Vegan treats in Chelsea

I visited New York City with my parents a few weeks ago. We had a blast! Between walking the neighborhoods, eating in amazing vegan restaurants, and exercising our wallets, we made full advantage of the city that never sleeps.

Chelsea was no exception. In fact, we found it to be very vegan friendly.

We spent one morning in the Chelsea Market, a multi-story building that used to be occupied by the National Biscuit Company (Nabisco) commercial bakery. When production methods changes required a single-floor layout, the bakery moved out. It’s here, where the Oreo (an accidentally vegan treat) was first created.

Chelsea Market

Inside the market, we found One Lucky Duck. They offer all-vegan, raw organic juices and take-away, and happen to have amazing desserts. It’s part of the Pure Food and Wine establishment so you know you’re going to be wowed.

lemon bar

Next door, Beyond Sushi truly satisfied. This all plant-based sushi establishment incorporated flavor, color and presentation like no other sushi place I’ve seen. Their rolls were scrumptious and fueled us as well.

vegan sushi

I was thrilled to stumble into a popup shop in the market, where several vendors had set up their wares. One of them was designer Lois Eastlund.

Lois Eastlund

While I was trying on a dress, my mom and Lois struck up a conversation and they discovered they’re both vegan! Lois even shared some of her home-baked vegan cookies with us! (And yes, I bought that amazing blue and black zigzag dress.)

Lois and Jean

There’s more to Chelsea than just the market. One evening we met my friend Shannon, a recent New York transplant, at Blossom vegan restaurant. We ate delicious food and even had authentic (and dairy-free) New York Cheesecake!

vegan cheesecake

Another Chelsea gem is the popular High Line, an elevated former rail line that was transformed into a greenway. The rail line used to bring animals into the city for slaughter. I prefer its use as a park!

Mom and Jean on the High Line

New York is such a fun place. Have you ever been to Chelsea?


Fashion saves the birds

You might sometimes think that fashion has gone to the birds, but in the 1920s, it actually saved a few species.

You see, in the late 1800s, large, ornate hats were all the rage. Adorned with lace and pearls and feathers, some even had entire bird nests or cages incorporated into them! And a Victorian lady never left the house without a hat.

plumed hat

Hunters descended on the Florida Everglades in search of spoonbills, flamingos, herons, and egrets. These birds were favored for their plumes so they were killed by the millions. Conservationists tried to stop the massacre (around this time a few of them formed the National Audubon Society), but still the demand grew.

Eventually, feathers were worth more than double their weight in gold! That meant it was more lucrative (and easier) to kill birds than to pan for gold. In a time when a month’s rent was $10, the plumes of four birds would fetch $32.

birds shot for their feathers

Hunters shot every adult bird they could find, leaving orphaned chicks and unhatched eggs to die. Two generations of birds were wiped out because of a fashion trend.

Even after hunting was outlawed, the slaughter continued. One of the country’s first game wardens, Guy Bradley, was hired to patrol southern Florida and prevent poaching. He was murdered by a hunter while protecting the Everglades. Two other men–a game warden and a deputy sheriff–were killed soon after.


It seemed like nothing could save the birds and end the senseless bloodshed of human and animal life.

Then, the Jazz Age hit and flappers abandoned large hats for bobbed hair and smaller hats or headbands. As the demand for feathered hats diminished, bird populations began to recover.

bob cut

Perhaps the flappers didn’t choose a new style because they thought of the birds, but the shift in sartorial trends made a huge impact on animals. All it took was for people not to buy feathered hats. It’s a simple strategy that we can do today: decrease the demand to stop questionable practices.

Animal ingredients are in many articles of clothing. When you shop, you can look out for (and avoid buying) products containing fur, leather, wool, feathers, silk, coral, horns or bone.

Every time we buy something we’re voting with our dollars. Industries thrive or wither away because of consumer choices. That’s a powerful thing.


Compassionate Couture

I like to vote with my dollars. And one way to do that is support vegan businesses and ethical companies. That’s why I shop at Compassionate Couture.

