August 15, 2016

Vegan Grocery Essentials


I get asked a ton about what I eat, because for some reason, there is an assumption that vegetarians/dairy-free people don't eat real food. To clarify, I'm not completely vegan, and don't limit myself from eating store-bought items that have dairy (eggs, milk) cooked into them. However, I completely avoid eating outright dairy (cheese, cheesecake, cream-filled anything, milk, ice cream, etc) and meat (all kinds + seafood). Eating out is a treat, because most options at non vegan-friendly restaurants are things I already make at home for myself, so when I do go out, I make a point to eat somewhere with things that are fun for me to eat.

For now, this lifestyle (not a diet, this is a lifestyle) works for me. Yes, it may change one day; yes, I have lost weight; and yes, I am genuinely happy eating these things. This isn't all due to what I eat, it's about so much more than that. I practice yoga, take spin classes, run, or do other cardio at least 3-4 days per week, drink plenty of water, limit my caffeine and alcohol intake, and most importantly, take care of myself.

Here are some of the staples I always have on hand in my refrigerator and pantry that I build my meals around each week. I do 90% of my shopping at Trader Joe's and about 10% at Whole Foods. You can't beat the prices at Trader Joe's especially for produce, ($0.19 per banana, $0.99 per avocado), and while Whole Foods is much more expensive, they do have a great selection of vegan friendly treats (dairy-alternatives, desserts, etc).


Pesto: Most store-bought pesto’s contain pecorino cheese, so I love that if I’m feeling too lazy to make my own, I can get this Sauces ‘n Love vegan pesto! I love how fresh pesto is on zucchini noodles or a bowl of pasta with simple veggies.

Hummus: I love hummus with a little kick of something extra, whether it is Siracha, spices, or garlic. It’s an easy on the go snack with carrots and seeded crisps!

Sorbet: Dairy-free ice cream is great, but is usually a treat since it tends to be more expensive, so sorbet is always a must, especially in the summer!


Butter: I love this Earth Balance whipped variety because it spreads or melts faster than their original. You really can't tell this isn't butter (no pun intended).

Cold Brew Coffee with Almond Milk: Califa Farms makes the best cold brew coffee with almond milk! While I'm partial to their XX Espresso and Mocha flavors, all are equally amazing.

Almond Milk: I definitely prefer almond over soy milk and this vanilla one from Trader Joe's is the best! I mostly use it in my smoothies, but also with cereal or coffee.

Yogurt: My dad is the biggest yogurt fan I've ever met, and I've always been a huge yogurt hater, until I tried this. It's a great dessert option, or to be used in overnight oats and topped with fresh fruit!


Berries: I have never been a huge fruit eater, but clearly, I have changed my ways. Starting my day with something fresh like strawberries & banana on toast slathered with almond butter is so refreshing and delicious. I also freeze my own strawberries (cheaper & tastes way fresher!) for smoothies.

Avocados: Wow. I don't know how I haven't been eating avocados my whole life because they are by far the biggest staple in my diet and something I eat almost every day. If I could eat one thing forever, 99% sure it would be avocado toast. Here's my go-to: 1/2 avocado smashed onto 2 slices of toasted ezekiel bread, top with a dash of salt & pepper, a sprinkle of chia seeds, and chopped baby tomatoes. So good.

Bananas: As mentioned above, I have never been a huge fruit eater, and while I don't eat a ton of fruit alone, I love using them to jazz up my food. I freeze my own bananas for smoothies, top oatmeal with bananas & agave nectar, add them to chocolate chip pancakes, or use them on a breakfast toast.

Zucchini: Fried or roasted, I love zucchini and squash of all shapes, sizes, and colors. A little olive oil and garlic powder thrown on top and popped in the oven for 15 minutes does the trick.

Salad Mix: Salad can be so boring, so I love throwing in a variety of veggies and grains to make it hearty, filling, colorful, and delicious.


Cereal: If I don't have enough time (or to be honest, the energy) to make a "real" breakfast, this is my go-to cereal.

