My Picks for the Sephora Beauty Insider Sale 2019

Beauty

My Sephora beauty insider sale picks

It’s my favorite time of the year — Sephora Beauty Insider Sale time! Honestly, I was a little worried that Sephora wasn’t doing one this year because typically, it happens in early April and here it is almost May and I haven’t gotten any emails about it. Thankfully, we’re just a few days away from one of the best sales of the year for beauty lovers.

I actually used to be a VIB Rouge member, but after being unemployed for several months last year, I wasn’t able to spend the $1,000 I needed to by the end of 2018 to maintain my Rouge status for this year, so I was dropped down to just VIB. If I can work my way back up to Rouge, that would be great, but truth be told I’m not really in a rush to make that happen. I still get decent perks as a VIB (including more birthday gift choices and earning more points per dollar spent) and I only have to spend $350 in a year which is much more doable.

I actually haven’t shopped at Sephora in a few months, as I’m trying to be more mindful with spending when it comes to beauty products (clothes on the other hand…) and I’ve only been buying the essentials, like BB cream and concealer and fake lashes (yes those are essential cuz I wear them daily and they only last so long) and I’ve been able to make do buying those at Ulta for the most part. But I’ve had several things in my virtual Sephora cart for awhile, and now is the time to take advantage!

For those not in the know, the Sephora Beauty Insider Sale happens twice a year (typically April and November). Rouge members get first dibs (the sale started on April 26th for them) and the best discount (20%), while VIBs get 15% off and Beauty Insider members get 10% off and have to wait until May 2nd to shop the sale. I like to use the sale as an opportunity to splurge on some things I normally wouldn’t buy and rack up more points. So here are my picks for this season’s sale!

1) Glow Recipe Pineapple-C Brightening Serum ($49)

Glow Recipe’s newest product just came out within the past month or so, and I’ve been dying to get my hands on it. I already am obsessed with their watermelon glow sleeping mask and I need more fruity products in my life. This sounds like it will be really good at improving redness and dryness, which I definitely need. And if it’s anything like their watermelon pink juice moisturizer, a little goes a long way so it’s worth spending $$$.

2) Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Water ($28)

I’m used to tanning lotions and even airbrush-style sprays, but tanning water? Judging by how often this product sells out on Sephora’s website (it’s sold out right now, and I’ve probably signed up for restock emails 5+ times since it debuted) it must work really well.

I’m a sucker for pretty packaging, and I love the colorful bottle this comes in. I also like the fact that it comes in 3 shades and it has the Clean at Sephora seal, so I can trust that it doesn’t have any weird ingredients. Oh, and like everything on my list, it’s vegan and cruelty-free #win

Since it’s sold out at the moment, I may have to make a stop at the Sephora near me because apparently it’s available there!

3) Four Sigmatic Mushroom Lemonade Mix with Charcoal & Chaga ($30)

I am all about the charcoal — my toothpaste, deodorant and facial bar all have charcoal as a main ingredient. So I’m definitely not scared off by a charcoal lemonade. I’ve tried one by a local juice company and it tastes so good, plus the color is cool.

So many wellness bloggers have raved about the Four Sigmatic mushroom coffee, but I’m not a hot coffee drinker so I’ve never tried it. But this sounds really refreshing for Arizona’s summers and it’s supposed to be good for digestion and skin health, so why not?

4) Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask Set ($39)

I’ve had my eye on Glow Recipe’s sleeping mask sets since they came out a few months ago, but haven’t purchased them yet. It comes with an adorable sleep mask, so how could I not?

I was actually debating about getting the avocado version, but I’ve yet to try that mask and some reviewers said it made them break out, so I’m thinking I’m going to go with the watermelon since it’s a tried and true favorite.

This is normally $45 but right now (even without the sale discount) it’s only $39!

5) IGK 1995 2-in-1 Shampoo & Texturizer ($25)

As y’all know, I only wash my hair once or twice per week, which has saved me a fortune in shampoo & conditioner costs. But I am about one wash away from running out of my shampoo so I need to restock.

IGK is my go-to brand now because they’re vegan and cruelty-free (le duh) and more affordable than a lot of other high-quality brands. A lot of people have raved about the 1995 2-in-1 Shampoo & Texturizer and says it really works to give their hair more volume and oomph, so I think it’s going to be my next shampoo.

6) Summer Fridays Mini Jet Lag Mask ($26)

This actually isn’t in my cart, so I may or may not actually buy it, but I’ve wanted to try the Summer Fridays Jet Lag mask forever (I already have and love the Overtime and R+R masks). When I saw they came out with it in a mini, I knew I couldn’t lose.

I love minis because they let you try something without committing to a bigger product that you may not use up if you don’t love it. The Jet Lag mask is supposed to be amazingly hydrating, so I’d love to give it a spin and see how it compares to their other masks.

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I just noticed that most of my picks are skincare items, with no actual makeup to be seen! That’s because I honestly don’t really need any makeup rn — I just bought some things from Ulta during their sale, and I have so many eyeshadow/highlighter palettes it’s not even funny. But I can always use more skincare products!

Do you love the Beauty Insider Sale? What are your picks for this season’s sale?

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(Un)popular Opinions: Episode 3

Life

Guess who’s back, back again…I’m back with another fresh batch of unpopular opinions. Let’s get to it!

1) The junk food vegan vs. health food vegan war has to stop.

