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Review — Vegan Cuts Beauty Box: The best surprises are the ones that hurt “no-bunny”

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The Veg Verdict — Vegan Cuts Beauty Box

Price:

The Vegan Cuts Beauty Box is $19.95/month, or  about $18 per month if you buy a year’s worth at once. Shipping is free in the U.S., $8 in Canada, and $15 internationally.

This price intimidated me. I told myself I could buy so many different things for around $20 per month; why blow it on a mystery box? This is why I asked to try a box free, first, as a vegan-blog product reviewer. Now, I’m pretty sold. Read my full review to find out why!

Product Variety:
5/5

Lots of little vegan goodies I didn’t expect. Vegan Cuts says you get 4-7 vegan, cruelty-free products per month ranging from sample sizes to full-size products.

Surprise-Factor:
6/5

I completely forgot that I ordered a box. I mean, seriously, what’s better than opening the mail to a mystery package full of vegan beauty products? Maybe hummus. But that’s all.

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The Veg Verdict — Products

One Love Organic’s Healthy Locks Dry Shampoo Powder:
5/5

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Okay. I have a horrible confession. The kind of confession that’s going to make you say, “Really? Reeeeeaaally Paige?” Yeah, really.

The bad news:
In high school, I learned the trick of using a bit of baby powder in my hair as a cheap dry shampoo. And it worked! In a pinch, I’ve also tried other treacherous methods, like baking powder and even flour. Gross. It wasn’t until I opened up my Vegan Cuts box to find this cruelty-free powder wonder that I realized I still had a small shaker of Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder in my medicine cabinet that I used in emergency situations (e.g. “I slept past my alarm and I haven’t washed my hair in three days.”) I Googled whether this product was cruelty-free, and I found nothing. Therefore I assume it’s not, and I am a horrible, terrible person. I emailed them with my inquiry in hopes of redeeming my conscience, but chances are about as slim as Heidi Klum.

The good news:
One Love Organic’s Healthy Locks Dry Shampoo is WAY better than that Johnson’s hack. It left my hair feeling clean, without overly powdery, it smelled a little bit like Sweet Tarts (which are vegan, by the way,) and the pretty-in-pink packaging made me feel girly using the product, not babyish.

One website sold the same .6 oz shaker I recieved in my box for about $12. It lasts a long time, so the price doesn’t put me off. However, it does make the Vegan Cuts Beauty Box look like an awesome deal.

Gleam by Melanie Mills’ Lip Radiance — “Uncontrollable” Shade:
4/5

Gleam-By-Melanie-Lip-Gloss

I NEVER would have picked this color. Actually, I never would have picked this gloss. I don’t particularly like glosses; they remind me of middle school when I caked on so much shiny gloss it looked like my lips were made of cheap plastic.

So using Lip Radiance was a wonderful surprise. My lips didn’t feel too sticky, and the color! The color was a deep shade of reddish purple that lasted for hours without having to reapply.

I want all the other shades of lipgloss now (“Up Against The Wall,” I have my eyes on you!)

Kaeng Raeng Detoxfoliant Lavender and Vanilla Body Scrub:
5/5

Kaeng Raeng Detoxfoliant Lavender and Vanilla Body Scrub

If you know me at all, you know that I love lavender. To be honest, I didn’t really smell the “vanilla” in this body scrub, but loving lavender so much, that was probably a good thing. I used it during a long bath. Using the scrub felt like some sort of cleansing ritual — a deep soak for my body and soul.  The little beads of Himalayan Salt left my skin feeling soft and renewed.

Besides just being vegan, I loved how simple the ingredients list was! All things that I can pronounce.
Ingredients: Himalayan Pink Salt, Dead Sea Salt, Organic Virgin Shea Butter, Organic Apricot Kernel Oil, Lavender Essential Oil, Vanilla Absolute Essential Oil


Glamnatural Moisturizer:
2/5

– No Photo; I gave it away after trying once. –

This moisturizer was just not for me. I loved the ingredients list, again, simple, recognizable ingredients … but it left my face feeling oily all day. My makeup kept smearing on my shirt and hands all day, leaving beige-tinted blotches on many of my things. However, if you have very dry skin, this product might be perfect for you. Therefore, I gave it a two.

Harvey Organics “Hello” Perfume:
5/5

Harvey's Hello Perfume

Hello fresh scents! I don’t usually wear perfumes, or when I do, I use a bit of a Frankincense & Myrrh Oil blend. But this? I love. My boyfriend said, “You smell good.” “Like what?” I asked. “Like a girl!” He exclaimed. I’m glad he likes it too.

