Adoption Stories: Meet Emily & Stella

Adoption Stories: Meet Emily & Stella

Read on for the heartwarming story of how a bullied cat found her way into the heart of our Customer Experience Manager. 

Why did you choose your specific rescue and how long had you been thinking about adopting?

I have two Persian kitties… I just fell in love with the breed. Our older cat, Lily, came to us by way of a friend of a friend who couldn’t care for her any longer (Persians require a lot of brushing/special grooming attention/extra vet needs). After a few years, I wanted Lily to have a friend. I was uncomfortable getting a kitten from a breeder since so many cats need homes, so I joined a Persian rescue network on Facebook and kept an eye out for adoptable kittens. After a few months, Stella appeared at Francisvale Home for Smaller Animals, which is located in the Philly suburbs. She was only 9 months old at the time and it seemed like fate. I submitted an application and waited a few weeks… I think she was in high demand. But, the shelter wound up calling after checking our vet references and we were able to go in and meet her!

What is your cat’s name? How old is she?

Her name is Stella! That was her name at the shelter and we kept it. It seemed quite fitting for her. They called her “The Glamorous Stella.” She is 4 years old.

Tell us about meeting her. Was it love at first sight? What brought you together?

Oh it was absolutely love at first sight. Stella is very timid and was getting bullied by the other cats at the shelter, so she had her own walk-in cage. My husband and I went in to see her and she came right up to us and started rubbing against our legs and purring. I remember my husband looking at me and saying, “Well, I guess we have a second cat now.”

Any idea of the breed?

She’s a “Lilac-Point Persian.”

Her favorite toys?

She’s totally obsessed with her climbing tree and her catnip banana. She also likes a good feather on a stick. Stella is extremely tolerant of her 2.5 year-old human sister, who really likes to try and get her to play!

Funniest quirks?

When she is getting ready to settle down, she kneads her paws and sticks out her tongue. At first I was nervous that something was wrong with her because she looked so ridiculous, but I consulted with our vet and it turns out that it’s totally normal, just very silly-looking.

Favorite activities to do together?

Stella loves to follow us around and act like a decoration. She’ll drape herself on the sofa or even sit in the center of the kitchen table like a centerpiece. The best thing about Stella, though, is that she is an incredible therapy animal. If I’m having a bad day, she will always come over and sit next to me or on my lap and purr. We’ve had a rough past year and I have no idea what I’d have done without her as my little companion!

For more Adoption Stories, click here

Check out all our pet accessories here

This post is in support of our long-time partner Best Friends Animal Society

Free People Blog

An Earth Month Challenge For Every Day Of The Year

An Earth Month Challenge For Every Day Of The Year

Adopting new habits to make the world a little greener. 

Studies indicate that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. 

So for the month of April, and in honor of Earth Day, the FP Community was challenged to a game of Earth Month Bingo, in hopes of encouraging small changes that support the planet in meaningful ways — with enough time to make them (hopefully) stick. 

(For those who participated and submitted a winning Bingo card, a winner will be randomly selected to receive a new FreeCycled Tee or a National Parks pass!)

We resolved to implement these earth-friendly habits into our everyday routines starting on April 1st through Earth Day, on April 22nd. Here’s what happened:

DAY 1

Never one to shy away from a challenge, especially when they involve improving my habits and, consequently, helping the environment, I’m eagerly joining the FP community and going through the list. 

Some of the items are simple and — I’m happy to discover — already part of my routine:

DON’T WASTE WATER  Hearing the faucet running while I am brushing my teeth is enough to make me crazy! I didn’t have a dishwasher growing up, everything was washed by hand, and my father was a stickler for not wasting anything that could rack up a high bill. “Turn that water off!”. Not wasting water is ingrained in me, so I can cross this off the list. 

REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE & REUSABLE MUG. For this I have to thank Free People and their generous Earth Day gifts. Two years ago I received a beautiful ceramic mug, and last year an awesome water bottle that I’ve even been using at home because it is so practical. Checking these two off the list as well. 

