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Now I Know Why Everyone in ‘Troll II’ Hated Eggs (aka Pay Attention to Egg Labels)

June 22, 2015
Mary is judging your egg-buying choices.

Mary is judging your egg-buying choices.

So, you thought you were doing a good thing for the environment, your body, and all your feathered friends by buying eggs that are free-range, cage-free, or vegetarian. Well, just like that emoji-filled text you received from your on-again, off-again fling, egg carton labels also are filled with confusing wording and not-so-clear-cut labels.

What’s an egg-loving, conscious consumer to do? The journey to enjoying a homemade, guilt-free omelet isn’t difficult to embark on, but it is wrought with a lot of research. And since no one has time to do hours of research to figure out what each egg carton label actually means, here’s an uber-quick breakdown of what to look for when you’re shopping for eggs at the market..

What Eggs Should I Buy?

Organic eggs and eggs that feature the Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) labels are, by far, the best.

The Animal Welfare Approved label ensures that hens are treated with the utmost respect and fed well. According to the AWA, the group develops its standards by addressing aspects “of each species’ life-cycle needs from birth to death.” One farm that proudly touts the AWA label is California-based Long Dream Farm.

While the USDA Organic label is totally a boffo label, egg buyers still need to do some research to discover just how “good” the farm the egg’s come from is. According to Organic Authority, the USDA only regulates the hens’ feed and doesn’t really give a flip about their cages. Also: Some certified-organic egg producers still practice debeaking and forced molting. To make certain you’re supporting a farm that truly treats its hens well, check out Cornucopia’s website and consult its organic egg scorecard.

Now, another great option is to simply hoof it down to your local farmers’ market. While many locally produced eggs don’t necessarily have a label, any egg-lover can read about the farm’s egg producing policies by perusing a farm’s website, or buy chatting up the farmer who is selling the eggs.

Questionable Egg Labels

While the pastured label isn’t a terrible label for carton eggs to be adorned with (pasture raised means chickens can graze outside, and that the eggs are, typically, sourced locally — farms aren’t, however required to feed chickens organic feed), the following labels are pretty much worthless:

  • Natural: Natural means nothing. It isn’t a regulatory term, and it requires farms do nothing except produce and sell eggs.
  • United Egg Producers Certified: The Better Business Bureau cracked down on this label due to false advertising claims. The Humane Society reported that in late 2006, “UEP paid a $100,000 fine to settle false advertising claims by 16 state attorney general offices and the Washington, D.C., attorney general.”
  • Free Range: Yes, these chickens have access to the outdoors! But the amount of access? Totally not regulated.
  • Certified Humane: The standards of this label are really unclear, which basically means, they are totally worthless. According to Organic Authority, “the certification does prohibit cages, antibiotics and hormones, it does not ensure outdoor access for chickens and still allows for debeaking, which is typically done without anesthetics.”
  • Cage-Free: These chicks don’t reside in cages, but they also aren’t guaranteed a fresh, clean place to live, and are not guaranteed a life outdoors. Also, many of these hens are fed GMOS, and may be treated with antibiotics or hormones.
  • Vegetarian Eggs: This is probably the most misleading term out there, as chickens are naturally omnivores. Ignore this label unless it comes with an organic label, too. And even then, do your research to find out how these chicks are actually treated on the farm.

So, now that you’re up to date on egg regulations and terminology, you can wow your health conscious date this weekend with your knowledge, and surprise your date with an organic, AWA egg omelette the morning after.

Source: My lovely employers at Organic Authority

Image: schizoform

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Making Kool-Aid Out of a Shit Sandwich

June 15, 2015

I’m sure they do you dirty bastard.

Summer has just about arrived in Lawrence, Kan. and it’s every bit as magical as I remember it years ago…

OK, it’s not magical, really. Thus far, Paul and I’s summer has consisted of the following non-magical, totally mundane, and massively irritating events:

– A terrible move where the moving company overcharged us for bad work.

– A raw sewage flood in the basement.

– A scrambled attempt to find a new home to move into, as our current home became an obvious temporary option.

– Job lost under weird circumstances.

This was basically my reaction after all the above stuff happened.

