Today is a very special day for me. It's my official one year Veganniversary! I want to share with you guys a few personal stories of me being a vegetarian, transitioning over to veganism, and how I feel I've grown over this past year.
As some of you may or may not know, before going vegan last year, I was a vegetarian for literally ever. I was so young when I first started that I don't remember the date. But, it would've been 15 years last year had I not gone vegan. When I was a kid I ate meat, mainly because I never knew any better. I didn't know about the immense amount of suffering animals go through to get to your plate. I remember what occurred the day I said I was going vegetarian, and from that day forward I never looked back. We were in health class watching a movie on food born illnesses. The used an example of some guy that got either e.coli or salmonella, and they acted out his symptoms and explained in great detail what those symptoms were. I was so grossed out because I never even heard of these awful things and I was like ew! Then, just when I thought the video couldn't get worse, it did. After that segment ended, they showed a video on how meat gets tainted. The image of what I saw was forever seared in my mind. It was a slaughterhouse, and they showed a cow, slit from it's belly up, hanging upside down, bleeding, urine and feces all over the place, and them taking the bladder and intestines being shoved into a machine, still full of urine and feces. I was blown away. I had tears in my eyes that I was trying to hold back because I was at school. To think that poor cow was just gutted, and hung up there like it meant nothing. I couldn't handle it. Then, to see that so little care goes into the process of making meat, I was done. I refused to be part of the problem any longer.
At that time, I was still so young that I didn't fully understand what it meant to be a vegetarian. I did my best, but for the first 2-3 years, I was a mess. I didn't understand that it was deeper than just not eating flesh. The one thing I always knew was that eating poultry and seafood ARE NOT vegetarian. That was always a question I got, and it always annoyed me because they are all animals! It was a learning experience for me because there was so much more, so many more ingredients, like gelatin and tallow, that I had to learn about. I just kept doing research. Did you know anchovies are in Caesar dressing? Or that certain cheeses (like Parmesan for example) contain animal rennet? The more I learned, the more strict my diet got. No cross contamination. No eggs. Year after year, I eliminated more things and that list grew until all I was eating that wasn't vegan was butter, cheese, and honey. I don't do anything half assed. I took being a vegetarian seriously, and it was a point of pride for me. That was always one of the first things I told people because of how proud I was of myself. I was always happy to share information with others hoping I could help them see how amazing it is for yourself and for the animals! Even still, I wanted to be a vegan. But how could I give up cheese?! Cheese is life!
I had tried before back in 2011 to be vegan, but there was SO FEW vegan foods back then and it was so difficult I only did it for about two weeks and gave up. I thought I would die without cheese. I felt like I might. Plus, I was very uneducated about the vegan lifestyle. Like a lot of vegetarians, if you don't do the research, you don't see what's wrong with eating dairy and eating honey because it's not eating the animal, and no animal is getting hurt. Not even close. I know all the ingredients vegetarians can't eat and could read the ingredients in a second and spot right away some non-vegetarian ingredient. I was a pro! I knew I was helping animals, and I thought I was doing enough. But, even after all these years of being a vegetarian and all the knowledge I gained, I was still so uneducated about the cruelty aspect of it, and so unaware that the dairy industry is part of the problem. The reason why is because I cannot watch or hear or read stories of animals being hurt. I feel like my entire soul is being crushed and just like that image of that poor cow from way back when, those images stick with me forever. I cry about them. I still cry about that cow! I feel physically feel their pain, and feel all those awful emotions that they feel. It affects me mind body and soul. I recently discovered why I am the way I am when it comes to my feelings on animals, amongst many other traits. I'm something called an empath . That discussion is a story for another time. An empath is an individual that is highly sensitive and fine tuned to emotions. We feel everything, good bad indifferent, to an extreme. It sounds crazy and like it's not a real thing, but it is. Once I learned this, it all made sense. I was literally born to be a vegan. I just didn't know it until late in my 20s.
In the beginning of 2014, I started doing some more research on the vegan diet. The health benefits of it. I have IBS, and I read a lot of people saying that cutting cheese out of their diet helped their IBS symptoms. I was taught my entire life that cheese "binds you up" so I always ate it. Could it be that my favorite food, something I ate every single day, could be actually hindering my IBS verses helping it? I was intrigued. So, for Lent 2014, I went vegan. Once again, I was like, but cheese?! When I tell you NO ONE loved cheese as much as I did, I mean that. Breakfast lunch dinner. Cheesecake, grilled cheese, baked potato with cheese, cheese and crackers, cheese and more cheese. I'm going to tell you something you may not believe, but it's 100% true because I'm proof of it. Cheese is a real addiction. You actually physically go through cheese withdrawal. I had headaches, and I was nothing short of a damn grump! How is this possible you ask? Because cheese contains casein, that when that gets digested and broken down in your body, creates an opiate compound like morphine! So your body creates all these feel good hormones and you literally get addicted. For a solid three weeks, this went on and on. It was hell. 21 days of pure hell. A miracle happened after those three weeks, that craving was gone. I saw cheese and was like eh. Even more amazing, I was so caught up in my cheese withdrawal that I didn't even take the time to notice that my IBS was so much better than it has been in years! I'm talking YEARS! My eyes were open. I couldn't believe it! I went all of Lent feeling pretty damn good from that point on. I knew physically I felt better, but it was time for me to do the research I didn't want to know but knew I had to. I had to find out about the cruelty of dairy and honey. It didn't take long for me to be in tears, appalled by what I learn. Calves being ripped from their mothers side minutes after birth so farmers could take her milk for us to drink. Milk isn't for humans. Milk is for baby cows. I'm not going to get into any more detail, but I promise you, it's bad. Do yourself a favor, and read the book Skinny Bitch. If you finish that with a dry eye after hearing those stories, you have no soul. Simple as that.
