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If I had to classify myself as a “coffee person” or a “tea person,” I would probably say I’m a “tea person.” For most of my life I thought all coffee tasted the same: bitter, burnt, and only bearable with milk and sugar. Apparently I was just drinking the wrong kind of coffee.

A whole new world opened up when I went to Paris. I only knew about three phrases in French, and one of them was “an espresso, please.” So everyday, we drank espresso. I had never tasted anything like it: luxuriously smooth and creamy with a kiss of sweetness. No sugar needed. Where had this been all my life?

When I arrived back home, the search for great espresso began. Thankfully Portland has a huge coffee scene, and it wasn’t long until I found something comparable. One of the closest options was at Groundwork Coffee, just a few blocks away from me at their NW location. The coffee is roasted right on site in Kobos’ historic micro roaster – Portland’s original! The whole block smells delicious.

nw portland groundworkSo when Groundwork reached out asking for locals to try their new Vegan Horchata Cold Brew, I was all in! I’m always excited to see coffee shops add vegan options to the menu. Little Green Pickle put on an awesome tasting event at Groundwork’s Hawthorne location, which also gave me a chance to peep the breakfast menu.

I was greeted with a delicious granola bowl with cashew milk, fresh fruit, and avocado toast! Currently the breakfast menu is pretty basic, and vegans need to ask for some substitutions (ie. no egg on the avocado toast). However, they plan to expand the menu soon. I’m seeing vegan breakfast burritos in my future.😍Processed with VSCO with m5 presetNow the star of the morning was definitely the Vegan Horchata Cold Brew. Unlike traditional horchata, the base is made with almond milk and sweetened condensed coconut milk. This made for an ultra-sweet and creamy experience. It had just the right amount of cinnamon, and as expected, the cold brew was perfection. I would highly recommend this to anyone (vegan or not) who loves their coffee sweet. It’s the perfect summer refresher!

Groundwork cold brew horchata vegan

Groundwork was kind enough to send me home with some goodies, including their concentrated cold brew and nitro cold brew. I’m looking forward to making my own horchata at home.Processed with VSCO with m5 presetDefinitely check out Groundwork Coffee, and be on the lookout for new vegan options coming soon! xoxo

EYEBROWS: The most important topic of 2017. Ok obviously not, but I do love a good brow. I photograph a lot of people, and I can tell you that eyebrows done right (or wrong) can make all the difference. Ever since I realized this, I’ve been trying to achieve the perfect brow. Here’s what I’ve learned & how I do my brows with clean beauty products:

Shaping Methods: waxing, sugaring, threading, or plucking? So many options for brow shaping! I personally recommend threading if you can handle it. It’s extremely precise and no chemicals are involved (because it literally just uses thread). If you can find a threading artist with killer shaping skills, you’ve found a friend for life.

Sugaring is another great option, if you can find someone using a natural formula (like Echo Natural Beauty in Portland!) It’s much less painful than waxing and threading in my opinion.

If you trust yourself to shape and pluck your own brows, go for it! There are tons of great tutorials online.

My technique? Well, lately I’ve just been letting my brows grow wild, but I plan to go back to threading soon. I always ask them to clean up the strays and create a clean parallel line from the start of the brow to the arch (no tadpole brows). I try to keep as much hair possible, because I love big bold brows!everyday allegra shaping eyebrows_0023

Brow Products: There are so many great products out there, ranging from pencils, gels, pomades and powders. To me, it’s not so much about the type of product, but the color! I had the hardest time finding a brown that didn’t look too red/orange on my skin.

When I stumbled across this eyeshadow from Jane Iredale in “Double Espresso,” I knew I’d found the one. It might not be meant for brows, but it’s the the most perfect neutral brown for me. I also love that it can apply feathery light, or super bold, depending on how much product I use.

My technique? I create the shape using an angled brush, like this one from Ecotools. Then I softly fill in the rest with the fluffy side. To create the best shape, I follow this guide below. Achieving-The-Perfect-Eyebrow-ShapeUsing the side of my nose as a starting point, I hold my pencil/brush against my face where these dotted lines are to give a straight edge. is where the brow should begin, B is where the arch should go, and is where the brow should end.  This is also a great guide for plucking/shaping brows!

Once my brows are shaped and filled in, I finish them off with this clear brow gel from Jane Iredale. It’s easy for brows to get out of place during the day, and this gel keeps them where I want them!

The results? Here’s the difference it makes — left is before, right is after.
everyday allegra shaping eyebrows_0021If I’m wearing minimal makeup for the day (like above), I’ll keep my brows light. If I’m wearing more makeup (like the first photo), I’ll go darker and bolder. Brows are a great way to balance out your look and frame your eyes. So to me, it seems a little unbalanced to create a full-on smokey eye and then not touch my brows. Or to go super bold with my brows, and then not balance things out with a nice lip color or something. Of course, that’s just my personal opinion, and you should do whatever makes you feel best!

