I've posted about Ivory Ella before, and they're a company I really like. I love elephants, the donation a portion of sales to helping elephants, they have cute stuff, and often times have good sales too. I have some of their other shirts, and while they're not SUPER soft, they're soft enough to not cause my skin to break out in a rash. My mom and I decided to split a $50 mystery box. Here's what we got:
In the box came: 1x long sleeve tee, 1x short sleeve tee, 1x beanie, and 1x pair of fluffy socks. The value overall? Good. Upon reading reviews afterwards, it appears a lot of the $50 mystery boxes, valued at $100 according to their website, contain the same items but different styles. Which is kind of a bummer, but I imagine it makes their packing and shipping easier. The box is ready to give as a gift, so that's nice. It's kind of plain, but it's not terrible at all. The beanie was nice and the socks were fluffy, but I have no idea what happened to their shirts, but they've never been so scratchy.
I had to return the box, I was so bummed out. I called them, which for the record, they were really hard to get a hold of. Yes, it was around the holidays so I'm putting consideration into that. But, I had to call twice within a week and leave two separate messages, then I received a call back. Again, could be holiday related, but still worth mentioning.
I asked the lady, genuinely confused, if they had switched their shirt suppliers because I couldn't understand how these shirts were THAT scratchy. She said no, and I also understand that soft is subjective and my definition is even more detailed because I have tactile sensitivities, I took all of that into consideration. However, what really mattered to me was that I was able to return it.
This is where I was impressed with their customer service. I explained the situation, and the Ivory Ella rep said, even though the box was open, we could return it, even if it was worn. But, it was an all or nothing. I had to return the whole box and not just part of the box. My mom loved the socks but she agreed on the shirts too, and she doesn't have tactile sensitivities like I do. They sent me a prepaid label to send it back, I received an email when they received my return, processed my return, and when the funds were going back to my account. So, props for the customer service on the return. But for me, TOTALLY BUMMED that the shirts were so scratchy. I was really excited for the box, but it wasn't worth keeping for a beanie and a pair of socks.
I did receive a free bottle with my order though, and that's pretty cool! It's just a basic plastic reusable bottle, but it's better than no bottle and it was free. I am an avid fan of reusable bottles so, I was pretty excited. I also got some scrunchies and a lanyard ID holder, and I'm a fan of those too. Don't forget that Hallmark does sell some of their shirts too. Here's one I saw there the other day:
I loved the blue and the butterflies because they were both of my Granny's favorites, when she was alive. But again, not a soft shirt and not worth the money. I think I'll stick with their accessories, and maybe a hoodie.
Final verdict: the mystery boxes, and a majority of their clothing is not for me, but their accessories are pretty great.
So, I told you guys in my last post I'm on a journey trying to get my face to where I want it to be. My skin, as a result of the many issues I have, and I, are never going to be friends, but I'd like for us to be cool together at least. As a result of my new regimen from my dermatologist, plus my naturally dry skin from a variety of disorders, my face is so dry after I put on my makeup. Setting spray isn't doing it, so I figured I'd give this toner a "facial life" (HA) and try it as a moisturizing setting spray. It's pH balanced and full of good for your skin vitamins, and has way less gunk in it than a lot of setting sprays. I do realize that's partly because this is a toner, and not a setting spray. However, it's still noteworthy.
This 1 oz. size toner I had received in one of my vegan boxes, I think Petit Vour, which I have since stopped. I can't afford them right now and I do not need any more beauty products, although I want them. This toner is actually helpful for acne, very gentle on the skin, and full of antioxidants. It's also gluten, paraben, and sulfate free. There's no artificial smell, which I appreciate, and it's just very natural overall. While it's best on the skin, I've found it is really helpful to set my makeup after and leaves my face looking hydrated instead of really dry. It's still dry, but it helps.
Talk about up close and personal! Hi pores! Hi uneven skin tone! See, this is why I'm seeing a dermatologist, but like, can this process hurry up please?!
