monthly favorites, Vegan and Cruelty Free Beauty, Vegan Cruelty Free, vegan lifestyle

September Favorites

The leaves are changing colors and while I hate (like a lot) to see Winter come, I LOVE any opportunity to throw on my boots, a scarf and some cozy sweaters. Yes, I’m a #basicb*@$h and proud of it. Fall always reminds me of that line from You’ve Got Mail where Tom Hanks (aka Joe Fox) tells Meg Ryan that it reminds her of a big bouquet of new pencils: “Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.”

Anyways, as we’re transitioning from Summer to Fall, I’ve loved these throughout the month of September.

1. Tom Ka Kai soup

I’ve legit made this vegan Tom Ka Gai soup (aka Tom Ka Kai, Tom Ga Kai) three times last week, and each time it lasted just a little under a week. Guys. It’s SO good. I suggest adding as much lemon juice as possible so it’s nice and acidic. Is your mouth watering? Mine is! Also, I just load it up with veggies. I also used the regular coconut milk in a can, but I suggest the low-fat version so that it’s not as rich.

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2. Trestique Lip Crayon

I’ve been on a lip binge lately. This lip crayon goes on so smooth, and it gives your lips just the right amount of shade and gloss. LOVE IT. If you want the best of both worlds (lipstick and lip gloss), definitely give Trestique lip crayons a shot.

But Samantha, are they VCF? Definitely cruelty-free! Are they vegan? Here’s the answer on the Trestique FAQs:

WHAT IS YOUR INGREDIENT PHILOSOPHY?

We believe in high tech, high performance makeup. Why? Because you get better color, smoother application and longer lasting results. trèStiQue is free of parabens, synthetic fragrances and petro chemicals. We infuse our products with natural plant ingredients wherever possible, such as coconut oil, which is why we know you will love them! Most importantly our products are never tested on animals and everything is made with love.

3. NYX Lip Gloss

If you can’t wear lipstick because it literally wears off once you blink, then you’ll love this NYX butter gloss as much as I do. In “Tiramisu” it’s literally a your (or my) lips but better. It’s pretty much the same color as my natural lips but make them hella juicy–your welcome. I personally think it’s the perfect substitution for chapstick (which isn’t at all good for your lips).

Is NYX vegan

While not all NYX produts are vegan, they do have a vegan dedicated line. Check it out here!

Is NYX cruelty-free?

According to their website, they are. BUT they are owned by L’Oreal Cosmetics, which is not cruelty-free. (WHY!!!)

4. Hair Protectant

I seriously think I have hair protectant to thank for how long and thick my hair has gotten in the past few months alone. Stay tuned this week for a post on how to get strong, long and thick hair. Hello #hairgoals! I’m still on the search however for an amazing (and good smelling) hair protectant that’s VCF, so if you know of any, please comment your recs below! Appreciate ya.

Is OGX cruelty-free?

According to their site:

Are OGX® products tested on animals?

OGX® does not initiate animal tests on either finished products or ingredients whether directly or indirectly. All ingredients used are carefully monitored. All suppliers are requested to confirm that their materials have not been tested on animals. Ingredients which do not have this data supplied for them are not used in any products. OGX® is against the suffering endured by animals when ingredients and products are tested. We support suppliers and organizations that are developing alternative methods of testing without using animals.

5. Book I’m Currently Loving

Image result for an american marriage book
Photo c/o: Chicago Review of Books

I’ve been starting a new feature with  monthly favorites, and that’s my favorite book of the month! Ya’ll can judge me, but it’s definitely The Secret! It changed my life, and I have the book to thank for taking my already positive self to a whole new level and understanding. If you’re not into it, I also really loved An American Marriage. 

Questions of the Day

What book are you loving lately? Any change to your routine that you’re loving?

