Pacifica Dream Big Mascara

Dreamy and Magestic Mascara

Pacifica has been my go-to for skin, hair, and all around smell good products for years, but I haven't yet delved into the world of Pacifica makeup. I'm not entirely sure why, either. Their price point is great and I've loved every other Pacifica product I've ever tried so why not try out the makeup as well? Maybe because my face is finicky when it comes to makeup/skincare and I like sticking to what I know works well and I subconsciously wrote off all brands that use lots of oils. Maybe not. But I do know that I won't let that hold me back anymore. I stepped out of my makeup comfort zone and gave a new mascara a try. Riveting news, I know.

In all seriousness, I bought the Pacifica Dream Big Mascara because I was running out of my trusty Tarte mascara and I was in Target and thought "why not?", but I like the inspirational rant I went on before so we'll just go with that. When I got home and tried it for the first time, let's just say I was extremely surprised and impressed.

Pacifica is 100% vegan and cruelty-free

The Pacifica Dream Big wand changes size when you twist the end of the applicator... WHAT? When I first discovered this life changing feature, I felt like I just witnessed the best magic trick of the 21st century. Twist to the left and BAM, you have length. Twist to the left and WHAT'S THAT?... volume. Genius. The application is smooth and I love changing up the size of the brush just because I can. 

Have you ever tried Pacifica Makeup?

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Halo Top Vegan Ice Cream

Healthier dairy-free ice cream!

When Halo Top first starting showing up everywhere (commercials, ads, freezer section, etc.) I was super disappointed they weren't vegan. They're flavors seemed amazing and they brand their ice cream as healthier so you can't blame me for being a little bummed that they contained dairy... until recently. Imagine my surprise when I walked into the non-dairy ice cream section of my local grocery store and saw a variety of Halo Top dairy-free options! I'm not sure when this happened, but I'm definitely glad it did!

Halo Top offers vegan options in the following flavors: Chocolate, Chocolate Covered Banana, Cinnamon Roll, Sea Salt Caramel, Oatmeal Cookie, Caramel Macchiato, Peanut Butter Cup, Vanilla Maple, Toasted Coconut, Chocolate Almond Crunch, Candy Bar, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, and Pancakes & Waffles

I haven't been able to find all of the flavors in the stores in near me, but I was able to pick up 6 different flavors so I definitely had to write about it to justify buying 6 pints of ice cream. Until the stores around me stock up on Halo Top, I'll just dream of walking in the grocery store and finding Birthday Cake and Candy Bar.

I was able to find the following Halo Top Dairy-Free flavors:

Chocolate Covered Banana

Oatmeal Cookie

Caramel Macchiato

Peanut Butter Cup

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Chocolate Almond Crunch

While these ice creams aren't the tastiest non-dairy ice creams I've ever had, they are the healthiest. If I'm ever feeling super healthy but I also want to have a nighttime snack, I'd definitely buy Halo Top again. The Chocolate Covered Banana flavor was definitely my fave of the bunch.

Have you tried Halo Top ice cream?
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Love Beauty & Planet

...and acts of love for our planet

I'm always on the hunt for new vegan and cruelty-free beauty products, so when my sister discovered the vegan and cruelty-free brand Love Beauty & Planet before me, I was shocked. She's really into rose scented things at the moment and she said she was drawn to the pink rose printed bottles in the store. She then showed me the Murumuru Butter& Rose Shampoo and Conditioner and that's when I saw the peta logo on the back. I was instantly interested and I had to find out more. 

Murumuru Butter & Rose Blooming Color Shampoo and Conditioner

The murumuru butter & rose shampoo and conditioner are both insanely, and beautifully, fragrant and the after wash results are just as impressive. After using the shampoo and conditioner together, I definitely smelt the rose scent throughout the day. On the conditioner bottle, it says these products have a "fast rinse conditioner technology" and I definitely noticed how fast the conditioner washed clean out of my hair. I'm totally into that... saving water and all.

I decided to stray away from the rose scent and buy the shea butter & sandalwood scented body wash instead because I'm obsessed with anything sandalwood scented. And I absolutely love it. This body wash is extremely moisturizing and I'm honestly obsessed. Also, the pump application is probably usually an oversight, but I definitely noticed it and love it. I don't think I can pour out body wash onto my hand again. Nope... body wash pumps for life.

I would never be one to say I'm excited to use up a product, but I'm genuinely excited and eager to finish these beauties up so I can try Love Beauty & Planet in more of their scents!

What's your favorite Love Beauty & Planet product?
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Buddha Teas

Yummy Herbal Teas

Teas are a major weakness of mine. Add Buddha to the packaging and I'm instantly sold.

After reading each description on the Buddha Teas boxes, I couldn't help but want nothing more than the zen and happiness that these teas claim to possess. Yes, I would like to drink my way to mental clarity and sip on some optimum wellness. Who wouldn't?? Maybe I'm just a sucker for A+ marketing or maybe herbal teas are the cure for everything... all I know is that I enjoy drinking tea and the calmness that comes with it and that's all that matters.

Turmeric Ginger Tea
I love turmeric. I'm obsessed with it. I use it in ramen, I use it in vegetable soup, I use it when sautéing veggies, I even mix it in when I'm cooking rice. So obviously the next step is to drink it in tea form, right? Right. But sadly, it's surprisingly hard to find turmeric tea without cinnamon, and since I'm self-diagnosed allergic to cinnamon, I couldn't give any a try. That is until I found the Buddha Teas Turmeric Ginger Tea. And I love it so much. It tastes like turmeric and ginger (surprise???) and I'm obsessed.

Eyebright Herb Tea
Before buying this tea, I never even heard of the herb known as eyebright. It wasn't until I googled it after purchasing it, I found out all the medicinal properties of the pretty little flower, including a remedy for conjunctivitis. On the box, it states that the Eyebright Herb Tea is "a pleasant tea made from delicate flowers" which is what sold me. I love floral teas like chamomile, so I thought I'd give eyebright a try. And let me tell you, I think I might like the taste of eyebright more than chamomile. It's that good.

Ginkgo Biloba Tea
I've never had Ginkgo Biloba tea before, but the box described this tea as "the oldest living tree on Earth offering acute mental clarity" which I couldn't pass up. The oldest tree in the world and mental clarity. Yes please. The only down side I would say, of any of these teas that I've tried, was that the Ginkgo Biloba tea didn't really steep much at all. I'm not sure if that's the norm for this tea, but I was a little surprised when my tea tasted like slightly flavored hot water. The idea of this tea gets a 10/10.

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Inspirational Women

Women who inspire

Even in spite of our current political climate, I definitely think this past year has been triumphant for women. You'd never think speaking out and telling your truth would be difficult, but this year so many people, men and women, spoke up and told their stories. Women everywhere are finally being recognized for their strength and power and, in return, men are finally being called out for abusing their strength and power. We still have a long way to go as a society, but I think the right topics are finally starting to be talked about which is a great start.

To continue the theme of celebrating women and in honor of International Women's Day, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to list some incredible females who inspire me daily.

Audrey Hepburn
Audrey Hepburn just oozes inspiration. Whether it's the roles she played or the humanitarian she was, it's all awe-inspiring. I can't help but look back at her life at the strong, beautiful woman she was and be envious, but in the best way. She was elegant and charitable and everything I hope to be when I look back at my own life.
Unicef Audrey Hepburn Society

Malala Yousafzai
Malala is another strong woman whose presence alone is inspiring. Her story and everything that she has survived, all for the right of education, is incredible. Her story is a reminder of what horrors exist out there in the world and her survival is a reminder that we can overcome those horrors and thrive.
Malala Fund and Malala's Twitter

Tanya Burr
I've watched Tanya's Youtube channel for around 6 years now. That would mean I watched her videos from the ages of 17-23. That little age gap is a huge period of self discovery and I think Tanya influenced me in the best way possible. She's never been afraid to speak her mind on topics not many youtubers talk about, especially when it comes to girls. She just radiates positivity and I love it.
Tanya's Youtube & Blog