This untouched photo of my lovely face is right after I used the spray. You can see my skin looks dewy. It doesn't stay this dewy, but it does have a nice sheen with it. I spray this after I've applied everything on my face, except my eye products. I do my full face, then I do my eyes and lips last.
To purchase, the full size is 2 oz. and costs $9.99 on the 103 Collection website, found here:
What's your favorite setting spray? Do you have any tips you think work best? I'd love to hear them!
I think this is my first ever facial recommendation, and I am super excited to write this one. Up until last month, I had only ever received ONE FACIAL in my life, and it was at some high end spa with some really rude stuck up lady that made me feel terrible about my skin. Listen lady who will never see this- I know my skin isn't perfect, I live with my skin every day, and to make someone feel bad about their skin makes you a very unprofessional esthetician. FORTUNATELY, that's not the review coming your way today.
My friend Callie found Skin Bliss Spa LLC from Groupon and ranted and raved about her. I trust my friend Callie, but I was still concerned. I had my reservations, of course. I'm on a new regimen from my dermatologist and even though it's a long process that my impatient self is not loving, but it is helping, slowly but surely. Unfortunately, it is drying my skin out and making my already sensitive skin even more sensitive. This furthered my reservations about getting this facial, but the Groupon was affordable and I figured I'd give it a shot. Here's the Groupon:
I did the 30 Minute K Expression Facial. The set up of Krystal's space is very nice. It's within an entire beauty/salon/spa layout in the Lawrence Park Shopping Center. I was a little confused walking in, but it was easy to navigate once you got the hang of it. Her space is cozy, clean, and welcoming. Krystal is also very real, down to earth, sincere, and nonjudgmental. She has had her own skin struggles and that makes her so much more real and relatable. She's so easy to talk to, and I've found it very easy to be honest about my skin concerns, and she didn't make me feel bad about my skin at all. That was a giant sigh of relief. Feeling at ease really made me feel like I could actually enjoy this facial. As someone who genuinely has issues with people in her bubble, and hate people touching her face, I wasn't bothered at all with anything Krystal did. She was really thorough in her explanation of everything she was using, why she was using it, the benefits to my skin, and how it can help my skin. I don't want someone to use products on my face and me not know why, I want to be an informed customer, and she ensured I was that.
Everything she uses is vegan and cruelty free, the chair is super comfy, she offers a blanket if you're chilly, wine/water, and she offered me some fruit after! The experience itself it truly relaxing, and it honestly feels like it's true "me time" which I don't get often. There's a steamer she uses throughout to open up your pores, warm soft towels, and cotton rounds to remove and add products. Her touch is gentle on your skin too. She also asks how each product feels; if it's burning or uncomfortable, that way you can get the best facial for your skin. She had this tool to remove the gunk inside my nose pores (you know what I'm talking about because everyone has them) which is usually just oil stuck in there. I wish I was thinking about taking before and after pictures, but my skin was literally glowing. The dryness and flakiness was gone, I felt so moisturizes and my skin was dewy. It was so soft!
Krystal was nice enough to provide me the permission to use some photos from her website so I could add them to my blog, because I really want to convey the vibe her spa gives, and the comfort and kindness she extends to her clients not just physically in her set up, but in how she interacts with them. Treat yourself to the Groupon, check it out, and I promise you won't be disappointed. I am always happy to support businesses that really wow me, and having worked in customer service for more than half my life, I can really tell you great customer service when I experience it, and that's exactly what Krystal provides. Treat yo'self friends, don't wait! Tell her Ashley, The Vegan Crazy Cat Lady, sent you!
Guess who's back? Back again? The Vegan Crazy Cat Lady is back. Tell a friend!
Friends, long time no talk. Welcome to 2020!