I met Jill and Tracey, the sisters who run Compassionate Couture, when I was at the vegan bloggers convention this past spring. I was smitten with their shoes and bags. I really enjoyed talking to Jill and Tracey too. They have a passion for what they do. If you know me, you know I’m a fashion lover. But it has to be compassionate!



After looking at their wares, I decided on a pair of comfy ballet flats. I paid at the convention and had the shoes shipped to me. Compassionate Couture is an online shop and they can ship to you too! Lucky for us, they’re having a sample sale with prices up to 70% off!

Sample Sale Image

If you’re in the market for quality vegan, eco items from sustainable companies like Cri de Coeur, Matt & Nat, or Novacas, go to Compassionate Couture’s site and see what they have.

Farm Sanctuary message gear

I recently met up with my friend Barb, of We caught up over lunch at Araya’s, a vegan Thai restaurant in Seattle’s university district. Their all-you-can-eat buffet is not to be missed! After lunch, we walked a few doors down to Vegan Haven, Seattle’s only all-vegan grocery store. I got Barb to pose for me out front. It seemed like a good backdrop for a photo shoot featuring vegan wear.

Barb bought her belt at Vegan Haven. It’s made of recycled conveyor belt. She replaced the plain buckle with a unique bird buckle from the co-op in Mount Vernon.

Barb had just come back from New York State and told me about her experience visiting Farm Sanctuary.

Barb in FS gear

T-shirt: Farm Sanctuary
Jeans: Calvin Klein via Goodwill
Belt: Held Belts
Belt buckle: FluffyCo
Bag: Farm Sanctuary

The tour was a very positive experience. She got to meet a lot of rescued animals and learn about each of their unique stories. While she was there, she picked up a few pieces of merch.

Barb is wearing a T-shirt from Farm Sanctuary with a vegan/environmental message: Reduce your carbon hoofprint: Go meat-free! Environmentalism and veganism go hand-in-hand. Factory farming is a bigger source of carbon emissions and pollution than all the transportation industries combined!

Barb also picked up a great shoulder bag. It looks perfect for carrying a couple of books or magazines. It would fit a camera nicely too, and probably is big enough for a tablet or iPad. Plus, the message is clear.

Shoulder bag

Barb was thoughtful and brought me a pin and magnet. The magnet is on my fridge. Look at that cute lamb!


I think everyone should visit a sanctuary. If you’re not vegan, you’ll see first-hand why ditching meat, milk, and eggs is a great idea. If you’re already vegan, you’ll be uplifted by seeing the ones who made it out–animals who were destined for the dinner table and were saved because of the hard work of the Farm Sanctuary people (and donations from its supporters).

Farm Sanctuary has locations in New York and California, but there are many other sanctuaries. Your area might even have one. If not, planning a trip near a sanctuary is a great reason to visit one.

Vegan fashion at the VVC gala

One of the highlights of Vida Vegan Con was the gala and silent auction many of us attended on the Saturday evening, smack in the middle of the conference. The gala was an even that raised money for Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest, a home for chimps saved from the biomedical industry.

One of the highlights of the gala was seeing everyone dressed so stylishly. I snapped a few pictures. It’s just a sampling of the people in attendance. I wish I could have documented them all.

First I stopped this lovely couple on their way into the event. They aren’t bloggers but they’re friends of bloggers and supporters of the chimp sanctuary. I love her strapless dress, sparkly shoes, and the adorable bow on her belt. His shirt and tie combo is fantastic (nice pattern mixing), and so are his slim-cut trousers and low-profile shoes.

cute couple Next I stopped Taylor from Tacoma who writes Hot Piece of Class. She also had sparkly shoes and a skinny gold belt (I see a theme) but her look was completely different. She looked great throughout the conference and I wish I’d gotten more pictures of her.

Taylor Rebecca, the next woman I stopped, was just as stylish. Her neutral outfit set off with wine colored tights and a blue cardigan. You can tell by people’s outfits that spring evenings in Portland are cool. Luckily the people are cooler!