RECYCLING GLASS & CARDBOARD. I just moved to an area where recycling is mandatory, so one of my first kitchen purchases was a double trash can with a recycling bin. Having separate receptacles when I go to throw something out is a great reminder to recycle. Check! So far, so good. 

Now, let’s get to the tricky part.

GOING VEGETARIAN is a challenge I want to pursue this month, but one I know will be tough. I really love food, all types of food. Steak frites, a juicy cheeseburger with fries, a plate of fresh oysters, a delicious BLT… I could go on forever. Despite this, I know there are multiple benefits to going veg, and saving animals is only one of them. Avoiding meat and fish will force me to add more color and variety to my plate, providing me with all the vitamins and antioxidants needed to ward off numerous ailments. But did you know that runoff from farmlands is one of the greatest threats to water quality today? Being a vegetarian is good for our body as well as the environment! This will likely be the toughest adjustment for the next three weeks, but I am eager to try it!

DAY 5

I had a big argument with my roommate today (aka my fiancé) over paper towels. 

I know. *Eye roll*! 

Through the years I have learned to pick my battles, believe me, but it’s Earth Month, and I am taking this challenge seriously. I just don’t understand  the need for ten sheets of paper towel when there is a perfectly clean towel hanging on the oven! He claims it isn’t sanitary but I disagree. I grew up having a cloth towel in the kitchen for drying my hands, or drying clean dishes, and I am very good at ensuring it is regularly washed. I’ll start locking the paper towel rolls away just to keep him from being so wasteful. For now, all I can do is make up for it elsewhere, so the challenge continues. 

DAY 13

Spring is here and it has brought us some beautiful sunny days! To take full advantage of the sunshine, and keep my lights turned off, I decided to move my desk to a different room, right in front of the screen door into our yard. I am not the only one loving this recent furniture reshuffle. Whenever I leave the door cracked to enjoy the NATURAL LIGHT and the fresh air, my dogs love to lay at my feet, enjoying the breeze with me while also watching out for dogs walking by our house. 

DAY 17

Earth Day is fast approaching and I am proud to say I have stuck to a vegetarian diet. Truth be told, I miss some of my favorite Italian staples — pasta Bolognese, lasagna… hearty, warm dishes that nourish my belly and my soul. The Italian in me can’t help it! But it has been fun to try out new veggie recipes. One of my favorites is just as hearty as some of my favorite dishes, but it’s meat-free and easy to make! Shakshuka — a classic North African and Middle Eastern dish — features poached eggs in a hearty, spiced tomato and pepper sauce, topped with tangy feta cheese and fresh cilantro, served with thick slices of country bread for dipping. It originated as a breakfast dish, but I’ve enjoyed it for dinner multiple times this month and it is as delicious and nourishing as it sounds. For the recipe, click here

DAY 21

It’s the last day of our Earth Month Challenge and I am proud of myself for being able to check off quite a few items off my Bingo card. Some of the other changes I adopted this month:

PAPERLESS BILLING. I’ve been practicing this with some of my bills. This month I simply went through the rest and made sure no paper bills would be coming my way ever again. 

DOUBLE-SIDED PRINTING. On the busiest printing day of my week (Monday), I avoid printing anything single-sided. And recently I even avoided printing in color. The less ink and paper I use, the better I feel. 

SPREAD THE WORD & CLEAN UP. Last summer I moved to a small community in NJ’s Pine Barrens. Right out of a fairy tale, the neighborhood is nestled among trees, dotted by original log cabins from the 1920s, and connected by trails. To top it all off, there are multiple lakes which offer the residents five different sized beaches complete with docks. This month, I reached out to the community to organize a Clean Up Day to get our communal places ready for the approaching summer season. Tonight I will be attending my first community meeting to finalize the details of the event. 

DAY 22

HAPPY EARTH DAY!!

The FP Community Earth Month challenge ends today, but every day of the year is a great day to help our planet by changing our habits. 

Save this Bingo graphic and challenge yourself or your friends! Let us know about your experience in the comments.

 

Stay tuned for more of our Sustainability initiatives by visiting our Care FP page, and check out our Care FP Collection here

Free People Blog

Adoption Stories: Meet Michelle and Sonny

Adoption Stories: Meet Michelle and Sonny

Looking for online love led our Director of Photography to find her future husband, AND a new furry best friend!

Why did you choose your specific rescue and how long had you been thinking about adopting?
My partner adopted Sonny from Home at Last Rescue three years ago. I always wanted a dog but in many ways I felt more like a cat lady — until I met Sonny.

What is your pup’s name? How old is she and do you have any idea of her breed? 
Her name is Sonny and she is a 6 year-old Husky. 

Tell us about meeting your pup. Was it love at first sight? What brought you together?
I first saw Sonny cuddled up with her dad on Hinge. I fell in love with her and her dad right away and we haven’t left each other’s side since our second date.

Her favorite toys?
Any toy that belongs to another dog.

Funniest quirks?
I think she has learned to mimic the cat and Sonny cries for treats now. She wasn’t a vocal Husky until I came into the picture — now she has a lot to say, and I’ve been teaching her to say “I love you.” She also has a thousand derp faces, all hilarious. She was born with half a tail and only three paws.

Favorite activities to do together?
Playing in the snow!

For more Adoption Stories, click here

Check out all our pet accessories here

This post is in support of our long-time partner Best Friends Animal Society

Free People Blog

Care FP: What Does Visibility Mean To You?

Care FP: What Does Visibility Mean To You?

Introducing a very special — and local — Philly partner, The William Way LGBT Community Center…

William Way, a Philadelphia city planner in the 1980s, was instrumental in the revitalization of Center City in a myriad of ways. Way was one of the first high-level city officials in Philadelphia to publicly disclose his HIV-positive status. He also created safe space for the LGBTQ+ community, and shaped the William Way center — as it’s known today — which officially found its home on Spruce Street in 1997. Today, that center has grown into an incredibly important city resource as a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit, and is dedicated to encouraging, supporting, and advocating for the well-being and acceptance of sexual and gender minorities through service, recreational, educational and cultural programming – both in-person and virtually.

Resources for the LGBTQ+ Community

William Way supports trans and gender non-conforming individuals by offering free mental health and wellness resources, peer to peer counseling, support with enrolling in health insurance, accessing food assistance programs, and completing name change and other legal documents; referrals to health care and therapy providers; career and job services. You can also join their supportive virtual communities:

  • Peer to Peer Counseling: if you are part of the LGBTQ+ community and need someone to talk to, William Way Peer to Peer Counseling is a free resource. Call 267-416-0451
  • The Trans Resource Center: The Trans Resource Center provides a safe and tranquil space for members of Philadelphia’s trans and gender non-conforming community. If you want to join a weekly drop-in social for trans and gender non-conforming folks, Trans Way group meets digitally every Thursday evening. Find out more on their Trans Resource page.
  • Visit William Way’s calendar of events to access all of their community offerings.

 

 

What Does Visibility Mean to You?

  • Do you want to share your story? William Way is asking for folks to submit photos and answer the question: “what does visibility mean to you?” They are accepting submissions until March 31st via this email: trc@waygay.org

Lifting up LGBTQ+ Artists

Visit William Way’s virtual exhibition, highlighting the work of talented nonbinary artists. William Way partners with many LGBTQ+ creatives across artistic mediums, and through the pandemic developed their virtual exhibition. Check out their latest exhibition, Moving Pieces. You can also visit their ARCHIVES to explore past exhibits and other talented LGBTQ+ artists.

How FP Is Supporting William Way

FP supports the William Way community through advocacy, and product and art supply donations. This Spring we are donating over $50k worth of self-care products, as well as art and craft supplies for their trans Peer to Peer Counseling program, and their Creative Art Therapy community classes. As they look to reopen their center in the coming months, we will also initiate onsite community volunteering projects.

 

Free People Blog

Care FP: Support The AAPI Community With Us

Care FP: Support The AAPI Community With Us

Here’s how you can help the Asian American Community, whether it’s local or global…

To our FP Community,

We at Free People absolutely denounce discrimination of any kind, and we strive to build an environment that is inclusive for all. As we have become more aware of the rise of hateful occurrences towards the Asian American and Pacific Islander Community, we wanted to take the time to let our community know we stand in unity with you — with those of you within our Free People family who identify as AAPI, with those who are allies, and also with the greater community. In partnership with incredible organizations denouncing hatred and building up the AAPI community, we’re sharing resources for all of you to remain supported in this challenging time:

 

Stop AAPI Hate is a community platform that tracks and responds to incidents of hate, violence, harassment, discrimination, shunning, and child bullying against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States.

A Community Reporting Resource

Access Stop AAPI Hate’s free community platform to report a hate incident right on their website.

Click here to report an incident.

 

Hollaback is a community organization on a mission to end harassment for all (nonbinary, young girls, BIPOC community, etc.), and provides resources for when you see violence in public. 

Providing Free Community Training

Hollaback provides free community training and resources including classes in Street Harassment, Bystander Intervention Against AAPI Community, and Conflict De-escalation Training.

Click here to sign up for one of their free trainings.

 

Artwork by Grace Owen.

 

Free People Blog

Adoption Stories: Meet Morgan & Otto

Adoption Stories: Meet Morgan & Otto

Our Visual Display Coordinator & Care FP Assistant wasn’t in a rush to adopt a pup, but the universe intervened. 

Tell us how you chose your rescue. How long had you been thinking about adopting?

I found a dog running loose in Philadelphia and reunited it with its owner. That lit a fire in me. At the time, my best friend had just bought a house and I was living with her. She knew I always wanted a dog so, as my landlord, she gave me the green light to get one. Just 3 weeks later I was browsing local rescues and Otto’s face popped up on Petfinder. He was located at Burlington County Animal Alliance (BCAA), and when I reached out about Otto, they told me he was already spoken for. But a few days later, they reached out to say that the adoption fell through and asked if I would be able to meet him. That’s when I knew it was meant to be!

What is your pup’s name? How old is he?

Otto! He is 3ish. When I got him they said he was 3, but I took him to the vet and they told me they thought he was still a puppy.

Was it love at first sight? What brought you and Otto together?

Meeting Otto for the first time was a whirlwind. BCAA doesn’t have an actual shelter — all of their animals are in foster homes — so I thought Otto would be coming from someone’s house. He actually came straight from a shelter in South Carolina. I met one of the volunteers at an adoption event they were hosting at Petsmart. When I showed up, one of the volunteers told me Otto had gone home with someone already, and I panicked! Shortly after, they reassured me he was still available, but just hadn’t arrived yet. When his transport van came rolling in, Otto was covered in dirt but super excited to see everyone. After meeting him I knew immediately he was coming home with me. He decided to take me on a walk through Petsmart and that’s when I realized I needed to buy a harness. He’s very strong! ☺

While driving home, I started panicking again when I  realized I was now in charge of a living being other than myself. So to keep us both  calm, I talked his ear off for the full 30 mins it took to drive back to my neighborhood. Poor Otto’s first memory in his new home was getting a bath…actually, it was of the two of us getting a bath, since the water went everywhere! My bedroom is on the 3rd floor and, at first, my newly adopted 40lb dog refused to go up the stairs. Luckily, after a bit of practice, he learned and can now at least go up to my room without being carried! He’s literally the best dog ever and the best thing to ever happen to me. I am beyond grateful for the universe bringing us together and I really can’t imagine life without him.

Any idea of the breed?

We did a DNA test. It wasn’t super accurate but, here is a list of his potential breeds – Australian Shepherd, Australian Cattle Dog, Lab, American Bulldog, American Eskimo, a plethora of herding dogs…the list goes on. We are constantly stopped on our walks by people asking what type of dog he is. I’ve just started calling him a super mutt.