I know 2019 resulted in not a ton of blog posts from me, and let me tell you, it has been a YEAR. I did finally graduate on 10/29/19, and I'm proud to say I'm officially a college graduate! My degree is in Psychology in Addictions, and I'll be going for my masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. I became an Aunt! My sister had a sweet baby boy named Daniel on 5/23/19. I've spent more time since graduating with my friends and creating new memories. There's been a lot of downsides I would rather not get into, but I've been struggling for awhile. However, I am very excited to be on my journey to the career I've always wanted, but I still love blogging for you guys and it's been so long so let's chat!
Lady Gaga. Haus Laboratories. Have you heard? Unless you've been living under a rock, you probably saw all the buzz when this line was being announced, and the excitement that it's vegan and cruelty free. The prices are fair, the products are lovely, and the packaging is sleek. I think this was a shock to some, as they anticipated Lady Gaga would release some crazy colors in a ridiculous fashion, but it's really contemporary and it's for everyone. Can we talk about her growth for a minute? She's matured and grown to really love herself. That's what she wants Haus to be; a brand about discovering your beauty, your uniqueness, bravery and creativity. These are all things she's done, and this makeup line thus far really embraces that. I personally can't wait to see what else they release. I really dig the message they're sending.
I've seen some complaints floating around on social media about this brand being created by Lady Gaga, it being cruelty free and vegan, and her wearing that meat dress back in 2013, so there's people that aren't comfortable supporting this brand. If anyone remembers, she did go on Ellen and say it was a statement about LGBTQIA+ rights in the military, and women not being a piece of meat. In my opinion, total wrong way to go about it, and also really super gross. I wasn't happy about it. But, it was 6, almost 7 years ago, and I think it's safe to say she's grown, and we all make the best decisions we can at that time, even if they're not the actual best decisions we could have made; hindsight is always 20/20. It's also safe to say what she was trying to represent are causes I also find really important to veganism and just important in general. Being a vegan is about human rights too, and I'm all for that. So, that's up to you to decide your opinion on it and where you stand on her in general. This is just my two cents about it. I've never been that vegan that wants to tell you that you should do/think/eat/drink/take/live/love like this or that, nope, I'm not preaching. I'm just giving my opinion and the reasoning I remember her giving, the rest is up to you to decide, of course, and either way, I support it! I have an entire blog post I want to write about vegans shaming other vegans, but that's for a different time and place.
Today, I'm going to talk about the Le Riot Lip Gloss my mom got me for Christmas, in shade Entranced, which is a sheer color, just a few shades away from clear, with light pink pearl. This is the perfect natural lip color for literally every single person that wants a pop to their lips but doesn't want to go crazy with shades. I applied mine on top of my lip balm, and it creates a really pretty natural lip. It's perfect for day or night, work or play. You can wear this over matte lipsticks as well to add a little pop of pearl and you want something different, with some shine. The gloss itself is thick but not uncomfortably so, and there isn't any flavor that I noticed. As with any lip gloss, your hair is gonna get stuck in it. It's not so much that it's stickier than any other lip gloss, but it's still lip gloss. That's the nature of the beast.The ingredients list are far from "green beauty," which they don't advertise themselves to be. I do prefer my makeup with more natural ingredients. So that's really my biggest complaint, but I knew what it was before I asked for it for Christmas. It's not a brand I would fill my makeup life up with, but I did want to try it.
The applicator wand is shaped to fit all the areas of your lip; your cupid's bow, the corners, it's not a brush and it's not the basic flat lip gloss wand, it's shaped more naturally for lip application. I just really love the packaging too. As I mentioned above, it is sleek and durable. At the bottom, the matte black coloring of the tube kind of ombres to the color, which is a cool effect. The wand has a roof-like shape to it, furthering the idea of their brand, "our haus, your rules" and I think that's whimsical. It's simply stated but you could tell what they were going for with the design.
Each shade is $18 and worth it, in my opinion. Have you tried Haus Laboratories yet? What are your thoughts?
