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Cruelty-Free Living!

There are more vegan clothing options, cruelty-free items and vegan and veg-friendly food and restaurants available today than ever!  Enjoy our informative and lively reviews!

If you produce or sell a vegan product and would like us to review it or if you are a restaurant or grocer in the Rogue Valley area offering a vegan food item or dish and would like us to help promote it, we want to hear from you!  Please check out our promotional options page and/or contact us with any questions!

Steve Madden handbag - BCrystal Satchel

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Have I ever mentioned to you faithful readers that my mottoo is you can never be too sparkly?  Well it's true!  I really like this purse.  So many purses these days are tacky, gaudy, and scream bad accessory.  I will always love black everything.  Yes, I have goth roots, but how can anyone go wrong with basic black anything?  Besides, this is obviously not basic.  It has a beautiful gradation of sparkle created by silver, copper and gold lines of studs.  This purse comes in all silver studs too, but I opted for the cool gradation version.  I have a lot of criteria when choosing a handbag and I take this check list very seriously.  Think about it.  You bring your purse with you pretty much everywhere you go and you are in and out of it a million times a day.  So my checklist is: Shoulder strap is a must, zipper must open and close with ease, it must be able to hold all my stuff (which is a lot), I need to be able to take things out easily so the opening has to be fairly large. Forget those dainty evening bags.  Those have never and will never be for me!  Maybe I have too much baggage to carry?  Once again, I digress. Also, of course, it has to be cute! This purse includes a detachable long strap.  Check.  The zipper is smooth.  Check.  It is 12" wide and 7.5" high so it can hold all my crap.  Check.  The opening is wide so I can get at my stuff easily.  Check.  It sparkles and is cute as hell.  BIG AND FINAL CHECK!

This purse is not on the Steve Madden website so you will have to do your research.  I bought mine from Macy's.

Liquid Lips by Aromi Beauty

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After trying 15 million (no exaggeration) "long wearing" matte lip products over the years and always disappointed, I was skeptical about Liquid Lips being anything special. Boy was I wrong!  Dare I use the word "magic!"   The formula is like nothing else. It goes on super wet and dries fast, but with plenty of time for perfect placement.  And when I say perfect placement, I mean it!  The applicator and formula allow for absolute perfection every single time and you do not need a liner.   Even with intense reds and vibrant pinks, the colors never bleed and they stay put with a capital P!

In my opinion, the real miracle is that Liquid Lips does not leave that creepy ring on the inner lips like most long wearing lip products. It lasts all day too.  It's like the post office for lips.  Through rain and sleet and snow!  (Actually, it's WAY better than the post office, as they are unreliable and screw up all the time!  But you get the picture!)  It is quite miraculous. And holy mutha the colors. Deep and vibrant reds and rich blue pinks without nasty crushed beetles.

I am super stoked about this product because I love a beautiful matte look.  Thanks to the gorgeous owner of Aromi Beauty, Hannah, for making such amazing vegan products.  Hannah is a chemist by the way.  She shared with me that she combined her 2 favorite things … chemistry and lipstick.  She is my hero!

Learn more: Aromi Beauty

Emani Cosmetics - Crushed Mineral Blush - Barely There

emani-crushedblush-bareHow many times can I boast about the quality of Emani's cosmetics?  Maybe one more time?  There is just something special about the consistency of Emani mineral cosmetics and the crushed blush is no exception.  This formula and color is quite buildable, yet due to the natural tone of this color, it yields the potential of you looking like a clown!  Barely There is so pretty.  It gives you that very natural flush look.  It has a very very slight shimmer adding to its luminosity.  The packaging is solid and very pretty.  Emani obviously put a lot of thought into their products and I for one appreciate this!

Lear more: Emani Cosmetics

Emani Cosmetics - Vegan Blush Brush

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This is a nice little brush.  The bristles are really soft and the handle is cool.  It's definitely nice quality.  I would personally use it more for travel.  The size does come in handy if you want to control the area of application.  I really like this brush, I am just used to a larger size.  It's vegan though and no one got hurt so I love it for that alone!!

