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Today is all about exfoliating. First off, why is exfoliating important? It removes dead skin cells and toxins, evens out skin tone, stimulates collagen production, and reduces the appearance of fine lines and enlarged pores. It can also help your favorite products absorb into your skin better!

Exfoliating has some amazing benefits, but it should always be done gently. Over-exfoliating can cause irritation, breakouts, and damage to your skin. When used correctly, the options below are gentle and effective. You’ll be glowing in no time!

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Konjac Sponges. These sponges are extremely gentle, so they are perfect for everyday use. They help balance your skin’s PH levels, and even out your skin tone. I currently use the Original Facial Sponge (great for sensitive skin) and the Turmeric Body Sponge (meant to help with detoxing).

Microfiber Washcloths. I honestly don’t know how I survived without these! Microfiber cloths are perfect for washing your face or oil cleansing. They are antibacterial and pick up toxins and makeup without needing to scrub or pull at your skin. I’m always amazed at how soft my skin feels afterwards! Highly recommend these, especially if you have sensitive or acne prone skin.

Spin Brush. The most fun way to exfoliate! This brush comes with 4 brush heads: two for your face, a body brush, and a pumice stone for your feet. I felt like a whole new person the first time I used it – it removes makeup and dead skin cells, and really makes you glow! Currently on sale here.

Natural Exfoliants. There are a lot of natural products on the market for exfoliation. Some can be used daily, like this gentle face wash, made with oatmeal and quinoa. For a monthly pick-me-up, I recommend finding a facial peel like this one, which uses fruit enzymes and acids to resurface skin.  Another great option is a facial scrub, which should be used no more than once a week. You can make your own by combing sugar and oils, or purchase an affordable one like this.

What’s your favorite way to exfoliate?

xo
Allegra

It’s been such a beautiful fall, filled with sunny days and golden leaves. Here are a few things I’ve been loving this season:

everyday allegra fall

For Everyday:
I picked up this cute travel mug and I’m in love! It keeps drinks warm for up to 5 hours and is completely leak-proof and dish-washer safe.  My family had a camping dish set just like this when I was young, so it’s really bringing me back. 69167_XXX_v1-1

For the Closet:
Portland’s rain will be back any day now. These rainboots have been my trusted friends since last fall. They’re super comfy and I especially love that they can be dressed up or down. It’s great to wear something lightweight and versatile since the weather is so unpredictable.

boots

For the Kitchen:
One of my favorite things about fall is the seasonal drinks! Pumpkin spice or eggnog just make my days a little sweeter. For making lattes at home, a milk frother is a must. For details on what milk alternatives I use, check out this post.

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For Beauty:
I love adding warmer tones into my makeup routine this time of year. These lip tints from Mineral Fusion are so moisturizing! The color “Flicker” is a perfect match for my fall outfits.

mineral fusion lip tin

For Health:
The days are getting shorter and cloudier, so getting more Vitamin D is a must. This liquid version is a great option, or you could try these gummies.

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For the Home:
To keep my home cozy, I’ve been enjoying himalayan salt lamps and candle holders. They bring a beautiful warmth to the room, which is perfect for gloomy fall days.

For the Pantry:
Three words: Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows. Three other words: don’t judge me! These are really yummy in hot chocolate, and they’re vegan. 

What have you been enjoying this fall?

xo allegra

*Amazon affiliate links are included in this post. All opinions are my own.

Not milk? Despite aggressive ad campaigns, dairy sales are down, and plant-based milks are growing strong. People are waking up to the truth behind dairy.

Cow’s milk isn’t so healthy after all. Even organic milk is filled with hormones, casein, and cholesterol. According to peer-reviewed studies, milk consumption is linked to many health issues, including:

  • Certain cancers: ovarian, uterine, breast, testicular, and prostate.
  • Type 1 Diabetes
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Inflammation
  • Acne
  • Sinus problems
  • Digestive issues (lactose intolerance)

I was especially shocked to learn that drinking milk can increase your risk for Osteoporosis and bone fractures. Isn’t that the opposite of what we’ve been told our whole lives? If it sounds unbelievable, feel free to check out this page, or this page, which cite credible sources.

Still not convinced? You might also consider the ethical and environmental impacts of the dairy industry.