Quinoa: I love cous cous, quinoa, and brown rice, and I use them in a couple of different ways throughout the week. In salads, as a base for a veggie bowl, or for stir-fry (rice is best). 

Ezekiel Bread: My roommate from last summer Danielle introduced me to this bread, way before I decided to go dairy free or vegetarian, and I haven’t looked back since! Ezekiel bread is flourless and made from sprouted grains, so it’s heartier and healthier than your average whole grain. It toasts to the perfect crisp, so it’s fantastic to pile things on for breakfast toasts.

Chia Seeds: Super high in fiber are the tiniest seeds that I love in anything. Overnight oats, smoothies, in homemade chia pudding, or on avocado toast are a few ways I use this nutrient-packed superfoods.

Veggie Burgers: I'm not super partial to any type of veggie burger because I almost only use them mashed up in a pasta or zucchini noodle bowl with veggies. If I'm out to eat and they offer a veggie burger, I gravitate towards that because they tend to taste more like the real deal, although I think that's a mental thing.



Almond Butter: I was never a fan of your average peanut butter, but I can get down with almond butter (do we see a trend of almond products here?). There are tons of brands that make amazing almond butters, and usually I go with what's at Trader Joes, but I could do any kind. 

Granola Bars: I always have tons of granola bars in my pantry at any given time from a variety of brands in a variety of flavors! A few of my favorites are Lara Bars (pretty much all the flavors), RXBars (Coconut Chocolate & Blueberry), and GoMacro Bars (Prolonged Power & Protein Pleasure). Lara Bars are fantastic for a quick snack, and I like the RXBars and GoMacro bars as an after workout snack because they're high in protein. 


Almonds: Like granola bars, I almost always have almonds on me, because I never know when I'll get hungry!


Any alternatives to meat or dairy that are your tried and true favorites? I'd love to try them out! 

July 27, 2016

July 2016 Favorites

Disclaimer: I felt like I completely pigeon-holed myself into my previous format of these posts, so I'm switching it up. Would love to know your thoughts!


MDSolarSciences SPF 50 Mineral Beauty Balm: We recently started carrying this in the boutique at exhale, but Sephora also just began carrying them. This is super lightweight and is perfect for summer because the last thing I want is to layer moisturizer, primer, SPF, and a BB cream or tinted moisturizer. This is super lightweight and provides a light layer of color with the slightest bit of reflecting properties to give you a great glow. Especially if you often forget to put SPF on under your makeup, this is awesome! 

Glossier Cherry Balm Dot Com: Per the recommendation of my friend Jill who used the Coconut Balm Dot Com consistently while we were in France, I knew I needed to try them out. I ordered their Trio of Cherry, Mint and Rose, and this is definitely my favorite and most used of the three so far. You can build the color up a bit or leave it on the sheerer side, it smells and feels amazing. What other Glossier products should I try?

Marc Jacobs Glow Slick Glistening Illuminator: I was super late to the highlighter trend, but this one makes me glad I held off, because it's amazing. It's super easy to swipe onto your cheekbones and isn't overly chunky or glittery. Thanks so much to Influenster for this! 

L'eau de Cassis L'Espirit du Sud Parfum: I bought this in France during a day trip to Cassis (photos from that day here and here) and I'm so happy I did! I knew I wanted to get a perfume during my trip, but something a little more unique than something I could buy at Sephora here (you can order this scent & more online!). Everytime I spray it, it brings me back to that perfect beach day, which included beach drinking, a boat trip around the Calanques, and sorbet. Le sigh.

Gilly & Tarley: Game of Thrones anyone? I'm a huge fan of naming intimate objects (mostly bags & plants), which I'm completely aware is weird. But really, I love these two. My succulent is from Whole Foods and my cactus is from Niche in the South End.

What have you been loving this month? Would love to hear your favorites!

July 25, 2016

Her Campus Her Conference 2016

This weekend was the 5th Annual Her Conference, presented by Her Campus and my third conference, see 2014 and 2015.


