If you’ve read any of my posts about cruelty-free skincare and beauty, you know that I am a huge fan of Juice Beauty. It’s vegan, organic, cruelty-free and my god, it’s effective. I was happy just being a loyal customer, so imagine the amount of pee in my pants when a member of their team reached out to see if I’d be interested in hosting an event for them! I could not say yes fast enough, so I hope you’ll join me for this FREE night of mixing and mingling. Here’s the deets:
When: Friday, January 26, 2018 from 4-8pm (open hours)
Where: Bloomingdale’s (900 North Michigan Avenue Chicago, IL 60611)
Why: To hang out with me, check out this line of vegan skincare and cosmetics and to enjoy more fun surprises details below
How: Just show up any time from 4-8! Help us plan by RSVPing here (no tickets necessary)
P.S. There is also limited space for 1-on-1 consultations throughout the day, so please call 312 440-4460, ext. 4233 and ask for Shayla to book an appointment!
What to expect:
- We’ll have treats on hand from Pie, Pie My Darling, I Heart Keenwah and BESTeas.
- Check out Juice Beauty’s line of vegan, cruelty-free skincare and cosmetics, with professional recommendations from their amazing team.
- Selfie station
- Free gifts with purchase!
How to get there:
- From the suburbs: I highly recommend taking the Metra, or parking in a less-busy area of the city and taking the Red or Brown Line to Bloomingdale’s. See below for more info about parking.
- From the city: Bloomingdale’s is easily accessible from the Red and Brown Lines (get off at Chicago). If you take a Lyft or Uber to the event and make a purchase, show someone from the Juice Beauty team your ride receipt for a gift!
- From outer space: Just land on the roof. When you leave, take me with you.
Please note that this is an open event, meaning you can come and go as you please – you don’t have to get there by 4 or stay until 8! You don’t have to buy anything to attend, but if you do, you’ll get gifts. Please feel free to bring your friends!
2017 was arguably the Year of the Instant Pot, especially for vegans. Effortless rice, beans, slow-cooked meals? Who wouldn’t want one? And even though the Air Fryer made its rounds in my personal circle of vegan friends before the Instant Pot overshadowed it, I believe 2018 will be the Year of the Air Fryer, partially thanks to Kathy Hester.
Before I talk about Kathy’s new book,Vegan Cooking in Your Air Fryer: 75 Incredible Comfort Food Recipes with Half the Calories, let me fill you in on what an air fryer is, and why you need one. An air fryer is a countertop appliance that cooks food by circulating extremely hot air, resulting in a crunchy exterior similar to deep fried food, only without the use of oil. Tater tots, tofu, even dessert will come out just right in minutes, all without ever heating up your oven.
Tony and I have been using ours daily since we bought one about a year ago, but I really didn’t know how versatile of a machine it was until I started paging through Kathy’s cookbook. This book does not ease you into things like, “Oh, you can make French fries…” No. You knew that when you bought this machine, let’s get serious here. Kathy is like, “Hello, welcome to my book, did you know you can make your own frigging tomato powder in this thing?”
I instantly gravitated toward the dessert section and was excited to find I already had all the ingredients on hand to make this Carrot Cake in a Mug. (Note for folks with specialty diets, Kathy has notes on each recipe for those of you who are gluten-free and/or oil-free.) The cake baked perfectly, tasted amazing, and I was a god damn hero for serving everyone warm mugs of cake on a freezing winter day. Hey moms of pre-teens, get this: TENO ASKED ME TO MAKE IT AGAIN THE NEXT DAY!!! If you have ever faced the utter indifference of a twelve year old boy you understand how remarkable this is.
Oh, and P.S. There’s a quote from me on the back, so there you go. Recipe by Kathy Hester. Reprinted by permission of Page Street Publishing. Please note that some links in this post are affiliate links, which means if you click and make a purchase I may earn a commission.
Air Fryer Carrot Cake in a Mug
By January 15, 2018Published:
- Yield: 1 (1 Servings)
- Prep: 5 mins
- Cook: 15 mins
- Ready In: 20 mins
This is a super easy recipe that serves one - although if you topped it with a scoop of ice cream you could share! I topped mine with a simple mix of vanilla extract and powdered sugar, chopped ginger candy and some lemon zest.
