Ethical Business Spotlight: Sunflower Diner

Hello again!

This week’s Ethical Business Spotlight features Hayette Bouras, Co-Owner of the all-vegan Sunflower Diner in Asheville, North Carolina! Discover more about Sunflower Diner’s journey to create scratch-made, vegan comfort food!

Let’s jump right into the interview!

Sunflower Diner, Asheville, North Carolina

1. What inspired you to create Sunflower Diner and what makes it unique?

Sunflower Diner is the culmination of a lifetime of interests for me. I have always been a lover of food and health and spent 20 years working in many different restaurants. Having been a vegetarian since age 7, it wasn’t until a few years ago that a nutrition course in college inspired me to go vegan. Sunflower Diner is unique in that it is the only 100% vegan diner in the area and that it is situated in an awesome local natural foods market.

Loaded Baked Potato Soup IG @sunflowerdineravl

2. Your IG feed features mouthwatering dishes like cornbread waffles with organic sweet potato and black bean chili, tacos with maple dijon seitan crumbles, Cuban sandwiches, baked goods, burgers, pancakes, and much more. If you had to choose just one menu item to represent what Sunflower Diner is all about, which would it be and why?

So hard! The mission of Sunflower Diner is to create vegan comfort food that anyone can enjoy, regardless of dietary preference. With that in mind, I really love our Westside Hot Mess dish. It’s one of our fluffy coconut cream biscuits, smothered in our savory mushroom gravy, topped with our tofu scramble, drizzled with our sunflower-cashew queso sauce and served with a vegan sausage pattie. It’s so comforting and yummy.

3. On October 1st, you celebrated Sunflower Diner’s one year anniversary. Congrats! What has been the biggest challenge and biggest surprise during your first year?

Not only was it the first year that we were open, it was my first time opening and co-owning a restaurant. There was no way of knowing what 2020 would bring and so navigating the pandemic was definitely the biggest added challenge to this already challenging learning experience for me. Luckily, we had the support of our customers, our staff, and the community of people who make the West Village Market continue to thrive. The biggest surprise for me has been the overwhelming enthusiasm for our vegan menu. The vegan community of our area and beyond are showing up and showing support – it has really been heart-warming and encouraging.

4. Asheville is a fun and artsy city situated in the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains that is quickly becoming a destination spot for delicious vegan food! How has the community played a role in the diner’s success during this year’s shutdowns and restrictions?

As I mentioned before, we would be nowhere without the amazing community of vegans in our area. So many people reached out to us to buy gift certificates, and continued to support us through our curbside and takeout options. As restrictions were lifted, we were surprised to have many people from other cities and states coming to dine with us and appreciate every single person who makes the trip to our tiny little diner.

5. What’s next for Sunflower Diner?

Well, in the near future, we would love to expand our hours which were greatly reduced as a result of the pandemic. Further out, we hope to outgrow our little space and think about a stand-alone brick and mortar in a couple of years.

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Sunflower Diner is now open for take-out orders and delivery. Check out their Facebook page and Instagram for info and updates!

Head on over to my Instagram to enter to win a $20 gift card to Sunflower Diner!

2020 Vegan Holiday Gift Guide & Giveaway

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

I’ve put together the ultimate vegan and cruelty-free gift guide so you can make the holidays merry and bright for everyone on your shopping list! This year’s guide is all about treating yourself and your loved ones to something special (we deserve it!).

Here’s to a happy and healthy holiday season!

Let’s jump right in!

MERSI Ruby Cross-Body

Look at this stunner! The Ruby Cross-Body from MERSI adds style and a pop of color to any outfit! It’s made of the highest quality vegan leather and is the perfect gift for the conscious fashionista on your holiday shopping list!

Fyve 5 Ingredient Skincare

Give the gift of amazing skin! Fyve’s Facial Cleansing Oil, Hydrating Face Oil, and Bamboo Clay Mask gently cleanses, hydrates, and purifies with just five natural ingredients for glowing skin all year round! Read my full review and learn more about the brand in my Ethical Business Spotlight series!

FINE & RAW Chocolate Truffles

Whether you’re looking for a hostess gift, a stocking stuffer, or just want a delicious box of artisanal chocolates for yourself, you can’t beat FINE & RAW Chocolate’s Truffle Gift Set! These adorable boxes include eight handcrafted truffles that are coated in 70% dark chocolate (coconut sugar based), and include flavors such as classic bonbon, hazelnut, sea salt, and a selection of the chocolatier’s choice.

