I love making purchases from small businesses. I imagine they're just like me, trying to make it and carve a space out in this world for them. They've got families, pets, jobs, life stress, and everything in between. So anytime I can purchase something from a small business, I'm happy to do so. Not to mention, you often find unique products that you can't find anywhere else, and often their products are hand crafted in small batches. So, since small business Saturday just passed, I stumbled upon Sage and Arrow's Instagram page. They were having a 30% off sale as well! Because I am a lip balm junkie, and I saw they offered lip balm, I knew I had to check them out.
This is their Lunar Lip Balm. This balm is a blend of organic coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, wild chamomile and vanilla. Those ingredients really won me over! Chamomile and vanilla really are two of my favorites ever, and I know how moisturizing and healing those other ingredients are. So, I was sold. Plus, look how pretty it is! It's looks so fancy. But there was one draw back for me: it's in a tin. A pretty tin, but still a tin. I'm a tube girl. I used tubes all day, but never tins. Tubes are convenient, there's no clean up, they travel well, and they appear to be more hygienic. Tins, while they feel fancier than tubes, are messy, your finger gets all goopy, plus the idea of sticking your finger in there then applying it to your lips is gross! But really, are the tins dirtier than tubes?
I'm gonna get off track and lay some hygiene truth on you: your entire body, from your hair to your toes, is covered in germs 24/7/365. It's a nightmare fact that us germaphobes have to live with. So when you rub lip balm on your lips from a tube, you just share those germs back and forth from your lips to the balm, then you close the lid, and now you have a dark closed in space for germs to grow. Whereas with the tin, if you're a clean person, and you practice proper hygiene, you'll still get germs of course, but I imagine it could be less? I wash my hands more times a day than I can count. I once washed my hands 43 times while baking cupcakes, and that was before they even got in the oven. I have a hand washing routine: I wash my hands with near scalding water while singing the Happy Birthday song in my head (the length of that song is the recommended amount of time to wash your hands), then I repeat if my hands still feel dirty, I dry them preferably with a paper towel, then I use hand sanitizer, then I apply lotion with hand sanitizer mixed in. This is every time I wash my hands. So I mean, I'm pretty confident my hands are clean.
Back on track: I really really love that the show owner included a hand written thank you note, a coupon code for 10% off my next purchase, and a sample of soap to try as well. It's small personal touches like that that really make shops stand out amongst the crowd.
The tin has a twist lid versus a pop-off lid which I prefer because I feel like it's more secure that way. The scent is really pleasant. I can smell the chamomile right off the bat, but the vanilla gets lost and I don't smell it at all. Regardless, I find the chamomile scent really relaxing and I enjoy it. My only complaint is that it's not a super thick balm like I was hoping for. I know that coconut oil is a solid at room temperature, and starts to melt as it gets warmer. Because it's so cold in my apartment, I really need to warm it up first so it gets softer then try to apply it. Because when I first applied it, I could barely get any on my finger and ended up using all my fingers on my right hand to try and get enough to cover my lips. Next time I use it I'm going to put it under the covers with me so my body heat melts it, or keep it in the bathroom while I shower hoping that it will melt some. I think in the warmer months it will be easier to apply.
Overall, I do like it. And I'll continue to use it as often as I can. This will be at home balm because I count money all day at my job, and I can't just step away whenever I want to wash my hands and apply it. I'll always use tube balm despite the germs since clearly you can't avoid them, but it's nice to switch it up and use a tin every now and again, at least for at home.
If you would like to check out this lip balm, or the other products that Sage and Arrow offers, check out her shop here: http://sageandarrow.storenvy.com/ They offer products such as: body butter, sun burn balm, skin salve, a variety of sprays, bath melts, and more! Their prices are reasonable. Their packaging and designs are really pretty and I just adore them. And shipping isn't too bad.
A few months back, I received a sample of the Mahalo Pele Mask in my Petit Vour Beauty Box. I finally got around to trying it today. I try to use up each mask before opening another despite the fact that I am SO impatient and want to use everything immediately, but I just finished up my Thesis Beauty mask last week so I decided to check this one out today!
I wanted to get a photo of the card that came with it so you can read the benefits of this particular mask and also how to make it. Here are the ingredients taken direct from their website:
"Named after the Hawaiian Volcano Goddess Pele, the mask is supercharged by “botox-plant” Hibiscus, anti-inflammatory Turmeric, collagen-boosting vitamin C, anti-aging Neem leaf, oxygenating Cayenne, sebum-balancing Witch Hazel, wrinkle-fading Guava, acne-fighting Holy Basil, toxin-magnet Volcanic Ash Clay and bacteria-absorbing Activated Bamboo Charcoal."