Held again at Convene in the Seaport district, this years line-up of keynotes and panelists was without a doubt their best yet. i.e. Rebecca Minkoff, Andi Dorfman, Joyce Chang, Vanessa K. De Luca, Nastia Liukin, and Samantha Power.
 Dress: Mango // Shoes: Target

One of the best things about Her Conference each year is the amount of girls I get to meet in real life that I've met virtually, whether they're from the InfluenceHer Collective or another chapter!

Juicy Couture's #TrackisBack celebrations with popsicles and prosecco

The panels are consistently spot on with amazing speakers in a variety of stages in their careers, in many different fields. They had more choices and speakers than ever this year, and there was something for everyone!

Shopping party with Rebecca Minkoff

It was back to reality after the conference wrapped on Sunday and I headed back to Boston. Another truly amazing weekend in the books!

HCXO!

July 18, 2016

Beauty Buzz: Natural Skincare

Essentially, I am a vegan. The only thing holding me back is eating eggs, (they're an awesome source of protein post-workout), but otherwise, I eat an almost strictly plant-based diet. A post on what I've been eating and how I've been working out lately is in the works, but for now, let's stick to skincare.

A new friend asked me recently about my new minimalist makeup and skincare routines (again, post coming soon!), but questioned why if I eat so healthy I use products with harsher chemicals. That night, I couldn't help but think to myself, if I'm putting balanced nutrients that are naturally derived into my body, shouldn't I do the same for my skin?


I can't justify getting rid of the embarrassingly large stash of skincare and beauty products I currently have, but I have a growing list of products to start adding and incorporating once these finish up, and here are some that I've heard great things about.

Do you have any recommendations for brands in other categories? Hair, beauty, or others? I'd love for you to send them my way to be featured in an upcoming post!

July 13, 2016

Soft Summer Waves with SASSOON Salon

As you probably know, I've been working with SASSOON for the past few months and my hair is truly better because of it!

Have you been to the Lawn on D yet? So fun in the summer with friends!

Briana Davis, my stylist is the sweetest ever. I always look forward to my bi-weekly blowouts and cuts with her because we always have a great time chatting and catching up, especially because I was away for 5 weeks, my hair and I missed her!

Dress: Aritzia (so comfy, and on sale right now!) // Shoes: Sperry

We never even have to discuss what I want her to do with my hair anymore, because she knows I always go for the same waves that for the life of me I can't recreate at home. After a good wash from one of the salon assistants, Bri starts her magic with a blowdryer before giving me the perfect waves with a straightener. I think my problem at home is the tools, and I could definitely stand for an upgrade to my blowdryer and straightener, but then again, she works magic for a reason! Typically, I go in for a blow-out at the end of the week, since I don't usually have time to workout on the weekends, and my look lasts well past the end of the weekend.

What are some other fun outdoor activities on your summer bucket list?

I love my long locks, but I think it's time for a summer change, right? Bri and I have been discussing a change, because with the humidity in Boston, I just can't deal with how heavy my hair feels despite the layers. I haven't had "short" hair since I was 12 (almost 10 years!), so we'll see how short I can comfortably cut it. 

{NOW CLOSED}
If you can't make it into a salon to have your hair styled to perfection, no fear! I'm running a giveaway on my Instagram for a product pack from SASSOON Salons, filled with tons of fun hair goodies that they use in the salon on me. Whoever wins will be all set for fab hair all summer long for sure! Enter now through July 20th for your chance to win!

July 11, 2016

Products I've Used Up #16

This is absolutely one of my favorite series that I try to get up every two months or so. Lately, I've been trying harder than usual to use up as many products as I can before purchasing anything else. I have a massive stash of beauty products that I often spread amongst my friends, and yet, the "collection" continues to grow. I'm putting a stop to it, and unless I'm absolutely out of something and have no alternative backups, it's not getting purchased.

For now, here's what I've used up lately: