Introducing Vegan Interior Design Services!

 
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I’ve been vegan for over four years now. It’s seriously one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. (If you want to read more about why I’m vegan, I posted about it here.)

Being vegan isn’t just about the food we eat. It’s about the choices we make in nearly every aspect of our lives. Every single day we have the opportunity to support cruelty-free businesses, products and practices. Interior Design is no exception. From area rugs to furniture upholstery to pillow inserts, we can make kind and conscious decisions about what we bring into our homes.

Over the past few years, I have shifted to vegan design in my own home. For me, this means no wool, silk, bone, leather, down, or any other animal product. Or any product that directly or indirectly contributes to the abuse or exploitation of animals. I feel strongly that when we bring the energy of an animal that has been abused and killed into our home, our home’s energy is directly impacted. And not in a good way.

Fortunately, it’s not difficult to create vegan-friendly spaces. There are so many products available now and the market for cruelty-free home decor is only going to grow (as we’ve seen from the booming vegan food and beauty industries.) These are exciting times. And I’m super optimistic as we move into 2019 that we’re going to see more and more conscious home decor and design products become available. (I’m waiting for a sofa line by Pinatex. It’s leather made from pineapples!)

I’ll be starting a Cruelty-Free Guide right here on my website to help us all figure out what is/isn’t vegan. It’s not always straightforward, so I plan on doing the legwork and research. And if you have any tips or insider information, please share. We can make a change. We can work together to make this world a better place for the animals. And our homes can still be beautiful. And kind.

If you’re interested in working with me to create a vegan/cruelty-free home, send me an email at kelly@storyandspace.com. I’m super excited to add this new specialized service, and it would be an honor to work together creating your own conscious, kind space.

 

The Bull

 
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When my client’s artwork arrived with a few dings in the frame, I had the opportunity to snatch this piece up for my own home. 🐮 

The blank wall above the dining table (which I am NOT showing you because it’s an IKEA just-gonna-use-this-for-a-few-years-now-we’ve-had-it-for-15-years-table) is its new home. 

I wonder about this bull’s life every time I gaze into its soulful eyes. Where was this photo taken? Was the animal killed? Was it on a sanctuary? Did it know love? Or only fear? 

Also, being vegan, I’ve wondered if it’s weird to have in my house, and especially in my dining area. If I don’t know if this animal was exploited or not, is it still ok to have in my home?

I’ve landed on this: it is ok. It’s more than ok. I am honoring the animal now. His beauty. His  strength. His spirit. When I look at him, I see all animals. He reminds me that we are all connected. And he’s a daily reminder of my pledge to continue to honor and respect all creatures in the best ways I know how, for the rest of my days here on earth. 


So thank you, Bull. And bless your spirit, wherever you are. 

(artwork: Trowbridge Gallery; photo Ben Woods)

 

Poetry \\ True Blue Lies in Skies

 
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Does the sky know the difference

Between good and bad?

Feathery twists and turns

Suggest otherwise

It’s not what I thought

But it is what I knew

A wake up call

From the distraction

I wake up

And call for a distraction

True blue lies unhidden

Clouds hang in the balance

Between being right

And being free

Never mind

It’s all just an illusion anyway

Any way I look

You won’t see what I see

I’ll watch the clear blue skies

With crystal eyes

I’ll pray to clouds that shift

With purpose

Not to the storm

That may never come

Does the sky know the difference?

Maybe

Maybe not

Or maybe it’s just wise enough

Not to care

 

Poetry \\ The Key

 
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The wind was neither polite
Nor forgiving today
As it slammed against
My questioning forehead
Asking me more questions
That only the Sun
Seemed wise enough to answer

If you could have a key
To anything
What would you unlock first?

Joy whispered, “Me! Pick me!”

Dreams placed a crown
Of hand-picked wildflowers
Upon my head
Pronouncing me royalty

Love sighed and gave me
The Look
That would melt
Polar ice caps
Into sapphire rose petals

Freedom hoisted me
Onto his strong shoulders
And eagerly shared a sneak preview
Through the cloudless sky

Grace hummed softly
As she placed
Promises on my heart

Mastery wickedly leaned in
For a kiss
Daring me to
Resist

When Truth came
She opened her doors
And arms
Beyond the glow
Of the Sun
And invited everyone in
For a prayer

She asked for nothing
In return

I looked toward the Sun
For a ray of approval
And handed her the key

Poetry \\ Not One Thing

 
 
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We’re not
All one thing
Or the other

We are Dark
Drowning
Lost

And that’s ok

We are Bright
Breathing
Found

And that’s ok

We are Quiet
Confused
Terrified

And that’s ok

We are Bold
Certain
Fearless

And that’s ok

We are The Sun
The Moon
The Air
The Sea

And that’s ok

We are the Stars
The Earth
The Night
The Day

And that’s ok

We are The Heart
The God
The Truth
The Unknown

And that’s ok

We are Everything
We are Nothing

Never
Just one thing

And that’s ok

Why I'm Vegan

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I'm often asked (offscreen) why I'm vegan, so I thought it was time to write a post about it. This will be the first post officially tagged #crueltyfree. And because it's not just about diet, but about living on this earth with more kindness and compassion for all sentient beings, I'm going to be exploring and sharing cruelty-free design, lifestyle, and beauty along with recipes and other food-related bits. (Like sugar - did you know that non-organic white sugar is processed with bone char to make it white? )

Becoming vegan didn't happen for me overnight. It's been a 20 plus year journey. I didn't wake up one day and go from eating hamburgers to slurping down kale smoothies (I still don't like kale smoothies, by the way.) So, this is not in any way meant to be preachy and shaming. But I wish I knew then what I know now. And hopefully, by shedding some light on things that I have learned over the years (and I'm still learning, because we never stop learning), I can help spread a little more kindness and compassion in this world. But we have to start with ourselves. So let's all be kind and compassionate to our own souls first, ok?

