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Product Review: Annmarie Skin Care’s Mineral Foundation

Foundation is something I have struggled with for as long as I have been wearing make up, as I am sure several other women do. With fair and sometimes oily skin, anything I have tried was either too light, too dark, or left me at the end of the day with a very shiny chin. I’d buy bottles of new foundation at the drug store to try out, only to find they didn’t match my color at all. $10, $12, $15 wasted on many occasions. In the last few years, I’ve tried out more expensive, natural foundations such as bare minerals and Tarte, which run between $40 – $50, but you usually can get somebody at a store like Macy’s, Sephora, or Ulta to color match you before you spend the money, and they last quite a while. So far, I’ve been the happiest with Tarte’s Amazonian Clay foundation, which matches my skin, lasts all day long, and doesn’t leave my skin oily. I’ve tried bare minerals multiple times, but breathing in the powder often gives me a worrisome headache, even when trying to hold my breath while applying.

asc_earthmineralssamples_hiresEnter Annmarie Skin Care’s earth mineral foundation makeup.
It is unlike any foundation I have yet to try. It is in powder form, and becomes a liquid when you mix it with any moisturizer or facial oil ( which = no breathing in mineral powder!). Watch this video to see how easy it is to use.

Here are a list of some of my favorite things about the foundation:
1. The foundation comes in four colors. You can blend colors (watch here) to create one that best matches your skin tone. Great for that awkward time period between seasons when you are gaining or losing your tan, and your foundation no longer matches!

2. There are only 4 ingredients: Titanium dioxide, Iron oxide, Mica and Zinc oxide. All minerals, all natural.

3. You can control the amount of coverage you want. Depending on how much liquid you add into the powder, you can create a thicker or thinner foundation that allows you to cover what you need to and even out what you necessarily don’t. As somebody who has occasional acne, it’s great to be able to conceal red bumps when I need to, and simply even out my skin tone the rest of the time.

4. Natural UV protection – always a great benefit from make up.

5. If your face is a little bit dry, especially during the winter, using a foundation that has moisturizer as the liquefying agent means your skin is also being moisturized throughout the entire day. Additionally, it gives your face a nice glowing/dewy appearance, which makes it look less like you’re wearing any makeup at all.


For my skintone, I use the sand color and add a little bitt of the honey color because sand alone is a little bit too light. Below are a before, during, and after photo of my most recent application of the makeup.

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If you’re interested in trying it out for yourself, Annmarie Skin Care will be selling sample kits for $20 very soon!  It is the same kit that I received to sample, and in one small dram I was able to apply the make up about 6-7 times – a little goes a long way. Plus, you get a $10 off coupon with your kit. Update: you can now get the full size here for $49.95. Mine is on its way!

Product Review: Rawsome Vegan Baking

51Zv9AHiXCLI’m very excited to be writing about Rawsome Vegan Baking, the recently released cookbook written by Emily, the blogger behind my favorite vegan website This Rawsome Vegan Life.  When I emailed Emily asking if I could review her book, I kind of felt like I was reaching out to a celebrity, so when she replied with an enthusiastic ‘yes’, I couldn’t have been happier!

I also couldn’t be happier with Emily’s book – the recipes are truly one of a kind and absolutely delicious! I have made two so far, and unfortunately the book is not with  me right now, so I can’t remember their names. Also, both times I made a recipe, they were eaten up before I remembered to take a picture of them. But, I will do my best to describe them!

The first was a cake made entirely of fresh fruit and raw cream. Layers of blueberries, strawberries, mango and kiwi were all held together by a delicious mixture of bananas and coconut. My boyfriend and I made the cake for his sister’s high school graduation, and his family constantly raved about it. It was such a beautiful cake, as once you cut away a piece, a rainbow of colorful fruits were exposed. It was a fast and easy recipe to make, and a lot of fun to. We didn’t have a springform pan, so I precariously stacked the layers with no support.  It wasn’t as beautiful as the picture in Emily’s book, but it tasted as amazing as it looked!

I also made a coconut bark, which was so good I made it a second time (also forgetting a picture, oops..). BUT, I can promise you that it was just as quick an easy to make as Emily describes in the book, needing only coconut oil, shredded coconut, and liquid sweetener. My sister really enjoyed it, as did my boyfriend’s mom. It was a nice snack to have when craving something sweet, but also pretty healthy! The second time I made it, the shredded coconut had gotten too warm from being processed for so long, so the coconut oil melted and separated out. I decided to pour it on top of the mix, and when it cooled it created a crunchy top to the rich, chewy bottom. So good!

