PRODUCT REVIEW: Sprout Skincare from Brooklyn, NY

Sometimes life hands you something serendipitous.

Only a few weeks after reading about a SPROUT skincare product in a magazine, and being immediately struck by their graphic design and all-natural skincare claims, I got this little goodie bag of products to slather all over myself. And listen up: they are maaaaaarvelous. 

The first thing you’ll notice about all of their items is that the ingredient lists are very small and many are sourced from small, conscious companies in the United States. They are very easy to pronounce and likely contain ingredients you are familiar with.  Examples: almonds, sea salt, rose water, apple cider vinegar.

(If you’re thinking “Yum!” at this point, I will admit to tasting some of the Exfoliant. Just because I could. Yup.)

Next, you’ll notice the products look very clean. Nothing is dyed, full of chemicals to change the texture, rolled in glitter, etc. These are truly the epitome of “all-natural”, and they look and smell (and taste!) like they are supposed to.

But the third, and most important thing? THE PRODUCTS WORK. They work very well. 

I’m a lady who still has occasional breakouts and skin problems, and some Big Skincare Companies I’ve tried in the past literally made my skin bleed. It’s obvious that natural products are better for those of us with problem skin, are concerned about what we put on our bodies, and want to stay vegan/animal-friendly… but with “greenwashing” abound, it’s hard to know who to trust.

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I happily report that SPROUT is trustworthy and effective (and vegan!), like that friend you meet a summer camp who comes into your life to show you how to do your makeup just when you need it most. In fact, a week and a half into using the products without mentioning them, I received an email from someone saying, “Your skin looks great! What products do you use?” No joke.

The Sprout tagline sums it up:

Simplicity is the essence of Awesome.

WHAT I GOT:

Exfoliant – This looks like cookie crumbs. After splashing some water on my face, I pour a little of the powder into my hand, then use my fingers to dab it on my face. I make small circles all over my cheeks, chin and forehead. After a few moments, rinse with clean water. It leaves skin super-soft, without harsh dryness, or like you rubbed course sandpaper all over your face.

Cleanser – Smells light and fresh with a hint of rose. Despite wearing a lot of makeup, I’d squirt some on a cotton ball and go over my whole face. (Sometimes twice if it was a LOT of makeup.) My skin felt clean, not dry or greasy, and redness and occasional acne spots actually improved.

Toner – Nice to use after all that cleaning. It feels like it helps tighten my pores, and never feels chemical-ish like so many other toners.

Lip Balm – YUM! I got cinnamon, which was perfect for the fall. Made with cinnamon oil and coconut oil (and just a couple of other things), it felt so good on my lips, made them soft, and this flavor is perfect for September/October! In case you were wondering, it made kissing extra-delicious. Significant Other approved.

Cream – It’s a lotion/moisturizer/body oil/body butter hybrid, and It. Is. Fantastic. Rub it on your face, put some on your body, and it’s also excellent on your lips. Pretty much just get some and start at the top of your head and put it on everything, all the way down. A tiny dab on your finger goes a long way. If you have 25 different lotions in your bathroom, listen to me: throw them away, and get this one. It will save you money, time, counter space, and be better for your skin.

Save the Kales! readers can shop at a DISCOUNTED PRICE!

I’ve teamed up with Vegan Cuts to offer you 10% off all orders by using the discount code BLOGFRIEND. So start that holiday shopping early, folks. *Discount doesn’t apply to shipping. Expires October 31st. 

– Follow this Link –

You can get all the items I mentioned in the Full Mini-Kit, priced at just $58. With that 10% savings… hey now, that’s a deal!  Thank you SPROUT and VeganCuts. My clean, refreshed face is smiling very big for you.

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COOKBOOK GIVEAWAY: “Blissful Bites” by vegan chef Christy Morgan

Giveaway time!

I’m so excited to announce a fall giveaway for one of my favorite cookbooks of all time (not joking), Blissful Bites by Christy Morgan.

