Ethical Beauty: Ethical Brushes, Part One – Made in the USA

Even though I’m trying to limit myself to only writing about products that are made locally (meaning North America) there simply aren’t enough options for ethical makeup brushes made in the USA and the ones that are made here are on the pricier side. For that reason, I’m doing two posts. One dedicated to brushes made in the USA and the other dedicated to brushes that are ethically made abroad. Note: I only reviewed the brushes that I could get my hands on. Both Hourglass and OCC have more brushes available than what I reviewed here.

Hourglass Cosmetics Brushes

NOTE: I have just learned that these brushes are made in China. As a result, I no longer recommend them! As I mentioned in my brand overview for Hourglass, they make some beautiful brushes. Unfortunately, the brushes are very expensive and some of them don’t even perform as well as I’d like. The one thing I don’t love about Hourglass’s brushes (other than the exorbitant price tag) is that the brush bristles are relatively stiff. They feel totally soft and comfortable on the skin but they have a tendency to pull at the skin when you’re blending. This isn’t as much of an issue for the complexion brushes because the bristles are so long they have more flex, but for the eye brushes it’s an issue because the bristles are shorter. I have crêpey skin on my eyes these days and so my skin tends to move with the brush, making it a challenge to blend using these eye brushes. They’re great for a very controlled application of pigment, but I found I had to use other brushes to blend out the colors.

  • No. 2 Foundation/Blush Brush ($58) – This brush has a densely packed, medium domed brush head – it’s very soft and luxurious feeling. If you like using a brush to buff in your foundation, this brush will definitely give you an airbrushed, velvety finish. I have dryer skin so I don’t like the finish that brushes give for foundation – the Beauty Blender sponge works much better for me. As a blush brush, your satisfaction with this brush will depend on the size and shape you prefer in a brush head. I personally prefer a smaller brush head with a tapered shape so this isn’t my favorite type of blush brush. But for the type of brush head, it’s gorgeous – it’s super soft and blends beautifully.
  • No. 3 All Over Shadow Brush ($30) – if you’re only going to have one eye shadow brush, this is a great one to go for. You can use the flat part of the brush to pat colors on your lid and the edge to apply a very precise crease color.
  • No. 4 Crease Brush ($30) – If you want a more diffuse color in your crease, this is the brush to reach for. Technically, this brush is also supposed to be used as a blender but it really doesn’t do the job well on my crêpey eye lids. If your skin is taut, you may find this works just fine.
  • No. 5 Concealer Brush ($25) – Hourglass makes two concealer brushes. This smaller one has a really tapered head suitable for getting into the smaller areas on your face. Or you can use the flat side of the head to really pat concealer on. This would be the brush to use around the sides of your nose and to cover up blemishes.
  • No. 8 Large Concealer Brush ($30) – This larger brush is great for covering a larger area (so for hyper-pigmentation or large red areas for those of you with rosacea). The size is halfway between the smaller concealer brush and the average foundation paddle brush. The brush head is exactly the same tapered shape as the No. 5 which means it’s really great for create precise lines. I like to use it to “erase” any eye shadow that has migrated past the imaginary line from the end of my brow to the side of my nose. Both of Hourglass’s concealer brushes are beautifully made and have a really versatile shape. If you’re a perfectionist about your complexion makeup, these would be a great addition to your brush collection.
  • No. 9 Domed Eyeshadow Brush ($28) – The bristles on this brush are very densely packed and are great for packing on the pigment in a very controlled way.
  • No. 10 Angled Liner Brush ($28) – I have to say, I find all angled liner brushes to be more or less identical. I’ve never met one that seemed to stand out from the pack. This one has a nice thin edge for applying a slim line of eyeliner to your lash line. You can also use it to fill in your brows.
  • No. 11 Smudge Brush ($26) – Of all Hourglass’s brushes, this is my favorite. It’s actually hard to find an ethical smudge brush and this one is perfect. You can use it to smoke out your eyeliner or apply a thick but diffuse line of dark eye shadow to your lash line.

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics

OCC’s brushes look and feel so much like natural hair that I had to double and triple check that they were indeed synthetic. The softness of the brushes means that they’re MUCH better at blending than the Hourglass brushes were. They’re also more affordable than Hourglass brushes without sacrificing quality so if you want to stick to brushes that are made in America, I would recommend starting with OCC’s brushes and then maybe filling in your collection with a couple of speciality brushes from Hourglass’s line.