Cow’s milk is meant for baby cows, and 2 out of 3 humans can’t even digest it properly. So if we aren’t drinking milk for health, why are we still drinking it? Well, most of us still want SOMETHING to have in our coffee and cereal, right?
milk alternatives portlandIf you’re open to trying a milk alternative, here are some tips:

  • Try before you buy. Starbucks now offers soy, almond and coconut milk. So many options! My friend swears a soy milk chai tastes like a snickerdoodle cookie, and I love a vanilla coconut milk latte. It’s an easy way to test out the flavor and consistency without committing to a full gallon of milk.
  • Don’t expect it to taste like milk. Think of it as a whole other beverage, or you might be disappointed. Like anything, it takes time to adjust. Maybe try drinking your coffee black for a week, then add a milk alternative. You’ll appreciate it all the more!
  • Try the sweetened version first. Most plant-based milks have a sweetened and unsweetened version. I recommend trying a sweetened version first if you’re used to creamer or 2%. Once you get used to the taste, try the unsweetened version for savory cooking or if you want to cut back on sugar.
  • Temperature matters. Putting a cold milk alternative into hot coffee can cause it to separate. You’ll see little floating things at the top of your drink, and wonder how life could be so cruel. Heat up your milk for hot drinks, it’s worth it! However, creamers like this one are usually fine. I also recommend making sure milk is nice and cold for cereal – it’s just much better that way.
  • Consider your options. Some plant-based milks work great in savory dishes, while others are best in beverages or baking. See the descriptions below for more details. Also keep in mind that different milk alternatives vary in taste and texture, so don’t give up after only one try.

Here are some popular options:

  • Coconut: My favorite plant-based milk! It’s creamy and rich, but has a neutral taste, making it versatile in sweet or savory dishes. Full fat coconut milk (usually found in a can) is very thick and works well for curries and yogurts. But for everyday use, like over granola or in lattes, I drink a lighter coconut milk (around 4 grams of fat per cup).
  • Soy: A classic milk alternative, found at any coffee shop or grocery store. It has the same amount of protein as cow’s milk, making it a popular alternative for athletes and anyone looking for extra protein. However, non-GMO soy is hard to come by, so some people avoid it.
  • Almond: Sweet and simple. This is a great option for baking, over cereal, or in coffee. It usually has a thinner consistency, but if you like nutty almond flavors, this is your best bet!
  • Hemp: Hemp is one of my favorite options for lattes. It gets SO frothy, and has a wonderfully nutty taste. I’ve yet to try it in baking or cooking, but I imagine it would work for both.
  • Rice: The perfect way to ruin your day. It’s thin and gross. I’d prefer water in my cereal instead of rice milk.
  • Hazelnut: I’ve actually only tried chocolate hazelnut milk before. It’s basically Nutella as a beverage. Highly recommend.
  • Oat milk: Another thick and creamy option! Works great in baking, and is especially delicious in pumpkin spice lattes.

Of course, these are just a few options, and each version has different brands and variations (like unsweetened or vanilla). You can also try making your own milk using a blender and a nut milk bag.

Swapping out your milk for one of these options can make all the difference for your health, the planet, and the cows! 🐮

Do you have any favorite milk alternatives?

xo
allegra

 

Hi loves! I finally found a great natural concealer, so I had to share! For years I’ve been using this concealer from Tarte. It’s incredible for acne coverage, but I had a few ethical reasons for wanting to switch to another brand. I tried a lot of products to replace it, but nothing even came close until I ordered Hynt Beauty’s Duet Perfecting Concealer.

hynt beauty concealer

First off, the ingredients are mostly clean. The EWG rated it a 2, which is a great score! It’s organic, vegan, and free of toxins and petrochemicals.  Plus it has added skincare benefits with aloe vera, avocado oil, cupuacu seed butter, and botanical extracts.

The consistency is very thick and creamy, and the finish has a natural sheen to it. That’s something I love in a concealer, but I know it’s not for everyone. Here’s a sample of the color “light” on my wrist (not blended at all).

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This would definitely be considered a high-coverage concealer, even capable of covering a tattoo. I only need a tiny speck to cover a blemish. I also love mixing a small amount with moisturizer to use it as a foundation.

