Sunday, October 16, 2011

New Links

Oh, harro! I just wanted to point out that I updated my links section. Now they're all in nicely categorized sections! Some are great, kind places to shop, and some are great places to learn!

Sunday, September 25, 2011


School has been keeping me super busy, so I apologize for the lack of posts (to whom am I apologizing? I have no readers!). Good news, though - next Saturday (unless Tony ends up having to work) we're going on a little trip out north of Fort Worth to visit an animal sanctuary. I'll get to see lots of piggies, horses, dogs, cats, donkeys, and PIGLETS!!! *Squeal!* We're also going to stop in at the original Spiral Diner in Ft Worth. I'll try to remember the camera :)

We may end up pushing the Serenity Springs Sanctuary trip back. This Saturday there's a cool Harvest Festival going on in Denton. It has some art demonstrations, live local musicians, and vegan cuisine! It's even byo cups to be more sustainable. How could I miss out on such an awesome opportunity so close to home!? It's gonna be a busy month! An EXCITING month!

Oct 1: The 8th Annual Denton Harvest Festival
Oct 9: Tony's birthday
Oct 15: Josh & Janet's wedding (for which I got an organic cotton dress!)
Oct 23: Texas State Veggie Fair
Oct 30: Tony and I celebrate 6 happy months of marriage
Oct 31: Halloween

Maybe we could fit the sanctuary in on the 8th, 22nd, or 29th?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Responsibly Beautiful

Due to the lack of pretty pictures in my blog lately, I decided to make a collage FULL of pretty things. Yay for Photobucket's EZ Collage feature! (If the picture decides to be lame and not show up, you can click the teeny little box where it should be).


1. Scotch Naturals Watercolors in NEAT: vegan, toxic-free, and pretty much everything-else-free nailpolish (just read about it on their site!)
2. CITYZEN GREEN Justine V in Petal: Naturally dyed 100% organic cotton T
3. Blue Metallic TOMS: they're vegan and TOMS gives a pair to a child in need for every pair bought
4. Marine Blue Sheer Lace Shirt by Minxshop: beautiful shirt handmade by the lovely lady modeling it
5. 31 Bits Robi Necklaces: Made out of recycled paper by women in Uganda
6. Goodsociety Women's Skinny Jeans in Raw: sexy jeans from a fully organic and sustainable company
7. Luckyduct Oxidized Sterling Triangle Earrings: handmade earrings from a talented etsy seller
8. Matt & Nat Ella Bag: Cute vegan bag with a lining made of recycled bottles
9. Bewilder Bra and Darkside Garter Hotshort by Clare Bare: eco-lingerie made of bamboo jersey and vintage mesh hand-dyed with eco dyes

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My first two days of school

Insomnia has taken me the past few days. Excitement, perhaps? And of course, my little Cindy baby is no help - walking around on my chest and gently slapping at my face with just enough claw that she doesn't scratch, but I can't ignore it. Attention whore! But alas, no kitties will be turned down affection in this home. Anyway, I bring that up so you'll forgive me if I'm a rambling mess :) I don't normally post about my days, but the start of this semester seems somehow worthy.

Monday I left a little early for class to get a new stick of deodorant (I *would* run out during one of the hottest summers in Texas history). I also decided to treat myself to a delicious, cold bottle of Kombucha. Beth got me addicted to Kombucha, which is great since it's a source of vegan probiotics! It looks a little funky (some of the bacteria cultures like to clump up in the bottom) and smells a bit like feet, but I promise it tastes great! Hmm, that's my second tangent in two paragraphs...

Anywho! After my stop, I headed to Statistics. The professor was a kind-looking, smiley man, though he made me a little uncomfortable by making way too much eye contact with me. That's what I get for being one of the ones paying attention! The class was a bit dull (Statistics terms definition day, wahoo!), but I'm sure I'll be a lot more interested once we start working actual problems.

Tuesdays and Thursdays are much fuller days. Tuesday started off well - I got up, did a little yoga, had some coconut water (NOM NOM), and did the usual, boring get ready for class junk. First "oh crap" moment of the day: "hmm, no one else is here for my class..." That's because it starts at 11:30, not 11, smartypants. Go me! I decided to use the extra time to explore the campus a bit (I usually take classes at Collin's Spring Creek campus, but Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday I'm at the less-familiar-to-me-and-further-away Preston Ridge campus this semester).

Philosophy seems like it will be fun. The professor was witty and enthusiastic, which is always great. He chose very modern philosophical material - mostly how people today are so greatly affected by inanimate objects, such as smartphones. At first I was a little upset about this (I love learning things with historical context), but I can see how most young college kids probably find it more relatable. All-in-all, most likely a good choice on his part.