  • #1 Large Powder Brush ($28) – I love this brush. From the size, shape and weight of the handle to the softness of the bristles to the fluffiness of the brush head, this is an awesome powder brush for just setting your makeup without disturbing the pigment. It’s also really nice for blending out contouring, blush and bronzer lines. It DOES have a big head so if you’re one of those people who only powders in the center of the face, you might find the brush head too large.
  • #4 Tapered Blending Brush ($22) – Thank goodness for this blending brush! As I mentioned before, Hourglass’s blending brush did not do the job for me so I found myself reaching for this one a lot. It’s also great for applying a really diffuse color into your crease. OCC makes a larger version of this brush that I’d really like to give it a try.
  • #8 Small Shader Brush ($22) –  I really like smaller flat sided brushes because I can be really precise about using the side of the brush to pat on lid color. I prefer to pat on lid color rather than brush it on because then you don’t get any fall out. You can also use the edge of this brush to apply a defined line of color to your lash line or crease.
  • #5 Angled Blending Brush ($22) – This is a great brush in a shape that I haven’t found in any other ethical lines*. It’s great for a very precise contoured eye shadow shape or for blending out your crease in a very controlled way.
  • #7 Large Shader Brush ($22) – This is a larger version of the #8 (or the #8 is a smaller version of this). I prefer to use the #8 for the reasons stated above, but if you prefer a larger brush for laying down color, then this is the one for you.

If you guys know of any cruelty free companies that make their brushes in North America, please let me know! Otherwise, please keep a look out for the second part of my ethical brush post about ethical brushes made abroad.

*Although Sigma and IT for Ulta are technically cruelty free, their brushes are made in China, a country notorious for human rights abuses in its manufacturing, and I don’t know if they make any efforts to ensure protections for the workers in their factories.

Ethical Beauty Brand Overview: Milani Cosmetics

Although Milani Cosmetics advertise their products as influenced by Italian style, and many of their products are actually made in Italy, they do have a handful of products made in the US. I picked up a couple of their products in a recent drugstore.com sale.

  • Bella Gel Eye Shadow in Chiffon and Espresso – I’m not sure why Milani calls these products gel eye shadows because they look, feel and perform like powder eye shadows. I found these eye shadows to be very average. Not bad products – they were very soft and smooth, making them easy to apply. However, they were not very pigmented and didn’t build up much. These eye shadows retail for $4.49 and I found myself comparing them unfavorably to ColourPop’s $5 shadows. However, there are crucial differences – Milani products can be purchased at brick and mortar stores such as K-Mart or Fred Meyer and, depending on the store’s policy, can be returnable. They also are a little bit cheaper and go on sale. So these factors might ultimately make Milani’s shadows a more attractive prospect than ColourPop.
  • Color Statement Lipstick in Sweet Nectar and Hot Pink Rage. Milani’s lipstick line has a great range of colors and comes in two finishes – satin and matte. (Sadly, the matte lipsticks were sold out so I wasn’t able to try them this time.) The lipsticks are pigmented and wear really well. For one of the less expensive drugstore brands, I found the quality of Milani’s lipsticks really impressive. (Though, again, their $5.99 price tag makes them more expensive than ColourPop’s product offerings.) The lipsticks have a light fruit flavor/scent which luckily did not irritate my allergies. The flavor/scent is the one drawback of this product, since I do not prefer flavored/scented products. Sweet Nectar is a cool-toned orange. If you’re curious about the orange lipstick trend, this is a great one to try because it’s affordable and the color is not super bright. In the picture below, I am also wearing the two Bella Gel eye shadows on my eyes. 

    Hot Pink Rage was a really beautiful pink that managed to qualify as hot pink without being obnoxiously bright. Again, a great lipstick to try if you want to dip your toe into the hot pink lip trend I’ve seen everywhere this spring. I really love colors like this because they just brighten your whole face. I’m wearing it with very minimal makeup in the picture below and it makes me look done without being too made up for yoga class. 

