Activism & Animal Rights

Cube of Truth Tips for Beginners

I first started attending Anonymous for the Voiceless, Cube of Truths a little over a year ago. My very first cube of truth was on Thayer Street in Providence, RI on a Friday the 13th (so fitting given how horrific the footage we share is). What’s even more horrific, is that this footage is reality and is happening everywhere, every second, of every day. 

It was April 13, 2018 to be exact. I was so nervous and anxious on what to expect. I didn’t want to see nor hear the horrible footage on the screens. I didn’t know how bystanders would react when they saw our demonstration and I assumed the worst. I thought maybe someone walking by having a bad day would try and take out their frustration on us and knock over a laptop or taunt an AV member. Or maybe a young group of friends trying to empress each other would think it was cool to laugh at our message and harass us. 

I’ve done about 10 cube of truths so far and I must say, it is the most fulfilling form of activism I’ve tried so far. It inspires me on a daily basis to continue spreading such an important message; animal liberation.

Here are a few pointers from a semi-regular AV attender. I’m sure once I get another years worth of cubes under my belt I’ll have even better tips, so stay tuned!

Start in the cube- one of the best ways to understand the process and purpose of this type of activism is to be part of the cube for your first few demonstrations. Listen to how the AV members on outreach converse with the bystanders. Observe the face and body expressions from both the people who stay and bare witness on the screens and those who choose to keep walking once they realize what they’re watching. It’s difficult to explain the sense of fulfillment you gain showing bystanders the truth and witnessing them bare witness for a change. Especially since most of the time, activists feel so helpless. 

Watch Cube of Truth You Tube videos of other activists-  There’s plenty to choose from and are super informative. It’s how I built the courage to outreach at cubes and try to plant as many seeds as possible. Some of my favorite you tube channels are Joey Carbstrong, James Aspey, That Vegan Couple, Earthling Ed, the list goes on but these are great to start with. Being informed is key to having the courage to converse with people. Knowing the common objections (aka excuses) against veganism will prepare you and keep you at a comfortable state while engaging with people.

Ask questions (and keep your cool) when outreaching-  Always remember that your main purpose when on outreach is not to argue with people or try to convert them into vegans.  Outreachers are there to tell the story of the animals, inform people on who we are as a group, what exactly the Cube of Truth demonstration is and most importantly ASK A LOT OF QUESTIONS!  We are not there to shame anyone; most people have no idea just how bad the animals we exploit really have it.  Ask people if they ever seen footage like this before.  Ask them how it makes them feel to see it.  Ask them if they know how they can stop contributing to the abuse they are witnessing. Some people won’t make the connection right away and that is totally fine; many vegans (myself included) didn’t make the connection right away.  Some will be curious and ready to at least hear the message and witness the atrocities on the screens.  Inform those willing to listen, be a shoulder to cry on to those who will need it and don’t be judgmental. Also, don’t waste your time on people who are combative or immature.  They are not worth the effort and we are not being active for them or us; we are there for the animals.

Take your role seriously-  Whether you are part of the cube or on the outreach team, play the part.  Cubers should stand in the cube and stay as still as possible while remaining silent when holding a TRUTH sign or Laptop/TV.  Their job is to form a cube and show the public how serious our message for the animals is.  The outreach team should only engage with those willing to watch and learn what the Cube of Truth is all about.  The more professional AV members are, the more attention we’ll gain and most importantly, the more seeds we will plant towards veganism!    

Thayer Street~ Providence, RI ~April 13, 2018
MY VERY FIRST CUBE!
Vegan Dishes

Not So Boring Spicy Vegan Chickn Salad

Salads don’t have to be boring…especially full blown, plant based salads! There are limitless options to keep them exciting. This one was literally created on the whim.

Romaine lettuce with broccoli sprouts, cucumbers, tomatoes, yellow corn, red onions and cubed up vegan spicy meatless Quorn patties.

I placed all the ingredients in this container to make it easier to shake up with the dressing. I started with the lettuce, sprouts, then added cranberries and sunflower seeds which are always staples in my salads. Then I threw in everything else before pouring my cruelty free ranch dressing all. over. it.

The outcome was amazing even though I was missing another staple, onion crisps. The hubby loved it and it filled us both up for dinner. Keep the creativity in the salads and they never have to be boring. And may I just say, being vegan doesn’t mean you’re missing out on any meals. Luckily, everything can be veganized these days and the animals don’t have to suffer… That’s the best part!

Vegan Living

5 Simple Yet Impactful Ways to Save the Planet

1. DITCH THE PLASTIC H2O!- Invest in a few eco friendly water bottles for your on-the-go hydration needs.  Try your best to choose these when possible.  Granted, there will be times when convenience will win or you forget to bring your refillable bottle with you.  Don’t beat yourself up over it… just be aware of it and try again next time.  I remember getting so excited when the 24 pack of Poland Spring were on sale 3 for $10.  That’s 72 plastic bottles in one shopping trip that would last about two weeks.  Now I cringe when I walk by the water isle and see all that unnecessary plastic that will soon end up in a landfill or in our waters, wreaking havoc on our planet.

Photo by mali maeder on Pexels.com

2. CHOOSE REUSEABLE OVER DISPOSABLE-  Refrain from using everyday disposable dishware.  I know this convenient method saves time on washing dishes, but the environmental impact this waste has is definitely worth changing some habits over.  Use reusable dishware whenever possible and try to leave the disposable stuff for large gatherings and parties.  I went from buying plastic Solo cups and paper plates every few weeks, to using glass mason jars and dishes at home instead. I even started investing in reusable sandwich bags for Isaac’s lunches. This change is definitely pro zero waste living and budget friendly, yet doesn’t feel like a huge sacrifice.  Save your money while saving the planet!

3. INVEST IN REUSABLE BAGS-  This one is probable a no brainer to most.  I think the most difficult thing about this is actually remembering to bring your bags with you when you shop.  Keep a stash in your trunk as well as your pantry.  Go a bit further and also invest in reusable produce bags to eliminate having to use those fussy little plastic bags as well.  For the most part, this is one of the easiest things I’ve gotten in the habit of doing for a greener planet.  What I find however, is the grocery plastic bags being useful for my dog and chicken poop waste. Sometimes I would purposely forget my reusable bags when we were really low on plastic ones.  To solve this dilemma, I’m working on investing in bio degradable poop bags whenever possible.  I stocked up recently when I found some at Burlington Coat Factory for cheap.  It made my day!

4. SWITCH TO BAMBOO TOOTHBRUSHES- These have become more and more convenient to find and are by far the more eco friendlier choice than regular toothbrushes.  Your local TJ Max, Marshalls and Home Goods (for my East Coast peeps) carry them at super cheap prices.  I paid $3.99 for a 2-pack with charcoal bristles.  I’m in love.  I also bought a 5-pack for $9.99 and how cool is this…each toothbrush has different color bristles so you can easily tell them apart!  They are worth the switch, trust me.

5. BUMP UP THE PLANT BASED MEALS-  Last but certainly not least, work on adding more plant based meals to your diet.  This is the most important thing you can invest in for a greener plant and healthier you.  Animal Agriculture leaves the biggest carbon footprint on our dying planet and also leaves such a stain on our “civilized” society. The deplorable animal cruelty behind farming animals doesn’t happen because we need to eat their dead bodies to survive, but because we choose habits, convenience and greed over their suffering.  Since most people center all three of their daily meals around animal products, baby steps and slow transitions are key.  Try adding 1 or 2 plant based dinners every week and work towards 3-5 plant based dinners per week.  Then maybe try adding a plant based breakfast or lunch throughout the week too.  Small changes make big impacts.  Strive to make plant based meals a common thing, yet go at a slow and steady pace that works for you and your family.

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com


Vegan Dishes, Vegan Living

My Vegan-ish Pup

V-Dog Pupper!

My almost 6 year old Irish Terrier pup, Cooper has been a vegan in training for the past 9 months. Luckily, he took to the V-Dog brand, so I didn’t have much challenges with that. He’s always been a spoiled pup and likes his dry food mixed with some heated up, fresh food. This is a plus for my V-Dog budget since I can stretch out his stash, while saving money making his fresh food at home.


I usually buy a 30 pound bag every 3 months and give him one cup per day (half a cup for breakfast and half a cup for dinner). He gets half a cup of dry and half a cup of the homemade food twice a day. His fresh food varies from a potato or rice base with mixed veggies. Since our family is plant based and we try to cook whole plant based foods more often than not, I just bump up the portions of whatever we’re having for dinner and set some aside for Cooper, unseasoned. Although there are plenty of safe seasonings for pups, I only use nutritional yeast for him at the moment. I do have a goal to start making his fresh food more in bulk instead of relying on family dinner leftovers. Perhaps once I get into this habit, I’ll dress up his fresh food with some different spices.

I’ve been more cautious on his treats also being plant based.  I have luck sometimes at Wal-Mart and Target finding accidentally vegan biscuit treats.  I invest in V-dog long lasting bones (pictured above) when there’s a great deal to buy in bulk. 