“Hello” has notes of Meyer Lemon, White Grapefruit, Satsuma Mandarin, Summer Forsythia, Pink Plumeria, Wild Verbena, Tahitian Vanilla, and Sensual Musk, according to their website. It’s also explained as “refreshing, welcoming, and loving.” I couldn’t agree more.

I can’t believe they have so many different concoctions. Apparently, you can order samples, but I can’t find the tab mentioned on their site. If anyone discovers it, let me know! I’d love to try out some more.

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I try to use the word “love” when reviewing products sparingly, but I really do Love the Vegan Cuts Beauty box with a capital “L.” Opening up the package brightened my day, and I had so much fun trying out all the new products.

I was most surprised by the size of the products. While they were still small, a few products were still worth up to $26. I received five different products in my box, so I think the Vegan Cuts Beauty Box is a steal. The products were all high-quality, and best of all, vegan.

I recommend buying a single box to see for yourself. It’s like going on a really good date, only to find out later that he lives really far away. That’s when you decide if you love him enough, and if you do, you can just pay a monthly fee to go steady and he’ll make surprise visits. Or is that prostitution? Close enough.

Do you subscribe to a monthly subscription box?

Adorable-Kitten-Miso

Updates Date

Hello!

Looks like we have a date about some updates on my blog. (Yeah, I know, awfully cheesy.)

Speaking of cheese, I’ve been living off of this Chickpea Quesadilla with creamy, “cheesy” chickpea spread for the past few days. Maybe not the most nutritionally-sound of diets, but it checks off all of my most important boxes: vegan, yummy, filling, and cheap.

Okay, back on topic.

Updates

1. I’m now part of the Her Campus Blogger Network! This means I get to put a shiny badge on my site — ooooooh, aaaaaah — and you’ll be hearing from me at least once per week, if not more.

2. If you don’t follow me on Instagram or Twitter, my boyfriend and I adopted the most adorable kitten. Her name is Miso, and she’s a house cat/Siamese mix. Did I mention she’s adorable? Obligatory photo below. Her favorite toy is a plastic straw, and her favorite pastime is climbing into my hair like a little monkey. Oh, and she likes to announce when she’s using the litter box with a tiny meow that says, “Look at me!” Weirdo.

Adorable-Kitten-Miso
3. I got a parcel from Vegan Cuts Beauty Box! I’m testing out the products as we speak, so look out for a review soon.

4. I still have plenty of restaurants to review from Utah that will be coming up too. I’ll try and space them out with some Florida ones in between.

5. I got a new roommate and she’s a pescatarian! Now to slowly unfold my conniving plan to convert her to veganism. Commence evil laughter. Kidding. But I might just have to share one of these with her.

What’s the best news you got this week?

Photo by Vegan Mermaid (Paige Butterfield)

Review — Buds Sandwich Company (SLC, UT): My only regret is that I couldn’t eat more

Image via local.ksl.com
Image via local.ksl.com


The Veg Verdict

Price:
Cheap.

Little money for a whole ‘lotta sandwich.

Atmosphere:
2/5

Seating is reserved to outside picnic tables unless I missed a secret entrance somewhere. Awesome for when it’s nice outside and you want to picnic, not so great when the weather is awry.

Vegan Food:
5/5

Sandwiches your omni friends won’t know are vegan.

Vegan Beverages:
3/5

Nothing out of the ordinary.

Veg Bites

Endless sandwich opportunities.

// Bud’s Menu  //  

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After a full day of biking around Salt Lake City during peak “Holy crap, I’m melting,” hours, my boyfriend and I were pleased to stumble upon Buds Sandwich Company. Okay, we would’ve been grateful to find anything edible after that bike ride. But we got lucky.

My boyfriend gave me the glare of death when he realized we’d be sitting outside. I smiled, whipped out the sunscreen from my drawstring bag, and distracted him with the long list of vegan sandwiches.

“Were already here, let’s just give it a shot,” I pleaded.

He saw the Cheesesteak sandwich listed and approved.

I, on the other hand, took longer to decide on a sandwich than it took to get our food. Seven freshly crafted vegan sandwiches on the menu and three festive salads to boot. My instinct was to order the Fresh Veggie with guacamole and piled-high vegetables on wheat bread. But I could get that anywhere. You know what I couldn’t get? The Pesto Sub with walnut-basil pesto, veggies, and soy chicken on sourdough. Did you hear that? A vegan pesto sub. Why didn’t I ever think of this heavenly creation?

The Pesto Sub it was.

Within minutes we heard our names being called from the cute window by a girl. That’s when I snapped this horrible quality photo of my sub.
What? I was armed with a camera phone and I was hungry. Give me a break.