But all in all, Lawrence is still the somewhat magical and alluringly laid-back city it was when I first arrived here almost seven years ago. Except now, Lawrence is far more enjoyable because I’m no longer busting my ass to get to class on time. I’m just busting my ass to make sure all my clients are happy.

Bad happenings aside, Paul and I are happy we’re here because we’re 1. living together (he’s the best roommate ever), and 2. things have to get better. For real.

And because he and I are banking on our positive attitudes to propel us out of bummerville, I’ve spent time thinking of awesome, cheap things to do that are summer specific. Because if anything can buoy a sour mood, it’s summertime fun.

1. 70s sitcoms and Kool-Aid

Nothing is better than crashing on the couch and watching hours of “The Brady Bunch” while sipping grape, cherry, or lime Kool-Aid. And luckily, because Hulu exists, and I’m an adult and can drink a sugary beverage when I want, I can take part in this bad-ass summertime activity all the time. (For real, I work from home.) While I do plan on legit Kool-Aiding it up this summer, most weekends I’ll probably sub the empty calorie concoction with some club soda, sliced fruit, and vodka — because I’m a responsible adult.

2. Read trash

As a kid, I read Goosebumps all summer long. And as an adult, I plan on finally finishing the Motley Cru book I just found hiding in my grandmother’s car. (No, grandma wasn’t a Cru groupie, I misplaced it last year after my Arizona road trip.) I’m pretty sure my eyes will devour every disgusting inch (dirty) of that book in a few days, so I’d appreciate any other trashy book suggestions.

3. Start a project

In the past, every project I’ve started from June through Aug. was a success. I’m a superstitious person. so I plan on really diving into the few projects I want to succeed in the coming years now. And while I realize that real businesses are much harder to “make” succeed than, say, learning how to apply liquid eyeliner and lipstick, I still have that “can do” attitude that 16-year-old girl had who murdered those makeup tricks many years ago.

4. Watch a ton of horror

Alright. This one horror website started a series called “how to get into horror.” When I first read that headline, I yelled a few fuck-shits and thought “why does one have to learn how to get into horror?!” And then I realized that most younger people don’t have access to the killer VHS selection I picked through when I was a young, curious, soon-to-be-avid horror fan. Every summer, I’d walk down to the local video store and pick three videos a week to rent based on their covers. Then, after a stop at the Quick-Mart to buy three Clearly Canadians and a bag full of Fun Dip, Now and Later, and Starburst, I walked home and got my horror education. This summer, I will further my education in horror (it’s a continuing education, after all), and watch horror films on my streaming services (while also hitting up Liberty Hall), all while eating my current movie snack — tofu fries covered in Sriracha and kale, all chased with a goblet of high-alcohol Rose.

How are all your summer plans turning out? Have any god-awful things happened to you lately? I love terrible stories, so please share. Also: I’m curious — how many people reenact their childhood summer activities? Am I the only loser who does this?

Image: Jamie

How Horror Helped Me Grieve and Made Me the Tough Broad I am Today

October 10, 2014

Pretty proud of this one. My horror origin story, if you will.

HORROR MOVIES UNCUT

Horror movies are great. No, I think everyone who frequents this site thinks horror movies are spectacular. Amazing! We’re all over the moon about horror.

All horror fans have come to love the spooky genre for various reasons. I came to love horror films because they grossed me out as much as they cracked me up. And all those movies reminded me that being alive isn’t so bad. Bad stuff happens, people. (But at least you’re not the one with a knife through your left eyeball.) Through the years, though, my appreciation for scary movies has grown deeper and has helped me get through all that life crap.

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Rad Records and Musical Musing

July 13, 2014
Hi-Fi Records makes me have the happy pants.

Hi-Fi Records makes me have the happy pants.

Over the past few weeks, I wrote a few articles about two local record stores that I love visiting.

Love Garden Sounds resides in Lawrence, Kan., a town I love and adore. I lived there for about eight years while earning my undergrad and graduate degrees. Love Garden has a slew of new and used records at great prices. Also: The store loves Lawrence, local artists and all its customers. Whenever I get the time to make the 40 minute drive to the groovy college town, I do (and then I go broke because I buy all the records).

