Thursday, May 8, 2014

My May MUST-Have.

Hello Internet Friends! I'm here to tell you about a brand new ALL TIME fave of mine...

Now, I like to consider myself a concealer connoisseur of sorts. Like I've divulged before, my pores are a prob & in my efforts to remedy that prob I have tried roughly seven hundred & twenty two different concealers, give or take. I'm constantly looking for the most natural looking yet totally perfecting formula out there..and I just may have found it!

Enter, Sonia Kashuk's "Hidden Agenda" concealer palette. 

This stuff is the bee's knees! It blends out like resistance to blending and no weird patchiness - it's the perfect color for my skin! (I use the "light" version of this palette because there wasn't one called "pale as the moon" real color.) And the coverage? GIRL. It covers like some sort of magical eraser of blemishes that you can buy at Target for only $10.49, which honestly feels like you're robbing this poor Sonia Kashuk woman, whoever she is. The poor sap! Does she even know?! I'm happier with the coverage I get from this product than I have been with the last 10 concealers I've tried. 

It comes with 3 different cream concealers & a flesh tone setting powder. The top left concealer is the lightest of the 3; top right is a darker warm tone; bottom left is a darker olive, almost green tone concealer; bottom right is the powder. On an every-day, natural makeup basis the warm tone is even dark enough for me to use as a contour! (Like I said...pale as the moon). I use it every day, sans brush until I get to the powder. I know some people get skeeved out by dipping their fingers into something like a creamy concealer, but I'm not sharing it with the neighborhood here & I feel like the body heat from my fingers actually helps it blend even better than it does on its own. I love the formula, too. Not only does it look natural, but it feels much less cakey & makeupey than most other concealers I've used, from drugstore to high-end. Super smooth! It even does a killer job on covering up my PORES! That's right - those problem pores become much less noticeable under this magic wand product.

Here are some before & after photos for y'all. These pictures were NOT touched up & there is nothing on my skin other than this concealer from before to after. Of course, the iPhone front camera gives a picture quality that sucks, let's be honest, so I look weirdly grainy...but you get the jist! I was working on my own here. This is how the concealer performs solo
Here I applied it on bare skin with only a primer underneath, but it blends just as well over foundation - AKA, how I usually apply it when I'm not trying to take before & after pictures. I used the lightest color under my eyes, around the base of my nose, down the bridge of my nose, & of course, on those annoying blemishes. 

Annnnd, like all product reviews are, this is how it worked for ME & MY skin. :) I do recommend you trying it out, though! Sonia Kashuk is definitely a pricier drugstore line, but so far I'm impressed! MOST importantly, Sonia Kashuk's line is cruelty free! Read their animal testing statement HERE, on their official Facebook page. 

Have you tried this product? What was YOUR experience? What is your must-have concealer? 

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Lions, & tigers, &....KITTENS, OH MY!

Hello Internet Friends! I think this post will be the most unique & undoubtedly the cutest you'll ever see on this blog. 

For a few months now, a cat has been chilling on our back porch. She comes & goes, of course, as most feral cats do, but I've caught her more than once enjoying an afternoon nap on our porch swing. She allows little to no interaction - she stares with HUUUUGE green eyes at the slightest sound of humanity nearby & flees far too quickly when we come outside for us to even think about coming over to her. My biggest victory with her so far has been the little paw prints of dirt that I saw leading up to the bowl of warm milk I'd sat out for her on a cold morning.

But this week, we noticed another victory that had occurred quite clandestinely! Kittens. Yes, kittens! When my dad pulled out the lawnmower and started it up this past weekend it startled one of the four little guys enough to get him to crawl out from under one of the other 2 lawnmowers my dad's got stowed away back there. (He's got a big manly lawn tool problem.) And with that first little one's bravery the rest followed and soon they were crawling all over the porch, dangerously close to escaping & dangerously tiny. I'm talking, they fit perfectly in the palm of my hand!