- 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour or whatever flour blend you like
- 1 Tbs sweetener of choice I used brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp ground dried ginger
- 1 pinch allspice
- 1 pinch salt
- 2 Tbs + 2 tsp unsweetened nondairy milk
- 2 Tbs grated carrot
- 1 Tbs raisins or chopped dates
- 2 tsp mild oil or, for oil-free use applesauce or mashed banana)
- Oil an oven-safe mug (Or use a single serving size nonstick pan to keep it no oil added).
- Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, allspice and salt then mix well with a fork. It's important to mix well so that the baking powder is evenly distributed.
- Next add the milk, carrot, walnuts, raisins, and oil then mix again. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Check with a fork to make sure the middle is cooked. If not, cook 5
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I’m not sure how it started, but at some point during our 25+ year friendship, my dear friend Jenny and I became fully obsessed with nachos. If I had to guess, I’d blame Beavis and Butt-Head and the fact that we became friends in the 90s. However it happened, our never-ending pursuit of vegan nachos has led us to a tradition hereby known as Nacho New Year. Every New Year’s Eve, whether we spend it together or not, we eat nachos. So, on the final #FridayFive of 2017, I thought I’d show you how to have a Nacho New Year in just five steps.
How to Have a Happy Nacho New Year:
1. Base It, Nachos Rule
Nachos need a base, otherwise they are just a mess of cheese, sour cream, and random vegetables. Most people opt for tortilla chips, although in my world there are a few other acceptable options. For instance, tater tots. However, if you use tater tots as your base you are required by law to refer to your nachos as totchos. Failure to do so will result in you sucking. If you want to keep it classic, I ask you to please seek out legit tortilla chips and do not buy Tostitos as they are a crime against nature. Nacho cheese and toppings are also a great addition to, well, literally everything. For instance:
- Vegan Taco Lasagna (this is basically just
one huge nacho)
- Nacho Quinoa Casserole
- Nacho Pizza – smother your favorite par-baked crust in nacho cheese, top with black beans and pop into the oven – top it with olives, jalapeños, sour cream, etc and slice
- Nacho Tofu Scramble – make tofu scramble and then pretty much do what I just described for pizza. See how easy this is?
2. Cheese Louise, Nachos Are Swell
I have known two types of nacho lovers, the sauce people and the shreds people. Shreds people top their chips with shredded cheese (Follow Your Heart makes tasty vegan shreds) and pop the whole thing into the oven until the cheese melts, then they add the cold toppings. The result is warm chips (bonus) and stretchy cheese that reminds me of pizza (also bonus). This is typically the most attainable type of nachos to make at home, so it’s probably a little nostalgic for those of you who enjoyed nacho night as kids. Cheese sauce people tend to prefer the bright orange sauce one might find at a carnival, baseball game, or you know, 7-11. I am one of those people. Luckily, it’s really easy to make vegan nacho cheese sauce at home. Here are a few favorites:
- Nacho Chee-Zee Sauce – mostly nutritional yeast based, with a small amount of cashews for fat, and a chipotle pepper for spice
- Nacho Cheese on the Cheap – This one skips the cashews and uses less nutritional yeast, leaning more on carrots and potatoes for texture and color
- Mild Chee-Zee Sauce – If you love nachos, but can’t handle the spice, try this nut-free, nooch-based cheese that gets its tang from yellow mustard
- Spicy Quinoa Queso – OK listen, queso is not nacho cheese, it’s more like a cheese dip. People get really weird about queso so I just wanted to make that clear. This one has quinoa in it so it is the most vegan thing on the god damn earth
- Butternut Squash Queso – Also not nacho cheese, and actually a bit to thick to pour so bust this one out if you have any super healthy werido vegan friends coming over for nachos
3. You Can’t Top Nachos (But You Totally Can)
A few years ago, Tony got me a three-compartment crock pot that Jenny and I have dubbed the Nacho Machine because it has only ever been used for our build-your-own nacho parties. I fill one compartment with cheese sauce, one with beans or faux meat and the third usually stores some guacamole (not hot, obvs). If you’re hosting a nacho party, prep all the toppings and have them out with spoons so your guests can go to town. My favorite part is the end of the night when Jenny and I are literally just dipping chips into the cheese and eating olives with our bare hands. If you like your nachos meaty, here are a few ideas:
- Oat Crumbles – These are easy and inexpensive to make, and you can swap seasonings to make them more or less “nachoy”
- Walnut “Meat” – This is a raw option, and yes, you can totally make raw nachos with dehydrated flax chips
- Jackfruit – A little fancier, but upon special request (from Jenny) I have been known to make a batch of smoky jackfruit for Nacho New Year
Sour Cream Rules Everything Around Me. If you can’t find vegan sour cream in the store (or, like me, if you think all the store-bought versions are barftastic) I will share with you the greatest vegan sour cream I have ever made. It’s so good, I’ve actually packed it with me when I knew I was going somewhere to eat pierogi or tacos.