Milani also has an eye primer that is made in the US but unfortunately, it was backordered when I made my purchase. I’ve looked at some other reviews online and it seems like it’s worth checking out, if you’re looking for a drugstore eye primer.

Even though Milani only had a handful of product offerings that were made in the US, I think they are definitely worth checking out if you are an ethical beauty on a budget! Hopefully at some point in the future I’ll get my hands on the matte lipstick and eye primer and will be able to review those for you guys as well!

Note: In order for a personal care brand or product to be written up in my #EthicalBeauty posts it has to be independently verified as cruelty-free and made in North America (where I live). Milani Cosmetics is certified cruelty free by Leaping Bunny, Logical Harmony AND Peta. I really love it when a company does the extra work to get certified by everyone, it shows a genuine commitment to offering animal friendly products. Please note also that Milani’s parent company also owns Jordana. I will be reviewing Jordana products in a future post.

10 Movies You Should Watch To Understand Me

My friend Lesley posted a list of movies you should watch to understand her on Facebook and I love that idea so I’m doing my own list of movies you should watch to understand me. If you make a list, please link me to it in the comments! In no particular order:
1) Impromptu – this movie is a double whammy. It’s about a woman writer (George Sand) and a spoonie (Frederic Chopin). Literally every chapter of my life can be titled with a quote from this movie. When Chopin talks about how his body (“this miserable bag of bones”) is a disappointment to him and how he prefers to float up out of it? Even at 17 I felt that.
2) Metropolitan – it’s a Jane Austen movie set in 1990s New York & I related to that WAY more than anything Quentin Tarantino.
3) The Muppet Movie – if only Orson Welles had drawn up a standard rich & famous contract for me. Seriously, you could describe my childhood with just images of Muppets and for me The Muppet Movie is the most perfect expression of the Muppets. Also, Gonzo’s song “I’m Going to Go Back There Someday” is still one of my all-time favorite songs.
4) The Royal Tenenbaums – Wes Anderson is my filmmaker soulmate (not using spirit animal because I just learned it’s actually not ok to use that phrase). I kind of wish I could live in his movies. This is my favorite, the one I rewatch the most, but they ALL delight me.
5) Star Wars – once upon a time I wouldn’t have needed to put this on a list because it would have been so obviously but whole generations have never seen this movie. I was Princess Leia 2 or 3 times for Halloween. The impact of a Princess who had BROWN HAIR LIKE ME & who kicked ass was pretty much all the things to little me. This movie is why I went to USC so you could argue that it’s the MOST influential on my life.
6) Galaxy Quest – my comfort food movie.
7) Room with a View – I was a really uncool kid. Everyone else wanted to be the next Quentin Tarantino, I wanted to be the next Ruth Prawer-Jhabvala/James Ivory. Everything from the adaptation to the production design to the casting of this movie is pitch perfect down to the red dress that Lucy is wearing in that one scene. If you read the book, you’ll know what I mean.
8) Gosford Park – I grew up on Agatha Christie, who is my Dad’s favorite writer. I’ve watched ALL the adaptations. So Robert Altman, one of my all-time favorite filmmakers, making a filmic homage to an Agatha Christie film is an utter delight. You can watch this movie a hundred times and get something new out of it. Every character in it is the star of their own story. Just the little moment in the pantry between Tom Hollander and Sophie Thompson (sister of Emma!), where he’s eating tiny teaspoons of jam? That was enough for me to be a Tom Hollander fan for life. Is this the best Robert Altman movie? Probably not. I’d probably vote for M*A*S*H or Nashville (watch it again & swoon over Keith Carradine singing “I’m Easy”). But this is for sure my favorite Altman film.
9) The Thin Man – Nick & Nora were probably my first, adolescent, model for the kind of relationship I wanted to be in. (And how’s this for perfect? Nick Pileggi & Nora Ephron are my grown-up model!)
10) The Philadelphia Story (with honorable mentions to Bringing Up Baby and Holiday) Cary Grant & Katharine Hepburn did screwball together better than anybody.