Recently, I came across this quote on someone’s Instagram story basically saying “Trust the junk food vegans, they’re the ones in it for the animals” and TBH it made me a little mad. I would classify myself more as a health food vegan though I’m always ready to get down on some West Coast fries from Green here in Phoenix. I eat mostly whole foods and the packaged food I eat is minimally processed and made from ingredients I can pronounce. I am not by any means one of those holier-than-thou vegans who thinks everyone has to subsist on spinach and bananas. I’m totally cool if people want to eat vegan junk food, though I wish they would eat nutritious options too just for the sake of their health.

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Plants are so good, how can you not love em? (source)

Let me clarify that I originally went vegan for health reasons. But that doesn’t mean I don’t care about animals or the environment. Over the years, I’ve come to understand those aspects of veganism more and now I believe they’re all important. I just think it’s silly for people to insinuate that the only “true” vegans are those who eat a bunch of processed crap. As if those of us who also care about our health are selfish. News flash: you can’t do much for the cause if you’re suffering from health problems caused by your vegan junk food diet. Plus, it just pits vegans against each other and that certainly doesn’t help the cause.

 

So if you wanna still eat your Oreos and Carl’s Jr. Beyond Burger, that’s fine, but make sure to throw in some kale and beans in there too. And don’t act like you’re better than the vegans who care about their health.

2) I don’t understand the obsession with collagen.

If you follow nearly any healthy living blogger/Instagram influencer (at least the non-vegans), you may have noticed their love of collagen. They’re putting it in everything from their morning coffee to baked goods and even soup (?). They sing the praises of a certain brand known for its collagen products and swoon when they come out with a new item (the latest obsession: collagen water).

I mean, I understand that collagen has health benefits but it’s not as if these influencers are lacking in it. If they eat animal products (which they do, if they also eat collagen) they’re getting enough of it from their regular diet. Vegans and vegetarians can be lacking in collagen, but fortunately there are plant-based alternatives. Plus, our bodies naturally produce collagen, so most of us are probably good to go.

I think the obsession with collagen stems from our society’s addiction to protein. We’re constantly told to eat more protein, when most people probably eat too much. When was the last time you heard of someone being protein deficient? Uh, most likely never. Even those of us who eat a plant-based diet usually get plenty of protein from fruits, veggies, nuts and legumes (yep, it’s not just meat/dairy that has protein). So do people need to be throwing collagen into everything they eat? Probably not.

TBH tho, I really want to try the new vegan collagen building peptides from Sunwarrior. (source)

Not to mention, the idea of collagen just icks me out. It’s made of the skin, bones and connective tissue of animals, which is just ewww. Most people wouldn’t be comfortable eating these in their whole form, so why is it okay to eat it as a powder that sometimes comes in fun flavors like mixed berry and vanilla?

I mean, you do you but you probably don’t need to be eating collagen brownies.

3) Iced coffee > hot coffee, always. 

Let me just say upfront that I am not someone who relies on caffeine to get me through the day. The only reason I drink coffee is for the taste, because it does absolutely nothing for my energy levels. Like, I have had coffee before after 7 pm and I was still able to fall asleep easily. So I don’t drink coffee on a regular basis, usually only on the weekends and not even every week. I’ve actually gone about a month since I had my last coffee because I keep forgetting to buy it at the store, that’s how chill my relationship with it is.

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Literally me. (source)

But if you try to tell me hot coffee is better than iced coffee, I will fight you. I cannot drink hot coffee EVER, even if it is below freezing outside. I’ve tried, trust me, but it always makes me feel overheated and gives me a headache, whereas iced coffee doesn’t. Plus I feel like you can taste the roastiness of the coffee better when it’s cold. Cold brew is even better, but gimme any iced coffee and keep the hot stuff for yourself.

4) Running onesies are my new favorite thing to wear.

Remember the days when people threw on an old t-shirt and pair of shorts and went out for a run? Yeah, me neither because for the past 5+ years, it’s been alllll about the stylish athleisure. Which I am all about, don’t get me wrong. What I am not about is paying almost $100 for a pair of leggings just because everyone swears by them (*cough cough Lululemon* — which I also refuse to support because their CEO is a misogynistic dick, but that’s another story). Even the leggings at stores I love like Free People and Spiritual Gangster are pricey, so what’s a girl to do?

Well, for starters I pretty much only buy leggings when they’re on sale, and most of my pairs are from Victoria’s Secret because they’re not quite as expensive. But also, forget leggings because the running onesie (or runsie) is my new favorite thing to wear while working out or for just running errands.

If you already like and wear rompers, a runsie is just like that, only for exercising in. What’s not to love about an all-in-one piece? It makes it easier to get dressed and it’s cheaper because you don’t have to buy a separate top and bottom.

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This #bathroomselfie doesn’t capture how cute this runsie really is. 

I bought my first runsie from Free People (on sale!) and I freaking love it so much. Mine is super sporty but cool — it has a hood, a zipper in the front, cinch waist and built-in shorts with a pocket! As someone who likes to run hands-free and is currently not using her Camelbak, having a pocket for my phone is essential AND hard to find with most leggings and shorts, even those expensive ones.

As a bonus, it looks cute enough to wear out and about. I’m typically not someone who wears leggings and a tank top to go to the grocery store or Target, but I totally would wear this in public proudly.

5) I actually like the self-tanner smell. 

So I’ve been on the self-tanner train lately, and before I decided to buy the one I’m using currently, I was toying with my options because I’ve tried several brands/types in the past. I considered ease of application, how natural the color looks, lack of streakiness…but the one thing I didn’t consider? The smell.

