TDI Vegan Guide to: Henna Your Hair (toxin-free hair color)

henna bowl

Photo courtesy of searchhomeremedy.com

Henna is the most natural and cruelty-free way to alter your hair’s color.  Traditional hair dyes are tested by corporations by pouring their chemicals into the unprotected eyes of rabbits (and other animals) who are stuck in a trap with their eyes pulled open against their will. Continue reading

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Catskill Animal Sanctuary ~ Saugerties, NY

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ARRIVAL

The view of a lush narrow valley and lovely hillside as you turn into the driveway of Catskill Animal Sanctuary adds a level of pageantry to your arrival.  We chirped like excited children as the landscape dipped to reveal free-range roosters, a goat, a pot-bellied pig and a timid sheep on a knoll.

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Many farmed animal sanctuaries have chosen to imitate the classic red barn farm-style look.  They do this to further instill the message of “this is how farms should be” — a humane environment where animals are protected rather than harmed.  The public has been fed the “happy American classic red barn family farm” image by Agribusiness for half a century.

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Centralia, PA

Like a house which has stood witness to an infamous gruesome murder, Centralia has become a tourist trap.  Once a tragic smoldering monument to the capitalist rape of Mother Nature, today Centralia is descended upon in droves by people looking for a sideshow.  The No Trespassing signs, so heavily documented all over the internet, have come down and the shoulder of route PA-61 has eroded under the gnaw of decades of tourist’s tires.

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First violated by the coal mining industry.  Then ravaged by the idiot(s) who started the fire.  There are plenty of theories online regarding the origin, as you would expect all are careful to blame someone else.

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TDI Vegan Guide to: Easter/Ostara/Spring Equinox

Painting Eggs

As a child, I loved the messy ritual of coloring Easter eggs.  Admittedly, much of the fun came from dropping Paas tablets into Dixie cups to watch them fizz.  When we feel the urge to decorate eggs these days we go outside to gather some roundish egg size stones and paint them with toxin-free biodegradable acrylic paints.

It’s fun to unpack them each year or to return them to the garden.  The best part of this cruelty-free choice is that, less egg-layer hens are suffering in a battery cage and less baby chicks are suffocating to death in a dumpster while being crushed under the weight of the chicks, discarded by humans, on top of them.

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Living or edible Centerpiece

After a long, dark and cold winter a bright fresh display of cut flowers is a welcome decadence.  Whether you celebrate Easter, Passover, Ostara/The Equinox or another holiday, the universal spring celebration is that of welcoming back nature from its frosty sleep and reveling that we survived the earth’s dormancy period.

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TDI Vegan Give Guide: 7 Worthy Causes You Should Give Money To

Baller Time

There’s nothing like getting a bunch of money.  When you are a charitable organization working to literally save the lives of others money is critical.  Below are seven organizations tirelessly and selflessly dedicated to saving lives.  These groups are fighting an uphill battle against various Goliath-like corporations and industries.  For each individual whom is saved, your dollars mean everything.  For those in horrific conditions hoping for rescue, your dollars mean everything.

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TDI Vegan Guide to: Shopping for the Vegans, Minimalists and Practical People on Your Gift List

Last year I was given a box of candy by a colleague who loudly complained that it took him twenty minutes of reading labels, and googling ingredients on his phone, at the store before he could find a vegan option.  I accepted his gift graciously but wondered why he chose to buy me a food item if he was uncertain of cruelty-free ingredients.

There is a strong push in the minimalist community toward the belief that only an “experience gift” is acceptable.  Taking a friend or one’s partner to a show, dinner or on a trip is a normal part of relationship maintenance.  I’ve even seen male minimalists boasting that they washed dishes or cooked dinner as a gift, as if they were living in a 1950’s sitcom or Kirk Cameron’s head.

No one wants to feel like the difficult person on your shopping list.  I hope the list below helps and inspires you.

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December Movies

As Winter spreads her blanket down, I find myself even more drawn to movies.  There are few pleasures in life that can equal the joy of melting into a comfy couch with a big mug of coffee and the unfoldment of a visual story.  This collection of holiday movies includes naughty and nice films.  From scary Santa figures to people overcoming great obstacles in order to bring joy to others.

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Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010) ~ I instantly fell in love with this Finnish film the first time I saw it.  Since then it has become an annual tradition for Krampusnacht.  A dark comedy with impressive production value and camera work which explores the darkest origins of Santa Claus after a team of excavators dig him up from his icy tomb.  [Vegans be warned: Near the beginning of the film, there is a horrifying scene where a man is butchering a dead pig.]

Sint (Saint) (Saint Nick) (2010) ~ A Dutch film based on their tradition of St. Nick and his crew of present giving/child punishing sidekick Black Petes.  In this story, the punishing goes further with a cartoonish body count as this evil version of Saint Nick seeks to avenge his murder.  If you’re into Krampus, you may draw a few parallel’s such as December 5 being the day of celebration.  There are also some aspects which reminded me of the John Carpenter film Halloween (1978).  It’s not a good film but it is refreshing to see a horror-comedy set during a winter holiday.  Perfect for we jaded millennials.

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5 Songs for a Spooky Hallow’s Eve

MONSTER MASH by BOBBY BORIS PICKETT

Let’s just get the cliché out of the way now.  The video below is the best version with artwork by Pickett and features the Groovie Goolies.

THE GHOST OF STEPHEN FOSTER by THE SQUIRREL NUT ZIPPERS

One of my all time favorite bands.

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Non-Scary Scary Movies/Series

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The adrenaline rush delivered from horror movies fuels me but the nightmares that follow drain me.  There is a school of thought that what you expose yourself to becomes part of your experience.  In other words, watching a scary film manifests fear.  The films and series listed below deliver horror movie imagery without the scare, and more often with a laugh.  It’s kind of like eating vegan cheese or gluten-free bread.

>>>FILMS<<<

A FANTASTIC FEAR OF EVERYTHING (2012) ~ Any anglophile worth a Keep Calm parody poster, loves Simon Pegg.  He brought us Shaun of the Dead, Paul and starred in the series Spaced.  But my favorite of his films will always be A Fantastic Fear…  The mise en scene is phenomenal and leaves nothing untouched.  Pegg is a true auteur of our time.

THE HAUNTING OF WHALEY HOUSE (2012) ~ Whaley House is a lucid film and highly misunderstood.  It has received poor ratings online by people who need a friend to explain satire to them.

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APACHE CABIN BUTTERNUT SQUASH (vegan)

APACHE CABIN BUTTERNUT SQUASH

DSCN3465Josh and I created this recipe while staying in the Apache cabin at Evergreen Trails.  A perfect recipe for a blissful October night under the stars listening to the screams coming from the haunted hayride.  We spent the afternoon carving our Jack O’ Lanterns and then sat by the campfire drinking hard cider while the squashes slow cooked inside the cabin filling the air with it’s deliciousness.

INGREDIENTS

1 Butternut Squash (Split in half the long way.  Scoop out the seeds.)

Earth Balance Buttery Spread (For smothering the squash)

Himalayan Sea Salt & Pepper – To Taste (Brings out the sweetness.)

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