Makes Scents Natural Spa Line Body Butter and Scrub

Colder weather means everyone’s skin needs a little more moisture and TLC. Make Scents Natural Spa Line’s Oatmeal & Vanilla Body Butter features a super hydrating formula made with organic sunflower seed oil, coconut oil, and cocoa butter. The sweet, comforting scent of vanilla and oatmeal is the ultimate holiday treat! Pair it with the Dulce de Leche Body Scrub that’s made with organic sugar for a gentle yet effective exfoliation to reveal healthy, hydrated skin all season long!

Looking for something for the guy in your life? Try out the Burly Men’s Line!

Grow Fragrance Plant-Based Candle

Grow Fragrance recently launched the first certified 100% plant-based candle! The Ginger Pumpkin scent features a festive blend of fresh ginger, toasted pumpkin, fall spices & a touch of vanilla bean. This highly-fragranced candle is made with soy and coconut oil and is designed to fill large spaces with holiday cheer!

My Favorite Indulgence World-Class Granola

My Favorite Indulgence‘s decadent granolas are a satisfying and delicious meal or snack! If you’re ready to discover the best granola around, try the Chocolate Mocha, Pumpkin-Spiced, Granola with Nuts, and Nut-Free Granola flavors! Then, pour yourself a bowl and be merry!

Hempfield Botanicals Topical CBD

Why not treat yourself or loved ones to some high-quality wellness products? Hempfield Botanicals Topical CBD Sample Pack includes a Massage Oil, Muscle Recovery, CBD Salve, and CBD Lip Balm to ease the stress of the holidays. Give this gift to say you care!

Daily Crunch Snacks

Daily Crunch Snacks sprouted almonds are the perfect stocking stuffer and guilt-free treat! Soaking almonds boosts their nutritional value while enhancing their crunch! There’s a wide variety of flavors to choose from, so there’s something for everyone including Coffee-Soaked Sprouted Almonds for java enthusiasts! Check out my review of these mouthwatering sprouted almonds!

Apothepurity Aromatherapy Roll-ons

Everyone needs a little self-care time! Apothepurity‘s aromatherapy roll-ons are a quick and convenient way to feel better in no time! The Breathe with Ease Aromatherapy Roll-on is crafted with organic peppermint, rosemary, eucalyptus, and lemon oils to help you say goodbye to congestion! The Need My Beauty Sleep Aromatherapy Roll-on includes organic clary sage, frankincense, sandalwood, and ylang ylang so you can peacefully doze off and dream! Use code VTH20 for 20% off!

The Friendly Vegan Cookbook

The Friendly Vegan Cookbook, created by Michelle Cehn, founder of World of Vegan and Toni Okamoto, author of Plant-based on a Budget, features mouthwatering pastas, cookies, soups, sandwiches, and much more! Anyone who wants to master creating delicious vegan entrées, snacks, and desserts is sure to love this cookbook!

Threepaws Gourmet Organic Vegan Dog Treats

Don’t forget a gift for the doggos! Threepaws Gourmet offers healthy, plant-based treats your dogs will drool over! With fun flavors like Coconut Bacon and Strawberry Coconut Cream Bones, you can expect some extra tail wags and cuddles as a “thank you” this holiday season! Learn more about the company in my Ethical Business Spotlight!

Green Apple Active

Looking cute while doing yoga, enjoying time out with friends, or just lounging at home is easy with Green Apple Active! The Mya Essential Leggings, Mya Utility Leggings, and 18″ New Gia Crop Cami with Bamboo Support Bra are made with organic cotton and bamboo! They use anti-microbial, UV resistant, and biodegradable materials to make super high-quality, stylish, and sustainable activewear! How cool is that?!

EVOLVh Healthy Color Trio

EVOLVh’s Healthy Color Trio is a haircare lovers dream! Made from clean, plant-based ingredients, this set includes full-sized bottles of the SmartColor Color Protecting Shampoo and Conditioner (2019 Glamour Magazine Beauty Award Winner for Best Conditioner in the Clean/Plant Based Category) and SmartStart Leave-in Conditioner (my personal fav!). There’s a Healthy Hair Trio for every hair concern, so no matter who you’re shopping for, you can make sure they have healthy, beautiful hair!

ADORAtherapy Chakra Boost and Room Boost

The holidays are all about joy and love! ADORAtherapy‘s Joy Chakra Spice Roll On Perfume Oil is formulated with organic ingredients to activate your heart chakra with top notes of rose, gardenia, and jasmine. The Passion Room Boost Spray will fill your home with love with sweet, earthy notes of patchouli, sandalwood, and jasmine.

Heartland Farm Sanctuary

Not sure what to get the person who has everything? Make a donation in their name to Heartland Farm Sanctuary! This amazing sanctuary’s mission is to inspire compassion for all beings by offering a safe, welcoming space where people and farm animals come together to experience growth, healing and connection. They provide high-quality, specialized care to nearly 100 rescued farm animals, offer inclusive humane education programs for learners of all ages, and provide experiential therapy to ensure the Heartland community is accessible for everyone.

Make a donation to help care for Maxwell the pig, Daisy the cow, Jemma the rescued turkey, and many more!

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY! Head on over to Instagram for a chance to win all of the fabulous products in this guide! (Giveaway launches on 11/15 at 12pm ET)

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Ethical Business Spotlight: Threepaws Gourmet

Happy Saturday! This week’s Ethical Business Spotlight features Hannah Anderson, Founder of Threepaws Gourmet! Read on to discover more about Hannah and her journey to create fabulous vegan dog treats your pups will love!

From the Founder: My name is Hannah Anderson and I reside in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with my husband and two children (2, 4). I am originally from Seattle, WA, am a lifelong vegan, and have had the pleasure of both interning at Farm Sanctuary (in upstate NY) and working as an Editor for VegNews magazine.

Let’s jump right into the interview!

1. What inspired you to grow Threepaws Gourmet into what it is today?

When I struggled to find dog treats that were both healthy and visually exciting, I thought, ‘why should artificial colors get all the fun when there’s a rainbow of dog-friendly superfoods?’. As saturated as the pet industry was, there was an opportunity to create some healthy competition. My mission here at Threepaws Gourmet has always been the same: to “Raise the “Bone” on Dog Treat Standards.” It’s always special for me to see how people choose us to help celebrate their pup’s most special occasions, but perhaps most importantly, to see how they can feel good about treating their pups year-round. 


2. While developing fun dog bone flavors like Coconut Confetti Peanut Butter, Hickory Smoked Coconut Bacon, Strawberry Coconut Cream, and Coconut Carob Mint, your puppy Layla acted as “Chief Taste Tester” and “Crumb Control Officer.” If Layla, CTT & CCO of Threepaws Gourmet had to recommend just one flavor to a new doggo, which would it be and why?

My rescue pup Layla honestly loves them all … however, sales do tip in the direction of our Coconut Bacon Bones. 🙂

3. Your dog treats are organic and vegan, and are also free of corn, grain, gluten, and soy. Why was this important to you and did creating truly healthy, clean treats cause any issues while developing your recipes?

What began in my home kitchen is now handcrafted with love, passion, and compassion, by adults with special needs at a wonderful local organization called the Eisenhower Center. I feel it’s important for ethical business owners to make sure their values are reflected in as many aspects of their business as possible. For me, that means checking a whole lot of boxes … but I wouldn’t have it any other way. The only issue with meeting our high ingredient standards is a higher cost, but we will always be committed to providing our informed and passionate customer base with treats they can trust.

4. Every month, you donate a portion of your sales to a new charity as part of your “Threepaws for a Cause” campaign. What charity have your paired up with this month?

Unfortunately, COVID-19 put an abrupt halt to our much anticipated “Threepaws for A Cause” campaign. Gratefully, we were still able to donate over $1,000 from earlier this year. Giving back to charity is an important part of our purpose. 

5. What’s next for Threepaws Gourmet?

Currently we’re securing a partnership with Chewy.com, are in talks with several storefront franchises, and would love to expand sales to Canada in the near future. 

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Thank you, Hannah, for participating in my Ethical Business Spotlight series and congratulations on all of your success! My dogs absolutely LOVE your treats and I love that they’re organic, vegan, grain-free and gluten-free!

Head on over to Instagram to win a bag of Threepaws Gourmet treats and stay tuned for my upcoming 2020 Vegan Holiday Gift Guide & Giveaway on Nov. 15!

Ethical Business Spotlight: Red Tale Moon

Happy November! This week’s Ethical Business Spotlight features Jeanine Boubli, Founder of Red Tale Moon!

Jeanine Boubli, Founder of Red Tale Moon

Jeanine lives on Long Island, New York. She is a mixed media artist whose love for creative expression has been evident in the many chapters of her life journey. Learn more about how Jeanine combined her love of animals, art, and poetry to create her vegan, cruelty-free clothing business!

Let’s go!

What inspired you to create Red Tale Moon and what is your mission?

My deep love for all animals and Mother Nature.

I have been a volunteer animal caregiver at a local sanctuary for 7 years and what I have been fortunate to see, feel and know deep within my heart has become a forever part of my soul. My mission is to inspire connection with all animals, Mother Nature and meaningful reflection through art and soulful poetry.

“Salt Fine Art Women’s Long Sleeve” by Red Tale Moon

Annabelle the cow and Salt and Pepper the sheep are a few of the animals featured in your clothing designs. Why did you choose these specific animals?

Annabelle, Salt and Pepper are some of the amazing animal residents at the sanctuary who I know well and love very much.

“Pepper Women’s Zip-up Hoodie” by Red Tale Moon

Your quote LOOK AT ME = SEE YOURSELF ™ appears on several of your garments. What does this quote mean to you?

When I wrote the quote it was the last line of a bio I created to accompany some art prints I had exhibited at a nature center art gallery. I included what I wrote below so you can see the words that conceived Red Tale Moon.

When deciding to share from my heart rather than speak about various “accomplishments” the words flowed out of my fingers onto the keyboard. Then the universe was tapping on my shoulder, “Hey Jeanine include one of the kids photos”, It was all stream of consciousness and when I saw Pepper and brought her image into the bio more words flowed out of my fingers. I kept hearing the quote in my mind over and over again in the middle of sleeping, when driving, ALL THE TIME so… I said out loud OKAY!!! I will create a product and the rest is history. This journey of which you are also now a part of continues on.

What this quote means to me is everything. Take a look at Pepper for instance and you will see she has deep feelings, wisdom, innocence and divinity. Take a look at yourself …all living beings… we all matter… we all respond to love and genuine connection, we all want a safe home to live in and to share life with our friends and so much more. Everyone matters. All animals, humans and of course Mother Earth.

Be Someone who cares

Be Someone who shares Compassion for All living beings

If your heart is not open Open it

You may be in for a joyous surprise

I am no different than you

I love my friends I cherish a safe home

A sound sleep the music of the birds

Look at Me = See Yourself ™

“Red Tale Moon apparel is made with brands that are environmentally conscious with fabric content that supports these values.” How does your business create earth-friendly apparel and why is this important to you?

Whatever I can do to help the environment I support. We use organic cotton for all styles and cotton for the tanks. Direct to Garment printing uses water based ink while providing a high quality print with exceptional details.

After seeing The River Blue documentary I became even more aware of the negative impact of “fast fashion.” Every choice made aligns with my values. Quality over quantity.

We only have one Mother Earth and she needs to be treated with respect. Everyone’s choices affect everyone.

Jeanine Boubli, Founder of Red Tale Moon

If you had to pick just one item to represent the mission and overall aesthetic of Red Tale Moon, which would it be and why?

Hmmm, that’s a tough question as each design represents the core values and mission of the brand. There are 3 different styles of designs, some have messages of compassion, some are fine art, and some use original poetry and the use of text as both a design and statement. 

I would say all of them.

“Annabelle Women’s Long Sleeve” by Red Tale Moon

What’s next for Red Tale Moon?

To stay true to this journey of art, heart and soul, inspire more connection with “farm animals” that many do not see as friends, and increase the compassionate conversation about animals and Mother Nature through creative collaborations with individuals and brands that share similar values. Anything is possible! Follow me on my journey and share yours with me. 

Red Tale Moon at New York Fashion Week 2019

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Thank you, Jeanine, for participating in this week’s Ethical Business Spotlight! Your mission to honor all living beings and the environment through the creation of beautiful, ethically-crafted clothing is truly inspiring! Check out Red Tale Moon and enter to win a shirt on Instagram!