The Every Girl’s Gift Guide

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are long behind us but there’s still time for Christmas shopping and many deals to come. Luxe handbags, spa-like adventures, and decadent sweets make up this curated list for the beauty-obsessed, fashionista, foodie, traveler, and home goods lover!

The Beauty-Obsessed: Fluffy makeup brushes, silky velvet lipsticks, a creamy bath set, and natural nail polish; these essentials are a go-to. Lime Crime velvetines are my favorite lipwear and The Body Shop is my favorite skincare brand! Both have tons of gift sets on their websites.

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Lime Crime Mini Velvetines Boxed Set $28

EcoTools Travel Set $9.99

The Body Shop Coconut Classic Picks Gift Set $20

Zoya Mini Pro Kit $35

For the Fashionista: I recently discovered Melie Bianco, a great destination for beautiful vegan leather handbags. I also love Public Desire, a UK shoe site with great over-the-knee faux suede boots. Explore them now or opt for this delicate “leather” choker or cotton-linen blend scarf.

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Melie Bianco Lennon Tassel Crossbody $49.80

Public Desire x Hailey Baldwin Sudney Western Style Boots $69.99

Ethique Le Petit Classique Double Choker $65

Jill Milan Cross-hatch Scarf $75

For the Foodie: Vegan marshmallows? Game changer! Pair these with some vegan hot cocoa (check out Coop’s MicroCreamery in my post here) for a cute and inexpensive gift. A great cookbook like The Taco Cleanse (grubby) or Oh She Glows (tasteful) is a great addition to anyone’s collection.

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Dandies Vegan Marshmallows $4.69

The Taco Cleanse $12.20

Rawmio Hazelnut Beyond Gourmet Chocolate Hazelnut Spread $12.95

Alternative Baking Co Cookies $2.19

For the Traveler: Passport, check! Camera, check! Snacks to-go, check! Make sure your traveler is prepared for her next trip with these stylish pieces.

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Deux Lux Etoile Camera Bag $105

Mark and Graham Travel Jewelry Case $65

Eco Vessel Surf Recycled Glass Water Bottle $19.95

Go Macro Organic Cashew Butter Bar $2.60

For the Home Goods Lover: I’ve never tried bamboo sheets, but I hear they are luxurious and amazing! Dishes are always a great choice, like hand painted local ceramics, or these wooden coconut bowls, and a natural candle can be both personal and versatile.

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Cariloha Resort Bamboo Sheets $239

Coconut Bowls Coco Combo $29.95

Boulangerie Jar Candle $18

Blue Dot Round Bakset $32

 

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Gifts That Give Back

Give the gift of giving back this season with presents that make a difference. Here are five gifts that will please everyone on your list which support non-profit organizations.

  1. Limited Edition parkas from Gap in partnership with (RED)

Join the fight against aids and support local artists with a purchase of a jacket or other limited edition products, including children’s and toddler clothes. These unisex parkas ($198) are perfect for both men and women and depict strong messages of peace and love.

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2. Symbolic Animal Adoption from WWF

This is a great option for the kiddos on your list or anyone who loves animals. For $55, pick a species to adopt and you’ll receive one stuffed animal and an adoption card, or pick a bucket of 3 for $75. You can now also build your own bucket, with the ability to pick and choose 3 or 4 stuffed animals based on which species you love or which plush is the cutest!

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3. Love Your Melon Beanie

50% of all proceeds from Love Your Melon products support children battling cancer. With beanies ($30,) hats, and tons of color combos, there’s something for everyone and it’s a truly feel-good cause.

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4. Ivory Ella Shirt

Ivory Ella donates a portion of its proceeds to Save the Elephants, an organization fighting elephant poaching and working to increase the declining elephant population. They also feature other non-profits which they support through specific items like this top ($36.) 10% of its proceeds will support Operation Warmth, which provides winter coats to children in need.

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5. ONEHOPE Glitter Edition Brut Sparkling Wine

Everything from ONEHOPE supports a different charity. This festive glitter bottle ($59) provides 15 meals to a child in need. Perfect for displaying and serving at your own holiday party or giving as a hostess gift!

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Stocking Stuffer Gift Guide

Not a lot of things are better than going through a stocking full of goodies on Christmas morning; fun-sized gifts, yummy treats, and precious trinkets. Some things I love in my stocking are small beauty products, chocolate, and fuzzy socks (not included!) I’ve compiled a list of ten awesome brands and products so Santa can get working on your stocking!