5. Keep That Chip On Your Shoulder
Nacho New Year may only come once every 365 days, but you can keep the spirit alive with the following nacho items:
- Nacho Soap – Nachos. All over your body. All up in your hair. Nachos.
- Nacho Butt-Head – The enamel pin that sums me up as a human
- Nachos t-shirt – Sports are dumb, but nachos are forever
- Nacho Key Ring – If the key to your heart is nachos
- Pet Nachos – Nachos > People and Animals > People therefore, buy nachos for animals
Have a safe & happy Nacho New Year!
It’s gift-giving season and although vegans have come a long way, baby, some of our friends and family might be a little behind on the times. If you find yourself staring down the barrel of a leather-and-fur-laden wish list this year, check out these five animal-friendly alternatives to popular holiday gifts.
1. Animal Cruelty is Fugg
I never understood the Uggs phenomenon – are there not cuter boots that are equally warm? Whatever the reason people want them, you can’t argue with the cruelty that goes into making them. You can find cheap, accidentally vegan knock offs on Zappos, and even at Target, but I encourage you to avoid “fast fashion” as it’s detrimental to the environment, and to the people forced to make cheap clothes and shoes. Instead, go for a quality pair that will last for years.
Why Not to Buy: Shearling is a pretty word for an ugly material – what it really is is sheep fur with the skin attached. So yeah, Uggs = murder. (Warning: graphic video exposing the cruelty behind Uggs.)
Instead Try: Snug Boot by Vegetarian Shoes – these Ugg lookalikes are manufactured ethically in Portugal with cruelty free faux suede and fleece lining. Price: $145
2. Fur is F**ked
You can’t throw a rock in Chicago without hitting some yuppy in a Canada Goose coat and it drives me insane. Do you think they know their coat is stuffed with feathers plucked from tortured, live ducks and trimmed with fur from murdered coyotes? Do they care?
Why Not to Buy: On their website, Canada Goose barfs some nonsense about ethical standards in sourcing their materials, but the bottom line is, you can’t get feathers off a goose without pulling them off, and you can’t get fur off a coyote without skinning it.
Instead Try: There are LOTS of great vegan alternatives from brands like Patagonia and North Face, but I recently picked up a long winter coat from Save the Duck and love that animal welfare is at the forefront of their message. Prices vary, but you can grab deals on sites like Shopbob.
3. Woold You Not Wear Wool?
Handmade wool socks and mittens are a classic holiday gift, and “luxury” wools like angora and cashmere hide the cruelty of their industries under a layer of fluffy softness. There are tons of alternatives, of course!
Why Not to Buy: Whether it’s clipped, shaved, or in the cruelest cases, pulled out by the root, there is simply no cruelty-free way to remove fur from a live animal. Plus, think about it – they don’t shave a goat once and then let it live a peaceful life. It’s a commodity. Those animals are kept in horrible conditions, and used over and over again until deemed no longer useful, then sold for meat.
Instead Try: I’m not a knitter per say, but you can find lots of luxury, vegan wool alternatives on Vegan Yarn. Prices vary.