Photo by Vegan Mermaid (Paige Butterfield)
Photo by Vegan Mermaid (Paige Butterfield)

This sub was fantastic. I could’ve eaten a second one, and a third. Maybe a fourth. The fourth might’ve made me ill, though. There was no talking while Kyle and I scarfed down our subs. It was one of those beautiful foodie scenes where the meal is so good that you can’t bother to open your mouth for any reason other than to take another bite.

There were, however, the sweet sounds of nature. Birds, leaves rattling in the trees, passerbys stopping to see where that wonderful smell was coming from. And families eating at the surrounding tables, their children eating sandwiches too. I witnessed a little boy offer to share his Zucchini Chocolate Chip cookie with a little girl running around without shoes. I wish he’d offered me that cookie.
Kyle didn’t say much about his sandwich, but it was gone before I could ask for a taste. Judging by his record speed-eating skills, I assume he enjoyed it too.

I’m not the only one who thinks that Buds might be the greatest vegan sandwich feast in the U.S.

“My only regret from eating here is that my stomach wasn’t big enough to handle a 2nd sandwich,” said a customer on Yelp.

I think that’s my only regret too.

What’s your favorite vegan sandwich combination?

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World Elephant Day, because … elephants.

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Image via Flickr by torbus

Elephants are adorable. Not only are they wrinkly creatures of cuteness with funny-looking noses, but their capacity for empathy and familial bonds surpasses most other creatures (I argue humans included.) They mourn for their losses, care for their families, seek revenge, and make some pretty sweet paintings.

They also like to chase butterflies. Excuse my squeals of delight.

Oh, yeah, and they’re dieing.

The Semi-lengthy Explanation:

“Roughly one-fifth of all African elephants were slaughtered between 2010 and 2012 to fuel the voracious demand for ivory — most of which is sold to China,” said an article from WTTW just last year.

That is not okay.

Even more alarming, “Elephant numbers have dropped by 62% over the last decade, and they could be mostly extinct by the end of the next decade,” posted WorldElephantDay.org.

That is REALLY not okay.

What they also deserve is a life without fear, pain, and suffering. Arguably more horrifying are the elephants forced to “perform” in circuses. Obesity, arthritis, starvation, dehydration, sores, tuberculosis, genetic defects, and “zoochosis” are just a few of the hardships elephants in the circuses get to look forward to, according to One Green Planet.

The Short Explanation:

Elephants are not meant to do headstands for applause or be killed for their tusks. So let’s do something about it!

elephants, animals, grass, field, lake, water
Image via stocksnap

What can I do right now?

  1. Don’t support the circus. Here’s why.
  2. Don’t purchase ivory. (Duh, but you’d be surprised.)
  3. Spread the concern with #WorldElephantDay.
  4. Join the Elegram project.
  5. Support elephant conservationists.
  6. Get children involved with Roots & Shoots.
  7. Adopt” an elephant. (You know you love stuffed animals!)
  8. Sign a petition.
  9. Buy an adorable elephant charm. This would make an awesome gift for an animal-lover.

I want future generations to be able to experience the majesty of elephants, not to be the fairytales of little girls’ bedtime stories.

What are some other ways we can help the elephants?

Review — Vertical Diner (SLC, UT): My new favorite vegan restaurant

Image via Jennifer Pickens via Flickr


The Veg Verdict

Price:
Fair.

Although they could have charged me $20 per plate, and I wouldn’t have made a fuss. 

Atmosphere:
3/5

It’s a diner. Don’t expect fru fru and frills, just great people and great food.

Vegan Food:
6/5

This is my new favorite vegan restaurant. I wish I could’ve tried EVERYTHING, but alas, my stomach was too small to consume every morsel before my time in Utah was up.

Vegan Beverages:
5/5

Just as wonderful as their food.

Veg Bites

Everything. This makes my job so much easier.

// Vertical’s Menu  //  

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Utah was a vegan haven.

If it weren’t for long mountain hikes, I would have gained five pounds. At least. Salt Lake City, especially, took me by surprise with its wide selection of vegan goodies. Nearly every menu had a few vegan options, and I was astounded at their number of 100 percent vegan restaurants (mind you, I realize that FL is seriously lacking.)

That’s why when I say Vertical Diner is my new favorite vegan restaurant, it’s to be taken seriously. As in, stop-everything-you-are-doing-and-go-to-Vertical-Diner-this-very-moment serious.

The diner is just as meek on the inside as the outside, but I can see why. It’s all about the food. Vertical Diner serves up comfort favorites that delight your taste buds and put you in a happy food coma. What I love about Vertical is that they don’t advertise their vegan allure through a witty tagline or by cramming “vegan” into their name. It isn’t the Vegan Vertical Diner. It’s just Vertical Diner. Which means omnis and veg-heads alike can celebrate yummy food without the stigma.

