An Interview With A Vegan Purse Designer….

10 Aug

Meet my friend Anthony DeBenedictis – that’s him with his sister and adorable niece. Anthony is not only a vegan but a talented artist who has the awesome job of designing hot purses and wallets – many of them vegan!  I asked Anthony to share with us his creation process…

I’m a freelance designer & illustrator for Kenneth Cole NY (but actually work for a company called Mundi-Westport, which handles many KC projects). I design small leather goods and small handbags, mostly for the Reaction line, which uses mostly non-leather and synthetic materials (except for a few items here & there that may use a strip of leather). So, for all your vegetarians & vegans out there, most of the Reaction line is safe to buy!

My job involves a lot of drawing/sketching with actual “paper & pencil” .. and yes I do work some on the computer. I do some research, a little bit of shopping around for ideas, inspiration. Once in awhile, I get to rip old bags and samples apart to see how they’re constructed, which can be fun! I also check out different kinds of materials to use, but most of my suggestions go unnoticed because I always pick out the most expensive stuff!! PVC/PU is what’s mainly used in the Reaction line, which feels and looks like leather, and it does not look cheap at all. Also, PVC/PU can get expensive, depending on the quality and finish, however, it’s still less costly than leather and all the cows can live long, happy lives eating grass & hanging out ;-)






Here is a neat little clutch I did with leopard print interior.. and an older handbag, I designed the exterior portion, which was fun to sketch because of all the weaving & layering of material!

When I’m not designing, I’m painting & drawing, which helps me clear my head because I deal with way too many serious, sometimes mean people in the fashion industry.


Anthony is not only a gifted designer, but an artist too. Visit his website WeirdEyeOne to see his art, shop his store and read his blog.



Feathering = Anger

30 Jul

Warning : this post will be a rant of anger! It is mostly due to the conversation I just had with a friend of mine.

Let it be known I am no saint and as recent as a year ago sported headbands with feathers on them because I did not know any better. I LOVE birds. I have a strange, dorky obsession with extinct birds that I can only try to explain  comes (I THINK) from my childhood love of Alice in Wonderland which introduced dodo birds to me. As I become more educated on the vegan lifestyle I become more aware of the reality of our culture and fashion.

I have been fairly soothing with informing people about the benefits of switching towards a plant based diet and animal cruelty. I have finally hit my anger wall with feathering though. I guess most people like me get fustrated and angered at one point or another so I am trying not to be hard on myself for feeling this way. I seek to know how to handle this and other similar situations better and I will so by continuing to network. Anyways…..

My friend informed me that her sister, in desperate need for extra money, opened up a feathering business in which she offers REAL ROOSTER feathers to be placed in the buying customer’s hair. She even labeled her business “Cock Your ‘Do“, disgusting! I then decided to inform my friend of the reality of this fashion craze and sent her a link to less expensive, nicer looking than the real thing fake feathers and the note that $1 of each pack goes towards ill people. She could use those, charge whatever for her service and still help not only animals, but humans. Great deal eh? The response I received was “Yeah, well right now she has 3000 feather from where ever  or whomever bird coming next week and needs to get rid of them and pay me back, so I don’t care. ” Sigh. Thoughts?

Here is the excellent article from PETA about the reality of this killing trend. Click here to get those AWESOME fake ones I spoke about.

Happy 4th Of July!

3 Jul

As you may have noticed I’ve been absent during the month of June as it was a very busy month for my family.  Summertime comes work changes, opening up our pool and celebrating wonderful weddings.  In preparation for the wedding I was in I purchased some great cruelty-free products and on our way up to Rochester (where the wedding was held) we stopped up to visit some wonderful souls at the Farm Sanctuary. I will post photos and information once hubby is able to load his pictures from our camera.

In the meantime I want to discuss July 4th.

We are hosting our first July 4th at our home and with it come issues of food. Regardless of our eating habits when we went out or do go out (as our diet has changed) our home has been strictly vegetarian. My pots, pans and stove have never seen an animal in it (except for the time my MIL decided to make chicken soup in my massive pot and I took a fit).  Through purchase points on our Sears card we received a free brand new Weber grill a few years back.  For previous BBQs I allowed others to bring meat to cook on it and I turned a blind eye because I was not cooking.  This year my parents, frustrated I think, with our small Weber offered to buy us a larger gas grill. I was not comfortable with that idea at all because I think grills mostly are for cooking meat on it. I was told by many people over the years that if I was going to have a BBQ and people wanted meat to tell them to bring it themselves.  As much as it is my house, I decided, very hesitantly to allow my parents offer and  told them to bring their own food to eat as we were not supplying the meat.  In return made sure to select a grill that had wonderful options to grill pizza, veggies and more for the future.  

In return I am supplying all the sides, drinks and treats that will be all vegan. I felt by going this route I was “satisfying” my guests with what they normally eat while introducing even more delicious dishes for them to try out. For every burger (that is not bought by us) there are several yummy vegan side dishes to try. I spoke with several vegan friends about this and they all agreed it was a positive step.  I know some of my dear vegan friends would tell me that it is my house and to put my foot down. While I respect and believe in that action I also did not want to keep 90% of my guests away and thought this would be an educational opportunity for them.

Here are some of the dishes I plan to introduce at the party:

–          Vegan Greek  pasta salad

–          Strawberry and raspberry toss salad

–          Vegan BLTs

–          Vegan burgers with tons of toppings

–          Several different kinds of humus and chips for dipping

–          Fresh corn dipped in Earth Balance and herbs

–          Bean salad soaked in Italian dressing

–          Fresh fruit

–          Lemon cookies

–          Cherry, blueberry, strawberry, etc. lemonades

–          And More!!

How do you plan to celebrate your July 4th?

I will let you know how the party goes!

Comfy toes and feet

26 May

One of my dearest friends decided to join the Army recently and she is in the mist of boot camp. I have the pleasure of receiving weekly letters from her and the one from today asked for a simple care package. When it comes to the ladies in my life that are in the armed forces, I always include in my care packages the secret weapon – foot scrub. We all have felt that pinch and burn of high heels, but imagine your toes in military boots all day running around when they should be in comfy cloud-like sneakers.

I have found that a lot of foot scrubs are vegan or can be made at home with simple ingredients. The one I sent to my friend is Bath&Body Works True Blue Spa Foot Scrub ( I don’t know what it is, but every time I purchase this scrub for myself I can’t help but think of my 7 year old self with my first album – True Blue by Madonna).

I imagine that nothing gets out kinks in a military tired foot like walnut shell!

We all answer to Mom, Mommy, or Meow…. Happy Mother’s Day

9 May

I recall once reading a saying online that goes something like “I always think of you, Mom, whenever I look down at my bellybutton”. I think that is a profound statement of how we are all connected to another person and all of us, either we like her or even know her, have a mother.  When I sometimes voice my opinion on eating meat I always say “I can’t eat someone else’s child”. I know it is pretty harsh, but sometimes its a simple reminder of the truth behind what veganism stands for.

So, what did you do or get for your mom today? I have to say, I wanted to call up my sisters and go “Gotcha! I WON this year for “best mother’s day gift”, haaa. But I didn’t because I knew one of them would accidentlly slip. After all those years of when all of our mothers said “There is a good drink waiting at home for me after this day is done!” I bought my mother a drink… technically. I bought her a beautiful martini glass that came in a certain blue box for her to enjoy her beloved once in a blue moon martini. Drink up, Mom! I know I was handful …. you deserve it ;).

Happy Mother’s Day to all Mom’s of 2 and 4 legged children!

The color of spring is Green

27 Apr

It is spring time, duh…. so green should be coming up in loads… but there is a specific green I am speaking… one of our favorites – AVOCADO!!!! One of my Facebook buddies posted a 10 Vegan Avocado Recipes (<— click there!) ….

I’d also like to share one of my favorite avocado dishes with you that can be enjoyed year round. Everyone I recommend it to makes it a staple dish now. YUM!!!!!

Lastly, as a beauty tip… what about avocado as a facial mask? Just try not to eat it while you wear it 😉

What starts with VE? Vera Wang of course!

26 Apr

I will admit a few years back when Vera Wang, queen of bridal gowns, decided to sell a collection of clothing and accessories at Kohls I was a bit hesitant. I guess it was because I was a bit unpleased with previous celebrity-like clothing lines before. So, I decided to be adventurous and try one of her shirts and the first thing that came to mind was holy, moly….. this chick (Vera) knows her stuff! I looked hot and couture! Wonder why my cousin paid $10K for one of her dresses…. I feel and look good and its only a $30 shirt!  So, the other day I was running around Kohls looking for some cute stuff for spring when I stopped myself and saw this lovely tote by Ms. Wang.

Visions of me strolling the summer farmers market in my jean capris and this tote flooded my mind……..

I then skipped out on it because the handles were obviously leather. 

Well, Ms. Wang stumped me again! I looked up the material info on this lovely bag and that is faux leather!

Come to find out, most of her bags from this Kohl’s line is faux-leather.

I await for her to stump me a 3rd time… come on I dare you!