vegansaurus!

12/05/2011

The Ultimate Vegan Gift Guide!  »

Last week I told you what to buy the omnis in your life, today we shift our focus to what to buy vegans! If you want to make gifts at home, this is not the post for you; but if you want to buy kick-ass vegan gifts for the vegans in your life, you’ve come to the right place! And most of them are gifts that give back in their own way so you can feel good about giving and your vegan can feel good about getting. Wait, did I really say kick-ass? It’s how I felt! That’s how excited I get about buying presents. It’s my favorite thing to do! And here are my top gift picks for vegans:

The Little Vegan Gingerbread House kit from The Cupcake Mint on Etsy

I totally encourage you to make your own vegan gingerbread house but it is kind of a hassle. And really, besides eating the cookie dough, decorating is the best part. So what if the pieces were already made and ready for you to decorate?! And someone sent you vegan candies and frosting to decorate with?! Why, that’d be the best! You aren’t just giving someone yummy vegan food, you’re giving them the gift of wholesome, old-fashion fun! And it always feels good to patronize team VeganEtsy.

This is a great gift for kids, families, holiday-enthusiasts, craft-lovers, or people who love pomp and circumstance but just don’t have a ton of time.

Ritual laptop bag by Matt and Nat for Apple

You can’t really have a vegan gift guide without at least one Matt and Nat product. But Matt and Nat for Apple? Be still my heart! The only snag is this bag only fits the 13 inch Macbook. I don’t have the bitty 13 incher! But if you know someone who does, this is the greatest present. The faux suede lining is made from 100 percent recycled plastic bottles and all their packaging is made from recycled materials. They also say they occasionally donate bags to women’s shelters and donate vegetarian meals to homeless people. That’s nice.

The Captain belt from the Vegan Collection

Belts are one of the few accessories dudes get to wear, so they should take them very seriously. Some of them do—and this goes doubly for vegan boys. It is difficult to find the perfect vegan belt! But friends, I may have found it. Not only is the Captain cruelty-free, the Vegan Collection takes great pains to ethically source their products. They visit the factories where the belts are made to make sure they’re on the up and up. They also seek to keep their products as eco-friendly as they can. Kudos! It comes in black as well but I’m partial to brown.

The Friends Series Favorite Sweatshirt by Vaute Couture

There’s not really a better present in the world than a Vaute Couture coat, but unfortunately, buying a coat for someone else is pretty difficult. What’s not difficult is buying super-cute over-sized sweatshirts! I have this sweatshirt and it rules (Meave and Laura actually got it for me because they are the best and they know how to keep me happy!). It’s like Animal Farm meets Flashdance. It’s also just about the softest thing in the world. And it’s printed on an “Alternative Earth sweatshop free sweatshirt made of eco-heather fleece (recycled polyester & organic cotton) with water based ink in the US.” Sounds good to me!

Black Upcycled Wallet by Holstee for PETA

Everybody needs a wallet. But a wallet is hard to pick and a hassle to find! So if you know someone whose current wallet is on its last leg, a new wallet is a good gift. You took all the work out of it for them and they can just transfer their cards and move on down the road!

This wallet is extra cool because it’s, “handmade primarily of newspapers and plastic bags collected off the streets of Delhi, India. The production of this wallet helps reduce waste in Delhi, provides fair-wage employment, and subsidizes health-care and education for each employee’s family.” That’s what I like to hear! Plus, I like the way it looks. That’s always nice.

Oh and keep in mind: PETA is polarizing within the vegan community so make sure your giftee is a fan before you pick up this wallet.

Presto Pressure Cooker

This is our Rachel’s bid for the perfect present for your vegan: a pressure cooker! I don’t really understand them or know what they are but Rachel says they RULE. We don’t know which brand is best but she thinks you’ll be fine with one of these Presto numbers. Rachel says these things make cooking beans a snap! I just use canned beans. I guess that’s bad for the environment? I mean I do recycle the cans. But there’s less waist if you get them in bulk and cook them yourself.

So if you know a big vegan cook and they are without one of these babies, go ahead and change their culinary world!

Vegan Butterfinger from Cocoa V

We all know vegans love to eat and they especially love sweets. And the harder the vegan alternative is to find, the more they are obsessed with it! So procuring some excellent vegan chocolate is always a good gift. When it comes to chocolate, there is one place that holds my heart: Cocoa V in Manhattan. Owned by the co-founder of Blossom, Cocoa V is a chocolate and wine bar—my two favorite things! But to your good fortune, you can order from them online! What to order? Well, anything. They have all sorts of exciting goodies like Earl Grey caramels and chocolate edamame clusters, but I HIGHLY recommend the vegan Butterfinger. It’s out of control delicious. And while getting your pals vegan chocolate is nice, getting it from Cocoa V makes it a bit more special. In addition, Cocoa V chocolate is organic and fair-trade. Holler!

Hannukah Treats from Sweet and Sara

I know, it’s a terrible picture, but you get the idea. Do you have a lovely Jewish vegan in your life? This is the perfect gift! Chocolate dipped marshmallows in Hannukah shapes (I don’t know if that’s how you spell Hannukah but that’s how they spell it so I’m keeping it consistent). And you’ll be happy to know that Sweet and Sara is on the “chocolate we feel comfortable recommending” list over at the Food Empowerment Project. A happy Hannukuh indeed!

Kitty’s Organic Garden set

This is a nice gift for a cat-owner or if you are looking for a present for your little kitty. Actually, lots of dogs like grass too. It aids in digestion! And pet grass is great if someone is having problems with their cat eating houseplants. They have the natural instinct to eat plants and maybe they will stay away from houseplants (that could be poisonous!) if you give them nice grass to chew on. My cat LOVES this stuff. And it’s so cute to watch them eat it because they cock their little heads and do that funny squinty chew. Hilar.

It’s always nice to get a pet-lover a present for their pets because it lets them know that you care about what matters to them. And this 100 percent organic kitty grass is good for the kitty’s health so that is an extra little bit of consideration! Plus, if you buy the kitty garden through the link above, proceeds go to the Humane Society. Good for you!

Paragon Hedgehog Dental Dog Chew

This is a nice present for the vegan dog or the vegan dog-owner. I got these for my dog and he loves them. I don’t even know if he likes the way they taste actually; mostly he just carries it around the house with him and then chews it down very slowly. But he sure loves to carry them around! It’s very cute. He’s very proud.

I have to warn you, there’s a small chance that these aren’t vegan. I’m positive they’re vegetarian but nothing is telling me they’re vegan. BUT there’s a British version that appears to be the same company that I KNOW is vegan. I think they are the same but if you don’t want to risk it, you can order from Veggie Pets in the U.K. Shipping will be more expensive but peace of mind isn’t cheap! And veggie chews are hard to find. That’s exactly what makes this a nice gift, there are almost no vegan dog chews and not many people are aware of this brand. And chewing is good for dogs! It relieves stress! So your vegan dog-owner will be pleased you searched the world for the perfect chew for their sweet pup.

Superhero Vegan kids’ shirt

Know a tiny vegan? Turn them into a superhero with this 100 percent organic cotton, fair-trade shirt from the super-ethical Autonomie Project! And this shirt is extra special because it raises funds for Farm Sanctuary.

This is nice because it makes a celebration out of being vegan. Superheroes are special and so are vegan kids! So vegan kids are essentially superheroes! Don’t check my math. But you know what I mean, it is special to be a vegan kid but it can be good special or bad special—try to make it good special!

Lollihop vegan box gift subscription

This is a no-brainer. Vegans love food and surprises are the best—so surprise snacks every month are great! And remember, if you are one of the first 50 to use the “VEGANSAURUS20” coupon code when you purchase a gift subscription (note: it only works for the gift subscriptions!), you will get 20 percent off your purchase!

This present works for the new vegan, the bored vegan, the acquaintance vegan, the bff vegan—pretty much all vegans. And maybe they will share with you! Surprise vegan snacks for all.

Limited Edition Fair Isle Tiny Tim Pullover from John Bartlett

I wrote about John Bartlett and Tiny Tim previously, and I still love them. And this limited edition Fair Isle sweatshirt is dope! Good for the boy or girl in your life or any pal who likes tripods or rescue dogs. These eco-friendly shirts aren’t just adorable, they raise money for animals saved from high-risk shelters.

I especially like this for dudes because dudes are super cute in sweet animal stuff. It’s like ironic but not at all. If I saw a dude in this sweatshirt? Wham bam! I’d be all over that. And then he could tell me all about the Tiny Tim Fund and I’d be like, “OMG let’s get married as soon as I believe in marriage!”

Hotties with pit bulls calendars from Chako pit bull rescue and Pinups for Pit Bulls

This makes a useful, fun, inexpensive gift that also happens to be adorbs. What’s better than good-looking people with cute dogs? Not much. Chako has got you covered for the hunk-loving pit bull fan and Pinups for Pit Bulls has the ladies. 

A calendar can be kind of not awesome as a present but it is awesome when it’s something cool and benefits a good cause like saving pit bulls. Calendars are corny gifts when you’re just getting someone ANY calendar just to have something to give them. But these are more like collector’s items! And if you know a pit bull-lover, they will like this. And they will like it all the more when you tell them it helps pit bulls too.

Another thing to note is that this is kind of the only time of year you can buy someone a calendar. So you might want to take advantage of that.

Bob Linden Bi-Monthly Vegan Organic Wine Club Membership from the Organic Wine Company

I have to confess to you that I love “of the month” clubs. I always did. I just love surprises! And it’s like instead of one gift, you get one every [other] month! So do you have a vegan in your life who’s less of a foodie and more of a wino? How about a vegan wine of the [every other] month club! Every other month (for as long as you have the membership), the Organic Wine Company will send your giftee three organic vegan wines. They can get good and sloshed, organic style!

I don’t know why it’s the Bob Linden wine club but that seems like a good sign. I looked into the fair-trade options and boy, that’s a bag of confusion! It seems that the U.S. isn’t very fair-trade wine savvy. I resorted to looking up the individual wines on the Organic Wine Company’s site but of course there’s no comprehensive fair-trade wine list because they get certifications in different countries, etc. etc. etc. BUT of the ones I looked up and was able to find info on, a lot were fair-trade. For many of them, I couldn’t find any info. However, like I said, several on the Organic Wine Company’s vegan list are certified fair-trade by one source or another. But if you don’t want to risk it! I found this online store from the U.K. that lets you order mixed cases (yee-ha!) of vegan, organic, fair-trade wines. Remember though, those prices are in GBPs. Baller.

Giant Tofu Pirate Pillow from Pandawithcookie on Etsy

Another gift from team VeganEtsy! I just fell in love with this silly pillow as soon as I saw it. It comes in small too but go big or go home, right? So if you know a tofu-enthusiast (or a pirate-enthusiast I guess) this is a super cute present. It could be a good gift for a kid, too. It’s fun, sweet, and comfy. And you can feel good knowing you are supporting a vegan business!

Grocery Pannier from North St. Bags

Vegans are some biking motherlovers. Not all of them but I think the percentage of vegan bikers runs higher than your average demographic. They are also a farmers market-loving people, no? Then this vegan grocery pannier is the perfect vegan accessory! And this handsome bag is made from salvaged banner vinyl so it’s very environmentally friendly. Plus, North St. Bags is a member of Trillium Artisans, “an innovative, green, nonprofit community economic development program that empowers artisans and actively connects them to markets.” Holler!

This concludes the Ultimate Vegan Gift Guide! I hope I gave you some good present ideas. Like I said last week, gift-giving should be a pleasure, not a chore! So go forth and make your loved ones happy in the way only materialism can!

12/02/2011

Vegan Gift Guide: Great vegan gifts for omnis!  »

I am a world class gift-giver. Everybody says so. Like, even Jesus. And for my gift to you, I’m going to share some of my present ideas for this holiday season! Now, I think gifts should be all about who you’re giving them to, not about who you are. A lot of people buy gifts they themselves would like without thinking of what the recipient likes. You like books, your friend likes music—you buy them music, not a book! Simple enough, but it seems to allude many people.

What I’m getting at is your gifts for the omnis in your life shouldn’t be all about your veganism. Trust me, your fam knows you’re vegan (and if they don’t, they’ll get a clue when you bust out the soy nog), you don’t have to remind them again when it’s present time. But at the same time, you can’t be buying them leather jackets! So what to do? Buy secretly vegan gifts! You forgo the "Bacon had a Mom" shirt and get them gifts they will like that happen to be vegan—and maybe do a little good on the sly. Like something that benefits the environment; no one will suspect that it is secretly helping vegans! But it’s like I always say, we vegans have to protect the environment because that’s where all the animals live! And hey, if it’s trendy waxed canvas instead of leather, no one will think twice. But you’ll know it’s vegan! Oh, you’ll know.

Without further ado, great gifts vegans can buy omnis!:

Atelier Haiti Blue Forest Coffee from La Colombe 

If you didn’t know, people love coffee. I swear! It’s true! And in New York and Philly, the biggest thing in coffee is La Colombe. People are crazy for it. It’s at all the posh places. It’s really good! But what’s better, their ethics are out of control. They do direct trade, invest in the community, worry about the rainforest and all that good stuff. And it’s shade-grown so the birds are OK! Laura told me about that, I didn’t even know. But yeah, some coffee is bad for birds!

So you can impress the hipster, urbanite, or coffee-lover in your life by getting them the coolest thing in coffee while secretly knowing the birds and rainforest are OK and your ethics are intact!

Hand Woven Cotton Scarf from Babysabye on Etsy

You know what moms are? Cold. Like, all the time. OK, sometimes they are annoyingly hot, but they spend much of their time being cold. So what better gift than a scarf?! Not a bulky, winter-wear scarf; a pretty, indoor scarf to keep them warm in rooms that are actually a perfectly reasonable temperature. And they can take them off if they get hot! Perf.

And if your mom is like mine, she has entered what I once read described as, “the Goddess Phase.” My mom and all her friends are in the Goddess Phase—You’d know it if you saw it! It’s all about loose linen clothes, beaded necklaces, herbal tea, etc. A scarf is so goddess. Plus, these scarfs are all cotton, vegetable-dyed and super organic. Up with cotton, down with wool!

Marled French Terry Shawl Collar sweater by Threads 4 Thought

You know what dads need? Classy, relaxed clothing. Things that make them look like the distinguished old gentlemen that they are while also keeping their old gentlemen bodies comfortable. So something like this cotton half sweatshirt/half sweater is just the thing! While everyone else is giving him stuffy silk ties and itchy wool sweaters, you’ll be like, “Blammo!” Organic cotton! And it doesn’t hurt that Threads 4 Thought is a sustainable brand that supports great organizations like Natural Resource Defense Council. They even have their own world-saving effort, Girl 2 Girl, that seeks to empower girls throughout the world. Can I get a huzzah?!

Pink and Blue Bunnies bikini panty by Purrfect Pineapples

Need a cheeky yet utilitarian gift for your sweetie? How about cruelty-free underoos from vegan-owned Purrfect Pineapples! All their products are sweatshop and animal-free. They are also handmade and they do custom orders! So if they don’t have your size or you have some wacky design, they can make it happen.

When your main squeeze opens this present, no way will they be like, “OMG stop pushing your beliefs on me!” They will be like, “OMG let’s do it!” And your love-making will be that much more satisfying knowing you supported a vegan biz. Also, sorry I said love-making. Bleh, love. And making. Bleh. 

Recycled Wine Bottle Glasses from Bodhicitta on Etsy

Know a wine lover, a sustainable design enthusiast and/or someone with a new place? These wine tumblers would make a great present. Not only are they recycled, but they’re totally meta! Kind of? You’d be drinking wine from tumblers made of wine bottles! Whatever, it’s cool and they are pretty. And environmentally friendly!

Andean Collection Amazon Necklace in Tropical

This eco-friendly, fair trade necklace also happens to be approved by my sister so YOU KNOW it’s cute. She suggests pairing it with some gold for a real WHAM BAM effect. World of Good, where you can purchase this hotness, also points out: "The beautiful jewelry of the collection is made by Ecuadorian artisans from natural, local rain forest materials. This not only helps the artisans earn a living wage, but it also helps to protect the rain forest by creating a profitable and low impact use of its materials." I love stuff like that! Where you make keeping environmental and animal stuff more valuable than killing it all. That rules.

If I Were a Puppy kids’ book from the Humane Society

You may say to yourself, “What about the kids?!” Well, I’ve got a little something for them too! This cute book comes with a plush dog AND has tactile stuff on the pages for kiddies to mess with. And the best part? It benefits the Humane Society! Or maybe the tactile stuff is the best part, I used to love that fuzzy bunny book. Sigh. That was awesome.

Wait, wait, wait, the best part is that kids love books (for some wacky reason) and kids love animals, so no one will suspect that you are secretly indoctrinating them into the vegan lifestyle! Haaaa, that is the best.

Women’s Bean Project Snickerdoodle cookie mix from The Animal Rescue Site

OK, here’s my bid for the cheap secret santa gift. At $6.50, this cookie mix (which contains no animal ingredients on its own) is fair-trade, eco-friendly and supports the Women’s Bean Project, “an innovative social enterprise in Denver, Colorado which benefits women with a history of poverty and chronic unemployment.” If that is not enough for you, it funds 14 bowls of food for shelter animals!

And this is a good generic present because it’s not some dumb, cheapo thing the recipient is going to be stuck with; they can actually use it and it goes away. And cookies are yummy!

Elephant Book Labels from Boygirlparty on Etsy

I know many book collectors and they are a nutty lot. They are obsessed! And one thing I have learned is, unless you are getting them some rare first edition, never try to buy them an actual book as a gift; If it’s a book they wanted, they will have already gotten it by the time you’re trading presents. If they don’t have it, it’s because they don’t want it. Another thing I have learned is the bane of the book collector’s existence is when they loan a book to someone and never get it back. It haunts them in the wee hours. The solution? Book labels! And if you recall, not only are these labels eco-friendly, but use our “VEGANSAURUS” coupon code at Boygirlparty’s etsy store and you will get 10 percent off your order and 10 percent of the sale will be donated to the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. You’ll help animals AND your book-enthusiast will feel like someone finally understands their deep-seated collector’s anxiety.

Another thing: these book labels would make a good gift for kids too. Like I said, kids love books; Another thing kids love is laying claim to things. With these labels, they can tell the whole world this is their book. Plus, look at that cute elephant!

Shaving Kit by Olive Authentique on Ethical Ocean

This is perfect for the gentleman or aspiring gentleman. Or just anyone who likes to stay groomed. Or really, anyone who’s gone through puberty. If they don’t know already, they will find out: shaving brushes rule! They work as a gentle exfoliant so you can get a nice smooth shave with less irritation. That’s what makes this a great present: it’s classy, utilitarian, and works better. And with this kit, you get all-natural, environmentally friendly, vegan soap and a brush free of badger hair. Yay! Bleh, badger hair. Leave it for the badgers.

So those are my recommendations! I spent a lot of time on them! Because I love you. And because gift-giving should be a pleasure, not a chore! I hope these help with that. Have fun and be merry!

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