2.15.2012

List Yourself: What activies would you do if you weren't afraid?

  • I would get in my car and drive until I was tired, then I would stop and explore the place I had landed.  
  • I would be 100% honest with myself and those around me.
  • I would always stand up for what I believe in, loudly and proudly.
  • I would move across the country.  
  • I would enter my artwork into large exhibitions.
  • I would network to get my name out there.
  • I would sing karaoke with abandon.
  • I would open an animal sanctuary.
  • I would get a full-sleeve tattoo.
What would you do if you weren't afraid?

Brandy

2.11.2012

Love List: Cats


Love list time!!  As hidden as my love for hillbillies may have been, my love for cats is something that I scream from the rooftops.  Well, I would if I weren't afraid of heights.  I have cats, I have cat shoes, I have cat sweaters, I have cat jewelry, I have cat stationary.  I am proud to be a crazy cat lady.

  • First things first.  I love all of the cats currently in my life and all of the ones that have ever been in my life.  I know people are wildly polarized on the cat/dog debate, but while I've always been an animal person in general, I gravitate to cats and they to me.
  • I love my Jeffrey Campbell Lita's in the cat tapestry print.  They are delightfully tacky, yet go with everything.  Nothing clashes with cats!
  • I missed out on this one, but I still love the Jason Wu for Target Cat Tote.
  • I would absolutely pay $150 for this cat chair!
  • I really wish I had an IPhone for one reason and one reason only.  They do not make cute cases like this for the HTC.  Bummer!
  • I may make this cat lady thing a permanent edition!

Brandy

11.24.2011

Review: My Boyfriend Wrote a Book About Me




TV writer Hilary Winston offers up a witty collection of autobiographical tales about her misadventures in dating.
Just when Hilary feels like her life is finally in order, she gets a sucker-punch to the gut: Her ex has written a novel based on their relationship in which he refers to her throughout as the “fat-assed girlfriend.” Her response to this affront is just one of the many hilarious stories in My Boyfriend Wrote a Book About Me--a laugh-out-loud, tell-all in which Hilary sets the record straight on all her exes.



Once I started I could not put it down.  Literally.  I started reading around 11pm and was still up several hours later determined to finish.  It's hilarious and poignant.  There were times that I cringed a little at the authors actions, but that adds to the charm of it all.  It's as funny as Bossypants and as real as My Horizontal Life (but with more cats!).  I really identified with all of the stories and appreciate that a happy ending wasn't manufactured for herself.  

I highly recommend this title and you can expect to see it on my Best of 2011 round up next month.  


Brandy

Happy Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving is upon us and aside from drinking respectful amounts buckets full liquor and stuffing my face with dozens of bread and potato products I'm also going to reflect on all the wonderful things in my life.  I'm thankful for the people that make every day worth while and the special ones that make everything hilarious.  I'm thankful for all the special animals that inhabit my life and my parents for allowing me to be a little bit different.  I'm thankful for the material objects that I have and the ability to give to charitable organizations.  Mostly though, I'm thankful for the opportunity to experience my life every single day.  

If you are partaking in a turkey or any other animal products remember to thank them as well.  

Have a lovely Thanksgiving and be kind to the retail folk on Black Friday.  
Brandy

11.20.2011

This is my life...



Brandy

Love List: Hillbillies


Crossbow toting Daryl Dixon from The Walking Dead on AMC


I would assume that very few people know about my undying love for hillbillies.  I grew up in the country and I currently reside in the same area that I was raised, but those formative years were spent in an urban setting.  They did the most to shape me into the veganish scarf aficionado that I am today, but nothing could break my love for the be-flanneled folk with the charming southern twang.  So here is the list of all things hillbilly that I hold dear to my heart.  

  • First things first, Daryl Dixon.  Do I really need to say any more than that?  He is one of the most bad ass rednecks that has ever rednecked.  He kills zombies with nothing more than a crossbow and a sleeveless flannel shirt, he once performed a spur-of-the-moment zombie autopsy to make sure that dinner hadn't included a lost little girl, and he likes to accessorize his flannel with zombie ears and dead squirrels.  I love all things involving zombies (future love list?) and I honestly don't think I've seen a character more suited for that particular brand of apocalypse than Daryl Dixon.  I highly suggest you watch The Walking Dead; if not for one insanely hot hillbilly then because it's one of the best shows on television right now.  
  • The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia.  I don't know that I can accurately sum up the sheer amazingness of this documentary.  I'll let the IMDB synopsis do the talking for me.         "Shoot-outs, robberies, gas-huffing , drug dealing, pill popping, murders, and tap dancing - what do these all have in common? These are just a few of the parts of being a member of the Wild and Wonderful White Family. The legendary family is as known for their wild, excessive criminal ways as they are for their famous mountain dancing members, including Jesco White, the star of the cult classic documentary "Dancing Outlaw." Exploring both the comic and tragic sides of life on the other side of the law, this stylish, fast-paced family portrait exposes the powerful forces of corruption, poverty, and West Virginia's environmentally and culturally devastating coal mining culture that helped shape the White family, a dying breed of outlaws preserving a dying form of dance."                   It's on Netflix and you need to see it.  Seriously.  I made every single one of my friends watch it and none of them were sorry that they did.    
  • I live in rural Kentucky, guys.  If there is one thing that rural Kentuckians uniformly love it is a themed festival.  We have Lincoln Days in my hometown of Hodgenville, The Iron Horse Festival in New Haven, Ham Days in Lebanon (I suggest all my vegetarians and vegans steer clear of this one), The Hillbilly Festival in Pikeville, and my personal favorite The Bourbon Festival in Bardstown.  I love a good outdoor shindig, especially one that I can openly drink bourbon and watch the locals tap dance and/or play the banjo.  If you aren't from a rural area I suggest you incorporate one in to your next vacation.  E-mail me, I'll plan it for you right now.  
  • Hillbilly Tea in Louisville, Ky.  This place is truly magical.  They have a unique assortment of tea as well as an interesting food menu (road kill stew).  I recommend the Swamp Tea if you're feeling adventurous.  Oh, and they serve their teas in Mason Jars.
  • The Hillbilly Moon Explosion is a European band that happens to have an awesome name.  Their sound is like the musical equivalent of a Rob Zombie movie; gritty and dark.  If you listen to any of their songs make it My Love for Evermore.  It's beautiful and haunting.  
*I would like to point out that I'm not using the term hillbilly in a derogatory manner.  Nothing but love!     
  
