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VeganMoFo, Vegan Cuts box, and other vegan things.

Happy almost VeganMoFo, guys! As always, I am super excited to be involved, and yes, I am doing Vegan Dinner & A Movie this year, with a slight twist. Not an exciting twist, mind you, but a theme within my theme. People ask me where I get this, I don’t know, it’s… maybe a gift from God or somethin’.

Before a month of movies and menus and my horrible, horrible writing and joke skills start I wanted to post a short review of the second Vegan Cuts beauty box and just mention some of my other favorites from the last few months. Also, I changed my comments over to Disqus to try and avoid getting 300+ spam comments during MoFo, but that means that all of my previous comments got wiped out. :(

If you got the box, you’ll notice my lip tint is missing but I already squared up with customer service and they got back to me promptly and I will get an extra item in my next box.

So mostly what people want to know is, is the box still worth $20? I think so! Even missing the lip tint, the nail wraps are normally $16. There were two kinds of nail wraps you could get (I LOVE THE NAVY STRIPES, MELISSER) and the lotion and deodorant samples came in a few different scents. I’m very happy with the scents I got, the pear lotion smells like something from Bath & Body Works but without the overpowering perfume and actually drying out my skin (eczema = overly-scented lotions are worthless). The deodorant makes my armpits smell like a mojito! Sunscreen samples are always welcome as it’s something we all need (or you should use if you don’t think you need it). I haven’t used the sample soap yet but I am down for anything pepperminty. I haven’t tried the nail wraps yet because I want my nails to at least be semi-uniform in length. So of course I broke a nail yesterday.

If I had to get rid of one thing, it would be the zit stick. I do have acne problems, but that’s why I already have a daily routine that involves zit cream so a spot stick will just result in my drying my zits out to the point of flaking. However, Brian rarely gets zits and complains when I try to put things in his face, so I will save it for chasing him around the house.

Above all, I like to try new things so even if I get something and it isn’t totally my jam, I still think it’s fun to try.  If you want to order your own beauty box, and you should, do it!  [affiliate link]

And here are some other things that i’ve tried out and enjoyed these past few months, either to put on my person or in my mouth.

Wet n Wild MegaEyes Crème Eyeliner, Black
: I finally found a type of eye-liner that I can’t totally mess up! I don’t know what’s wrong with my hands or my eyelids, but I cannot get a clean line with pencils, sticks, and certainly not liquid eyeliners. My hand isn’t steady and maybe my eyelids are coated in satan. It’s easy to get a pigmented line and put this on in short strokes instead of trying to be swift about it. I’m sure I could upgrade to a fancier brand, but I have no complaints so far about WnW and i’m on a budget. (P.S. Wet n’ Wild has a vegan list, I recommend copying it into wordpad so you can take a print out and peer back and forth between the list and the numbers. I found trying to scroll up and down on my phone to be even more annoying.)

Wet n Wild Fergie Eyeshadow Primer: Okay, I have oily lids and I have tried all kinds of eye primers and they’ve all done dick for me. Not only are my eyelids oily, but they’re hooded and droopy and I basically stopped wearing eyeshadow because it got to the point where nothing would stay. And then I decided to take a chance on being embarrassed by owning a Fergie product, and omgzzzzzzzzz. I have tried this with tarte eyeshadows, ELF (cheap-o and mineral) eyeshadows, super natural cream eyeshadows, every level of quality basically and shit stays put. It’s a god damned miracle product.

Everything I found at TJ Maxx! Your mileage will certainly vary, the first time I went into the TJ Maxx here they had no makeup of any kind, but I lucked out big time and found Spa Ritual for the first time ever, some ORLY duos and mini sets (I love mini polishes, I got more colors and will still get multiple applications out of each bottle, for the same price as one full-price bottle of ORLY), and two food items that i’ve only gotten in previous Vegan Cuts snack boxes. Shitty instagram photo:

If you aren’t wise to TJ Maxx outside of their stupid Maxxinista commercials, they have marked down items that rotate in and out. Mostly they push the ‘designer brands for less’ angle, but you can really score in the beauty aisle and what food they do carry is usually supposed to be ‘fancy’ so it’s actually pretty easy to find vegan things there. In addition to the brands above i’ve found derma-e, Pacifica, DermOrganic, and I think Avalon Organics. They also had ELF makeup, but it cost the same amount as it does on the website and people were being gross and opening all of it and then leaving the palettes on the table. GROSS.

And finally, the best thing I have put in my face all summer are these peanut butter brownies with Dandies. I can no longer buy Dandies because I moved, but I picked up a bag on a whim while visiting my father-in-law and tried out this recipe and they are. The best. I think this was from before they changed the marshmallow sized, so be sure to chop your dandies in 1/4ths or at least half if you try it.

posted: August 31, 2013
under: lists, pictures, products

Vegan Cuts Beauty Box – Review

If you read my post about vegan snack boxes, i’m sure it will come as no surprise that when I heard Vegan Cuts was coming out with a beauty box (affiliate link), I made a noise like a tea kettle and threw my wallet at my computer screen.  I am so excited to be able to get a beauty box that is affordable and from an all-vegan company, ran by vegans, so I know they aren’t going to slip me beeswax or carmine or lanolin.  Vegan Cuts stocks a lot of beauty products that i’m curious about, but they do tend towards higher end items that cost more, so I will gladly take all of the samples the want to sell me.  I also have a problem with buying mostly ELF makeup, because it’s cheap so I made a deal with myself that i’m not allowed to bring home more makeup or face products unless it’s from a company I haven’t tried.

I noticed a few complaints about the box, right off the bat – so let’s clear some stuff up.  The entire point of a subscription box is to try new things, so if you don’t normally wear makeup, that means that it’s ALL new things.  If you don’t wear makeup and don’t plan on wearing makeup, don’t order a beauty box!  I got the same feeling from reading some reviews that I get when I read cookbook reviews on amazon that say ‘I flipped through this at the bookstore and nothing looked good so i’m giving it one star’.

Also, the point of the little pouch that came with the first box is so you can put your makeup in it and then carry it in your purse.  Makeup will sometimes explode or unscrew and it’s better to have it do that in a tiny bag then your whole purse.  Some people seem to be completely confused by the inclusion of the little pouch.  Let’s move on!

From left to right:  Namaste pouch, Glam Natural mascara sample, NYL facewash sample, Suntegrity tinted moisturizer sample, Acure pure argan oil sample, LVX polish in Deco (the V isn’t worn off, it’s the way the light was hitting the bottle), Lippy Girl lip gloss, and a sample of essential oils.  Some people got a lip balm and eye shadow as a replacement for the lip gloss.

I was extremely pleased with the selection, and if you go to use all of the products you’ll realize that they gave you pretty much everything you need to do a basic makeup look.  You can wash your face, put on the tinted moisturizer, mascara, and lip gloss, and maybe add some powder and that’s about how much makeup most people can stand on their face during a hot summer day.  You can paint your nails and use the argan oil on your cuticles.  And then I guess huff lavender oil out of the pouch and pass out looking absolutely beautiful.

Will I keep my subscription?  Absolutely.  The value is definitely there, especially when you consider that shipping gets more and more expensive.  $20 shipped is nothing, and I know this box was extra packed because it’s the first one but i’m sure they’ll keep the value up.  I think the sample sizes are just enough to keep me occupied until the next one comes, and the mascara and tinted moisturizer samples will actually last through many applications because you need so little.

My only issue was a non-issue for me personally, but if I had gotten the eyeshadow and lip balm replacements, I would’ve been kind of mad because it’s the same lip balm that was in the last snack box, same flavor and all.  I like it, but I just got one.  Crossing over products is something they’ll have to be mindful of.

I think they can improve this service by letting the box be customizable by skin tone, i’ll explain why that’s important below with the tinted moisturizer.  Trying to keep color preferences straight would be a lot of work for Vegan Cuts, but I think a note on how light or dark people are and what their underlying tone is would go a long way into making the box more usable to everyone, every month if such products are going to be included regularly.  I also hope they will expand the amount of companies they carry or send out samples of, as the variety on their website isn’t big enough to keep the boxes from containing repeats for more than a few months.  Mayhap we will see some OCC or Sugarpill in the future?

Overall, I think this is an invaluable service to a lot of vegans because navigating the world of cruelty-free beauty is HARD.  There’s third party testing, parent companies, now companies that sell in China have to test making them not cruelty-free, the fact that cruelty-free claims aren’t regulated at all, Urban Decay can bite me, all kinds of bullshit.  Personally, even I can’t pick up a product in a store and tell you if it’s vegan unless someone else has told me or the company has labeled it as such, because of the crazy names they give some animal products.  I think this (admittedly old, but it popped in my head) post from JL shows how mega-companies that are known to test are trying to trick us into giving them their money.  If you are not that into makeup but still want the occasional cruelty-free product without trying to make your brain explode, this will be great for you.  Basically, any vegan who likes to put things on their face will appreciate this box for one reason or another.

That is what I have to say about the box in general, if you are interested in reading about what I think of each product, keep reading!

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The nail color is one that will flatter pretty much everyone, and coral is a standard color for summer.  I am pretty good at chipping nail polish just by looking at, I managed to go three days without a single chip besides my thumb, which I used to pick a sticker off of a glass bottle.  LVX is $16 a bottle, so a full size bottle is almost the price of the whole box.  Some people balk at the price, and while $16 is kind of high for nail polish, it seems to be a quality brand.  For comparison, two of the more popular vegan brands, Zoya and Butter London, sell their polishes for $8-9 and $15, respectively.  I own and enjoy some cheap polishes, like Wet n’ Wild, but they are $3 or under for a reason.

The Suntegrity tinted moisturizer immediately had me worried.  Most people have either yellow undertones or pink undertones, some people are neutral.  But most tinted moisturizers a) default to yellow and b) are too dark.  I am pale and pink, so I usually get screwed over.  Thank god for samples!  I squeezed some out on my hand so you can see that it is pretty dark, even when blended out, and the sample color is ‘golden light’.  However, it didn’t look that bad on my face and with mineral foundation over it, was even less noticeable.  I already have a tinted moisturizer and a BB cream that I like pretty well, so I wouldn’t buy this one as the full size retails for $45.

(I don’t like posting pictures of my hands because of my eczema, hang nails, and poor painting skills so please be nice.)

I LOVE the Lippy Girl lip gloss, it’s flavored with coconut and fruit oils so it’s like spreading Aloha Bread on your lips.  I’ve already gone through 1/5th of the tube so i’ll definitely be ordering more.

Mascara wearing vegans are always on a quest to find the best one EVER.  I was recently saying that the size of mascara tubes annoy me, because they’re actually too big.  You’re supposed to toss your mascara every 3-6 months because of bacteria, so having more than one full-sized tube at once seems like a waste.  Even if you don’t toss them that often, they will dry out long before you actually use it all.  So in the case of mascara, I would rather they were all available in sample size.

Now I am from Team Drag Queen Lashes, so I knew that anything with ‘natural’ in the title wasn’t going to blow me away.  But I tried the Glam Natural and it doesn’t flake, smudge, or fail the Nap Test, so i’ll be keeping it in the Namaste pouch in my purse for mascara emergencies YES THAT IS A REAL THING THAT HAPPENS.  You can build it up a little bit, the left is one coat and the right is two (curling my lashes would’ve helped):

P.S. I immediately fixed my bangs after these photos.  What are they even doing?

I used the face wash, but I really don’t know what to say about it.  It washed my face?  I’m not too particular about my face washing products because I mostly use some sort of scrub.  I will say it was more watery than I was expecting, but on the package it says that’s because they don’t add unnecessary thickeners to their products so it’s totally on purpose.

