Saturday, March 21, 2015

I Decide Where to Run Errands Based on Where I Want to Eat.

Lately, I have become obsessed with the Mendocino Farms vegan Bahn Mi and the Sprinkles vegan red velvet cupcake. OBSESSED. Like the title of this post states, I run my errands based on eating those two food items.

Sprinkles and Mendocino Farms are located next to each other in downtown LA, and in the same plaza as Target*. I could always use a trip to Target! I've also found a new nail salon I like downtown, as well as a couple bars, so there's always a reason to stop and get a sandwich and a cupcake. 

Things are little more challenging when I need to make a Trader Joe's/Whole Foods run. I like going to the TJ's near the Grove, because Whole Foods and World Market are over there too! It's a tricky eating situation because there's also a Veggie Grill, nestled in between Mendocino Farms and Sprinkles. Talk about a tough call, am I RIGHT? The Veggie Grill at 3rd and Fairfax does serve a very tasty Rosé, so I flip a coin. Just kidding, I pretty much have burnt myself out on Veggie Grill at this point because coming from San Francisco where the closest one was in San Jose (although now there's one in Walnut Creek), I WENT NUTS WHEN I MOVED OUT HERE. Like any rational, emotionally stable adult with no food issues would, obviously. Besides, when I decide to buy records at Amoeba in Hollywood, there's a Veggie Grill next door, so I'm covered. They just don't have the Rosé, but I find a way to get through it. OMG ONE TIME, I saw Ryan Adams** eating there, no big. 

So, I have tomorrow off, and I have some errands to run...

*Target just happens to sell the best toilet paper known to humankind! I'm serious, their name brand paper is the softest and most inexpensive out there. 

**That's Jenny Lewis singing "Oh My Sweet Carolina" with Ryan Adams in Pomona, which I know because I was totally at that show. She opened for him, and this song was the encore. She was singing in her PJs with bare feet.

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Federal in NoHo has Vegan Options!

I am in the San Fernando Valley constantly, as I work in Studio City. I prefer to hang out in Silver Lake, or Echo in my free time, but sometimes I do find myself back in the valley, specifically in North Hollywood. The Federal Bar is located there, which I have been to a few times, and I have to say, I dig it more and more with each visit. They have stellar vegan options and a sweet happy hour to boot!

Pictured above is the Vegan Weena: a spicy chipotle dog, avocado, fruit salsa, and soy cilantro cream on a pretzel bun with a side salad. SCRUMPTIOUS! Can't wait to find an excuse to go back for another one. This particular dog was a treat after Ikea in Burbank on a Saturday. NEVER AGAIN, will I go to Ike on a Saturday, but probably def The Federal because they have a weekend happy hour! 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

If You Were Stuck on a Deserted Island and Could Only Choose One Makeup Item...

Oh, the deserted island question, it has always been a part of my life. It's always what people ask each other when playing icebreaker games. "What albums would you bring", "who would you bring", "which two makeup items" (maybe only this one in the pages of women's magazines), "if you were going to starve would you eat animals" and so forth.

For the record, the animals would probably eat me while I was distracted by sunbathing with my cat, applying mascara, and listening to The Yeah Yeah Yeah's Show Your Bones. So basically on a deserted island I would do exactly what I do in my studio apartment (if I had a deck I'd sunburn sunbathe).

The mascara I would bring would have to be Too Faced brand Better Than Sex. I'd been using their Size Queen for awhile now, and though I have very much liked it, it's my mascara of the past. The volume and length I get from Better than Sex is out of this world. I'm committed for life; quite simply, no other mascara will do.

I'm also a lifer when it comes to their tinted BB cream!

(Thanks, Logical Harmony, for recommending this brand in the first place!)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Vegan Deodorant Keeps Getting Better and Better!

We all know that finding a vegan deodorant that works can be a challenge. Fortunately, in the last few years, a slew of new brands have hit the market. Due to my Vegan Cuts Beauty Box subscription, I've gotten to try out a handful of them. I'm always skeptical, and with reason, because about half of them don't do anything for me. In the past I have used and loved North Coast Organics, which is available on the Vegan Cuts website. The only problem I've faced with it, is that it melts during the heat waves in LA. I stick in the fridge, and that helps, but can be difficult to apply when cold. I still dig it though, and will buy it in the future, especially the minis for traveling. 

Recently my friend Caroline recommended schmidt's Bergamot and Lime vegan deodorant to me. I wanted to stay loyal to North Coast Organics because I get weirdly attached to intimate objects. I went from stuffed animals to beauty products, no big. Anyway, I saw schmidt's in my local natural food store and since I was almost out of the aforementioned tube in my cabinet, I grabbed it up! Have I told you how amazing I am at impulse buying? I am scarily good.

Pictured above is the second jar that I've bought and it's almost gone! I can't wait to get some more, and maybe even try it in a different scent. When I posted this picture on Instagram, a few people were weirded out that the deodorant was in a jar. I have to admit that I was put off by that at first too. The jar comes with a tiny spatula for scooping it out, but you do apply with your hands. It's not a big deal though! It's not overly greasy or thick. I got over that real fast, especially because the deodorant works SO WELL. And since I apply it in the bathroom, there's some liquid soap right by my sink I can use to get off any leftover residue!