Olivia Purvis
Olivia (aka WhatOliviaDid) is definitely one my favorite bloggers. You can tell she is passionate about her personal style, her job, and the content she creates and, in return, that passion definitely shows. I admire that passion.
Olivia's Youtube & Blog

Leanne Lauricella
Leanne Lauricella is the founder of Goats of Anarchy - a nonprofit goat rescue in New Jersey. She quit her day job in order to take in disabled and special-needs goats full time. That alone is commendable... but just keeping up to date with the Goats of Anarchy Instagram, you can see her passion grow daily. She fights for animals rights by using her online following and I can't even express how much that inspires me to do more, even if I don't have a quarter of her social following or personal strength. 
Goats of Anarchy & Instagram

Oprah Winfrey
I almost didn't add Oprah to this list because I thought she would most definitely be on everyone's Inspirational Women list and I don't like being unoriginal... but then I realized there's a reason she would be on everyone's list. Because she's amazing. This year has been incredible for women using their voices, and Oprah's Golden Globes speech definitely solidified that. 
Oprah's Twitter & Instagram

Emma Watson
Emma Watson as Hermione Granger and the strong and intelligent person that character symbolized alone is enough to be added to this list, but Emma Watson as herself is even better. She took the negative stigma away from the word "feminism" with her HeForShe campaign and, for that, she can't be thanked enough. 
HeForShe and Emma's Twitter & Instagram

Duan Mackenzie
Duan is someone I've discovered on Youtube only recently (and by recently, I mean about a year ago) but she inspires me with every single video she creates so I knew I had to add her to this list. Like Tanya, Duan definitely radiates positivity. If I feel I need a little bit of inspiration or motivation, I go directly to Duan's channel. 
Duan's YoutubeInstagram

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Nature Box Vegan Snacks

Healthier snack options!

I've been subscribed to Nature Box for a little over a year now and I'm still just as obsessed as I was then, maybe even more now if I'm being honest. I first checked out Nature Box because of Youtube and all the discount codes floating around a few years ago. I never expected a well known brand to have vegan options so I was stoked when I saw Nature Box allowed you to sort their snacks by nutritional needs. They not only have vegan options, but they have gluten free, paleo, non-gmo, low fat, and even more options. Since Nature Box has been my snack of choice for over the past year, I decided it's about time to write a post about it.

Also, it should be noted that this is not a sponsored post. I just really love Nature Box and I'm sure you can find a discount code somewhere out there.

Sweet & Smokey BBQ Twists

These bbq twists are my all time favorite snack, even outside of Nature Box. I love barbecue chips so any chance I get to eat a healthier version, I take it. I like buying the individual size bags because my brother also really likes them and, since I'm such an incredible sister, I share them with him. Also, when I get the big bag I tend to eat the entire bag in one sitting so I like the smaller bags to prevent eating my weight in bbq twists.

Sea Salt Chickpeas

I love chickpeas so, naturally, I thought I'd love these dried sea salt chickpeas and I was right, I totally do love them. These are great when you want a small but filling snack. I actually feel full after only eating a small handful. 

Strawberry Figgy Bars

Figgy bars may be tied with the BBQ Twists for first place in my snack loving heart. I just love figgy bars so much and I love that Nature Box has a selection of vegan figgy bars. I usually eat these bars as a quick and on-the-go breakfast.

Sweet Potato Jalapeno Tortilla Chips

Chips and salsa are one of my favorite healthier snacks, so when I saw these tortilla chips, I knew I had to give them a try. I was also craving spice when I ordered these which is why I wasn't at all scared of the Jalapeno aspect. They are truly amazing.

Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds

I'm not the biggest fan of almonds, but I am a huge fan of dark chocolate so I thought maybe these almonds would be up my alley. And I was so right. I absolutely love these. They have the right amount of sweet and salty and I just love them.

Fruit Stars

These strawberry lemonade fruit snacks are amazing. They taste like strawberries and lemonade which is all you can really ask for in a product with strawberry lemonade in the name. Like the BBQ Twists, I usually eat the entire bag in one sitting, but I've been good with this most recent purchase... so far.

Other favorites not pictured: Santa Fe Corn Stix, Big Island Pineapple, Crispy Coconut Squares

If you noticed, none of the products are linked. Nature Box is always selling out and coming back in stock so I didn't want to link something that might be sold out. I usually just search the vegan products and go from there.

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The Power of Crystals

Crystals, gems, and stones... oh my!

The very first time I ever heard of crystals was curtesy of Spencer Pratt and his slight mental breakdown on reality TV 10 years ago. Right then and there I made a mental note to never do drugs because then I might talk to crystals and cause havoc in my friend group... if only my 13 year old self could see me now. Like Spencer, I have found something magical in tiny rocks (totally sober, too, by the way).

If you take away all the stereotypes and negative stigmas, crystal healing truly is majestic. The ideology is essentially the belief that certain crystals have healing capabilities. Whether or not you believe in the healing power of crystals, that's totally up to you, but we all have to agree on the fact that crystals are beautiful. Amethyst especially. Gorgeous.

My sister gifted me a bunch of crystals and the beautiful box I keep them all in from The Magickal Cat. You can find the box by clicking HERE!

Now I'm obviously a newbie to the world of crystal healing, but I'm still totally into it. And even if the healing part of all this is just an elaborated placebo effect, I'm still totally into it. 
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Love Is All You Need...

Marching for equality

After the success of last years Women's March, my grandma told me she would love to go to a march for women one day. I'm definitely all for equal rights and I definitely have my grandma to thank for that so I was 100% willing to make that happen for her. I'm not one for big crowds either, but still, I kept her request in mind, hoping there would be another march the next year and hoping maybe my anxiety would subside by that time.

Flash forward to the day before the 2018 march. I had to go into Philly that Saturday to pick up my dog's medication and I googled directions and realized I'd be driving through Philly on the same day as the Women's March. So I called up my grandma and the next day, before I had anytime to over think it, I was driving to Philly with my mom and grandma en route to Logan Square. 

By the pictures, I think it's safe to say my anxiety wasn't an issue this year. Though, I'd rather say it was more like I had a lapse in anxiety. I wasn't thinking of myself, but instead thinking about how much I'd like to share this memory with my mom and my 92 year old grandmom. Oh, yeah... Did I mention my grandma is 92???? She's honestly such an inspiration.

My grandma loves Eleanor Roosevelt so at 10:00 pm the night before the march, I whipped together a sign with my favorite Eleanor Roosevelt quote which is "A woman is like a teabag - you can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water". For me, I went with a Beatles quote with some 2018 modifications.

This time last year, I couldn't even imagine an alternate universe where I'd be completely willing to walk into a massive crowd, but still, I did it. I did it for my grandmom. I did it for the US Women's Gymnastics team. I did it for the women who've suffered but weren't taken seriously. I did it for the women who aren't yet strong enough to use their own voice. Despite my own personal reasons holding me back, I did it. And I'm so glad I did.

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Anxiety and Antidepressants

Anxiety isn't a topic I've delved into yet on this blog and that's for a few reasons. The main reason being I wanted this blog to focus mainly on vegan related topics. It wasn't hard to write about vegan exclusive topics either, not at all. My everyday life is a vegan topic so I could go on and on and on. But what's the point of writing a healthy vegan blog if my mind isn't equally healthy? I haven't posted in a few months because I was going through an anxiety-filled period in my life and I lost all interest in writing about the very topic just a few months before I could go on and on about. I'm started to regain interest in these little things again and I felt like I couldn't just write up a new post on a vegan candle without explaining what's been going on in my head for the past few months. So for this post, I'm taking the plunge and diving into the heavily stigmatized, and sometimes glorified, discussion of anxiety and antidepressants.

I've had anxiety for as long as I could remember. Whether it was balling my eyes out on the bus on my way to kindergarten or a surprise panic attack at a truck stop while traveling as a teenager - I've had anxiety my whole life and I've always been fine with that. It was part of me. I knew that I didn't want to be away from my mom when I was having a meltdown on the bus and I knew there were waaaay too many people for my liking in that truck stop. My anxiety has always been, for the most part, what I like to call "situational anxiety" (this may be an actual term, don't sue me if it is). If I was ever feeling panicked, I would take a second, assess the situation, and take myself out of whatever setting was making me feel anxious. When it comes to fight or flight, 99.9% of the time, I am always flight. But, again, I was totally fine with that. I knew what to avoid (big crowds) and I knew where I felt safe (at home surrounded by my family).