Everyone seems to complain about the self-tanner smell, which I guess is an actual thing for some people — others don’t experience the odor. And I feel like I must be part of the latter group, because I’ve never used a self-tanner that smells bad. TBH, it smells a bit like sunscreen to me, which is a scent I actually enjoy. Some formulas also have added scents to cover up the smell (the Tarte one smells like legit cinnamon rolls) but I have yet to come across one I don’t like based on the smell.

 

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Who else thinks of this Friends episode when they think of self-tanner? (source)

I gotta say though, if you can’t stand that smell, go for the new St. Tropez watermelon infusion lotion (the one I’m using now). It’s got a light fruity scent that won’t bother your nose.

Do you prefer hot coffee or iced coffee? What’s your take on collagen?

Favorite Finds of the Month: March

Beauty, Food

This is the second in a series of posts highlighting my favorite product finds each month. 

Back again with another round-up of my favorite product discoveries of the month! I don’t know about you, but I am not one of those people who can eat/use the same products all the time and be content. Sure, I have my all-time favorites I come back to over and over but I always love to try new things and mix up my routine when it comes to food and beauty. I hope these posts inspire you to try something new!

1) Memebox I Dew Care Cake My Day Hydrating Sprinkle Wash-Off Mask

This has probably the longest name of any beauty product ever but it definitely lives up to the name. First, what got me to buy this was the fact that it’s cake-scented. Y’all already know my obsession with cake-flavored/cake-scented anything. So it was basically required for me to get this. But I also love how hydrating it is without being too heavy on my face. Plus the actual sprinkles in it are fun.

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The packaging is too precious. 

Let’s talk price, because I typically buy face masks in the $40-$60 range. This is $25. $25. Seriously, for a 3.52 ounce container. What a steal! And before you think it must be poor quality, this mask is cruelty-free, and formulated without parabens, sulfates, phthalates and silicones so it is good for your face AND your wallet.

I got this at Ulta but they also sell it on the Memebox website for the same price.

2) Kaleidoscope Juice

Sorry to any non-Arizona locals who can’t give this adorable juice bar a try, but I had to give it a shoutout because I recently fell in love with it and their products.

There are sooooooo many juice bars out there now. While I generally buy my juices from Whole Foods or Sprouts or Target to save money (and I’m partial to Suja Juice, as you may know), it’s fun to swing by a juice bar to try out their offerings every now and then. It’s even better when you can support a local business. Like I really do love Nekter Juice Bar for their vegan Skoop ice cream, especially now that there’s a location less than 10 minutes from home, but I’d been hearing good things about Kaleidoscope Juice and wanted to check them out.

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I love supporting local businesses, especially if they have yummy products!

They have 4 locations in the Valley, all in Scottsdale and Phoenix, which is not convenient for me but the downtown Scottsdale location is about 10 minutes from my office so I stopped by after work one day to see what the hype was about. First of all, it’s a really cute storefront. It seems like the perfect place to hang out with health-minded friends on a sunny afternoon. The baristas are really friendly and offered to help me pick out a juice.

Because it was my first time, I wanted to try a few things so I could really get a feel for their offerings. I got the Pink Illuminating Water, Charcoal Electro-light and because I couldn’t resist, a container of vegan/gluten free peanut butter patty style cookies. I will say that their products aren’t cheap. I got all of these things for about $32, including tip. Not terrible, but definitely not a habit I can keep up all the time. It is definitely worth the splurge every once in awhile though! The two juices I bought were very tasty and refreshing, and I could tell they were made with only high-quality ingredients. And the cookies…damn, those were amazing! I wish there were more than four in a container because I had to spread them out over four days to enjoy them longer.

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Girl Scouts peanut butter patties who?

If you live in the Valley — go check out Kaleidoscope!

3) St. Tropez Gradual Tan Watermelon Infusion Lotion

Living in Phoenix, you’d think I’d be tan year round. Welp, that is definitely not the case. It takes about a week of laying in the sun for half an hour each day to start to build up any color, and I usually don’t get the chance to do this except on weekends during pool season when nothing else is going on. So most of the year, I’m fairly pale. Which is okay in the winter when I’m wearing layers but once March rolls around, I’m wearing alllll the dresses and skirts…and shorts and tank tops while running and I feel like a freaking ghost. Self-tanner to the rescue!

Now I’ve tried a lot of different self-tanning brands: Jergen’s Natural Glow, L’Oreal, even Tarte makes some solid self-tanners. But the HG (holy grail) has to be St. Tropez. I’ve used several of their formulations, and they all add a nice color without being streaky. So when they introduced a new product to the lineup, I knew I had to get my hands on it, especially because it’s watermelon-scented (I also love anything watermelon).

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Even the bottle is beautiful. 

If you’re turned off from self-tanners because of the smell, this one smells just like a lotion you’d get from Bath & Body Works. The scent is light and fruity and not at all like the typical self-tanner. It goes on white and absorbs almost instantly, so you don’t have to wait around for it to dry before getting dressed. It builds color gradually, but you’ll definitely notice a difference in a couple of days, and it moisturizes your skin so you won’t look all scaly.

I always apply it after a shower just like I would a regular lotion, and use it daily. The color doesn’t turn out super dark, so it’s best for those with lighter skin looking for a natural glow (St. Tropez has other formulations that are much darker). And for a high quality, vegan tanning product, it’s actually very reasonably priced at $25 for a 6.7 oz bottle.

4) Quinn Snacks Chocolate Peanut Butter Filled Pretzel Nuggets

Peanut butter and pretzels are a match made in snack heaven. Throw chocolate in the mix and you’ve got the whole package: sweet, salty, nutty, creamy. Make the pretzels gluten free and you’ve got a crave-worthy but still healthy-ish treat.