With so many options, some might facepalm that I went for the Cali Burger. But I had to. I was practically compelled to by the vegan gods when I saw a vegan burger on the menu that didn’t have the word Boca before it.

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Photo by Vegan Mermaid (Paige Butterfield)

The burger was awesome. And no, I won’t apologize for the elementary adjective because that’s exactly what it was. Awesome. In my mouth.

While some vegan burgers attempt to mimic the texture and flavor of meat a little too closely, this burger let its freak flag fly. It was a vegetable burger that actually tasted like vegetables. In a good way. The closest comparison I can is to Dr. Praeger’s California burgers, but better.  The guacamole and sauce combined to give it a tangy, flavorful bite.

I’m not sure if the french fries were as divine as I recall — it could’ve just been the afterglow of the burger. Either way, there was nothing wrong with the fries, and they were a welcome friend to rounding out my diner experience.

Apparently, it gets better. Vertical Diner was voted one of the best breakfast places in Utah by Salt Lake Magazine in 2010. Options are fit for a queen, from their packed Breakfast Burrito featuring red sauce, cheese, and sausage, to their Gravy Train stacked with fries, tofu scramble, grilled peppers and onions, and of course — gravy.

Photo by Vegan Mermaid (Paige Butterfield)

The rich, warm biscuits were like perfect little sponges to soak up the rich, umami gravy. If it was up to me, we would’ve eaten every meal at this diner.

Got to check it out for yourself? Stop by on a Meatless Monday to get 25 percent of your entire meal, or check out their calendar to for some open mic or live music.

Keep an eye out for my review on Vertical’s sister restaurant, Sage’s Cafe. Spoiler: they’re sisters for a reason.

What’s your favorite kind of vegan burger?

How I Fell In Love With Utah — Hint: Vegan Goodness Inside

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When I was little, visiting my family near Salt Lake City, Utah was a drag. And by drag, I mean my father literally had to drag me there. Something about the combination of being forced against my will to climb mountains and having to make small talk wasn’t my idea of fun.

Fast forward years later, and here I am — back from a trip to Utah that ended oh-too-soon. In addition to the breathtaking mountains (that quite literally took my breath as I hiked miles up and down them,) and the familial welcoming, the vegan options were on-point.

I ate a vegan pesto sandwich that made me rethink my own existence and drank it down with a milkshake that I’d ask for as my last meal on death row.

And THAT folks, is why my next few posts will be centered on my vegan Utah experience.

See you soon :)

P.S. Stay tuned-in for photos of the most adorable kitten named after a type of soup.
P.S.S. Yes, she’s mine <3

Help kickstart HEALTH & Medicine Magazine to spread healthy-living awareness

(Image via HEALTH & Medicine Magazine)

“We be of one blood,”  co-founder Valerie quoted R. Kipling in an email to me.

And that’s really all it took for me to be swooned by the company.

Just kidding, I talked to Valerie from HEALTH & Medicine magazine for a bit and took a look at their Kickstarter before I felt confident in backing them up. Still, I don’t know a whole lot about the mag because I haven’t seen anything physical … yet.

But I’m excited to.

The Miami-based team has high hopes to put out a free (yes — FREE, one of my favorite words,) health and wellness magazine to Florida and eventually expand their distribution to other states. Think yoga poses, interviews with doctors, “Detox Dos and Don’ts,” and my favorite category — vegan food!

The magazine will be found in popular wellness destinations like food markets and yoga studios, but also will be available for us digital dwellers. Did I mention it was free?

While I’m not 100 percent sure what the end-result will look like, the examples on their Kickstarter prove a 5-year-old isn’t collaging the work with a pair of Fiskars from behind the scenes.

Let me be candid — for writing this bit, I was offered a one-space page in the print magazine where I’d be able to share recipes, veg-tips, or reviews. Let that not tarnish this post, rather credit it. Street-cred: I was once asked to write an article for a content mill about having a lobster dinner and I refused the work and the money. My excuse? I’d have a hard time refraining from using the words “animal flesh” and “cruelty.”

(Image via HEALTH & Medicine Magazine)

I’ve been told the first issue is almost finished content-wise, which makes me ever-so-eager to see it up and running!

To start the magazine, they still need about $11,000.

All pledge amounts $1 or more get a little something from the magazine. Be a big spender and you can even get your name and logo printed on the masthead of the first 12 issues, along with 2 full-page ads!

Crowdfunding is the new trend, from high-school-friend Jessica asking for funds to travel to Italy, to that blonde girl needing money for her ill mom’s dog’s surgery (*guilty*). But this is a chance to see your donation create something physical, something tangible, that could introduce others to a healthier lifestyle.

Whether you back up the dream with money or you share it with your friends, thanks for being lovely!