Friends! I know I've been so MIA lately and I am so sorry because I have so much I want to post and not enough time to post it. I want to share some of my life with you today, on this very special day, as I celebrate my 5 Year Veganniversary!
I really love this quote from KVD, one of my personal favorite ladies and an icon for me. She is strong, fierce, and steadfast in her convictions. She's the prettier, cooler and gothier version of me I wish I was lol. I spent 15 years as a vegetarian before going vegan 5 years ago, and her comment on perspective is so true, in multiple ways.
Perspective is a point of view right? My perspective is that animals are friends, not food. No animal ever deserves to be on my plate. My perspective is that every animal is equal; a dog is no more an animal than a cow. Cows physically weep when they're about to be slaughtered, did you know that? I mean, they literally howl, a guttural cry, because they are such intelligent creatures and they know what's about to happen to them? Can you imagine your pet being in that situation? For no other reason than so someone can eat it? I won't even use perspective on the horrible abuse farm animals receive, the living conditions if you want to call it that they they're subject to, and the absolute absurdity of the entire thing- these are not perspectives, these are facts. Watch a video or documentary if you don't believe me. My perspective is that I care enough about humans, Earth, and every living creature enough on this planet to know that by being vegan I am helping all living things. My perspective is that compassion is a value that rules me at my core. My perspective is that being a vegan is one of the best decision I've ever made in my life.
Being a vegan is one of the best decisions I've ever made for the aforementioned reasons, but also because it gives me purpose and it's reliable. Every day, I am a vegan. Life and I have not been seeing eye to eye for a long time, and the universe is just kicking me while I'm down. For example, today is my veganniversary. Usually, I go to The Greyhound Cafe with my husband and we enjoy a meal, talk to Joe the owner, and it's really special. That didn't happen this year, because my husband and I are divorcing and I spent the entire day, with the help of my mom and my friends, re-doing my apartment to make it feel like my apartment and not our apartment. Tonight, we should be going to my dads and watching fireworks with him and my sister, but we're not. There is no longer a "we." Nothing prepares you for your entire life to come crashing down in front of you, and there's no brakes and nothing to stop it; you're helpless as it collapses. Grieving the loss of what could have and should have been, grieving the identity of who I was, grieving everything. Happy days are no longer what they used to be, holidays are worse than ever, work and school are so overwhelming and I come home to an empty apartment (excluding my cats) and it feels like a part of me has died that will never return.
This is my perspective on my life right now. It is shit. Having mental illnesses do not help said perspective, because they reinforce negative thought patterns that it will always be shit. I'm trying really really hard to not let them always be shit, but this is, to date, the hardest thing I have ever encountered. This speak volumes because my life has always been one of discomfort and difficulties, but here I am, worse than I've ever been and faking it harder than I ever have. Veganism is presently one of the only consistent things in my life right now, so while I celebrate a half of a decade being a vegan, I celebrate that consistency extra today.
Now that I have poured my heart out to all 5 of you that read this, I will end this with well wishes for everyone- may you all be truly happy, whatever that looks like to you. Oh, and GO VEGAN! =)
You know when you tell people you're a vegan and they're like... but protein and iron and B12?!!?! They suddenly go into a panic about things they never would've care about otherwise. I've always prided myself as a vegan who knows how to eat right, and I do love to brag that my protein levels are usually higher than most omnis, I'm like LET'S COMPARE BLOOD WORK! However, my body, as expected, does not like me, and in an ironic twist, developed an autoimmune disorder called Pernicious Anemia. Due to a lack of protein called intrinsic factor that my body thinks is bad and my immune system fights off, causes me to be unable to absorb B12 through my food. Isn't it ironic? Don't ya think?
So, what's the deal with it? The who, what, when, where, why, how? I'm going to keep this as simple as possible. I was the kid reading medical dictionaries, because clearly I was pretty cool. I'm not a doctor, but I'm just sharing my knowledge and experience. PSA: if you think you have a medical problem, see your doctor. I love my doctor so much, I wish I could just hang out with him on the weekends.