There are many new desserts you can’t get on her blog, and any number of desserts for a variety of occasions. The book itself is very affordable, especially if you get it on Amazon. Also, the recipes themselves range in the number of ingredients they need, so many, like the coconut bark with only 3 ingredients, can be made quite cheaply. If you have even a mildly stocked vegan pantry, there are a number of recipes you’ll have the ingredients already to make. If you are impressed with Emily’s work on her website, then I know you will love her book!  Thank you Emily, and congrats on publishing such a great recipe collection🙂

Product Review: Annnarie Gianni

getawaykit_newThere seems to be a common theme amongst the skin care lines I’ve reviewed so far: a consumer learns about what is really in their skin care products, and upset by what they find, decide to start their own line based on quality, trustworthy ingredients. This is how Annmarie Gianni was started her own chemical free skin care line, revealing every ingredient in her products on the label. ” I wear my heart on my sleeve and my products do the same”, Annmarie says on her webpage, explaining why her products are different than others.

I first heard about Annmarie Gianni from Kris Carr, a big motivator in my current lifestyle (her book Crazy, Sexy Diet is what prompted me to become a vegetarian/vegan). When she offered a promotion on her blog in conjunction with Annmarie a year or so ago, I decided to try it out, ordering a sample kit for acne prone skin.  After using the samples, I decided to contact Annmarie recently to try another product.  They sent me their Getaway sample kit, offering miniature versions of their Aloe Herb Cleanser, Ayurvedic Scrub, Purifying Mud Mask, Dead Sea Facial Scrub, Neroli Toning Mist, Coconut Body Oil, Repair Serum and Herbal Facial Oil for Normal and Combination Skin. Lot’s of fun things to try!

My favorite product of the bunch is definitely the Dead Sea Facial Scrub – it smells great, and leaves my skin feeling polished and smooth. I also liked the Ayurvedic Scrub as well, so if you’re looking for a new scrub, either is a great choice.

Annmarie offers a variety of products for all skin care types and ages, and also have vegan options.  They now have sunscreen, which is great because finding a good natural, safe sunscreen is not always easy.  One of my favorite things about the company is probably that their products rank very low on the EWG skin deep database, meaning that the ingredients pose little to no health risks if applied to your skin.

The only negative I can give about Annmarie Gianni is the price.  As a college student, the cost of these products is not within my budget range.  The sample kits are a nice, cheap way to try out the line if you are interested, and the sample sizes are enough to use for 4-5 days I would estimate, except for the masks, which seem to provide enough to use once. However, I definitely believe that they are worth the money, and you’ll get the quality that you pay for.  Thus, I am certain that someday when I have more money to invest in my skincare, I would choose Annmarie Gianni.

Product Review: Windy City Organics

Today I’m back with another product review, this time of Windy City Organics, the company responsible for great organic brands like Rawmio and Sunbiotics. They sent me products from both of these lines, and I’m excited to share them with you! Sunbiotics Probiotic Powder and Chocolate Bar 

probiotic-powder-sbWith an ingredients list you will recognize every part of, Sunbiotics probiotic powder get you the good bacteria your stomach needs, but often does not get. Superfood ingredients like yacon and mesquite make this supplement even more powerful, and the vanilla flavor makes taking it all the more enjoyable.  I mixed the recommended dosage in my water bottle at night, shook well, and drank before bed.  There are other ways to take this, like adding it to a smoothie, which I would recommend over drinking it straight. While for me it was fine, I can see where others might think it is a bit chalky. However, when adding it to my smoothie, the taste was completely disguised! I read about somebody who put it in their pancakes in the morning. No matter how you take it, you’ll be getting the benefits of 18 billion CFUs of 4 bacteria strains, researched to balance the bacterial flora of your digestive system. You can buy this Sunbiotics powder on Vitacost for $28, which is pretty comparable in price to most other natural, organic probiotics. You also get 45 servings, so it will last you half a month longer than most month long brands. They also sell their probiotics in tablet version.Enter custom name herea_052014_1680 I also tried Sunbiotics Probiotic Chocolate bar, which is definitely a new way of getting any kind of supplement that I’ve never tried before.  It was as delicious as it sounds, and definitely an option for people who’d rather avoid pills and powders to get in their supplements. The chocolate bar is 100% raw and vegan, meaning you don’t have to feel guilty about taking chocolate as medicine! Sounds like a great deal to me. I thought that considering the taste of it as a chocolate bar, probiotic status aside, it tasted similar to the Rawmio chocolate I also tried.  So with Sunbiotics chocolate, you get the great taste of Rawmio, with added probiotic bebenfits.

 

Rawmio Sour Cherry and Almond Bark

chocolate7Rawmio is my first experience with raw chocolate, and now that I’ve tried it, other chocolates just aren’t the same.  The sour cherry mixed with the bitterness of the dark chocolate was a perfect combination, and the almonds added another dimension of crunchiness. It was so beautiful looking that I didn’t want to eat it! But of course that feeling didn’t last for very long.  You can find rawmio barks on Vitacost for $6.29, and they’re definitely worth indulging in every now and then. With ingredients you can feel good about putting in your body, and taste to match, it’s definitely a splurge well spent.  I kept mine in the fridge so that it was extra crunchy, and satisfied a chocolate and crunch craving all in one!

 

Product Review: Just the Goods

I’m excited to start off the summer by talking about Just the Goods, an all-natural, Leaping Bunny and Campaign for Safe Cosmetics certified, vegan skin care line!  Milena, the creator of Just the Goods, was kind enough to send me samples from her acne prone skin care line, as well as a body butter.

About Just the Goods

After making natural skin care products for her friends and family, as well as selling her products at craft fairs and on Etsy, Milena turned Just the Goods into her career in 2013.  Her premise is natural skin care at affordable pricing, making clean and wholesome products like hers affordable to everyone. After browsing her website and watching the video I posted below, it is obvious how much time, deliberate thought, and effort goes into the creation of these products.

Pricing

Prices for samples are as low as $2-3, and each sample container provides you with a substantial amount of product.  Full size 4-8 oz bottles for most items start at around $6, and are usually no more than $15.  Thus, even a college student like myself is able to purchase Milena’s products with little guilt. The sample size bottles Milena sent me have lasted me nearly a month, and the moisturizer and spot treatment look like I’ve hardly been using them! Thus, you get a long-lasting product for a small investment, which is definitely worth it. Although the shipping prices are slightly above average, it is clear that this is a necessary cost in order to keep the products affordable. Even with the price of shipping, you still get a quality product for less than you would something at Ulta or Sephora that claims to be natural, but is really filled with harsh chemicals.

Samples

Foaming Face wash

First off, I am in love with the smell of this entire line. I find that it is both energizing in the morning, and soothing at night, due to the combination of eucalyptus and lavender essential oils. Typically I wash my face after or during a shower in the morning, and again before bed to remove my make up. With a warm washcloth, I wipe of my makeup, and then use the face wash to remove any residue. Now that summer is here and it’s been more humid, I have also been using a small bit of the face wash to get rid of that sweaty, oily feeling when I’m not wearing any makeup.

Toner

At night, I apply the toner after I’ve washed my face. It removes any excess oil and leaves my face feeling soft and skin tighter. After washing, it makes my skin tingle for a couple of minutes, but it makes me feel like that means it’s working!

Spot Treatment and Moisturizer

Lastly, I apply moisturizer and spot treatment after the toner. I also only apply these at night, but occasionally have used the spot treatment during the day. It dries relatively quickly, and is clear so you can easily wear it under make up if you wanted to.  The moisturizer is thick to the touch, but smooths out nicely once you apply it. Rather than leaving your face feeling oily, it absorbs nicely. My boyfriend has been having dry skin on his face recently, and I told him to try the moisturizer, which has definitely made a difference in a few days.

Citrus Blend Body Butter

Another product with an amazing scent! This one is definitely more energizing, and you can still smell it long after you applied it on your skin. I am lucky enough to have already pretty soft skin that really only dries during the winter months, but after using the body butter makes it feel even softer. It absorbs relatively quickly, and keeps your skin moisturized for quite a while.

Final Thoughts

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As a long-time sufferer of hormonal acne and scarring, I have been looking for a skin care line that minimizes my breakouts and also lightens my scars. After one night of using my Just the Goods products, I was shocked by the difference in my skin! A pimple on my chin was drastically smaller, and my skin seemed smoother and brighter. When using all four products together, I definitely see more results than on days when I am lazier and only use the face wash. I plan on adding the facial scrub to my skin care regimen next!

Andalou Naturals Review

I don’t know about you, but the thought of putting chemicals into or on my body is not appealing.  Unfortunately, we often do this every day without realizing when we put on our deodorant, make-up, take a shower, or moisturize.  Of course we want to keep ourselves clean and our skin soft, but there are ways of doing this without exposing our bodies to harmful chemicals in the process.

So now, I’d like to introduce you to Andalou Naturals, the first all-natural beauty brand to receive 100% Non-GMO certification for their products, which utilize fruit stem cell science to help give you the skin-nourshing results you’re looking for, without the fear of toxic chemical additives.

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They were kind enough to send me their Skin Care bundle to review.  One of the exciting things about Andalou products is that they use fruit stem cell science to create the natural ingredients that make their products great for our skin. This quote from their website also shows their commitment to fairness and keeping the food chain connected:

“We value knowing where our ingredients come from, the farmers who grow them, and connecting the human chain of hands that make every step possible from farm to bottle, soil to skin, and botany to beauty.”

