Sunday, 23 October 2016

My Favourite Cruelty Free Beauty Brands

2016 was the year that I decided to go 100% cruelty free with my beauty products, and I'm so happy that I finally made the switch! Cruelty free means that brands don't conduct testing on animals, whether that be their finished products, or the ingredients that they source. Cruelty free also means that brands don't sell their products in China, as Chinese law dictates that all imported cosmetics must be tested on animals. While a lot of companies continue to test on animals (shocking, I know), there are many wonderful brands that take a more compassionate approach to beauty. Here are my favourite cruelty free beauty brands!

Cruelty Free Beauty

BECCA Cosmetics

I love love love BECCA's packaging, especially the spaceship-like compacts of their powder products. BECCA has a wide shade range, so there's sure to be something for everyone.

Favourite products: Aqua Luminous Perfecting Foundation, Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in Moonstone, & Shimmering Skin Perfector Luminous Blush in Foxglove

BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector Luminous Blush in Foxglove

BECCA Cosmetics Cruelty Free

Urban Decay 

Thankfully the brand that brought us the infamous Naked Palette is cruelty free! UD did try to start selling in the Chinese market, but customer outrage feedback convinced the brand to stick to their cruelty free values. 

Favourite products: Naked Palette (duh), Afterglow 8-Hour Powder Blush in Obsessed, & Revolution Lipstick in Rapture

Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer

Urban Decay Naked On the Run Palette


I first fell in love with Tarte's Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blushes, and collected quite a few shades over the years! Tarte regularly comes out with limited edition collections that are definitely worth checking out. 

Favourite products: Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Exposed, Maracuja Oil, & Rainforest of the Sea Drench Lip Splash Lipstick in Beach Bum

Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Drench Lip Splash Lipstick in Beach Bum

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blushes

Kat Von D

Kat Von D herself is a passionate vegan, and she's committed to reformulating all of her beauty products to be 100% vegan! Her commitment to cruelty free beauty shows that beauty brands can be successful without exploiting bunnies, rats, dogs, etc. 

Favourite products: Tattoo Liner, Studded Kiss Lipstick in Magick, Lock-It Powder Foundation

Kat Von D Lock-It Powder Foundation

Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipsticks

Marc Jacobs Beauty

There was some confusion as to whether or not Marc Jacobs Beauty was cruelty free, simply because Marc Jacobs Perfumes unfortunately are not cruelty free. However the beauty and perfume businesses are separately owned, so the beauty range is completely cruelty free!

Favourite products: Re(marc)able Full Cover Foundation Concentrate, Shameless Bold Blush in Reckless, & Enamored Hi-Shine Lip Lacquer in Pink Flamingo

Marc Jacobs Beauty Re(marc)able Full Cover Foundation Concentrate

Marc Jacobs Shameless Bold Blush in Reckless


NARS was one of the first beauty brands that I became completely obsessed with! The obsession started with their blushes (you all know I'm a blush addict), but I quickly also fell in love with their shadow duos, lipsticks, and more. 

Favourite products: Blush in Luster, Single Eye Shadow in Strada, & Albatross

NARS Single Eyeshadow in Strada

NARS Lip Pencils

Too Faced

My daily makeup routine includes so many Too Faced products! I've tried out a ton of products from this brand, and I'm never disappointment. Their foundation shade range is quite extensive, and their seasonal collections are always winners. 

Favourite products: Chocolate Bar Palette, Milk Chocolate Soleil, Brow Envy, & Born This Way Foundation

Too Faced La Crème in Mean Girls

Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette

I originally planned on sharing my top 5 brands, but I couldn't limit myself to just 5! Of course there are more cruelty free beauty brands out there with fantastic products, so I'd love to hear about your favourites in a comment below. 

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Tuesday, 18 October 2016

What I Ate In A Day #39 - Vegan

Happy Tuesday! I'm back today with another What I Ate In A Day post (you can see last week's food diary here). I'm vegan, so of course everything I'm sharing is free from any sort of animal products/by-products. Of course I drink a ton of water throughout the day - I try to get in at least 8 cups every day.


I started off my day with a Yoso Vanilla Yogurt with some granola on top and a bowl of Sally's Berry Colossal Crunch Cereal with soy milk. 