I’ve never used argan oil, but I know it’s all the rage in beauty right now so the prices of it can be pretty inflated.  I’ve been using Jojoba oil as my night moisturizer/stretched ear massaging oil for years, so i’m pretty happy with what i’ve got.  So i’ll use the argan oil and i’m happy to get a sample to try, but I probably wouldn’t purchase a full size.

The lavender oil is the only thing I would toss if I had to choose, but that’s because i’ve had insomnia since I was about seven and sniffing some oil isn’t going to put me to sleep (if only, if only).  But it’s the smallest sample in the box so it’s not that big of a deal and it smells nice.

So that’s it!  I love two of the products, like the pouch and mascara, and hate nothing.  I got everything I wanted out of it and then some!

posted: July 22, 2013
under: products, review

Vitacost: big haul for Whole Grain Vegan Baking!

If you follow Celine or Tami‘s blogs, you’re probably aware that there’s a blog tour for their new book, and i’m part of it.  A big complaint about vegan cookbooks is if they use any ‘weird’ or hard-to-find ingredients, so if you’re interested in getting the book and aren’t sure if you’re going to be able to find everything you need locally, read on.

When Celine sent out the email asking for participants, we were literally in the middle of moving.  I wanted to participate, but being in a new town that’s small and trying to unpack all of my stuff, I didn’t know if I was going to be able to get all of the stuff I needed and I didn’t really have the time to drive around looking for things like barley flour.  I knew i’d be able to find some stuff at Kroger, but I decided it would just be easier to order everything off of the internet.  I had some referral credits saved from Vitacost, and they were having a 15% off sale on some of the stuff I needed.  I didn’t order everything one would need to make every recipe in the book, but I did get a lot of flour and sweeteners.  A LOT.  Two very heavy boxes worth.

 

Yeah, that’s a lot of flour and sweeteners and some other stuff (plus I got some hand cream and a few other things), but I was really stoked to stock up my new pantry!  I waited for the book to arrive, then went through and marked a bunch of recipes to try.  Then I went through and wrote down the flours I would need that I didn’t know for sure I could get.  I ordered doubles of some flours, like spelt, that I knew for sure I would easily use up.

Vitacost is a neat discount site that sells lots of stuff for vegans:  they have a section just for Leaping Bunny certified items, and a vegan section which is then divided into the normal store categories.  If you get the Healthy Surprise Box, they carry a lot of the snacks that go into that.  There’s also makeup (even Beauty Without Cruelty), vitamins, protein powders, cleaning items, and obviously, pantry items.

I will say that not everything that is vegan in the Leaping Bunny section is marked as such – if you click the ‘vegan’ link under the ‘narrow your search’ bar on the left, sometimes it omits items that I know for sure are vegan, so it helps to already know your brands (i’ve never seen anything listed as vegan that wasn’t, though).  Like amazon, prices are discounted in varying amounts, but if you’re trying to score vegan items for cheap, I think Vitacost is better, mostly because of the sections mentioned above.  It’s just easier to navigate.  They often discount items – like their top sellers – for an extra percentage.  Sometimes they even do sales on Leaping Bunny products!  And right now, they have Bob’s Red Mill products marked down an extra 15% (through 5/29), so if you do want to get some stuff for WGVB, now is the time!

I mentioned referral credits above, so here’s the deal on that:  they have a program where if someone uses your referral code, you both get $10 off (but only for your first purchase).  I’m not really into trying to push affiliate links on people so I can get free things, but this one is two sided.  I actually tried Vitacost because a vlogger I like did haul videos for them and I wanted to help her out so I used her code. This program is featured on their front page so it’s open to everyone, if you ever sign up for a Vitacost account you can get referral credits without signing your first born over to the dark prince.

So if you would like to try out Vitacost, and save $10 (or if you hate me, go to youtube and search for ‘vitacost haul’ and I guarantee you will quickly find a referral link in someone’s video): click here for the referral link, the only catch is that you have to spend $30 to use the $10 (but you get free shipping if you spend $50).  If you’re already a vitacost fan, let people know what your favorite things are to order so they can get some ideas!

posted: May 25, 2013
under: books, elsewhere on the internet, food, products

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