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Mothers Day Gift Guide 2018
Gift Guides, Vegan and Cruelty Free Beauty, Vegan Fashion, Vegan Food, vegan lifestyle

VCF Mother’s Day Gift Guide (for procrastinators)

…did you know Mother’s Day is this Sunday? Literally two days away? Surprise! Well it shouldn’t have been, but now that your heart is beating faster because you’ve RSVPd’ yes to brunch without a gift in hand, I’ve come to the rescue. Whether you’re mama is vegan or not, concerned about cruelty-free or not, or said “no gifts” (no one ever means that, okur), this gift guide is for you. Best of all, you can pick up most of these things in store, or if you buy them tonight on Amazon, especially Prime (where are you if you don’t have Prime), then you’ll get it at some point on Sunday and you can casually surprise moms at some point during the day like that was your plan all along 😉

Mothers Day Gift Guide 2018 for procrastinators

1. Drunk Elephant Rise + Glow Duo | 2. Pretty Vulgar Nail Liquor | 3. Tarte Highlighting Eyeshadow Palette | 4. Silpat Oven Mat | 5. Tea Forte Large Tin Sampler Gift | 6. Nutribullet | 7. Purple Carrot | 8. Wheat grass Growing Kit | 9.  Zafu Meditation Pillow | 10. Jawbone Activity/Sleep Tracker | 11. Vegan Gym Bag | 12. S’well Water Bottle

Vegan and Cruelty-Free Mother’s Day Gifts for the Beauty Loving Mama

If your wife, mom, sister, grandma or any “mother” in your life is always on-the-go or simply loves feeling pampered, help her feel her best with these vegan and cruelty-free beauty gifts. This Drunk Elephant Duo is the perfect gift or gift topper to help mama feel wide awake after long days tending to the kids or your fur babies. The Tarte Highlighting Eyeshadow Palette is a quick trick to make her look (and feel) like she had a peaceful morning with her cup of coffee cause that woman will be glowing from cheek to cheek with these many color options. Lastly, you can never go wrong by giving this beautiful woman a moment to herself at the spa with a gift certificate to get a manicure, pedicure or facial. (For you true procrastinators out there–this is your best option! As in you can roll out of bed Sunday morning, and pick this up on the way to Mother’s Day Brunch. Also, shame on you).

Vegan and Cruelty-Free Mother’s Day Gifts for the Vegan Foodie or Cook

Mamas love to feed us, especially if you have an Indian mom like I do, who loves to cook, then shove rice and curry into our mouths all day long–why I ever complained about this growing up is beyond me. I literally look forward to visiting the parents now for this reason only, oh and to see them of course…anyway, if your lady loves to cook, consider Silpats, they make baking and cooking mess free. Literally all gunk rolls right off and they withstand a high temperature in the over, toaster, etc. FYI Costco sells a similar version, just not Silpat brand. Another #procrastinationhack. You’re welcome.

The Nutribullet is also an easy last-minute option–you can buy them virtually anywhere. As is the Wheat Grass growing kit–a fun way for mom to experiment in the kitchen. If she enjoys food but wants a break from cooking, give her a chance to relax with her choice of tea with this Tea Forte sampler pack, or you can buy a bunch of boxes of tea you think she would like, throw them in a basket, add a Starbucks gift card, and boom. Last-minute Mother’s Day present.

If you have zero time at all, then consider an order of the Purple Carrot Meal Delivery service. You can buy her a subscription as a gift. It comes with all the measured ingredients, the recipe and directions to make a quick and easy meal. You can print out the sheet that says you’ve ordered it, roll it up, tie a bow around it, and voila.

Vegan and Cruelty-Free Mother’s Day Gifts for the Active Mama

The active mama, gym rat or simply health-conscious individual sometimes needs a moment away from all the activity, and the Zafu Meditation Pillow may give her just that. On the opposite note, if she wants to rack up #alltheactivitypoints, then help her realize how awesome she’s doing with the Jawbone Activity/Sleep Tracker. Whether she’s crazy active or just likes to take a morning stroll, it’s important to stay hydrated. Help her fuel up stylishly with this S’well Water Bottle. Lastly, give her a bag to put all of these things in that’s both super adorable and functional, like this Vegan Gym Bag. Lululemon also makes some cool bags (but do people know if they’re VCF?).