Taylor's friend I was so enamored with those gray booties that I snapped a close-up of them, along with a yellow pair of heels someone had on. Both are wedges but they’re nothing alike. Proof that there’s a huge variety of wedges out there. They both look comfortable, stable, and stylish.


The person wearing those cute yellow wedges was looking stylish from the ankles up too. She had on a great faux-leather jacket and skinnies. After I took her picture she pointed out that her collar isn’t part of a shirt, but rather a collar necklace. What a great way to change up an outfit!

faux leather jacket

Meet Joe and Sadie, the stars of The Intrepid Herbivores, a vegan TV show about travel and food. Their show is fun and funny and is a great way to learn about how to travel vegan-style. Check out their site, “like” them on Facebook, and look for them on TV in the near future. I just saw a screening of their pilot and I can’t wait for more.

Oh, and don’t they look great? Sadie managed to match her scarf to her hair (possibly a coincidence). If I had a utility belt purse like hers it would have saved me from juggling my clutch, camera and glass of wine. Joe made his look unique with a utilikilt and combat boots.

Intrepid Herbivores

I approached Staci and Justin as they basked in the warm glow of a heat lamp. They’re another example of two people who look fabulous on their own but together really turn heads. I love the statement necklace Staci chose and her bold combination of gray and orange. Justin has a monochromatic look with a great tie. He let his style shine through with the checkered Vans.

Justin and StaciStaci was nice enough to get in touch with me after the gala. She sent me a couple of other pictures that really show off her look. She’s not a blogger, but she could be. She knows how bloggers like to list brands so she sent me a list. Her dress is H&M, her shoes are Madden Girl, and the necklace is from Nordstrom. Justin is wearing a Van Heusen shirt and tie, Dockers, and Vans. Both of them prove that you can look like a million without spending it.

Staci and Justin

I stopped one last group at the gala. They all had such great style! The woman on the left in the elegant halter dress is Kendra Peterson of Biting the Hand that Feeds You (Thanks Sarah, for providing that info!). Next to her, in the slinky, one-shouldered dress, is Sarah of Bentoriffic. Sharon, in the tomato-red and black ensemble is half of Big City Vegan, a site she runs with her sister. Finally, with the amazing purple flower in her hair and black lace overlay dress, is the one and only Super Diva (AKA Dawn). They all have great stories to share and I encourage you to check out their blogs.

Fab four

They also were nice enough to remind me that no one had taken my picture. Dawn offered. Thank you Dawn! I’ve had this dress for a few years but it hasn’t made it to my blog until now. I got it at Fashion Crimes in Toronto. My Shoes are by Hot Lips and my empty cage necklace (perfect for the occasion) is from The Sapphire Bee.

three bloggers

After that last photo, I hit the bar, the vegan sundae line, and the dance floor. Even bloggers need to clock out sometimes and just have some fun.

Vegan fashion at Vida Vegan Con

I had a lot of fun at Vida Vegan Con, the vegan blogger conference I attended last week. Most bloggers had food blogs, some had lifestyle blogs, and a few had style blogs. Everywhere I turned I saw fashionable bloggers! It was hard to get photos though–we were all so busy. I managed to get a few shots at least.

I stopped Ky Lee Fournier because I loved her casual style. I’m a huge fan of fedoras and skinny jeans and I like how she threw a denim jacket into the mix. The faux leather booties add a bit of toughness and the cotton floral bag is a great soft spring piece. Ky Lee is a vegan sports nutritionist from British Columbia and she’s as fit as she is stylish!

Ky Lee Fournier

When Londoner Kip told her friends she’s had her photo taken for a style blog, they laughed. Kip runs The Messy Vegetarian Cook blog and is known for her recipes, not her outfits. But who’s laughing now? From the red tights and adorable polka-dots to the cute cardi, this is a great look. I think I need a pair of 8-hole vegan Dr. Martens now too!


I was thrilled to meet Jesse Anne O in person. I’ve been reading her blog for a couple of years and was thrilled when I found out she was going to VVC. She runs a smashing style blog with a focus on ethical attire. I love following her New York adventures and seeing what she’s thrifted. She’s also got her pulse on vegan designers and local shops.

