Saturday, July 26, 2014

{Video} Petit Vour Unboxing July 2014- Luxury Vegan and Cruelty-free Beauty Products

I think I've found my subscription box soul mate.

It's elegant... and pink.  It contains amazing products, that I don't have to think twice about what's on their ingredient list.  And it was named after one of my favorite confections ever... petit fours.

I stumbled across a blog post a few weeks ago reviewing this box, and my first thought was... all this for just $15?  And my second thought was... I need to check this out, now.

And a week later, a box of "small & temptingly luxurious cruelty-free products" (just like the small and decorated petit four dessert- with the F changed out for V for vegan) arrived at my door.  And yes, it was love at first sight.

Watch on to see my unboxing and even more tips and thoughts on the products...

Petit Vour Luxury Vegan Beauty Box- $15/mo.

LVX Nail Lacquer in Lollie- $16

Creamy, dreamy... and my signature color, this gel-like nail polish tops my list of best 5 FREE nail polish, and even gave my favorite Chanel nail polish (which I just found out is also 5 Free) a run for it's money. LVX, which is Latin for light (the essence of all color) offers a ton of colors to choose from, but I couldn't be happier with Petit Vour's pick- Lolli.

5 Free: Free of Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin, DBP, Toluene and Camphor

Pelle Beauty Facial Oil in Balance- Full size is $29-$68
(this sample is called a sidekick and sells for $12 on their site)

When it comes to using pure oils, I can really see the value, especially since you only need a few drops each use.  And these facial oils are free from water, preservatives, dyes, fillers and synthetic fragrances (a big perk for those sensitive to perfumes, like me).

I received Balance in my box, which is supposed to help harmonize your complexion with dudui, babassu and hazelnut oils.  I'm a little concerned that it contains nuts, since I have a nut allergy to some of the more mainstream types of nuts.  So, I'll make sure and do a skin test (on my arm) before I use it on my face.  I'm thinking this might be nice as a cuticle oil as well.

Schmidt's Natural Deodorant in Bergamot & Lime- $9

I've been in search of a natural deodorant these last few months, with no luck.  So, I was excited to see this sample of Schmidt's Deodorant.  I love that it's free of aluminum, propylene glycol, parabens & phthalates.  And I love the Bergamot & Lime scent even more.  Who knew deodorant could have such a pleasant and addicting smell.

I'll let you know in a future video/blog post my thoughts on it after I've tried it out.

Modern Minerals Eyeshadow in Lola- $12.50

Free from Parabens and Phthalates, plus 100% cruelty-free, this eyeshadow is the first I've tried that I can really feel safe using.  The shade I received (Lola), looks more on the bronze side, after being swatched, but felt nice and creamy... something I wasn't sure of when it came to a mineral eyeshadow.  Can't wait to try some of the other colors in the future, too, as these shadows offer a nice pigment and blend well.

*Note: I paid for this box with my own money, and was not compensated in any way by Petit Vour for this review.  All opinions are honest, and my own.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

{Video} 3 Quick Vegetarian Dinners 7/23/14- Lasagna Petals, Roasted Veggie Pasta, Spinach Artichoke Quinoa Casserole #3DinnersAWeek

This week I decided to switch it up a bit and focus on three vegetarian dinners... and they did not disappoint.  

My newest Lasagna Petal recipe offered a sweet richness that came together quicker than your typical lasagna.  And it was fun experimenting with roasting green beans, something I'd never tried before.  And just like other vegetables, roasting really brought out their flavor.  And finally, the Spinach Artichoke Quinoa was a nice change from our regular rice... and a whole lot healthier than spinach artichoke dip.  Even my guy loved it and went back for seconds.

So, watch on to see how these all came together, and to learn more about 3 Dinners a Week, click here.


Day 1:

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

{Video} Trader Joe's Vegetarian Haul + 2 Weeks of Dinner Meal Plans with Recipe Links

Back when I lived in Santa Barbara, one of my first "real" jobs was an Office Manager for Culligan Water... and yes, saying "hey, Culligan Man" still makes me smile.  Not only were the owners cool to work for, but they really believed in taking care of their employees.  Great pay, flowers for special occasions, and handing me their credit card and sending me off to Trader Joe's each week to buy food for the office.  I'd come back with boxes loaded up with soups, crackers and cookies, granola bars and other snacks... and the employees were happy.  And it was good.

And then I moved to the South, and guess what?  Trader Joe's stores started popping up here too... and it was very good.

These past few months I've been making the transition to healthier, organic foods.  And these last few weeks I've even started to eliminate meat, thanks to the fact that most of my food allergies have cleared up, and I'm now able to eat things that I haven't been able to for over 20 years... like carrots, and broccoli, and apples.

I've missed them so much, they're like dessert to me!

And while some might think this lifestyle might be very expensive, I've found that even with buying mostly organic foods, my grocery bills have gone down significantly.  First, due to knowing how to coupon at stores like Harris Teeter and Earth Fare (click each for couponing tips).  And also, taking advantage of the great prices at Trader Joe's... no coupons needed.

So, if you're thinking of adding some Meatless Mondays into your menu.  Or, if you're wanting to give a plant-based diet a try, here are two weeks of menus to help get you started with new flavors, textures, and recipe ideas.

And make sure and watch the quick video above, to see exactly what I got, and how I plan on putting together all my meals.

Week 1 Dinners:

Monday, July 14, 2014

Spinach Ricotta and Roasted Butternut Squash Lasagna Petals- the basics and the accessories

This is my third recipe for Lasagna Petals.  Which, to you, might seem a bit odd.  But to me, pretty much fits my personality perfectly.  If something works... stick with it.  

Like buying my favorite pair of pointy toe heels in black, brown, and don't forget red.  Or, revisiting the sale rack the next day to buy three more of those pencil skirts to have on backup for the next three seasons.  Or always keeping my top five in stock... lemons, cilantro, goat cheese, frozen peas and vidalia onions.  I've been blessed with the gift of decisiveness (and some might even say practicality- thanks Mom) ... at least when it comes to the basics.

Never stray too far from the basics, yet add just enough creativity and pop with accessories to keep things interesting.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Garbanzo Bean Salad Sandwich- and how eating Vegetarian the last two weeks has helped me taste clearer

I've always found it unusual that people who were trying to eat less meat, would then fill up their freezer and fridge with chicken strips that weren't really made of chicken, crumbled ground "beef," and don't even get me started on tofu turkey.  All overly processed, "creatively" seasoned, and in the end...a far cry from anything that truly tasted like, or even resembled a big, juicy steak. 

So, as I've been re-exploring the wonderful world of Vegetarianism the last two weeks (although, I'm certainly no where near a complete non-meat eater yet, and don't know that I'd ever really want to be, either), I've been taking full advantage of some of the "perks" that were pretty much prohibited on my previous low-carb-for-over-20-years diet.  Delighting in the fact that I can now eat starchy potatoes with absolutely no guilt.  And that I can enjoy sandwiches as often as I'd like... with actual bread.  I've even grown to like (no, adore) using more of the salad veggies, and less of the lettuce... without the hassle of preparing and cleaning up after meat- especially chicken, which honestly has always grossed me out a bit.
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