Brandy

11.09.2011

November Mix - Breakup Songs



So this week I put together a list of songs that are great for wallowing.  It doesn't always require a breakup to listen to some sad music and be melancholy for awhile.  


Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones


As a bonus I'll include a link to Buzzfeed's 20 Best Post Breakup Songs.  Because, honestly, any list that includes a 2gether song is a great list.  
Brandy

11.01.2011

November Mix - Guilty Pleasures


Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones


Brandy

Birthday Month Extravaganza!!!!


Me and my Grandma in 1986


It's officially my birthday month!!!  Help me celebrate the special occasion by tuning in to my 27 days of Celebration to count down the days until I turn 27.  I will be working on a daily (top secret) challenge to reveal on my birthday, special mixes, and different fun things all month long!

Brandy

10.20.2011

The Vegan Series: Consumer Lists



Cruelty Free Lists:

Leaping Bunny - Leaping Bunny is basically the gold standard in cruelty free lists.  Not only do they require the companes to prove they don’t test on animals, they require them to prove that any third party manufacturers or vendors they use also do not test on animals.  You can rest assured that any company included on this list is 100% cruelty free and committed to the wellbeing of animals.

In defense of Animals - This list is somewhat new to me, but seems to uphold the same strict standards as Leaping Bunny.  They require all companies on the list to submit a written guarantee that at no point in their process (including third party vendors) was the product tested on animals. Another good thing about both of these lists is the companies come to them, not the other way around.  This basically ensures that every single company on this list is serious about being known as a cruelty free company.  I don’t know about you, but it makes me feel good to know that the products I use come from companies that have similar values to myself.  

Caring Consumer (PETA) - Somewhat surprisingly, PETA’s list is the least strict.  While their website states they require companies to submit a letter of assurance that they do not test on animals or commission others to do so on their behalf, the actual statement of assurance is far less binding than the first two lists.  In PETA’s own words they call their statement of assurance ‘a matter of trust’.  Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t trust their list, but there are definitely questionable companies included.  Take Revlon and Bath and Body Works.  While both of them have made an effort to cut out animal testing, neither has done too much with their third party vendors.  This means, at best, they are 50% cruelty free.  PETA’s list seems to really function as more of a marketing tool for companies than a trusted list of cruelty free brands.  I utilize PETA’s list in conjunction with Google and the brand’s website.  You can tell a lot based on the language the company uses. 

For Example: 

 The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. is committed to the elimination of animal testing. We are equally committed to consumer health and safety, and bringing to market products that comply with applicable regulations in every country in which our products are sold. We do not conduct animal testing on our products or ingredients, nor ask others to test on our behalf, except when required by law. We evaluate our finished products in clinical tests on volunteer panels.  Estée Lauder fully supports the development and global acceptance of non-animal testing alternatives. To this end, the Company works extensively with the industry at large and the global scientific community to research and fund these alternatives.
Vs.
Urban Decay is, and always has been, a cruelty-free company. You’ll notice that every box bears our cruelty-free credo: “We don’t do animal testing. How could anyone?” We insist on producing beautiful, irreverent, high-end cosmetics without conducting animal testing. Some of our animal rights allies provide symbols to companies they trust to make cruelty-free products easy to identify, purchase, and
support. You can read about each symbol below, including a new one of our own! Urban Decay now has a “Marley Approved” symbol to identify vegan products on our website! Have fun shopping!

The difference should be pretty clear.  Estee Lauder is a company that’s first priority is obviously not preventing cruelty to animals.  While their initiative to cut animal testing at all should be applauded, the language they use to communicate their stance is rife with loop holes.  The only place in the world it is required, by law, to test on animals is China.  Urban Decay on the other hand is a true pioneer for animal rights.  They are one of the first ‘high end’ brands to really make it easy for the consumer to see what is vegan and know that all of their products are cruelty free.

All that said, you need to use your best judgment and really research these statements.  Personally, I feel that there are so many great companies available that have never tested on animals that I don’t need to fall back on companies that are questionable.  

Brandy

9.27.2011

Nailed It!


Blue Me Away by Sally Hansen and Green Glitter by Nicole*
*Neither are cruelty free brands so I will no longer be using them.  



Brandy