Next, I headed to Anatomy and Physiology I. Philosophy got out a bit early, so I had a few relaxing moments to read first! Let me start off by saying I had VERY high hopes for this class. I think I'm even more excited to learn anatomy and physiology than jewelry-making (and that's saying a lot!). A few minutes in, however, my worst fear was realized... 18% of my lecture grade comes from a GROUP PROJECT. OH THE HORROR!!! Another 10% comes from a community service learning project. That part worried me at first, since I had no idea where I'd do my service. However, once she told us there's a list of organizations on the Collin website, I realized it will be a great thing. Perhaps even get me started volunteering somewhere permanently! But back to the group project... My mind COMPLETELY freaked. Dark thoughts started running through my head: "I can't do this," "Why am I here?" "I have to drop," "Why did I think I could be a nurse?" etc. It took me a few more hours to get through the shock.

A bit disheartened, I drove to the nearby mall to try to find a suitable lunch. Luckily, I recently read that Starbucks now offers a vegan-friendly bistro meal, so I grabbed one of those. Turns out it was pretty delicious. An Asian-inspired sesame and veggie pasta with sesame-covered peanuts and a little square of dark chocolate. I'll have to start figuring out my own food to bring, though. I don't feel too comfortable eating something that comes in a plastic box, two small plastic containers, and two plastic wrappers. Wasteful!

Back at the campus, I found my A&P Lab room. I have never liked lab classes. Mostly for the same reason group projects scare the living shit out of me - I'm too shy and I always end up having to explain everything to my partner/s. Still, I did so well in my Biology lab last Spring, how bad could it be? I'll tell you how bad. We have to dissect. Ugh. But wait, it gets worse! What are we dissecting? Cats. CATS!? As soon as I heard that, I teared up for about 30 minutes. Again I thought about dropping or skipping those days, but I take my grades too seriously now that I want to be a nurse. I tried to comfort myself by assuming the cats were already euthanized, then donated to the college for learning. But still, when I look down at that cat I'll think of my own. All the sweet little kisses they give me, their purrs, their rubs against me... What could have been for the cat in front of me given a chance? I decided I must tough my way through it, but I guarantee I'll be the weirdo crying as we dissect cats. I'll also e-mail my professor ahead of time to warn him how uncomfortable I'll be.

I feel a lot better now. A little time has helped my mind re-center. First off, I like to always keep in mind how very blessed I am to have the opportunity to go to college. Being thankful helps get me through the classes I don't like as well. Also, this all leads somewhere - a GOOD somewhere at that. One day I'll be sharing my love and compassion with patients in a hospital. The group project will help me get used to being around and opening up to people I don't know. One of my two worst fears going into nursing is that I will be too shy to relate to the patients or let them know I care. (The other... I'm afraid of needles). Hopefully the lab will help me learn to do uncomfortable things, including forcing me to work with a stranger. At least my lab partner seems sweet.

A little more personal than my usual posts. I hope it's not boring! Have a great day!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Back to School!

EeeeeeeeEEeEeee!!! I start classes today, and I couldn't be more excited! I've got my roomy, sexy, new Matt & Nat purse (Matt & Nat is a fancy vegan handbag company that makes the interiors out of recycled plastic bottles!), my cute and recycled ecosystem notebooks (edit: forgot to add that they're also American-made; buy American, create American jobs, and reduce the travel distance to you, reducing the carbon footprint!), and plenty of freshly-laundered, lavender-scented clothes. I only have one class today, but tomorrow should be pretty interesting with three whole classes. Friday will be the best (I hope), because I have six hours of jewelry/art metals!

I'll leave you with one of my current obsessions, 31 Bits Designs. They give jobs to women in need in Uganda making necklaces and bracelets out of recycled paper beads. The end result is fun and fashionable jewelry you can feel good about buying! I'm itching to get my hands on some!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Recent Revelation

I have been toying with the idea of giving up drinking for a while now. Currently, I typically have a few glasses of chardonnay over weekends and perhaps a cocktail if we go out, but I realize more and more how crappy it makes me feel both mentally and physically. I don't want to hurt my body or mind, I only get one! Plus, so many empty calories! If I avoid things like sugar and white bread, why ingest high carb drinks that also kill brain cells?

So why haven't I quit? I realized the other day that the main reason I haven't quit is because I'm afraid our friends will think I'm lame, and drinking is something Tony and I have always enjoyed together. Basically peer pressure. What a SHITTY reason. Also, I adore the thought of fun, fancy, fruity cocktails. But you know what, they'd probably taste better without the alcohol. There's no reason you need alcohol to mix up intricate concoctions of fruit juices and herbs. I often think of certain events as "needing" alcohol. Beer and football, the beach and cocktails in coconut shells, family holidays, etc. The last reason is slightly related to the first: I'm shy! Alcohol helps me open up around people. Oh, and I do just plain enjoy the feeling from time to time.