My vegan journey began in college. I stopped eating beef and pork because my boyfriend at the time did. I was kind of mindless about it. Like, ok...you're not eating it? I won't eat it either. I can remember the last (cow) hamburger I ate. I was sitting on my kitchen counter and stuffing this greasy, juicy blob into my mouth that I had taken home (in styrofoam, no less) from the restaurant where I worked. I can't remember the last piece of bacon I ate, but I stopped eating pork at the same time, too. 

I would get some comments about being weird. But since I was still eating poultry, fish, dairy and eggs, I wasn't labeled as too much of a freak. People would ask me why I didn't eat beef and pork and I just said I felt better.  Lighter, I would tell people. And I did. At that point, it really did feel like a health decision. A selfish change, with unselfish consequences.

I really didn't miss the taste or the texture of cow and pig. And never felt like I was missing out on the joy of eating. But I was still eating many animal-derived foods. Somehow, chicken and fish felt "different". Like less of an animal. And dairy and eggs? Well, that was ok. That didn't hurt anyone. I had yet to really think about the origin of meat and other animal-derived foods. Yes, of course, I knew I was eating animals, but ethically, I still hadn't made the Big Connection.

A few years later, I stopped eating poultry. Again, it was more for a "health" reason than anything else. I had broken up with a boyfriend, and one day declared to myself "No More Chicken." (I'm not 100% sure why that correlated in my mind. I'll save that for my next therapy session.)

Again, I had this feeling of just being lighter. Not so weighed down by food. And I was starting to feel for the animals. I was starting to tell people, when they asked why I didn't eat meat, that I "did it for the animals". Not quite the Big Connection, but a connection, nonetheless.

For many years, I continued to eat fish, eggs and dairy - though not much dairy, because I was lactose intolerant, I found, after getting terrible stomach aches every time I ate cream cheese on Bagel Mondays at work. I started taking Lactaid to help me digest dairy. Now, it seems so absurd. If my body doesn't respond well to a food, there must be a reason, right?

It wasn't until several years ago that I stopped eating animal products alltogether. My dad was diagnosed with esophageal cancer, and I thought "This is the ONLY body I have. The only one. I will not get another one in this lifetime, so I better treat this one as good as I can." 

I vowed to cut out all animal products from my diet. And eat healthy, healthy, healthy. Meaning, lots of plants. 

It wasn't so much about the animals. At first. But this is when I started to learn about the horrors of the animal agriculture industry. If there was ANY bit of me that might have thought about eating animal products from a health perspective, the information I started to expose myself to was putting an end to me eating animals forever.

How could I play a role in this suffering? How could I support this?

I couldn't. I can't. I don't want any animal to suffer because of what I choose to eat. 

And I also don't want an animal to suffer for the clothes I wear, the makeup I put on my face, the hair products I use, and anything I bring into my home. So I gradually stopped buying leather, wool, feathers, beauty products and household items tested on animals, and anything else I discovered/am discovering uses animals in any way, shape or form. It may seem extreme to some people, but honestly - isn't it more extreme to kill and abuse living creatures for a cute pair of shoes or a ham sandwich?

You may not agree with me. I get it. There are a lot of arguments out there supporting the "use" of animals for food, fashion, and entertainment. I've heard most of them, but to me, it still comes down to this: I want to live kindly and compassionately and step gently in this beautiful world, and I can't do that if I am contributing to the death and abuse of sentient beings.

I love animals. I don't want them to die for me. They have a right to live as much as I do. I believe we are all connected. And the death of even one animal has a ripple effect through our own spirits. Maybe this is a little woo-woo for some, but this is what I truly believe. This, to me, is the Big Connection.

Is being vegan hard? Sometimes, but not really. It's not hard to stay firm in my decision to be vegan, but it can be challenging at times to find your way through a mostly non-vegan world. Finding non-leather shoes, belts and purses isn't super easy. Finding an area rug that isn't made from wool is a BIG challenge. Finding a pillow that isn't filled with down can be hard, too. Also, being told that you aren't getting enough protein can be tiring (ugh, really? We're still talking about this?)

But surprisingly, eating a vegan diet is pretty easy. And delicious. I've learned about so many "new" ingredients (hello, tempeh!)  and new ways to prepare "old" ingredients (cashew cream and walnut tacos? Yes, please!) that I feel so excited about cooking again. The vegan food business is booming, too, so there's certainly no shortage of yummy cruelty-free treats. 

The hardest part of being vegan, I think, is the self-examination and self-awareness that has to happen. And the questioning of what we've been taught our whole lives is "normal". We have to be willing to look at the ugliest parts of humanity - this is very hard - and admit that we, ourselves, have played and are playing a role in animal abuse. The hardest part being willing to see the truth. 

I still have a hard time learning the truth. It's hard to take in. And, some of the ways animals are treated are so horrific, we don't even want to believe it's happening. It's pretty easy to turn the other way. But it is a choice that we have. We have a choice. The animals don't, but WE do. 

And I choose to be vegan.

I know that going vegan may seem overwhelming. I know it can seem extreme. When I was vegetarian, I once referred to myself as "not one of those crazy vegans". And now here I am - one of those crazy vegans.  I wear this badge proudly now. For me, there's no going back.