Tag Archives: incitytimesworcester.org

In 2015: What Worcester City Council candidates NEED to discuss

By Gordon T. Davis

Oversight of the Worcester Police Department 

Oversight of the police does not mean that the police are doing anything bad. It does mean that what the cops do should be transparent to the residents of Worcester.

Right now not even the police can say that their efforts are successful or effective or not. It is unlikely that the City will set up such oversight, given Worcester City Councilor Konstantina Luke’s petition of support for the police department. The WPD should be overseen, if for no other reason than for the Worcester City Council to fulfill its duty to set policy.  How can policy be set if no one can say for certain what is going on?

Perhaps with the Ferguson demonstrations of 2014, a non-governmental agency will find the political strength to oversee the WPD’s policy.

The Start of the School to Jobs Pipeline.

There has been a lot of talk about a school to prison pipeline. This “pipeline”  has a disparately negative impact on the dark-skinned and poor children of Worcester. It is certainly true that more school discipline is being resolved by police arrests,  adversely affecting many students. It is a certainty that no Worcester city council candidate will talk about the school to prison pipeline.

It is time to talk about the school to jobs pipeline. There are many groups in the city that work with children, providing mentoring and other help. These groups include the United Way, CAC, YWCA, YMCA, The Friendly House and many others.  It might be time to coordinate these efforts and have the different agencies work in a more coordinated manner to make sure every child gets what she or he needs to graduate high school, become gainfully employed and lead a successful life. Every child at risk should have a mentor, and every child should have something worthwhile to do after school.

The Franchise for Worcester Residents

Many Worcester residents are not citizens of the United States. Neither Massachusetts nor Worcester has citizens; the people who live here are residents. Which means that some residents of Worcester cannot vote in Worcester only elections such as  the City Council and School Committee races.   A large proportion of the City’s residents are not represented by the City Council, although Councilors will say they listen to everyone.  Residents of Worcester who cannot vote send their children to the Worcester Public Schools, have their streets plowed by the Worcester  DPW and PAY TAXES, just like citizens. This seems to violate the principle of the American Revolution: “No taxation without representation.” Although unlikely to be taken up by any Worcester political candidate, I look forward to this discussion.

Bill Coleman 

I hope to see William (Bill) Coleman run for Worcester City Council again. He and I disagree when it comes to our world outlooks, but we agree on so many of the details. Such as the need to mitigate the harm done to families when a family member becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol.

Bill is one of the most knowledgeable people I know when it comes to Worcester or the political history of the City of Worcester. More so than several of our present city councillors. I think if elected he will surprise us all in a good way!

Green Island gets twinkle-y

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Holiday story by Lorraine Laurie

‘Twas the 12th of December in Woo’s Kelley Square and cars were all whizzing to go here and there. The people had gathered round a tree tall and full to sing Christmas carols and “God Bless America,” too. As the countdown began the crowd grew and grew and when the counting was through the tree had a multi-colored hue. And what would this ceremony really be without smiles and pictures and sitting on Santa’s knee.

And here we recall in the InCity Times all the memorable events that come to our minds. The event began in the year ‘88 and was the wonderful idea of a lady who said let’s set the date to do caroling and light a tree near the square that most people say they really do hate. The lady was Anne Bacinskas and she lived on Washington Street named after our first president, a most respected man. According to her great nephew Thomas F. Zidelis, Anne was proud of her City and her neighborhood, too. The Tree Lighting Ceremony was a special thing to do.

The tree the first year was huge and was gladly donated by a former Islander from Sigel Street who really made good by heading a bank and volunteering. too. During the first years when the ceremony was still new, there were a few glitches that had to be worked through. Since the huge tree was brought in to this windy site, anchoring it down was a job for more than a few. One year the tree toppled and it took quite a crew from the Green Island / Vernon Hill CDC and the Hotel Vernon, too. They held up the tree and tried to straighten it out and found it was much more than they could do., no doubt. To the rescue came a neighbor from nearby Lafayette Street, Murhall Sign, who did the job that the men were unable to do.

Then there was the weather that sometimes got in the way. Caroling is fun but at 2 degrees, no way! But as the old saying goes “the show must go on.” The only time the event was cancelled was in the early ‘90’s when ice storms came in not one week, but two. The tree was decorated and the candy was bought, but the goodies were not wasted. The CDC visitors said it really hit the spot.