So we scooped them up and put them in a little box, hoping that mama would be chill with it. And...she was! Not only did she seem to have no problem with it, but the next morning she was in the box with them! We set up a bowl of cat food & water for her and she hung out! She even stayed there when we came onto the porch to sneak a peek! Alright, alright...she definitely hissed a few times, but eventually she got cool enough with us to hop on top of the table & grab some chow while we were outside with her! Talk about a 180 from her pre-mom self!  My mom was even able to pick up one of the kittens without any sort of reaction from her.
Mama keeping watch. 

Tragedy of tragedy, this morning mommy & babies were nowhere to be found - the box was empty. We were beyond bummed, but the internet has assured us that feral moms, and even some domesticated moms, move their kittens numerous times while they're young to ensure safety from predators, like the daddies, and privacy. The food is still out for her, so we're hoping she'll keep coming around but if not, we enjoyed her little family while we got to see them! :)

Yes...we named them! LOL 
It was such a cool experience, but definitely a sneeze-inducer for me & my mom who are both allergic to cats! HAHA! I couldn't be out on the porch for more than 10 minutes without dissolving into sneezes & watery, itchy eyes. Regardless, I will be keeping my eyes peeled for any sign of a striped tail.

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Friday, April 25, 2014

A Gold Medal for Silver Powder...

Hello Internet Friends! Today I'm coming to you with a facial fave!

This is a recommendation I got from JuicyStar07 - I spent about 20 minutes combing the YouTube archives for the video she made on it so I could link it, but it was nowhere to be found. Just trust me, alright? She uses it. Ha ;)

It's called 'Silver Powder' & it's from the Mario Badescu skincare line. (Is that your new favorite last name or what??) I was sold immediately when Blair first described as "pore shrinking" it because for as long as I can remember my pores & blackheads have been a problem. I'm not really counting on it ever getting better since my mom deals with the same thing, but we can always hope, right? Ugh, genetics. ANYway, she'd talked it up enough that I took a trip to my nearest Ulta, (which is dangerously close to me), and picked one up to try. It retails for only $12.00 so it's not too grand of an investment & if it ended up working like crap, I wouldn't be breaking the bank. It's an affordable product that is cruelty free - when asked about animal testing, here's what the company had to say:

We do not test our products on animals. Mario Badescu uses natural botanical ingredients with minimal preservatives to ensure that we deliver the highest quality products to our customers. Our products are tested and developed in a laboratory environment to ensure the highest standards of production.`

Following Blair's lead, I've used it more than a few times over the past few months and I am so head over heels about this product. It's applied by dampening a cotton round, or square, whichever you prefer, dipping it into the powder and applying it to your face. It's super crazy to watch the loose, dusty powder become a paste! And that's how you know it's done - in about 10 minutes, the paste will start to get powdery again right on your face. This product is definitely one that I would recommend staying in the bathroom near the sink for the entirety of your use - you start to flake like crazy when it's near dry!

The instructions tell you to remove the dry mask by dampening another cotton round with your favorite toner or astringent and simply rub it guys, that doesn't happen! HA! I don't know if maybe I use too much or maybe my skin is just weird, but one go around with my astringent takes off like, half the mask. I usually do a quick wipe before washing the rest off with my usual Boots Foaming Cleanser, following up with a moisturizer since the formula is a little bit drying. The cleaning process is a little messy, but the payoff is well worth it.

Afterward & even the next morning, my pores are tiny, my blackheads are less noticeable, my skin is smooth as a baby's bottom, and my tone is even a little bit brighter! I used it last night for the sake of these pictures & the fun date night my boyfriend has planned for tonight :) and this morning I could hardly stand to put makeup on, which is usually my fave part of the morning, worried that I would ruin everything wonderful the Silver Powder did! It's just a fantastic product and I am always over the moon about my skin afterward.

If you're interested in snatching some of this up for yourself, head to your nearest Ulta or click HERE to order online. :)

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PS, am I cute or what? 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

FYI: The Humane Cosmetics Act.

