Vegan and Cruelty Free Beauty, Vegan Cruelty Free, Vegan Fashion, vegan lifestyle

Current Vegan Cruelty-Free Favorites {Skincare, Makeup & Fashion}

If you’re like me you live for a good monthly favorites post. Well, I figured a current favorites will quench your thirst for such a post, so I’m sharing what I’m currently loving!

Current Vegan, Cruelty-free Skincare Favorites

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You already know my love for rosehip oil, I mean it’s practically the fountain of youth bottled into a pretty package [not verified ;)] and after trying various serums, I’ve gone back to it. I don’t know why I ever left. Sorry RHO. I usually put it on after I wash my face with the Foreo Luna Mini 2 and swipe some Thayer’s Witch Hazel all over my face (which according to Thayer’s, does not test on animals).

Also, I’m always looking for some awesome body soap. After trying some from Fresh Thyme and Whole Foods, I’ve realized I really love the one from Trader Joe’s. It smells AH-MAY-ZING.

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Best of all, according to Peta and product packaging, Trader Joe’s does not test on animals.

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Cruelty-free Makeup Favorites

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The major highlight (pun intended) of the past couple of months was rediscovering the ELF Highlight and Bronzer duo. Note, I do not even touch the bronzer. It has zero color pay off, which means this duo is only half worth it but really the highlight makes it totally 100% worth it. I know that made no sense. Roll with me.

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You can’t really tell from the picture above but you really have to rub through the top sheen of the highlight to get through to the gold. It’s perfect for my bronze-skinned goddesses–it shows up perfect on my brown skin tone! Adding a little bit goes a long way, and while it comes off a bit chunky at first, it actually blends in quite nicely. BUT use a little bit. I put some on the tops of my cheekbones and on the tip of my nose #shinebright.

Best of all, according to ELF, “We do NOT test on animals or endorse such practices. Our products do not contain animal derived ingredients. Beeswax has been replaced by synthetic beeswax and lanolin has been replaced by Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladinpale-2. We currently support HSUS and are partners with PETA in the Caring Consumer Project.”

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The Real Techniques sponge is also a favorite–you can tell by how dirty it is (sorry–I swear I cleaned it but that brown shade just doesn’t go away). According to their site, they are cruelty-free, “Our products are 100% cruelty-free. We never test products on animals.”

Cruelty-free Fashion Favorite

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If you know me in person, you know that I’m always changing up my bracelets. BUT ever since my then boyfriend (now hubs) bought my me first LotusandLava bracelet at the Phoenix Farmer’s Market some 4 years ago, I’ve been a loyal customer. I probably own upside of 15 bracelets from her shop and continue to be a LAL lover. In fact, I used to treat myself to one every time she had a sale or just cause. I often go to these as the perfect gifts for people for any occasion or no occasion at all.

The ones I showed above sparkle so amazingly in the sunshine. The bottom is a goldstone bracelet, of which she has a different variation now on etsy. The top is my absolute favorite. It’s dark green, but when it hits the light, it shines like the night sky. I have this in a dark navy too that shines just the same.

Question of the Day

Do you like these kinds of posts? Would you like to see these on a monthly basis from me? Thanks as always for your kind support! You’re the reason I do what I do. ❤ ❤

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

VCF Beauty Review: Tarte Busy Gal BROWS Brow Gel

Happy Thursday, ya’ll! Or to some, it’s more like, “it’s not Fri-yay, yet?” and to be honest, I’m definitely team Fri-Yay. This week has been a doozy, a truly busy one. While my days are usually long and filled with a never-ending to-do list, this week seemed especially crazy. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve hit a milestone birthday and feel the need to keep the fact that I’m aging out of my head or just that…I’m one busy gal (nice segue, Sam).

But in reality, I am busy, and the only time I really get to myself is at 5:00 in the morning, where I allow myself 30 minutes to get ready (shower included) and read for 30 minutes before I head to work. SO I wanted to take some time away from beautifying myself and add it to reading. Cue busy gal BROWS (not sponsored–I swear). I wanted to be able to do my brows effortlessly without wondering if my eyebrows make me look surprised one day and angry the other. But–did this Tarte brow gel deliver?