 Blissful Bites is a full-color, healthy recipe masterpiece. All vegan, many allergy-free, and inspired by a macrobiotic culinary background, this book has you covered no matter how particular your diet is! The pages are spilling with colorful photography, and are crammed to the edges with cooking tips for the beginner or experienced cook. Trust me, you want this one.

Watch the video to learn how to enter:

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In case you missed it, the rules are simple:

1. Go to the Save the Kales! facebook page

2. Leave a comment telling me which is your FAVORITE green vegetable

… that’s it!

Don’t forget to check out The Blissful Chef website

And if you haven’t done so, read this entry/watch this video from the time I got to spend the day cooking with Christy and Allyson Kramer!

Save the Kales! and The Blissful Chef

Bethlehem Vegfest 2012 is Almost Here!

Pick up your free copy of The Mix this week for the special Bethlehem Vegfest feature!

Save the Kales! promotes veganism as an ethical, compassionate lifestyle and any and all suggestions made by me to be part of Vegfest as speakers or vendors are committed to this, too.  

THIS SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 8TH

11am-6pm, Southside Bethlehem Greenway

(the linear park between 3rd and 4th Streets)

I was going to make a “Must See” list, but I think you guys can handle it. There will be plenty to see, listen to, watch and eat. Bring your family, bring your dogs. You can find the lineup of speakers and cooking demos HERE, and a list of every vendor HERE.

IN THE MEANTIME… Don’t miss the last few days of Vegfest Restaurant Week! 

Cafe Santosha vegan meal

This gorgeous meal comes from Cafe Santosha, one of the most veg-friendly eateries in the ENTIRE Valley. The food always looks like art, and tastes like it too. Healthful and creative dishes are always on the menu. Check out their facebook page for photos and updates.

Description of dish (above)Mediterranean Quinoa and Lentil Salad with Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Red Onion, Capers, Lemon, and Parsley served over greens…. Chic Pea and Brown Rice Croquettes served over Sautéed Local Greens with Roasted Garlic and Lemon topped with a Roasted Red Pepper Tahini Sauce and a Basil Walnut Pesto…
Vegan Chocolate Cake served over Triple Berry Coulis. Also available gluten free! ($15)

and

other special vegan items in the LV this week at Jumbar’s, Tapas on Main, Yianni’s Taverna, Molly’s Irish Grille, and Sotto Santi Pizza is making vegan pizza all week! 

You can find the WHOLE list of participating restaurants and their menus HERE, 13 in totalHappily, many of these places offer some/all of the selections year-round.

 

Thankful Thursday: 09 August 2012

I’ve had some experiences in the last week that I am beyond grateful for, which warrant their own posts and attention, which I believe may be one of the best “problems” to have when writing a gratitude list. Those are on the way…

“Learn to be happy with what you have while you pursue all that you want” – Jim Rohn

.     .     .     .     .

LoveList: August 09, 2012.

Colorful sky bubbles

{This ceiling full of paper lanterns on my trip to Montclair, NJ. We passed through a commercial commons building while walking around and this was a pleasant and colorful surprise. What a great reminder to stop and look around a little. Tunnel vision is boring.}

“Reads like Henry James on speed.”

{This description of a David Foster Wallace book by an employee at Watchung Booksellers.}

{THIS VIDEO/PROJECT. How fitting that I’m putting it on a gratitude list. Give yourself the four minutes of time to watch the video – get some tissues when she shares that story about her husband – and then eagerly anticipate this as it continues to grow. Heck, get involved right now.}

Gala Darling + pup

{Gala Darling is having a HALF OFF sale on her ‘Love and Sequins  Radical Self Love e-book/audiobook. I have been waiting for this to happen and this morning I (literally) hopped out of bed to take advantage. The sale goes on until next Wednesday! You can also buy chapters for just $6/each. Learn the practical “Smart Girl’s Guide to Business” to the joy-inducing “Manifesting and Magic-Making”. My evening will be spent devouring as much as possible.}

The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all, the world needs dreamers who do.
– Sarah Ban Breathnach

{This quote posted online today by my friend Harold Brown.}

Melon Gazpacho

{Going on a lunch date with my designer to discuss website/postcard ideas, and the Fiestaware and the melon gazpacho and the good, good coffee.}

Vegan Treats, what a treat.