Yoso Vanilla Yogurt

Sally's Berry Colossal Crunch Cereal


Did you know that quite a few items on Taco Bell's menu can be easily veganized? I've just learnt about this recently, and I had to try out their Crunchwrap! I don't think that I've ever eaten at Taco Bell before, so I was excited to finally see what all the hype was about. PETA has a great article on how to order vegan at Taco Bell, but for the Crunchwrap all you need to do is sub beef for beans, and ask for no sour cream or cheese. Easy! I was pretty impressed with this, it was quite yummy and one of the healthier options that you can get in a mall food court.

Taco Bell Vegan Crunchwrap

Taco Bell Vegan Crunchwrap


I discovered Nature's Bakery Fig Bars when I was travelling through the Detroit Airport, and I've recently found them here in Ottawa at Market Organics. This Mango flavour was really good, and I've also tried the lemon and blueberry ones! I also had a nectarine mid afternoon. 

Nature's Bakery Mango Fig Bar



For dinner I made a garden salad with balsamic dressing to start. For the main course I made a broccoli stir fry with Veggie Paradise Meatless Citrus Infused Riblets on a bed of jasmine rice. 

Garden Salad

Broccoli Stir Fry


I was doing some groceries at Rainbow Foods here in Ottawa, and they stock bakery items from Little Jo Berry's. I picked up a Strawberry Coconut Twinkie as a treat and it didn't disappoint!

Little Jo Berry's Strawberry Coconut Twinkie

So that rounds out another vegan food diary! I hope you'll check back next Tuesday to check out another food diary. What foods have you been loving lately?

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Saturday, 15 October 2016

Travel Diaries: Kamakura Day Trip from Tokyo

If you ever find yourself in Tokyo, I'd highly suggest fitting in a day trip to Kamakura into your itinerary! The main attraction in Kamakura is the Great Buddha, which I agree is a must-see, but there's much more to do, see, and eat after that.

How to get there from Tokyo

I would definitely recommend getting the Enoshima Kamakura Free Pass, as it makes travelling from Tokyo to Kamakura so much easier. This pass is currently 1,470 yen, valid for one calendar day, and provides you with round trip transportation from Tokyo to Fujisawa provided by Odakyu Railways. Additionally, the pass provides unlimited use of the Enoden and Odakyu Railways in the Kamakura/Enoshima free area. I bought this pass at Shinjuku Station the morning of our day trip, but you can also buy it in advance if you wish. From Shinjuku Station you will take a train to the Katase-Enoshima Station in Fujisawa. From there, you will need to walk (10 minutes) to Enoshima Station. Next, take the Enoden Line to Kamakura.

Enoshima Station

Great Buddha/Daibutsu

You can't go to Kamakura without seeing the Great Buddha! This Buddha is a bronze station standing tall at 13.35 meters, and it is absolutely breathtaking. The Great Buddha has withstood multiple typhoons and tidal waves since being cast in 1252. Admission to the Kotokuin Temple is 200 yen, and viewing the interior of the Great Buddha is 20 yen (not much to see inside, but still cool!).

Great Buddah of Kamakura

Hasedera Temple

Another must-see in Kamakura is Hasedera Temple, which was built to house an eleven headed wooden statue of Kannon. According to legend, the statue was set adrift at sea to find a place that it had a karmic connection with, and it washed up on Nagai Beach. The temple is very serene, and offers gorgeous views of the city from a lookout point. 

Hasedera Temple


If you're looking for something a bit more adventurous, then I'd definitely recommend heading to one of the many hiking trails in Kamakura. My husband actually returned to Kamakura a few days after our day trip to further explore the trails! These trails offer incredible views, but they can be a bit advanced, even if the signs say that they're okay for beginners (trust me). 

Kamakura Hiking Trail
Kamakura Hiking Trail

Where to eat

For a smaller town, Kamakura offered a surprising number of vegan restaurants and vegan options! For lunch, my husband and I decided to stop by Kamakura 24sekki, and we are so glad that we did. The restaurant is within walking distance to the Great Buddha, but it definitely did help to have pocket wifi to help guide us. The menu was in Japanese only, but the owner helped to translate, which was a huge help. I ordered a mock-chicken sandwich, which was served on homemade bread. On our way out we also picked up some baked goods, which were also delicious. 