If you're cruelty free savvy, like I'm giving my best efforts to be, you've more than likely heard about HR 4148, more well known as The Humane Cosmetics Act. What a beautiful name, right? It was introduced into the House of Representatives on March 6, 2014 by Rep. Jim Moran out of Virginia and, you guessed it, moves to END cosmetic animal testing! You can read the actual text of the Resolution HERE!

This Resolution would make it "unlawful for any entity, whether private or governmental, to conduct or contract for cosmetic animal testing" in the US (HR 4148)! It defines "cosmetics" by the regulations of the FDA, (read what they define as cosmetic HERE &  scroll down), and even defines animal testing itself - "means the application or exposure of any cosmetic to the skin, eyes, or other body part of a live non-human vertebrate for purposes of evaluating the safety or efficacy of a cosmetic (HR 4148).

You guys. This is MASSIVE.

But here's the hiccup - the same day the legislation was introduced, March 6, it was sent to committee, the Committee on Energy and Commerce to be exact. Now this may seem like no biggie...forward motion, right? The problem, however, is that HR 4148 has been sitting stagnant in the HCEC since, you guessed it again, March 6. Committee may seem like a good place to hang, but the facts are grim - roughly 96% of bills introduced die in committee. And how much would it suck for that to happen here? Talk about anticlimactic, right? :('s what we've gotta do! 
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Exactly! I'm talking phone calls, letters, emails, the works! Contact your Congressman and tell them that they don't get your vote if they don't make a stand to end cosmetic testing! If you don't know who to contact, click HERE! All you need to know is your zip code & you can find out who represents your area. This is especially important if your rep is in the HCEC, the committee in control of our bill now! To find out if your rep is on this committee, click HERE! Let's MAKE SOME NOISE! My Congressman has "Tuesday Talks" - mini town halls where he takes questions about twice a your representative & ask if he/she has any meetings open to the public coming up any time soon and GO!

Representative Moran's bill was an exciting step forward and I know we can keep pushing! I am excited to see what kind of changes we can make by standing up & standing together on behalf of the little guys who can't speak for themselves.

Leave a comment about your thoughts on the bill & how you'll voice your support for it!

(Click HERE to track any progress made on HR 4148.)

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Sunday, April 20, 2014

How to do Easter: Cruelty Free!

Well, internet friends, it's that time of year once more: Easter, la Pascua de Resurrección, Peter Cottontail's fave holiday! Whether you're Catholic, Protesant, or anything in between, chances are you partook in a little bit of good, old fashioned egg coloring. And, if you're cruelty free and hooked up with PETA, chances are you've also seen this year's anti-egg campaign video! I know, I know - PETA has a definitive reputation for being in your face and a little over the top, but  this is a video that was done in such great taste - so subtly heartbreaking yet blatantly truthful. (*If you missed it, you can check it out right HERE.) Was anyone else totally clueless that the egg industry even ran like that?! Talk about a holiday tradition game-changer.

All of the time, my sweet boyfriend is in total support of my choice to live life sans cruelty, even if he is a meat-eating machine, and as such he was totally on board with me wanting to change up tradition once I saw the ad. Tradition or not, we would leave real eggs out of our Easter this year! We brainstormed for would we still have egg-cellent fun without the eggs?! We tossed around plastic eggs and sharpie designs, we thought about simply printing off egg color sheets and having at 'em with some Crayolas, and we really liked the idea of paint & cardboard eggs. It seemed doable, to say the least, and we were pumped - even more pumped when we found THESE:

Plastic, DYE-able eggs for $2.00 from, who else, your friendly neighborhood Walmart.

Plastic eggs that you can put in REAL dye? All of the fun of our normal Easter tradition & none of the ca$h goes support the egg industry?? What a beautiful idea! Of course we were sold and of course just one 12-pack would not suffice! 2 packs plus a 97 cent box of dye tablets brought out grand total to just under $6.00 - a sweet Easter victory for 2 broke students. 