Most of the time the location was the same of the glorious ceremony that in early December regularly came. One year it was moved to a nearby spot so that gas tanks could be installed on the Madison Street lot. Then in 1994 a grant was received and a “miracle” happened. A real tree was planted .a Spruce for that matter. Ornaments from the children from the neighborhood decorated the branches and its beauty shown through.
Over the next few years the tree grew and grew and in 1997 it was ready for something new. The Annual Kelley Square Christmas Tree Ornament Contest came into being and the neighborhood businesses had the spirit of giving. The homemade ornaments came from the students from St. Mary’s Elementary and the Norrback students who were temporarily using the Millbury Street School building. There were stockings with Teddy Bears and balls with ribbons but the clear bells were chosen as the 1st place winner. Sr. Dorothea, Principal of St. Mary’s School assembled a chorus who really came through. They attended the ceremony and made people cheer when their voices were raised so loud and clear. The contest continued for a number of years as the tree grew and grew bigger each year.

Some ornaments stood out like a dog biscuit sleigh and reindeer, an ornament made from a small lamp shade entitled “Alice in the Lampshade” and angels and more angels and more angels. A single reindeer made from dog biscuits was the favorite of David Matyczynski , a nearby resident. This feature writer who was the coordinator of the contest, surprised David one day by giving him the tiny reindeer and he still has it in his possession. The tree and the lighting ceremony continued to grow bigger and bigger but eventually interest dwindled for the ornament contest and it was discontinued.

The Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony had its special moments to remember. The weather was always a concern. It was in 2005 that a blizzard hit Worcester. It snowed until early afternoon that day. It stopped and the sun glistened on the new fallen snow. And do you think the ceremony was cancelled? No way.

Winkie Magnuson drove Lorraine Laurie, the ceremony coordinator around to pick up the donated goodies. The car went at a snail’s pace but was able to make it to its destination. Winkie and Lorraine climbed snow banks on Water Street to get cookies from Widoff’s and chocolate Santa lollipops from Prifti’s on Green Street. Getting the junior pies at Table Talk on Washington Street was more of a challenge because of the hill, but the adventurous pair reached their destination and brought back the delicious pies. What about the snow covering the ceremony area? It was shoveled by District 4’s City Councilor Barbara G. Haller. Another year, there was a terrible ice storm in the area. Roads were treacherous, trees and limbs were down and many areas experienced power outages. Green Island had power and Kelley Square was passable. The ceremony took place, the tree was lit and State Rep. John Fresolo led the audience in singing “God Bless America.” Like any “show” there are other types of glitches.

A few years ago, District City Councilors Sarai Rivera and Phil Palmieri were about to light the tree by flicking the switch of the generator. Nothing happened. Seth Derderian of Joseph’s Lock & Safe Co., Inc. came to the rescue and the tree was aglow with all its splendor. And just like the award shows on TV, there were costumes glitches. One year while taking off the boot tops with his shoes on, Santa split the toppers in several directions. Who came to the rescue the following year, local package store owner Bob Largess and his neighbor in Sutton, Helen, who was a seamstress made new boot tops and these were so special. They closed with Velcro and were easy to get on and off. Just last year, Ron W. Holbrook, Jr., our second generation Santa succeeded in the job held for many years by his father, Ronnie W. Holbrook, Sr. had trouble with the black Santa belt. It was too long. Helper Dottie Hargrove stapled it and hoped it would help. This year there will be plenty of “Mega Clips. “

Since Green Island is an old and caring community, it truly is concerned about happenings in Worcester and in the World. Each year it remembers the 6 Fallen Firefighters who perished in the Worcester Cold Storage Warehouse fire on Friday, December 3, 1999. The Tree Lighting Ceremony was more than halfway through when someone noticed smoke in the northern direction. Little did anyone imagine the tragic event to follow. The very next week, the tradition of placing six red ribbons on the northern side of the tree facing Kelley Square began and still continues today. A seventh ribbon was added after the December 8, 2011 tragic fire on Arlington Street that claimed the life of yet another firefighter. Also, to show American pride and strength after the September 11, 2001 attack, each ceremony begins with the singing of “God Bless America.”