Of course there is always Pinterest as well, to get some homemade vegan dog treat recipes.  Some non vegan treats slip through the crack when my husband buys them.  I know that if I kept up with the treat supply, he wouldn’t take it upon himself to buy any, so I try not to nag him for it.


I advise anyone who is thinking of transitioning their companion animal to a plant based diet to do their research.  There is plenty of evidence in favor of a plant based diet for dogs since they are omnivores (can eat both plants and meat).  Cats are a bit more tricky since they are ultimately carnivores, but there are plenty of supplements and plant based diets that cater to cats needs and at the very least, worth looking into further. 

Regardless, there are plenty of resources that mention just how un-fresh meat intended for pet food is.  They literally separate the rotting corpses of these once beautiful, innocent beings and whatever they deem isn’t “suitable” for human consumption, is then sold to pet food companies.  If you knew just how un-fresh pet food really is, trust me you’d explore better options for your furry family members.  

At the end of the day, living a vegan lifestyle in a non vegan world will have its challenges.  The transition can last months and sometimes even years for people and companion animals.  As long as you make sure you’re doing your best while not being too hard on yourself, your and your family’s vegan journey will be more successful and enjoyable.  One day and one treat at a time! 

Real Estate

April Showers Bring May Flowers Pop-by Gift Idea for Realtors

One thing I absolutely love about being  a realtor and running my own business is the creativity portion when it comes to marketing and prospecting.  I’ve dabbled with some creative popby ideas with my past and potential clients since I doorknock most of my listing leads.  A popby for those of you wondering, is a relatively small gift to show your appreciation to your past and future clients that is usually hand delivered. You literally pop-by to check in and express you’re gratitude.
Some items I’ve made have been The Wrapping Paper Project (will explain in detail on a future blog) during Christmas time, pies or pumpkins during the fall season, Candy bags during Halloween, you get the idea…
Other times I deliver popbys are when I have a listing or am hosting an open house in a very nice area.  I do this to optimize my chances on snagging another listing in the same neighborhood.
This particular pop by is to target my seller’s neighbors that live on a lovely cul de sac.  Since it’s springtime, I figured you can’t go wrong with flowers.  Especially when you have a bunch left over that you need to gift away asap!  As a vegan, I am pro-bees so I wanted to make sure my gift served them a purpose as well this season.  The flower pots and shovels were roughly one dollar each at my local Wal-Mart.
I made 12 of them to door knock every neighbor living on my seller’s street.  What will I say, you may ask??  Hello, my name is Jenn Costa with Keller Williams and I’m selling your neighbors home right down the street.  I wanted to formally introduce myself, give you this small gift and if you know anyone who is looking to purchase a home in your wonderful neighborhood, please send them my way!
This shows the neighbors that you’re a pro active agent for your sellers and who doesn’t like hearing compliments about their home and neighborhood anyway?!  Popping by with a gift for them doesn’t hurt either.  Chances are high that after one home sells on the street, a neighborhood home will go up for sale within 30 days.  The goal is to be THEIR agent as well!
Vegan Dishes

Brusselized Green Goddess Pasta!

Who else has felt like a super hero when needing to incorporate the almost spoiled veggies into dinner and have it turn out successful?? I had one of those nights tonight, yay me!  I needed to use up a gigantic, family size bag of brussel sprouts for dinner and a handful of ripped avos that were already 6 hours past their prime.  Pasta was on the menu, so I figured some shells with a bunch of greens mixed in an avocado cream sauce would do the trick.

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I roasted about a thousand brussel sprouts that I cut into quarters, at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for about 35 minutes.  *I should of trimmed the ends off better in the beginning because most ends were too tough and I had to trim them again before adding them in the mix. 
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Next, I boiled the pasta and steamed some frozen peas and fresh baby spinach.  While that was happening, I blended 3 ripped avos with garlic, basil, lemon juice, water, salt, pepper, and of course some nutritional yeast.  None of this was measured.. I had to play around with the consistency so I say just base your measurements on your taste/texture preferences.  Next time, I’ll add veggie broth instead of water to see if that makes it more flavorful.

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Lastly, all ingredients were ready to be mixed together and I was finally able to apply to face!