Tomorrow night we're going out to a wine bar, which is something we've been setting up for quite a while. I think I'll let that be my last hurrah, then give up drinking other than maybe champagne at weddings or on New Year's Eve. My sweet Tony assured me the other day when I brought it up that he would never think less of me for not drinking. Maybe I'll handle it like sugar: cut it out completely, so I cut back drastically when/if I start again. I can't promise I'm done for good, but that's the goal!

Thursday, July 28, 2011


I get daily emails from a great site called Pure Citizen (they host great deals from eco-conscious companies, with the opportunity to donate some of the money you're saving to a chosen non-profit organization for that product). Recently they teamed up for a sale with an amazing company called Farmaesthetics. Farmaesthetics has the purest ingredients I have ever seen! No preservatives or chemicals whatsoever. For example, here are the ingredients in their Fine Herbal Cleanser: witch hazel, vegetable glycerin, acylglutamate (a natural amino acid derived from sugarcane), geranium essential oil & lavender essential oil. (Disclaimer! I have to point out that not all Farmaesthetic products are vegan; some use honey, beeswax, and/or dried milk, but they do not test on animals.)

I picked up the Fine Herbal Cleanser, the Rosehip & Clay Mint Mask, the Pure Complexion Tonic, and the Nourishing Herbal Cream (which does contain beeswax). I couldn't be more in love with them! Yesterday I tried out my Rosehip & Clay Mint Mask. As suggested on the bottle (which is simple yet adorable by the way!), I mixed a tsp of the mask with a tsp of the Pure Complexion Tonic in my hand, then applied the paste to my face. The two go so well together; it smelled like heaven! The mask was lightly exfoliating, and my skin feels loads better. I think this combo is now a must-have in my life! I love the Fine Herbal Cleanser, too, because it gently and effectively cleans my face without stripping it. The other day, I tried the Nourishing Herbal Cream on my neck and decollate. It took a little while to absorb, but made my skin baby-soft! So, if you're okay with using family farm beeswax (which is supposed to create a layer that holds the moisture in your skin), I'd recommend it!

I have a long wish list of other things I'd love to try! Maybe if I manage to not be lazy, I'll take a picture of my goodies to add later. The owner handwrites the titles on the labels and sends them off to be printed. That added with the glass apothecary bottles and jars make for very attractive and useful bathroom decorations!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dreaming of the future

So... it's been about 6 months since my last post on here. Between classes, wedding planning, and *cough* World of Warcraft playing... life got pretty busy for a while there. I am Mrs. Evelyn Mara Meyer Steneck as of April 30th. So far marriage has been total bliss. I've never felt so happy and in love! The combination of marriage and uh... being unemployed with a college degree for the past 3 years has got me thinking a lot about the type of future I envision.

My dream for the future constantly changes as I find new influences. The latest inspiration I've found is from this amazing couple, Peter and Juwels (read their blog, The Winnebago Diaries). Besides being the cutest couple ever and making beautiful candles cast from antique bottles (which are beeswax, but I trust this couple probably gets their beeswax from kind sources), they live in a winnebago they refinished and decorated. They live an incredibly sustainable life! I don't think I could stand living in a winnebago, but now I've dialed down my future home ideas from some fancy schmancy green home, to some small place my husband and I can fix up to be eco-friendly and beautiful. I'm so lucky that he does remodeling for a living, so I'll have a pro at my side.

I'd also like to continue narrowing down and healthifying my diet (so healthifying may not be a word, but I likes it!). We currently have lots of Amy's microwave things, Annie Chun's udon soup, Panera, and Chipotle. I've been a lazy wife in lazy summer mode. I feel like food is something that should take time to prepare, and if it doesn't, I should be grabbing a piece of fruit or something. Besides, we got a super sweet Le Creuset dutch oven as a wedding gift that is screaming to be used more often (it's so pretty, thanks Harry!!!). One day I hope I can learn to be a decent enough gardener to grow some of our own food, but that currently scares the shizz out of me. I don't like bugs and dirt and getting smelly and bugs again!

For my future career, I've decided to go into nursing, so I can help and nurture people for a living. Have I mentioned that before? I took biology this past Spring, and in August I start Anatomy and Physiology I; I freakin love biology classes! I'm also going to take a jewelry metals class. The thought of making jewelry is so exciting, especially with my new addiction to rings! I could use recycled metals, and maybe even eventually have my own etsy shop on the side! Mmm, spending money!? Ooh, and the hubs is considering going into firefighting. Sexy! My hero!

Tony and I would love to move someplace we could enjoy the outdoors a bit more, such as Colorado or Portland. I want to spend my free time hiking, rock climbing, and bicycling, while of course keeping to my yoga. For a while, Tony and I took daily walks when he got home from work, but the temperatures in Texas have now reached 100+, bleck.

I promise to post some wedding pics soon!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Vegan wedding dresses

Well... I failed at posting again the same week as my last post. 10 days later isn't too terrible, though, right? I thought today I'd share a few of my favorite handmade, vegan wedding dress finds.

I bought my dress from a neat little shop called Olivia Luca. The coolest thing about the website/shop is that you design your own dress. In the design studio, you choose the neckline, skirt shape and length, fabric, color, and detail (for example, a sash around the waist) for your dress. For my wedding dress (no pics until after the wedding, of course!), I chose to use the organic cotton for a vegan and eco-friendly option.

There are a few other cute dresses I found by other small, handmade business. My favorite is probably Sarah Seven. She builds her dresses off of vintage bustiers, how cool is that!? Most of her dresses are silk (which, if you're fine with that, have at it!), but she has a few that are made with tulle or netting. Like this lovely elope dress:


Ouma and Holly Stalder also make cute dresses. Ouma is for the ballerina, tutu-loving, girlie-girl in us all. Holly's dresses are again mostly silk, but she works with a lot of tulle, and I'm sure she'd be willing to line with something else if asked. Holly also makes adorable vintage lace shrugs. I was afraid they were a bit fancy for the look I'm trying to achieve, but my mom convinced me I needed one. So I ordered one, and I am NOT regretting that decision. She worked with me to make a shrug with details I love in a hand-dyed color to match my wedding theme. My shrug is AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL and probably my favorite part of my wedding attire at this point.

*Just as a note, here's why I don't wear silk: I'm definitely not a fan of bugs, but I absolutely cannot support boiling alive THOUSANDS of silkworms for ONE dress. Especially for a wedding. That should be a time of happiness... not genocide! But that's just my opinion, and you certainly don't have to agree!

I found another pretty awesome dress! See here. It's not technically a "wedding dress" but the designer has made it as a wedding dress for several customers. I just adore the mix of an old-fashioned structure with modern, box-y ruffles. An interesting note on the designer, Liza Rietz: she also tours with a rock band. A life of rock and fashion, what a lucky lady!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Happy New Year!

I totally suck at being a blogger, BUT!!! it is now 2011, and 2011 will be a great year. One of my New Years resolutions is to blog more frequently. I think a lot of my problem is that with the upcoming wedding, I just have TOO MUCH to blog about, and I'm just not sure where to start. Well! I solemnly vow to blog tomorrow...ish. Ok, how about sometime this week (...that's reassuring).

While I'm on the topic of New Years resolutions, here are my other ones:
- Reduce the amount of processed foods I eat (aka, cook from scratch a lot more and avoid that darn microwave)
- Practice yoga 4-6x a week. I think I'll up this to 5-6x in February. Gotta look perfect for my wedding!
- Keep the apartment cleaner. This one is a complete failure so far... Lazy, lazy me.

I also had some other personal health goals for the past few months with which I'm having various levels of success:

- No more caffeine! I'm probably doing the best on this one. I do have a cup of green tea about every other day or less, and I still often have decaf coffee. So, I'm getting a little bit of caffeine, but I've cut back SUBSTANTIALLY. I highly recommend giving up caffeine. I can tell a huge difference in my daily... umm... sleepiness? I sleep less overall (which is a good thing because I often sleep 10+ hours), and I feel much more awake throughout the day.

- Don't have sugar or agave nectar. They're just not natural. The sweetness is too concentrated. I've resorted to brown rice syrup and maple syrup (YUM) for my sweeteners, though I really rarely have sweets at all. If I make myself a cup of (decaf) coffee, I'll add about a teaspoon of maple syrup. It's still not the best sweetener for you, but I love that maple flavor. Plus, it has at least a little nutritional value (it contains a decent percentage of calcium, iron, and a few others). If you do decide to try some maple syrup go for Grade B. Grade B is boiled at a lower temperature, and therefore retains more of its nutritional value.

- Reduce soy intake. I'm terrible at this one. My huge weakness is still soy lattes (and, of course, Starbucks' soymilk is sweetened with what I can only assume is sugar *sigh*). I don't know what it is about lattes... they're just happiness in a cup to me. I can't find any definitive sources on soy, but it has enough supposed good and bad health effects that I've personally concluded it's probably fine to have in moderation. This is, of course, assuming it's non-GMO (aka not genetically modified).

Alrighty then, I'll be back later this week! Hmm which topic to choose then... (Oh, and I apologize for the lack of pretty pictures)