If you’ve ever wondered how I do my brows, now you know! I’d love to hear your techniques/tips too, so feel free to share! xoxo

I’ve been so inspired seeing friends and family take a sudden interest in a vegan lifestyle. Movies like Okja and What The Health have made a huge impact lately — even Google reported a spike in searches for “how to go vegan.” So awesome!

Three main reasons people are choosing to go vegan:

  • For health.  Going plant-based can prevent and even reverse some degenerative diseases and forms of cancer. You might also find yourself with more energy, clearer skin, healthier hair, less inflammation, and quicker muscle recovery, to name a few added benefits.
  • For the planet. Animal agriculture is the leading cause of climate change. Going vegan is the #1 thing we can do as individuals to make an impact. One day as a vegan saves 1,100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30 square feet of forested land, and 20 lbs of CO2 equivalent. One year as a vegan saves more water than you’ll use showering over the next 55 years.
  • For the animals. I think at our core we all have a love for animals, but we find a way to ignore or justify the torture they face on factory farms.  All animals can experience pain, fear, and suffering. No matter how an animal is raised, I don’t believe there’s such a thing as “ethically” killed meat, because all animals have the desire to live.  More and more people are educating themselves and choosing a compassionate vegan lifestyle.

No matter your reason, any effort toward going vegan can make a difference. A few weeks ago I asked friends and family to try a vegan breakfast challenge, to make a small impact on climate change. I was honestly surprised at how many people participated! I figured I’d follow up with some vegan lunch ideas for anyone interested:vegan lunch ideas portland_0001

  • Sandwiches and wraps. Most tortillas, pita, and sandwich breads are vegan! So all you need to do is find your favorite fillings. Here are some ideas to get you started:
    • Peanut butter and jelly
    • Hummus and veggies
    • Falafel with tahini, hummus, lettuce, tomato and onion (best in a pita!)
    • “Tuna” sandwich using chickpeas, vegan mayo, celery and pickles.
    • Caesar wrap with “chick’n,” lettuce, tomato, shredded carrots, and the best vegan caesar (available at Target!)
    • Grilled cheese using vegan alternatives like Chao, Vtopia, Follow Your Heart, Miyokos, Violife, etc. Once you find a good vegan cheese, you can recreate any of your favorites like a Caprese sandwich, or a pesto grilled cheese.
    • You can also veganize any classics from Reubens to Italian subs using vegan “meat” like Field Roast, tofu, seitan, jackfruit and chick’n. More sandwich ideas here
  • Salad. Maybe this one is obvious, but there are tons of ways to get creative here. I especially love a good taco salad! For dressing, you can stick with something already vegan like balsamic, or find a vegan version of your favorites like ranch or caesar. To add some protein you can pop on some nuts, seeds, hummus, quinoa or even grilled tofu.
  • Tacos/Burritos/Quesadillas. You don’t even need a meat alternative to make a great taco. My go-to is a corn tortilla with fajita-style veggies, Spanish rice, refried beans, lettuce, guac and vegan cheese.
  • Sushi. My love for sushi is undying even as a vegan! There are so many great rolls out there, even beyond the basic avocado roll. Here are some ideas.
  • Rice Bowls. Pick your favorite grain (like brown rice or quinoa), then add veggies, protein and a yummy sauce. For example, I love brown rice topped with grilled peppers, snap peas, mushrooms, broccoli, carrots, cashews and peanut sauce.
  • Smoothie Bowl. Your favorite smoothie in a bowl + all the toppings! I love adding granola, coconut flakes, blueberries, strawberries, goji berries and peanut butter.
  • Soup, Ramen or Pho. There are so many delicious veggie broths out there!
  • Pasta. Vegan mac & cheese, pesto, marinara, avocado alfredo, Greek pasta salad, etc.
  • Spring or Summer Rolls. I love this recipe here.
  • Snack plate. All you favorite snacks! Pick some crackers/chips/bread, vegan cheese, fruit, veggies, hummus, dips, etc. Surprisingly filling!

Hopefully this gives you some ideas for a healthy or cruelty-free lunch! Even just one vegan meal a week can make a difference. If you need more ideas or have any questions, let me know!

xoxo

Climate change. If you’re concerned about it: good. If you want to do something about it: start with breakfast.

I’ve posted various articles on social media about why becoming vegan is the #1 thing we can do as individuals to fight global warmingBesides a “like” from my one vegan friend, these posts usually go ignored. Maybe people read the articles, or maybe they click “hide from newsfeed.”

At first I thought, WHY DOESN’T ANYONE CARE?! Then I realized, maybe going vegan sounds overwhelming. If you’re unfamiliar with it, “going vegan” means eliminating all animal products from your diet and lifestyle. On a basic level: it’s giving up meat, dairy and eggs. So, asking people to give up food they love and have grown up on? That’s a lot to ask.

So let’s just start with one meal, one day this week. Will this help our planet? Yes! Every bit counts. Learn more about why here.

vegan breakfast ideas

Here are some basic ideas to get you started. You probably already enjoy these things regularly!

  • Your favorite cereal with any milk alternative (soy, almond, coconut, hemp, etc.). Most cereal (not just the healthy ones) are vegan … even Cap’n Crunch! Just look out for whey or milk in the ingredients. It might take a few tries to get used to non-dairy milk, or to find one you like. Keep trying! 2/3 people are lactose intolerant, and milk isn’t so great for you anyway.
  • Toast! You can get really creative here, or just keep it simple. I love avocado toast or peanut butter toast.
  • Oatmeal with all your favorite toppings. I love to make mine with raisins, pecans, pumpkin seeds, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and maple syrup.
  • Smoothies. My go-to smoothie is orange juice, frozen bananas, frozen strawberries, blueberries, spinach and hemp protein. If you want something more creamy, there are tons of vegan yogurts OR you can add a handful of cashews. Blended cashews are sooo creamy!
  • Smoothie Bowls! Add less liquid to the blender so your smoothie is super thick. Throw it in a bowl, then top it with granola, coconut flakes, fresh fruit, etc.
  • Potato hash. Make potatoes any way you like ‘em – I usually go for country style or hash browns. Add your favorite spices and extras like paprika, garlic, onions, avocado, bell peppers and spinach. Ketchup is vegan, yo. YUM.

If you’re feeling lazy… grab something out! Guess what. Vegan doughnuts are just regular doughnuts without animal lard — and they’re delicious. My Portland friends can find them at Whole Foods, Green Zebra, Voodoo, and Blue Star. (For gluten-free and vegan, check out Back to Eden Bakery or Petunia’s). We also have about a million places where you can find smoothies and fresh juice, if you’re in the mood for something healthy.

If you’re feeling adventurous…you can find recipes for pancakes, French toast, tofu/chickpea scrambles, cinnamon rolls, breakfast burritos, and any other breakfast classic. Keeping it real: I’ve yet to find a decent substitute for bacon. However, vegan sausage from Field Roast BLOWS MY MIND. There’s hope!

If you’re not really a breakfast person… get out of my life. Just kidding! Thankfully coffee and mimosas are vegan, so not to worry! You can find some amazing non-dairy creamer from Coffee-Mate and So Delicious at your local grocery.

I hope this gives you some ideas and inspires you to try a vegan breakfast this week. Maybe you already had one without realizing it (avocado toast, yo!). At the very least, try a vegan doughnut…it’s for the planet! 😉

xoxo
allegra

Confession: eyeshadow has always intimidated me. At some point I stopped wearing it because the effort to get it symmetrical on both sides was just too much! So when Zuzu Luxe contacted me about reviewing their “Techno Warrior” Collection, I thought it was a good opportunity to try it out again.

Zuzu Luxe is all about cruelty-free makeup and skincare that preforms just as well as its traditional competitors. For Earth Day, they created this “Techno Warrior” Collection that donates 10% of profits to Green Acres Farm Sanctuary. So sweet! zuzu8

At first I was thrown off by the packaging, because I’m really not a camo kind of girl. But because the collection is all about earth tones and a graphic look, I guess it makes sense. zuzu7

The cheek cream in “Weapon” was my absolute favorite part of the collection. It’s buildable, creamy, and long-lasting! zuzu4The Ammunition Palette has beautiful desert-inspired hues. I will say, these colors are EXTREMELY pigmented. My first attempt at applying didn’t go so well, so the second time around I used a super fluffy brush and only used a tiny amount. The colors “Missile” and “Grenade” (right two colors) were stunning! zuzu5zuzu3The Combat Palette has some really versatile colors, perfect for a smokey eye. I was a little scared to use the color “Blackout” as an eyeshadow, so I ended up using it as an eyeliner! The brush included in the palette was perfect for this. zuzu6Even though I only applied a tiny amount of product, it still felt like way more makeup than I usually wear. Zach said I looked “gothy,”😂 but I think the look could have worked for a night out! All I forgot to add was a lip color (oops!), which I think would have completed the look more.

zuzu1If you’re someone who loves highly pigmented eyeshadows, I think you’ll LOVE this collection. I’m really excited to play around with it more and get over my fear of eyeshadow. For more cruelty-free makeup and skincare, check out Zuzu Luxe!