I knew that making this decision to be vegan was going to be life changing, and it was going to be permanent. And like I said, go big or go home. Go vegan stay vegan. But before I fully committed to this lifestyle, I had to find out, for my own knowledge, and so I could tell other people suffering with IBS if cheese actually makes it worse. So, I tried a piece of eggplant and cheese pizza. A) I couldn't even really finish it because I was so grossed out. B) With the little I ate, my belly was a disaster. Then, a few days later, I forced myself to eat a cheese and mustard sandwich. I wanted proof, not just a fluke. And, low and behold, the belly went crazy again. The next day, 6/30/15, I woke up with a renewed look on life. I officially went vegan, and here I am, a year later, better than I ever was.
So what have I learned being a vegan? I've learned that living this compassionate life is beautiful. Knowing that I'm part of the solution and not the problem makes my heart feel amazing. Do you know that cows cry going to the slaughterhouse? Physically cry like a person. Tears, noises, sobbing. They know that their life is about to end, and there's no one there to save them. How someone can know that and feel okay eating that burger is something I'll never understand. It's knowing stuff like that that brings happy tears to my eyes when I see rescued animals at farm sanctuaries living their beauty life, never having to worry about being someone's dinner. Even now as I type it, I cry because there are SO MANY AMAZING vegans out there playing their part to help these animals. Every vegan plays a part; big and small. Together, we already have elicited a change in the world. More and more, you're seeing vegan menus at places, and fully vegan restaurants and bakeries. From 2011 when I half-assed tried to be vegan, to today, I've noticed huge changes like this. This momentum is continuing, and its truly amazing. This is the best I have ever eaten. My body craves fruit now instead of junk food. I've also learned that Dandies vegan marshmallows are a true gift to the vegan diet, because they're AMAZING! Also, I've learned that shoving my thoughts and my beliefs down people's throats hinders the vegan cause. Me telling you that you're wrong for eating meat will not make you stop eating meat. You need to know why eating meat is detrimental to your health and terrible for animals. I need to be able to inform you of why that is while at the same time not making you feel like I'm better than you. Because I'm not. I am a regular person living a regular life who's educated herself to see through the lies of campaigns like "milk does a body good" because it doesn't. Everyone has the ability to live this life, as I have. I want this beautiful lifestyle for every single one of you because it's so amazingly rewarding and you and the animals benefit from it. It's a win win! I will never push my beliefs on anyone, but if anyone reading this has any questions about the vegan lifestyle, please feel free to contact me. I am more than happy to share what I have learned with you.
I would like to thank those who have read this from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to share my story with you. I would absolutely love to hear yours! Before I go, I would like to share something wonderful that happened to me today. I told my manager that today was my Veganniversary and I wanted to go after work and get some cupcakes from my favorite bakery but I didn't think I would make it by the time I got done, as the bakery is a bit away from me. He went out and surprised me with a box full of cupcakes from my favorite bakery! I was so touched I almost cried. Below are some pictures! Happy Tuesday to you all!
Out of all of Lush's Fresh Face Masks, three are vegan, and out of those three, this is my favorite one. The others are Cupcake and Oatifix. This one is Catastrophe Cosmetic, and it's amazing. This is my third time purchasing this one in particular. I love it just as much the third time as I did the first time.
Lush's Fresh Face Masks are so fresh that they need to be refrigerated. For that reason, you can only purchase them in stores only. Each is $6.95 and they are 2.1 oz. You get more uses out of it than you would think.
As you can read above, this one contains blueberries, blue chamomile, Irish moss, and calamine. It's suitable for all skin types, even sensitive skin. The ingredients all blend together to soothe and cleanse without causing irritation or stripping skin of it's natural oils.
I'll give you a list of pros and cons. First, here's the pros:
1) I love the scent. It makes me think of calamine covered blueberries, and it's amazing. It's a calm and soothing scent.
2) I love that the mask is refrigerated because it is SO refreshing to apply to your face, especially in the hot summer months. You can take it out about 5-10 minutes before you use it, but I take it out and use it right away because I love the coldness on my skin.
3) It really is super soothing. When I take it off, my face feels really soft. And, my skin tone looks more even.
4) It's pretty affordable considering how many uses you get out of it.
5) It only contains the freshest ingredients, which is obvious because of it's need for refrigeration.
6) This mask isn't used to fix any one skin problem, it's meant to prevent any skin "catastrophe." Preventative measures are way better than fixing the problem. Why have the problem if you don't have to?!
Here's the cons:
1) Because it's so natural, the expiration date of it is super quick, like 2 weeks. I never finish it in two weeks. However, it seems to work just fine if you use it within a month, as I usually do.
2) As you open and close it, it can dry out a little bit. As easy fix to this is to mix a few drops of water in the container, as that tends to help.
3) It's very thick, so it can be a little difficult to spread on. Again, you can add some water to it to make it easier to spread if you choose.
4) As it dries, like most masks, it tightens on your face. If you even talk while it's dry, it like crumbles off your face and makes a mess everywhere.
The cons are really just usual mask things, and nothing that would deter me from using it because it does work so well. This is one of my favorite Lush products and I couldn't recommend it enough! Your skin will thank you!
I'm going to share with you guys one of my favorite ideas that I've been doing for years. This is something that you can do for yourself, as a gift for your vegan friends, or really, for any of your friends. It makes a super cute and thoughtful small gift for any occasions. Here's what you're going to need, as you can see below: an empty PocketBac from Bath and Body Works (or any container, be creative), lotion of your choice, and hand sanitizer of your choice.
As you guys already know, because of my OCD, I am forever using hand sanitizer, and because of my constant hand washing, hand lotion is my BFF. In addition to that, Halloween is by far my favorite holiday ever. Halloween is a lifestyle. I am Halloween lol. So, this Franken Kitty PocketBac container is perfect for me!
You can use whichever lotion you choose. I chose Jason's brand Cocoa Butter, which is one of my favorites. The scent is really awesome, and it moisturizes really well. You can also use whichever hand sanitizer you choose. As for me, I use a few, but for this, I prefer a gel versus my CleanWell Spray one. This brand is Everyone by EO Products, and the scent is Coconut + Lemon, which really adds a nice scent with the Cocoa Butter. They mix really well together.
Sadly, as some of you may or may not know, Bath and Body Works is not vegan. And by not vegan, I mean they have NOTHING vegan. I'm pretty disappointed by that. I contacted them when I first went vegan, and was the response I received:
Case # 3729016
We appreciate you taking the time to contact us in regards to the products that we offer.
In answer to your question, at this time none of our products are classified as vegan, kosher, or halal. However, we certainly welcome you to review the product ingredients to determine whether or not they are fitting for you.
If we can be of any further assistance, please reply to this email or contact us at 1-800-395-1001, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday.
Customer Relations Representative
Bath & Body Works
I wrote them back about how disappointed I was, and how I was so surprised that a company as big as them wouldn't at least carry a vegan line. I don't give them my money anymore, not even on gifts for other people. However, a lot of people still buy me stuff from their store, such as the PocketBac you see above, because of it's cute Halloween theme and design. Of course, it's the thought that counts and I still appreciate that. Because I can't use them as their intended, doesn't mean that I won't repurpose them! I am a huge fan of reusing and repurposing. I always suggest you at least try one of those options instead of just throwing something out.
So, what do I do with those three ingredients? I make my own mix of hand sanitizing lotion to carry with me on my purse anytime I need it! Here's a step by step on how I do it!
First, I start by dumping the product down the drain. Then, I start cleaning the container. I'm really thorough when I clean both the container and the lid because I don't want any product left in my container for when I use it. I use a Q-Tip to clean out the lid really good and scrub the crevices. I also use a Q-Tip for the container but it's a little too short, so I make due as best I can with that. Then, I fill up the container with hot soap water, shake the bottle vigorously using my finger to prevent any leaks, to really clean the bottle. You may need to do this a few times to make sure it's all clean! Side note: Be cautious as to avoid getting a lot of water on the label because you don't want the label to peel off or get messed up.
Once the bottle is all clean, I take a paper towel or tissues and twist it into the bottle to try and dry it as best I can. If you're not in a rush, you can just allow it to air dry. Either way is fine. If there's still a few drops of water left (mine has some left), don't worry about it. Now, you're ready to fill it!
As you can see above, I used my lotion bottle to fill this container. Something you want to remember when you use something with a small opening like this PocketBac bottle, it's a pain in the booty using the lotion bottle itself. The lotion gets stuck to the side of the opening, and you can only get a drop in before you have to bang the bottle on the table to move the product down, and repeat the process over and over. It takes forever this way. Instead, I would suggest taking a baggie, fill it with as much lotion as you think you'll need, and cut a small hole in the corner of the baggie, kind of like you do when you're piping icing onto a cupcake. If you have some lotion left when you're done, just squeeze the remainder back into the lotion tube itself.
You need to have enough hand sanitizer that it's effective, but not too much that it becomes watery. I have a method I have perfected to get the exact consistency I like. It's all about layers. I apply a small layer of lotion, like half a centimeter, and then 4 drops of hand sanitizer, then I shake to mix them together. You need to bang the product on the table a few different times throughout this process to get the product down the bottom of the container.
You just wanna keep repeating the layering and shaking process until the container is full. Here's the finished product:
Voila! Your ready to keep your hands sanitized and moisturized; whenever, wherever! These make not only great gifts, but great bridal shower or wedding favors! Whatever your theme is, Bath and Body Works has something for every season. I know they have sales like 5 for $5, which is a good deal. Or, you can buy cute travel containers at Target and customize them yourself. The possibilities are endless. You can use your own creativity to make it uniquely yours.
Not only is it a good idea, but it can be a pretty cost effective one too, especially if you're making them in bulk for holiday stocking stuffers, or for favors. An 8 oz. bottle of Jason's lotion retails for $7.99. Each PocketBac is 1 oz., but you use a little less than 1 oz. of lotion because you use the hand sanitizer too. The hand sanitizer retails for $3 and is 2 oz.
In addition to the cost effectiveness, and the creative idea, it's heart felt. I, as a vegan, like to share my vegan stuff with non-vegans to show them how compassion can be better than the traditional route. This gift is uniquely mine, and I like to share a little part of me with those I care about.
