A Few of My Favorite Things

It occurred to me recently that I’ve never written a blog post about my favorite vegan non-food products. Craziness! Since today is cold, gray, cloudy, and rainy (my ideal weather!!!) I figured it was a good time to sit down and write such a post. Please keep in mind that I am writing this post at my own free will and am not benefiting from promoting the products mentioned. It’s just nice to spread the word about great vegan products!

Let’s begin!

(1) I am a lip balm fanatic. I used to have a lip balm collection as a kid (anybody remember Bonne Bell?). I even have fond memories of eating banana-flavored lip balm. There are plenty of vegan lip balms on the market but most of them are either too grainy, too glossy, or too sticky. I don’t want shiny lips! Here is a lip balm I absolutely love (photo courtesy of Crazy Rumor’s website):

Crazy Rumors makes all sorts of magnificent flavors of lip balms – all 100% vegan!! They are smooth, not too shiny, and keep lips soft and happy. My favorite flavors so far are Mint Bubble (shown above) and French Vanilla. Have you tried these yet? What’s your favorite flavor? I fear I may need to try every single flavor!!

(2) Being stinky is uncool. There’s no good reason! I’m not one to wear perfume because it is expensive and often smells way too strong. I am usually content without any spritzy accomplices, but if I’ve been riding around on my bike and then meet up with friends for dinner, it’s nice to have options. Last summer I discovered a lovely product on sale at my local co-op and I decided to buy it as an alternative to deodorant/perfume (photo courtesy of Avalon Organics website):

Lavender Deodorant Spray from Avalon Organics is amazing! The ingredient list is clean and minimal and the 4-ounce bottle lasts a long time. I have used this as a deodorant, body spray, and room freshener. The smell is wonderful, relaxing, and refreshing. If you aren’t a fan of lavender, check out the other available scents.

(3) What’s a great substitute for plastic-bottled shampoos? Shampoo bars!! I learned about shampoo bars earlier this year and became addicted. While I can’t always afford to purchase them, they are definitely a great package-free solution to standard shampoos. The only shampoo bars I have tried are from Dress Green, an amazing little (actually it’s quite large) shop on Etsy filled with heaps of vegan-friendly items (HEAPS!). Shampoo bars last a long time and make hair soft, shiny, and clean without silly ingredients (photo courtesy of Dress Green) or unnecessary packaging:

This is the Pomegranate Juice Shampoo Bar. It smells superb. Want an extra bonus? You can use these bars as body soap too! Less clutter in the shower is always a plus.

(4) I never learned how to properly brush my teeth as a child. As a result, I have receding gums. I truly fear a dependence on dentures in my near future. My dentist keeps telling me not to fret, but I’m no optimist. Anyways, lots of toothpastes are too harsh for my mouth. It took me a long time to find a nice, gentle, effective toothpaste that was vegan (photo courtesy of Dr. Ken’s website):

Dr. Ken’s to the rescue! I love these toothpastes. They are so gentle and leave my teeth and gums in A+ form. I am learning to brush without angry force to prevent a permanent visit from dentures. Dr. Kens has a variety of flavors so you are bound to find one you enjoy (with or without fluoride).

Those are just a handful of my favorite products. What are some of yours?

Oh, and take a peek at this sweet wee goat I met at Out to Pasture Animal Sanctuary a few weekends ago:

Cute as heck, right?

The Heat is On…

…It’s on the street… And in my oven! Jeepers, it is HOT in Portland this weekend. I keep psyching myself up for cooler weather and then in rolls a heat wave. I have a system down for staying sane (cool) though. My essentials: (1) A spray bottle filled with water and kept in the fridge; (2) Lots and lots of cucumbers to eat; (3) a Japanese folding fan; (4) Barley iced tea; and (5) Window blinds pulled down and shut to keep out the melting heat. Of course, I suppose a trip to a cold river would be nice too (anybody want to teach me to swim?)!

Anyways, the heat in my oven was on this morning because I was baking another batch of brownies! This particular batch has been on my must-attempt-soon list and I finally got the necessary ingredients to give them a try:

Rice Crispy Treat Brownies!!! The recipe for these delightfully fudgy, chocolatey, crispy, gooey brownies will be in my book! I am stowing them in the freezer for a cold, sweet dessert after dinner.

In other funky-fresh news, I finally opened my Etsy shop! It took me forever and then some extra forever because I am admittedly lazy. My shop name is Chirp Cards and I make cards (primarily with an animal theme because I LOVE animals!)! Please take a peek and spread the word!

I even take custom orders for cards and will eventually be adding photography cards too!! Yay!

I hope everybody is keeping cool and having a super rad weekend.

Cook, Photograph, Clean, Rep(eat)

Wow, summer is quickly fading into the forgotten world isn’t it? I am totally okay with that considering fall is my most favorite time of year. I realize summer will be sticking around a bit longer, but I’m still excited for cooler temperatures, clouds, and local apples.

It’s been awhile since my last post – with good reason… I’ve been mighty busy!! Amidst writing and testing brownie recipes for my book (and eating them too!) I had the absolute dandy pleasure of working with Isa Moskowitz for the last two weeks. My job was to prepare and cook recipes from her upcoming cookbook, Appetite for Reduction, and then help with setting up photo shoots and lighting, cleaning up afterward, and eating a bunch of the food that was photographed. It was hard work but also immensely enjoyable. I learned a lot about food photography from an obvious expert and also gained a fondness for her three kitties! You can check out the photos Isa took here and get psyched up for her book!!!! Everything I made was delicious. I am hopelessly addicted to the Green Goddess Garlic Dressing, the Tamarind BBQ Tempeh, and the Caulipots. Curious? Well head over here, and pre-order the book!!!! You can look forward to filling your tummy with goodness!!

With all the business in my life, I have found myself becoming increasingly tired despite healthy eating and exercise. I am getting plenty of sleep and cannot figure out why I am so drained of energy. I’ve taken to napping during the day which I used to avoid in the past. It’s frustrating! Any thoughts or advice?

Let’s see… What else? Oh! How about a sneak peek at a gluten-free brownie that will be in my book?

These are Gluten-Free Coconut Brownies. They are for serious coconut lovers only. It would probably help if you liked chocolate too!

What would your ideal brownie be? I’d love to know!