Over the years Santa arrived at his destination by foot, by car, by stage coach and by wagon. What a treat it was to see Santa waving from a white 2 door Cadillac coup de ville nicknamed “Snow flake.” What a sight it did make!
And thanks to the sponsors of this great event. Though they have changed over the years the ceremony is done with the same intent. First there was the Green Island/ Vernon Hill Community Development Corporation, name later changed to the Canal District CDC In December 2006, the Green Island Residents Group, Inc. stepped in to keep the event going. They asked the business to help more and more and the Canal District Alliance, Inc. and the Canal District Business Association became part of the team. As Bob Largess who was involved from the beginning says “It is the event where the Canal District shows off its Green Island heritage.”

So good people of the neighborhood and the Woo, join us at Kelley Square. yes please do. See the 30 ft. tree decorated as only they could do. Thanks Lenny and Don and Mike and Coghlin’s too. And to end this story I paraphrase St. Nick “Merry Christmas to all. Please join us this night.”

On the road today …

… working on InCity Times, listening to some very solid rock ‘n’ roll by the Counting Crows. I’ve always liked their CD – AUGUST AND EVERYTHING AFTER.

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Here’s a song from it. (What’s one of the biggest perks of owning ICT? Spending my work days outdoors and driving in the car with Jett, listening to music! … So much incredible music, millions of songs … . I want to hear them all!!)

Why 2014 was a good year for animals

 

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Jett supports PETA!

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President’s message – PETA 

By Ingrid Newkirk

Dear Friends,

2014 was another banner year for PETA and the animals we defend.

As described by The Saratogian’s horse-racing columnist, PETA’s first-of-its kind eyewitness investigation of horse drugging at Saratoga Race Course and Churchill Downs “exploded like a nuclear bomb in the racing community.”

In February, our mobile veterinary clinics division celebrated its 100,000th surgery.

In a major victory for baby seals—won with PETA’s help—the World Trade Organization upheld the European Union’s ban on seal fur imports, a landmark step toward protecting animals under international trade law.

The shocking footage from our wool industry exposé has been viewed 3.8 million times, and more than 65 apparel companies have begun displaying our new “PETA-Approved Vegan” logo in response to consumer demand for animal-friendly clothing!

We managed to get 18 bears who had been imprisoned in concrete pits or cells moved to beautiful sanctuaries, where they now enjoy fresh air and grass beneath their feet.

Thousands of people on three continents heard PETA’s message of compassion in person as a result of my “Naked Truth” wake-up tour. Following a speech at Harvard Law School by the PETA Foundation’s director of animal law about the cruelty of SeaWorld, the Harvard Law Record—the oldest law school newspaper in the nation—wrote: “Orca captivity is barbaric, inhuman and a gross violation of the rights of a highly intelligent and deeply feeling creature. The work of people like [the PETA Foundation’s director of animal law] makes apparent that generations to come will one day look upon such practices with eyes filled with shame and disgust.”

PETA’s strong outreach efforts among the fastest-growing demographic in the U.S.—the Latino community—reached millions. PETA Latino’s website was visited by more than 10 million people, our Spanish-language “Glass Walls” agribusiness exposé was viewed by more than 1.3 million people …

CLICK HERE to read more!

InCity Yum Yums by Chef Joey

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Chef Joey: Gorgeous! And talented, too!  He loves to hear you’re trying his recipes! Any recipe/story ideas? Comments? Please email them to Chef Joey, care of incitytimes@hotmailcom

Holiday column: SUGAR PLUMS!

By Chef Joey

‘Twas the issue before Christmas and all through the city, people were waiting to read my latest ditty.  The juries were hung in the courthouse; who cares?! While many others took elevators and didn’t use the stairs! … I could go on rhyming, but I don’t have “A Christmas Carol” to write for my children, just an interesting article about the holidays. So, let’s start with the music then move on to the food:

Google tells me that the Christmas hymns that we know have origins dating back to the fourth century Rome. Latin hymns such as Veniredemptor gentium, written by Ambrose, Archbishop of Milan, were theological statements. Corde natus ex Parentis (Of the Father’s love begotten) by the Spanish poet Prudentius (d. 413) is still sung in some churches today! Thousands of years and no royalties!
In the ninth and tenth centuries, the Christmas “Sequence” or “Prose” was introduced in North European monasteries.  They developed a sequence of rhymed stanzas with the guidance of Bernard of Clairvaux. Leave it to the French!  The French took it up a notch in the twelfth century with Adam of St. Victor, a Parisian monk, deriving music from popular songs, creating what is now closer to traditional Christmas carols.
In the thirteenth century, in France, Germany, and mostly Italy, a strong tradition of popular Christmas songs in the native language developed under the influence of Francis of Assisi (yes the Patron Saint of Animals!). Christmas carols in English first appear in a 1426 work of John Awdlay, a Shropshire chaplain, who lists twenty five “caroles of Cristemas,” probably sung by groups of ‘wassailers’, who went from house to house.

Ok, let’s stop at WASSAILERS!  The word actually has two categories!  One means people that go door to door singing Christmas songs and the other stands for: the ones who went to the English Apple Orchards and sang to the trees so they would produce a good cider!  Ironically, Hard Cider is in vogue in the USA while still popular in Europe.

So in sum, the songs we know specifically as carols were originally communal songs sung during celebrations like harvest tide as well as Christmas. It was only later that carols were sung in church and were specifically associated with Christmas.

So that moves me up to Christmas! Songs like “Jingle Bells”: Written in America – right here in Medford, Massachusetts!  James Lord Pierpont came up with the song and published it under the title “One Horse Open Sleigh” in the autumn of 1857. Even though it is now associated with Christmas and holiday season, it was actually written for Thanksgiving.  Apparently, Thanksgiving snow is popular.  And the term “Jingle Bells” came to be because there were many sleighs, and putting bells on horses was the only way they could avoid collisions, since there were no other external noises like Pandora or sirens!

The song “Jingle Bells” was often used as a drinking song at parties: people would jingle the ice in their glasses as they sung. The double-meaning of “upsot” was thought humorous, and a sleigh ride gave an unescorted couple a rare chance to be together, unchaperoned, in distant woods or fields, with all the opportunities that afforded. Sleigh rides were the nineteenth-century equivalent of taking a girl to a drive-in movie theatre in the 1950s and early 1960s, so there was a somewhat suggestive and scintillating aspect to the song that is often now unrecognized.  Thought you might like to know that and now you too can bear my curse of the song.

I could continue about Christmas songs, but this is a food column. So let’s move on to traditional food and the fun “Puddings” and “Cakes” talked about by authors over the years.

Christmas pudding has its origins in medieval England and is sometimes known as plum pudding or Christmas Pudding or just “pud,” though this can also refer to other kinds of “boiled pudding” involving dried fruit. Despite the name “plum pudding,” the pudding contains no actual plums due to the pre-Victorian use of the word “plums” as a term for raisins. The pudding is composed of many dried fruits held together by egg and suet, sometimes moistened by corn syrup or molasses and flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and other spices. The pudding is aged for a month or even a year; the high alcohol content of the pudding prevents it from spoiling during this time.  No wonder it was so popular – flammable dinners!

What we know about the current story telling Puddings is they took their present day form in Victorian England. The pudding’s origins can be traced back to the 1420s, to two sources. It was as a way of preserving meat at the end of the season. Because of shortages of hays or grains, all excess livestock were slaughtered in the fall. The meat was then kept in a storage container along with dried fruits acting as a preservative. The resultant large “mince pies” could then be used to feed hosts of people, particularly during the festive season.

The chief ancestor of the modern pudding, however, was the pottage, a meat and vegetable concoction originating in Roman times. This was prepared in a large cauldron, the ingredients being slow cooked, with dried fruits, sugar and spices added. In the 15th century, Plum pottage was a sloppy mix of meat, vegetables and fruit served at the beginning of a meal.  So there you have it “Christmas Pudding” unmasked.

So instead of sugar plums dancing in your head…make some! They are an easy and a great alternative to making cookies as there is no baking and it’s fast and easy – and can be served immediately! They last for about a month when stored in a Zip-lock plastic bag or other container.

Here is a simple and fast way to make a new Christmas tradition for your family.

SUGAR PLUMS!