Jesse Anne O

As proof that we met, here I am with Jesse.

Jean and Jesse

I saw a few people donning stripes over the three-day conference. Case in point: Anika of Vegan Score and Dawn of Vegan Moxie. I know these two lovelies from Seattle and it was great to reconnect with them in Portland.

I love Anika’s black, white and red look. She shows how to “dress down” with a denim jacket. And you’d never know it, but those cute ballet flats are Crocs! Waterproof shoes for temperamental spring days–genius! Dawns tights and cardi are a great way to wear a summery dress when it’s a bit cool out. I love how she chose green tights and caramel faux-leather flats. Adorable!

Anika and dawn

Helen and Molly are also from Seattle. They are the voices behind Vegtastic and Vegan Princess in an Omni Kingdom, respectively. I paired them up for my impromptu shoot because they both had on dots. Helen’s top has a subtle Swiss dot and Molly’s dress is a whimsical circle print. I like how they show how to layer with cardigans and how to rock flats. I think Helen might be wearing Cri de Coeur (and Jesse, above, might have on the same style. Great minds…).

Dawn and Molly

Speaking of great minds, meet Megan and Megan. Megan on the left, runs The Opinioness of the World, an awesome blog filled with info about film, food, and feminism (among other things). I almost bought the very scarf she’s wearing but I left it at Herbivore Clothing. Moments later, unbeknownst to me, Megan popped in and got it. Good call! It looks great and it’s super soft.

Both Megans got their shirts at Herbivore, which is why I thought they looked so good together in this post. It’s a black and fuchsia theme! The shirts read “Love life: no matter whose.” A terrific message! I like how these women took the same shirt and created completely different outfits. Megan on the right is on twitter and YouTube and has tons of adorable cat stories and photos because she fosters kittens. Awesome!

Two Molly's

Finally, it’s me again. But only because I bumped into Lulu. We’d been carrying around the same bag all weekend and had a couple of photo ops together. Lulu looked fantastic all weekend long. I wish I’d gotten pictures of her every day. Her wardrobe is all about color and texture and she makes it seem effortless. She doesn’t have a blog–yet. Here’s hoping to that happening soon. No pressure, Lulu!

Jean and Lulu

There you have it. I snapped a bunch of photos at the vegan gala too, so look for that post next!

Heading to the vegan bloggers conference

I just came back from a terrific weekend in Portland, where I attended Vida Vegan Con, a vegan conference. Over 300 vegan bloggers spent three days in Rose City. Most of our days were in the Portland Art Museum conference rooms. Evenings were a mix of events–from vegan bars to a gala and auction. It’s impossible to sum up such a rich event in a simple post, but I hope to give you a glimpse of what went on.

I drove down to Portland on Thursday and headed straight to Herbivore Clothing for shirts, a poster, jewelry, and stickers. Other bloggers were in the shop too, and I was so excited to be part of the action.

herbivore collage

A bunch of bloggers met at The White Owl Social Club. I walked in around 4:30 pm and the place was abuzz. The White Owl isn’t all-vegan, but the menu had vegan items, including the special of the day: The Greatest American Gyro. Yum!

After happy hour, I went to see a screening of the first episode of The Intrepid Herbivore’s first travel show. If you’d like to see a vegan-themed travel show on TV, go “like” them on Facebook so producers know that there’s a fan base for this type of show. The episode was great! Host Sadie is funny, lively, and teaches viewers where to go for vegan food and cooking classes, and how to be an ethical traveler. Show One focused on Thailand.

Instead of paying for a hotel, I booked a room in a private home through airbnb. I took a gamble–and it paid off. My host sounded great in her profile and was as busy as I was. The Sweet HereafterWe never actually met! We were both gone all the time.

She came home later than I did and I left before she got up. It was a perfect arrangement. I had a clean, quiet place to sleep, shower, and keep my things, and I saved a bunch of money.

The first night, I had to find the key she’d hidden. Then I checked in, settled down for a moment, and went out to meet up with my friend from Seattle Vegan Score. We went to a vegan bar, The Sweet Hereafter, for a drink and to get acquainted with some of the other bloggers we’d be seeing at the conference.

