Vegan and Cruelty Free Beauty, vegan lifestyle

3 Ways to De-stress in the Winter

We just came back from a trip to Albuquerque, going from 68 degrees and sunshine to a snowstorm and -15 wind chill. You could imagine how distressed we were landing onto a bed of snow after a 4-hour delay. I know. I know. #firstworldproblems. Anyways, aside from stress from travel hiccups, stress is a part of our daily lives, at least many of us, and it stems from one of three things: Personal, Professional and Self. SO, as always, I got you guys and I’m here to bring you back to your happy space with 3 ways to destress in Winter. Hey, if you live in the west coast where it’s 75 degrees and awesome, you could still use this tips, girl!

Personal Stress

Whether it’s a lingering fight you’re having with your significant other, a breakup gone bad, stress from parents or a friendship gone awry, relationship and personal stress is no joke. It doesn’t matter how close you are to that point of stress, relationship and personal stress is draining. So, how do you come out of it? WRITE and COMMUNICATE.

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Source: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/

One of the things that transformed many of my relationships was the 5 Love Languages. If you’re not sure what your top love languages are, go take the quiz! Not going to lie, the web page looks like an ad, but believe me it’s legit. As the name suggests, the love language is how you speak love–do you perceive love (romantic or friendly) to be in the form of affirmations, acts of service, or otherwise?

It’s really interesting. Take the quiz, review your results, then see if your friends or family can take the quiz too. This will not only give you a way to bond, but it may give you more insight into each other’s perceptions.

Self Stress

We are our hardest critics, as the saying goes, and self stress from poor body image, a negative self image or otherwise can quickly send you spiraling. First of all, know that you ARE beautiful inside and out, because it’s your spirit that matters above all else. So one of the first things to do to combat self stress is to smile. That’s seriously the easiest thing you can do, and you’ll already start feeling better. The next, is self love. Take care of yourself! Take some time to brew some tea, pull out a good book, throw on a vegan and cruelty-free face mask and just enjoy some of that time to yourself. By the time your face mask is dry, and you wash it off, you’ll feel some sort of renewal–a fresh start if you will. And if you didn’t already know, the Asili Naturals Spirulina Clay Mask is my FAVE. If you’re not sure how to apply a clay mask, I did a quick tutorial here.

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Professional Stress

I don’t have to tell you that 8 hours of work a day is draining, and even more so when you tend to put in 10-12 hours a day (hello!). Whether you’re simply tired from a long day’s worth of work or stressed from the growing to-do list, you CAN relieve yourself and actually enjoy the time from 5-9 (if you go to sleep at 9 like I do…).

How? Schedule your day for focus. Often times, work stress comes out of “not having the time” to do something else, when in reality, those minutes we spend picking up the phone to browse or just dilly dally actually add up. I sometimes have this problem, so I looked for an app to help me focus because lord help me. I found this app like Forest #notsponsored. It’s cute, because you can set the amount of time you want to focus for, and if you stay focused, say for an hour, you grow a tree. This tree gets added to your forest! The more you stay focused, the more trees you add to your land. You also accumulate points. Once you hit a certain amount of points, it goes toward the company giving a tree to third-world countries where food is scarce. So win-win.

Question of the Day

How do you de-stress?

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Uncategorized, Vegan and Cruelty Free Beauty

How to Apply a Clay Mask

If you’re like me, then you slap on a face mask faster than a squirrel to an acorn when you see a pimple on your face. Really–we need to realize that face masks can be just as preventative as they can be reactive. Next time you want to destress (post on destressing coming soon), want to relax, or just want to glow from within, try a clay mask! The one I use is from Asili Naturals. I used to use the one from Glam Glow, but they ain’t VCF (boo!). You can see my comparison of the two here.

Learn how to apply a clay mask and the benefits of using one in under a minute with this super short video:

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Question of the Day

What is your favorite face mask? 