I try to eat gluten free most of the time because I feel better eating this way, so when I saw that Quinn made a gluten free AND vegan AND chocolate version of this yummy snack, I knew I had to buy it. And these little nuggets don’t disappoint. They’re like a more grown-up version of the pretzel nuggets you remember growing up — not too salty or sweet.

Pretzels

I am obsessed with salty+sweet combos.

I like that the ingredients list is fairly short and easy to read, and sugar is the seventh ingredient (1 serving has just 3 grams) so it’s definitely not overly sugary. It makes a good dessert option if you’re craving something crunchy.

The pretzel nuggets are sold at Whole Foods for $4.99 a bag.

5) Hard Frescos Brewing Co. Alcoholic Aguas Frescas

Wanna know a secret about me? I hate beer. Okay, maybe that’s not a secret but whenever I would go out for drinks with people from work, most of them would get a beer. I know it’s common for men to drink beer, but even women opted for beer rather than wine or a cocktail in many cases, making me feel like the odd one out. I’m just not a fan of the flavor of beer or how filling it is. Gimme a lighter drink with complex flavors and I’m all in!

I’ve tried hard seltzer before because I love La Croix and Spindrift sparkling waters, but most hard seltzers don’t come in flavors beyond citrus and maybe berry. Enter: Hard Frescos Brewing Co. and their hard aguas frescas.

I first discovered them at the Downtown Mesa Brew Fest in early March. True to the festival’s name, it was mostly beer tents but there were a few offering other adult beverage options, including the aguas frescas. And when I saw it came in flavors like tamarind and cucumber lime, I knew I had to try it.

Agua_Fresca

Alcohol that’s refreshing? Yes please.

I had the hibiscus flavor, and it was so refreshing. I can see enjoying this drink poolside this summer. And I love that their ingredients are so simple (plus the aguas frescas are gluten free and low carb).

If you have a Total Wine near you, you may be able to find this there. When I used their store locator online, it said the closest store to me was in Vegas, but then I found it at the Total Wine in Tucson when I visited for spring break.

 

 

What fun products did you discover in March? 

 

A Day in the Life of Ashley

Life

Hi friends! Today I’m going to be a lil self-centered and share with you a day in the life of Ashley — me! TBH I have always loved reading these types of posts from bloggers because I am kinda nosy and like seeing what other people do in their day-to-day lives.

Most of my weekdays are fairly similar, while my weekends can be totally different depending on the season and even just week to week so I’m going to dive into a weekday so you can see what I’m up to on the daily if you’re interested. I might not live the most exciting life but it’s fun to me to see how my day to day life has changed in just the past few years. I might even do a post comparing them in the future but for now, let’s take a peek at a typical day in my life, aka what I actually did on Wednesday, March 20, along with some Instagram story captures to illustrate.

7:40 am: Wake up. Yes, this is a very specific time but I’ve found that setting my alarm for 7:40 instead of 7:45 gives me so much more time to ease into my day. I actually have two alarms set before this one, but honestly I usually snooze them. The first thing I do is read my devotional. I have a Bible app on my tablet that makes it really convenient and it has a lot of different devotional plans which I appreciate. Afterwards, I hop right out of bed to start my day.

8:00 am: After going to the bathroom and brushing my teeth, I come back upstairs in my room to get ready. Mainly, this consists of working out for about half an hour. I find that moving my body first thing in the AM really sets the tone for my day and keeps me from feeling tired. This is also when I read my emails and check and update social media.

 

 

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8:30 am: I don’t really get sweaty from my morning workouts because they’re low impact so I get dressed and head back downstairs to do my hair and makeup. I’ve got my routine down so it only takes about 15 minutes. This is mostly my makeup, because honestly I usually just leave my hair as it is, which is wavy. Today, I spent a few minutes pulling my hair into a half bun because it is looking super dry, which means it’s time to wash tonight!

 

8:55 am: I fill up my water bottle, say goodbye to my mom and my dog and hit the road. I always set up Pandora for music (I listened to the New Alternative station today) and Waze for traffic before I leave.

9:45 am: I usually get to work about a quarter til 10, so about a 50 minute commute each way. I take the side streets in the morning because I’m wary of lingering freeway traffic after the morning rush. I sit in my car for about 10 minutes checking social media/emails, taking car selfies, etc.

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Can’t go wrong with a classic car selfie (feat. my crazy hair).

10 am: I clock in for work a couple minutes before 10 (yes, I have to use a literal time clock to keep track of my hours) and head to my desk. I work in the communications department as the social media specialist for a school district and we have our own office area in the district headquarters which is nice. I mostly only interact with the 5 other people in my department, and they all work full-time hours, so I don’t always see them throughout the day. Today, for example, my boss is out of the office as is one of my other co-workers, so it’s more of a quiet day.

When I get to my desk, I log on to my computer, open up email and the social media scheduling tools I use daily and then map out my day with good old fashioned pen and paper. I find that writing out my tasks for the day keeps me on track, especially since some days there are a lot of post requests coming in. I also use my planner to plan out the week ahead and my non-working hours.

10 am – 2 pm: Work. Honestly, this can change somewhat depending on the day, but mostly it involves a lot of drafting social media posts, finding photos to go with them, scheduling them and getting my boss’ approval to post them. Sometimes, I have a lot of stuff that needs to be posted same day but other times, it’s a bit slower and I have time to catch up and schedule out posts ahead of time.

I got up around noon to refill my water bottle, and I also popped in a piece of gum. For some reason, I’ve gotten into the habit of chewing gum around the same time every work day, which helps kind of break up the day (lol).

