Petit Vour July Beauty Box | Review

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Petit Vour has quickly become one of my most favorite things.  Their monthly beauty box is consistently filled with high quality, luxurious, vegan, and cruelty-free products.  Additionally, each box is only $15 with free shipping, which makes choosing cruelty-free beauty products extremely economical and budget-friendly for many households.

I was even more excited (if that's possible) for this month's beauty box because the lovely Tashina was co-curator.  I love Tashina and really respect her taste in beauty products, so I knew this box would be filled with amazing products.  Of course, I wasn't disappointed.

My July Beauty Box was filled with:

Pelle beauty facial oil in Luxe | This delicate smelling facial oil is best applied after washing your face.  I prefer using it at night, after I remove my makeup and wash my face, but before putting on my moisturizer.  A little goes a long way and just a few drops is all you need for super soft and perfectly fragrant skin.

Modern Minerals eye shadow in Sakura | I love this eye shadow because it is shimmer, easy to apply, and pink.  Wearing it honestly makes me feel like a Disney Princess (is it weird that this is still my goal in life?).  My favorite way to wear it is applying it on my eyelids as well as using it to highlight my inner eyes and just below my lower lash line.  It really makes my eyes sparkle.

Schmidt's natural deodorant in Lavender and Sage | I'll be the first to admit that I am not a fan of lavender and applying deodorant with my fingers is not particularly appealing to me.  With that being said, this stuff really works.  I've been using natural deodorant for years and it can leave me smelling a little sour by the end of the day or next morning when I'm exercising.  But when I used this stuff, I still smelled perfectly fresh the next morning after my workout.  I'm pretty sure it's magical.

LVX nail lacquer in Lolli | I love love love LVX nail lacquers for so many reasons.  This particular shade is so perfect for summer and reminds me of the classic bubblegum color.  I always apply three coats, a base coat, and a top coat, and the polish lasts with minimal chips for about 4 days. 

You can subscribe to Petit Vour's monthly beauty box here for only $15 a month and free shipping.  Every box is filled with amazing vegan, cruelty-free products that are also high-quality and luxurious.  With a mix of both full size and sample size products, it's the perfect way to consistently try out new products and find new favorites.  

Are you a monthly Petit Vour box subscriber?  Which product was your favorite this month?

Disclaimer: I was given this product to review, but all of the thoughts and opinions expressed are completely my own.

From the Weekend | I drove on the turnpike

Monday, July 28, 2014

This weekend was full of relaxation, unexpected obligations, stress, naps, and tasks that I have been putting off for way too long.  Here's the rundown:

1| Thai dinner date with my dad.
2| Watching the documentary 112 Weddings, which I highly recommend.
3| Saturday morning walk with my mom and the pups.
4| Attending a demonstration fair that was a total bust.  On a side note, I really want to become a Stella and Dot stylist...
5| Driving to my oldest friend's new apartment (I drove on the turnpike!)(This is a really big deal for me) and spent time talking about important life things.
6| Cutting Mina's hair.
7| Cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry.
8| Making Dayv a new dinner recipe.
9| Watching a couple episodes of Sopranos.

What did you do this weekend?  Happy Monday!

Favorites | On Friday

Friday, July 25, 2014

This kitchen remodel is insane!  And for only $500.

A really great post on the current ex-vegan phenomenon in our community.

I am so excited for this cookbook.

Sarah's always keeping it real and I love her newest blog post on raising vegan children.

A thought provoking and insightful post on turning jealousy into motivation.

Have a great weekend!

Decadent Gluten-free Vegan Baking | Review, Recipe, and Giveaway

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Cara was my very first blogging friend.  She befriended me during my first year of blogging, and welcomed me with open arms into her circle.  I was comforted by her warmth and acceptance, especially during a time when blogging was still so new and I had no idea what I was doing.  She convinced me to start The Vegan Chickpea Facebook page, and immediately after I created it, sent out a status update to all of her fans telling them to like my page.  That act speaks volumes about the kind of person Cara is- incredibly warm, friendly, and encouraging.  I really love her.

The other thing that drew me to Cara was the fact that her and I share all of the same childhood favorites in regards to breakfast "foods", desserts, snacks, candies, and really anything that involves chocolate.  Her ability to recreate these delicious but not-so-wholesome foods into gluten-free vegan masterpieces is continually inspiring and amazing to me.  How does she do it?

I was not surprised when Cara first announced that she was writing a cookbook.  Why?  Because, if this girl doesn't deserve a cookbook, no one does.  She has mastered gluten-free and vegan baking far beyond anyone else I have ever seen.  Add to the fact that her content is super original and hasn't been done a hundred million times by a thousand other bloggers/cookbook authors, and it's just obvious she needed to write a cookbook.

Cara's cookbook, Decadent Gluten-free Vegan Baking, is a masterpiece and deserves a space on anyone's bookshelf that is vegan/gluten-free/or just interested in working with more natural, wholesome ingredients.  In the book, you will find recipes to all of your childhood favorites, including all the Girl Scout cookies, pop tarts(!), peanut butter bars, mini frosted/powdered sugar donuts, cinnamon streusal coffee cake, and creamy "cheese" pastry squares (aka danishes).  I could go on, but I thought I'd limit the list to my favorites growing up.   

To celebrate the release of Decadent Gluten-free Vegan Baking, I am sharing the recipe for these absolutely delicious Hot Cocoa Snickerdoodles.  According to Dayv, they are the best tasting cookies I have ever made (and we all know how picky he is...).  Additionally, I am hosting a giveaway for one person to receive their own copy of Decadent Gluten-free Vegan Baking.  

To enter the giveaway: Simply leave a comment below and tell me your favorite childhood baked good.  Make sure you include an email address (or other way to reach you) if your name is not linked to a blogger profile or blog.  The giveaway ends at midnight (EST) on Friday, August 1st.  Open to U.S. and Canadian residents only.

Notes: Cara's All-Purpose Flour Blend calls for superfine brown rice flour, which I have never seen in the wild.  Instead, I used a mixture of sorghum flour, potato starch, and tapioca starch, which worked perfectly.  Additionally, the recipe yielded 21 cookies for me and I baked them for 14 minutes.  A word of caution, the cookie dough smells so good you'll want to eliminate the baking step and just eat it raw.  Try to restrain yourself.  But, if you do sneak a few spoonfuls of dough into your mouth, I don't blame you.

Hot Cocoa Snickerdoodles
makes two dozen cookies

3/4 c granulated sugar
1/4 c cocoa powder
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt

1/4 c vegan butter
1/4 c non-hydrogenated shortening
1 tbsp flaxseed meal plus 3 tbsp water, thickened for 5 minutes
1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 c nondairy chocolate chips

for rolling:
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Whisk together all of the dry ingredines except the sugar and cocoa powder in a medium bowl.  With an electric mixer, beat the vegan butter, shortening, and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the cocoa powder and flaxseed soaked in water until fully combined.  Stir in vanilla extract.  Slowly add the dry ingredients into the butter mix until just combined.  Fold in the nondairy chocolate chips.  Chill the dough for 30 minutes in the fridge.

Preheat oven to 350.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix together the sugar and cinnamon for rolling in a small, shallow dish.  For each bookie, roll into a ball with your hands (a heaping tablespoon's worth), roll them in the cinnamon and sugar and place on the baking sheet.  Gently flatten with the back of a fork.  Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.  Remove from the oven and allow to sit on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Cara's Tip: The purpose of the cream of tartar in this recipe is twofold: It imparts a certain tart flavor that is ubiquitous with snickerdoodles, and it reacts quickly with the baking soda while in the oven, which allows for the dough to rise rapidly in the heat and then deflate just as swiftly, imparting that crinkle look we love about these cookies.

Printed with permission from Decadent Gluten-free Baking by Cara Reed.  Page Street Publishing (August 5, 2014).

Disclaimer: I was given this book to review, but all of the thoughts and opinions expressed are completely my own.

Obsessed | The Animal Print Shop

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I was first introduced to these beautiful photographs by my friend Lora's sister, Caroline.  She has an Animal Print Shop photo in her gallery wall, and I always found it to be lovely due to its minimalism, muted color scheme, and adorable subject matter.  However, it was not until I read an Apartment Therapy article a couple months ago about children's art that adults can appreciate, too, that I was fully exposed to the photographs.  I immediately became obsessed with the website and began visiting it several times a day, memorizing each photo.  I began envisioning a gallery wall exclusively using Animal Print Shop photos and attempted to have entire conversations with Dayv revolving around them.  He agreed that they were cute, but didn't understand my obsessiveness about them.  How could I not be obsessed?  They are photographs of baby animals!

Since my initial obsession, I have cooled it a bit with visiting the website.  But, I still love these photographs and want at least one.  The ones I posted above are my favorite.  My most favorite is the baby deer.  The lamb reminds me of Mina, the porcupine is just so cute, and I've always loved the grace and regality of giraffes.   

The Animal Print Shop's website


From the Weekend | Internship, Day Two

Monday, July 21, 2014

Friday was the second day of my internship (which I complete in the evening after my full-time job).  I worked with two new people, who were very conversational and interesting, which made the night go by faster.  The wedding was outside and it was very lovely.  The reception was a mixture of indoors and outdoors, with the eating under the tents, and buffet and dancing inside.  There was no wedding cake, only little desserts.  I ran into the caterer, who also catered my wedding, and it was really nice to catch up.  She remembered me immediately, which was very sweet, considering that my wedding was over four years ago and she's a very popular caterer.  

The rest of the weekend was fairly quiet and relaxing.  It consisted of:
1| Walking the pups on Saturday morning with my mom.  When I got to the house, my mom presented me with a brown paper bag and said, "I have a surprise for you!"  Inside were five bars of handmade soap she got at Whole Foods the night before.  They all smelled so amazing.  "You can pick two!"  It was like Christmas morning.  Later, I randomly started singing this song and my mom immediately chimed in.  It was then that I realized how similar we are and it made me really happy.
2| Thai lunch date with my dad.
3| A couple paint touch ups in the bathroom.
4| Napping.
5| Getting rid of more books with Dayv and reorganizing the book shelf.  (I am slowly converting him to minimalism.)
6| Cookie making.
7| Beginning the Sopranos series.  Dayv wasn't impressed by the first episode.  He compares every television series to LOST, Breaking Bad, and Dexter: "Every episode should have a cliff hanger!"  I think he's warming up to it, though.  

Happy Monday!

Favorites | On Friday

Friday, July 18, 2014

Are all of your social media profiles filled out properly?

I recently took this personality test and it was spot on.  Which one are you?  I'm an ISFJ.

Cashews are fascinating little things!

This sandwich is completely blowing my mind.  The cheese, omigosh.

You must watch this girl.  She is incredible.

For the Philadelphia locals: The Humane League is hosting a wine and (vegan) cheese event next Wednesday!  

Have a great weekend!
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