have you all coming up to the booth telling me that you are Dirty Vegans and love the blog and products! Means the world. Thank you for all that you do for animals and the environment. Together, I know we will change the world for the better. And for now, the Dirty Vegan is signing off. Hope you have a sweet-sugary-donut kind of day!