Tag Archives: health

My Favorite 3…Makeup Items

In my search for makeup items that do not contain any animal products or byproducts in them – such as beeswax, animal fat, crushed beetles or fish scales – it has also become important to me that the beauty company operates in a cruelty-free manner; that is, their products are not tested on animals.

It has been quite difficult finding items that are both vegan and cruelty free. Oftentimes, the information is not readily available. However, I’ve found a few companies and products that I’m comfortable sharing and recommending. Here are my current top 3, all of which I use daily:

Kat Von D – Tattoo Liner ($20) This brush-tipped liquid liner goes on smoothly and easily. On their website it says: “#VeganAlert and 100% Cruelty Free Forever.” They are part of PETA’s Beauty-without-Bunnies program. More info: Kat Von D Beauty is going completely vegan.

Too Faced – Sweethearts Blush ($30) The blush has a palette that includes three color swatches. On their website it says: “Vegan friendly.” They are also part of PETA’s Beauty-without-Bunnies program. Note: although they are cruelty free, not all of their products are vegan, so if you want both you’ll have to check the ingredients. They keep a convenient list of their vegan products on their FAQ site.

Tarte – Lights, Camera, Lashes ($23) This mascara is very deserving of its great reputation and 4.5 star reviews. On their website it says: “Vegan.” As with Kat Von D and Too-Faced, Tarte is part of PETA’s Beauty-without-Bunnies program; while they are cruelty free, not all of their products are vegan. They keep a list of their vegan products on their website.  

As with my shoes, over time I hope to make my entire stock of beauty items both vegan and cruelty free. I am hopeful this might inspire you to take a look at your beauty supply as well!

 

 

 

Resources:

*There have been cases where the claims from the manufacturer were proven to be false, so note this is subject to change.

10 common cosmetic ingredients that are derived from animal products

101 cruelty-free and vegan makeup brands

Testing cosmetics and household products on animals

 

Pointers for Potlucks

Food often accompanies the festive winter holidays and what better way to make a gathering easier to manage than hosting a potluck? Here are a few of the tools I recommend for streamlining the scheduling and the menu planning.

Scheduling made easy:

My favorite solution to find the best date and time that works for an event is Doodle. Trying to coordinate schedules for multiple people can be a bit of a bear. Below is a screenshot of a fake poll that I set up to show a hypothetical potluck that is scheduled for April of 2016. As you can see from the user interface, folks can enter their name and availability. In this instance, Sat., April 9 at 12pm works best for everyone.

Menu planning made easy:

As for the dishes and accoutrements, this year I discovered the online tool Perfect Potluck. It is wonderful for coordinating ownership for various items. As the host you can list out what you think you’ll need; e.g.,: 3 appetizers, 4 mains, 2 desserts,  2 bottles of wine, 12-pack of soda, etc.  Then, participants can easily sign up. In the screen shot below for a summer picnic potluck, the names and phone numbers have been blocked for privacy.

 Our Favorite Potluck Dish

And speaking of the menu…perhaps you’d like to try one of our favorite recipes for your next gathering?

Meredith…My go-to potluck dish is Mac ‘N Cheese! My fiancé and I are suckers for cheesy goodness over pasta, but I don’t often make macaroni and cheese unless I’m making it for a crowd (goodness knows we’d devour the whole dish in one sitting!). I’ve tried several recipes over the years, but this Cheesy Macaroni and Cheese from Mommy? I’m Hungry! food blog is one of my favorites. Pasta, cheese, and butter…does it get any better? This dish is the homemade version of the classic bluebox from Kraft that started it all! Mac ‘n cheese is always a crowd-pleaser, and with this recipe you get it right every time!

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Kristi…Whenever a potluck calls, I immediately think salads. First, my husband is a strict Paleo so I unfortunately have to stay away from those delicious casserole dishes and decadently sweet treats (…MOST of the time). He’s a major green veggie eater, and so am I, so salads tend to meet both of our needs. What I love about bringing a salad is that you can completely ‘style’ your salad to a specific occasion or season—something with fresh citrus, avocado and romaine for the Summer, to a cranberry and roasted walnut over a bed of spinach for the Fall. I typically start with some of my favorite blogs, including Gimme Some Oven who has a beautiful gallery of salad recipes, but I do like to go off the grid and incorporate in seasonal veggies that I have on hand. Finally, salads are incredibly portable. I typically weave as many ingredients as I can and bring a small mason jar of dressing. Also, there are so many fantastic multi-functional containers that allow you to prep, transport and serve your dish.

Salad 1

Bri… Seasonal fruit salad. (You can tell I’m not the chef of the group!) For a potluck this fall, I’ll likely use persimmon and pomegranate. For taste, price and environmental benefits, I prefer to use organic produce from local farmers, so shopping at my town farmers’ market makes it quite easy to put together a sweet and healthy dish for potlucks.

fruit salad

Bon Appétit!

How to Pick the Perfect Pumpkin – Experts Weigh In

The air is still warm with what feels like a late summer breeze, but according to the calendar and our coffee cups – pumpkin-spiced everything! – the fall season is here. When you’re ready to pick out a pumpkin, whether for decorating or baking, we’ve got some great information from experts to share with you this week! Two California-based farms were kind of enough to provide their advice for today’s blog post.

“Picking the perfect pumpkin isn’t about looks as much as it is about freshness.  Pumpkins have a very long shelf life, so you have no idea how long a pumpkin has been in a big box store when you get it home to carve or decorate. For pie pumpkins and regular pumpkins, you can judge freshness by how firm the flesh is.  The more “give” the pumpkin has, the older it is. For a very fresh pumpkin, try to go to a local farmer or pumpkin patch, pick it from the field, and find whichever one is visually appealing to you!” – Justin Bloss of Vierra Farms / Dave’s Pumpkin Patch, West Sacramento, CA

“Select winter squash that are hard and heavy for their size – avoid cracked shells or those with decayed areas. Hard-shelled squash can be stored at room temperature for 2 months, and in a cool, dry place for 3-6 months. Squash that is already cut should be wrapped in plastic and will stay fresh in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Cooked and mashed squash can be frozen and stored for up to 6 months.” – Cindy Groverman of Petaluma Pumpkin Patch, Petaluma, CA

If you’re in Northern California, make sure to visit Dave’s Pumpkin Patch and Petaluma Pumpkin Patch to check out their beautiful fields and wonderful selection of very fresh pumpkins!

We’d love to see the squash that you choose for your homes this fall. Please upload your photos to social media and tag us on Facebook or Instagram. Happy pumpkin picking! pumpkins2