Tarte Brow Gel

At first, I found it both hard and easy to use. Let me explain. The product doesn’t come out with much color on the brush, but it packs it on a tiny but at the very top of the brush. SO as I brush it through my brows, I find that the tip of the brush leaves product where I don’t want it. If you figure out how to distribute the product throughout your brush, it’s actually fairly effortless to use.

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The downside is in the color pay off–there isn’t much payoff. I often have to dip my brush back into the tube 4 to 5 times for each brow. The swatch on the left is of the brush just touching my hand. The swatch on the right is what it looks like when I swiped it across–see what I mean about the uneven distribution?

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What is surprising however is how easy it is to define my brows! It actually helps shape it quite nicely, however I do use a pencil to just outline them a bit.

Price: $18. I got mine at Ulta in the shade black brown.

Vegan? Yes! Tarte claims this is vegan friendly. It says so right on the packaging!

Is Tarte vegan?

Also, according to the Tarte site: many of their products are vegan. At the bottom of every tarte product page in the tarte shop there is an ingredient listing where you can find the ingredients to the products you’re interested in. tarte cannot guarantee that any ingredients or products were produced in an allergen free environment.

Is Tarte cruelty-free?

According to TarteFAQs, tarte cosmetics is a cruelty-free cosmetics line. tarte makeup and skincare is never tested on animals. However, according to ethical elephant, they’re owned by a parent company, Kose, that is not cruelty-free.

Is the Tarte busy gals BROWS brow gel worth it?

I give the product a 6.5/10. Mostly because it’s hard to get color and because of the color distribution. It does however last for a while and once you get the hang of it, it’s actually quite easy to use.

Question of the Day

If you could choose between doing only your lashes or only your eyebrows for the rest of your life, which would you choose?

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

Foreo Luna Mini 2 Review

Foreo4Fam, I’ve bought so many versions of Clarisonic brushes, Clarisonic wanna be brushes and so many more face cleaning tools with little progress. In fact, they all did the opposite. They broke me out, didn’t seem to clean my pores out as much as promised and often left me with more work after (in the form of having to clean dirty brushes). Don’t get me wrong–I’m not knocking those of you who love their Clarisonic brushes! They’re a lot of people’s cuppa tea and they work amazingly for others! (just not for me). SO, I finally decided to try the Foreo Luna Mini 2 (thanks for the birthday gift, M-I-L! and not sponsored) for these reasons:

Foreo Luna Mini 2 Review – Size

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When Foreo first came out with their face brushes, they were (and still are) rather large, probably bigger than the size of my hand. I heard great things about them from the onset, but the size kept me from trying it. Fast forward several years, the Foreo now has new options: The Luna Mini, The Luna Mini 2 (what I have), the Play, the Play PLUS, the Mio and now the FoFo. I may even be missing a few options in that list. While the FoFo is their brand-spanking new version (and apparently can diagnose your skin’s state to some extent and has an app, I mean hello fancy), it seems a bit too small for me. I like the size of the Luna Mini 2 enough that I wanted to try it, and I can attest that I lurv it.

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Foreo Luna Mini 2 Review – Sonic Face Brush Type (Silicone vs. Bristles)

So I’m going to keep comparing it to the clarisonic because that’s probably it’s biggest (and most popular) competitor, and probably what most of you are debating between. Now that I can say that I’ve tried both, I can give you an honest review. After having tried many bristle face brushes (electronic and not), I can say that I honestly like the silicone “bristles,” which are actually nubs in the Foreo much more. They seem to irritate my skin far less. In fact, my face isn’t even red after I use it, but I know it’s working. How? I usually wipe a toner over my face after I wash and after the clarisonic, it still picked up some residue. After the Foreo–none. I know. I’m serious. Not to mention, my face felt as soft as a baby’s bum bum after I used it.