4. Compassion is Punk AF
In high school all I wanted was a leather motorcycle jacket so I could look like The Ramones. If I only knew there were cruelty-free alternatives! Now I rock my vegan leather jacket all year long.
Why Not to Buy: Leather is cow skin, obv. I’ve never seen a cow willingly give up it’s skin, but let me know if you have.
Instead Try: This is another one where you can find tons of cheap “fast fashion” vegan jackets – but for quality, and ethical manufacturing, I recommend The James from ethical vegan coat designer Vaute. Price: $398
5. Be Pretty on the Inside
Make up is ALWAYS on my wish list but navigating the complicated world of parent companies and import-mandated animal testing can be tricky. I tend to skip the whole headache and only shop 100% vegan brands that do not sell in China – side-eyeing you, MAC.
Why Not to Buy: I think it’s pretty obvious why, so instead I’m going to tell you how. Avoid these brands.
Instead Try: Again, there are lots of options! My personal favorites are Lunatick Labs (100% vegan), Kat Von D (cruelty-free with lots of vegan options) and Colourpop (also cf with vegan options). Here’s a list of cruelty-free make up brands, too. Prices vary.
After eleven years of blogging I guess there are still firsts to be had! I’ve never really done a full-blown review here (that I can remember… it’s been a long time!) But, We Love Eyes eye makeup removing oil and eyelid wash are products that I actually buy and use so if anything is review-worthy I figured this was. Long story short, I have a history of eye problems. It’s hereditary, but the older I get the worse they are.
One month, I received a sample of We Love Eyes makeup removing oil in my Petit Vour subscription box and a week into using it, my long-problematic eye cleared up. I’ve been hooked ever since. While I did receive free product to make this video, I am a customer. Please note that some links are affiliate links, too. The sound on this is really low, so please hit the “CC” option for captions.
About We Love Eyes
From safe makeup removal to relief from dry eye & blepharitis symptoms, We Love Eyes is there to do the dirty work. Tea tree infused eye makeup removing oil and eyelid washes remove stubborn eye makeup, and reduce the inflammation caused by these irritants. We Love Eyes products are all natural, vegan, cruelty-free, sulfate-free, paraben-free, phthalate free, fragrance free, retinoid free and free of artificial colors. Need more info? Check out these peer-reviewed studies about the benefits of the key ingredients:
I took a break last year because I felt like with all the turmoil around the election, and all the fundraising civil rights groups were doing it would be hard to compete. But I’m back this year fundraising for Grind for Life.
Shortcut: Donate Now!
For those of you who are new here, I’ve dedicated seven birthdays to fundraising for Grind for Life, a cancer non-profit started by skateboarder Mike Rogers, with a mission to help people with cancer. I ask my friends and family, and a lot of generous folks on the internet, to donate instead of buying me a birthday gift. Over the past several years we’re raised more than $15,000 together.
You can help by donating money, or if you’d rather donate a prize to encourage others to donate money you can do that too. Here’s how:
I’m asking all makers, crafters, business owners, artists, etc. to think about what you might be able to offer as a prize. I generally ask for things that can be shipped (U.S. addresses only), but if you offer a local service (baked goods, hair styling, tattoos, etc) I can do a special drawing for donors who live in your area. In addition to being a great person who helps a great cause, you will also be well-promoted across all of my social media channels.
Interested in donating a prize? Click here to fill out this form! (Feel free to contact me if you have questions about donating, but if you’re ready to offer something, please use the form because this is how I will keep track of what gets promoted!)
**Update on the Wellness House mentioned in the video: Sadly, on 11/29 Grind for Life received word from the property owner that she was no longer interested in selling. Unfortunately this is a major setback for this project, and anyone who donated directly to the Wellness House is being refunded. However, your donations to Grind for Life are still needed, and very much appreciated so they can continue to provide financial assistance to people with cancer and their families! Thank you! **
I grew up with loads of critters – cats, guinea pigs, lizards, snakes, turtles, ducks, sea monkeys galore and a very lazy chocolate lab named Bailey. But it wasn’t until I got a pet of my very own, my fluffy little princess Lulu, that I became a full-blown crazy pet parent. And while I have commissioned portraits of her, started a hashtag with more than 400 photos of her (#luluslater) and allow her to sleep on my head every night, Tony’s the one with a tattoo of her so I think he’s actually more obsessed than I am.
