Ringling Bros to End Live Elephant Show

Wow! What a win for elephants & for all those who boycotted, protested, petitioned, and spoke out against the cruel and abusive treatment of elephants at the circus. Ringling Bros is expected to end their elephant shows by 2018, but what happens then?

 

While we are thrilled that the elephant acts are ending, it brings up an interesting question: Will people have as much exposure to elephants? For many people, their love of elephants stemmed from a childhood experience at the circus. Many kids take field trips to the circus in school, not as a fun activity, but as a type of cultural exposure.

 

After time, will people fail to recognize the majesty of the elephant?

 

Probably not – thanks to the good ole internet.

 

Luckily, elephants will no longer be subjected to cruel circus practices. Now… to work on the poaching and ivory trade….

 

Baby elephant & mom

Feature Friday: Vegan Cuts November Beauty Box

The time has come. The time to release the Kraken!!! No, not really. Krakens are scary, but I bet they make great snugglers… I digress.

Over the last 2 months, we’ve been hard at work making 3000 bars of soap for the beautiful and wonderful subscribers of the Vegan Cuts Beauty Box. Yes, you read that correctly – 3000 bars of soap

We were approached by Vegan Cuts earlier in the year and at first we were apprehensive to commit to such a large undertaking. After all, we’re just 2 people and 3000 is a big, BIG, number. But how do we say no to Vegan Cuts and deprive our fellow vegans of our awesome & ethically vegan soap? Well… clearly, we didn’t say no.

So, for the last 2 months, Matt and I have had numerous hot dates: in our kitchen or dining room making, prepping, wrapping, and packing soap. Being the superstitious Irish girl that I am, I didn’t want to share this super exciting news until it was a done deal & out the door to the Vegan Cuts subscribers. Here are a few pictures from the process:

vegan cuts soap

Freshly cut soap ready to cure

Soap Curing

Soap curing on the rack

vegan soap

Heat Shrinking is a go!

vegan soap

Ready to label!

Nestled in together ready for packing

Nestled in together ready for packing

vegan cuts

Ready to send to Vegan Cuts! We did this 15 more times!

vegan cuts

Handcrafted vegan soap made by just 2 people for all the Vegan Cuts subscribers!

After all that, we’re going to take a nap. Much love & peace to Vegan Cuts – some of the most awesome folks we’ve worked with.

 

 

Veganly Yours,

Megan

Family Vacation – The GRAND Canyon (part 2)

By Megan Vick

 

It’s hard to believe that 3 days in the Grand Canyon warrants 2 full posts, but it’s true! There is so much to see and do – no matter where you turn, it’s a new view with new colors depending on where the sun hits the canyon. In addition to spending a day hiking** around the canyon’s rim, we also managed to fit in a jeep tour and a helicopter tour. By the way, there are a ton of pics in the post, so KEEP SCROLLING!

**By hiking, I mean sticking to the mostly-paved pathway which winds itself a breathtaking, yet safe, distance from the rim.

 

Pink Jeep Tours

Remember I mentioned the ill-fated mule ride? We decided to do a Pink Jeep Tour after a recommendation from an awesome friend. He saw Pink Jeep Tours in Sedona when he was on vacation and came back to tell me all about them.

We were able to hop in an open-air Jeep with the whole fam and 2 new friends to see some of the less-traveled areas of the Grand Canyon. I have no idea where we were (maybe the east side of the south rim…) but it was absolutely gorgeous! Mike, our driver, was so much fun, so knowledgeable, and even let us gallivant a little longer than usual. He also indulged my quest to find elk – and we found 2!

If you ever have the chance to do a Pink Jeep Tour – whether it’s at the Grand Canyon, Vegas, or Sedona, it is well worth it. Consider this my verified recommendation.

 

 

jeep

Matt & me in front of the Pink Jeep. The whole family was there, but there wasn’t a good picture of all of us.

 

 

boy elk

A young male elk – I stalked him for about 20 minutes to get this shot. He was very nice about it.

 

 

lady elk

A young female elk. She was kickin it in the brush by the restroom… just loving life.

 

 

Mike

Mike, our friendly driver!

 

 

 

 

Maverick Helicopter Tours

After another recommendation, we took a chance (an expensive chance) on a morning helicopter tour over the Grand Canyon. Bennett, our delightful pilot, played awesome music (Def Leppard, anyone?) and told us some incredible facts about the canyon. We opted for the earliest tour they offer because we were told that once the sun comes up, the canyon can get hazy which doesn’t make for the best views or pictures. With about 5 minutes left in the flight, the sky got hazy and we could no longer see the mountains in Flagstaff (which is really far away!).

We looked at a lot of helicopter tour companies, but Maverick got some of the best reviews and came personally recommended. Now, I’m personally recommending it to you!

 

The group!

The group!

 

Colorado River

Colorado River

 

heli 2

 

Bennett, our pilot, with everyone!

Bennett, our pilot, with everyone!

 

Terrific Tuesday: Long Time, No Blog

By Megan Vick

 

Well, it’s been a minute since we last blogged. It’s shocking how life just happens and before you know it, it’s been 2 weeks! My sincerest apologies.

 

Over the last two weeks, here are few of our favorite things that have happened:

  • We signed up for Inspiralized.com emails! There are so many awesome vegan recipes (or veganizable) recipes using various veggies as noodles. Check it out!
  • The International Courts ruled in Australia’s favor regarding illegal whaling in the southern oceans. We’re big fans of Sea Shepherd, so this is a win for everyone – especially the majestic whales.
  • GMOs are becoming a popular topic for discussion for non-activists, politicians, and regular every-day folk. The more people talk & learn, the faster we can come to a resolution on labeling.
  • Veganism is consistently gaining acceptance and (dare I say it) popularity. Soon, there may be such a thing as mainstream vegan options across the country!
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier premiered to record numbers. The prevailing opinion at Shorganics is that it’s the best Marvel Avengers movie yet. We can hardly contain our excitement for Guardians of the Galaxy – due in August.
  • Game of Thrones premiered on Sunday, April 6. Although the episode wasn’t “The Rains of Castamere” (aka “The Red Wedding”), it certainly didn’t leave you feeling serene about the future.