Hi-Fi Records is ran by two incredibly lovely people who I am lucky to know and call my friends.  This small but quickly expanding record store is in a Olathe, Kan., antique mall. It won’t be long before this store outgrows its space. Kyle and Bettsy will take over the record world soon, I just know it. Between them, they have so much appreciation for the vinyl format and music, as well as love for each other, that they’re unstoppable.

I’ve taken to writing about records lately because I’m rediscovering a format that made me so very happy when I was a kid. During college and into my post-college life (what I like to call a time of confusion and offness), I was turned off by music. I think it was because it made me have the feels, and for a while there, I wasn’t digging on feeling a hell of a whole lot.

Over the last year, I’ve started to rebuild my personal music empire. I enjoy listening to music again — I have 600-plus records in my collection and two turntables, and I couldn’t be happier. I’m even working on two musical projects. Singing and playing the piano (and relearning the guitar, I hope) are two activities that make me incredibly happy and fulfilled. I can’t wait to play an empty bar soon.

If you’re interested in reading the two articles I recently wrote concerning my vinyl addiction, please click on the links below. And if you’re ever in town go to these rad stores:

Love Garden Sounds: One of the Best Record Stores for Vinyl Lovers, via EcoSalon

Hi-Fi Records’ Kyle Maggart seizes the day in Olathe, via The Pitch

Live to Horror Another Day

July 9, 2014
Don't fuck with this bitch.

Don’t fuck with this bitch.

I was contacted by Horror Move Uncut’s site runner about contributing. How could I have said no? I mean, I love horror — and I love writing! Total no brainer. My first foray on the site tackled all the crazy shit that went down in All Cheerleaders Die and how it wasn’t a total feminist disaster.

Read it! It’s fun.

Image: All Cheerleaders Die site

You Callin’ Me a Slut? Yaawwwwn

June 26, 2014

Slut walk

I got to write about one of my favorite topics over at EcoSalon — slut shaming! OK, it’s not my favorite topic, but it’s definitely one that is getting out of control. I’m tired of people telling young women what to wear. And for the last time: If a man or young man is distracted by what a woman wears, that’s on the dude. It’s not the woman’s fault. Ugh, as if!

Anyhow, read my rant on slut shaming here.

Also, I am going to start writing about my favorite record stores and thrifting places! Lucky me. First up, my Love Garden Sounds mini-profile. It should go live in a week or so.

Image: David Shankbone

Project Vintage, Vinyl and Indie

June 7, 2014
And there are even more records now.

And there are even more records now.

Because I’m prone to the sads and the panics, I try to keep myself busy to avoid spending too much time thinking about, say, the amount of money in my bank account. Or when quarterly taxes are due (next week — dammit). Or everything that could possibly happen, but most likely won’t happen, but really, all the bad things could happen, like, all the time.

So, my new project (also known as my yearly goal, or the thing that keeps me on my feet and out of my head) is going to involve me not buying anything new (except for my cruelty-free makeup and hair dye, because I’m pretty sure I am not myself without my candy-apple hair and lips) until January 1, 2015. My other exception: If I find an original piece of art, or a handmade product, I will make the purchase. I am a BIG supporter of independent artists because I am one, duh. So, all you horror artists and such — please get hold of me. I really want to decorate my place with your killer original items.

I’m an avid thrifter, so this shouldn’t be too hard. Also, since I’ve been able to reinstate my vinyl habit (I have my own place and my father finally fixed his 1969 Garrard record player’s problem of not playing), this will include a lot of time searching for reasonably priced vinyl gems of yesteryear to add to my vintage collection. And as I stated before, if I find an awesome piece of vinyl from an independent artist, or from a small company just trying to reissue some amazing tunes, that will be fair game, too.

I’m hoping to write posts about the wonderful things I find via a new site I’m working for, Ecosalon, but even if my column doesn’t pan out their, I still want to embark on my “slightly used/wonderfully original but swell” journey soon. To brand my journey (because what are we without a brand), I’m going to call this endeavor ginchy grabs. Because everything that’s original, or finds a second loving home, is incredibly sexy, don’t you think?

So, do you have any favorite vintage shops I should know about? Any artists I should visit? Please let me know at ginchywords@gmail.com.