With the holidays right around the corner, I thought I’d delve into this weird new aspect of my personality with a couple of gift suggestions for others who are just as, if not more, obsessed with their pets.
1. Pet Pop Art
Crazy pet parents, like any parents, always have a photo on deck to show anyone who asks about their furry (or feathered, or whatever) friend. If you have someone like this in your life, help them to take it step further, by turning their pet into art. Pop Your Pup can turn any pet into a work of art or apparel. Just send in a few photos, choose a background (they have tacos!), pick your medium and wait one day for your proof. Revise as needed, and in a few more days you will have the gift to end all gifts. Buying for yourself? Outfit the entire family in t-shirts featuring the family pet and send out the most epic holiday card of all time!
Prices range from $29.99 – $199.99
Giveaway alert: Stick around for the end of this post to enter to win a $150 gift card to Pop Your Pup!
2. 3-D wearable Pet Portraits
There are zillions of ways to immortalize your friend or family member’s pet on necklaces or brooches, but I was instantly drawn to the colorful clay portraits made by NicomadeMe. The process involves no paint – rather, layers of colored clay are sculpted into a 3-D portrait of just about any pet. Lizards, birds, cats, dogs – just scrolling through the gallery made me smile.
Prices range from $40 – $75
3. Matching Jammies
Listen, I am not above wearing matching outfits with my dog, but I understand that not everyone is willing to go there. But, matching pajamas? Yeah, that’s something ANY pet owner can get on board with. Pajamagram offers matching jammies for cats, dogs, and the entire rest of your family. I am especially fond of the Norman Rockwell print.
Prices range from $19.99 – $59.99 per outfit
4. The Gift of Prayer
I have a pretty sweet collection of faux prayer candles featuring everyone from Morrissey to Dita von Teese to …uh, myself. But who better to light a candle to than our beloved pets? I found two really cute options – the really affordable $12 custom pet prayer candle from Erin Kayla Designs, and these options from Go Saint Yourself that allow you to create a candle featuring your friend or loved one and their favorite pet. (Check out the Mother and Father options, swapping in a pet for a kid.)
Prices range from $12 – $25
5. For the True Animal Lover
If the person on your shopping list is a true animal lover, they’ll love and appreciate a donation to a local no-kill shelter made in their name just as much, if not more than, anything else on this list. This gift isn’t limited to cats and dogs, either, there are rescues for hamsters, rabbits, snakes, birds – you name it! So use the Google machine and find a worthy center to donate to.
Please note: The Pop Your Pet giveaway from this post is now closed. Please refer to this Instagram post for the winner’s info.
A couple weeks ago I had a cough that wouldn’t go away, so after days of resisting, I finally gave in and took a couple of Primatene tablets. You may or may not know this about me, but I don’t drink or do any drugs, so cough medicine typically gets me pretty drunk. Needless to say, Ephedrine, which is the active ingredient in Primatene, makes me batshit crazy. It was during this Primatene high that I looked up at Tony – up, because I was laying on the floor letting my dog run all over my face – and said, “I’m gonna make lasagna dip.”
Even though I have since sobered up, and gotten over my cough, I’ve been dreaming of lasagna dip ever since. It just so happens that I have also been plotting a Garfield Halloween costume for weeks, so I thought the party I’m attending tonight would be the perfect time to unveil this stoner creation on the world.
Full disclosure – the title of this post isn’t meant to be misleading, but it might be. I said five steps. I didn’t say five “easy” steps. I didn’t say five “quick” steps. I said five steps. Each step is actually a pretty significant amount of work, so Odie bless you if you actually try and make this beast. Someone already asked if you could make this into baked lasagna, and the answer is yes. Just add pasta, and bake.