2 – 3 pm: After clocking out, I briefly check my personal emails/social media in the car before driving home. I usually take a combination of side streets and the freeway because the side streets can get backed up in the afternoon so it still takes me about 45-50 minutes to get home. I used to take one freeway (the 101, for Phoenix locals) that got me home in about 35 minutes but drivers are THE worst there (plus it was where I was in an accident last summer), so I stopped and now I take the 202 which takes longer but is less stressful.

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My car was so warm when I got in it after work 🙂

3 – 4:30 pm: After getting home and saying hi to my mom and dog, I head up to my room and change into workout clothes. I like to fit in more exercise here as a warm-up for my runs and it helps me stretch my legs after my commute. I also started writing this blog post during that time. My dog Honey comes up to my room to chill, but instead of napping, she ends up staring out the window and barking at people across the street. Typical.

4:30 – 5 pm: I stretch and head downstairs to get ready for my run. I am usually lazy and don’t wash off my makeup before running, but when it gets into the triple digits, I will definitely have to do that again so my face doesn’t melt. My hair’s already up so I leave it as is, sip some water, grab my headphones, lace up my shoes and then head out.

5 – 6ish pm: Run! Lately my runs have been anywhere from 4 to 6 miles, depending on how I feel. Today, I ran 6 miles and felt pretty good. I notice that I tend to struggle mentally at the beginning of runs. It helps to tell myself I only have to run 3 or 4 miles and stop if I’m not feeling it, but by the time I reach 4 miles, I usually want to keep going.

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Solid run, more messy hair.

I always walk about a quarter of a mile before my run to warm up, then walk another half mile or so as a cool down.

6:30 pm: After feeding my dog her dinner (boy, does she bark for it!), I go upstairs to stretch my legs. I’ve been putting my legs up a wall for about 5 minutes after every run, which really helps them feel fresh for my next run. This is also when I take my vitamins (Natural Calm magnesium gummies, HUM Nutrition hair and skin gummies) but I recently bought a tiny bottle of Sugarbearhair vitamins to try and I’m obsessed.

6:45 pm: Shower time! Today is a shampoo day. I only wash my hair 1-2x/week, which has been so good for my hair, but my locks are in desperate need of a wash today. On my non-shampoo days, I mostly just rinse off from the run and shave.

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Whyyyyy must these be so expensive?

7 pm: I start thinking about dinner, and finally eat for the first time all day! I honestly don’t get hungry most days until the late afternoon, and since that’s when I’m running, I hold off on eating until after my run. While I think about what to make for dinner, I usually snack on something small. Tonight, it’s a handful of peanuts and chocolate chips, plus a couple of homemade protein bites. I also pour some Amazing Grass greens powder (the holiday cookie flavor, which is incredible) into a water bottle to get some extra veggies in.

7:30 pm: I like to keep my dinners simple and quick, so usually they’re something like a stirfry with tofu, cauliflower rice and a bunch of veggies. Lately, I’ve been loving the gochujang chopped salad kit from Trader Joe’s, which is vegan! I spice it up by adding peanuts (obsessed), cilantro and chopped jalapenos. Tonight, I saute some cilantro pesto tofu from Whole Foods and add it to the salad, along with some fresh mango slices.

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So simple but so freaking good!

8 pm: Finally time to relax. After washing my face and putting on a face mask (tonight’s choice: Herbivore Blue Tansy AHA + BHA Resurfacing Clarity mask), I put my legs up on the couch and scroll through social media and catch up on the blogs I follow. Sometimes, I also do some online window/actual shopping from my phone (oops). The TV is on in the background (tuned to Property Brothers on HGTV) but I don’t usually pay attention to what’s on. Except my parents and I got really into The Masked Singer when it was on and watched every week. That show needs to come back!

9:15 pm: Snack time! I always like to have at least a little something before bed, especially since I know I won’t be eating again for another 20 or so hours. I try to have a mix of savory and sweet to keep my tastebuds interested. Tonight, I enjoy a handful of Lesser Evil “no cheese cheesiness” paleo puffs (like Cheetos but healthy and way tastier) dipped in Miyoko’s double cream chive vegan cheese wheel (the best cheese, vegan or non-vegan!) with some roasted seaweed snacks, blackberries and a small handful of macadamia nuts and chocolate chips on the side. I love random snackplates like this!

10 pm: After brushing my teeth, it’s time to go to bed. My parents always tuck my dog into my bed, which is really sweet. Before I turn the lights out, I do another devotional, this time with some brief journaling, and then I do a meditation session on the Headspace app. I didn’t want to spend the $50+ it cost to buy the full version, so I’m really limited on the sessions I can do, but even just a minute or two of meditating helps me get ready to sleep.

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The best sleeping buddy. 

10:30 pm: Asleep by 10:30!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share with me one (or more!) things you do every day! Do you like day in the life posts? 

 

Favorite Finds of the Month: February

Beauty, Food

What can I say — I’m a sucker for blog series. It makes it a lot easier to write a post when there’s a built-in theme, ya know? Plus it’s fun for me to look back and see what I was into during a specific time in my life.

In this series, I’m going to be sharing a few of my favorite product discoveries that I make each month. I love love LOVE trying new things, whether it’s vegan food or beauty products, and I want to share the love with y’all in case you’ve seen these things on Insta or in stores and wanted to try it, but weren’t sure if they’re worth the money. I don’t know about you, but I feel a lot more confident buying something if there are good reviews about it. So let’s get to it!