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  1. Deborah Lippmann The Cure Nail Cuticle Repair Cream Treatment $24
  2. EcoTools Retractable Kabuki $7.99
  3. Deux Lux Bisou Small Pouch $30
  4. The Body Shop Wild Argan Oil Beauty Bag Gift Set $10
  5. Marley Marie Naturals Aromatherapy Nail Polish Remover $9.99
  6. Yes to Tomatoes Clear Skin Acne Fighting Sheet Mask $3.29
  7. China Glaze Holiday Micro Mini Nail Lacquer $3
  8. Lush Rudy Bath Bomb Pair $16.95
  9. Pacifica Stellar Gaze Length and Strength Mineral Mascara $14
  10. Chocolove Orange Peel in Dark Chocolate $2.99

Boston Veg Fest: A Day in Review

If you were lucky enough to go to Veg Fest this weekend in Boston, you’re probably running off a sugar high and and stashing away handfuls of coupons. I was so impressed by the number of vendors and their amazing products. I ate way too many samples, including BBQ jackfruit, ice cream bars, and a really popular and trending item- cashew cheese dips and spreads. My favorite part of the festival was all the baked goods- obviously- so I’m going to talk about some of the best bakeries (and show you lots of delicious pictures) and then discuss some upcoming innovative new companies and their products, like pudding and cocoa!

Vegan Treats Bakery in Pennsylvania, named one of the top ten best bakeries in the world, attends all of these types of events. They were at Veg Fest in Worcester over the summer and the line was so long I never got to try anything. Well today I got there nice and early and was lucky enough to snag a pumpkin whoopie pie, a chocolate glazed donut, and a peanut butter chocolate cake.

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Then there was FoMu, which I have all the time since there’s a location near me, but still could not resist. My mom and I got four cupcakes: F’ostess (fake Hostess!) Salted Caramel, S’mores, and Peanut Butter Chocolate. Side note: I had a pint of their pumpkin caramel flavor last week and it was really yummy!

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Some of my favorite exhibitors included Cheeky Monkey, Veggie Fries, WayFare Foods, and Coop’s MicroCreamery.

Cheeky Monkey are these peanut butter puffs which look like cheeto puffs- except not bright orange- and taste just like Reese’s Peanut Butter Puffs! But, they’re healthy and even great for babies! The downside is they’re very pricey, but an awesome snack to try.

Veggie Fries are these awesome baked fries made of different root vegetables. My favorite is probably the carrot potato and they are so crispy and amazing. I scored lots of coupons from them because I’ll definitely be stocking up!

WayFare is an awesome company with a variety of products including nacho cheese, butters, cream cheese, and pudding. My mom and I bought both butterscotch and chocolate pudding after trying them because they were both SO good, and my mom was so excited that they’re only 100 calories per pack. I also tried the butter and cinnamon sugar butter and those were both ridiculously good too. The prices are really great compared to a lot of vegan specialty products and each one is so worth it!

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Lastly, Coop’s MicroCreamery was selling hot cocoa mix and hot fudge that tasted just like the real thing. They’re such great stocking stuffers or gifts too, because the packaging is adorable!

 

I hope you check out these great new products and if you’re in either Boston or Pennsylvania check out the bakeries! Catch ya at the next Veg Fest!

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This donut from Vegan Treats Bakery was sooooooo good! Like a cake and donut mixed together and perfectly dense and moist- great with a glass of almond milk. 

 

The Father’s Day Gift Basket

When I think of Father’s Day gifts, I automatically picture a meat and cheese basket. Luckily as vegans, we’re not limited to anything less than that. Artisan alternatives are at our fingertips with websites like Vegan Essentials which I used to find all of the food products I’m sharing with you today. Here’s how to go beyond sausages and crackers with chips, chocolates, and spreads, to create an entire vegan food basket.

Step One: Pick a “meat”

Step Two: Pick a “cheese”

Step Three: Pick a snack 

Step Four: Pick a Sauce, Dip, or Spread

Step Five: Pick dessert

 

Again, you can find these things and more, like pastas, soups, spices, and hot sauce at Vegan Essentials. Let me know how you like the products and where your favorite place to go for Father’s Day dinner is!

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 8th- less than two weeks from now. So get reading and find the perfect gift basket for her, whether she’s the type of mom who needs her me-time or the kind that never slows down.