Now, not all was smooth sailing post bargain. Our biggest qualm? The eggs are they float. UGH! We were disappointed, that goes without saying, but once we figured out which tool worked best to keep the egg easily submerged, we pulled it off. BUT not without annoyance. Because we had to hold each egg down it was definitely more slow-going than traditional egg dyeing and my energetic partner quickly abandoned me out of boredom, LOL! He came back, though, once I brought out some crayons to add fun designs. He even wrote our initials on one like a true hopeless romantic! ;) It was a more time consuming process than the traditional, but I unquestionably think it was worth it. Quick Side Note: DON'T poke holes in the eggs in an attempt to make them sink like we did...they WILL fill up with dye. Haha! 

In the end it took a little more effort than we were used to, but we still had a blast! We didn't miss out whatsoever by choosing a more animal-friendly route - I think my boy actually felt pretty fulfilled in his first taste of cruelty free living. ;) We'll definitely remember these next year and every year to come - they're a brand new tradition that is just as near & dear! 

My question for you did you make your Easter cruelty free? 

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To Bargain or To Break the Bank...

THAT is the question.

Okay, not really. When it comes to this broke college student's budget, bargaining is always the way to go! So this featured brand is a no-brainer for me. I mean, I refuse to buy clothes that aren't on clearance, come on! (And no, American Eagle, I do not qualify a $25 dollar skirt as being on clearance. Really? LOL.)

The brand is e.l.f. And I'm positive you've heard of it! e.l.f., (Eyes Lips Face), is a college girl's best friend with it's super low prices and wide range of product. The only place I can buy e.l.f. near me is Target, but they are available online, of course. They are PETA endorsed as cruelty free & won't break your bank account...heck, they won't even break the $10 you found in your pants pocket when you did laundry last week! You can snag a lip crayon, an eyeshadow single, or an eyelid primer for like, a buck! Tell me you're not impressed. You can't? Not a surprise! 

Now, I know what you're all thinking - this stuff has to be the worst quality makeup ever produced, right? WRONG-O! It's actually not half bad! For a dollar, you get an eyelid primer that, in my humble opinion, works on par with the high-end stuff...I've used both and I truly cannot tell a difference in the staying power or color vibrancy. And their 4-color Tone Correcting Powder is a must-have for me. It goes on sheer but evens everything out; I even use a concealer brush to pick up a specific color & pinpoint areas of my face - the green works really well to reduce the redness around the pesky pimples that I always seem to have. (I thought I was supposed to be over that by 22, yeah?) They even offer face original, purple for radiance, and green for anti-redness. I've always been a lover of the original but I recently grabbed the green because, you know, and I'm digging that as well! They've also got a great line of brushes that sell for $1 to $3 and are to die for! Their stubby eyeshadow brush is a staple...I've got two right now & even have a backup that I've yet to open! I may or may not have a serious problem. 

There are, as with all brands, drugstore or Chanel, a few products that fall short. I would not recommend their Tone Correcting Concealer, for instance. It basically does nothing...yet I wasn't totally bummed about it because it smelled SO GOOD. It's kind of a mix between Froot Loops and  Starburst...maybe? No? At any rate, it was useless on its own but I did find myself mixing it in with my other concealers just to get the smell! (Is that embarrassing?) I was less than impressed, but for $1.00, I wasn't too amiss at the buy.

Lastly I have to throw a spotlight on their liquid eyeliner. This stuff retails for $1.00, ONE DOLLAR, and I have absolutely nothing negative to say about it. The formula is smooth and perfectly dark black - everyone's fave liner color. The brush applicator makes it easy to apply and, believe me, even after using liquid liner every day for like...4 years now, I still screw it up on a daily basis. LOL Anyone else? Anyone? And the staying power is totally legitimate! In the past, I used Maybelline's Line Stiletto religiously, but I've given it up for e.l.f.'s goods now - $6 a pop versus $1 is not even an argument here ANNND Maybelline tests. It's an easy and cheap replacement and I am telling you NOW to go give it a shot. ;) 

So there you have it. I'm an e.l.f. fan, times ten, and I know you will probably be too! Of course, all of these ramblings are totally MY opinion and every products works differently for every person. So go ahead and give it a shot...then drop me a line to tell me your  2 cents! I'd love to hear it :)

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Friday, April 18, 2014

The Truth on Tarte.

All the buzz in the cruelty free community is...TARTE!
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For a loonng time now, Tarte has been an animal-friendly star, a high-end makeup brand that uses vegan ingredients and doesn't test on any of our animal friends. And, for all intents & purposes, it will continue to be. 

I know, I know...they sold out. Quite literally! That wasn't a jab at their moral values, they actually were bought by Kose, a Japanese cosmetics company that DOES test. (Click through to read Kose's bulletin on purchasing Tarte.) And a lot of people are bummed out, including my cruelty free beauty BFF Morgan Joyce from CrueltyFreeQTs. She's publically voiced her disapproval & says she'll no longer buy from Tarte...I'm sure there are HEAPS of people who feel the same way and I'm sure there are equally large heaps of people who will continue to support Tarte as a cruelty free entity.  

Here's the rundown: 
Tarte is now owned by a testing company. TRUE.
Tarte now tests on animals. FALSE. 

Although they've been purchased by a company who doesn't share their, and our, cruelty free values, Tarte as its own entity still maintains animal friendly practices in producing their makeup. It seems sketchy, but it's the same exact story as a number of other companies who are famous for being cruelty free. Providers like Burt's Bees, bareMinerals, and NARS are all owned by testing companies. Burt's Bees, perpetually hailed as natural & nice, is actually owned by Clorox! But the Bees themselves don't ever test.'s up to you.

You could look at it this way: if a testing company sees that it's best selling line is the one cruelty free line they put out...shouldn't they make more? The more cruelty free purchases we make, the more motivation these testing giants will have to give us more! Basic supply & demand, si?  You could also look at it this way: when you buy Tarte, or Burt's Bees, or NARS, your ca$h will eventually end up in the hands of their parent's a dilemma, no doubt.

I'll admit, I was super sad over here when I first heard the news! Tarte is so respected & puts out such fab products that I could barely stomach the thought of throwing them out the window! But will I continue to buy their stuff? Well, I haven't quite decided. I usually make it a point to refrain from buying Burt's Bees & NARS...but how realistic is it to ONLY buy independent cruelty free products? In our industrial society where big business rules, how much stuff like that is left?! I'm all for supporting small business entrepreneurs! But I haven't made up my mind whether I'm more of a believer in the supply & demand theory or the latter.

SO drop me a line! What's your opinion on Tarte's new deal? DO you buy from friendly sellers with cruel parent companies? Will you continue to be a Tartelette? 

(*Head on over to Tarte's FB page to read CEO Maureen Kelly's statement on keep Tarte cruelty free.*) 

Monday, January 13, 2014

To Be or Not To Be...a Vegetarian is the Question.

What exactly does being "cruelty free" entail? If I give my money to a company who doesn't test, but is owned by a bigger company who does, am I a fraud? If I give my money to a company who doesn't test & is owned by a bigger company who doesn't test, but buys ingredients that are tested, am I a fraud? And if, IF, I buy nothing but non-tested products with non-tested ingredients from non-testing companies who are owned by bigger non-testing companies, but I eat I a fraud? 

I don't eat cows, as of a couple of months ago. Mainly because they're my favorite animal. Their mile-long eyelashes and shiny black noses are my nothing short of beautiful! One of my clearest childhood memories is my baby sister & I standing at the fence of my great uncle's cow field mooing as loud as we could...attempting to trick the cows, who stood far off and stared at us like we had unicorn horns, into coming over to us. (They didn't of course.) Every so often I'll pull up next to a big truck on the highway and see those sweet eyelashes staring at me out of the gaps in the metal sides...I'll catch myself thinking, "Aw cows! I wonder where they're going." I wonder only for a second or so before I'm struck with the horrifying realization that they are most likely being shipped to some great, big, dank factory where they'll become hamburgers and steaks for the masses. I can't eat cows without seeing those eyes through metal slits on the highway or hearing my sister and I mooing. But, so far, that's where it stopped. I don't deny myself chicken, or pork, or fish...I thrive off of them, actually! But should I? 

I come from a carnivorous world, my friends. The entire Southern-Midwest region of the US is a carnivorous world, if we're being honest! Growing up, my mom grilled the best hamburgers you've ever seen, tasted, or heard about on TV. She also used to make some incredible grilled chicken breast with this killer seasoning that I am consistently reminding myself to ask her about. She can grill up some meat with the best of them; her mommy in the kitchen skills are on par with, I don't know, Martha Stewart or someone. My two all-time faves that she's ever made both include meat. In fact, I don't believe I can think of a meal I've had at home, period, that didn't include some sort of meat. Probably because my mom is the world's greatest cook and my father, who is equally skilled in the kitchen, father is a total steak connoisseur. His argument against vegetarianism is that God gave us animals specifically for food. (I have thus far failed to ask him why we own 2 dogs as pets, then. He's a steak connoisseur with a temper, okay?) I am sure that he would be a little less than gun-ho. Even my mother, who always has the best of intentions, would more than likely unsuccessfully attempt to hide her signature eye roll should I ever tell her I wanted to become a vegetarian. It's always seemed a noble cause to me and my cow-loving heart, but to the rest of my world, it seems to be an unnecessary inconvenience. But just because I've found it a noble cause doesn't mean I'm ready to pursue it...but should I be? (I mean, my 8th grade science teacher told us that vegetarians live longer  than meat eaters so I probably should be, yeah.) 

I've seen Food Inc. I survived the horror! Mostly because a summary of the film needed to be turned in for a grade, but regardless, my eyes have taken it in and my brain has processed it and I will never be able to go back now. I was terrified. Terrified of the dictator-like hand big companies play in lobbying our lawmakers; terrified of the power big companies hold in demolishing home-grown businesses purely and simply because they want to; terrified of what I'd been putting into my body for the 19 years I'd lived when I saw the film. I seriously considered it! Vegetarianism, that is. I bounced the idea around in my dome for about a week and a half until I gave up on it - veggies and organic stuff are a lot harsher on a college student's wallet than Chef Boy R Dee, you feel me? But I will never forget..."the pig scene." If you've seen the film, you will know what I mean. (You will also know that it doesn't have an official name, but my flair for dramatics has driven me to give it one.) As soon as the squeals began I squeezed my eyes shut as tightly as human possibly and wished to no avail that I could throw my hands over my ears like a kid scared of the Boogey Man without the judgmental stares of about 20 other students. Even now, even when I have pushed the film and the pig scene to the very farthest possible corner of my mind for the past 3 years, it still gives me an achey chest and sour stomach just thinking about it. Even now, I've got no shortage of motivation. My willpower, though, I will certainly call into question. 

I suppose, though, that my willpower should coincide with my motivation. Shouldn't it? I've been researching the vegetarian lifestyle and the best way to approach it. Nearly everyone I've read or listened to has said to cut out meats one at a time, don't freak your body out. Aren't I already one step into it with my sweet cow aversion? I'm becoming cruelty free in other areas of my life because I no longer want to give my money to companies who pay men to strap down rabbits in a lab and squirt petroleum into their eyes to ensure my mascara won't blind me. When I buy meat from a big, monopoly man company...aren't I essentially doing the same thing? I didn't like what I saw in Food Inc., I didn't like the kind of business dealings or animal treatment that my money, and my parents' money, and my friends' money is supporting. So shouldn't I stop?

This is the question I pose to you, my likely non-existent readers! Does cruelty free include your food? If you're a vegetarian or vegan, what are the tricks of the trade? How did you do it? And why?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Two Cute!

Hello there again, world! I'm back. Thanks for following along, if you are, by some miracle of internet proportions.

As you may or may not know, I'm new to this world of animal friendly living & am attempting to navigate the rather pricey world of "beauty without bunnies", as they say, without breaking the bank or my spirit. In my endless scouring of the interwebs for recommendations, reviews, and cheap non-tested alternatives to equally cheap tested products, I've run across several absolute gems. I'm clueless, let'e be honest, about what works and what doesn't. I don't know how to find cruelty free hair dye, or dish washing soap, or I don't know, paper plates. And I'm in dire need of assistance other than Google. Enter, the Cruelty Free QTs.