And some TV shows just because:
11) Twin Peaks was what made me want to be a filmmaker. (Sidebar: I was deliriously happy when I read David Foster Wallace’s piece on David Lynch especially since he summed up my feelings on Quentin Tarantino so perfectly. http://www.lynchnet.com/lh/lhpremiere.html)
12) Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Possibly my favorite thing ever. I haven’t gotten sick of rewatching it yet. It’s not perfect. I don’t care. I love it unconditionally & I think it feels the same way about me.
13) Star Trek: The Next Generation (so long as I’m including TV shows, this was my Trek, Picard is, always, oh captain my captain). I watched the original series with my Dad, I worked on Voyager, & Deep Space Nine was great, but this is the one embedded in my psyche.
14 & 15) MasterChef UK, MasterChef. I grew up in the hospitality industry. Chefs were my rock stars. MasterChef UK is the best cooking show in the world. It’s proper. It’s about what is truly happening at the top levels of the culinary industry. It’s like watching Picasso level up from talent to artist. MasterChef (US) still has cred (Joe Bastianich is not only a great restauranteur, he makes killer wine) but the fun of it is all vicarious – I can put myself in the shoes of the home cooks & imagine what I would do.

The Kitten Chronicle: A Blogpost I Didn’t Want to Write

In my first Kitten Chronicle blogpost, I wrote about my background with fostering and a little bit about each of the kittens I was fostering. It was my intention for each week’s blogpost to detail each kitten’s progress. However, a few weeks ago some rescue organization drama erupted. That’s why I haven’t written in a while. First there was the drama, and probably as a result of the stress, I got sick.

I think I need to start out by giving a little background.  When I decided I wanted to foster, I contacted my vet’s office and asked them if they knew of any organizations that fostered feral kittens. The receptionist at my vet’s office gave me the number of a couple of organizations to call. I left messages with both organizations. A woman, who I shall call C, called me back. She explained to me that while her organization was focused on dog rescue, occasionally they got calls about pregnant ferals or feral litters. I told her that I was interested in fostering but that because I was disabled and on a limited income, I could not handle the expenses of fostering (i.e. supplies such as litter and food). I was willing to foster so long as food & litter were supplied. In addition, I did not want to be responsible for raising funds for fixing the animals or finding homes for them. I wasn’t interested in volunteering in any other way with the organization – I just wanted to foster. C appeared to hear me. She told me that she had a relationship with several local shelters so I wouldn’t be responsible for spay/neutering or finding homes for the kittens. As soon as they were tamed, we could give them to the shelter. She also explained to me that she was organizing a low-cost spay-neuter clinic and asked me if I would be willing to help out on that day, handling animals. I agreed to assist for a couple of hours at the clinic, so long as my physical limitations were taken into account. C even told me that if I found feral kittens listed on Craigslist, she’d be happy to help me with supplies if I decided to foster them.

A couple of weeks later, C called me to tell me that she had heard of a pregnant feral. She asked if I would be willing to foster the mother and her kittens. I agreed. She informed me that another volunteer, T, would be calling me with the details. T called me and after making sure I was willing to foster, told me to expect the kittens that weekend.

When the weekend rolled around, I called C to ask her about supplies. She told me she wouldn’t be handling them & that I needed to call T. When I called T, she said the only thing she could help me with was a spare litter box. At this point, I could have backed out. But I was eager to foster and I quickly decided that it was worth it to me to cover the cost of supplies for one litter. Later that weekend, T called me to tell me there was some confusion at the site. It was at an office building and apparently more than one rescue organization had called and they had multiple potential fosters. T didn’t know if I was going to get all the kittens, some of the kittens, or none. When we didn’t hear back from T, C called me to tell me about another mother and kittens. However, when she checked the trap, C found only the mother cat and despite looking around she didn’t find the kittens. To my surprise, C asked me to foster the mother cat. (When I’d worked in rescue in L.A. trapped ferals were fixed and returned to their colony.) C thought that Mama was an abandoned pet and was thus tame-able. When I went to pick up Mama from C, I asked her once again about supplies. And once again, C said she wouldn’t be able to help me out. Despite this, accepted the cat, who I named Lil Mama.