Vegan Living

Earth Day Every Day

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Since transitioning to veganism, I have made many small, positive environmental changes along the way and there’s still about a few hundred more I need to strive for.  Aside from my food choices, I’ve been working on reducing my waste and making more sustainable purchases.
To be honest, we all should strive to reduce our waste since our one and only home (planet Earth) depends on it. The amount of plastic and trash we dump into our oceans is heart wrenching to acknowledge.  The fact that meat consumption is this planet’s main threat, yet the majority of humans consume animals several times a day, leaves such a stain on our environment.
Some baby steps I’ve taken so far have been to stop buying plastic ware for the house. I can not believe i used to buy Solo plastic cups and plates every month. I also used to pat myself on the back for reusing the same cup every now and then. I’m so glad that we’ve phased them out completely and just use our glassware now.  In the future, I’d love to phase them out of parties I host as well.  I still have some leftover plastic supplies to last me another year or two, so there’s no excuse why I can’t start investing in more earth friendly options as I replace them.  I’ve also purchased a few stainless steel straws so I can easily refuse the plastic ones. Luckily, I’ve cut way back on the Dunkin Doughnuts coffee runs; reducing plenty of plastic and straws. This doesn’t mean there hasn’t been a bunch of times I’ve forgotten my straws at home when I order on the road. Perhaps a car kit filled with on-the-go sustainable products is an order??
What I’m currently working on is investing in bio degradable poop bags for both my dog and hens. I’m really good at refusing the plastic bags at the stores, however they do come in handy for all our poop scooping needs. Sometimes, I purposely forget my reusable bags when we’re really low on plastic ones. Then I get bummed out because I know better. Convenience gets the best of me and I know I can’t be the only one!
Always strive to do better when you know better but at the same time, let’s not beat ourselves up when we hit a snag. Unfortunately our “normal” living habits have not yet caught up with just how much of a mess we need to clean up. We’re not told on a daily basis just how bad our environmental crisis situation really is. We’re not taught to be held more accountable to do our part on making more ethical and sustainable every day choices.
We must consider the negative consequences our present choices will make on our future generations. On our children’s and grandchildren’s future, since they’ll be the ones impacted by our actions the most.  Let’s aim for baby steps towards honoring Earth Day, every day.
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Activism & Animal Rights

Earthling Ed East Coast Take Over!

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I had the pleasure of hearing Earthling Ed (Ed Winters) speak in person about my two favorite topics; Veganism and Animal Rights.  I found out two days before he would be in town, that he was hosting a speech at Brown University and was touring the East Coast before returning back to the UK.  He has been one of my biggest idols in the animal rights movement since I started my vegan activism journey.  How on earth could I justify missing the legend himself, speak to students in my hometown?!  I’m so very thankful I didn’t.
It was beyond surreal sitting just about 10 feet in front of Ed while he spoke such truth and logic.  Especially since I’ve seen almost every You Tube upload he has ever created.  It was also extremely satisfying to know that this was the first of many times I’ll run into Earthling Ed.  I’ve only been an animal rights activist for just over a year so this is only the beginning for me.  I didn’t have the chance to personally greet him, hug him, shake his hand or thank him for all the amazing work he is doing for the animals.  Mother duties called and I had to leave right before he started his Q&A and meet & greet sessions.  Next time I’m blessed with his presence, I’ll make sure to let him know just how much of an influence he has on my activism for animals. How this entire planet is beyond lucky to have him in the front lines of the vegan movement, for the sake of all Earthlings we share our home with.

 

 

Real Estate, Vegan Living

Working Momma~Lady Loft Style~

 

I’ve paid my dues commuting roughly 100 miles per day working for the same company these past 13 years.  It wasn’t until they were bought out, that I was able to FINALLY work from home!  I’m in the Health Information Management career and process medical record requests 40 hours a week.  The convenience this allows me as a wife, toddler mom and realtor is such a blessing.  Although I take my real estate career very seriously, the piece of mind knowing a steady income with my full time job is guaranteed, makes it all worth it.
Needless to say, I turned my Lady Loft into my dual home office for both my real estate company and my “9-5” one.  It’s still a work in progress, as I constantly try to master my time management and organizational skills.  Having my very own space that I can customize to my liking, gives my productivity the boost it needs to help me accomplish my goals.  And it doesn’t hurt having my pup, Cooper as my accountability buddy to keep me in check!

 

Vegan Dishes

Fired Up Plant Based Tacos Supreme

It’s safe to say I didn’t hold back when designing these classy tacos..It’s even safer to say they’re on the healthier side since I left out the vegan cheese and sour cream.  What I didn’t leave out was some rice (I used pilaf), black beans, onions, roasted corn, lettuce, cilantro, tomato, avocado (obviously), and Mexican Chipotle Field Roast sausages.  I heated up the sausages then chopped them up nicely to be taco compatible.  After dressing up the shells, I garnished them with lime before applying to face.  Another successful home made, cruelty free meal for the win!