1. Make the Meat
I wanted to make each layer from scratch, so I skipped the packaged “beef” crumbles and opted to pulse together a combination of walnuts and cauliflower instead. You could also use lentils instead of cauliflower, but I really wanted the seasoning to come through and thought lentils might cover it up.
Get the Recipe
- 3 cups cauliflower florets
- 2 cups whole walnuts
- 1 Tbs Italian seasoning
- 1/2 tsp granulated garlic
- Fennel to taste
Directions: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Pulse all of the ingredients in a food processor until they form a beef-like crumble. Spread onto a greased baking sheet and bake 30 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes to make sure it doesn’t burn.
2. Sauce it Up
You can easily grab a jar of sauce if you don’t want to make your own, but I felt like being a crazy person.
Get the Recipe
- 6 oz. tomato paste
- 6 oz. water
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp fresh basil, chopped
- 1/2 Tbs fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp salt 1 tsp garlic powder 1/2 tsp ground pepper Directions: In a medium pot over medium-high heat, stir together the tomato paste, water and olive oil. Bring to a boil, and allow it to boil for 1 minute. Add salt and pepper to taste, then add the rest of the ingredients. Cover the pot and lower the heat to simmer for 5-8 minutes.
3. A Simple Ricotta
I normally make vegan ricotta from cashews, but since there were already so many nuts going into this dip, I wanted to use tofu instead. I decided not to reinvent the wheel here, and just used Happy Herbivore’s recipe.
4. Tip Top
Choosing toppings is going to be a personal process for you – what do you like in your lasagna? Since I was cooking for a party, I decided not to layer in my favorite lasagna ingredients, but rather to place them on top so anyone who doesn’t like them can bypass them for the rest of the dip. I personally just like some black olives, basil and roasted garlic so I decided to top mine with a vegan pesto, sliced olives and a whole head of roasted garlic.
5. Get Dressed
If you really want to make this a memorable experience, you’ll dress up like Garfield to serve it. I mean, that’s what I’m doing. But, if you want to be lame and just serve it in your lame human form, divide each of the first three components into 2-3 parts and spread them in a shallow glass dish or a glass bowl (so you can see the layers, duh). You’ll see pretty quickly where you might want to add more red or green. I decided to use some ricotta on top so the green pesto would pop.
I know this was a little departure from my usual #FridayFive posts, but it’s what Garfield would want.
Here’s an anecdote that might lead you to believe I am 100 years old: When I was a kid, one of my favorite holiday activities was making clove-studded oranges. It was a wholesome activity that combined three favorite things: clove, buying fruit and not eating it, and stabbing. Yes, along with licorice, another divisive flavor and aroma I obsess over is clove. So let’s dive into five ways to enjoy this spicy, goth AF ingredient:
1. Clove Essential Oil Hard Candy
I fell down a rabbit hole trying to track down clove gum and ended up in this Etsy shop where I have now purchased clove candies three times. You can request organic sugar, which I guess makes eating sugar and essential oil more adult? Clove oil has a fun numbing effect on your mouth – not so much that you’ll slur or drool, but just enough to feel weird and good. One piece of advice – I prefer the circle shape as the more angular shapes break more.
2. Clove Toothpaste
I used to love Lush’s clove Toothy Tabs but they discontinued them a while back! While they still make other blends (like Oral Pleasure, which I wish wasn’t pomegranate because I’d love to use a Pulp Fiction toothpaste) I now have to get my clove fix in powder form from their Atomic Tooth Powder. It’s made with a bunch of my favorite spicy-spices but most importantly, clove. You can also try Dabur Herbal Clove Toothpaste if you aren’t quite ready for tooth powder.
3. Vlad Dracvlea Soap
There isn’t one god damn thing I don’t love about this soap. It’s vegan, it’s beautiful, it’s evil, it’s made with coriander, blood orange, cedarwood and most importantly, clove, and it comes from my favorite scent blending wizard, Virginia of Bath sabbath. If you have ever wanted to rub Vlad the Impaler on your butt, this is the product for you.