And be creative with it! You could use vegan body wash, shampoo, conditioner; you could make a vegan travel basket. The possibilities are endless! If you decide to try this, please let me know your experiences with it! I would love to hear them!
Let's talk about how much I love nail polish for a minute. It's one of my favorite accessories. Like your hair, your nails are another way to express yourself. How you paint them, how you file them, the length, the designs you choose; all of it defines you. And, you can change your them as often as you want to mold your mood. That's why I love nail polishes! Sadly, most of the polishes you find at your usual drug store is not vegan and is tested on animals. Did you know most shades of red contain crushes beetles? Not your thing? Good. I don't think that should be anyone's thing. I have discovered a ton of vegan polish that are affordable, can be shipped straight to your door, and work better than those junky beetle polishes.
One of my favorite brands is OCC, which stands for Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics. OCC is 100% vegan and cruelty free. They have polishes, lip tar, eyeshadow and eyeliner, concealer and tinted moisturizer. I love the name, since it's like a play on OCD. But more than the name, I love the polishes! They work AMAZING! I have only tried their products, but their color payoff is rich and highly pigmented, so I can only imagine the rest of their products are as well. They use only high quality ingredients, which I appreciate. I don't often buy their polishes because they are expensive, at $10 a bottle. Do I think they're worth that? Absolutely. Without doubt. I'm just poor and can't afford it. But, they were having a 40% off sale, so I had to take advantage!
When it comes to nail polish colors, just like all the other colors in my life, I have three basic colors I stick with more than anything else. Those are: black, gray, and purple. I have other shades that I sometimes wear, but I'm not a super colorful person in general. As you can see by my purchases above, this order was no different lol. The first photo you can see Belladonna (ultra violet), and Gryphon (opaque cement gray.) In the next photo, you can see Batty (midnight black with silver glitter), and Electric Sheep (lavender with silver shimmer.) The colors are all pretty true to what you see on the website, except Belladonna looks darker in person than it does in the photo, however, I still love it. I was fortunate, thanks to their 40% off sale, to get these for $6 each. Shipping is a little cray cray; it was $11. Typically if I have to pay for shipping, I don't buy whatever it is. However, with such good savings, I didn't even care. Even with expensive shipping, I still ended up paying less than I would've had I bought them at full price and paid no shipping. So, I still consider this a win!
As you can see from the photos above, I used Belladonna and Batty. And I am "batty" for both of them! Belladonna is so vibrant! And I just love the silver glitter mixed with true black in Batty! I haven't used the other shades yet, but when I do I'll be sure to post a picture!
I highly recommend not just these shades, but this brand in general. I only have one other shade of polish from them, and it's called Pagan. It was released last year with their fall colors, and it's a blackened purple and it is amazing! It's my absolute favorite nail polish color that I own. I frequently wash my hands, like 50+ times a day. And these polishes hold up very well considering that. If you do a lot of work with your hands, I suggest trying them out. Even if you don't, I still Suggs trying them out. Either way, you won't be disappointed. Since this company is 100% vegan you can buy anything from them without worrying about any hidden animal derived ingredients.
You can order these through their site as I said, but shipping is high. You can purchase them at Sephora, although I'm not a Sephora fan because their house brand isn't cruelty free. They said their specialty brands are, but it's too iffy for me. So I don't like giving them my money in general. But they offer a lot of fancy products you can't find at Ulta, and Sephora does carry vegan brands, so the decision is yours. However, you can order OCC polishes from their website and I think it's free shipping on hour purchase of $50 and up. No matter how you choose to buy them, just do yourself a favor and buy them! You won't be disappointed!
In all my years of using and loving Lush products, a time has come that I never thought or hoped would come: I've found my first Lush product I didn't like. Lush's Volcano Foot Mask has made for a very sad, pained, and uncomfortable Ashley. Let me take you on this journey of my first (and only) time I used this foot mask and what happened.
Above you can see how to use it, what it looks like, and what it's made with. I bought this foot mask because I was so intrigued by the idea of a foot mask! I've heard of face masks, hand masks, but never feet masks! I had to try it.
As a personal side note: my feet don't sweat so my feet never ever smell. Seriously. I think it's like some sort of medical condition, because in the summer my feet literally feel like they're gonna burst into flames they get so hot! Sweating helps your body cool down, so if you're feet don't sweat, your feet don't cool down. For this reason, I'm barefoot as often as I can be, even in the winter. It sounds weird, I know, but it felt relevant to share. So, clearly I didn't buy this for the stinky feet and I can't say how it works on that, but it does claim to help with that if that's something you need!
The texture of the product itself was nice. It feels like a liquefied clay, as it should considering it's a kaolin clay based product full of skin loving ingredients. To be honest, the smell was awful. My poor mom was ready to gag. I tried to get her to do it with me but she was too grossed out by the scent. My scent filled my entire bathroom. It's like cinnamon, black licorice, and fennel maybe? It smells like bad cough syrup. You know I can always deal with the scent of things as long as they work, but this one was rough. I was really hoping to smell the tomatoes and papayas but I didn't even get a hint of them!
I know people are probably supposed to use like plastic wrap, but I didn't have any. So, I just grabbed two plastic bags, one for each foot. This stuff is super messy, and it dries quickly. So, it's hard to apply because it dries on your feet, and it dries on your hands. You end up getting dry clumps all over your floor as you apply it. Also, because of this, you end up using so much more product than you need because you end up wasting so much of it as it clumps. I did one foot at a time. I applied it to my left foot, bagged it, and while I was applying it to my right foot, my left foot was feeling more and more burning by the second.
Based off the description of it, menthol and cinnamon oil, I imagined it would be like applying Icy Hot to your feet. Boy, was I wrong. At one point I was thinking to myself.. "did they name it Volcano because it contains lava that's melting my skin off!" The bottom of my feet were fine, it felt icy and hot, similar to what I thought. But the tops of my feet hurt SO BAD I was ready to cry. The bag was stuck to the top of my foot and I was like.. "I think skin might come off with it" as I pulled the bag off. I took the bag off my left foot, hoping some air flow would help, but it didn't. I never even bothered putting a bag on my right foot. I sat for like 2-3 minutes after I was done both feet, hoping the pain would subside, but it never did. I couldn't get this off my feet fast enough. I hobbled over to my bath tub and rinse it with cold water and body wash as fast as I could. I dried my feet and hands with paper towels, and wiped up the excess that got everywhere so my cats wouldn't try to eat it. Then applied lotion. Turns out, the tops of my feet had broken out in a rash from this stuff!
I tried to get the best photos I could so you could see the rash. I read reviews before I bought it, but I must've missed the negative ones in which other people had similar reactions. Like I said, the bottom of my feet were fine, but the tops were a disaster. They were burning, but also somehow kinda numb at the same time, if that makes any sense. And this reaction lasted awhile, like a little over an hour. The rash was gone by the next morning. Also, it completely destroyed my hands. By destroyed I mean, they got raw, cracked, dry, and flaking so bad that still, two days later, my hands are a mess. I've used an exfoliant twice on my hands so far, and I'm going to probably have to use it at least 1-2x more before my hands feel better.
My final thoughts: I'll never use it again, even on the bottoms of my feet, where I didn't have a bad reaction, I didn't notice a huge difference. Nothing that my current exfoliator and coconut oil couldn't do a better job with. So not only was the smell atrocious, my feet in pain, my hands got beat up, but it did nothing for my feet overall! The pumice is so finely grounded that the benefits of rubbing it in are miniscule at best. I've read reviews that people really loved it. So with all things, it's personal preference. If you want to try it, ask for a sample in the store before you invest in buying it. I wish I had done that. I got the smaller size which is 4.4 oz for $13.95. There is also a larger size of 11.1 oz for $22.95. If you guys have tried it, I would love to hear your experience with it.
I still love Lush, and still recommend *almost* every product I have ever used by them. Unless you want to feet like you're putting your feet in an actual Volcano, I would suggest skipping this one.
This is one of the samples I got from my recent Lush trip. Herbalism is a face and body wash meant for oily acne-prone skin. I've been wanting to try it for awhile, but I always hesitate because of how sensitive my skin is. Plus, my skin always purges when I try something new. And right now, my skin has been looking pretty decent (knock on wood) and I've been afraid to mess that up! But, I was feeling daring, so I asked the gentleman working there for a sample.
Herbalism is a kaolin clay based face and body wash. It contains ground almonds to gently exfoliate, and rose absolute and chamomile to sooth the skin. It gets it's bright green color from the chlorophyllin, which is extract from alfalfa plants and is rich in nutrients. Combine those ingredients with the rice bran and vinegar, and it's an oily stopping machine.
As soon as I opened the jar I was surprised by how bright the color is. It's very bold and vibrant, which I love since I know this doesn't contain any dyes, I know the color comes from the fresh and wholesome ingredients. After the color, the first thing I noticed right away is the smell. Keep in mind, it's called Herbalism, so you pretty much know what to expect as far as scent goes. The vinegar stands out, but the scent is also earthy and natural, as I expected. Personally, I don't find the smell that bad that I would never use it.
The instructions are simple: 1) Wet your face. 2) Break off a small piece of product and place it in the palm of your hand. 3) Mix with warm water to create a paste. 4) Massage into skin. 5) Rinse and pat dry. 6) Moisturize.
The first time I used it, as you can see above, I think I made mine too watery. I'm so bad with stuff like that; I either use too much product or too much water. Can you understand why I hate cooking? Lol. Anyway, I just added some more product to get the consistency to be more paste like. The smell evaporated pretty fast too, which was cool. I kept it on for about 2-3 minutes before I rinse it off with warm water.
My face didn't feel oily at all after I used Herbalism, which I enjoyed. Bonus: it didn't make me break out either! My face felt a little tight afterwards, so I used my Yes to Tomatoes moisturizer as I always use after I wash my face anyway.
Overall, I thought it was pretty good. I'm still pretty partial to my Yes to Tomatoes face cleanser that I will probably be sticking with. I plan on finishing the sample thought, because I do like it.
I'm gonna be honest with you, I hate to cook. If I could live off of avocados and tomatoes for the rest of my life, I would. But, that wouldn't be healthy or feasible. So anytime I can have an easy and healthy meal with as little cooking as possible, I'm down.
The meal you see above my aunt (also my Godmother) actually made for me Friday night when I was at her house. My aunt is a vegetarian, and has been for as long as I can remember. She is part of the reason I became vegetarian when I was younger. My aunt is absolutely one of my favorite people in this whole wide world, but she's also one of my role models. She rules. Although she has stayed a vegetarian and I became a vegan, she's been so supportive and because she's a great cook she always hooks me up with something delicious when I'm there.
Her and I are both big on salads. We like sky high, full of flavor and texture, delicious and nutritious kinda salads. Here's what you need to make the salad you see above you:
-Romaine lettuce (which we used) or any kind of green leafy vegetable
-1 can black beans, rinsed
-Cherry tomatoes, as many as you wish, cut in half
-1 carrot, julienned or shaved
-Cucumber slices, as many as you wish
-1 whole avocado, you can use half, but avocados are my favorite, so I used a whole one, sliced into pieces
-Himilayian salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
Making a salad is probably the easiest thing ever, and because of the juiciness of the tomatoes and the fats in the avocado, you don't even need dressing, just a dash of salt and pepper if you prefer.
All you have to do is wash all of your produce using cold water, and a produce wash if you choose (I use the Whole Foods brand). pat dry with paper towel if necessary. Open up your can of black beans, and place them in a strainer. Rinse under cold water, place in sink to drain while you prepare the rest of your ingredients. Make sure you wash your produce first before leaving the black beans in the sink to drain, as to not get any soap or dirty water in your black beans. Also, some people don't rise the beans. I suggest you do because the brine they're canned in are what causes gas. So rinse away, or be prepared to fart away!
On a cutting board or a plate, cut your tomatoes in half, set aside. Julienne or shave your carrots, set aside. Place your green leafy vegetables in a salad bowl, and set aside. You can either leave the skin on your cucumber, or peel it (I prefer them peeled.) Cut into slices, and set aside. Cut your avocado in half, take out the pit with a spoon, and use the spoon to scoop out the fruit's flesh from the skin. Cut into chunks, slice long ways, or mash it. Whichever texted you prefer. For salads, I prefer chunks.
At this point, your ingredients are all ready. My aunt chose to place each ingredient into separate bowls so we could help ourselves to how much of eat topping we like. This is nice if you're having company. If not, you can just prepare your salad as your go.
If you have any leftover infredients, you can use them the next day for your lunch! Bonus! You can refrigerate any left over carrots, cucumbers, and black beans. As far as the tomatoes go, a cut tomato turns to mush in the fridge and it's not safe to keep it out on the counter once it's cut. So eat whatever tomatoes are left. Also, avocados oxidize once cut. Personally, because I'm such an avocado junkie, I've never had avocado left over. I've read that you can use: plastic wrap to wrap it up and put it in a air tight container, and that you can use a little lemon juice to also prevent it from oxidizing. I have no clue if any of these methods work. If you have one that works for you, definitely use it. I know that no matter what, cut avocado will not keep fresh any longer than the next day, so make sure you eat it within 12-24 hours at most.
Voila! There's a hearty salad that perfect when you're in a pinch and don't have a lot of time, and when you're lazy like me and hate cooking. Plus, all the colors look beautiful when presented. Not that pretty food taste better, but it can definitely impress your guests! It's healthy and full of good fats, protein, fiber, and rich in vitamins and minerals! Enjoy!
In addition to that delicious salad on my plate, you'll see a rice and corn medley. This looks fancy but is so easy to make! Here's what you'll need:
-Minute brand Multi Grain Medley (each box contains 4 bags, you can use as many as you need depending on how many you're serving)
-Fresh corn on the cob (any corn will due in a pinch)
-Earth Balance Butter
-Salt and pepper to taste
First, you want to cook your your Multigrain Medley. This is gluten free mix of red and brown rice, wild rice (which isn't technically rice, it's more like a seed), and quinoa. Rich is flavor, and high I protein, this is a great base mix to start a recipie. My aunt went simple and just used corn, but you can customize it to your likings. This mix is hearty and is a great source of protein. To make: combine water and rice in saucepan and bring to a boil. Read the box to determine how much water you need depending on how many bags you're making. After it's boiled, reduce heat and cover and let simmer for 10 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Set aside.
Depending on which corn you're using, you want to cook that. If you're using corn on the cob and you're boiling it, it should only take like 15 minutes from star to finish. You can also grill your corn on the cob. There's also half corn on the cob in steam fresh bags you can use that are found in the frozen vegetables section. Also there's canned corn. Use whichever you prefer, just adjust your cooking order depending on which you choose. I love corn on the cob because it tastes so much fresher than canned corn. However, I cut mine off the cob.
Once both ingredients are cooked and ready, combine corn and rice in a bowl, mix in a little Earth Balance butter and some salt and pepper to taste and voila! You have a gluten free side ready to go! Refrigerate any leftovers, and enjoy the next day for lunch or dinner!
As you can see, I ate the left over rice and corn mix as part of my dinner Saturday, with a slice of Tomato Pie from my favorite vegan bakery, Sweet Freedom Bakery.
Being a vegan is easy and delicious! It doesn't have to be boring and bland. I hope you enjoy!
My wonderful fiancé (you can actually see his arms in the back of this picture with my Hello Kitty plate in front of him) treated me to some Lush goodies mainly because he's awesome.
I've said it a few times before, but seriously, I love Lush. They're 100% cruelty free and 100% vegetarian with about 80% of their stuff being vegan. Everyone that works at their stores are super nice and helpful. They really know their products, which is really refreshing because when you go in with an issue, say oily skin for example, they can guide you to everything that helps with oily skin. They can tell you how to use it, and if you just want to try it before you buy it, you can do so at the store or if you're a germaphobe like me and you don't want to try something that a bunch of people's hands have been on, you can get a sample to take home. Of course, you can't take bath bombs and stuff like that home, but anything else that can fit in sample container you can try totally free. They do demo bath bombs and the like in the store though. You can always order online pretty much everything from them, with the exception of the Fresh Face Masks because those need to be refrigerated. But, if you have a store near you, definitely go and check stuff out. Especially because how the description of the scent is online, your nose may pick up totally different scents, which may either make you love or hate the product.
Above is everything I got, which I am super excited to review for you guys as I use them. Everything is new, except for the Catastrophe Cosmetic Fresh Face Mask. I've used that before and I love it!
First up is the Butterball Bath Bomb. This bath bomb has chunks of real cocoa butter in to seriously soften skin. It's also scented with ylang ylang and vanilla. I love this scent! It smells so soothing! This was $4.95, and one of the cheapest bath bombs they offer.
Next, I got the Volcano Foot Mask. This really caught my eye because how often do you hear of feet masks? Not very often. It contains a variety of ingredients papaya, lemon juice, tomatoes, potatoes, essential oils, and pumice. They all work together to cleanse, deodorize, and exfoliate for beautiful sandal ready feet! I got the 4.4oz size which is the smallest size they offer, and it's $13.95.
I also got two samples to try which I'm excited for. Herbalism is a face cleanser meant for oily skin. The smell is quite strong, as it contains rice vinegar to help with excess oil production. It also contains rose absolute to sooth the skin. The smell isn't terrible, but it smells natural and herbally, as to be expected. As usual, I can deal with the smell if it works.
I also got a sample of Putty for the Hands. I was actually talking to the girl who works there because of my OCD and constant hand washing, my hands are forever dry. I use lotion like it's my job. She said this was actually invented for Lush employee's because of how dry their hands get demoing products all day. It's a hand wash that's soap free but it also is a lotion that puts moisture back in your hands as you wash them. I'm super excited to try it!
The little copper beady oval shaped thing is Copperhead solid shampoo bar. I've been eyeing up their shampoo bars forever and plan on using this today when I wash my hair. They offer a lot of different types of shampoo bars for every type of hair and scalp need, but I chose this one because A) it smells amazing because it contains cocoa butter, ground coffee beans, and vanilla absolute and B) it contains henna to help preserve color treated hair, which I have. Plus, it's supposed to last up to 80 washes! I wash my hair 3-4x a week depending on the season, so I'm thinking this will last awhile. This retails for $11,95.
Since I bought a bath bomb, I figured it only made sense to get a bath melt. That white marshmallow shaped thing is Floating Island, a luxury bath melt. It contains vanilla, sandalwood, and a little bit of lemon. The scent is so soothing. These bath melts not only contain great scents, but also contain skin loving ingredients to moisturize your skin while you relax in this tub. This was $7.95.
Last but not least, I got the Catastrophe Cosmetic Fresh Face Masks. This is my favorite mask by Lush. It's refrigerated like all of their Fresh Face Masks, which makes it a real treat on a hot summer day. It's made up of calamine and fresh blueberry pieces, with other natural ingredients to make this a real treat for your face. This was $6.95.
Here's my receipt so you can see my total. Overall, great price for great products. Anytime I can spend $11.95 and get 80 shampoos out of that, sign me up. Bath bombs and melts are how I relax, so instead of spending hundreds of dollars at the spa, spending about $13 seems more affordable. Pedicures are about $30 each, and Volcano is a pedicure in a tub. $14.95 and you get a few uses out of it, versus $30 for one pedicure. That speaks for itself. Lastly, you couldn't make a mask containing fresh local blueberries, calamine, chamomile blue, and rose absolute for $6.95. Blueberries alone are $4. In comparison to the alternative, $48.50 is more than affordable, and you get your moneys worth. Plus, you're getting products with real ingredients from a company you can feel good about. Lush rules, not just because of their products, but because of what they represent and what they give back to the community, to charities, and around the world. I want my hard earned money to go where it can make the most difference, and with Lush, it does.
If there's one makeup I need to wear every day, it's mascara. I believe that your eyes are doorways into your soul, and for me that's always the first thing I notice about anyone. Man or woman alike. While I don't like the color of my eyes (I lovingly refer to the color as: poop brown), I still want to make them pop, and mascara does that.
I know that finding a good vegan mascara can be difficult. Most mascara contains beeswax, which is the first issue, plus a whole bunch of other nasty stuff. The mascara brushes aren't always vegan, something people forget to think about. So, you finally found a fully vegan mascara, but does it work? Some don't offer enough coverage, or need a million coats to look normal, or the product doesn't stay on and it flakes or melts away. After you've made your rounds to other, and are tired of looking for one that does it all, make your way to Gabriel Cosmetics Mascara. Gabriel offers two different types of mascaras, their formula and the Zuzu Luxe Formula, which is like their fancy pants one. I haven't tried the Zuzu Luxe one, only the original you see in the picture.
I naturally have black lashes, so I use their mascara in black. One of my favorite things about this mascara is the brush, as you can see below:
I have lots and lots of tiny lashes, and the shape of the brush allows me to get into the corners of my eyes and get all the little guys you can't reach with big plush brushes. Before I went cruelty free (which it's been many moons now) I used to use Maybelline Great Lash Lots of Lashes for the brush. Gabriel's brush is similar to it, but not as thin. Still, it's the best brush I've found in comparison to it.