I always knew antidepressants were an option to help combat anxious thoughts but I also always knew I would never take them. I like being in my normal state of mind, even if that normal state is filled with taunting thoughts, I never wanted to feel cloudy. I never wanted to feel like my choices weren't mine. I stay away from drugs, alcohol, and most medications, so why would I be willing take a pill that wouldn't just temporarily change my state of mind, but actually change the chemicals in my brain? No thanks.

That was until a few months ago.

Back in March, I started to experience major health anxiety. After having a pretty bad sinus infection, I developed swollen lymph nodes, which are lumps that develop in your lymph nodes throughout your body when you're fighting off an infection. I don't know about you, but when I feel a lump anywhere on my body, I instantly freak. I googled "lumps on neck", which gave the most terrifying search results. I was stuck in a labyrinth of google search after google search which only made me feel worse when I didn't get the answer that I wanted (which was "you're totally fine! Now go to sleep!"). When I finally talked to my doctor, he told me the lump was normal and I shouldn't worry about it. So I was fine after that, right? Nope.

Like what I mentioned earlier, I've always had situational anxiety. I knew exactly what caused my panicky brain and I knew how to make myself feel better almost instantly. But my panicky brain was caused by the fear of something being wrong with my body and how was I supposed to take myself out of that situation? I would see a doctor, but that would only make me feel better until I found something different that could've potentially been wrong with me. It was a daunting cycle and I knew I needed help. In August my doctor prescribed me antidepressants and, though I had such a strong opinion on antidepressants just a few months before, I was desperate for the cycle to stop. So I was finally fine after that, right? Wrong again.

A few days later I woke up having a panic attack. I've never had a panic attack out of blue so I was instantly even more panicked. After half an hour and the panic attack still didn't subside, I knew something was seriously wrong which just made the anxiety grow. That panic attack lasted a grand total of 5 hours, and it only stopped after I got a rushed prescription of xanax. Of course, I blamed the antidepressants since panic attacks were one of it's adverse side effects. The panic attacks didn't stop there, no, that would've been way too simple. I had panic attacks constantly for the week that followed. I would start crying out of no where and I was constantly terrified that I would have another spontaneous panic attack again. I was afraid of everything. I was afraid to take a shower... let me repeat... I WAS AFRAID TO TAKE A SHOWER.

So I talked to my doctor once more and he put me back on antidepressants. He reassured me that the panic attack wasn't from my medicine and, though I didn't have any tests done, he was fairly certain I had a serotonin imbalance which was causing my panic attacks and that I would feel 80% better after taking the antidepressants. That's when I realized no amount of deep breathing or yoga could've ever fully helped me if the chemicals in my brain were out of whack. All negative stereotypes of antidepressants went out the window at that moment.

It's been a little over 7 weeks now since I've started taking the antidepressants, and the fact that I've even typed up this blog post is a testament to how well I'm feeling. I'm now starting to feel interested in little things like writing, getting properly dressed, and frivolous things like shopping online (which my bank account isn't too happy about). I still need to visit a therapist, but as a major introvert with social anxiety (are you surprised?), talking to a therapist isn't on the top of my to-do list.

I'm definitely not on the other side of my anxiety and I honestly don't think I ever will be, but for me, antidepressants have helped so far. I never took antidepressants in the past because I thought, in some weird way, it would be like giving up on myself. Like I took the easy way out. But that can't be further from the truth. I was also always afraid it would change my normal state of mind and make me feel foggy, but again, that couldn't be further from the truth (at least for me). In hindsight, I feel like my constant anxious thoughts were causing a major brain haze that I was too scared to clear because I let my anxiety define me. I didn't know who I'd be without anxiety and that was terrifying. I've always known anxiety was a huge part of me, but I now realize that I don't have to settle and I can get better.

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