The ingredients are really promising. Literally this is a full face experience. It's not like masks that just tackle oiliness, or acne; this mask tackles everything. I was pretty stoked to try it!
I am so bad at mixing dry masks. I can never get it right. I think I added too much watch to mine because it said it should be a "soft mousse" and this is what mine came out like:
I kept adding more and more product to the point where I ended up using half the sample and I didn't want to use anymore because it would be too much and I didn't want it to go to waste. The full size of this stuff is $64, so I wanted to get as much out of my sample as possible, knowing I would never be able to afford a $64 mask in my life lol.
I just used my finger to mix it in the bowl, as you can see. I thought it was pretty cool that I could here it slightly fizzing as I combined the mask with the water. They said to expect a warm tingling sensation when applying. One of the ingredients is Cayenne, so I anticipated some warming, but I didn't feel any. In fact, my face actually felt cold, which I assumed was because it was wet and it's cold in my apartment. Maybe all the water diluted it so it was less potent? I'm not really sure what happened there.
As you can see, the color is a dark green slightly brown shade. This mask smelled different in the bottle than it did on my face. The only way I can describe the smell is: green tea mixed with the palms they put on your head on Palm Sunday. I like the scent of it dry inside the container than I did on my face. It had a grainier texture than just ashes, so I felt like I would get some exfoliation when I rinsed it off.
You can get a better idea of the color in this picture as it's almost dried. Please ignore my crazy hair and lack of smile: it was almost completely dry and I was afraid if I smiled it would crack and go everywhere lol. The instructions say to keep it on for 20-40 minutes, and I kept mine on for about 30 minutes. It was almost completely dry at that point and there were only a few wet spots left. It definitely required some work to get it off. I went one area at a time; cheek, chin, other cheek, forehead, nose, and then I used my Pacifica face wash after to wash my face and make sure there wasn't any residual mask left on me.
My Final Thoughts: One of the claims of this mask is that it "pulls the impurities" from your face, while putting nutrients into your skin. As far as pulling the impurities, I had two small pimples on my cheek that were just bumps and when I rinsed off this mask, they had came to a head. That's pretty impressive. This mask also claims to combat blemishes, so maybe if they were fully formed beforehand it may have helped, I can't speak to that. I don't know if my pores looked any tighter after using it, which is another one of the claims. I can say that my face felt clean, and really soft and smooth after using it. Would I ever purchase the full size of this? No way. I appreciate the excellent ingredients in this mask, and really all of their products; they absolutely don't skimp on high quality and natural ingredients. But the results weren't enough for me to be "wowed" enough to spend that kinda money. Unless using this mask got rid of my acne scares and made me look like Mila Kunis, $64 on one face mask is a wee bit cazy.
Have you guys found any face masks your absolutely loving right now?! Face masks are a beauty product I think belong in everyone's beauty ritual no matter what time of year it is!
So, I did a post awhile back about the two foundations that I use: Alima Pure's Satin Matte Foundation in Beige 2, and Too Faced Cocoa Powder Foundation in Light Medium. I just ran out of my Satin Matte Foundation, and the color that it was compared to in the pressed foundation was finally back in stock, and I had been wanting to try it for awhile now. So, I ordered the pressed foundation on Cyber Monday and I received it yesterday.
I really love that they send you a free sample with your order, which is usually an eye shadow which I'm fine with. I love eye shadow but don't often wear it because I never have time to get that into make up in the mornings before work, and I often don't wear make up on the weekends so when I get a sample it lasts me forever. They sent me a sample of their Luminous Shimmer Eye Shadow in Paris, which is a sparkling sandy nude.
I used it today without any eye shadow primer, and it looked really pretty on, but unfortunately did not last long. It was pretty while it lasted though. I paired it with their Satin Matte Eyeshadow in Lilac (smokey purple) and together they really flattered my dark brown eyes. I'm sure it'll last longer with an eye shadow primer but in general I feel like most shimmer eye shadows, no matter what, never last all day. The shimmer always ends up all over my glasses from blinking my eyes throughout the day. Overall, I'm glad I didn't pay for it, but I'm happy I received it and will definitely continue to use it.
Now, for the foundation. First, the deets, taken directly from Alima Pure's website...
"Pressed Foundation with Rosehip Antioxidant Complex is packed with benefits. Silky rice and mica powders provide smooth, even, buildable coverage. Rosehip Antioxidant Complex soothes, protects, and revitalizes delicate facial skin.
This foundation came with the compact, the foundation itself, and a foundation sponge. I use my powder foundation brush for my makeup, not the sponge but I'll give the sponge a shot when I apply it next.
There's things I love and don't love about this foundation. So let's start with the pros:
1) I love that it's pressed instead of loose. Pressed foundation is so much easier and so much less messier.
2) There's so many ingredients that are good for your skin.
3) It goes on very smoothly.
4) The design of the compact is really convenient. It has a mirror inside and since the foundation comes with a sponge you can keep inside the compact, it's perfect for on the go touch ups.
5) It has a matte finish and it looks natural on my face.
6) It doesn't exacerbate my dry patches. My skin does this fun thing in the colder months where it gets dry and also oily, so I get flaky and also shiny. This foundation didn't make my flaky skin stand out, which I appreciate. I think that's thanks to the moisturizing oils in it.
7) It feels barely there on my skin, and my skin can still breathe.
8) Even with all of the oils, my face looks less oily than when I was using the loose foundation. My face still felt and looked pretty fresh at the end of the day.
9) There isn't a lot of transfer from my face to my clothes or my hands. Even after having my hands on my face and all that, there's still makeup on my face when I wash it at the end of the day.
10) You can buy refills instead of having to buy a branch new compact each time, so you can save money and reuse the compact instead of just throwing it out only to buy another one! I love that it's less wasteful and eco friendly!
Here's the cons:
1) The smell. I hate it. I wish they made a scent free version. I can deal with scented foundations; my Cocoa Powder foundation literally smells like cocoa. But this is a strong floral smell. I can't really pinpoint the scent because I know it contains a variety of essential oils, all I know is that I don't like it, and I'm grateful it doesn't last long.
2) The coverage isn't as great as I had hoped. It's definitely a lighter coverage than the Satin Matte Foundation. Fortunately, I use another foundation on top of this and a spot concealer underneath which helps with the coverage, but it would be nice to just use one foundation and call it a day. This definitely isn't that kind of foundation for me.
3) I emailed a make up artist when I first saw this foundation to figure out which shade would compare to Beige 2, and I was told Sesame would be a good match. The thing about their pressed foundations compared to their loose foundations is that one shade of pressed foundation covers a few shades of their loose foundations. I was pretty skeptical because Beige 2 is like spot on for me, so a shade that covers a few different shades is off putting. I feel like this is a little too light for me because it's definitely lighter than Beige 2, but not by much. I tried to get a picture, it's not a great one because of the light.
Even though it's a little light, it does darken when my skin oils blend with it, and again my other foundation I use helps with the color. Both my foundations work in unison to get my skin tone and coverage to what I like. I just wish they offered the same shades in their pressed foundation that they offer in their loose foundations. Or, at least offer more pressed foundation shades, if nothing else. *PS: I'm not as pale as my awful dining room light portrays, and the foundation is darker than it looks. It's a light neutral/warm shade, but in this stupid lighting it looks like it's porcelain.*
3) My last con is probably the one that I dislike the most. This compact costs $34, and the refills for the foundation are $22. And this is how big the foundation pans are:
It's like as thick as a wafer! I feel like I'm going to go through that so fast, especially if I build up the coverage which would take at least 2 applications. Plus, because it's so thin if you press too hard applying it or keep it in your purse throughout the day, I feel like it will break so easily! I assume the pans are so thin so you can fit the foundation sponge right on top for traveling, but even still. I feel like for the price you're not going to get your moneys worth if you prefer a heavier foundation application, which I need. If you only need a few swipes, then this would be a good fit for you.
Overall? So far I like it, despite the cons. The fact that it keeps my face looking fresh throughout the day is pretty cool. My T zone still gets a little oily but it's not as bad as with the Satin Matte Foundation. I also really love that it's pressed because I always choose pressed powder over loose powder if I have a choice. Will I repurchase? I'm not sure yet. So far it hasn't irritated my skin so that's a good start. Plus there is a lot of skin loving ingredients and I would like to see if they make a difference in my skin with more use.
I would love to hear your thoughts on any Alima Pure products you have used or want to use!
Last week I posted a review about Pacifica's Pink Crush nail polish. Now, I want to post about Daydreamer.
Just like with Pink Crush, I'm totally in love with this color! That's two not normal Ashley shades that I'm loving! Daydreamer is a bright pink with an iridescence shimmer. The color really pops on my fingers and it catches your eye. It's definitely like a Barbie pink, which isn't usually my cup of tea, but it's just such a pretty shade that I can't help but love it.
I was having a hard time trying to capture the shimmer in my photos but I feel like I kinda did, so I hope you can see it.
I know I mentioned last time about their new brush, which is amazing, but I feel like their formula is even better than before too. I don't think they changed it, realistically it's probably more like the brush is distributing it more evenly so it applies better and therefore stays on better. I had Pink Crush on my nails for a week and it barely chipped. And my hands go through a lot between my job and washing them 265049874 times a day so, a full week with minimum chipping is pretty awesome.
Just like my last post, I know this is a pretty short one but I always like to recommend products or colors to you guys that I love, and this is definitely on my love list. You can find it on Pacifica's website for $9!
Gluten is a topic that's been a buzz for awhile now. Between Celiac's disease and gluten insensitivity, gluten free food has become huge on the market. So many people are eating gluten free regardless if they have a gluten issue or not. There's a lot of debate as to whether eating gluten is bad for you in general. I've read that no matter whether you have a gluten intolerance or not, that your body has a hard time digesting it. I've also ready that gluten is totally fine unless you have a gluten problem. I'm no expert on the matter, and I'm not gluten free either, but I try to eat gluten free if the option is readily available. I have IBS and my doctor has been on me to get blood work for literally years to rule out Celiac's disease or just a gluten intolerance. Because I'm a big baby, I haven't gotten my blood work yet. But, I have been wanting to try a gluten free diet to see if that helps with any or all of my symptoms.
Gluten free and vegan is a bit more difficult than just gluten free. But, I've found 3 snacks in particular that are not just yummy, but also healthy and provide you with protein, vitamins, and minerals. Here's 3 that I've been eating that I absolutely recommend. Whether you're a vegan, vegetarian, meat eater, gluten free, not gluten free; it doesn't matter. These yummy snacks can be enjoyed by all!
First up, Superseedz Gourmet Pumpkins Seeds.
Pumpkins seeds are so super healthy for you. I love eating them by the handfuls, or adding them to snacks and dishes. Seeds in general are the perfect and easiest thing to add in to your food to kick up your protein a notch. As a vegan, that seems to be one of the first things people ask me about. I sprinkle seeds on and in almost everything; oatmeal, quinoa, waffles, yogurt, sweet potatoes, veggies, etc.. Just a 1/4 cup of these babies give you 7 grams of protein!
Superseedz has a variety of flavors, but I chose the Cinnamon Sugar because that's one of my favorite flavors. The ingredients are: shelled pumpkin seeds, organic sugar, cinnamon,and real vanilla extract. That's it. Real and natural ingredients, nothing artificial and nothing you can't pronounce. Also, they're super convenient. They're shelled and ready to go. They have a variety of flavors, some sweet and some savory, plus just good old fashion regular pumpkin seeds. I saw they have a cocoa flavor I would love to try! All of their flavors are vegan and gluten free!
I sprinkled them on top of my sweet potatoes for dinner tonight, and they added a nice crunch to my smooth potatoes. Plus, the flavors were super complimenting together. Yum!
Next up, Mrs.May's Naturals.
These bite size snacks are packed with nuts, seeds, and fruit. They're perfect for on the go. I put them in a little container to have as an late morning snack, or a dessert with my lunch. They're a little bit sweet and a little bit salty. I got the Cran Blueberry flavor, which is pretty delicious. They make other flavors as well; like almond, cashew, and sunflower. Each 1 oz. (about 6 pieces) contains 3 grams of protein!
Lastly, the ever so popular Larabar!
Larabars are one of my favorite and most convenient snacks. I pack one a day, sometimes two, for work. The main ingredient in these bars are nuts and fruit, which is always dates and sometimes other fruits depending on the flavor. You can definitely taste the dates in the bars, so if you're not a fan of dates, you won't like these. They have so many flavors! This Snickerdoodle flavor and Gingerbread flavor are special for the holiday season, so of course I had to try them. But they have flavors like: Cashew Cookies, Peanut Butter Cookie, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Cherry Pie, Peanut Butter and Jelly, Chocolate Chip Brownie, and more!
So that's 3 gluten free and vegan snacks that also give you 14 grams of protein. For women, it's recommended to have about 46 grams of protein. That's almost 1/3 of the RDI in just 3 things! That's pretty great!
My coworker gets the Ipsy bags. Whenever she finds stuff in her bags that say "vegan" she's kind enough to offer it to me to check out. Last month, she gave me this BWC Fragrance Free Lotion that she got in her bag. I was pretty excited because I have heard so many awesome things about BWC but haven't tried them yet!
Here's a little info on BWC: this is one of the most well known companies in the cruelty free industry. They were the first in cruelty free no animal testing since 1963! What's amazing is this company has been doing this since 1963, and there's still companies today that won't or can't when clearly, if the technology was available for them then, it's absolutely available and then some now. Their "About Me" section goes into detail about the history of their company, and it's a really interesting quick read that I recommend checking out. They have a wide variety of products from makeup, nail polish, hair care, and body care.
Today, I'm going to talk about their fragrance free lotion. Here's what I love about this lotion:
1) It's so gentle on my skin. My hands are beat up this time of year because of the weather, and the crack and most lotions get in those little teeny tiny cuts and burn like crazy. This doesn't burn even a little bit.
2) It absorbs quickly and leaves no greasy residue.
3) You can customize the scent, if you choose, by adding a few drops of your favorite essential oils.
4) After each use, my hands feel soft and supple for hours.
5) There's a lot of organic ingredients, which I always love!
6) It contains shea butter, jojoba, and kukui nut oil to really moisturize your skin!
My only complaint is that I wish this lotion was thicker because I think it would be so perfect for the winter considering how gentle it is. However, I was browsing the website, and I saw that there is an Extra Rich version of this lotion that I think would be exactly what I'm looking for! So, I definitely have to check that out!
This lotion is available here: http://www.beautywithoutcruelty.com/fragrance-free/fragrance-free-body-care-hand-and-body-lotion.html - you can get this 16 oz. bottle for only $11.95! While you're on their website, check out the other products they offer!
Small Business Saturday just passed, but I'm an avid small business shopper. I don't think you should shop small just one day of the year, I think you should shop small throughout the year! And with the holiday quickly approaching, I wanted to tell you guys about three of my favorite small business vegan shops!
I posted a few months ago about Christy Robinson Designs where I got my favorite "vegan" necklace that I wear every day (that I still can't recommend enough). These shops I'm going to tell you about are businesses that I have personally ordered from and I just can't get enough of their products and what they're about.
First up, The Vegan Police Shop out of B.C Canada.
Off topic, Canada is awesome. There are so many companies based out of Canada that are cruelty free and vegan, and I just wanted to high five all of Canada for that.
Back on track, this company is awesome. Started in 2011, the owner is a fellow vegan who makes all of her own designs, and they print everything using eco friendly water based inks on fair labor made clothing in their own printing shop. I love literally everything about this shop, from the fact that their designs are absolutely adorable, and that every aspect of their shop is eco friendly, and that it's run by a small family that does it all by themselves. The designs she makes are so cute and vintage looking. The message behind the cute illustrations are even better. Literally two of my most favorite articles of clothing came from this shop. Here's my two articles I own from them that have one of my most favorite vegan designs ever on it:
This tank top and hoodie are two of the softest articles of clothing ever. I wear my hoodie constantly, whether it matches with what I'm wearing or not. I don't even care, I just love it. I'm actually wearing it right now as I type this! This design is my favorite, but there are so many other designs that I love and want. There's really cute girly designs, more masculine designs, and unisex designs; but all of them get the message across. Go vegan! You can find their designs on Etsy here: VeganPolice and on their website: http://veganpoliceshop.com/
My other favorite shop I found on Instagram, it's called The Tree Kisser. Based out of San Diego and started in November 2013, The Tree Kisser was founded and ran by a really sweet girl named Jessica. She's the cute little blonde that models all of her clothing on her website. This shop is awesome not just for vegans, but for all animal lovers. There's something for cat lovers and dog lovers, for supporting adopting a shelter pets, not wearing animal skin, and other cute designs. Here's the two articles I got from there:
Both of these are so incredibly soft and comfy, also true to size! I love how clever the sayings are! Like truth be told, probably all of my other shirts really were covered in cat hair. And I love the Wear Pink Not Mink slogan! It's get the message across while still looking cute! She makes men's clothing as well as women's! Her prices can be a little higher that what you might expect, but, it's for a good reason. For every purchase, 10% of the sales are donated to the Love Infinitely Project Animal Fund! I love that with each purchase, she sends a card that tells you how much your donation was from your purchase. You can check out Jessica's cute designs right here: The Tree Kisser
Last up, Herbivore Clothing based out of Portland, Oregon. This company has a little bit of everything. Clothing, cook books (which one Cookbook of the Year 2015 from VegNews Magazine!), accessories, pocketbooks, stickers, buttons.. you name it they probably have it. They make men's, women's, and even babies and children's clothes! They also have a Sale Item of the Week pretty much every week, which is awesome. Here's the shirt I ordered from them:
They even included a free coaster with my purchase which was really nice of them! The shirt is so super soft too! I love their positive messages that they promote with their products. They're a well known company in the vegan community. They're an awesome company that you should absolutely check out! Their website is: http://www.herbivoreclothing.com/
Tis the season to shop small, so definitely check out these businesses! Maybe you'll find the perfect gift for that vegan or animal lover in your life!