Wow, that month sure flew by! Here are some incredible items that helped me get through a crazy May!
Though I'm an avid reader, I'm somewhat ashamed to admit that I often struggle to get through works of non-fiction. I've been so inspired by the life and work of Malala Yousafzai that I wanted to give her auto-biography, I Am Malala, a try. I finished the entire book in two days. Malala doesn't just have an inspiring story, but she tells it in a way that is easy to understand, and completely pulls you in! Stories about juvenile sibling bickering and classroom rivalries are sprinkled into her narrative about the political history of Pakistan, and the horror of living with the Taliban. The book makes it easy for a reader from any background to relate to Malala's humanity, and to admire what a normal girl with a difficult childhood has been able to accomplish. Read this book. You'll be entertained as well as inspired! And if you are, please consider giving what you can to The Malala Fund, an organization that supports girls' education around the world.
I have been seeing and hearing a lot about coffee scrubs lately. Friends and beauty bloggers alike have raved about the benefits of using coffee on your body to temporarily reduce the appearance of cellulite and soften skin. I was trying to decide which brand to purchase when I noticed how few ingredients the scrubs contained! I decided to try making it myself, and have been really pleased with the results! Neither Trey or I drink coffee, so I hit up my parents for some of their used grounds and they gave me about a dozen of their used K-cups. (I hate the wastefulness of the entire Keurig product line, so I was glad to be able to keep a few out of the landfill!)
I combined equal parts spent coffee grounds and coarse, organic sugar. Then I added just enough melted coconut oil to make the mixture stick together. I topped it off with a few drops of jojoba oil, and a few drops of peppermint essential oil (you could add any scent oil you like, or omit entirely). The scrub smells like heaven and works wonders on my backside! I keep the scrub in my shower, in a half-pint mason jar topped with a plastic screw cap to prevent rust.
In the past few years, as I've become more aware about fast fashion, I've moved towards an effort to maintain a minimalist wardrobe. I try to only buy clothing items that I really need, rather than shopping for clothes that catch my eye. When I do decide to purchase clothes, I look for pieces that are made ethically or at least in countries that I know have strict manufacturing practices. (Clothes made in China/Bangladesh/India etc. are not welcome in my closet!) Convertible pieces that can be worn in different styles for multiple types of occasions have a special appeal for me. I've loved Seamly.co since the company first launched, and loved an earlier iteration, rev apparel, just as much! Owner Kristin Glenn does an incredible job creating pieces that are both ethically-manufactured AND fashionable. The convertible pantsuit is heavenly. I purchased one when they first launched, but made the mistake of getting the olive green color, which wasn't right for my complexion. It sat in my closet mostly unworn. Earlier this year I sold it off to a friend and ordered the pantsuit in black. I've been living in the thing ever since. I didnt think I could pull off a romper, but it's flattering even on my curvier body type. I love that I can dress it up with heels and some jewelry for a night out or dress it town with sandals and a messy bun for running errands or lounging around the house. This perfectly versatile piece has become a staple in my ever-shrinking wardrobe. Click here to get $10 off!
I searched high and low for an eco version of a color corrector palette. I'd been seeing a lot of color correctors hitting the beauty market lately, and thought they might be just the thing to help me cover up some of the darkness under my eyes. I especially wanted something with a green corrector to cover up redness as well as an orange/peach, which I'd learned was great for covering up blue-tinted undereye circles. I was absolutely delighted when I discovered the Daydream Corrector palette from indie-beauty brand Glory Boon. It contains all of the colors I had been looking for in a clean, eco-friendly formula, all at an amazing price or just $17.99. When it first arrived, I was initially disappointed that the "salmon" color was a bit lighter than I hoped; it was almost a perfect match to my regular skin tone. However, I quickly realized that my undereye cirlces are more of a purple color than blue/green, and the yellow color in this palette covers them beautifully! I use the green to cover blemishes and redness, and the salmon to blend everything out. Once set with a good finishing powder, the correctors stay put for a really long time. Glory Boon also sells the corrector colors in individual sticks, which I will definitely be purchasing in the future.
I love smoothies. They're a quick, portable option for a really healthy meal. My issue with smoothies has always been finding a way to add protein to them. I've tried some of the most popular vegan protein powders and found them all to be lacking in some way. Either they were really gritty, or they contained ingredients that I try to avoid like soy, sugars, or preservatives. Enter Garden of Life. This powder is raw, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, non-GMO, with no added sugars or artificial flavors. The whole line is vegetable-based, with the proteins coming from organic sprouted grans and seeds (sprouted brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, millet, etc.) It's great. My ONLY complaint is that it is sweetened with a little bit of stevia. But it is the best powder I've tried, and I use it almost every day. My favorite smoothie is just 1.5 frozen bananas, 1 cup of non-dairy milk, 1 scoop of vanilla powder, and a tablespoon of organic creamy peanut butter. It tastes like a milkshake, and keeps me full for hours. Get $10 towards an order from VitaCost.