Beauty Bests: September

I really need to stop introducing new blog series! I can never seem to stick with them for long.

Another thing I’m struggling with is my blogging mojo. Life is busy — I work 40+ hours a week, and in the next 3 weeks I only have 5 days off of work (including today and tomorrow, my normal weekend). And right after that stretch I’m embarking on my first solo flight to visit my best friend in Salt Lake City…which I am super pumped for! And also nervous — I’ve been reading everything possible about airline travel. Not that I’m scared of flying (I actually love it) or that I haven’t flown much (I generally fly once or maybe twice a year) but that I’ve never flown without someone with me, whether my family or a big group so I hope I have everything I need. I’m traveling carry-on only for the first time too and I hope I’m not bringing too much stuff for my small bag. Do any seasoned solo flyers have tips for this newbie?

Enough travel talk (for now), let’s talk beauty. I am NOT a low-maintenance kind of girl when it comes to beauty products, but I don’t like to spend too much on makeup or hair stuff. With that being said, here are some of my favorite finds this month.

Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Lipstick Duo (Sephora, $12)

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Purple lips AREN'T weird, trust me!

This stuff is life-changing, y’all. Before trying it I hadn’t found a lipstick/lip stain that stayed put and didn’t feel too heavy. This is the answer to my prayers! First of all, it’s basically like getting two for the price of one, because it has one shade on each end. Second, the shades are perf…I absolutely love the bright magenta and fuschia hues. They’re the perfect pop of color that works for all seasons. And best of all, it stays on for most of the day. Trust me. I went for a run while wearing it (hey, it was after work!) and it barely faded. It will last through eating and drinking, too.

Tarte Gifted Amazonian Clay Smart Mascara (Sephora, $10 for mini)

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Minis are cuter anyway!

Another incredible product that will probably become my go-to mascara from now on. Not heavy or cakey like a lot of mascaras and it comes off easily with makeup removers or warm water. It gives me the length and volume I want without looking all spider-y. It comes in a full-size version, but I tried the mini because A) I’m cheap B) I wanted to make sure it was worth it and C) It works better for traveling (see above). I am stocking up on more before my trip!

Julep Bare Face Cleansing Oil (Julep.com)

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Looks like pee, but smells great.

Full disclosure: I got this as a freebie with my first Julep box (they mostly sell nail polish). But this stuff smells good and works well. I usually use makeup removing wipes, and lately I’ve been getting into more natural brands like Burt’s Bees, but this oil is less harsh on my eyes (it’s good for contact users like me) and it makes your skin soft. You only need a little bit, which is even better. Just lather up a little on your face and wash away with warm water.

Bobby Pins (any drugstore)

You know what bobby pins look like (I hope)! These suckers are extremely cheap, since they usually come in packs of like a million, so when you inevitably lose some, it’s okay. Since I’ve started doing the top bun thing more often, they’re a lifesaver for those little frizzies that stick out. And I also use them to do that little bouffant thing with my bangs now that I’m kinda sorta probably growing them out.

Tidy Detangling Comb (Sephora, $8)

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Have to buy it if it's pink.

I used to brush out my hair after a shower with an actual brush. Bad! Then I realized a comb would be better for my hair, so I switched to this because it’s bigger than those cheap-o combs they give you on picture day in elementary school and it said it would keep my texture intact, which I was thrilled about. I’m all about leaving my hair natural (aka wavy) when I can and this comb absolutely keeps that in check. Now I also use this comb to detangle my ends when they’re dry and yep, still works wonders. Plus it’s pink, which means I had to get it.

What are some of your (cheap) beauty favorites? Any solo traveling tips?

New in Review: Chai & Chocolate

I have a problem. A problem with starting too many post series that I never stick to. I did keep my College Vegan on a Budget series going for several months and obviously I can’t go back to it now as a post-grad. But several other series I had big plans for died an early death.

I’m hoping I can keep this one going for awhile. See, I like product review posts a lot. I read them when I spot a new product on the shelves and I’m wondering if it’s worth a purchase, or if I just bought something and want to see what other people think. Either way, I think they’re informative and fun, so I wanted to bring something like that to AlmostVegGirlie.

I’m calling this new series New in Review, and it will be my honest thoughts about products (not just food!) that I’ve recently tried. Everything I post will be products I bought myself, so no sponsored posts here. And I hope you find them to be interesting!