1) KeVita watermelon rose sparkling probiotic drink

I can’t remember when I first tried KeVita, but I do know it was my first foray into the wonderful world of cultured probiotic beverages. As a self-professed kombucha addict/expert, I’ve tried many booches and booch-like products over the years, and KeVita’s drinks rank high on my list of favorites. Whether it’s their Master Brew kombucha or their sparkling probiotic drinks, I haven’t had a bad experience with them.

The watermelon rose version is one of their newer flavors, and being that February is the month of love (I guess?) and roses are a symbol of love, I had to give this one a try this month. I picked my bottle up at Sprouts from the kombucha section for $3.29, which is fairly inexpensive for a probiotic-packed drink.

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I also love the gorgeous packaging. 

I tried it for the first time on Valentine’s Day (of course), pouring half the bottle into a wine glass and enjoying alongside some goodies from the Whole Foods salad bar for a nice single lady V-Day dinner. I was struck by how light and fruity it was — I’ve had floral-based kombuchas before that were definitely a lot more perfume-y and flowery than this, but it definitely had a nice flavor. Not surprisingly, the ingredients include rose water, rose hips powder and rose extract, which give it that floral but not too floral taste. I also detected the watermelon flavor, but it wasn’t over the top.

I really enjoyed just sipping on this, but I think it would make a nice base for a fancy cocktail.

2) Summer Fridays R + R Mask

Going along with the V-Day themed products is my next find. I first discovered the brand Summer Fridays in the fall when I saw them all over Insta and the Sephora app. At the time, they had just two products: the Jet Lag mask and the Overtime mask. I bought the Overtime mask based on reviews saying it smelled like pumpkin pie and it most definitely does. Plus it works its exfoliating magic to make my skin feel refreshed, so it’s definitely a solid addition to my skin care routine (still gotta try the Jet Lag mask).

But when I saw Summer Fridays was coming out with a new mask, I had to jump on it. I literally ordered it the first day it was available on the Sephora app. If it’s rose gold, smells like flowers and is a face mask, you know I can’t say no.

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Definitely worth the $50+ price tag. 

This is officially my favorite mask. It makes my skin so glowy and keeps it from getting dehydrated. Plus it literally smells like a bed of roses.

At $52 for a 2.25 oz tube, it ain’t cheap, but definitely more affordable than some face masks (looking at you, $80 Peter Thomas Roth 24K Gold Mask) and a little goes a long way. I use it once or twice a week when I want to #treatmyself.

3) Trader Joe’s Neapolitan Puffs Cereal

Oh Trader Joe’s, how I love that you’re always coming out with new products that I have to get my hands on. But I also dislike it because I end up spending more than I planned on…oh yeah, and because your products are so popular, they often go missing for weeks/months after they make their debut so I regret not stocking up.

I’m not sure if this will be one of those cult favorite TJ’s products, but I do know that it’s new (saw it and bought it for the first time the weekend before Valentine’s Day) and it may not be available for long because it seems kind of V-Day-ish. Kind of like how candy cane Joe Joe’s are only around for like the first week of December.

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New cereal plus some old favorites.

I’ve mostly been eating grain free granolas when I want a cereal fix, but this caught my eye because I love the combo of chocolate, strawberry and vanilla. Maybe not in ice cream, since I tend to go for more unique flavors, but a good combination nonetheless. But I did like that this cereal was bean-based, with the first ingredient being garbanzo bean powder and some brown rice flour in there for the texture. I’ve had bean-based cereals before and liked them, so I figured this would be a winner. And it is. It’s nice that the ingredients list is fairly short and has normal ingredients in it, plus it’s gluten free and higher in protein (6 grams) compared to most cereals. But it also tastes good too — not overly healthy like you might expect from a cereal with these ingredients but also not too sweet.

Each box is $3.99, which is a steal compared to the tiny bags of paleo granola I’ve been buying. Since I don’t eat breakfast, I’ve been enjoying this cereal as a nighttime snack mixed with vegan protein powder, almond milk and berries.

4) Urban Outfitters UO Nail Polish

I used to be a ride-or-die Julep junkie. Ever since my friend introduced me to the brand in 2014 and I signed up for my first subscription box, I stopped buying the cheap-o Sally Hansen nail polishes from Target and switched to Julep. I loved that they were vegan and free from weird chemicals like formaldehyde and toluene that are in drugstore polishes. Plus the subscription boxes were fun because I got to pick 3 colors per month (or beauty products, but I usually went for polishes) and it gave me points that I could use toward a free box a couple times per year. And the boxes were a good deal — $25 for 3 polishes, vs. $14 per polish on Julep’s website.

I actually just got notified recently that Julep has discontinued the subscription boxes, which is a little sad but not really ’cause I stopped subscribing a year ago when I was first unemployed. I had already stockpiled enough nail polishes to last me awhile and couldn’t spend the $25 a month so I said goodbye to my subscription.

Long story short, I no longer have an unlimited supply of nail polish and I sure as hell don’t wanna pay $14 for new Julep polishes so I started looking for cheaper options. I love Urban Outfitters for their clothes and other beauty products, so when I saw they had nail polish that was 3 for $10, I had to get some.

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Sadly this color is no longer available at UO but it should last me awhile.

I do like their selection of colors because I typically go for the brighter shades, but they also have some decent, non-boring neutral colors too. As for the quality, the nail polish does chip after a day or two but that happens to me no matter the price point of my polish, so I’m not mad about it. I should probably start using a topcoat if I want my polish to last. But it gives me a good excuse to change my color every few days. Also, for a cruelty-free nail polish, it’s pretty cheap!