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Vegan and Cruelty Free Beauty, vegan lifestyle

5 Steps for Clear & Acne Free Skin Fast

The flu or something like it hit me hard, ya’ll. I’m still only 98% with the remnants of a cough and lingering sniffles and headaches. Now that I got my boo hoos out of the way, it’s time to talk about how to get clear skin and finally enjoy an acne-free complexion. Personally, I struggled (very minimally) with acne as a teenager, but not so much since. Since Valentine’s Day, Galentine’s Day or forget that it’s V-day at all day is a little over a month away, it’s time to show your face some love so you can enjoy a date night at home or out on the town with full confidence. Whether you’re celebrating with Cupid or not, these tips will ensure you get smooth skin fast and keep it that way!

Step 1: Wash Your Face with Natural Cleansers

Simple Skincare is free of all the nasty chemicals you would find in most commercial face washes. They pride themselves on creating, “products [that] have no dyes, artificial perfumes or harsh irritants that can upset skin and contain skin-loving ingredients and added vitamins for natural, healthy-looking skin.” (NOT sponsored!). It’s important to use such chemical-free cleansers so as not to strip the face on your skin of the beneficial things it already does, like turnover skin cells and produce important oils that help prevent wrinkles (hello, natural botox!).

VCF Cleansers

After washing your face, it’s important to exfoliate your face with–and this is important–a GENTLE exfoliator 2-3 times a week when you’re trying to get rid of a pesky pimple, and just once a week to maintain acne-free skin. I’ve been using the Microdelivery Exfoliating Face Wash from Philosophy since my skin had a major breakout from stress in May. I’ve tried a lot of exfoliators and I like this because:

  1. The “beads” are super gentle. If you’ve used the popular St. Ives Apricot Scrub, you know that those are pretty harsh (and hard). While it may feel like it’s more effective, it’s actually causing micro-tears in your skin which can cause premature wrinkles as your skin tries to repair itself.
  2. It includes Vitamin C, which is important for that glowy skin (here we come, JLo).

Step 2: Maintenance Cleanser

Once your skin is clear of acne, it’s important to keep up with a safe cleaner. The cleanest face soap on the market I’ve found (seriously, you should’ve guessed this by now) is from Asili Naturals. The Shea Face Soap is full of nutrient-rich softening oils to help you maintain baby-butt soft skin. The below is the Rose Hip soap I use to help my the skin on my whole body nice and soft.

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Step 3: Moisturize According to Your Skin

If you have oily skin and acne, opt for oil-free serums and lotions. Once your face has cleared up, maintain your skin with the ultimate skincare secret weapon: Rose Hip Oil.

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Step 4: Medicate

This is where the chemicals come in, and the only time it’ll be ok to use them because it will clear your skin fast. Guaranteed. The first thing to do is recognize the type of acne. If your acne is just skin colored or slightly red bumps, you’ll need to treat it definitely than those pesky painful pimples with the little white tops. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Pimples with the white tops: treat with salicylic acid, like the Clear days ahead lotion from Philosophy.
  2. Skin-colored or reddish pimples: treat with benzoyl peroxide.

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Step 5: Maintain Clear Skin

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Now that your skin is free and clear of acne, it’s time for upkeep! In addition to washing your face every day and after sweaty workout sessions (at most 3 times a day–more and you’ll strip your face of its natural goodness) and proper moisturization, use a clay mask once a week. This Spirulina clay mask will naturally pull out the impurities and prepare it for all the right moisturization.

Question of the Day

What is your secret to clear skin? Share!

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Vegan Food, vegan lifestyle

5 Tips on How to Become a Vegetarian or Vegan in 2018

There are two theories on setting resolutions for the New Year: 1. Yaaass honey fresh start clean slate I’m gonna slay this year, or 2. Ahem, you shouldn’t have to wait 365 days to start a new resolution. I hear you both. But there is something especially special (redundant?) about January 1st this year…it lands on a Monday. What’s more resolutiony than that? Whether you decided to stop eating meat (yay you!) On November 25th or want to start fresh at the beginning of a new year, more power to you! It never matters when you start, it just matters that you start a change and most importantly, that you stick to it. Here are 5 steps to help you become a vegetarian or vegan so that you can make 2018 better not only for you, but for the plant and all the animals on it.

Step 1: Tell Everyone

There is absolutely zero shame in you wanting to a) better your health and b) better the planet. The latter is pretty much the foundation of every religion, right? And no one will bash you for what you believe in (go away trolls!). And if you do happen to deal with those negative naysayers who make fun of “vegan food” or act negative around you, just shroud it out with your good vibes cause that’s all you’re putting out and lettin’ in sistah. Some show on Blue’s Clue’s (hi, 80s baby here) told me that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it. If you’ve tried to nicely explain your way of life or amazing decision to stop eating meat to someone and they just don’t get it…move on. You do you.

Step 2: Expect Bumps In the Road

Giving something up is never easy. If you’ve eaten meat your whole life, it’s hard to go cold turkey. Know that you may have a setback here or there but one setback isn’t the catalyst to failure. Just get back on the buggy.

Step 3: Educate Yourself

Piggybacking on step 2, the main reason most people fail at resolutions, regardless of what it is, is because they’re doing it for the wrong reasons. Someone may want to lose weight because they just want to be skinny and may get there the unhealthy way. Setting up a resolution should come from a desire for change. If you want to become vegetarian or vegan, but aren’t sure why or what to say when people ask you why, then it’s time to educate yourself! Once you feel compassionate about your cause, your resolution becomes less of a goal and more of an intrinsic belief. Check out numerous documentaries on Netflix and YouTube, get a vegan starter kit from PETA, and follow inspirational social media influencers to surround yourself with likeminded individuals.

Step 4: Plan for Success

You may be stuck on your daily ham and cheese sandwich for lunch or chicken and broccoli for dinner. As with every resolution, becoming vegetarian does need some work, but minimal at best. Googling vegetarian versions of your favorite recipes, new recipes all together, finding inspirational meal planners on social media or YouTube, these are all things that can help you plan for success.

The easiest way to start is to take a weekend and meal prep 2-3 vegetarian meals or vegan meals you can use for lunch and or dinner. It’s as easy as even preparing the ingredients you need to pull the meal together in minutes once you get home from work or after picking the kids up from school.

I have some What I Ate Wednesday videos on my YouTube channel with ideas to get you going!

Step 5: Enjoy the Journey

This resolution you set to not eat meat shouldn’t be a stressful one. Your body takes about a month to detox all the blood, spirit and chemicals from the meat products you’ve eaten over the years. Expect withdrawals, bad skin (a part of detox) which turns into amazing skin, stress and pressure. But all this in such a small period of time will lead to your best self.

Please always consult your physician before making any drastic physical or dietary changes.

Question of the Day

What is your resolution for the New Year?

I’m giving up processed sugar of any kind for the month of January. If all goes well, then another month after that and so forth.

Vegan and Cruelty Free Beauty

Farsali Elixir and Farsali Serum Review

If you waste half your life on Instagram (hi.), then you will have seen that gorge beauty Farah work her magic. Half the time she uses her own line of products like the Farsali Rose Gold Elixir or her Farsali Unicorn Essence. And if you’ve never seen these products, I’m pretty sure you’ll want to get your hands on these (spoiler alert), mostly because the packaging–and the products–are to die for. I picked up the samples, which are the perfect size as gift toppers and stocking stuffers–hint hint.

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Farsali Unicorn Essence Review

Perhaps one of the most popular Farsali products, this pinky cloudy liquid smells like cotton candy and sinks like a song into your skin. It’s packaging describes it as a Skin Enhancing Antioxidant Serum. It also claims to work as a dual product: it infuses your skin with beneficial skin care and also preps it for putting on moisturizer or makeup. So I did both.

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I washed my face and put a drop each on both my cheeks, my forehead and my chin and patted it in. In almost immediately sinks into your skin but also has a slight sticky feeling, which can feel unwelcome at first. BUT it’s this sticky feeling that makes makeup application a dream.

USE: I DO NOT suggest using this as a stand-alone moisturizer. If you use this, definitely top with moisturizer or top with a moisturizing foundation. I used it alone as well and it made my face feel tight–you know that feeling after you wash your face and don’t moisturize it? That. (yuck).

RESULTS: I waited a while after I got this to review and guys, when used as a primer, it’s amazing. Definitely go with the sample to see if your skin agrees. Even if it doesn’t…you may get addicted to the smell if you like sweet sugary scents. Photo Dec 20, 3 03 00 PM

Sample Size: 0.34 fl. oz.

Price: $20.00, the full size (1 oz.) is $54.

Worth It?: If it was $20 cheaper, yes! If you have a coupon, yes! Otherwise, not so sure TBH.

Farsali Rose Gold Elixir Review

If you guys are into luxe things that are 100% extra (hi again), then you want this, believe me. The Farsali Rose Gold Elixir is marketed as a 24K Gold Infused Beauty Oil and it literally has flecks of 24K gold in it. How’s that for extra?

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While the Unicorn Essence is cloudy in appearance, the beauty oil feels like a true dry oil, not unlike my skincare secret and anti-aging hack: Rosehip Oil. It has Vitamin A (retinol–scientifically known to help fight wrinkles), and Vitamin C, which is why it smells a bit citrusy.

USE: Best used as a moisturizer.

RESULTS: I’ve been using it as a moisturizer before going to sleep and man, I feel like I’ve aged backwards at least like 3 days. But really, I love it.

Photo Dec 20, 3 03 29 PMWhat’s nice about this beauty oil is that it absorbs SO quick. I HATE the feeling of being covered in oil, especially when I sleep with it in. Since I’m extra as all hell I sleep on a (far too expensive) silk and copper-infused pillow case and the last thing I want to do is ruin it with oil. BUT I can put this oil on, let it dry for a hot second and go to sleep knowing my pillowcase wasn’t a total waste of money.

Sample Size: 0.34 fl. oz.

Price: $20.00, the full size (1 oz.) is $54.

Worth It?: Yes! Wait until you get a Sephora coupon then spring for the full 1 OZ. Yo welcome.

VCF? Yes, according to the About Us page, they are cruelty-free!

Question of the Day

Have you tried anything from Farsali Beauty? What are your favorite night serums or moisturizers?

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Vegan Food

Beyond Meat Burgers: Delicious or Gross?

These are the most aptly named patties…maybe ever. These burgers not only look like meat, but I personally think they taste better than meat! I was a meat-eater until 2007, when I went vegetarian, so while I don’t remember what all meat tastes like and while I rarely had hamburgers then, I can say that this tastes much better than any dead carcasses.

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Not only does it look like meat in the packaging, but it also cooks like meat.

When I immediately put it on the pan:

Photo_Dec_16,_12_53_17_PM[1]After I flipped it once, you can see how it browns:

Photo_Dec_16,_12_53_45_PM[1]What’s weird is it even stays a little pink in the middle. Also, since it already has some fat in it, I didn’t cook it in any oil or vegan butter. I just plopped it onto a high-medium heated pan as is and it immediately started sizzling away.

I paired it with some Angelic Bakehouse hamburger buns and had it with a side salad and some Daiya provolone cheeze.

While it may be a little higher in fat, it certainly is high in protein and completely 100% plant-based. If you’re going vegan and crave a big, juicy burger with all the fixings, this Beyond Meat Burger will definitely quench your craving.

Photo_Dec_16,_12_59_39_PM[1]Photo_Dec_16,_12_59_57_PM[1]Question of the Day

Have you tried these? Do you like them? What are your favorite alternate meats for burgers?

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Uncategorized, Vegan Food

Low-Calorie Vegan “Meat” Substitutes

When I first went vegan on January 2016, I couldn’t stay away from carbs. I ate broccoli and rice almost every day and a lot of pasta…and let me tell you where all this carbo-loading went (I put Kim K’s butt to shame). It took me anywhere between 2-6 months to really figure out a balance in my “diet”, air quotes because ya’ll know it’s a lifestyle. Part of this balance is finding “junk” food and sometimes wanting a little more than your faithful greens. Ya girl can only eat so much broccoli without turning green [P.S. it’s kinda true–my husband ate so many carrots as a baby he turned orange.] So to change it up, I opted for some vegan meats. Now while I like to stay as clean and as few ingredients as possible, these little patties, balls and strips (Las Vegas club name?) make salads just a bit more fun when you need to change it up. FYI you can get all of these vegan meats at Trader Joe’s!

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1. California Veggie Burgers

If you like veggie patties or want to make more delicious burgers, opt for these low-calorie, nutrition-packed vegan patties (see the little circle with the heart on the bottom?). While they don’t taste like meat, they don’t taste like squashed veggies either. Something about them is so tasty!

Not so Secret Tip: If you do want the look and taste of meat, Beyond Burger patties are EV-UH-REE-THING. I’m getting them again this Friday and will talk about them on Monday, in case you were considering them ^_-.

Calories: 120

Highlight: Cleaner than most other patties (Veggie Masala Patty is a close contender)

2. Chickenless Crispy Tenders

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These are so delish. If ya’ll want to add a bit of something naughty to your salads, add these dumplings that are FAR from meat! Or if you want to trick your friends, these do the trick too 😉

Calories: 150 for 3 chicken tenders

Highlight: They’re hella tasty. Like dang yum yum. Unfortunately, one serving has 7g of fat, which is pretty dang high. Most should aim for 0-4g of fat per serving.

3. Meatless Meatballs

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PC: PinchofLovely

Now the above picture isn’t of the Trader Joe’s Meatless Meatballs, but it’s a recipe where you make your own. Now if you don’t have time to make your own, sub those kinds of recipes with these “meatballs” and you’ll be good as vegan gold. Also, if you miss spaghetti and meatballs, I got yo back! These work great with tomato sauce or also make a great addition to salads. I’ve even made them just as snacks, and they’re great for that too.

Calories: 140 for 6 meatballs

Highlight: It’s good for those on a low-calorie diet. These are the best of the worst products for you, because it’s high in sodium and highly-processed.

Question of the Day

What are your favorite naughty “meats”? Share!

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Vegan and Cruelty Free Beauty

The Secret to Soft Skin

…in winter no less! If you’re like me, your lips go dryer than the desert year-round, but in the winter, this condition goes from lips to toes. Thankfully, I found the exact regimen you need to not only get soft, smooth and itch-free skin, but your body will thank you as well…because hello lymphatic drainage! Stick with me…

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I won’t hold back. The secret to skin so soft that you can’t stop touching yourself, is a dry brush (that’s it). Use any cruelty-free dry brush which has thick bristles and helps cure the itch, literally (look carefully to ensure that it’s not a boar bristle dry brush–thanks for the comment reader!). The bristles are rough enough that they feel like you’re scratching your skin, but soft enough that you aren’t.

Step 1: Dry Brush

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Before you take a shower and you’re in all your naked glory, start dry brushing your skin upwards in short strokes from your toes. Continue until you get to your belly button. Then start from your neck and move down in small strokes. The point is to move all the blood to your heart–this is the process of lymphatic drainage. Not only does it slough off all of your dead skin, but it helps move your blood and promote circulation (yay clean blood).

Step 2: Exfoliate

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I know you got to step two and are thinking, well duh. But what’s important is to find an exfoliating body scrub mixed with essential oils. So many scrubs on the market are mixed with soap that tend to dry out your skin even more. This Himalayan Body Scrub has a mix of almond oil, grape seed oil, jojoba seed oil, lychee fruit essential oil and other goodness. You can get yours for 50% now at Asili Naturals. Go now!

Step 3: Moisturize

Again, duh. But the key here again is to find a moisturizer that has a dry oil that will easily sink into your skin. Again, Asili Naturals delivers. This Coconut Body Butter smells like lemongrass and makes you feel clean too. It has little scrubbies in it that just sink into your skin. Guys, it’s amazing.

Question of the Day

What do you guys do for smooth skin? Does it work? Share!

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Friday Face Off, Uncategorized

Friday Face-Off: Vegan & Cruelty-Free Foundations for Oily Skin

FFO6-1If your face is a natural oil-slick like mine and you like playing with makeup, then you’re on a never ending hunt for matte foundation. The Clinique Stay Matte Foundation was my holy grail, until I found out that Clinique is NOT VCF (like why?). So my hunt continued and after a lot of research, I caught a new animal. Check out the face off below to see if this new VCF foundation measures up to the Clinique foundation.

Clinique Stay Matte Oil-Free Makeup

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This is probably my 5th or 6th bottle of the Clinique Stay Matte Foundation, that’s how much I loved it. I tried foundations from Giorgio Armani, Estee Lauder, IT Cosmetics, Pacifica and so many more looking for a VCF foundation and haven’t found one that keeps my oil at bay.

This is a lighter consistency foundation that doesn’t leave a cakey look. Best thing though is that it leaves your skin looking radiant and oh so nice.

Longevity: About half-a day, best when touched up with powder foundation every 4-5 hours.

Price: $26.00 

Quality: Amazing. Goes on smooth, dries nicely and is build-able.

VCF: No 😦

Kat Von D Lock-It Foundation

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The Kat Von D Lock-it Foundation is definitely a thicker foundation. A little bit goes a long way and I found that it’s best applied with a damp beauty blender…I use the orange sponge from Real Techniques. It comes in a lot of colors, so be sure to get color matched to get the right shade, only because it’s a high-coverage foundation. Last thing you want is a face that’s a much different shade than your body.

Longevity: It stays on ALL day–verified. Best when set with a powder.

Price: $35.00 for 1 oz.

Quality: Fantastic! Doesn’t feel cheap, but CAN look a little cakey if too much is applied.

VCF: YES!

Question of the Day

What’s your favorite VCF foundation?

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Uncategorized

Sephora & Vegan Beauty Haul

What else do you do when you have a coupon for Sephora? You spend your life savings and withdraw from your 401(k) to spree is what (jk–but am I really). Well I’m on a tight budget (hello dream house), so I really only got the things I need. Come snoop through my cart!

1. Fresh Sugar Lip Caramel Hydrating Balm

If you need a new lip balm that smells like divine heavenly angel food cake and caramel on a plate, then you need to get this. Not only that, it feels dang good on the lips–your boyfriend, husband, girlfriend, lover, cat will thank you.

Unfortunately guys, I learned some tragic news thanks to Ethical ElephantFresh is NOT CrueltyFree! Sadly, this doesn’t look good for Fresh considering all imported cosmetics into Mainland China are required by law to be tested on animals and by Fresh choosing to sell in these stores, they must consent and agree to have their products/ingredients subject to animal tests.

2. Farsali Beauty

Ya’ll, I am BEYOND excited about these two. I only got the mini sizes of Farsali Beauty Unicorn Essence and the Rose Gold Elixir because I wanted to test them out first, and also because the full-size options are hella expensive (bye bye dream house), so I opted for the little bottles. Also I like Farah, so I had to support her.

From their website:  Our naturally inspired products are always cruelty-free, and made with exceptional-quality in mind. YAY! <– not from their site, only my enthusiasm.

3. Asili Naturals Bath Bomb

I mean, you know I can’t go a couple weeks without talking about my #1 homie, Asili Naturals, my most favorite VCF brand of all time. So of course, this Rosemary Jasmine bath bomb joins the haul party.

4. Fresh Sugar Roll-On

Aside from the fact that Fresh Sugar is NOT VCF (did you hear that noise? That’s my heart breaking), I am most excited to try this product because it’s both an anti-perspirant AND deodorant and most “healthy” deoderants are only the latter. This will most likely go back because it’s not VCF. Womp womp.

P.S. I also got a little sample of the Solid Beauty Blender cleaner because I love my Real Techniques Beauty Blender…is that cheating to us the BB cleaner for my Real Techniques sponge?

Question of the Day

What have you guys picked up lately that you’re loving?? We want to snoop!

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