From the Inside Out- My Choice to Go Vegan and Quit Animal Products "Cold Tofu"

This post has been a long time coming, and with my hiatus from blogging it seems like a good one to come back with. Now I know why blogging is a full time job and I admire those who have faithfully posted daily or weekly blogs.

This is about your diet.

Last summer I made the decision to go vegetarian because I wanted to maintain my weight more easily by ridding my body of processed meat, excess sodium, excess saturated fats, and cholesterol by replacing them with wholesome simple foods like fresh vegetables and fruits, grains, nuts, and low-fat dairy. The problem many people have when switching to a vegetarian diet is not doing the research necessary to allow the diet to benefit them. Yes, many foods are vegetarian: bagels, cinnamon rolls, oil fried tofu, m&m's, peanut butter and jelly...
Do you see where I'm going? I see this all too often. Many vegetarians who do not do research beforehand end up carbing and sugaring themselves into not only failing to lose weight, but even gaining it!

Two weeks ago I made the decision to go vegan. Eggs and other dairy products still contain saturated fats that I do not want in my body. Because of this sudden revelation, I took out a book from the library to help me gain a little more knowledge about the diet. I took out Vegan Freak: Being Vegan in a Non-Vegan World. It really opened my eyes about not only the health benefits of veganism, but also the cruelty of the dairy industry. Veganism, I found, is not simply a diet, but a movement for the freedom of animals from torture , death, and ownership.Simply being the ends to someone's means- a satisfaction of the craving for meat. While there are other viable options out there, why should animals be put to such a fate? So, I stopped giving my money to support an industry that I find appalling.

Now, let me tell you, it is much more difficult to be vegan than vegetarian in this world. Your life becomes far more centered on food. Pick up 5 packages of foods you would expect to contain no animal ingredients next time you're in the store and then read the package. If it does not say "Contains milk" or "Contains eggs" look for whey, or gelatin among the ingredients. I work a job where I am surrounded by delicious junk during my breaks from a 10 hour day. It is hard, let me tell you. There was a time when I would grab a chocolate milk and a bag or Doritos for lunch. Not gonna lie. But now I have to plan for when hunger strikes. Yes, the taste of green pepper pales in comparison to the salt and flavor covered chips, but I remind myself every day why I'm doing what I'm doing (partially to look like Jenna Marbles). If I cut up enough peppers, apples, avocados, pears etc. I have no excuse to eat poorly at work. The good part is- you can pretty much overdose on veggies without health problems. Eat all you want. Just be smart about it. 5-7 veggies a day is not supposed to be avocado, avocado, avocado, avocado, avocado you see what I'm saying? Too much healthy fat is still bad.

Anyway I really am going somewhere with all this- I promise. For those of you who are interested in vegetarianism and (hopefully) veganism (since there is no such thing as ethical vegetarianism) I want to give you a step up with some of my tips for transitioning. Plus some factoids to get you motivated.

Factoid #1 Veganism lowers your bad cholesterol levels and decreases your risk for heart disease, stroke, food poisoning, bowel diseases, and cancer (among other health complications).
Factoid #2 Vegans live longer! You will also look better for your age due to high intake of antioxidants through colorful fruits and veggies and avoidance of unhealthy fat and refined sugar.
Factoid #3 Eating meat is entirely unnecessary. It is a significant source of iron and vitamin B12, but these can be obtained through a multi-vitamin.
Factoid #4 It's cheaper to buy plant products than animal products.
Factoid #5 Eating vegan is environmentally friendly, while eating meat causes methane pollution and excessive waste of water.
Factoid #6 If everyone went vegan, we could end world hunger (and salvage the national debt).

This is the Hints & Tips section

Hint #1 To make veggies more flavorful, find a vegan marinade you like and then pan fry or roast them.
Hint #2 Cheeseless pizza is really very good if the dough has enough flavor. Try Amy's Cheeseless Pizza for topping and flavor inspiration.
Hint #3 If you're stuck out somewhere, you can get salad at any fast food place, but be careful with dressings since many contain milk. Collect packets of vinaigrettes to keep in the car for such occasions. Make salads more flavorful by adding a variety of toppings such as garbanzo beans, pumpkin seeds, or apples.
Hint #4 Eat Ezekiel Bread with margarine or almond butter for an all-in-one vegan protein punch.
Hint #5 Keep snacks in the car to avoid getting over-hungry and feeling the need to fast food (I know it's tempting sometimes). I really like dried fruits, like mango from Trader Joe's. Also I keep Eden Organic spicy pumpkin seeds in my car (so delicious) as well as a couple of vegan Luna bars. You can get packets of peanut, almond or hazelnut butter (Justin's Nut Butter) which taste amazing for protein on-the-go.

