Style

Cruelty-free: the new cool?

Why is it that all the beautiful handbags are made of leather? And often, if it’s not made of leather, it looks cheap or unfashionable. No longer: Meet chic new fashion label Freedom of Animals, which produces 100 percent green and cruelty-free luxury handbags. Their elegant white-and-black PETA X Freedom of Animals Ina Tote, in particular, donates 20 percent of proceeds of each sale to PETA. Elle.com recently interviewed the founders for their thoughts on their inspiration, why sustainable fashion still lags behind, and their hopes for fashion’s future.

Luckily, cruelty-free design, while still not ubiquitous, is gaining its cool factor and becoming easier to find than ever before …

What’s your animal’s name?

One of the best parts about adopting a new animal into the family is naming him or her! It’s so fun to play with words, read baby name books and even hit the web in search of the perfect fit. My youngest sis recently did just that: She and her husband welcomed home two eight-month-old sister kittens from the local shelter. They finally decided on two beautiful names: Tig (the leader kitten, after the comedian Tig Notaro) and Quinn (they wanted a beautiful one-syllable Irish name).

A few weeks ago, all the top name lists for 2014 came out: top baby names of 2014, popular puppy names of 2014, and most popular kitten names 2014. If you’re looking to name a new furry family member, these are great places to start your search.

As for me, I’ve been honored to be able to name five animal family members over the years. Here are their names and how they came to be …

5 pet safety tips for the holidays

Dear friends, I just adore how you treat your animals not like pets, but as genuine family members. That’s why I’m sharing the following tips—so we can make sure our fur babies don’t get into too much trouble while we are busy feasting and merry-making! You might already know everything on this list, but it doesn’t hurt to take a fresh look and keep the following in mind. Here’s to you and your animals having a happy (and healthy) holiday!

1. Just say no to holiday scraps: We all know not to give table scraps to our furry four-legged friends, but sometimes that begging look in their eyes is just too tempting! If you simply must share something special …

Cutest vegan shoes

I gave up buying leather shoes a few years ago and never looked back. Vegan shoes get a bad rap, so at first I thought there would be slim pickings when it came to stylish, cruelty-free footwear. Boy was I wrong: I’ve found so many wonderful, comfortable (and popular!) options from innovative companies and designers entering the animal-friendly fray. Even celebrities like Anne Hathaway, Alicia Silverstone and Natalie Portman have been known to flaunt their ethical footwear.

I discovered my favorite pair of vegan boots by Madden Girl tucked inside a cute boutique in New York City called MooShoes. I absolutely love wearing them! But if you’re always on the lookout for vegan shoes like me, these other companies are worth a look, too …

The surprising story behind my dragon tattoo

I never, ever thought I’d get a tattoo. Not that I had anything against tattoos, but in my world, having a tattoo never even crossed my mind.

Maybe because I was kind of a nerd in school. My best friend was a dog. I played on the badminton team in high school (go Saints!). I got straight As and went to a top-tier university. I worked and got married and had a kid.

But then.

In 2011, I received the shocking diagnosis that I had breast cancer. Everything started happening so fast. …

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