May Update

Experience spring in the south: It’s refreshing to experience spring in Ontario!* We had some unusual winter weather last month and even a terrible ice storm in the middle of April. The past two weeks, the leaves are finally coming out. It’s so nice to drive down the street and notice how green everything has become!

Updating teaching blog: I have not been focused on classroom teaching this year, which has been a nice break. I recently updated my teaching blog name from “A Sine of Madness” to “Math with Ms. Tong.” I was afraid that ‘madness’ might be a pejorative term. Oddly, in all the time that I’ve used that name, no one has suggested that to me, even when I asked on Twitter.

Not being vegan: I was eating fairly consistently eating as a vegan at the end of 2017, but when I started dating back in January, it all went out the window. I still don’t know have too many adult friends in the Kitchener-Waterloo area and ultimately want to fit in. Well, to be honest, I’m probably just being selfish. Groceries are still vegan but when I go out, I’m putting butter on my Tim Horton’s bagels (just not cream cheese).

Travel: I have a plane ticket to go to Portland, Oregon – which I first visited a few years ago – for four days! Will be there to see my cousin from Hong Kong. My sister will be meeting there too.

Substitute teaching and kids’ yoga: Going well. I’m still taking Wednesdays off to teach yoga at an elementary school. Two more session of yoga!

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*It was 6 year sago since I first moved up north


(More) October Updates

Eating Vegan: Even though I’ve stopped buying a lot of animal products, I haven’t been doing that well with being vegan. I caved and ate pizza yesterday at the Katy Perry concert in Toronto (actually had dinner at Chipotle, without eating cheese there, but got really hungry a couple of hours later and ran out of choices at the Air Canada Centre). I hadn’t eaten pizza in many weeks prior!

Meditation: I restarted Headspace again! Two years ago, I actually was doing it every day for 6 months. I’m restarting it and realized that I actually miss Andy’s voice! I really enjoy guided meditation and not doing it by myself. Currently on a 10-day plan for “Acceptance”.

Salary assessment: I am starting out the salary assessment process in Ontario. I got an updated letter of experience from the Cree School Board and also sent in transcripts from the University of Toronto.

Reading: Sooooo excited to pick up a few holds at the Waterloo library tomorrow. I can’t wait to get my hands on The Little Book of Hygge

Hope everyone had a good weekend!

Not So Vegan Make-up

While I was researching vegan make-up products on the internet, I found lots of blogs promoting the brand Physician`s Formula. This is an affordable drugstore brand of make-up that is available at Shopper`s Drug Mart, Rexall or Walmart. The vegan blogs I`ve read warned that some of their products have beeswax and carmine.

However, a lot of the information seems rather unclear. I inquired about my blush, which, when I purchased it, I had checked the ingredient list and didn`t remember seeing anything unusual. I`ve been using it for nearly two years now.

Last week, I decided to do a quick check. I sent an email and got this response:

Thank you for taking the time to contact Physicians Formula.  We appreciate you taking the time to contact us with your question.  Although we do not claim “vegan” we do not use animal bi-products in any  of our cosmetics. You will be happy to know that Physicians Formula does not conduct any tests, or commissions any outside facility to conduct tests that involve the use of animals

The safety of our products is established using such alternate methods as “in-vitro” testing, human clinical evaluations and human use-trials under the supervision of a Board Certified Dermatologist.

We hope this information was helpful.  We appreciate your interest in our products and hope to have the opportunity to be of service to you in the future.  For any  further inquiries please contact us at 1-800-227-0333 and one of our Consumer Relations associates will be happy to assist you.

I was pretty miffed that they would waste my time by copying and pasting a passage I had already read on the website! I wrote a complaint about the first email and got a second response.

The product is not consider vegan due to containing carmine.

Ok, great. So my blush is not even close to vegan. It’s made with carmine, which is basically squished bugs. I can’t say I’m a finicky person and having ingested gelatin accidentally, I wouldn’t pretend that I want to throw up just from finding that out. However, I just have no interest in using this anymore. I am annoyed with Physician’s Formula and the fact that they mark their products on their website as cruelty-free when they actually aren’t.


I also found another make-up blog that complained Physician’s Formula simply stopped responding to the blogger’s email. So I appreciate companies like Tarte and Urban Decay that are transparent and clearly mark their items as vegan. But this just reaffirms the headache of having to do all the research and figuring out what products are cruelty-free and which are not. Sighhhhh.

Maybe I should just buy from vegan companies, like 100% Pure**. It would make life soooo much easier.

Testing Out Vegan Make-up Products

Update: Found out that the blush is not vegan and is made with carmine. ARGH.

Since I dropped some big money on Sephora recently and am home alone for another weekend, I played around with my make-up this morning. I’ve got a good record at being TERRIBLE at make-up, so I need lots of practice. Here’s what I used this morning:

For application:

All the products I used today were completely vegan except my mascara from Lancome, whose parent company L’Oréal still tests on animals. I don’t know if the product is vegan itself, but I’ve never given a cent to Lancôme. This was my friend’s unused free samples which I nabbed a while ago. Eventually, I’ll buy a vegan mascara but I try hard not to create waste and just use up old products first, even if they weren’t cruelty-free.

As a vegetarian trying to be vegan, this is a reminder that many of us are trying to move in the right direction, so don’t be judgmental and rude if not everything we use isn’t vegan! This is progress for me in a lot of ways, so support others who are doing the same.

It’s gonna take a few years, but eventually I’d like to phase out the products from non-vegan companies (except Urban Decay, because they’re really moving in the right direction!). Like I said, it’d be wasteful to throw out products that I have. It’s too bad it’s such a headache to do all this research!!