 

With all of these wonderful things, plus the lovely spring weather which has finally arrived, 2014 is shaping up to be a banner year. Plus, we’ve been hard at work putting the finishing touches on our new line of Sugar Body Scrubs. Yummy!

 

 

That’s Not Vegan….

By Megan Vick

 

At Shorganics, and at home, one of the favorite sayings is “That’s not vegan…” Whether we’re watching a pride of lionesses hunt, or watching what’s-his-face devour some unseemly burger on The Travel Channel, it’s always said as a statement of the obvious and all in good fun.

 

But what happens you have a dish labeled vegan, but there is honey it (baklava, anyone)? What happens when you find a fashion brand who claims all items are vegan, but uses wool? These are some of the ambiguous situations people find themselves in everyday. I was once told by a “staunch” vegan, “of course I eat honey! Bees aren’t animals.”

 

Really??

 

While bees most certainly and irrefutably are animals, the argument remains, if the bees don’t get hurt in the harvesting of honey, what’s so bad? The same can be said for many other things. Have you seen an unshorn (unsheared?) sheep in the summer? They are not happy critters. Sheep need to have that excess winter wool removed to be happy and comfortable in the warmer months. The question is? What to do with all that wool? If the farmer shears the sheep in a non-threatening and harmless way and the sheep is not raised for wool, would you wear something made from that particular farm?

 

Don’t take “That’s not vegan” too seriously. The attempt to reduce and remove animal products from your life is wonderful and every little bit helps the planet. No matter what vegan conundrum plays out in your life, it’s important not to judge others who might incorporate wool or honey into their lives.

 

I do give you full permission to point out to anyone that bees are, and always will be, animals.

 

Namaste

A Vegan in Icleand

By Megan Vick

Shorganics Family

 

 

Just last week (December 8-12), I visited Iceland with my husband and parents. We had a phenomenal time! Iceland is a beautiful, desolate, and magical country full of shy, but wonderfully friendly people. We booked a package deal through IcelandAir (a few hidden fees – buyer beware!) and I started doing my research on where to find some vegan/vegetarian food.

 

 

 

Map of Iceland

 

We stayed in Reykjavik, the country’s capital. It was one of the most picturesque cities I’ve ever visited. I was nervous to visit Iceland because they still practice whaling (which as a vegan – and a HUMAN – I am thoroughly against), but when I dug deeper, I learned many Icelanders are also against whaling. Supposedly, whaling still provides enough money and jobs to make it lucrative in this tiny arctic nation. And yes, there are many restaurants that serve whale (and puffin, and shark, and sheep testicles, and horse – ew).

 

 

 

However, there are infinitely more restaurants – including many right in the harbor, which refuse to serve any “traditional Icelandic food.” I was pleased to see this; and so were my meat-eating companions who still wouldn’t touch puffin, whale, or horse. A quick Google search of “vegetarian restaurants in Iceland” yielded many blog posts by travelers and several vegans too. You will not be disappointed with the results.

 

Icelandic horses

Who could eat that??

 

 

Even if you want to wing it once you get over there, a quick walk down Reykjavik’s main downtown street offers a restaurant every few feet and every single one offers at least one vegan/vegetarian option. One of my favorite things about Reykjavik is that every eatery displays their menu outside so you can decided if it’s the right place to eat before even setting foot inside. No more awkward exits after realizing the veggie burger contains eggs…

 

 

 

 

A word of caution to the hard-core vegans out there: Icelanders LOVE their dairy. Granted, it’s hormone free, pasture raised dairy (I saw the pastures – no factory farm milking machines in this country!), but dairy is nearly everywhere. Whether is cheese on a sandwich, milk/cream in sauces, or a hot chocolate made with cream (topped with whipped cream): dairy is everywhere. Because Iceland must import nearly everything, it can be an expensive visit. Fresh fruits and veggies are not as common as they are in the states because very few things can grow successfully in the Icelandic climate. They do have several greenhouses throughout the small villages to grow tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and other staple veggies.

 

 

 

Whether you’re veg or not, Iceland is one of the most amazing countries I’ve ever visited. When you’re there choose to spend your money on vegetarian food and whale watching. Iceland’s main industry is tourism, so how you spend your money will influence the paths taken by the business owners and government.

 

 

Stay tuned for my next post about the unique experience at Iceland’s Blue Lagoon. Namaste

Black lava rock beach

A Very Happy Holiday

By Megan Vick

 

Tis the season where we eat copious amounts of food and most people feel terrible about that third (or fourth) helping of stuffing. And then we pack on a little “winter weight” until we eat more at Christmas or whichever winter solstice holiday you celebrate. 

 

Regardless of what winter holidays you enjoy, how many of them you attend, and whether or not you’re vegan, the end of the year is a time to come together and cherish those we love! If you don’t eat meat and attend a meal where there are a lot of meat-eaters, put aside your desire to quote Forks Over Knives and show them images of factory farmed turkeys. If you’re a ferocious carnivore, put aside your desire to make fun of those who choose not to eat meat or request mushroom gravy instead of turkey gravy.

 

Hold hands, hug, laugh, and enjoy the company this holiday season. Namaste!

 

Orangutan & baby