His favorite toy? 

He has two — a bottle of rosé and his grunting hedgehog. He also enjoys ripping any appendages off of his toys. The poor hedgehog lost his felt toenails within minutes.

Funniest quirks?

At the dog park he prefers to scratch his back on shrubs/bushes rather than socialize with the other dogs.
He is 100% a mouth breather.
He enjoys hunting/eating flies that make their way into our house.
As mentioned, he doesn’t like stairs – so yes, when we go somewhere new and there are stairs, I have to carry him up and down multiple times until he has the courage to do them on his own.

Favorite activities to do together?

Going for long walks around town, snuggling in bed, and eating the dog-friendly ice cream I make for him.

For more Adoption Stories, click here

Check out all our pet accessories here

This post is in support of our long-time partner Best Friends Animal Society

 

Free People Blog

Yes, You CAN Drink Cocoa For Breakfast 

Yes, You CAN Drink Cocoa For Breakfast 

And see the world through Rose-Colored Glasses…

I was about to say that there isn’t a lot that excites me about winter, but that’s not necessarily true. The things that I enjoy about the season I REALLY enjoy:

The cold. I know, call me crazy but — I love to layer. It makes getting dressed so much more interesting.

Snowmen. (Or is it snowpeople?) They’re very underrated.

And hot chocolate. Because, what isn’t there to love about THAT?

Truth be told, I’d never think about drinking a cup of cocoa outside of a cold February evening. It’s always been reserved for post-pelting friends with some hastily made snowballs, or after shoveling my sidewalk clean. 

So when Lauren Haynes, founder of herbalism-focused wellness brand Wooden Spoon Herbs, told me that she drinks cocoa each morning, my DNA was kind of confused. Like, I had never really considered that possibility before?

”A Rose Cocoa Mocha works to open your heart and soul to the world around you,

let go of what isn’t working for you, and just ground into bliss and being here now.”

Turns out, cocoa can offer up even a bit more than “delicious breakfast companion: status. Enter: Lauren Haynes’ Rose Cocoa Mocha. This concoction requires only 3 (or 4) ingredients:

  • Rose Cocoa, which is made with ground pink rose petals, fair trade cacao, and sensual shatavari. A veritable bliss-builder, if you will. 
  • A caffeine-free coffee alternative (here, we used Wooden Spoon’s Herbal Coffee, made from burdock root, chicory and maca) to replace the energy buzz of a more traditional morning beverage. 
  • Sweetener. Lauren uses Rose-Colored Glasses. Not only does this tincture offer up a subtle rosy flavor, it’s infused with calming herbs like holy basil, hawthorn, and milky oats.

With the addition of some oat milk (and rose petals, if you have handy), be prepared for a seriously creamy cocoa indulgence, with strong notes of savory chicory and maca to zen-ify your day. 

Time to step aside, chia porridge/yogurt/tofu scramble — there’s a new breakfast buddy in town.

Rose Cocoa Mocha 

Ingredients:

1 tbsp Wooden Spoon Herbs Herbal Coffee or herbal coffee of choice

1 tbsp Wooden Spoon Herbs Rose Cocoa

1 cup oat milk (or milk of choice)

35 drops Wooden Spoon Herbs Rose Colored Glasses

Dried rose petals (optional)

Moka pot or French press

Method:

Fill base of Moka pot with water. Scoop herbal coffee onto Moka pot filter plate. Place on stove to brew. If using a French press, scoop herbal coffee into press and fill to your liking with boiling water. Pour and set aside one shot of Herbal Coffee espresso. Warm oat milk in a small pot on stove. Scoop Rose Cocoa into mug. Pour espresso Herbal Coffee over Rose Cocoa. Pour hot oat milk into mug. Add 35 drops of Rose Colored Glasses into mug. Use hand frother or whisk to stir together ingredients. Sprinkle with dried rose petals.

Lead image by Nastassia Bruckin.

Free People Blog