Who: There are a lot of factors, like: age, diet, family history, ethnic background, etc... For me, it was already having one autoimmune disease. Once you have one, you're more likely to develop another one.
What: Basically, having Pernicious Anemia means that my autoimmune system likes to attack healthy cells, like the ones that create the protein intrinsic factor, which is necessary to absorb B12 in the stomach. It binds to it, so less intrinsic factor, less B12 absorption.
When: Whenever really. As I previously stated, age does play a factor, but there is no set time table when it comes to this.
Where: Your belly mostly, but the symptoms can impact many facets of your life. Fatigue, headaches, dizziness, cold hands and feet, and chest pains happen in general with anemia. Specifically, with B12 deficiencies, you can add nerve damage, depression, memory loss, nausea and other stomach related issues, and oddly a smooth, thick, and red tongue. Please remember: this does not apply to everyone. For me, I just knew there was something else going on. I was more tired than usual, really dizzy, my brain was constantly in a fog, and I just felt off. The depression could've been literally anything, but I have that too.
Why: I call it being unlucky, but risk factors can help answer the why better.
How: I manage mine with vegan B12 supplements (see below) I take sublingually, 1x a day in the morning. Shots were considered, and still are, depending upon how I do with the B12. It's been about 5 months now since I've been diagnosed with it. I get blood work every 3-6 months, for all of my many health problems, and they check my B12 as part of it. I encourage everyone, even if you hate blood work, to not only suck it up and do it, but also tell your doctor you want to have everything checked; B vitamins, Vitamin D, thyroid, everything. Be your own healthcare advocate! Only you know how you feel! You may have to pay extra for some tests, and they may come up negative, but it's better to pay for peace of mind; that's my motto!
I love DEVA brand, I take them for my regular multivitamin as well. I get this 90 day supply from Amazon for like $9 maybe?
Remember, I am not a doctor, just a Google MD as I refer to myself. Please see your doctor if you have any medical concerns. This post is just to inform and share my experience, and is not intended to diagnose anyone!
Friends! How I've missed you all. Graduation is quickly approaching, on 10/29/19, but these classes have been taking up every spare ounce of time I have. Plus, there are some other drastic changes that have occurred in my life, so I am definitely behind on my blogging. I'm sorry! Thank you for still sticking with me as I go through this journey, it means a lot to me!
I have two vegan mascaras I want to review for you. One of which I received in my VeganCuts Makeup Box, but the other is a Pacifica brand one. One day, I was at Target, minding my own business, buying what was on my list, and I happen to stumble across some Pacifica clearance. Target tells you what you need, and Target told me I needed all the things. Case in point:
Let's begin with Inika Organic Long Lash Vegan Mascara.
I wanted to love this mascara, because the brush is perfect. I like a tapered brush, because I have a lot of lashes, and I find that they usually perform really well on my lashes. It's all natural, made with Vitamin E and Magnolia Bark Extract to keep lashes strong and healthy, and it comes in black and brown; I always use black. Preferably blacker than black, but this shade is just black. It's organic, Australian owned, and of course, cruelty free. I do think it does a great job at lengthening, but it does not hold a curl to save my lashes. Eventually, my lashes end up sticking together becoming a few lashes versus a row of actually lashes. I wanted to like this so much, but at $33 per tube (a cheap plastic feeling one too), I wouldn't purchase it. I will use it, with other mascaras. I'm always a 2 coat girl, and because it's natural so you really only have 3-6 months to use it. I wanted to love it, but I can't say I do, and I am sad.
Let's finish with Black Crystals Super Charged Extending Mascara.
This is one of my impulse clearance buys from Target, and I am such a fan of crystals, so I was excited to try it. The color is called Black Beauty, and is infused with quartz powder and mica to add extra dimension to your lashes. Containing Vitamin B and coconut to protect and nourish your lashes, the ingredients are natural. I like it better than the Inika, even with the fuller brush, it applies really well. I don't notice any mica at all, despite 2 coats, but it goes on smoothly and does last throughout my day. Again, it doesn't really hold a curl, and my lashes just don't pop like I want them too. The price point is really good, retailing at $13.99 at Target, and I got it on clearance for $9.78, so I'm not mad at the price.
I have some other new mascaras I'm excited to try (looking at you Tarte and KVD), but so far, my forever favorite is Better Than Sex by Too Faced.
Target still has some goodies on sale. Check out your local store!
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I own several products of theirs, including the "Plant These. Save the Bees." shirt that you see me wearing above my SnapChat selfie! Here is my referral link, and when you click it, all you have to do is include your email and a unique code pops up just for you so that you can get 10% off your purchase!
CLICK THIS LINK TO SHOP:
I made a little look book for you guys of some of my haves, waiting to receives, and wants from their website!
Don't forget to click the link above, and it'll prompt you to put your email address in so you can get a discount on your order!
Birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, veganniverary... all the days... Wholesome Culture has got you covered!
Please let me know what goodies you treat yourself to! Email me, or tag me on IG @thevegancrazycatlady or my personal IG @ashleylaurenlyle - I can't wait to see what you get!
I was really excited to try this mascara. I bought it for my birthday (back in September, I am REALLY behind on posts obviously), and I wanted to review it for you guys. This mascara looked amazing, and it was $29 so I had expected it would work really well. Spoiler alert: it didn't.
It's not that it's a bad mascara, per say, but more so, it already felt dry when I opened it. It was difficult to apply and difficult to remove, despite the fact that it's not waterproof. I never use waterproof mascara, but this had basically the same formula as a waterproof mascara. Also, this was the insert inside the box:
How am I supposed to avoid contact with eyes when it's mascara?! Lol. It's not like I was gonna stick the wand in my eyeball! It was like, well, maybe that's where the Caution part comes from with the name lol! To be clear, I never had any issues with it irritating my eyes, except for trying to remove it because it took so much work to get it off. What it does is create those fibers along your lashes to make them longer, but they're not easy to remove. I use oil to remove my makeup; coconut, jojoba, sweet almond, or any one or combination of those. They're usually really effective too, but I really had to rub to get this as off as I could and I felt like it was never really off my face.
Here's some before and after photos:
As you can see, it does lengthen and it is ultra black like I prefer, but I couldn't get passed the dryness, difficulty applying it, and difficulty removing it. Is it worth $29? No, not at all. For a similar price range, you can get Too Faced Better Than Sex and it works better. For about $5, you can get Essence brand at Ulta (their Super Curl Volume and Volume Mascara are both vegan), and they're better than this $29 one. That's just my opinion.
Have you guys tried it? I'd love to know your thoughts!
I just recently got into TOMS brand because they released a Disney collection, and you know know me and Disney. But they released a pair of non-Disney that I just had to have: piggies! They were released for the Year of the Pig, which is 2019, but I love them because I love pigs, since pigs are friends and not food! They have slip-ons for the little ones, youth ones for the little and big kids (aka myself), and women's sizing. I went with the youth pair because I thought they were cuter. I got a size 4, which is the equivalent to a woman's size 6.
Look at those cute little piggies! The women's were pink whereas the youth's were an off-white, kind of like a cream color, and I really liked the pink bottoms. Now you can clearly wear TOMS without socks, and most people do. I like wearing the ped socks with them, especially during the colder months, and you can even wear regular socks if you're wearing them during the colder months with pants. They're really versatile. These are $41.95, whereas the women's are $54.95. With coupons and discounts I ended up paying $34! w0o h0o! I was so excited! They're cute and comfy, and I definitely recommend them!
Here's some links in case you're interested!
Slip-ons for the little ones. They're even fuzzy!
Youth sizes, which is the pair I got!
Women's sizes, which are also really cute!