The next day T called me. She asked if I was still willing to accept kittens from the litter we’d talked about earlier. She was unsure how many cats I would get, because apparently they needed a foster only for a couple. I agreed. She called me later to tell me she was coming over with all 7 kittens. She then called me again to say that one of the women she met at the trapping site wanted to meet me to make sure I was up to the task of fostering feral kittens. I agreed to meet her. T and Jeanna came over, with a kennel full of 7 feral kittens which T said were about 4-5 weeks old – the perfect age to foster. Old enough to be weaned from their mother (though I explained that I was going to introduce the kittens to Lil Mama in hopes that she would take to them), but young enough that they should tame down fairly easily. I showed Jeanna the kitten room I’d set up and explained my history with fostering. She was ecstatic, calling me the “perfect foster” and telling me that she knew lots of people who were always looking for good fosters. We exchanged information. Meanwhile, T (who seemed very aloof and uninterested) told me that the kittens could be fixed at the low cost spay-neuter clinic C was organizing and that we would find homes for them after that. So I knew I had over a month with the kittens and Lil Mama, which while a long time, seemed like a reasonable amount of time to work with the kittens. If they were 4 weeks old, they couldn’t be fixed until they were 8 weeks old and a minimum of 2 pounds, so it could take that long for them to be ready anyway.

For the next week, Jeanna was an invaluable resource to me. She stopped by to help me handle the kittens and offered to help me in any way I needed. When I realized that Lil Mama had worms, Jeanna got the right formula to safely de-worm both Lil Mama and the kittens and helped me to give it to the animals (it’s not easy to pill a domesticated cat, let alone 8 ferals). Jeanna donated supplies of toys and a cat tree. She was invaluable to me. T texted me a couple of times to check on the status of the kittens, but otherwise remained aloof. C called once to check in. At the end of the call, she mentioned to me that she was at wit’s end with finding a location for the spay/neuter clinic. I mentioned that my gym, the Kroc Center, was very involved with the community and might be willing to allow her to use their space for the clinic. C told me I should call the Kroc Center to organize the clinic and then hung up on me before I could respond. This surprised me because I’d told C several times that I didn’t have the bandwidth to help organize the event, especially not now that I had 8 cats to tame. I called her back and ended up leaving her a message, letting her know that I would not be able to organize a location for the event. She didn’t call me back.

In that first week with the kittens, I realized very quickly that the process of taming them down was not going to be as easy as it had been for me in the past. This was mainly because the kittens were 7 weeks old when I got them, but also the fact that it was such a big litter, and that they had bonded to semi-feral Lil Mama, didn’t help either. I was feeling a little overwhelmed with the work. I was thankful that at least it would only be for a month as as soon as the kittens were fixed & adoptable, they’d go to a shelter. Then I got a call from C. She said she’d just talked to T and wanted to clear up a “terrible misunderstanding”. She told me that I could not bring the kittens to her spay/neuter clinic to get fixed because they were not “high risk”. (Meaning that they were still too young to reproduce and that I was unlikely to adopt them out unfixed.) She said the only cat she was willing to fix was Lil Mama because Lil Mama was the only one she was willing to take responsibility for. She said that she hated working with cats because she “always lost money” on them (a strange thing for someone in rescue work to say). She told me that as soon as they were ready we could give them to the Humane society who would fix them and find homes for them. This was when I realized that basically everything C had told me was a lie. Not only had she not helped with supply costs for Mama or the kittens, she also did not have a relationship with a shelter. I’ve been involved with rescue work enough to know that the Humane Society is overwhelmed with kittens during kitten season and that they very rarely had spots open for kittens as a result. I also knew that although they were technically a no-kill shelter, if the kittens were surrendered to them as ferals, they would be euthanized. So now I was looking into indefinitely housing 8 cats and raising the money to get them fixed and then finding them homes. The problem was that because a couple of different rescue organizations had been called about the litter, nobody was willing to take responsibility for the kittens.