4. Elusive Clove Lip Balm
Do you even understand how hard it is to find vegan clove lip balm? Not even Crazy Rumors makes it anymore and they make like 500 flavors! Well after clicking on and being disappointed in about 50 different Etsy sellers (beeswax isn’t vegan, people) I finally found a way to make my lips feel nice and smell spooky.
5. Grocery Store Clove Candle
I thought I’d throw one in that you can probably find at Target. An orange clove candle by Mrs. Meyers, maker of Tony’s favorite cleaning products. It’s a good middle ground if you live with people who aren’t prepared for a woodsier, smokier, all-clove candle. Orange keeps it pretty light and bright, with just enough clove to remind you why you bought it.
A few weeks ago I accidentally told my boss every single thing I know about Richard Speck. It took about 35 minutes. The finale of my story was the fact that the man convicted of torturing, raping and murdering eight nurses was incarcerated 20 minutes from my childhood home, and his ashes were rumored to be scattered in the area.
Let me get something straight. I do not celebrate or admire murderers. In fact, in 1994 when serial killer John Wayne Gacy was executed in my hometown prison (are you starting to understand certain things about me?) I asked my mom to bring me to the impromptu party on the prison grounds but she said no. Fuck him, I wanted to shake my little kid fist angrily in his general direction.
I don’t admire these heinous acts, but I am fascinated by how and why they happen. And I gravitate toward other people with the same fascination. (Yes, I am a Murderino, thanks.) About 15 years ago I bought some iron-on letters and made myself a t-shirt that simply read, “Albert Fish” so that I could seek out and make friends with people who wanted to talk about him and all the completely insane things he did.
And that was the inspiration for this week’s Friday Five – morbid, possibly tasteless conversation pieces. Items that, if worn or displayed, will inspire conversations with your fellow weirdos. If this is not your bag, I completely understand and promise to do another list about candy or vegan dog treats soon. If it is, you’re now my best friend, so let’s get creepy:
1. Jim Jones People’s Temple Punch Purse
Let’s start with a bang, huh? I mean… I really can’t tell you how much I want this purse. Do you know how many cool people will talk to me on the bus when I carry this? Jim Jones, for those of you who are not psychos, was a cult leader responsible for the mass suicide of 918 of his followers – most of them died after drinking cyanide-laced Flavor Aid. If you’re interested in cult behavior and need to carry your keys and a lipstick somewhere, this is the purse for you.
2. Pogo the Clown Decorative Pillow
This is the perfect home accessory for folks obsessed with true crime who don’t necessarily want to hang portraits of serial killers on the walls. Kid-friendly murder memorabilia? Yes! Plus, how cute is this handmade throw pillow? Bonus: My (female) dog humps EVERYTHING. I really enjoy the idea of one of my tiny, fluffy dog defiling this absolute garbage pile of a person’s memory.
3. My Friend Dahmer
This graphic novel by a childhood acquaintance of Jeffrey Dahmer, Derf Backderf, was recently adapted for a film of the same name, which is hitting theaters this fall. I hesitate to say it paints a sympathetic picture of the Midwest’s most notorious cannibal, but it does shed light on some the elements in Dahmer’s life that lead him down his dark path. Perfect bathtub reading.
4. Serial Killer Sreen Prints
OK, now let’s say you’re just the kind of horrible person who is willing to decorate your house with a Pogo the Clown pillow AND portraits of serial killers. Well, then might I suggest these 7″ x 11″ prints from FriendPrices? That little girl who wanted to go dance on John Wayne Gacy’s grave in me really loves seeing these monsters cartoonishly represented in a style that sort of reminds me of the temporary tattoos that came wrapped around sticks of Fruit Stripe gum.
5. My Favorite Murder Stickers
Finally, four low-key ways to identify members of our tribe. These stickers feature some of my favorite quotes from the My Favorite Murder podcast, my all-time favorite being, “You’re in a cult, call your dad.” If you’re uncomfortable wearing or displaying the likeness of an actual murderer, but still want to rep true crime, stick these on your phone cover or laptop and be prepared to exchange knowing glances with other people who know to stay out of the forest.
Note: Some of these links are affiliate links, which means if you click and make a purchase I might earn a comission.