The bundle comes with  6 fl oz Meyer Lemon Creamy Cleanser,  1.7 fl oz Probiotic + C Renewal Cream, and .6 fl oz Luminous Eye Serum.  First of all, I want to mention how amazing these products smell.  Meyer Lemon scent wakes you up in the morning, or leaves you feeling fresh and clean before bed.  I used the cleanser both in the morning and evening, and applied the moisturizer and eye serum at night; I found that when using the three products together regularly, there is a noticeable difference in skin brightness.  I recently started using the moisturizer and eye serum again after taking a hiatus from the products, and after a few days noticed that my skin seemed brighter, and my acne scars (the main reason I opted to try the brightening kit) were less visible.

Wondering what exactly a fruit stem cell does for the product? Here is a description of Argan Fruit Stem Cells, which are in the brightening products: “Argan Fruit Stem Cell Cultures: Derived from the ancient Berber tree from Morocco; designed to delay the depletion of dermal papilla stem cells, revitalizing dormant roots cells, and accelerating the natural repair process to combat chronological aging of hair follicles.”  Why use chemicals to do this when you can use plants? Also in the mix are Apple + Grape Fruit Stem Cell Cultures, BioActive 8 Berry Complex with bilberry fruit stem cells, and Certified Organic Aloe Vera.  In fact, Andalou’s ingredients are all natural, gluten free, and fair trade.  One thing I will mention is that the Probiotic Renewal cream is not vegan, as there is a Probiotic Complex which contains some ingredients derived from dairy. However, I would not let this deter you from using the product! (unless you refrain from using non-vegan beauty products, which I also respect).

If you’re interested in buying, I’d recommend the starter kits: you get a sample of many great products in either the age defying, brightening, or clarifying collection for a respectable $20.  That way, if you find a product you particularly like, splurging on the regular size won’t seem as bad.  You can also sign up for Andalou’s newsletter to receive more information and exclusive offers!

Andalou’s business philosophy and their products fit well with what I am looking for in a beauty product; free of harmful additives, environmentally and socially consciousness, and plant based.  Overall, I’d say this is an admirable company and a great product!

Reasons Why I’m a Vegan

If you’re a vegan or know one, then you know that people are always asking ‘So what made you become a vegan?’ There are a number of reasons why people turn to veganism, but my main push came from reading Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Diet.  Kris Carr is still one of my main veg-spirations today, almost 2 years since I read her book and made the initial transition.  And while I’ve gone back and forth between eating some dairy and eggs (mainly in desserts, dumb sweet tooth) and being a strict vegan, I feel like during these last two years I’ve developed a more meaningful relationship with my food.
That sounds kind of silly, having a ‘relationship’ with what you’re eating, but I think that understanding what you’re eating is just as important as understanding the people you form relationships with.  Toxic, negative people can weigh you down immensely and impact your life in so many areas; once you distance yourself from them, you likely notice that you’re starting to feel better. The best relationships are the ones that we spend the most time on, the ones that we fully understand, respect, and put in time and effort to sustain.  I think that food works the same way – once you take the time to get to know what you’re really putting inside your body, then you can make educated decisions about what the healthiest choices really are.

1. Look at how colorful that protein is! I like to eat my colors as well as admire them.

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2. I love chickens for their poetry, and not their thighs.

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3. Because vegan junk food is a thing, and you don’t need to feel as guilty, because it’s mildly healthier for you.


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4. Vegan food makes me feel good, because it’s good for me! (not to mention tastes delicious)

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5. So many corny vegetable puns! Ha. Get it?

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6. If you miss it, chances are you can veganize it.

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7. These statistics may or may not be accurate, but it makes sense to me that veganism helps reduce gas emissions in some way, shape or form, even if the amount is negligible (which I don’t think it is..)

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8. I’ll only do one serious one.  And it’s okay because Gandhi said it, and Gandhi has more street cred than I do.  But I’d be lying if I said that the animals had nothing to do with it.

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9.  Vegan cake is beautiful.  Once you eat vegan cake, you will wonder how you could have ever loved non-vegan cake.  It’s that good.


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10.  Because I could just look at vegan food porn all day.  And regularly do.

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While I’m 100% certain in my reasons for being a vegan (the reasons that are hidden behind these goofier ones), I don’t like to preach to others about why they should be a vegan, or try to scare them by telling them bad things about the food they eat.  Everyone is entitled to their own lifestyle, and one of the beautiful things about eating is that we get to choose what we eat.  Many of us are very fortunate that we even have that privilege at all, and it’s one that we often forget. That’s why I like being able to explain why I eat the things I do – I am confident in my lifestyle choice, and because I am blessed enough to have a vegan diet as a lifestyle option, I refuse to take that for granted.  Plus, the vegan cake…it’s just too good.