Luckily, Jeanna stepped up to help me out. She and Delyne (from Purrs 4 Life) agreed to help me by donating food & litter. My next door neighbors started coming by every day to help me handle the kittens (and when I got sick, they actually took over litter box duties AND cleaned the kitten room for me). They also offered to donate baby food (Gerber’s Chicken in Chicken Gravy and Turkey in Turkey Gravy is essential to socializing the kittens but is expensive at $1/jar.) In addition, Jeanna was able to get the money for the spay/neutering advanced to us (with the idea that each adoptive cat guardian would pay a rehoming fee that would cover the spay/neuter cost). Jeanna even offered to haul the cats to the Humane society for their procedures (a HUGE help as with my disability this was one of the things I was dreading the most). This leaves the costs for the first month of fostering the kittens & Lil Mama, when I cleaned out my savings account to pay for supplies. Some of my friends on twitter (who have been following my #kittenchronicle posts) offered to donate funds to help me out, so I am putting a donate button on this and future #kittenchronicle posts. I am not a non-profit so donations are not tax deductible, however I can promise that every penny donated will either go to reimburse kitten-related expenses or will go towards treats and toys for the kittens. Thank you so much to all of you for your messages of support through this ordeal. I promise to write more fun kitten chronicle posts later!

Donate Button

The Kitten Chronicle: Week One

Years ago (almost exactly 11 years ago) my cats were born under my parents’ house to a feral mother. Knowing that feral kittens would most likely end up destroyed if they were not tamed, I took it on myself to foster the kittens until they were tame enough to adopt out. Well, my god sister adopted one. The other three I kept. A little while later, a friend found a two week old kitten on a street while she was walking a dog and asked me if I could take care of her. Both of these fostering experiences were so rewarding, I knew I wanted to foster again someday, but the circumstances never seemed right. I worked long hours and lived in small, open plan apartments that had no good spots to host a feral family.

Feral kittens are kittens that have been born outside of a human home and have been taught by their mother to fear humans. They are difficult to handle because they hiss, spit and attack. There’s a short window of time for human fosters to tame feral kittens by handling them and giving them lots of love. Ideally, we like to capture the mother while she’s still pregnant so we can test her for various diseases and feed her good nutrition. That way the kittens are around humans from the moment they’re born. What often happens, though, is that rescue organizations are called in after the kittens are born. If we can’t trap the mother and kittens at the same time, then we take the kittens in and work on taming them right away. (We keep on working on the mother, though – it’s important to get momma cats fixed in order to stop the cycle of over population!)

Last year, when I was coming to terms with the fact that I was disabled for life, I was trying to come up with positives for my situation and one of them was that being home all the time meant that I could finally foster feral kittens. This spring, I asked my vet for a referral to some organizations that might be looking for fosters. For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been told to get ready for cats and litters but trapping feral mothers is not a predictable business. A week ago a mother cat was trapped but her kittens were not found. Nevertheless, the mother cat who was clearly an abandoned pet and not a feral, was given to me to foster. I named the cat Lil Mama because she was tiny – 7 lbs – not much more than a kitten herself. Lil Mama was apathetic and depressed. She cried for her kittens but otherwise passively allowed me to handle her. A day later I got a call from a different contact – she was bringing by a litter of 7 kittens. Not only was I excited to be able to work with kittens, I was also hopeful that Lil Mama would take to the kittens and get past her depression.

Lil Mama:

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The kittens in their crate:

 

 

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At first, Lil Mama allowed the kittens to crawl all over her and snuggle with her, but a couple of days laters I was ecstatic to walk in on her nursing the kittens.

Lil Mama nursing the kittens:

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Within a day of Lil Mama accepting the kittens as her own, I noticed a huge difference in both the kittens and Lil Mama. They all displayed a greater self-confidence. Instead of crouching in the dark, they began to explore the kitten room, playing in the boxes I’d provided them with, running around with their little tails up in their air, ignoring me while I was in their midst. Lil Mama began to growl and hiss at me – not pleasant for me, but a good sign that she was asserting herself.

Over that first weekend, I posted dozens of pictures and videos of the kittens (you can see them all on my instagram feed). I asked my friends to help me name the kittens. Since Lil Mama is the name of a hip hop artist, I asked them all to think of musicians names for the kittens.

The first to get named was Elliott, after Elliott Smith. Elliott is a big, black boy with long, fluffy fur and a sweet, docile demeanor. Along with his sister Stevie, he was the easiest to handle right off the bat.

Elliott:

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The two calico girls (calicos have a combination of dark, tabby ginger and white fur), Corin and Stevie were real handfuls from the start. Corin, in particular, growled ceaselessly when handled. As a result, I suggested that she be given a riot grrrl name. My friend Anni suggested Corin for Corin Tucker (of Sleater-Kinney). You can tell Corin apart from her calico sister by her long, fluffy fur.