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Anyway, it has three zones, and the one that matters to me is the one on the back, meant for those of us with oily skins and my skin has already gotten less oily (I mean, can I get an amen?!). The Amazon description states: Fine silicone bristles on the front care for sensitive to normal skin, while thicker bristles along the top deliver precision cleansing in the T-zone. On the back, broad silicone bristles specialize in cleansing oily skin.

How It Works

This is the easy part. It vibrates for a total of 60 seconds. After every 15 second interval, it almost buzzes so you know to move from one zone to the next, with each zone being: your left cheek, your right cheek, your forehead, and your t-zone. I follow that about 80%. After the 60 seconds is over, it buzzes three times but keeps going. I then run it under the water while it’s still vibrating and it cleans RIGHT. OFF. I hate (abhor) cleaning brushes and this is the easiest it’s ever been.  

According to the Amazon description:

The LUNA mini 2 uses the power of T-Sonic pulsations to effectively cleanse deep below the skin’s surface. With 8 adjustable intensities and 3 zones of varying touch point thicknesses, it is suitable for all skin types.

The LUNA mini 2 removes up-to 99.5% of dirt and oil, dead skin cells, unclogs pores and removes makeup residue.

In Summary

Price: $139 on Amazon, $139 on Sephora.

I like the Foreo Luna Mini 2 face brush because:

  • The Luna Mini 2 is much smaller than it’s former iterations (the older ones are larger than my hand).
  • It’s rechargeable (unlike the Play which only lasts for a certain number of uses).
  • It’s made of silicone so it can’t grow bacteria (as far as I’ve read–please correct me if I’m wrong).
  • It’s soft and gentle on the skin because it uses vibrating nubs.
  • How much do you need this? 9/10 mostly because of the price. If it were $50 cheaper, then you need this 11/10.

Question of the Day

What sonic face brushes have worked for you guys? Or do you go the traditional route with simply soap and hands?

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Vegan Cruelty Free

Vegan Memorial Day: Vegan BBQ

Memorial Day is one of the few days out of the year you can rock an American flag on just about anything: your headband, your booty shorts, your pool floaties and your grill, even the one in your mouth. But also synonymous with Memorial Day is meat, and lots of it. People LOVE to grill on this holiday and it’s no wonder…suns out, (burger) buns out, right? BUT we can do without all that meat, murder and cruelty (sorry omnivores) and pay homage to our veterans with some delicious eats that are so nutritious that you’ll keep the backyard “bbq” party goin’ all night long. SO with that said, here is the first edition of my Vegan Memorial Day eats (appetizer and dessert, entree to come tomorrow!).

Easy Memorial Day Appetizer:

Vegan Pigs in a Blanket, without the Oink

These “pigs” in a blanket make the easiest and quickest appetizer (or meal because you won’t be able to stop poppin’ these “piggies” in your mouth). All you need to do to pre-heat your oven and prep your ingredients. Once you assemble, bake and take. The best part is, you can personal these to your flavor profile. Read below to find out exactly where the personal touch fits in:

Image result for vegan pigs in a blanketPC: livekindly

INGREDIENTS

1 pack of vegan hot dogs
2 packs of Pillsbury crescent rolls (accidentally vegan)
Dijon mustard or other sauce (to taste)
Everything but the bagel seasoning (from Trader Joe’s) or sesame seeds

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat your over to 400 degrees.
  2. Prepare your dogs: cut each dog into quarters. Cut them in half width-wide, then those two pieces in half length-wise.
  3. Prepare your cresent rolls: Pull apart each of the crescent roll pieces and lay them out so they look like triangles on your flat surface.
  4. Take the sauce of your choice and spread them across each of the triangle pieces–it doesn’t hurt to be generous here because once you bake these the flavors tend to steam (bake?) away.
  5. Now place each of those quarter hot dog pieces on the fat end of the triangle, then roll them up toward the pointy end.
  6. You should now have little pigs in a blanket! Repeat with each piece.
  7. Lay them out about 1-inch apart on a baking sheet (I line mine with a silpat)
  8. Take your seasoning or sesame seeds (optional) and sprinkle them on top of each of the little “Pigs” in a blanket.
  9. Place them in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  10. You’ll know they’re done when they’re golden brown. Let them cool for about 5 minutes, and then they’re ready to serve, with an extra side of mustard for those rebels in your party. 