Ingredients:

• 6 ounces slivered almonds, toasted
• 4 ounces dried plums
• 4 ounces dried apricots
• 4 ounces dried figs
• 1/4 cup powdered sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon anise seeds, toasted
• 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, toasted
• 1/4 teaspoon caraway seeds, toasted
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
• Pinch kosher salt
• 1/4 cup honey
• 1 cup coarse sugar

Place the figs, almonds, apricots, and plums into a food processorand pulse up to 25 times or until the fruit and nuts are chopped into small pieces, but before the mixture becomes a solid mass.

Combine the powdered sugar, cardamom, and all the seeds and salt in a medium mixing bowl.

Add the nut and fruit mixture and the honey and mix – preferably wearing gloves until well combined.

Use a small scoop and form the mixture into 1/4-ounce portions and roll into balls.

If serving immediately, roll in the coarse sugar and serve. If not serving immediately, put the balls on a cookie cooling rack and leave uncovered until ready to serve.

Roll in the coarse sugar prior to serving.

I hope all your dreams come true this holiday season! Remember: the little things can make the biggest impact!

Best wishes to all of you!

We’re officially off break and have just begun working on the next issue of InCity Times …

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Rosalie heading out to sell ICT ads! January  2, 2015.

… We hit the stands next Friday! I am so glad our beloved Ronny O’Clair is back with us! (see post below! ) I missed his colorful, sharp writing! And we’ve got newbie Gordon Davis to join our merry band of pranksters!  And relative new comer Chef Joey has inspired me to actually open the oven door and bake! Fun!

There are so many great contributing writers who make InCity Times shine.  Believe it or not, I reject a lot of interns who want to work with me because their writing is so lackluster. (What’s up with our colleges?) The writers I choose to showcase in the pages of ICT may not have a college degree or a perfect, bull-shitty resume. They may live in the ghetto like me. Their vehicles, like mine, may clank and clunk thru the streets of Worcester. . .. But they have real ability, raw TALENT. They just getcha from the get-go!

So here’s to a rollicking 2015! Write on, ICT!! Write on!

– Rosalie Tirella

My wish for 2015: we support local and state police departments throughout our country

By Ron O’Clair

It is my wish for the upcoming year that we here in Worcester can lead the rest of the nation into a new era of racial equality, respect for each other, regardless of what is on the outside, and show by example that support for Law Enforcement is a bedrock principle of our Democracy.

The shameful displays of disrespect for authority without valid reason, as in the Michael Brown case in Ferguson, Missouri, and the associated shootings of officers in various locales trying to be justified by the evildoers as “revenge” for Mike Brown shows how twisted our social norms have become in America.

If you are going to exercise your right to protest an injustice, make damn sure there was an injustice in the first place.

The protesting college students who caused traffic tie ups and inconvenience but did not escalate to looting and burning here in Worcester all clung to that tired old “Hands up, don’t Shoot!” mantra,  even though it has been proven beyond a shadow of doubt that the bullets all entered Brown from the front of his arms. How then could the hands have been raised?

Officer Wilson faced an extremely aggressive thug who had become accustomed to getting his way by using his bulk and brawn as a weapon of intimidation. Forcing the store clerk to let him leave with the box of cigars proved that.

All the evidence is in favor of Law Enforcement on this issue, yet people have been blinded by hatred. People see only in black and white and still cling to the notion that a crime was committed against Michael Brown by officer Darren Wilson.

I pray that 2015 brings about change, and that we as a nation can all see that we absolutely need to support our local and state police forces throughout our country. Hold them accountable if they break the law themselves, but we need to support the concepts of Truth, Justice and the American way at the same time.

No system is perfect, and mistakes are made that cost innocent lives on occasion – that is a sad truth about any system of justice.

The proliferation of illegal drugs in our society, along with chronic alcoholism, has spawned a subculture of malcontents who fail utterly to do their civic duty to help the police eradicate crime in their communities.

My D-Day inspired campaigns that I have undertaken each 6th of June for several years has made an impact on my crime-infested neighborhood here in the 700 Block of Main Street (across from the former PIP) primarily because I employed a new weapon in my arsenal of Democracy. A video camera. For several months now I have been making videos of nefarious activities in my Main South neighborhood and posting them on You Tube. I installed a security camera system on my building, which I manage for the landlord, and that video camera records all activity up and down the street. It has also helped curb illegal activity.