5) NadaMoo! Marshmallow Stardust vegan ice cream

Usually when I see a new vegan product pop up in my Insta feed, I jot it down in my notes on my phone to remember later, because I know I probably won’t find it in stores for weeks or even months. Not so with this new NadaMoo! ice cream flavor. The very same week I saw it on IG, I found it at my local Sprouts grocery store. Side note: Sprouts has really upped their non-dairy ice cream game, and I. Am. Here. For. It.

When I saw it in the frozen case, I literally had a moment where I was like, “Is this real life?” Because I was totally not expecting to find this brand new product so soon. And mind you, I don’t live in some small town (Phoenix is the 5th largest city in the U.S., and the metro area is the 11th largest) but it seems like new product launches can take some time to get here, which is crazy. Anyways, of course I had to add it to the cart, but not before taking a picture of it in the aisle like a crazy person blogger.

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A+ on the cute packaging!

Because the name isn’t super descriptive (but nice sounding nonetheless…and the packaging is adorable), I wasn’t sure what flavor to expect. I knew it would include marshmallows, which are hard to find in vegan form, let alone in vegan ice cream. Basically, the ice cream tastes a lot like Lucky Charms, or more specifically, the milk that’s leftover at the end when you’ve eaten all the cereal and just have the marshmallows dissolving. Growing up, I had Lucky Charms a handful of times because we were a healthy cereal eating family (think cereals like Basic 4, Cracklin Oat Bran, Great Grains, etc.) and my sister and I only got to indulge in kid cereals when we would go camping and my mom bought those tiny cereal boxes that came in a 6 pack. My sister and I would usually fight over who got the Lucky Charms and the Trix cereal and leave the boring Honey Smacks to our parents. But this totally reminds me of Lucky Charms in a very good way.

The lavender color of the ice cream is beautiful, and there are definitely enough marshmallows to satisfy my tastebuds. As for nutritional content, it’s honestly not that terrible. It’s higher in sugar than some of their other flavors but I like the NadaMoo! ice creams are lower in sugar than most other nondairy ice creams.

Sprouts (at least the ones near me) have many NadaMoo! flavors on sale right now for $4.99 so it’s a good time to try a pint if you’re curious.

What fun new products did you try in February?

My Favorite Vegan & Cruelty-Free Products: Hair Care Part 2

Beauty

Hair Care

*This is part of my series highlighting my favorite vegan and cruelty-free beauty products and brands*

“Happiness is a good hair day.” (-Anonymous)

When we last talked about hair, I shared some of the products I use to cleanse and condition my locks. Today, it’s all about them styling products!

Story time: my hair used to be fairly straight until seventh grade-ish. That’s when I noticed it was kinda wavy, and as a middle school girl in the mid-2000s, that wasn’t cool. So I begged my mom to buy me a straightener so I could have pin-straight hair like the popular girls. Thus began my foray into styling my mane.

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Lovin’ these waves!

After awhile, I realized straightening my hair was a futile exercise, as over the years it became more and more wavy, and wouldn’t stay straight through a full day. I also got into curling it, but that was usually for special occasions. Mostly, I embraced my natural texture and left it wavy. But some days, those waves were a little wonky, so I needed something to make them look effortless and beachy. Enter: wave spray.

I’ve tried many wave sprays over the years but currently, I don’t use one. Instead, I rely on scrunching my hair with my hands post-shampoo for relaxed waves and if I want a deeper, more mermaid-like wave, I use my ceramic deep waver tool.

 

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Worth every penny for the gorgeous waves it gives me.

I had had one quite a few years ago but didn’t use it much and forgot about it. Then sometime last year, my mom bought me the TIGI Bed Head Wave Artist tourmaline ceramic deep waver, and I was hooked. This tool is hella awesome because it heats up in seconds and doesn’t take long to make the waves I’ve always dreamed of. I know there are probably higher quality wavers out there, but for 25 bucks, this does the job well.

Of course, when it comes to heat tools and colored hair, a protectant spray is definitely needed. The one I’m using currently found its way into my life in a weird way. It’s made by a company called Juice Organics, and while it is sold at Target, that’s not where I got mine from. It actually came as a free gift with a purchase I made from Thrive Market, which sells healthy groceries online (a subject for another blog post, perhaps!) and I was pleasantly surprised how well it works. I struggled to find a heat spray that was color-safe and vegan and actually works, and this fits the bill. I just spritz a little all over my hair before running the waver through it.

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So great for colored hair!

You know that I’m pretty relaxed when it comes to my hair care routine, so I’m always down for a product that allows me to extend the time between shampoos without making my hair a grease ball. That’s where Adorn’s hydrating hair oil + perfume comes in. I personally think Urban Outfitters’ beauty section is highly underrated, as they offer a ton of cruelty-free products for much less than Sephora or Ulta, plus things you won’t find anywhere else, like this spray/oil/perfume.

 

 

 

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Plus it’s millenial pink, so totally #ontrend.

Of course, it smells delicious. Otherwise, what’s the point? Fortunately, it’s not oily at all like the name sounds, just enough to add some life to dry ends and give your second (or third…or fourth…or fifth) day hair some oomph. The bottle is small-ish at just under 4 ounces, but a little goes a long way, and for $18, how can you say no?

Finally, my hair care regimen would be nothing without one of my favorite beauty products ever — HUM Nutrition Hair Sweet Hair gummy vegan vitamins. Yup, I said
“gummy vitamins” and “vegan” in the same sentence, because these are some of the only vegan-friendly gummy supplements out there. I am a child who refuses to take vitamins any other way, so when I saw these, I knew I had to have them. I’ve used them on and off for about a year and a half and they really do work. I experience less breakage when I consistently take these vitamins and I love that they’re packed with the B vitamins I need as a vegan. Plus the taste makes you want to eat more than 2 a day, if ya know what I mean.