If schmidt's is not available to you locally, there are plenty of resources online for you to buy a jar.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

You Can Always Go Home! You'll Just Be an Outsider, No Big.

Last year I moved from San Francisco, and since then have been living in SoCal, specifically Los Angeles. There was a short-lived stint in Temecula with family while I made the transition, but most of my time has been spent in LA. I've come home a handful of times, and though most everything in the Bay has stayed the same, there have been a few changes. It was during this last visit in particular, I noticed that I felt like an outsider. It's a difficult feeling to pinpoint, but we've all been there with exes, friends we've grown apart from and places we've lived we don't reside in anymore. I suppose LA feels more like home than I have previously given it credit for.

Before I moved to Temecula, I stayed for a couple weeks with my parents in the far east bay/central valley suburb of Discovery Bay (aka my childhood home). Basically I lived all over California in the winter of 2014. And while I could always find things to eat at the Safeway in Discovery Bay, like vegetables, the amount of fun vegan food within the grocery aisles was slim. When I was back this past weekend, I COULD NOT BELIEVE MY EYES! First I noticed the black bottle GT's kombucha, and happily grabbed two. Then came the biggest surprise of all:

CHAO CHEESE BY FIELD ROAST! This brand is not yet available in SoCal, and when I do make it to Whole Foods on my visits, I'm distracted by the plethora of vegan items, including Miyoko's Creamery and Kite Hill! (Safeway had the new cashew milk by So Delicious, as well as new vegan meats, but my stay was short and my mom was picking up the tab; it's great to know those items are there for the future and that my hometown suburban grocery store has the demand for those products!) 

My time had cometo try this product. I stood in the aisle for a second (or twenty) wondering if this was real life and alao, which flavor do I chooooose? I went with tomato cayenne, as you can see above! It was interesting, like a cheddar pepper jack. IT WAS ALSO DELICIOUS, and I ate the entire package in less than 24 hours. The hummus I picked out went untouched (I went to the store starving, oops.) 

I made myself a couple of toasted cheese sammies on gluten-free bread. SCRUMPTIOUS. Since the cheese itslef is so flavorful, you don't need much to dress it up. My first sandwich had lettuce, avocado, Vegenaise and mustard. The one pictured above is just cheese, Vegenaise and mustard and it still totally hit the spot. Look, I work in a restaurant wit many creative individuals, who come up with amazing combinations of food. It's so inspiring. That said, I don't think there's anything wrong with keeping it simple sometimes! And I do what I want! 

The whole reason for the grocery store visit was to get the ingredients for my favorite meal with my parents: bbq (tofu dogs for me), baked beans and salad.

Nobody bbqs soydogs like my dad does! And then with the combination of veg baked beans, SPECTACULAR. It's so tasty, and def one of my fave meals. I never make it alone as to not take away the specialness of it. It was the first meal the three of us had together when I moved back to the Bay Area after living in Humboldt for seven years and Chicago for three. I was visiting for the weekend and they whipped this up, so now it's my favorite because it reminds me of the comfort of being home again, no matter how long I've been away. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Vegan Diet, Vegan Face

I have, in the last few years, been working on transitioning my vegan diet into a vegan lifestyle. It's been a long road. Thankfully there are so many vegan beauty blogs out there to help with finding the skincare and makeup line for everyone's various needs!

Getting a subscription to the Vegan Cuts Beauty Box has been immensely helpful for me, plus it's like getting presents every month. Okay, I'm paying for them, but usually the retail value of what comes in the box exceeds the $19.95 it costs. I LOVE SUPRISES TOO, so it's perfect for me. If you are curious about the Vegan Cuts Beauty Box, I've written a couple reviews here, plus I dig the ones on Vegansaurus, Logical Harmony, and Vegan Beauty Review.

Here are a few of my fave vegan products, introduced to me via Vegan Cuts!

Hylunia Facial Cleansing Gel: I LOVE this face wash. When it comes to face wash, I can be a hard sell. I prefer bar soap and Dr Bronner's Castile soap to anything fancy. Plus, if I get any inkling of residue left over on my face, I'm not happy. Hylunia's face wash suds up, which wins points with me immediately, and it gently cleans my face. Best of all, it removes eye makeup! My beauty routine is down pat, and I don't have time to be messing around with an extra step like eye-makeup remover. The truth of the matter is, if a cleanser doesn't take off all my makeup, I very often end up wearing it under my eyes for a second day in a row. Isn't the smoky eye always in style? As soon as I run out of my current daytime moisturizer, I'm totally going to buy some from Hylunia! I loved it as much as the cleanser (it's so light!), but I have to work on using all the moisturizers I've been hoarding before I can buy new stuff. New year, new rule! 