{… and making a stop at Vegan Treats to admire the beautiful cake sculptures, the sweet smells and the blood organge + vanilla bean swirl soft serve. Maybe this is why Bethlehem makes people think of heavenly things.}

and

{making personal connections with personal heroes / loud, gray thunderstorms / feeling supported and empowered by women instead of weird competitiveness / SUPPORTING and EMPOWERING WOMEN instead of being in competition / buying flowers for yourself (or picking some) / anthropomorphic vegetable art / cats named after food /     friends who aren’t afraid to tell you when you’re being ridiculous}

… til next week. xo

COAL TOWN: My (vegan) Visit to Scranton, PA: The Fanciful Fox, GreenBeing, and Eden Vegan Cafe

One perk of having a comic for a boyfriend is that he sometimes gets free rooms when he performs out of town – and if I arrange it correctly, I get to go too! I grew up in Wilkes-Barre, PA (Kingston, specifically) which is just a stone’s throw away from Scranton.

Chick’s Diner, Scranton PA

Scranton “The Electric City” is undergoing the same young, creative revitalization that I love about my current home in the Lehigh Valley. Small businesses, music and DIY efforts have continued to pop up all over the city in the past several years.

Beautiful old sign downtown.

But there’s a bonus for vegan-folks: there is a stretch of Adams Ave., downtown, that is a tiny vegan mecca. A record store, next to an all-vegan cafe, next to a tattoo shop with vegan ink, next to a boutique that sells fair-trade items and handmade vegan bath and body products. Who would have thought!? Scranton! Giving Portland a run for it’s money!

We got into town just in time to grab some dinner at Eden – A Vegan Cafe. After running into a friend from Bethlehem (small world, eh?) I took my indecisive brain to the menu board to choose something for dinner. It is such a luxurious novelty to be able to order anything on a menu, as is. I went with a pizza with black olives, spinach and chicken and Ryan got an “Elvis burger” with housemade burger patty, tempeh bacon and cheddar cheese. I don’t know if we stopped to breathe or even chew.

Eden – A Vegan Cafe in Scranton, PA

We went back for lunch the next day and Ryan got a chicken + steak cheesesteak and I had an Italian hoagie. An Italian hoagie! So simple, yet so nostalgic. I remember my elementary school used to do “hoagie sales” (oh, Wilkes-Barre, I love you and your quirks) and it was always the best lunch for a bunch of hungry third graders.  Eating lunch that day was a quiet little moment of connecting to my childhood, through food (a hoagie no less!) near my hometown.

Bonus: The employees and owners are the sweetest potatoes! Incredibly kind and friendly, they help to make the atmosphere welcoming and upbeat.  Ryan hasn’t stopped talking about it, and I can’t wait to go back… Or convince them to open a location in the Lehigh Valley (pretty please with Vegenaise on top!?).

After spending the next morning having lunch with my (super-awesome) Mom, we went back to swim at the hotel, spent a little time flopped across the huge bed reading, and then went back to town.

GreenBeing is a beautiful shop that sells vintage + handmade items. Repurposed accessories, a great selections of men’s and women’s vintage clothes, art, housewares and jewelry can be found here, in addition to some absolutely awesome classes you can take through the shop if you’re a local – anything from screenprinting to bookbinding.

GreenBeing in Scranton, PA

Next door, I got to see a dear friend Amanda, who is co-owner of The Fanciful Fox (along with her sweetheart Mom, Kathie). I met these two at Vegetarian Summerfest 2011 and instantly fell in love with them. Their presence alone is calming yet energizing, and I can honestly say they are two of the kindest, nicest people I’ve ever met.

The Fanciful Fox in Scranton, PA

The Fanciful Fox carries only fair trade and vegan items: gorgeous purses, modern necklaces, coffees and teas, but the real bounty is found in the bath and body products Amanda and Kathie make in-house. Bath fizzies, lotions, candles, linen sprays, bar soaps, shampoo and conditioner… they have a little empire of ethical goodies.

Amanda, Trixie (tiny dog!) and me outside The Fanciful Fox.

… and if you can’t make it Scranton, you can still order from their shop online.

Saturday evening I was contacted by Lisa, a Save the Kales! supporter who has been so incredibly encouraging since we found each other over the last year. Sometimes, out of the blue, just when I’d need it most, I’d get a sweet email from her which would rejuvenate me and get my swirling brain back on track.

Lisa and me. Twins!?

Hercules, the manatee-dog. I think I left a piece of my heart with him.

We hadn’t met in person yet, so I was beyond happy to go to her house and meet her! There, we sat for hours at her table with her husband and all of their wonderful dogs and cats, laughing, talking about ideas for the future, sharing stories, eating nutritional-yeast covered popcorn, plums, and imbibing in homemade wine.  It was a truly lovely evening and I do feel as though I’d known them forever. (Thank you, both.)

I am so full of gratitude for a wonderful weekend reconnecting with friends, family, familiar city streets and new joyful discoveries. If you’re ever in Scranton, I hope you’ll stop by Adams Ave. and say hello to these wonderful people bettering their community and the world through compassion. 

Take-home goodies:

  • Autumn whipped body butter (it smells like October!), and men’s facial serum and beard oil, from The Fanciful Fox
  • Color-blocked bamboo mixing utensils made by The Kitschy Kitchen, from GreenBeing
  • Full bellies from Eden Cafe (not pictured)

Find these places on Facebook: The Fanciful Fox / Greenbeing / Eden – A Vegan Cafe

“Little Spoon” Guest Post for Lehigh Valley Style: Finding Easton

Here’s the latest “Little Spoon” post over at LehighValleyStyle.com

Beautious table and chairs from Salvage Goods.

I traveled to Easton, PA for midcentury chairs and my favorite candles in the world (obsessed, no joke)then head back home to make Browned Bok Choy and Potsticker Salad.

Baby bok choy and potsticker salad.

But you have to GO HERE to read all about it!

COOKBOOK CONTEST AND GIVEAWAY: Win a Copy of “Great Gluten Free Vegan Eats” by Allyson Kramer of ManifestVegan.com

Update! Contest extended until August 1, 2012! 

The much-anticipated cookbook by ManifestVegan.com‘s Allyson Kramer, Great Gluten Free Vegan Eats, is here in it’s full-color, delicious glory. And I’m giving away a copy!

WOOOOHOOO, now this is exciting!

CONTEST RULES

1. Head over to the Save the Kales! facebook page

2. Leave a comment with the title and author of a cookbook that means a lot to you. Then explain why it’s meaningful. Maybe it was your first one, maybe it taught you how to cook the meal your family loves most, maybe it helped you change your diet. You decide!

3.  Contest closes on  June 22, 2012 August 1, 2012. Winner will be announced within a week.

 Note: The cookbook you submit as meaningful does not have to be vegan or gluten-free. (Though we’d all love to know about it, if it is!) We can find inspiration all around us, and you’ll find that many recipes in this book are inspired by non-vegan, non-gluten free versions from Allyson’s childhood.

–     –     –     –    –

There are just SOME of the recipes in this book:

  • Olive and tofu feta tartlets
  • Walnut ravioli with vodka sauce
  • Stuffed cabbage rolls (from one Polish girl to another, this is awesome!)
  • Apricot risotto
  • Pumpkin chickpea chili
… Do I need to go on? Um, yes. You want this book.
AND Not only will you win a copy of this book, I’m throwing in a super comfy, ultra-soft Save the Kales! tee shirt. Shirts are gray with black ink, printed by a local (and vegan!) screenprinter Bird Apartment, and have a nice fitted v-neck style without coming from a company with questionable ethics.

Win a Save the Kales! shirt

Okay, we have a little time ’til the contest is over, but it starts NOW! 

Go go go!