For the cook:

Revamp her kitchen with recipe cards and a recipe tin, complete with a new cookbook that goes back to the basics.

Cookbook, $13.68 Amazon

Recipe Tin, $34 Rifle Paper Co 

Recipe Cards, $12 Sunday Supply Co 

 

For the beauty lover:

Give her a candle recycled from wine bottles and special body goodies for after her bubble bath.

Zen Garden Candle, $25 Circle 21

Coconut Beautifying Oil, $14 The Body Shop

Mint Julips Lip Scrub, $9.95 Lush

 

For the chocolate lover:

Pack a basket of all things chocolate with bars, truffles, and spreads or attach a chocolate bar to the outside of her gift wrap.

Signature truffle collection, $29.50 Premium Chocolatiers 

Endangered Species Hazelnut Spread, $8.05 Amazon

Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate, $24.90 (10 bars) Chocolove

 

For the gym-goer:

Give her the power of a sustainable workout where she can benefit herself and the environment.

Memory Foam Yoga Mat, $29.22 Amazon

National Park Stainless Steel Water Bottle, $28 Camelbak

Wood In-ear Headphones, $25 Amazon

5 Vegan Candies for Easter

Whether you’re hosting an Easter egg hunt or plan to give your kids a giant Easter basket, I’ve got you covered. First, some suggestions on what to give for Easter besides candy, because while I understand some treats are necessary, I’m not a big supporter of stuffing your kids with sugar. Tattoos, toy cars, bouncy balls, and basically any little trinket from oriental trading are great for eggs, while coloring books, clothes, jewelry, and games are good for baskets. But as for the candy…

Most gummies contain gelatin, which is an animal by-product. In other words, it’s a protein obtained by boiling things like skin, tendons, ligaments, and bones. Gross. But don’t worry, you can prevent your children from putting this nonsense into their bodies!

While there are (very few) animal-free gummies, dark chocolate’s a great thing to eat instead. It’s a great alternative to milk chocolate because of the antioxidants and health benefits in small portions. This is a great taste for your child to get accustomed to while they’re young so that they might prefer a dairy-free dark over milk chocolate in the future.

In any case, here are five vegan candies perfect for Easter!

  1. Swedish Fish
  2. Sour Patch Kids
  3. Air Heads
  4. Oreos
  5. Lindt Excellence Bars- 70%, 85%, and 90%

 

Ethical Easter Egg Decorating

Easter is just around the corner but hold tight before you start dyeing eggs because you should learn where they come from. This post doesn’t contain any graphic imagery, but is a quick overview of the egg retrieving process. Below, I’ve attached awesome tutorials for decorating fake eggs instead of real ones, which let’s face it, are messy and fragile anyways!

The life of an egg-laying chicken in the U.S. usually lasts about 12-18 months and the hen produces up to 450 eggs in that time. Chicks are delivered to producers within two days of hatching and are placed in typical layer pens, or a pullet house, where their beaks are trimmed in the first week and they are moved to layer pens after 10-15 weeks. The hens’ diet is manipulated at about 18 weeks of age to support egg production and reaches peak production at about 30-32 weeks of age, which continues to decrease afterwards. Once they’ve reached about 50% production, producers will force molt the flock of hens, meaning they will stop feeding for 7-14 days so the hens will stop producing and rejuvenate their reproductive systems in order to produce more eggs. Natural molting happens for chickens in the fall, when they regrow all of their feathers and cease production. The hens drop lots of weight at this time and sometimes die. Some producers even opt for a second round of forced molting after they decrease in production once again. When a hen is done producing altogether, she is sent to a spent hen facility where she is slaughtered. At these facilities, the hens are attached to a machine, hung upside-down by their feet, where their throats are slit and they are then put into a scalding tank, where their feathers are removed. What is really sad, is some of the hens miss the knife and go into the tank still alive.

This is the average process of the egg industry, but obviously varies from producer to producer, and definitely local farmers. There are cage-free eggs, but those hens are still being forced to produce more eggs than they should be able to and then sent to be slaughtered later on. Obviously, if you get your eggs from a local farmer these inhumane practices are probably not in use, but why bother wasting eggs to decorate with?

So this Easter, head to the dollar store and grab plastic, wooden, or craft eggs to decorate with paint, mod podge, or glitter. Here are some fun and cruelty-free ways to make Easter eggs that are just as beautiful! (Click image for link to tutorial)