Stills from some QT videos! 

This mother-daughter duo are vegan animal lovers. They offer reviews on vegan products from deodorant to mascara, along with recommendations of their own favorite stuff, which is endlessly helpful to a newbie like me! They're unbiased reviews, too...I admit, I slightly expected them to say anything cruelty free is perfect, but they've given some of the products they reviewed two big thumbs down. And they cover all the bases: just today I watched their video on vegan DOG TREATS! (I didn't know such a thing existed, but I will definitely be looking into my dogs become cruelty free with me. Ha!) They live completely and unabashedly cruelty free and don't seem limited by it at all. They've got videos on how to shop cruelty free at Target & Walmart and, let's be real, this college girl needs those!

They're definitely non-traditional & live slightly outside the box, but they're lifesavers to me and my new animal-friendly plight, and I have no doubt that they're making a big mark on the animals rights movement! If you're transitioning like me, or maybe just thinking about it, definitely give their channel a click. They'll give you something to think about! And you won't regret it.

(Have you gone yet?)

Monday, January 6, 2014

My First Cruelty Free Purchases!

The transition has begun! The very slow, calculated transition, that is. I'm doing my research because I want to get the most animal-friendly products that I can without completely emptying my pockets...I'm a college student, right? I've been spending hours in the various "natural beauty" aisles at my local Target googling each & every product that I picked up! I'm sure the staff and fellow shoppers alike were frightened or at least on the look out for me to steal 10 or 12 things. I mean, the police were probably on standby. But I wanted to be educated! (Maybe I should educate myself before leaving the house in the future...) I want to be sure that I'm putting my money in the correct places and buying things that weren't tested on cute, little, furry noses.

The first thing I picked up was this Yes To Cucumbers Soothing Eye Gel. It's my first purchase from any of the Yes To lines, which include carrots, blueberries, tomatoes, and grapefruit. {*QUESTION, all of the Yes To products I picked up included that beautiful little bunny on the back, indicating that it's cruelty free...except for the grapefruit! Any ideas as to why? Acidic citrus content, maybe?}

I've only used this product a couple of times, so a review here would be inappropriate, but I can tell you one positive thing about it! I've got overly sensitive skin around my eyes...I'm talking everything burns. It's a little annoying if we're being honest! But with the Yes To Cucumbers gel, the burning was as short-lived as I've experienced so far! Initially it was uncomfortable, but it subsided in maybe 30 seconds. And maybe the burning was just because I'm not used to it? At any rate, I was very excited with the short burn time & I've got high hopes for this product! I bought it for around $14.50.

Next, because I wanted to try a variety of brands to see what worked for me & my wallet, I picked up this Boots Botanics Skin Calming Night Cream - Ultra Calm w/Marshmallow Extract. Yes, yes. I'm big into the soothing/calming stuff for sure. My skin stresses out in the wintertime & one thing I'm not big into is flaky roughness. Yuck! And so far, so good. Like the Yes To gel, I've only used this cream a handful of times, but I've got no complaints! It feels calming...the name is fitting. Haha! I've discovered that this $15 moisturizer is actually on the cheap end when it comes to the more organic realm, but it was definitely a shock to this former $6 a jar Olay user!

*PLEASE NOTE that although Boots doesn't test on animals as an entity, they don't take any steps to ensure that the ingredients they use weren't tested on animals. Some people are adverse to product lines like this, but I thought I'd give it a shot. In the future, though, I would love to find an affordable moisturizer that was made with 100% cruelty free products. Any suggestions? 

Next, because I just ran out of toothpaste & it was the perfect time to try it, I picked up Tom's of Maine Whole Care Toothpaste in Peppermint. The rest of these products are relatively new to me, but I'm no stranger to Tom's toothpaste. When my baby sister was young, she developed a dry, rough rash around her mouth. The dermatologist prescribed medicated lotion, but also told my mom to switch her to Tom's. She did & the rash cleared up in no time!