Corin:

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Here’s a look at Corin’s unique coloring and fluffy coat:

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While we were discussing possible names for Corin, my friend Nina suggested Feist, which seemed like a perfect name for Corin’s feisty sister. Feist is a short-hair calico. She has wide set eyes and a flat face. Unlike her more rambunctious sister, Feist settles down fairly quickly when I’m handling her, and has often fallen asleep on my lap.

Feist:

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Feist’s beautiful coloring:

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The last of the girls is also the tiniest of the kittens, little Stevie (named after Stevie Nicks – the name was suggested by several people), who has personality to spare. Stevie is a tortoiseshell (which means her coat combines black fur with a tabby’s ginger). She looks bigger than she is because she’s got long, fluffy fur. She makes up for her tiny size with an outsized personality. She’s a very talkative cat and has very loud meows. She’s the only of her brothers and sisters to purr (so far).

Stevie:

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My friend Gabby asked if we could name one of the boys Spike (for the character from Buffy the Vampire Slayer), when I explained the musician theme, she changed her recommendation to Billy Idol (who, in Buffyverse mythology, stole his look from Spike). I knew immediately which kitten deserved the name Billy Idol – a rambunctious little cow cat (meaning white with black spots).

Billy Idol:

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Billy’s white and black markings:

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The other two boys were tuxedo cats (primarily black coats with white markings on their face, underside & paws). The sweeter, mellower of the two was named Duncan by my friend Katie for musician Duncan Sheik. You can distinguish Duncan from his brother by his asymmetrical markings – the black marks go halfway down the left side of his face. Although Duncan growls when handled, he also settles down to snuggle in my lap.

Duncan:

 

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Last but not least is the most difficult to handle, a bad boy named Tom Waits. Tom Waits is the hissiest, growliest of the cats. He’s the only one who continues to attack me when I’m handling him. He gets scared easily by sudden noises or his reflection in my glasses and is the most bonded to Lil Mama.

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Today we weighed all the kittens and have determined that they’re probably eight weeks old already (which accounts for why they’re such handfuls!) Tom Waits is the biggest at over 2 lbs. His brother Elliott is the next biggest. Duncan is just over 2 lbs and Billy Idol is just under. Of the girls Feist is the biggest at 1 lb, 14.5 oz. Her sister Corin is only slightly smaller at 1 lb, 14.4 oz. And Stevie is the tiniest of them all at 1 lb 7.9 oz. Both Corin and Stevie have already been spoken for (they are going to the same home), all the rest of the kittens should be ready for their forever homes in about a month, after they are fixed and vaccinated. There will be a small rehoming fee to cover the vet fees and some of the expenses. I update my Instagram feed every day with pictures and videos of the kittens and will write weekly blog posts about the progress I’ve made with the kittens. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

 

From my Twitter archives: Infinite Pass Loop (or some of my OK Cupid tweets)

So a few days ago I started an OK Cupid profile. It wasn’t my intention to find love, a friend of mine was going to go out on a date with someone she met on OK Cupid and I wanted to see his profile. But then I got sucked into the, for lack of a better expression, internet shopping aspect of OK Cupid and before long I had a long list of snarky comments about some of the profiles and even messages that I got. I have compiled them here. Tweets are slightly edited (for instance I have corrected typos).

Oh God. @zaranosaur has talked me into doing a dating profile. I don’t know if I know how to do meatspace anymore.

It’s sure to end badly.

Especially with my optimistic attitude, hey?

I want to be like oh some of these people sound so pretentious except they are probably saying the same of me.

“I’m smart. Scary smart.” Pass

“I only eat paleo.” lol. Also, pass.

“People totally gross me out. I can smell what people eat through their skin.” Pass

“I’m an old soul.” Pass. No one is a young soul, have you ever noticed?

Message to me: “Let’s make love.” Delete.

Seriously though I do not think I have ever in my life had someone seriously suggest “let’s make love”.

Your not you’re? Pass.

“I am really interested in pleasing a woman orally.” Pass.

“I love spilling beyond neat categories.” Sounds painful.

“I love sex” Lacks creative expression. Pass.

“I have a bunch of ideas for books, movies and TV shows… But I don’t have the time to write them.” Pass.

