Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Moving Forward

I feel  like I'm supposed to make up for my blogging absence by posting a really awesome story about our epic move and all of the things that went wrong and how much more insightful I am because of the experience.

Strangely enough, though, I don't think I have had any insights. I think I have simply wandered into a new level of happy.

This seems like a huge breakthrough, and it is, it's just that it has been happening so gradually that I didn't even really realize it until I typed it just now.

I am happy.

I think it's a combination of many things, as most things are. We found movers and were packed and loaded and unloaded within a week. I've been driving between our new home and my job (last day tomorrow!), which is actually a really nice time to me to transition mentally and emotionally. Instead of a sudden transition, it's a gradual one. It helps, too, that spring is arriving and the sun is shining more often.

It took some time for me to figure out that our new home is "home" now. It didn't feel like home at all at first. The town was just the place where I would visit Donald while he worked on a contract basis and now you're telling me we're staying here "forever"? Really? It was hard to wrap my head around that. I keep wandering around saying "We LIVE here!"

It's also hard to feel at home when you're surrounded by furniture and boxes of things you've been living without for over a year. It's a weird feeling, like coming home after your first semester away at college. Your room is still yours and it's not. It's like it belongs to someone else and you at the same time.

It has been emotional. Unpacking boxes and finding things has given me such mixed feelings. My pratice with decluttering from going through my closet, though, has helped significantly. While I don't use the "If I haven't used it in a year, then it goes" rule because then we would have nothing left, I am being pretty liberal with the "give away" box and I am proud of how my efforts are going so far.

Our two cats LOVE the new place and I love seeing them in it. They are happy to have us around more, happy to have some of their favorite things again, happy to be discovering new favorite things. They are the closest thing we have to children and it is so much fun to share this new adventure with them and show them all the newness.

Donald and I have had some great opportunities for teamwork, which is something that we tend to be good at, that strengthens our marriage. We spent an entire day looking for an 8x10 area rug for our main room, running through the rain between the car and store after store after store. None of them had anything bigger than 5x7 and we needed something TODAY according to Donald, so we kept looking.

We struck gold when we wandered into a furniture store looking frustrated and asked an employee for advice. He leaned in and said "I shouldn't tell you this, but..." and proceeded to direct us to a discount store nearby. We had stumbled onto the mecca of area rugs. They had rolls of remnants from floor to ceiling of a warehouse sized building and stacks and stacks of "Oriental" rugs just our size. And the price was right, too.

I had brought a pillow from one of our pieces of furniture so we could guess on color matches and we found the only 8x10 in the store that would work. We unearthed our treasure and headed for the register, Donald nearly knocking down several floor lamps ala The Three Stooges. It was pouring rain, so Donald suggested that I bring my car around to the curb. In that moment, it dawned on both of us that there was a significant possibility that our awesome find would not fit in my vehicle (a small four-door hatchback).

Cursing inwardly, I ran into the rain with my keys towards my car, thinking that there was no way, that this rug was obviously bigger than my car and that this would not work. I pulled the car around and pushed the front seat forward, opened the hatchback and prayed. Donald brought out the rug and started inching it from the back towards the dashboard while I adjusted as well as I could at the front. Miraculously, just as the rug was heading for my windshield, the end slid into place inside the trunk and we were home free. Giggling uncontrollably about our luck, we drove home.

I guess I did have a story in me.

I have more travel and unpacking ahead of me before I will really feel settled. Things should be calmer next week, at which point I hope to catch up with all of you and your blogs and share more about our latest adventure.

Until then, just know that things really do work out for the best.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Makeup and Animal Cruelty

Donald and I will be occupied for the next several days with moving and working, so I thought I would write a post completely unrelated to it all to tide my readers over until I can write an update. I would love to read your thoughts on the topic.

If anything, wish us well on the move!

Animal testing is a touchy topic for me. Many important medical advancements have come from research conducted on animals. State and federal laws also require that certain consumer goods be tested on animals to make sure that they are safe for people to use. I'm not going to address these things. Instead, I want to address the testing of luxury goods on animals, namely cosmetics.

I had noticed that some of my cosmetic products have a symbol or words on them that say "Not tested on animals". It made me curious, so I went through all of the products in my makeup bag and daily routine to see whether all of them had this distinction. Finding very few, I did a little research.

I discovered that state and federal testing is not required for these products. Putting the words "Not tested on animals" is regulated, so you can trust that it is accurate. Watch our for "Final product not tested on animals" because that means that it was tested on animals at some point in the manufacturing process.

I am uncomfortable with the fact that most of my cosmetics are not cruelty free. I decided that my external beauty is not worth causing unnecessary animal suffering. There are quality cosmetics available that do not engage in animal testing. I am making the switch.

I am using my money to make a stand.

I am not a PETA member and I don't agree with many of their practices. They do, however, have a great website that lets you search for companies that do or do not test their products on animals. The list for those that do not test on animals is quite long and extensive and includes many well-known brands. You can also search for cruelty-free manufacturers of specific products.

Some of my favorite products are from cruelty-free companies:
Bath & Body Works
Burt's Bees
Crabtree & Evelyn
St. Ives
Tom's of Maine
Wet N' Wild

Surprisingly NOT on the cruelty-free list (these products will be phased out of my collection ASAP):
Cover Girl

I have a choice. I'm glad I had the information to make the choice that is most in line with my values.

**Disclaimer: I am not in any way affiliated with any of the companies or websites listed above.**