I had a fun day–and the conference hadn’t even started. I learned that Portland has a thriving vegan community. I’ll share more with you soon.

Vegan motorcycle gear

This post is about safety gear for riders. For fashion, check out my post on vegan motorcycle jackets.

In a previous life (well, circa 2006), I was very much a sportbike rider. For five years, a motorcycle was my main form of transportation. I commuted (in the HOV lane) on my bike, did weekend trips with hubby and friends, and took my bike to the racetrack. What a fun hobby–and an efficient way to travel!


Jacket: Fieldsheer (I think)
Pants: Dainese
Boots: Sidi
Gloves: Tourmaster (I think)
Back protector (not shown): Dainese
Helmet (not shown): HJC

It wasn’t until I adopted Frankie, my dog, that I started to use a car more and spent time at the dog park instead of on the twisties (that’s motospeak for curvy roads for you non-riders out there).

My handle (name) on motorcycle forums was vegbiker so I’d like to think I know a thing or two about vegan motorcycle gear. I outfitted myself with head to toe non-leather gear. Safety is paramount so I wore it all, rain or shine, summer or winter. I’ve racked up over 40,000 miles on sportbikes and I’ve been in two accidents (caused by someone else).

I believe non-leather gear is best for a few reasons. Mainly because I don’t want to wear an entire cow. But also because leather is cold in the winter and hot in the summer. It absorbs sweat and other smells. If it gets wet it stinks, and more importantly, it loses its strength after being wet. With cordura, lorica, and kevlar as options, I wouldn’t choose leather. The Cadillac of motorcycle suits, the Aerostitch Roadcrafter is cordura, a non-leather material.

Jackets – Fieldsheer, Joe Rocket, Dainese, Tourmaster, Icon, and similar brands all offer jackets made of cordura, a tough, tear-resistant fabric that helps keep out the rain and wind. The jackets often have zippered flaps to let air through if it gets warm outside, and they usually have removable linings, making them great all-season jackets. There are even mesh summer jackets available that are still strong in a crash. When you buy a jacket, get one with armored elbows and shoulders–and make sure the sleeves are long enough when you reach forward.

Pants – The same companies that make jackets make pants. Again, get a pair with armor. If you buy cordura pants from the same manufacturer as your jacket, you can zip them together at the waist for a snug fit. I always wore riding pants over my jeans because denim will last about five feet on the cement before it rips to shreds. The goal is not to crash, but if you do find yourself sliding across asphalt at 50 miles an hour (as I once did), you’re going to want more between your skin and the road than cotton. Trust me!

Gloves – A lot of gloves are made of leather–but some aren’t. I wore armored gloves with Clarino and Kevlar with carbon fiber knuckles to protect my hands. Even a bug bouncing off your finger will hurt when you’re at highway speeds. You can find warm winter gloves as well as airy summer ones from companies like Spidi, Alpinestars, Aerostitch and Scorpion.

Boots – This might be the toughest category to shop vegan but it’s not impossible. I wore lorica boots by Sidi that kept out the rain and protected my foot. The main things to look for is a boot that is sturdy, covers the ankle, and has a slim toe profile (so you can get your foot under the shifter. Try to get a pair without laces. If yours are lace-up, always tuck the laces into your boots so they don’t get caught on anything. Don’t wear steel-toe boots. They’re usually too bulky to shift smoothly and I’ve heard bad things about how the steel can cut if your boot is bent back (as could happen in a collision).

Helmets, unless the chin strap is leather, are vegan, as was the back protector I always wore under my jacket. Like I said, safety first!

I wore my vegan gear to track days, which is a track environment for race enthusiasts but isn’t an actual race. I’m not sure what the official rules are for races. Tracks might require leather. You could always scour Craigslist and eBay for used gear if you need leather as a track requirement. There are a lot of Rossi-wannabes who quit riding and sell their almost-new gear.

For the 98% of riders who don’t race, the vegan route is completely possible–even for fun on the track. Check out online stores like Motorcycle Superstore and to get started. Your local bike shops probably carry popular brands as well (or can order them).

