I think most women love to daydream about everything. Their dream husband, dream house, dream car, dream job, dream life, and so on and so forth. I'm a dreamer myself. When I think of my dream house, I imagine my dream bedroom, and inside that bedroom, my dream vanity. I love makeup, and I've always found vanities feel so fancy and elegant. One spot, just to get yourself all done up. No doing it in the bathroom, or using a small mirror on a desk. A real legit vanity.
I have a vanity myself, but it's certainly not a dream one. It's nice enough and it does what I need it to do. But like I said, I'm a dreamer! I was approached by a woman named Molly who works for Arhaus.com about writing a post about my dream vanity, and that they would love to feature my post on their Pinterest page. I was thrilled with the idea since I had already that vision in my head! So for this post I'm gonna show you some ideas for mine, what I would love for it to look like, and I encourage you to do the same. After all, a dream is a wish your heart makes!
My style is vintage with a bit of romantic feminine charm. Imagine if Belle had her own vanity, mine would look similar to it. Modern isn't for me. I don't like sleek designs, with minimalistic approaches. I like fancy scrolls, loops, decorative designs, and florals.
I would also prefer a high back chair verses a stool. I found some photos of things on Google Images, so I wanted to show you those so you can get a better idea of what my vision is.
I would definitely use a lot of different storage options, because I need to stay organized. Organization is my thing. Brush holders, spots for each makeup, color coordinated eye shadows. All sorts of different organizers too. Organization is key. You would definitely see fancy decanters and beautiful jars on my vanity. I would purchase beautiful jars just to store my creams in lol. What's inside does matter, but a simple tub of lotion can really be highlighted by the right jar.
Let's talk about lighting too. You need all the lights. Natural light, of course, is key. But think lamps as well. The more light the merrier. I chose two different chandeliers from Arhaus that I just absolutely adore. The styles are right up my alley. The floral one is the feminine side in me, and the other is the slightly gothic, dark, and brooding side of me. I'm equal parts both, and I would want my vanity to show that.
And you already know you need more than one mirror. You need mirrors that are magnified (also known as Devil Mirrors if you're me. Like, HOW IS THERE SO MUCH HAIR ON MY FACE?!), as well as the mirror that comes with it for a full shot. And I think an addition mirror is important. Like the one I found on Arhaus's website. You need all the angles. I also like to keep a long mirror nearby when I'm getting dressed, aka my skinny mirror. Isn't it funny how not all mirrors are created equally?!
Lastly, I would want a pretty throw rug to rest it all on. Much like the one I found on Arhaus's website. The colors are my favorite, and the floral design is perfect. I absolutely love this rug!
If you dream vanity is an expensive as mine is, but you still want to capture some of you vision, think about splurging on one fancy thing. It's amazing what one statement piece can do for your space. It can actually change your mindset and your perception and turn your basic vanity from Bed, Bath, and Beyond into something more beyond.
I'm going to include some links to the pieces I loved from Arhaus's website, in case you also loved them too. If you didn't, that's fine because they have a wide variety of items you can check out! Not just for your vanity either, but you can furnish the whole house! Check them out!
I'm also including the link to their lighting in general. I want you to find pieces that inspire you, even if they're not the ones that I chose. All of those links can be found below.
When I tell people I'm vegan, there's a few responses I usually get. Either:
A) They think that means I'm gluten free and I have to explain how they're completely unrelated.
B) They pretend like they know what it means, then proceed to ask me what my favorite type of seafood is.
C) They ask me where I get my protein from.
D) They ask me if I can still eat animal crackers, or some other type of snarky remark.
E) They tell me how they could never do it because they love bacon too much.
For the record:
A) Gluten isn't from an animal, and I'm not gluten intolerant nor do I have Celiac's Disease. I can eat gluten fine.
B) Vegan- no animal products or byproducts, including honey. Fish is an animal. As are crabs, clam, shrimp, and all the other beautiful creatures in the sea. Therefore, I don't eat seafood. And for the record, even when I was a kid, seafood grossed me out. I've never eaten a damn clam a day in my life.
C) I get my protein from food, just like you. If you would like a list of vegan protein options, please check out this amazing thing called the Internet, it's got all the answers you desire about my protein.
D) Most animal crackers are vegan.
The one that bothers me the most is E, because I truly believe everyone has the capacity to be vegan. I'm no one special. I don't have magic powers. I'm not a super hero. I'm a regular girl who chose to go vegan, and did it. People always think it's so hard to do but it's not. Does it require work? Of course it did. But it's worth it. Knowing I'm not partaking in the suffering of animals is all I need to motivate me and keep my willpower going. And I think that's what it really comes down to.
You won't die without bacon. I promise you, you'll survive. It's so hard to listen to someone telling me how sad it makes them knowing what animals go through, but like they're telling me while eating a burger. If you feel crushed when you read a story about dog fighting or animal abuse, but don't get crushed by what farm animals go through, there's something wrong.
I think people turn a blind eye, since most of the time, they're not the ones killing the animals that they're eating. But by eating it, you're still responsible for that animal's death, even if the blood isn't directly on your hands. I know if people would just educate themselves, do a little research, and listen to their hearts and not their stomachs, this world would change for the better. I'll never stop fighting this fight for the animals. I'll never be silenced.
Just because you're raised one way doesn't mean you have to live your life that way forever. Humans have been evolving for the better over all the years we've been on this planet. You don't need to eat meat and dairy to survive. You're not Fred and Wilma Flinstone! Make that change. You can do it!
This has been your monthly "go vegan" pep talk. When I wrote my original blog post entitled "2017- The Year You Went Vegan." I meant it. I meant every word. Let's do this!
On Saturday, my husband and I celebrated Valentine's Day. While not a holiday I care for, I'll take any excuse to have a reason to drag my husband to Longwood Garden's for Orchid Extravaganza. This is our third time going, and I always enjoy it. I love flowers, and nature in general. I feel comforted being surrounded by all of it. The colors are so beautiful, and they smell amazing despite the fact that they make my nose run (thank you allergies!) We had a blast looking at all the beauty the garden had to offer, took a boatload of pictures, and worked up an appetite! After a lot of decision making, we decided (by we I mean my husband since I can't even decide what I want to eat), that we would check out The Greyhound Cafe. I knew from the vegan group they had their soft opening last night, so I was excited to check them out since they were open. And when I hear of new vegan restaurants opening, I feel like a kid on Christmas morning. Being able to go to a place where I can eat EVERYTHING on the menu is so exciting. They're an all vegan restaurant which offers primarily Mexican, Italian, and Pizza. What a mix huh? Guaranteed between those three options alone, you can make anyone's taste buds happy, even my carnivorous husband.
They're a tiny little space in a strip mall full of stores, but I was pleasantly surprised when I stepped inside. They had a brick oven, and a cute area for sitting. Plus, greyhound art.. so appropriate! I love the rustic wood tables, and the tea lights on each table really added an extra layer of coziness to the room.
My husband and I started with guacamole and corn chips as our appetizer. My husband, who doesn't even like avocados, ate more of the guacamole than I did. He loved it. I was OVER THE MOON because it's the first guacamole other than my own that I've ever had that doesn't have onions in it! 🙌🏼🙌🏼 I'm repulsed by onions. GROSS! They instead used lettuce to get that crispy crunch the onions give. It's one of the best guacamole I've ever had. I didn't take pictures of it because A) it didn't last long enough to take a photo and B) I was too busy chatting with our super sweet waitress Grace. She's also a vegan, just became one about a year ago, and she was a pure joy to talk to. It's very refreshing to be able to chat with a like minded individual who gets it. And she was so sweet! She said pretty much everyone who works there is vegetarian or vegan, which I think is really awesome.
After our chat we placed our order. My husband ordered the "Beef" Enchiladas and I got the Melanzane Alla Parmigiana which is essentially eggplant parm. While we were waiting for our orders, the owner came over and introduced himself to us. The menu, as you can see, doesn't call anything "mock," it just chicken or beef, so it kind of threw me for a loop at first. But I really like that, it's all inclusionary.
I tried a bite of my husband enchiladas, despite not like faux meats at all because they make me gag. It was good, but I would've like it better if it was just rice beans and the tortillas without the meat lol. My husband however absolutely LOVED it. He finished the entire plate, and it was a lot of food, even for his standards. I wish I had my phone recording at the time, because he said, and I quote "if all fake meat tasted like this I could go vegetarian." You guys, THAT IS HUGE. My husbands one of the biggest meat eaters I know, so for him to say that, I know those enchiladas were good. It made my heart happy.
My eggplant parm was amazing. I chose the grilled eggplant over fried since I'm not a fan of fried food in general. It also had penne, homemade marinara sauce with big hunks of tomatoes (just how I like it), and their own house made mozzarella cheese topped with a little pinch of parsley. Grace told me all of their cheese is house made, as well as mostly everything else. I love that, since it's an extra way to ensure it's definitely vegan. The penne was cooked perfectly al dente. The eggplants was tender and grilled just right. I loved the sauce. And their mozzarella was delicious. It had an almost lemony flavor to it, which only enhanced all the other flavors. It's funny because a few different times throughout the night, I could've sworn Grace was reading my mind. I was a few minutes into eating my pasta, and I was thinking "I could use some more sauce" since I'm a sauce girl. Within a second, here comes Grace with a whole side dish full of extra sauce. I didn't even have to ask, she just knew! I got stuffed halfway through but it was too good not to finish it, so I devoured the whole thing.
At this point, we're both stuffed, but I see cheesecake on the dessert menu and I have absolutely zero self control around cheese cake. So I ordered it for dessert. The menu said it came with a pecan caramel sauce. After I ordered it, I started thinking about how I miss Bertucci's cheese cake, which was my favorite. It had a raspberry sauce on top that really made it out of this world. With her mind reading powers, here comes Grace telling me they have an option for a raspberry sauce instead of the pecan sauce, and I was just over the moon! Again I was like, how did she know?!
This no bake cashew cheese cake with the date and walnut crust and raspberry reduction was AMAZING! So creamy and thick, it tasted just like cheesecake. Why started off as me planning on taking a bite and getting a doggy bag for the rest quickly turned into me devouring the whole thing and being half tempted to lick the plate. It was THAT good.
Also, as far as drinks. They've got some sodas, fresh brewed ice tea, coffee and hot tea, and San Pellegrino water. There's no alcohol, but I believe I heard someone say it's BYOB, but I would check before you go. My husband got the Mexicane Cola which legit tasted just like Pepsi, and I got the fresh brewed ice tea which was great. It was unsweetened and I asked Grace for some came sugar and she brought me a cute little cup with a spoon in it to add as much as I'd like. Our refills were free. I was almost half way done mine and I was thinking I needed another glass soon and again, here comes Grace to fill up our drinks. She was such a great waitress, we gave her a big tip.
Overall, we had a wonderful experience there. The atmosphere, the menu, the people, the food.. all A+ in my book. I'm so happy to find a place that my husband and I can both enjoy a good meal together. Often times, I'll go somewhere with him and not eat, or vice versa. And this place will probably be our new date night spot. They remind me kind of like Vedge, but a little less fancy, and definitely more affordable and more realistic food choices. Vedge makes beautiful fancy meals, but you have to have a certain palette to appreciate them. This place is for the real food lovers. Our bill was about $50, which was about what I expected. I think the prices are fair, considering the portion sizes and quality of food.
If you're looking for a new place to check out, give The Greyhound Cafe a try!
About a month or so ago, I was having some major lip issues. My Hurraw Moon Balm that's been my trusty balm for over a year pretty much stopped working out of nowhere. I was on the hunt for a new one and did some research on my own, as well as talked to a few ladies in the vegan group I'm in on Facebook, and bought two different ones to try. The one I already blogged about, my at home balm, which is Earth Mama Angel Baby's Coconut Smoothie Lip Balm. If you read that post, you'll know I love that balm. The other one, my work balm, is Soothing Touch Unscented Lip Balm. So today I wanted to review that one.
These balms are pretty different overall. The Coconut Smoothie is thick and silky, since it's primarily coconut oil. However, I can't imagine using it in the summer, or letting it sit in my pocket because it would melt, which is inconvenient. It's really moisturizing too. The Soothing Touch balm is more of a traditional balm. I feel like it more protects my lips rather than really moisturizes them like the other balm does. Typically I wouldn't like that so much, but since my Coconut Smoothie balm does primarily moisturize, and this one protects them, its a good cycle and they work really well in tandem together.
This balm does still leave my lips silky and not sticky. It leaves a nice sheen on the lips too. I can't stand the feeling of bare lips, and this does a nice job of keeping them protected but still soft. I absolutely adore the scent. It smells like real cocoa butter. Not like Palmer's Cocoa Butter, since this one isn't fragranced or sweet. It's just real rich cocoa butter.
Here's the ingredients list; taken directly from their website:
*High Oleic Expeller Pressed Safflower Oil, *High Oleic Expeller Pressed Sunflower Seed Oil, Castor Oil, *Calendula Flower ,*Olive Oil, *Grapeseed Oil, *Expeller Pressed Apricot Kernel Oil, Vitamin E, *Cocoa Butter, *Shea Butter, Candelilla Wax, *Fair Trade Palm Wax. *Certified Organic Ingredients.
Each tube retails for $2.19, which I think the price is fair too, considering it's a large tube. It looks like I'm rubbing a glue stick on my lips when I use it lol. Overall, I'm pretty happy with it. I think using it in tandem with a thicker and richer balm, like I am, is the key to having soft healthy lips. Not dry and not over moisturized. Lips aren't one size fits all. Experiment and see what works best for you!
It's been brought to my attention (by myself, as a result of going through my 5,153 photos on my phone) that I never blogged about my beautiful necklace from Lava Essentials! I blogged about Lava Essentials in one of my small business posts, but never blogged about my necklace!
This necklace was kind of like an "imperfect" item, so it was a little cheaper than the original. Fine by me, because it was still a beautiful piece that needed a good home.
I'm stuck wearing blue for work all day every day, but the only blue I can really tolerate is navy. Probably because it's dark and so close to black. I figured this necklace would be a great addition to my work wardrobe.
I love the crescent design, and I love the style. Lava Essentials is all about minimalistic jewelry, which suits me well. Especially at work. But the design is simple but still stunning. I love the three lava beans, and I think it's really cool that you can diffuse oil with them. I never have so I can't state how it works, but if I wanted to, it's nice to know I can!
They offer a lot of different styles, some with just the lava beads and others with a combination of those and stones. I love and truly believe in the power of healing crystals and stones, so that's a big plus for me.
I also love that their jewelry is nickel free and hypoallergenic. Also, its gold filled not gold plated. This means that instead of having metal dipped in a thin layer of liquid gold, a solid piece of gold is heat pressed to the base of the metal. So, unless you have a gold allergy, you should be good! Also, i resists turning and tarnishing, which is great. I have extreme sensitive skin and you never know how it's gonna react to anything.
Don't forget to follow them on Instagram and check out their website to find a piece that suits you best!
February is the worst isn't it? At this point most people are over winter. The glitz and glam of the holidays are long gone. This is usually when we get the snow storms. Arctic blasts are coming. And I don't mind winter, but I'm ready for sunny days and light jackets! If it wasn't for my shows, I would hibernate all through February.
You know what else February usually brings? A screeching halt to your resolutions. That new year new me vibe is wearing off. Have you guys been keeping up your resolutions? I have only ever been able to keep one resolution. Back in 2011, my resolution was to wear more blue. In March of 2011, I got my current job and the colors we have to wear are blue and white. Success because I had to, even though now I absolutely despise the color blue. But, I was determined this year to add another check box next to my resolutions, and so far I'm feeling pretty confident in them!
The first and easiest one was to read more, which I'm successfully doing. I finished two books that I started last year, finished two books so far this year, and am about halfway through the one I'm currently reading. My mom discovered that the Dollar Store sells books for $1, like legit novels, and they've got some gems in there! So that's my new hot spot for getting books.
The second and without question the hardest resolution I've made, and one of the hardest things I've ever done, is to work on my anxiety. I've been therapist shopping and think I've found one I've settled on. I'm setting up realistic goals for my treatment, since I know that anxiety is a lifelong disorder. It will not ever fully go away, and accepting that is really the first step. I also finally got myself an anxiety journal, like I had planned on originally. Truth be told, I found a BEAUTIFUL journal at the Disney Store that's Beauty and the Beast and I needed to have it but couldn't justify the $20 price tag without having a reason. I'm happy to say I bought it and have been writing in it, so my $20 isn't wasted!
I feel pretty good about where I'm at with my resolutions. I hope you guys are still motivated with yours. Get over that February hump! You can do it!
When I first placed an order for Paula's Choice, I ordered samples of almost everything they recommended. When I got them, I used one at a time to see how my skin reacted so in case so had a reaction I could pinpoint what it is. That's a little lesson I've learned after all of the experimenting I've done with facial products.
My current moisturizer from Paula's Choice is their Earth Sourced one, which has done me well since I started using it in September. But, I ran out. I decided to use one of the samples I had originally bought while I waited for my moisturizer to come in. The sample I had was Calm Moisturizer for Normal to Oily Skin. This moisturizer is supposed to help with redness and soothe skin, and it's designed for extra sensitive skin. Good news for me, since I have extra sensitive skin.
Let me state for the record, I love Paula's Choice. Her products have literally made a world of difference in my skin. However, this lotion is not at all for me. Not at all.
Not only did this moisturizer give me a monster pimple on my cheek, which I haven't had pretty much since I started Paula's Choice. But it broke my jawline out in hives! Itchy, red, swollen hives! On both sides!
And I know what you're thinking, Ash how do you know it was that? Great question. I haven't used anything else new, except this lotion. Since my face has been looking so great I literally refuse to change a thing since I don't wanna mess it up. Same makeup, same face products, same everything. And you're also probably thinking, Ash how do you know it's not just your contact dermatitis or eczema? Another great question. Well, I'm kind of an expert at those after all of these years of having them. Plus, my contact dermatitis has only ever been on or around my eyelids in all of the years I've been dealing with it. Also, when I read reviews, I wasn't the only person who had issues with it, I come to find out AFTER the fact.
Even if you ignore the super itchy hives on my face and the monster pimple that's refusing to go away, the moisturizer wasn't my favorite. It did keep my skin moisturized, that's true. But it was thick and didn't absorb as well as I hoped.
It's my own fault for not ordering it before I ran out. And it's my own fault for trying it without hesitation. Overall, this is a total fail for me. I'm really hoping these hives go away, it's really embarrassing. It makes me feel really uncomfortable. I didn't even realize how red they were until after I washed my makeup off. Ugh.
I can't say for absolute certainty it was this moisturizer, since my extra sensitive skin has been extra extra sensitive lately and also, my skin generally has a mind of its own.
Within like two days, the hives seem to have gone away but my face is still kinda itchy. Hey, at least it gives me a reason to take Benadryl other than to fall asleep right?! Positive side!
If I may be honest, cooking hasn't been my top priority as of late. I've been going through some really bad anxiety and a bit of depression, so it was hard enough just getting through the day. The idea of trying to really cook wasn't happening. But I recently stumbled upon The Vegan Stoner's blog thanks to some ladies in a vegan group I'm in on Facebook and I was really impressed with how simple the recipes are. I don't know about you, but when I get home from work I don't have 5 hours to make food. I wish I did. My goal is to be a stay at home wife, but sadly, that's never going to happen.
If you're one of those people that's like I'm gonna have homemade everything, this blog is not for you. It's simple, using mainly store bought items, not that you can't replace the store bought with your own if you prefer. You do you boo.
I decide to try the Zoodles and Beanballs recipe. Super simple recipe, that I'm fairly positive anyone could make.
Here's the ingredients I used:
2 zucchinis and a spiralizer
Salt and pepper for taste
Garlic and herb seasoning
Can of black beans
Gluten free Panko bread crumbs
First spiralize your zucchini. Cut the ends off, but leave the skin on. And don't salt your zucchini (I learned that the hard way.) I got a handheld spiralizer from Bed Bath and Beyond for $15, and it's a piece of cake to use. For reference, one zucchini is enough for like one person's meal, since it's light.
Mash a whole can of black beans with a fork or a masher. It's a work out. Be prepared. I put my oats, spices, and 4 tbsp soy sauce in a separate bowl, then combined them all once your beans are mashed. I only added a few shakes of spices, just enough so the Beanballs didn't taste just like plain beans. Also, add some of your breadcrumbs to the mixture too. Roll your Beanballs in bread crumbs before cooking them. Then, add some olive oil in a pan, and cook your Beanballs for a few minutes on each side. It shouldn't take longer than ten minutes to cook them.
While your Beanballs are cooking, place your zoodles in a pan with marinara sauce and just warm them up a bit. You can eat the noodles raw too, it doesn't matter. It's whatever you prefer.
Once you're all done, combine and serve! I sprinkled some more breadcrumbs on top too, in lieu of cheese. You can sprinkle some nutritional yeast on top if you're craving that cheese flavor.
Overall, I thought everything turned out pretty good.
Don't be mad at me, because I forgot to take any photos of the final product. We were rushing to leave and I didn't have time to take photos. However, I did get a great photo of Leopold being my furry little helper in the kitchen, so there's that.
I had the rest of them for dinner tonight and everything still tasted good heated up! Even my husband, who doesn't like black beans, thought they were good considering what they were. My sister and my best friend liked them too!
I'm going to do make some changes when I cook them again, which will be regular since they're so easy. Here's what I'll be changing:
-The Beanballs weren't very sturdy. They got all deformed as I was flipping them. I'm gonna add a flax egg to help bind everything together. Also, I might add some other beans to the mixture. The more the merrier. -I got plain Panko bread crumbs which were the perfect size. They were bigger so they added a good crunch. And I liked the gluten free ones too, since they had a different texture than regular bread crumbs. But, next time I'm gonna get the Italian seasoned gluten free bread crumbs, since I think they'll add more to the flavor.
-Do not salt your Zoodles. I mentioned this above but I wanna reiterate it. The salt pulls all the water out from the Zoodles and they become soggy and basically impossible to cook with since they're a drippy messy. Zucchinis are literally almost all water. Salt and water don't mix!
-Cook your noodles in a pan with a hint or olive or vegetable oil, not with the sauce. Pour the sauce over everything when you're all done plating everything. Or, just have the sauce on the side. The marinara really brought out the flavor of the Beanballs, so I definitely will use that. Don't store your leftover Beanballs in sauce, otherwise the breadcrumbs will probably get soggy. No one likes soggy breadcrumbs.
If I had a $1 for every time someone asked me that upon hearing I was vegetarian and then vegan, over the course of about 18 years, I would have so many friggin dollars.
Just to prove the naysayers wrong, I decided to actually keep count of how much protein I get on an average day without trying. I've actually never done this before, so it was a fun experiment for me too. I even did it for two days, just to make sure my first day totals were pretty consistent with my regular diet. The first day was Sunday, and the second day was Monday. I didn't try to increase my protein totals by eating high protein foods. I just ate as I typically would, and kept count of the protein. That's it.
Whole Grain Organic Waffles- 4g
Peanut Butter - 7g
Daiya Peach Yogurt - 8g
Vegan Grilled Cheese on Multigrain Bread - 11g
Whole bag of green beans - 3g
2 Sunbutter Cups - 4g
Bean Crisps - 4g
Oatmeal - 4g
Barley and veggies - 3g
Strawberries - 1g
Nut and granola mix - 5g
Daiya Peach Yogurt - 8g
Vegan Grilled Cheese - 11g
Handful of Green Beans - .5g
2 giant scoops of peanut butter - 7g (Don't judge me, I had a bad day!)
Pasta and Earth Balance - 0g of nutritional value, but delicious none the less. Like I said, I had a bad day. Carbs are lifesavers when you have a bad day.
You've probably read so many different things regarding how much protein you need. Men and women need different amounts, pregnant women need different amounts, age makes a difference, activity level makes a difference. In general, most things claim we need more protein than we really do. That's why when everyone gets up in arms about my protein levels, I'm like chill your omnivorous self down. I got this. People seem to forget that too much protein isn't healthy for you either.
I calculated my daily protein recommendation online using a calculator and putting my information in, and I should be getting 40 g per day, which I can clearly do without even trying. I also drink protein smoothies in the morning, although I've been slacking on those.
Eating a balanced diet is essential to a healthy life. That's nothing new, nothing you don't already know. Sometimes keeping a food journal and calculating what you think you may be lacking in, or getting too much of, can really help to balance your diet. And remember, you gotta eat what you want in moderation. Like my entire dinner Monday night was a carb overload. Do I feel bad about that? Not at all, because bad days call for carbs. But moderation is the key to everything.
Also remember that just because there's recommended amounts and guidelines doesn't mean you have to follow them to a T. Use your body as a guide. Listen to what your body is trying to tell you. You know how you should feel. Your dietary needs can change depending on what's going on in your life, so be smart!