I would love to hear from people who are vegetarian or vegan, who are interested in transitioning, or who have questions. As always, I love to learn new things and would enjoy hearing your tips too!

Love and healthy intestines,


Let's Talk About Acne (Yikes!)

Unless you were miraculously blessed with flawless, dewy skin, listen up. I've struggled with mild to moderate acne since probably 9th grade. It's gotten better and worse through the years, and I promise that I've tried everything. I got Proactiv when it first came out, and it kept my skin mildly under control. But soon I was frustrated with the spots I still had so I tried Neutrogena, Clean and Clear, Acnefree, and even Purity by Philosophy. Harsh cleansers just seemed to irritate my face and make breakouts redder, but mild cleansers just weren't effective for what I needed them for. If you're in this position, read on.

A couples years ago, I cured my mild back acne using 1) a scrub brush in the shower and 2) rubbing alcohol on a cotton pad twice a day (I know dermatologists, I know). But it worked. Not a spot since.

I once worked with a girl who had the most beautiful skin I've ever seen. Of course I asked her about what she uses and she told me a tea tree oil cleanser from Trader Joe's. Well, of course it took me forever to try it, but my skin has never looked better. I'm using a few different things at the moment and I don't know which is causing my good skin, so I'm going to keep using them all. Ready for a list? Of course you are!

1. Burt's Bees Deep Cleansing Cream
Best feeling cleanser I've ever used. It's soft and non-irritating. It smells like lemons and is all natural. Best of all, it uses soap bark and chamomile and is mentholated, so my skin feels cool and clean after I pat it dry. Love that feeling.

2. Trader Joe's 100% Tea Tree Oil
I wet a cotton round slightly and then put three drops of oil on it. I use this as a toner. It also feels mentholated and can sting a little if your skin is dry.

*After this I use a vitamin C moisturizer by Lumene but I'm not particularly sold on it. It's not better or worse than any other moisturizer I've used.

3. Benzoyl Peroxide Spot Treatment
I use Acnefree's 3rd step as a spot treatment, but I would like to try Burt's Bees roll-on tea tree oil spot treatment. Maybe next paycheck.

4. Fish Oil Supplement
I take these for heart health as well as skin and hair health. I'm not a big fan of eating fish (I mostly follow a vegetarian diet). The Omega 3 fatty acids are supposed to do wonders for your entire body. Possibly this has something to do with my skin's miraculous turnaround? Just in case it is, I'm not stopping.
I also take a multi-vitamin (when I remember :D).

Once or twice a week, I use a face mask. Right now I'm alternating between Lumene's peat mask and a deep pore cleaning mask by 10.0.6.

That's pretty much all I do for my skin. Fingers crossed that this is the answer I've been looking for since I was a wee lass. Just kidding. I'm not Irish (just 1/4). Or British (just, some fraction smaller than that). I just pretend sometimes.

Have you tried tea tree oil? I want to know about it!

Love, and smooth skin,


Chilly Days & Lots of Layering- I Love Autumn!

Here in the midwest we had our first real chilly day yesterday (of course, accompanied by rain, which has not left us since the beginning of spring). As much as I dread the impending doom that is winter, I  must be completely honest and admit that fall and winter fashions are my favorite to wear! Summer dresses and strappy sandals have their place, but layering clothes, chunky sweaters, boots, hats, and scarves hold a special place in my heart. The bronze/metallic hues that have been enjoyed all summer, I have heard from a reliable source, will continue to make a strong appearance in fall. Statement jackets and coats, which were worn shortly after the peacoat obsession BONANZA will continue. These are my favorites:

Ah, houndstooth. One of my very favourite patterns. I had a male friend once (quite unschooled in fashion) who called my houndstooth coat a "zebra coat". Oh, men. This one is Banana Republic, but I got mine at a discount store for $20. Try a TJ Maxx or an AJ Wright, if you have them in your area. Or, of course, your trusty Goodwill.

Bright plaid! I love these colors, and I love anything plaid. Especially a big, chunky plaid. I have a coat similar to this, but it has more brown incorporated and comes with a belt and has slightly more accented shoulders. A nice coat can pull a boring outfit together and kick it up a notch! A la Emeril.

Double-breasted or military style coats. I can't tell if this one has epaulettes (the little piece that decorates the top of the shoulder), but I love those. The waist flares out, which works well with the continuing trend (yay!) of skinny jeans. I can tell this is Delias by the model :D.

Faux fur the right way. Do you remember those ugly, puffy coats with the fake fur around the hood that were in during 2006~2008? Try to forget. Fitted and streamlined, or bulk with a defined waist + faux fur = fab. I love these long coats (don't they look warm?).