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Pina Colada in a Bowl (my vegan pina colada in edible (not drink) form) 

This is my take on a pina colada in food form. All you need for this is three ingredients, one of which is purely store bought…unless you want to be really extra and over-the-top, then I got you covered too.

Grilled-Pineapple-Coconut-Cream-2PC: floatingkitchen

INGREDIENTS

Fresh pineapple slices or canned pineapple slices
Full fat coconut milk
Dairy free ice cream OR frozen bananas and almond extract
Unsweetened coconut flakes

DIRECTIONS

  1. If using canned pineapple slices, try to get them as dry as possible before placing them on a grill. If using fresh, place them on a grill with a little bit of coconut oil on either side. Grill for about 5 minutes on each side.
  2. While grilling the pineapple slices, separate the thick part of coconut milk from the liquid into two separate bowls. Whisk the thick portion until it turns light and fluffy and voila, you have vegan whipped cream. For an added taste, add a few drops of vanilla extract.
  3. Place a scoop or two of ice cream in a bowl OR 3A. Blend frozen bananas with some water or a little bit of almond milk with some almond extract until it turns into an ice cream consistency.
  4. Place your grilled pineapple on top of your “ice cream.”
  5. Top with your coconut whipped cream and top that with some unsweetened coconut flakes.

Pina colada in a bowl. You’re welcome.

Question of the Day

What are your go-to vegan recipes? Share–we want to know!

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Vegan Food

Vegan Tom Ka Kai Recipe (Thai Coconut Milk Soup)

TKKFinalNoBread.jpgMy husband and I are adventurous eaters, well as adventurous as a vegan and a carnivore can be. Either way, one of our favorite cuisines is Thai and like every diner who feels like a food critic, we order Tom Ka Kai or Tom Ka Gai at every thai restaurant we try, and continue to compare, judge and rate. I know you do it too. Anyways, I decided it was time to walk the walk so wanted to try making a batch of thai coconut milk soup with tofu myself! It’s actually way easier than I thought and took very little effort. Most of the elbow grease goes into sourcing the ingredients. So, tie on your apron and get ready for the ultimate soup test.

Vegan Tom Ka Kai (aka Tom Ka Gai or Tom Kha Gai) Recipe

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Ingredients

1 cup shitake mushrooms (or mushrooms of your choosing)
1 cup diced onions or shallots (about a quarter-inch in size)
1/2 cup lime or lemon juice (use as much or as little of this as you like–the soup authentically has a very acidic taste so I err on the side of more)
2 lemongrass stalks
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp. crushed red chili pepper (or to taste)
2 small green or red chilies
2 tomatoes
1 package of firm tofu
1 can coconut milk
4 tbsp. liquid aminos

Directions

  1. Prep your ingredients: Cut the lemongrass stalks into about 1-inch long pieces. Slice the mushrooms into edible sizes, dice your onion, dice your chili peppers, slice your tomatoes into edible sizes, cube tofu into size of your choice.
  2. Heat a large pot until it sizzles when you sprinkle in some water. Now add the 1/2 cup of water, lemongrass, mushrooms, onions and lime juice and bring to a boil.
  3. Once boiling, add the diced chilis, red pepper flakes, tomato, coconut milk and tofu.
  4. Add the liquid aminos and stir for about 5-10 minutes or until it reaches your desired level of thickness.
  5. Remove your pot from the heat and stir in lime or lemon juice to taste.
  6. ENJOY!

Once you’ve made it, you’ll hands-down think your soup is the best you’ve ever had. I mean, that’s how it always works, right? 😉

Let us know what you think if you’ve made it and if you have any variations. I’d love to try how you change it up!

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Question of the Day

What’s one food you always compare whenever you eat out?