In reality, whether you got her something ages ago or are scrambling for a last minute idea, all mama wants is time with her babies. So spoil her with all of your time and shower her with love, because she brought you into this world (and she can take you out). JK.

HAVE A GORGEOUS MOTHER’S DAY, VCF FAM!

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Vegan and Cruelty Free Beauty

Tarte Shape Tape Foundation Review

TarteShapeTapeF

The Tarte Shape Tape concealer apparently turned the makeup world on it’s head. It seems Tarte decided to ride the coattails of their concealer’s popularity and bring their beloved Shape Tape lovers with a foundation by the same name. While I have yet to try the Shape Tape concealer (because I don’t need a concealer yet), I decided to give their Shape Tape foundation a try. If you’re thinking about handing over more than $40 to your Ulta salesperson, please read this review first. Spoiler alert: it ain’t good.

Note: I tried this foundation everyday for 10-15 hours per day for 2 weeks straight, just like I did for my Kat Von D Foundation review.

I purchased my foundation at Ulta for $42 including tax. It retails for $39.

The Tarte Shape Tape Foundation: Pros

1. 2 Formula Options: Dry or Oily Skin

TarteMatte

Of the 36 shades (we’ll get into that below), 18 are made for those who have dry skin and 18 for those who have oily skin. Dry skin individuals may opt for the Hydrating Foundation and those with oily skin (hi!) will probably want to try the matte foundation. So, of course, having a semi-oil slick for a face, I opted for the matte foundation.

2. Medium Coverage

TarteSwatch

This is NOT at all a full-coverage foundation. Because it’s more liquidy, it tends to lean on the err of medium coverage. You can build it up, sure, but there’s a reason why you shouldn’t (see cons).

The Tarte Shape Tape Foundation: Cons 

1. The Color Range

After Rihanna’s successful launch of her Fenty Beauty makeup line, including a range of foundation colors for everyone under the sun, Tarte’s range failed to please. As in crash and burn. They only have a selection of 18 shades per line (see above). 18! Drugstore foundations have more of a color range than that, right?

2. Doe-Foot Applicator

TarteDoeFoot

I found this applicator cumbersome to work with. I mean, yes, hardcore first world problem, but every time I used this foundation, I would open it, and swipe the foundation on one of my fingers (clean hands), and would swipe that onto my face. When I needed more, I used a new finger. I don’t think the doe foot applicator is the most sanitary option, which is why I count this as a con.

3. Longevity

Ya’ll, this didn’t last for sh**. I said in the cons that it has medium coverage, and it does, but even one small layer of this foundation lasts maybe about 2 hours, 4 hours if you’re having a good day. If you layer the foundation on, it’s worse. This may be because I have oily skin (not sure), but this foundation moved around SO much. I put my makeup on around 6AM then head to work about an hour later. Around 9AM-10AM, I go to the bathroom and when I look in the mirror, my face has marks from where I touched it because this foundation doesn’t stick worth a dime to your face. It MOVES. It’s a matte foundation that sits on top of your skin. Not to mention, it get super blotchy throughout the day.

Worth It? Absolutely not. Although, you obviously have different skin than I do and there are many other outlying factors where this foundation may be your holy grail! I have tan, oily skin with an olive undertone, and it didn’t work for me.

Question of the Day

What is your favorite vegan and cruelty-free foundation? I went back to my Kat Von D foundation, and am loving it.

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Vegan Cruelty Free

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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Vegan and Cruelty Free Beauty, Vegan Fashion

11 Affordable Stocking Stuffer Ideas

If stuffing stockings were a hobby, I’d be a freakin’ pro (toot), but as the holidays come around, it can be hard to find vegan and cruelty-free gifts and stocking stuffer ideas without succumbing to throwing boxes of raisins in those oversized socks. That’s why I’ve come up with some ideas (which also happen to be my faves) that make your non-vegan family members and friends not hate you for gifting them with a “meat is murder” sticker, right? So let’s get less political, and a WHOLE lot more fun!