Also, the formula is really great. It feels soft on your lashes, but still holds well thanks to the plant waxes. It contains vitamin B5 to make your lashes stronger, thicker, and healthier.
This mascara doesn't clump, so you can apply more than one coat as long as you allow each coat to dry in between. I like that it's buildable and you can make it as natural or dramatic as you want.
I have extra sensitive skin around my eyes and on my eyelids, and I get allergy eczema patches from a lot of eye products. This hasn't caused any issues for me. So, I would say that it's a gentle formula, as Gabriel Cosmetics claims it is. It's safe for contact lens wearers as well, according to Gabriel's website.
Below, you'll see a before and after photo of my eyes pre-mascara on top, and post-mascara on bottom:
This is applying only one coat of mascara, and it's before I curled them. I usually only use one coat because honestly in the morning, I have no time to wait until it dries then apply another and so on. I really think that one coat does a pretty good job, so you could really add some more va-voom with a second coat.
I actually got this at Whole Foods when they were doing this special beauty bag for $18, which was a steal by the way because I got some really excellent products in that bag. This mascara alike retails for $15.20, which is a very fair price. You can find it at Whole Foods or Gabriel Cosmetics website. I will absolutely purchase this again one this tube is empty, I love it!
Do you have a favorite vegan mascara you love?
Pretty recently, about 2 months ago, I met my new BFF, and their name? Coconut oil. Seriously, this stuff DOES IT ALL! Not only does it do it all, but a little goes a long way, which is great considering you're gonna be using it a lot. I have found that coconut oil works better on so many things than the products specially designed for those uses. Of course, it's got many uses in the kitchen, but today I'm going to list only beauty uses.
First up, let's start with the fact that it's an AMAZING moisturizer for your skin, your body, your nails, your hair. Here's some examples:
1) You can use it as a mask for your hair. Apply a small amount to your ends (wet or dry) either in the shower or out of the shower, and let soak for at least 5 minutes. You can even allow it to sit on your ends overnight while you sleep and wash it out the next morning. Make sure to thoroughly wash your hair to get all of the oil out.
2) You can use it as an all over body lotion. Considering how moisturizing it is, it absorbs quickly into the skin, with little residue. It looks really shiny on the skin, leaving you that sexy healthy glow, but surprisingly your skin doesn't feel greasy.
3) You can shave your legs with it! Coconut oil is literally the BEST STUFF EVER for shaving your legs. Bonus: your legs feel so silky smooth afterwards you don't even need to apply a moisturizer. This is perfect for days you're running late and you need to multitask! I'm all about multitasking!
4) You can use it as a lip balm! It's especially good for the winter, and for overnight while you're sleeping and you need something thicker to protect your lips. If you have an empty tin from an old lip balm, just wash it out and scoop some in it. Plus you're reusing and recycling it's good for the environment!
5) It works really well on eczema patches. I have a super stubborn one right near my arm pit that just won't quit. I apply this stuff once every few days, and I'm starting to see and feel a difference.
6) You can use it to soften cuticles and moisturize bare nails.
7) You know those stubborn rough dry patches you get on your heels? Say bye-bye because it softens them right up! You'll be looking beautiful in your sandals!
8) Because of my OCD, I wash my hands constantly, which results in dry skin. This stuff works wonders on your hands! I recommend applying a liberal amount at night, really getting in between your fingers and all the nooks and crannies, and covering them with either cotton gloves or clean cotton socks. When you wake up, your hands will be super soft!
Pretty much, if you have skin (which I really hope that you do), you can benefit from this stuff. The scent is so light and natural, so wherever you use it, that scent will linger. Because I have super oily and acne prone skin, I haven't even attempted to put this on my face. So I can't speak to the benefits of that. But, if you really stubborn dry flaky skin, I imagine that coconut oil will help clear it up! It's noncomedogenic, so it won't block pores!
As if those reasons weren't enough to convince you, here's some more:
1) You know how everyone has one eyebrow that just doesn't play nice with the other? The hairs grow all crazy, and it just has a mind of its own. Well, if you take a little dab of this stuff on a clean mascara wand, you can shape and hold the hairs in place. Crazy eyebrow no more!
2) It makes an excellent massage oil because it's so long lasting. You can even add some sexy essential oils and have a romantic night with your loved one! ;)
3) If you're anything like me, it's a challenge to find something to remove your eye make up without feeling like your eyes are on fire. This stuff not only takes off your makeup in it's entirety, but it does so without burning your eyes. Your eye area is so delicate and sensitive, and coconut oil is the perfect product for that area. All you have to do is take a cotton ball, apply a small amount to it, and gently rub all your eye makeup and voila! No raccoon eyes, no burning, no problem!
I've listed so many great things about coconut oil but I forgot to mention the best thing about it: the price. Coconut oil is SUPER affordable. And considering it takes the place of your moisturizer, massage oil, eye makeup remover, etc... you're gonna save some serious money. You can find coconut oil everywhere, even your local grocery store. Personally, I buy mine from The All Natural Face. They offer different sizes (.5 oz, 1 2 and 4 oz.) with prices ranging from $2-$8. I go organic as often as possible, and I love that theirs is organic.