I have been at various times branded as a “snitch” because I believe it is a citizen’s duty to cooperate with law enforcement and intervene whenever possible to halt crimes in progress and follow that through with an appearance in court, if needed, to convict the guilty. Those who refer to me as a ‘snitch’ have no concept of honor. They are part of the subculture that is destroying our country, one crime ridden area at a time.

My long and continuous battle against overwhelming odds has borne fruit, and my neighborhood has improved, rather than declined further. My unorthodox methods have had an impact on the lives of those in the area, including ones who were part of the problem. My “Zombie Walk” video was responsible for getting the girl in it, Samantha [last name withheld], into treatment for drug addiction  and perhaps will lead to a reconciliation with her family,  if she is successful in treatment. If she fails, I will unlock the video of her that went viral with 114,766 views in the 10 days. I posted it and it brought attention to the problem of drug addiction in our neighborhood – as was my intent in filming it. Case closed. But it brought me a lot of condemnation from various quarters. But it was ultimately directly responsible for the girl getting the help she so obviously needed in dealing with her drug dependency issues!

Two of the other of the worst of the worst daily offenders on my videos have been clean and sober for quite some time now. Hopefully, I will be able to attend the January 27th ceremony recognizing six solid months of recovery for Wanda, whom I had prosecuted for breaking into my truck so she could get out of the cold and get some sleep after a day’s long crack cocaine binge. The Judge who sentenced her will be on hand to present her with her coin. I certainly hope she and her boyfriend Mike [last names withheld] can remain clean and sober until that time, and far beyond.

That would not have happened if not for my video-taping efforts, and I am grateful that both Wanda and Mike have thanked me in person for my efforts on their behalf. Now that they are drug free, they can see why I do what I do. Most of those who currently condemn me will come to understand my motivation is for the benefit of all Worcesterites, not one or another subset, race or culture.

I stand firmly on the side of law enforcement.

Here is hoping that 2015 brings about a new era focusing on recovery for those addicted to drugs and alcohol and more cooperation between the public and police throughout communities in America.

Today we’ll be shopping cruelty-free at the Auburn Mall

Like you, I got some gift cards for Christmas.  I’ll be at the Auburn Mall today “cashing my chips in,” but I’ll be patronizing  CRUELTY-FREE STORES or looking for cruelty-free goodies in shops. For example, I adore FOREVER 21! Pretty jewelry, clothing, etc for DIRT CHEAP. And no animals are killed to make many of their purses, belts, etc. Check the tags, please!

Here, from PETA, are other mall stores, most at the Auburn Mall and, I’ll bet, at the mall in your ‘hood, that DO THE RIGHT THING AND SELL CRUELTY-FREE PRODUCTS.

The world, thankfully, is changing. Global retailers are not the enemy. Many global retailers are educating themselves … learning to support the environment and their workers, to shun the brutal fur and leather industry … . Sure, they wanna jump on a cool trend and make a lot of dough, but they, I believe, want to do the good thing, too.  Because of new minimum wage laws in America/Massachusetts and workers movements like FIGHTING FOR FIFTEEN, wages are going up. This is a GREAT thing for our economy. More dough for workers = more spending = more robust American economy, which is pretty much driven by the good ol’ American consumer!

Support companies that are ringing in the New Year RIGHT – respecting workers and leaving tortured, dead rabbits, cows, snakes, dogs, outa the picture!    – R. Tirella

From PETA .ORG …

The Body Shop

This company’s products are 100 percent vegetarian (watch out for nonvegan ingredients) and are not tested on animals.

Body Shop Mist

Shea Body Mist

Loofah mitt Body Shop

Smooth and Renew Body Loofah Mitt

Paul Mitchell

Almost every product of this company is vegan, with a few exceptions.

Paul Mitchell Collection kit

Pink Out Loud! Collection Kit

Paul Mitchell Wash

Lemon Sage Energizing Body Wash

Aveda

Aveda is a cruelty-free company and offers many vegan options. You can find Aveda’s nonvegan products listed here.

Aveda

 CLICK HERE to see all the other stores and products!