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1. GIFTS FOR THE PERSON ALWAYS ON-THE-GO

If you know someone who is always on-the-go, go, go (hi), then you want to put some travel friendly ideas that scream, hey I’m fashionable, healthy and awesome on to their gift list.

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Hair Invisibobble: For those women or men with long hair, being on the go means throwing your hair into a bun (or man-bun) and getting ish done. My favorite hair tool of all time is the Invisibobble (hello millenial scrunchie). It’s that black ring that looks like a phone cord in the picture above. It doesn’t kink your hair, and pulls out really easily. #gogetsome. Now I look at old hair bands and just wonder…but why. I bought mine at Sephora and it sells for $8. I got it for 20% off woop woop.

Vegan Leather Tassle: This tassle keychain is so boujee, it pretty much screams that you love fashion with an edge. You can get any of these vegan tassles (and pom poms!) pretty much anywhere (i.e Charming Charlie, Forever 21, Discovery, TJ Maxx, Target, pretty much anywhere, maybe even Cracker Barrel?!). I got mine on clearance for $3.00 something at Target. They usually range from $3 – $12.

Coconut Oil Packets: If your person travels a lot, remind them to keep their health in check from the plane to the hotel and anywhere else. Coconut Oil is the perfect solution to almost anything they happen to forget, like moisturizer, hair mask, toothpaste (oil pulling), makeup remover, a whole bunch of stuff. I bought my box of Organic Virgin Coconut Oil Packets at Trader Joe’s for $3.99.

A Cute Tray: When they do come back home or take off all of their baubles before a bath, give them a place to put it all, like this cute tray! I got this one at Target on clearance but you can get them virtually anywhere.

2. GIFTS FOR THE BEAUTY LOVER

If you have a friend who loves to primp and prime or is all about self-love (hallelujah), then they’ll love these gifts. Especially if they love to smell amazing. Santa will be jealous you thought of these first, well second I guess 😉

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Native Deodorant: If you’ve been a reader for a while, you know that I’ve tried every deodorant in the world and after my deodorant review, am now addicted to Native Deodorant. They’ll love that this smells great, and that it leaves them smelling great.

Formula 10.0.6 Pore Strips: With all the big work parties and family dinners or even if you have that hot holiday date (I do every year, hi hubs), you gotta make sure your nose is blackhead free! These Formula 10.0.6 Pore Strips clear out your pores and you’ll be walking with confidence, one nose ahead of everyone else.

Pacifica Perfume: This perfume is both vegan and cruelty-free and comes in a whole bunch of scents. Since perfume is a pretty personal choice, I would give them a fun “coupon” that you drew up yourself for them to go shopping with you and pick their own Pacifica Natural Spray. This means you can give a gift and set-up some time to hang out. Quality time: check!

Bath Bomb: This is a no-brainer. You can wrap this Whole Foods Bath Bomb up with a bottle of some good wine and one of their favorite movies and there you go: spa night! Maybe throw in a face mask too–see the next idea 😉

3. GIFTS FOR THE PERSON WHO NEEDS TO RELAX

Know someone that needs to relax or is always uptight? (um, hi). Then throw all of these into a cute little basket and wrap it up into their stocking and BOOM. I’m falling asleep just thinking about it I’m so relaxed.

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Bath Bomb: This is what I was talking about before! You can get festive and throw in an Asili Naturals holiday-scented bath bomb, like the pumpkin spice one above.

Asili Naturals Clay Mask: On my Friday Face-Off, we compared this clay mask with Glam Glow, and guess who won? You called it–this one is AMAZING! This Spirulina Clay Mask doesn’t smell like dirt like most masks (ahem Glam Glow), but smells amazing like lavender. #treatyofriend Throw in a makeup brush too, which makes applying pretty much any face mask much easier, and far less messy.

Handmade Natural Soap: When soap smells good, it makes a shower even more relaxing, literally feels like it’s melting away your stress.

With all of these ideas, you’ll be stocking stuffer royalty. Might as well buy a tiara when you’re out shopping for presents.

Question of the Day

What kind of stocking stuffers do you like? What is your favorite part of gift-giving? Share, please!

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