It is long-lasting, but it took a little bit of experimenting to get it that way. With too much moisturizer or serum underneath, the concealer slips and wears off quickly. Without enough moisturizer, it can look dry and flaky on the skin. After some trial and error, I am super happy with the results!15877075_233319820411606_5311578169403244544_n(1)

As a bonus, I LOVE that it’s packaged in a recyclable glass jar! Overall, I would highly recommend this product. There are only 6 shades to choose from, but you can order 2 samples for $6. A little goes a long way, and my pea-sized samples actually lasted me several weeks!
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I also wanted to leave you with a few tips for acne coverage:

  • Exfoliating and moisturizing are the key to natural makeup coverage! Nothing worse than flaky clumps of skin under makeup. To exfoliate, I love the Spin for Perfect Skin Brush used with a gentle cleanser. My favorite way to moisturize is this mask from 100% pure. I love it so much I use it as my daily moisturizer!
  • Experiment with different applications. The right brush or beauty blender can make all the difference in how your products apply. Lately I’ve been applying concealer with this brush, and then tapping it out with my finger to blend it seamlessly into my skin.
  • Go light on the powder! It took me way too long to realize this. Loading up on powder can often draw attention to the issue and cause creasing and lines to form throughout the day. Personally I’d rather have a hint of acne than a cake-face of makeup. Let your foundation and/or concealer do most of the work, and use a small amount of powder to set it in place.
  • A spritz of rose water or witch hazel helps set makeup so it looks more like skin! It also adds the prettiest glow ✨ I started doing this last year and have gotten so many compliments on my skin (even during breakouts)!

Let me know if you have any additional tips! Sending love to all my natural beauties. xo

It’s dinner time! With a little creativity, any of your favorite meals can be made vegan. And just a few vegan meals a week can really cut down your carbon footprint + save some furry/feathery friends. Here are some ideas:

vegan plant based dinner ideas portland

  • Pizza. Yes, vegans can enjoy pizza too. You can sub in your favorite meat/cheese alternatives, or just load up on veggies. My go-to toppings are peppers, mushrooms, onions, olives, and Vegan Mozz from Miyoko’s Kitchen
  • Spaghetti/Lasagna. When I first went vegan, I swear I had spaghetti for every meal. If all you know how to do is make pasta and heat up marinara sauce, you’re good to go. Of course, a homemade sauce is even better! I love letting mine simmer all afternoon with tomatoes, carrots, celery, brown sugar, fresh herbs and roasted garlic. Vegan lasagna is also amazing – you can layer in veggies like zucchini and eggplant, vegan ricotta, mozzarella and parmesan.
  • Baked Potatoes. Load ‘em up with chili, chives, vegan sour cream, and even vegan bacon bits. For some extra nutritional value, go for sweet potatoes!
  • Kebabs. Definitely a summer favorite! Throw all your favorite veggies on a stick, season/marinate them, and grill ‘em up! Serve with some rice + greens.
  • Burgers. I was so in love with cheeseburgers before I went vegan. I avoided veggie burgers for a long time, thinking they were all dry and crumbly. However, I’ve really come to love falafel burgers and portobello mushroom burgers, loaded with tons of condiments. I also recently discovered the Beyond Meat Burger and it is INSANELY DELICIOUS. Even my non-vegan friends were amazed!
  • Risotto, Stir Fry, or Fried Rice. Basically any rice dish can be veganized! I have stir fry at least once a week, and it’s easy to mix things up depending on what veggies or sauces I have on hand.
  • Enchiladas, Tacos, or Nachos. All super easy to make vegan. Either focus on the veggies and beans, or sub in some meat alternatives like jack fruit, or Beyond Beef Crumbles. I also highly recommend this nacho cheese sauce from Heidi Ho.
  • Alfredo. Another childhood favorite. It’s easy to create a vegan alfredo sauce using cashews or nutritional yeast. Check out some recipes here and here. Add broccoli or asparagus to get your greens!
  • Soup, Salad, Breadsticks. Olive Garden knows what’s up. Be sure to read the label on broths or salad dressings – or just make your own!
  • Chili. Always comforting and hearty, even without the meat. Serve with vegan cornbread.
  • Curry. Curry is another great option to get lots of veggies and lots of flavor.
  • Pad Thai. I can’t say no to a good Thai dish, especially with lots of peanut sauce!
  • Side Feast. You know how the best part of Thanksgiving is the sides? Mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, stuffing, rolls, etc.? Just throw all your favorite vegan sides together for the best dinner ever.
  • And of course, any of the breakfast or lunch ideas that I shared in my previous posts would also work for dinner!

These are just a few meals I enjoy on a regular basis, but you’re a quick Google search away from thousands of more ideas. Have fun in the kitchen! xo