Kamakura 24sekki Sandwich

On our way home, we stopped into Harukucchii in Fujisawa for dinner, which was an absolutely wonderful culinary experience! The owner also acts as the hostess, waiter, chef, and bartender in the small & cozy restaurant. Again, the menu was only in Japanese, but Haru took the time to translate every item on the menu, and made suggestions. I ended up ordering homemade tofu, spicy edamame, a "chicken" and rice bowl, and a slice of vegan chocolate ice cream cake - incredible! 

Harukucchii Homemade Tofu

Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream Cake

Take a stroll along Enoshima Beach

After dinner we decided to walk along Enoshima Beach just after sunset, which was quite romantic! You can walk along the pier, and even dip your toes into Sagami Bay - it's the perfect way to finish off your day before heading back to Tokyo. 

Enoshima Beach

I'm so glad that we were able to fit a day trip to Kamakura into our Tokyo itinerary! The Enoshima Kamakura Free Pass makes the transportation aspect super easy and affordable. I loved Kamakura and Fujisawa because they're such a change of pace compared to the bright and bustling streets of Tokyo. If you're overwhelmed by Tokyo, you'll really appreciate the more peaceful vibe that Kamakura has to offer.

If you've ever been to Kamakura, I'd love to hear about your top highlights and must-do's If you're planning a trip to Tokyo, I hope that I've inspired you to add Kamakura to your itinerary!

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Tuesday, 11 October 2016

What I Ate In A Day #38 - Vegan Thanksgiving

I hope all of my Canadian readers had a lovely Thanksgiving weekend! I spent the weekend at the cottage with my husband's family, which was so relaxing! I just wanted to use this week's What I Ate In A Day post to share what I made for my husband and I for Thanksgiving (his first as a vegan!).

Gardein Holiday Roast

I picked up Gardein's Holiday Roast at Whole Foods after seeing a few people rave about it online. When I was in line to pay for my groceries, another woman asked me about the Gardein Roast, and she had a Tofurky in her basket. I had Tofurky last year and really enjoyed it, but I thought I'd try something new as Gardein never disappoints. The roast is vegan turkey stuffed with cranberry wild rice stuffing, and the meal comes with two packages of vegan gravy. The roast was really easy to cook, and you don't need to add any sauce to it like you need to do with Tofurky. For my sides I made garlic mashed potatoes, peaches & cream corn, and sweet baked carrots. All that was missing were some dinner rolls!

Vegan Thanksgiving Dinner

Being vegan around the holidays doesn't have to be hard, especially now since there are so many vegan alternatives like this roast from Gardein. If you also had a vegan Thanksgiving then I'd love to hear what you cooked up! I might try making a homemade loaf for Christmas, so if you have any tried & tested recipes then please pass them my way!

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Friday, 7 October 2016

Ole Henriksen The Clean Truth Cleansing Cloths Brightening

On a normal day, I tend to reach for a micellar water or cleansing balm to remove my makeup, but I have to admit that when I'm feeling a bit tired or lazy, cleansing cloths are a Godsend. Lately I've been using Ole Henriksen's The Clean Truth Cleansing Cloths Brightening* ($19 CAD/30 cloths), which I even brought along to Japan with me!

Ole Henriksen The Clean Truth Cleansing Cloths Brightening

Ole Henriksen The Clean Truth Cleansing Cloths Brightening

These cleansing cloths are formulated with Vitamin C and CoQ10, and are meant to help cleanse, brighten, and hydrate. I did notice that on the back of the package it says to avoid contact with eyes, which doesn't really make sense because the appeal of a cleansing wipe is the ability to remove all of our makeup at once. I've definitely been using these wipes to remove my eye makeup, and I do find that they do a good job taking it all off while still being gentle. But everyone is different, so I guess just know that these are specifically designed to be used around the eye area. 

Ole Henriksen The Clean Truth Cleansing Cloths Brightening

These cleansing cloths are a good size - I'd say that if you were on a budget you could even cut these wipes in half or in quarters to get more uses out of a package. Additionally, these cloths are quilted and are quite strong. These's a nice light orange creamsicle scent to these cloths. I haven't noticed any brightening effects, but then again I don't use them every single night. 

Ole Henriksen The Clean Truth Cleansing Cloths Brightening

If you're looking for a cruelty free, gentle makeup cleaning cloth, then you might really like this option from Ole Henriksen. I really like that the package seals closed, as this prevents them from drying out.

Are you a fan of makeup remover wipes? Which brands are your favourites?

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