I always wore all my gear–even on a quick run to the grocery store. The saying, “better sweat than bleed” is true. Motorcycle gear isn’t cheap, but walking away from a crash is priceless.

Vegan purses by Crystalyn Kae

Sometimes when people become vegan, they’re at a loss about their fashion choices. So many shoes and bags are made of leather. I recently wrote about leather shoe alternatives and leather-free purses. But I have to call out one amazing company: Crystalyn Kae.

I met the woman behind the name when I was at Urban Craft Uprising, an alternative craft bazaar, a couple of years ago. I loved that the bags are handmade of sustainable materials. Crystalyn even has an all-vegan collection on her website. These bags are made of wool-free tweed, glazed fabric, and non-leather microsuede. Some of the other bags are made with reclaimed leather and vintage wools. That’s why the entire brand isn’t vegan; none of the leather is sourced new though.

Crystalyn Kae purses

I’m most impressed with the glazed fabric. It’s a leather-look material created by painting rubberized glaze onto fabric. I’ve had my bags for a while now and they show no signs of wear. The glaze doesn’t crack or fade. The black Matinee shoulder bag is my daily purse, and after two years of throwing it around, it’s still photo-worthy! The green Troubadour tote is strong enough for me to lug around my heavy, ancient laptop, and roomy enough for my gym clothes. The clutches are great for evening but are practical too. They easily hold my cell phone, lipstick, keys and wallet. And the wrist strap makes it easy to hold–even when I’m dancing!

Remember that all the bags are designed by Crystalyn and handmade by her in Seattle and New York (Crystalyn recently relocated to NYC). You can buy them on her website or from over 40 boutiques across the country, including one of my favorite vegan stores, Moo Shoes.

Leather-free purses and bags

When going vegan, leaving hamburgers off the menu might not be difficult but if the thought of finding leather-free bags sounds daunting, I’m here to help. It’s actually fun and simple to find leather-free purses and totes.

Here are some examples that I’ve picked up over the years.

Matt & Nat is an all-vegan line that has really stylish laptop bags, messenger bags, purses, and wallets. There’s something for everyone–men and women. So far, I have only one piece from Matt & Nat: a faux-suede cross-body bag made using recycled plastic bottles.

Matt & Nat

Shiraleah also sells cute, affordable vegan bags. I have a couple of their crossbody bags. Hands-free and cruelty-free! Like Matt & Natt, this company is ethical and green.


Sometimes the fact that a purse is vegan is obvious. Cute fabric purses are all over the stores. And in spring, you’ll find straw and canvas totes everywhere. Have a look on Etsy for unique, handmade bags like these three that were given to me.

fabric bags

Here are three more small bags. In the top left, you’ll see a clutch by Crystalyn Kae. She has an amazing line of vegan purses. They’re glazed fabric, look like leather, and are really durable. My Alchemy Goods purse (in the lower left) is made of old bicycle inner tubes. They’re a Seattle company that makes wallets, laptop sleeves and purses. Seatbelt Bags weaves bags from seatbelt fabric. They’re also made in the USA.

three hand-made bags

I have a range of clutches in faux leather. Three of these are label-less, but the orange one is Shiraleah.

three hand-made bags

I’ve bought a few Nine West purses over the years–all thrifted, and all non-leather. They’re not a vegan company but there’s a good selection if you look.

nine west

When I carry my electronic devices, I need a bag that fits them. The large, Crystalyn Kae tote fits my huge laptop. I put my Surface in a smaller tote like this one by Snap Designs. My Kindle will fit in almost any bag, but I like this one from JC Penney.

bags for my electronics

I’ve even found some fun, specialty purses. These are from a few places. The Valentino-inspired flower purse is from a street fair in Florida, the alligator embossed bag is from Target, and the clear PVC bag is from Forever 21.

fancy bags

From Payless to Stella McCartney, there are vegan bags at every price point. I want to get my hands on a Gunas. They’re an all-vegan line and have unique, trendy bags. Do you have a favorite vegan bag?