Tom's is a great company, whether you're buying toothpaste or deodorant - they don't engage in animal testing or use any sort of animal or artificial ingredients. They even make toothbrushes! They promote environmental sustainability and my favorite part is that every ingredient they use and it's purpose in the product is listed on their website,! A great product from a great company for a great price - around $3.50.

Because my shampoo was also running low, I grabbed some John Freida Frizz Ease Smooth Start Shampoo & Conditioner. I'm a huge John Freida fan; his quick repair serum & finishing cream are magic, I'm telling you. However as far as cruelty free goes, similarly to Boots, John Frieda does not test on animals but is owned by a parent company that does: Koa. Again, I'm still testing the waters here. I am really interested to try something totally cruelty free/organic though, like LUSH! My best friend, a Lush junkie in every sense of the word, turned me on to the store a couple of months ago. I love their dry shampoo "No Drought" & I've heard awesome things about nearly every other product they create, all without using animal testing or animal ingredients. I'm hoping a Lush shampoo will be next up on the docket. I picked up the JF shampoo & conditioner for $5.49 a piece.

And last, but not least, a completely random find, Tree Hut Olive & Shea Moisturizing Shower Wash in the scent Hawaiian Kukui! I'm not picky when it comes to body soap...truth be told, I'm in it for the smell good. And my nose is fairly easy to please. Coconut, floral, tropical, musky, I'm a fan as long as it smells pretty! And this stuff smells delicious! It's almost reminiscent of a tropical cherry that the weirdest thing you've ever heard? If not, you should definitely give it a try! It was on the cheaper end of the cruelty free body soaps I found...$7.99 for a pretty giant bottle!

Well there you have it, folks! My very first...intentional...cruelty free haul! I'm really excited about the quality and accessibility of these items. I'm far from vegan or completely animal friendly, but I'm excited to have the ball rolling! And I would love to hear suggestions on your favorite cruelty free products!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Hello there, World!

My name is Jessica. I'm 22 & I'm a senior in college with my fingers crossed for my grad school application to be accepted. Not that you're particularly interested.

If you're here, if you've clicked on this blog, you are probably particularly interested in something I'll be blogging about, though. Animals. I'm going to go out on a proverbial limb here and guess that you clicked on this blog to read about animals. I'm also going to assume that if you're interested in reading about animals, you probably love them as much as I do! If so, kudos. And welcome!

Over the course of the past year, I've talked more about animals, thought more about animals, and loved more animals than I've ever done. Last summer, my boyfriend's puppy Luke was lost for 2 weeks...and the outpouring of support from the animal rights/rescue community, whom I had never interacted with before, stunned me. These people didn't know us or little Luke, (a Mastiff mix, who is not actually little by any means), from Adam, yet they were ready and willing to help us from the word go. We were eventually reunited with him through the help of 2 rescuers who lived in his neighborhood! Let me tell you, fellow animal lovers, that if you've never lost a pet then you cannot imagine the overflow of relief and something like unadulterated joy that comes from seeing them again. He had literally disappeared into thin air and after 2 weeks, we were all but sure he was gone forever. And just like that, there he was. Magic.

I've always been an animal girl: we've had dogs my entire childhood, not to mention an endless array of beta fish & parakeets. I've always cooed at the cows and horses who line the roads when we visit my Grandpa who lives in the smallest farm town in existence. I've always clapped and whistled for the stray cats who roam my neighborhood to come to me, (we all know they never do, don't we?). But I've never thought about doing anything with animals other than owning a couple of them. What else was there to do? The purpose of this blog that you've so intentionally clicked on, I'm sure, is to document my meager attempts to answer that question as best as it can be answered! 

Currently, I'm cutting animal tested products out of my life. The convictions of my heart have been changing rapidly and animal rights has become one of those I feel at the forefront. I don't know that I will stop at becoming as cruelty free as I can be, but I know that's where I will start. Feel free to follow along as I begin to navigate the brave new world of animal rights!...and leave comments & suggestions, I'm open to them all!

Welp. Here goes nothin'!