Clarke's Botanicals Deep Moisture Mask: With face masks, my stance is a little looser than when it comes to face mask in that I LOVE THEM ALL. There have been a few in the past that were too harsh for my sensitive skin, which lead to redness and breakouts, but for the most part I have little trouble. As stated before, I have sensitive skin, which errs on the oily side, but I've been known to have dry spots, especially in the seasonal transition from fall to winter. I typically go for oil-sucking clay masks, but I loved this Clarke's Moisture Mask so much, I had to have the full size. My skin feels revitalized and so soft after using it! It is quite expensive, but rest assured, a little goes a very long way!

derma e Soothing Eye Gel: Eye creams are completely essential in my beauty routine, as the skin around the eyes is the thinnest and therefore the first place to show age. I am vain enough to try and  put off the aging process for as long as possible. I learned about the derma e brand from the microdermabrasion scrub I received in the September Beauty Box. I liked the scrub, but it was just a touch too harsh for my skin. (I'm a big fan of Odacite's gentle scrub.) When I saw the derma e brand at Whole Foods, I was intrigued, as I was a big fan of using the scrub on my chin and forehead. I spotted the soothing eye gel and snatched it up. I am a sucker for moisturizing gels with my oily skin, because they absorb instantly! As soon as my tube runs out, I'm excited to try their Firming Eye Lift and Peptide Moisturizer!

Last but most definitely not least are The Natural Face Diva Stix. I feel as though I've been spending years trying to find these! I got the Diva Stick in Black Kohl in the November Beauty Box and fell instantly in love. It glided on easily, and gives what I think is the perfect amount of color! I also love the large sticks because I'm more of an eye makeup smudger than the goal being absolute precision.  I love vampier looks, but until I get a professional up in here helping me, I'm lost with those darker colors. It's fine, I am a big fan of browns and hot pinks anyway! Not only am I such a big fan of the Diva Stix that I bought the product in both light and dark brown, I also super dig the price! $4.88 each, plus shipping! That's even better than some drugstore prices! 

This post has already gone on and on and on, so let me wrap it on up! I love the Medusa lipstick line, specifically in Miami. Two items I have not run out of yet, but plan to buy more of once they do, are the LunaTick loose eyeshadow in Dr. Jekyll and Emani Mineral Hybrid Cream in Speechless

Living that vegan lifestyle keeps getting easier and easier! There are still a few items I'm working on, but I definitely feel a sense of pride when most every product in my apartment is a vegan and all natural one! 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Many Uses of Apple Cider Vinegar (Just May Be the Secret of Life).

Everyone's always looking for a miracle and I have fantastic news: I've found one! It's available in most every grocery store*, and relatively inexpensive in price. Okay, okay, I know my title of this post gives it away, so I'll stop fooling around. It's apple cider vinegar!

If you don't like TMI, this post, or any of my posts for that matter, may not be for you. But I've found honestly is the best and most humorous policy, so why would I hide anything from you?

I have ailments all the time. Nothing too crazy, because I've been uninsured for almost 10 years (got Covered California at the last minute, so don't preach at me); I play it safe. But sometimes my body turns against me. Or more like the nail salon gives me foot fungus. YES, I HAVE HAD A FOOT FUNGUS. Twice. I like pedicures! And I'm not going to stop getting them, even if the baths are bacteria pools! Once I got athlete's foot, which I barely cured with an over-the-counter spray (it took a REALLY long time to heal, obviously I didn't know about apple cider vinegar back then) and this most recent time, I had a toenail fungus. I didn't want to a.) get half my toenail cut off and b.) spend hundreds of dollars to get half my toenail cut off. So I looked up DIY remedies and of course apple cider vinegar came up! For a few months, I would soak my foot in a warm water and ACV bath while watching TV. CURED! Once I started the twice-a-day foot baths, the fungus grew out with my nail. PHEW. (Heeeeey boys, I'm single!)

I also got a wart recently. I've never gotten warts! I don't know how I got a wart! I mean, I researched how one gets warts, and it's a virus. It happens. It's not glamorous, but it happens. I bought a drug store kit to burn it off, which worked, but I also used apple cider vinegar. Since I used them both at the same time I can't tell you exactly what works best, but the ACV totally helped, I just know it. And I don't even have a scar!

The third thing I have recently used ACV for is a cold sore. I get them when I'm about to get sick or I'm really stressed out. They suck, they totally suck and I hate that I get them, but it's been a lifelong thing. I've always used Campho-Phenique, but I'd like not to because I'm sure it's tested on animals. I took to the internet for a home remedy and LOW AND BEHOLD, ACV popped up. OMG IT TOTALLY HELPED. I'm using it the next time I get that atrocious tingle, no Campho-Phenique, just ACV.

I've started putting a splash of it in my ice water at work. I thought I'd hate it, but it's not so bad. It tastes kind of like kombucha but without the fun, fruity flavor.

Here is another fantastic use for apple cider vinegar via The Spooky Vegan. I need to remember to buy some more at the store, because I'm stoked to try it out as a conditioner!

All right, one more great resource about the many benefits of ACV!

*We should all be buying organic, but sometimes that's not an option and I'm not going to judge you. I couldn't afford a 100% organic diet until my 30s. And even still it's a hardship. I think I have a conventional blood orange as a snack, OMG DON'T TELL THE ORGANIC POLICE.

Photo via