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Delicious AND nutritious!

I know my styling routine is pretty *basic* (insert dramatic hair flip) but it works for me ’cause I love my hair (most days) and I don’t want to spend hours a day working on it. That time is better spent doing my makeup — jk, I have that down to a pretty quick 15 minute routine that I’ll be sharing with y’all soon!

What is one of your go-to styling products? Have you tried beauty gummies?

My Favorite Vegan & Cruelty-Free Products: Hair Care Part 1

Beauty

Hair Care

*This is part of my series highlighting my favorite vegan & cruelty-free beauty products and brands* 


“Invest in your hair, it is the crown you never take off.” (-Anonymous)

I haven’t had virgin hair since I was a preteen, when I began getting my (then) light brown hair highlighted. I was blonde for awhile in high school and college, then went dark brown just before I started my first job in 2014. A few months later, one of my new friends and I decided on a whim to color our own hair. I picked up a box of auburn hair dye, and the rest is history. I decided that red is my color, and I’ve mostly colored my hair myself since then, aside from having it colored professionally at Ulta once.

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Summer 2013. When I was hella blonde and thought I was cool wearing fake hipster glasses.

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Back to the dark side in March 2014. I miss those bangs tho.

Colored hair is more prone to damage from heat styling, UV exposure and even shampooing. Up until recently, I used to shampoo and condition my hair every other day because I was worried about greasiness. Now, I shampoo and condition twice a week at most, and my hair is so much healthier. I also credit the products I’m now using in my mane — specifically, the IGK line of hair care.

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New hair, who dis? November 2018 after getting my hair professionally colored.

I first fell in love with their Smoke & Mirrors conditioning cleansing oil. When I started washing my hair less often, I would use this in between washes to keep my hair looking clean. This stuff smells great and works as advertised.

Another winner — the Low Key cleansing walnut scalp scrub. I don’t know about you, but my scalp can get itchy and oily, especially after coloring my hair. This scrub purifies the scalp, washing away product buildup and keeping my scalp looking and feeling healthy. The sweet, minty smell is a nice bonus.

Of course, IGK makes some fabulous shampoos and conditioners. Though they come in small bottles (8 oz.), they last a long time if you wash your hair only once or twice a week. I currently use the Hot Girls shampoo and conditioner because my hair is in desperate need of hydration. They really nourish my dry ends and help my locks look good without needing to shampoo all the time.

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IGK Hot Girls shampoo & conditioner; IGK Direct Flight multi-tasking matcha dry shampoo

Sometimes, you just gotta use dry shampoo, especially when you wash your hair less frequently. Enter IGK’s Direct Flight multi-tasking matcha dry shampoo! I used to be a ride-or-die Living Proof dry shampoo girl, until I discovered this. This smells and works even better than my old fav. It doesn’t leave behind that annoying white residue like most other dry shampoos AND it’s safe for color-treated hair.

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So fresh and so clean clean. IGK Smoke & Mirrors conditioning cleansing oil and Low Key cleansing walnut scalp scrub.

I am dying to try their new Speechless dry oil finishing spray for hair & body, Rich Kid coconut oil gel, Down & Out dirty spray and their Trust Issues instant scalp rebalancing treatment.

IGK products are vegan, cruelty-free, contain no parabens or sulfates and are color safe.

I’ll be back soon with Part 2, focusing on my favorite vegan/cruelty-free styling products!

Do you have a holy grail dry shampoo? Have you ever tried IGK’s products?

My Favorite Vegan & Cruelty-Free Products (A NEW Series!)

Beauty

Cruelty Free Beauty

“The most beautiful makeup of a woman is passion. But cosmetics are easier to buy.” (-Yves Saint Laurent)

I’ve been vegan since 2012, eschewing animal products at a time when most of my peers (I was a sophomore in college then) were taking advantage of all-you-can-eat dining halls with endless (and often unhealthy) food options. I have always loved animals, but my motivations to go vegan were a little murkier than that. I really just wanted an excuse to restrict my diet without seeming like I was starving myself. I was (and am) a recovering anorexic, and thoughts of restriction have run through my mind for the past decade. That’s a topic for another post, however. I now consider myself a vegan for ethical, environmental and health reasons, not just to stay thin.

While I’ve eaten a plant-based diet for nearly 7 years, I haven’t always paid as close attention to the products I put on my body. I didn’t purposely go out and buy makeup owned by companies that tested on animals (I have never bought anything from MAC, ever), but I also didn’t really think to look at the ingredients of the products I was buying. I figured, if it came from Sephora or Ulta, it had to be high-quality. But it wasn’t necessarily cruelty-free.

At the beginning of 2018, I made a resolution to clean up my beauty routine. By that, I meant I was only going to buy products that are cruelty-free and vegan. Sounds simple, right? Not exactly. There are websites that have a full breakdown of brands that do not test on animals or use animal products but it can still be tricky to figure out which brands really conform to this.

Fortunately, I have found a handful of brands that not only offer vegan/cruelty-free products, but their stuff actually works well and I feel comfortable recommending it. Just to note, I am DEFINITELY not sponsored, these are my honest opinions. I hope this guide helps you navigate the growing landscape of vegan/cruelty-free beauty products. Stay tuned for full reviews of my favorite hair/skin care, makeup and beauty supplements!