I love this! I feel I need this coat. From the extremely simple cut, to the high neck, to the muddy color- I'm in love. This may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I can see some mad accessorizing! + my skinnies :).

And, I will leave you with this look for men. The man in the photos can call me anytime. Seriously. Anytime.


Hair Today, Gone in About an Hour

I'm a pretty lazy person sometimes. I HATE showering. Taking time to do it, knowing I'll be damp and cold, combing out my hair. Especially shaving. On days I feel like I need a shave, I dread the shower. It's not that it takes so very long  or that I cut myself often or anything crazy (although I do use a man's razor generally). I think maybe it's that it takes up practically a half hour of my very precious free time. To solve this, I decided to get Nair Shower Power. Bad, bad idea. I ended up with a bleeding rash from the chemicals. So, next I tried wax. The stupid stuff stuck to my hands, my dorm room floor, and everywhere else. I got about 2 strips done before I was no longer able to pick anything up and struggled to get out of my room and down to the showers. Don't get me started on trying to get the damn wax off.

So, I just went happily back to razors: hair removal I could understand. Until I recently started reading about


Sugaring is a technique that has been used for centuries in many diverse cultures because of its simplicity and effectiveness. There are no chemicals to burn the skin (Thank you!) and the "wax" doesn't stick to your fingers (Yesssssss). 

To make:
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup water

You're basically making caramel. Cook the ingredients in a saucepan on the stove (to 250 F using a candy thermometer OR let it boil for about 5 minutes, stir, and leave on heat) until it thickens into a syrup. Once it is honey-like in consistency, pour it into a reheatable jar. When it cools to a workable temperature, spread onto the skin like regular wax and remove hair using waxing strips, or just strips of a cut up cotton t-shirt or jeans. The leftover wax can be saved and used again at a later date by heating it up.

Any sugar left on your skin will easily melt in the warmth of your shower. Also (and this is a HUGE also) it's agreed upon that sugaring is less painful than waxing. Really, is there any reason we're ALL not sugaring?

Have any of you tried sugaring? Do you think it is/would be worth the effort of "cooking" your wax? Has Nair ever made you bleed too :(?


Go With the Glow: Pale is Fab!

I've struggled to transform my pale, somewhat freckly skin into a golden beachy glow since the tender age of 11. The first fake tan product I used was terrible! It smelled revolting and turned me an orangey color. As if I needed another reason to be made fun of in gym class. Since then, a lot has changed in the world of the "tan in a can". After trying multiple products (in an affordable price range) I settled on a gloves method of applying Jergens Natural Glow, and was quite content with the results. But it took me so many years to realize that 1. I absolutely CANNOT stick to the routine of applying sunless tanner due to the lengthy process of exfoliation, application, drying, and rinsing and 2. that pale skin is actually fricken awesome and women who choose to care for their skin instead of altering it look great in every stage of life. It wasn't until after I went from blonde to red that I realized the true potential of my white "marshmallow" (thanks, brother) skin.

Here are some tips I've found and come up with to get the maximum return on investing in your pale skin.

1. Sunscreen Obviously, daily. Everyone should be doing this. I know it's hard, but I put on my face sunscreen under my foundation and usually remember the rest of my body in the car, so I keep a bottle in my console. Don't forget important places like your hands (no age-revealing sunspots, please!) and your lips.

2. A good skin care regime Pale skin is often sensitive and a nice, gentle skin care routine is a good idea. Use a gentle acne cleanser if necessary because red spots (as well as pink, agitated areas) on pale skin stand out twice as badly. Pick a nice, paraben-free body lotion and stick to it. Fair skin isn't as resilient as other skin and needs a bit more protection and pampering. Commited moisturization is a tried and true method of holding onto youthful, dewy skin. In fact, marry your lotion if the situation seems appropriate. (*Right now I'm using & loving Nuance Rosehip body lotion. We're in a civil union.)

3. Yogurt masks & Milky baths Yogurt and milk have whitening properties that can help to even out a pale complexion. Use full-fat yogurt for dry skin and low fat for oily skin, and apply after using cleanser. You can consider adding in other skin-soothing ingredients such as oatmeal or honey (an excellent antibacterial). Lemon juice can also be added for additional skin lightening. The lactic acid content of the yogurt will leave your skin soft and your pores clarified. You will get the same results for your entire body by adding 2-4 cups of milk or buttermilk to bath water as the tub is filling up. Soak in this milk bath for at least 20 minutes, and then rinse off with clean water. Channel your inner Cleopatra.

4. Shimmer Just like Edward, but better. Use face powders and body lotions with mica for a delicious glow that will make the girls down at the Gym, Tan, Laundry jealous.