Argh this guy has sent me FOUR MESSAGES. Blocked.

“I’m very good at a lot of things! I’m a little bit competitive as well.” No. WAY. Pass.

“I think I’m best at benevolence.” Like he’s the Pope. Pass.

When someone has their photo in wrong? So sad. Pass.

“Hey Ladies” Pass

“I an open minded intelectual type who is always up for a challenge”. Uh… paas.

I love when guys pose with children in their profile pic. It’s like, look no further, ladies, I am your one stop family shop!

Favorite movie Ender’s Game????? INFINITE PASS LOOP.

OMG THIS GUY HAS A PICTURE OF HIMSELF WITH AMY ACKER IN HIS PROFILE.

But this was the first line of his profile: “The artificiality of spewing forth a brief biography is difficult to overcome”. Pass.

THIS GUY HAS A PUPPY AND A KID. HE MEANS BUSINESS!!! GUARD YOUR OVARIES.

Oh dude with creepy mirror self-portrait that splits your face in half you are so creepy to me right now like The Eyes of Laura Mars.

“I am a feral beast, living in this human world.” Meh.

I know abs of steel are a total deal-sealer for some women but it’s kinda weird when that’s your cover shot.

This guy was totally sly about his abs of steel. He didn’t include a picture but said he was good at “pull ups”. WELL-PLAYED.

A guy just messaged me asking if I would consider making him my personal slave. Sounds like a lot of work.

This guys profile is filled with action! shots! Surfing! Kicking a ball! Wearing a panda costume! *needle scratch*

Oh selfie taken in the gym mirror. Classy.

“I don’t judge people and understand that you don’t need to be “customized”.” Uh. I don’t know what that means.

Dudes. The ab shots. Please.

OK, I’m freaked out by the guy in the leather mask BUT he’s written a heartfelt piece about his love of BDSM. Respect.

Sir-Not-Appearing-In-This-Picture. Pass.

“I’m a professional in my career and prefer being with successful people.” See, I’m just the opposite.

In his list of six things he can’t live without, one guy has over 20 things. Among them: coconut water, Thai (presumably food?).

Oooh points for an Eddie Izzard reference!

“I enjoy time alone playing with my instrument.”

O_O Ender’s Game has contacted me. What to do, what to dooooooo.

When the entirety of a message to you is “mmmm sexy”. *eye roll* *delete*

Question from an OKC user: “Given a chance would you sky dive from space?” *siiiiiiiiiiigh*

Full message reads: “Given the chance, would you sky dive from the edge of space? Craziest place you’ve been laid? One week in Italy or one month in Tibet?”

Seriously? Are we in junior high now? Are we going to play spin the bottle? Your efforts to be interesting have backfired, OKC user!

Message: “your a pretty good writer” *delete*

Top tip, internet dating guys: just because I take the time to respond to you politely & wish you luck does not mean I want to be wheedled.

No means no. Just because I have a profile on a dating site doesn’t mean I have an obligation to go out with you.

Oh AND my saying that I am disabled is NOT an opportunity for you to offer me “sexual healing”. Please make a note of it.

I actually don’t get this, I think it’s quite passive-aggressive. If someone says not interested, why would you demand an explanation?

I mean it’s not going to be something that you’ll like & most likely it’s not going to be something you can change. Leave it at that.

Message: “You don’t look bad at all.” Way to sell it, dude. Delete.

Message: “I will really love to know about you.” WILL YOU? Delete.

Oh and hey, guys, a pro tip. When approaching a woman for the first time, do not address her as baby, sweetie, sexy. It’s just unctuous.

I just got a message that just says “do you have a wheelchair”. Some people just really do not know how to talk to other people.

Message: “Want to see my big dick?” Delete. Oh, yes, and also blocked.

You know, I’m half tempted to reveal the OKC handles of all the guys I’m blocking along with the messages they’ve sent me.

It was definitely an eye opening and interesting experience. When I get back from Seattle I may take the OK Cupid thing a little more seriously. Or, I may delete entirely. We’ll see. I’m completely ambivalent about dating at all, which you can probably tell from the tone of my tweets. Anyway, hope you guys enjoyed this post. If you want to see more sarcastic OKC tweets/posts, please let me know in the comments.