Farm Sanctuary Fundraiser a Huge Success!

“Being vegan is a principled refusal to add to the violence of the world, and an intention to be a witness for something better.” -Gene Baur, president and co-founder of Farm Sanctuary

Collage from Farm Sanctuary Fundraiser Oct 2014

Farm Sanctuary Fundraiser

I hosted a fundraiser for Farm Sanctuary at Modern Times Brewery in Point Loma on Wednesday, October 15. Garden Grill provided amazing vegan food, an art student taught painting lessons, we had
a killer raffle, and there was, of course, amazing vegan beer on tap!

(Sidenote: Modern Times is a completely vegan brewery! All their beers are vegan AND they only invite in food vendors that serve 100% vegan fare. On top of all that, the venue is gorgeous! So, if you’re a vegan in San Diego, go check ‘em out!)

Success!

We raised more than double the amount of money that I had set as my goal! I was blown away by everyone’s generosity. The raffle was , and made possible by donations from local businesses. The art student, Claire, donated her time to teach the painting sessions for free so we were able to keep all the proceeds from the ticket sales. And Garden Grill donated a portion of their sales for the night as well. The night was a success because everyone believed in it, and everyone put their hands in to help.

It reaffirmed for me that the vegan community is full of kind, generous people who care and are willing to take action or make contributions toward change. I am so honored to be a part of this movement and am touched beyond belief by all the people who came out to support my efforts. As Gene so wisely states in the quote listed above, being vegan is an intention to be a witness for something better, and I truly felt that in the room that night.

Farm Sanctuary

For those of you unfamiliar with the organization: Farm Sanctuary was established in 1986 and has since helped thousands of rescued animals life comfortable, happy lives. The individual stories of these animals can be heartbreaking. I was particularly moved by the story of Thatcher, a goose, who was recently rescued by Manuel, a 9 year old boy who saw some adults dumping a box of goslings (baby geese) into a yard for a dog to eat. Brave Manuel reached through the fence and was able to save a single gosling, Thatcher. He cared for the goose until Thatcher was brought to Farm Sanctuary, his forever home.

I hate geese, they’re territorial as fuck and birds are not my jam, however, I don’t want any harm to come to them. Reading about baby geese being fed to a dog made me very upset (for both the geese and the dog) but reading about Manuel’s compassion and drive to act filled me with hope. Knowing that Thatcher will live a full, happy life because Farm Sanctuary exists makes me even more motivated to increase my fundraising efforts for them over the next year.

Donate to Farm Sanctuary

If you want to help Farm Sanctuary and all the beautiful rescued animals they care for, like Thatcher, consider making a donation to my San Diego Walk for Farm Animals donor page! There’s just a few weeks left :)

Thank you to all of our generous donors!

I’d like to thank all the raffle donors. Without their gifts, the raffle would not have been such a wild success:

Activism By Asking: Be High Maintenance!

“Ten people who speak make more noise than ten thousand who are silent.”
– Napoleon Bonaparte

Fancy Doll

Hi friends! Whew, it’s been a busy week!!! For those of you who follow @veganspin on Instagram, you know I was away at my company’s educational seminar for our financial advisors in Hot-lanta, GA. The only dark spot in an otherwise amazing trip was that the food at the Georgia Tech Hotel & Conference Center was, predictably, not vegan-friendly or gluten-free.

The Asking Activist

Early on in my veganism, I would have stuck with eating an unsatisfying salad for every meal in order to not make veganism seem “high maintenance”. Nowadays, I’ve learned the value of voicing my needs. For one, everyone watching me eat unsatisfying salads every day reinforced the perception that veganism is hard and a sacrifice. Secondly, I was hungry! I wanted a real meal!

So towards the end of the second day, I talked to the event coordinator and then the head chef. I was friendly and polite, just told them that I was having trouble eating with what was being provided and asked if I could special order something. Chef Shawn, the head chef, was super-friendly about it. He told me I could have anything I wanted so I asked for some potatoes with vegetables and ended up with this:

Potatoes with Asparagus, Cauliflower and Tomatoes

I was so happy! Everyday after that there was a vegan, gluten-free option on the buffet for each meal AND I was invited to special order anything I wanted, anytime. Every time I’d come into the buffet area after that the servers would all say, “Hey! Vegan girl! How are ya?! We have food for you!” and Chef Shawn would ask me if I was happy and give me a big smile.

The best change was that the staff put up a sign on the chef’s area that said “Vegetarian and Gluten Free Options Available”. The staff also started labeling which buffet items were gluten free. A bunch of people attending the conference noticed this and thought it was great, I got a lot of positive comments about these changes (since everyone knew who the changes were made for!).

It was a powerful reaffirmation that the simple act of asking can create radiating ripples of change. Being silent in an effort to make veganism seem easier prevents people from being aware that there is a need out there. I might have been the first vegan or gluten-free person to ever attend a conference at that hotel, but I highly doubt it. Much more likely is that my predecessors felt uncomfortable saying anything. By being vocal and friendly, I put a face to these needs. I forced them to look at what they were providing in a new light and, because their staff/management is smart and proactive, they responded by doing more than they had to to accommodate me and make me feel safe and welcomed.

This happens to me a lot now that I speak up. Staff will know me, chefs will come out to speak to me directly to ask how my meal was, managers will remember me and prepare ahead for my arrival. Instead of being a burden to everyone, I’m someone they are happy to take care of. A lot of this is, of course, in my approach. I am not apologetic while making these requests, but I do make them gently and with great appreciation. But also, people naturally want to feel useful, they want to be helpful. If you can frame your request in a way that shows them a need and then tells them exactly how to help you, they’ll jump at the chance. Every time they see you, they’ll know how to make you happy, and that will make them happy. Then, you have a new friend!

So next time you find yourself faced with a similar situation, speak up! Not everyone is as gracious as the Georgia Tech Hotel & Conference Center, but even if they are not friendly about it, you’ll be one more person asking. It’ll be one more time they hear “vegan” and the more times that word gets out there, the more people will realize it’s something that needs to be offered, just like vegetarian options are offered everywhere. This is how we got vegan options at Chipotle and Subway, this is why we are seeing the rise of vegan establishments, this is why when I say I’m vegan, fewer and fewer people think it’s weird. Asking is powerful. So go on, Diva! Demand Brussels Sprouts and kale chips in your dressing room!

photo credit: partymonstrrrr via photopin cc

The Rise of Veganism!

This infographic from the Top RN to BSN site made me soooooo happy! Veganism is on the rise, and the global culture around eating animals and our current food system is changing.

Veganism
Source: TopRNtoBSN.com

As a vegan, it can be discourgaging sometimes and can feel like things aren’t happening fast enough but I’m seeing the movement pick up steam as it goes. I predict will see major shifts within the next decade. And I plan to be in the front, doing whatever I can to drive it forward!

Book Review: Attached

Down the highway, down the tracks, down the road to ecstasy; I followed you beneath the stars hounded by your memory and all your raging glory. – Bob Dylan

Attached Book Review

Attached - New Science of Adult Love

I just read Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find – and Keep – Love and I can’t stop talking about it! I have a shelf on Goodreads called “life-changing” and this book is on it.

Attached looks at adult attachment and how it affects our romantic relationships. It delves into the three attachment styles: anxious, avoidant and secure:

  • Anxious people are often preoccupied with their relationships and tend to worry about their partner’s ability to love them back
  • Avoidant people equate intimacy with a loss of independence and constantly try to minimize closeness.
  • Secure people feel comfortable with intimacy and are usually warm and loving.

This is just from the back cover folks. I was reading this book in the backyard of my apartment building in a bikini on a lounge chair, bawling my eyes out by page 10. It was…quite the scene.

I strongly encourage anyone who has struggled with relationship issues to read this. I think it’s an interesting read for anyone, but especially if you don’t understand why the people you love don’t stay…or why you don’t stay with the people you love. It’s an easy read, I finished the book in two days. My favorite thing about Attached is how comprehensive it is – the book is based on science but is delivered in an easily digestible format that doesn’t feel too self-helpy.

The biggest thing I took away from Attached is that it’s ok (preferable, actually) to ask for what I want and not be ashamed of it, right from the start. I’m the anxious attachment style – I want someone who is looking for a commitment, up front about their feelings, and is consistent. If someone is avoidant, they will NEVER give me those things. Better to find out immediately that they will break my heart than to hand them my heart and watch them break it.

I realize now that my brief romantic involvements this year (and, in fact, my whole life) have all been with avoidants, leaving me with an aching chasm of need in my heart. A lifetime of reaching out and grasping air has left me feeling empty and confused. This is why I was crying by page 10. Attached touched my pain and said, “There there, now. It doesn’t have to be this way. Here’s how you fix it.” I’m still stumbling, adopting the practices outlined in the book is easier said than done, but I feel more optimistic and a lot less lost than I have in my whole life.

Let me know if you read Attached, and what you think of it!