5. Angelic apples Use a pale pink or apricot blush to set your pale off right.

6. Rock glam lips Shades of red, from bright cherry to deep scarlet, look fantastic against light skin. Nothing says drama, romance, or intrigue like a solid red lip. For wonderful instructions on how to achieve this perfect red lip, check out xparkage's video.

The key to feeling good in your pale skin in a world infected with tan fever, is confidence. Feel comfortable in your own skin and wear things that set it off to advantage. If you want to, go crazy and dye your hair like me! I've found that an auburn copper red sets off my shade of fair perfectly, and am sitting with a full head of henna right now. This was a personal choice due to my monochromaticism. Spell check says that isn't a word, but I've just created it so, SO THERE.

Happy Pampering! With love and paleness...

                                                        Found on: http://lohaze.tumblr.com/page/2 


Hard Shampoo for Soft Hair

So, I've seen solid shampoo at Lush and other natural markets, but I really thought to myself "that's a bar of soap for your hair...". YES. It is. And it lasts 3 times as long as an 8 oz bottle of shampoo. And it's eco-friendly. These are things that I love. So I found a $7 solid shampoo yesterday while I was out to try it and see what the buzz was all about. After hennaing a chunk of my hair (2nd round) and leaving it in all night (last time 4 hours was not enough) I used the solid shampoo this morning to wash it out. I was quite shocked. It was pretty great. This is what I bought:
Yep, it's a hair biscuit. And it comes with a little tin that I hope is big enough for Lush's, because that's what I'm getting next. This one has sodium laurel sulfate, boo. But I liked it so much that I went back out later today and got the conditioner. The shampoo smells amazing. It has oatmeal, shea butter, macadamia ternifolia seed oil, and clove leaf oil. The conditioner is also made with oatmeal and shea, but smells fruiter and sweeter than the shampoo. I can't wait to try it. The shampoo lathered pretty well, probably due to the sulfate. I would definitely still use it if it didn't, since we need to free ourselves from the idea that suds = clean. I know it's hard.

All in all I'm 90% sure I'm switching to solid haircare. Even if I recycle the bottles, I feel guilty about all the waste and oil by-products that go into making shampoos and conditioners. And since the solids will end up cheaper overall, work great, and smell delicious- I don't see how I could go wrong.

I tried to take pictures of my henna'd chunk of hair, but on camera the change is so subtle that it's hardly worthwhile. Maybe someone will get a new camera for...Halloween? Hey, it's an important holiday too.

Have you ever tried solid shampoo?


GOLDEN Thrift Accessory Finds!

Hey- how is everyone! (By everyone I mean my zero subscribers, but that's okay. It's early yet.) Today I ran to the thrift store (AGAIN) to get a cheap glass bowl for my Lush henna which is sitting on a test chunk of my hair as we speak. Of course, I found more stuff. They put the bowls in the back on purpose! You have to sift through everything else first... so I'm posting the accessories I bought in the past week. Mostly earrings, because I'm obsessed with them. I only got my ears pierced this past October so earrings are still new to me. Every day I have some exciting ear action going on. But, without further ado- Sophie's late hot/rainy summer accessory lineup!

These Native-American inspired earrings I love. They aren't new, but they still go really well with the modern tribal look that's been popular this summer.

These are a little kitschy for my taste, generally. But I think with the right outfit...

I'm in love with these! Firstly, I can't get enough of gold lately. Secondly, this is a fantastically simple translation of a hoop earring. I'm wearing these to work tomorrow, actually :). And thirdly, they look heavier than they are. I'm big on making sure my earrings are lightweight. No saggy slits for me thanks. These are about the size of a quarter.

This pair of beauties is going to take a special look. But the moment I saw them I knew we were meant to be together. Could it get much cuter than miniature lion door knockers? Rhetorical question. The hoops are about the also about the diameter of a quarter.

This, dear friends, is a bracelet turned earring. I actually got this about 6 months ago. I added the hook and wear it alone on one side or with a stud on the other side, something funky for fun days or going out or simple if I want to downplay the fact that I'm going all 80's on the world. Lengthwise it basically reaches my shoulder and sometimes gets caught in my hair, but pain is so often the price for beauty.

I rarely find necklaces that I like in thrift stores. I don't know why. Maybe they're more timeless than other jewelry and people hang onto them more often. But I love this one! The color is an earthy, organic green and it's made of lightweight wood. All the volume at the bottom gives this a lot of potential for my plain outfit days.

That's all I have right now accessory-wise. I'll show you my henna results soon and then I'll decide whether I'm doing my whole head...excited to be a Genuine Ginger!
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