  • Quinn Kale & Sea Salt popcorn

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I spotted this at Whole Foods, and even though I eat grain free a lot of the time by default, I’ve been craving popcorn lately. Plus it’s gluten free and sounded interesting, so I bought it. When I opened the bag, I was surprised to see that the popcorn wasΒ green. Like spinach green. I love all things green, though, so it didn’t scare me away, though some picky people might be thrown off by it. But then, it is made with dried organic kale (and carrot), so it’s basically like salad πŸ˜‰Β 

The ingredients list is stellar–non-gmo popcorn kernels (corn is a heavily GM product so non-gmo is important), sunflower oil (healthier than most veggie oils, though coconut oil is best), dried organic kale and carrot (seriously, veggies in popcorn is incredible), sea salt, onion powder and garlic powder. That’s it…just popcorn and spices and a little oil. The best part is how tasty this popcorn is. It’s got a slight veggie flavor but not overpowering, with the perfect amount of saltiness and tang from the spices. And it’s a little addicting, but in a good way, because one serving of popcorn (4 cups) is 150 calories.

Pros: organic/non-gmo, clean ingredients, good flavor

Cons: I wish there was more popcorn!

  • Maybelline Volum’ Express Mega Plush mascara

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I’ve been partial to Maybelline mascaras since I discovered their Illegal Length mascara. My lashes are fairly voluminous, so I’m mostly looking to add length and darkness. I like Maybelline’s mascaras because they last a long time (I use it daily) and are fairly inexpensive and available at regular stores like Target.

This mascara is gel mousse, so the texture is a bit different, but it doesn’t clump at all. It also has a flexible brush, which makes it easier to apply. I prefer washable mascaras so I haven’t tried the waterproof kind, but the washable one is easily removable with soap+water or makeup wipes but it doesn’t smudge either.

Pros: inexpensive ($7 ish for a tube), goes on smoothly, feels light

Cons: I wish it added length as well as volume

  • Fearless Chocolate

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This is officially my go-to chocolate brand now! So far, I’ve tried 4 flavors: Superfruit, Green Tea Mint, Exploding Coconuts, and Super Seeds Crunch. All of them are good, but the Exploding Coconuts is my favorite so far. It’s got great little chunks of coconut in it! Though I can’t wait to find their new coffee flavor–I love coffee+chocolate!

Fearless Chocolate has one of the simplest ingredients list of any chocolate brand. They’re soy free (no soy lecithin, which is hard to find in chocolate), gluten free, vegan and certified organic & fair trade. Best of all, they’re made with raw cacao instead of cocoa butter, making them purely chocolate, and organic cane sugar is the last ingredient, so the bars aren’t too sweet.

Pros:Β Basically everything I’m looking for in dark chocolate

Cons: I didn’t love the mint flavor as much as I thought I would, a little pricey

  • Β Trader Joes Spiced Chai Tea

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I went to Trader Joes for the first time about a month ago, and while I’ve already finished off most of the things I’ve bought, I’ve still got plenty of pink sea salt and this chai tea left.

With the warm days we’ve been having lately, I decided to use these tea bags to make iced tea over the weekend. I cold-brewed them in a pitcher for 10 minutes or so, and then taste-tested. This tea has a great, complex spiced flavor but it isn’t too bold. It also pairs well mixed with a bit of stevia and some coconut-almond milk over ice.

Pros: budget friendly, good flavor

Cons: No TJs near me anymore so I can’t buy more 😦

  • Kevita Probiotic Drinks

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I still haven’t gotten on the kombucha train, but I loooooove Kevita! It’s a little fizzy, sweetened with stevia and comes in a bunch of tasty flavors (I’ve tried the lemon cayenne, strawberry acai coconut, mango coconut & mojita lime mint).

This stuff is about the same price as GT Kombucha (though generally cheaper at Sprouts and Whole Foods when on sale) and it boasts the same probiotic qualities. But there’s no weird aftertaste or floaties that come with some kombuchas. Plus it’s organic and made with reverse osmosis water. It’s almost like a light, refreshing soda but so much better for you and won’t make you all bloated like diet soda does.

My new favorite flavor is the lemon cayenne cleanse–it tastes like lemonade!

Pros: tasty, health benefits, lots of flavors

Cons: a bit expensive when not on sale

What new products have you tried lately?Β