Learn more: Emani Cosmetics

Emani Cosmetics - Mineral Color Dust - Champagne

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This finely ground very soft mineral dust is like magic!  I tried it as a highlight under my eyebrow, as a cheek highlighter, as a light shimmer over my shadow on my lid, and I even tried it as a body duster.  It was so pretty in every application.  The consistency is super smooth and the powder is very finely ground.  Other mineral powders can be ... how do I say diplomatically... rough, cheezy and chunky.  They commonly have large particles.  You can feel the quality of Emani's mineral products by the consistency alone. It goes on like a second layer of skin!  Champagne is very versatile.  This swatch really is not accurate.  It is much lighter and not as intensely warm.  It is in the warm family, but oh so subtle.  I would know because of my olive (almost jaundice) complexion.  If something is going to turn orange, it will on me!  Champagne is classy.  No more to say.

Learn more: Emani Cosmetics

Emani Cosmetics - eye shadow duo - Mercedez

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I have been wanting to try Emani Cosmetics for quite some time after reading other positive reviews.  When I recently received some of their products, I was not disappointed!  I often find other mineral cosmetics to be impure.  Emani is clearly an exception!  The consistency of this shadow is soft as silk. It is so finely ground and goes on incredibly smooth. Mercedez duo is a gorgeous natural combination.  It is warm and lovely.  This combo would compliment any eye color wonderfully.  I have hazel eyes and it made them pop in a beautiful and subtle way.  The packaging is rich and gorgeous!  It is very nicely done.  You can feel the high quality just when snapping the top shut.  I also love the silver foiled logo and artwork.  I am a designer so I appreciate good packaging.  This is very nicely done...inside and out!

More info: Emani Cosmetics

Urban Decay eye shadow - Stray Dog

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I needed a nap to regenerate before posting another Urban Decay review.  All this excitement takes a lot out of a gal!  I need to make sure I appropriately convey just how great these products are.  So fasten your seat belts my little vegan and vegan curious friends... here we go!

I have a gazillion brown eye shadows covering the gamut of every range, tone, hue, texture, finish and formula pretty much known to man.  So why would my first eye shadow from Urban Decay be brown? Well, because I also have every range of every other color too so why not another brown!  Truth be told, this is not just another brown.  This is one of those perfect taupe's that you keep going back to.  It is a true taupe with the most subtle mauvish undertone.  I was hesitant to even mention the mauve undertone because it is so subtle and only detectable to a keen eye (and to someone who has every other brown eye shadow on the planet to compare it to.) I have read many other reviews about UD eye shadows stating they are highly pigmented, smooth and long wearing.  They did not lie.  They go on so smooth and there is none of that crazy fall out that some shimmer shadows leave.  I'm glad I started with Stray Dog because it is just one of those colors that quickly became my frequently used favs!

Urban Decay lip pencil - Heavy

urbandecay247liplinersUDlipliner-heavyAs referenced in the photo I used in the review for Paranoid 24/7 lip pencil, Heavy has a shimmer to it.  UD calls it "shimmering nude."  I am really appreciating more subdued colors these days. I really love the shimmer in Heavy and Wicked.  They are the only two UD 24/7 lip pencils with a shimmer.  Heavy is a rich, deep, true brown nude and the shimmer quality makes it very unique.  If Urban Decay ever discontinues this product line, I will need psychotherapy.

Urban Decay lip pencil - Paranoid

urbandecay247liplinersUDlipliner-paranoidJust when I thought I had reached the height of all fabulousness...I get to another level.  Paranoid is described as a "pinky nude." Now don't get confused between Paranoid and Naked just because they use similar words to describe both colors.  Naked is a neutral pink and Paranoid is a pinky nude.  I know I know.  It's confusing!  Luckily, I am here to help!

(Stepping away from my computer to apply colors on my skin as a testament and commitment to YOU...my readers!  Oh the lengths I go to.)
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OK, I am back.  See the difference?  Paranoid has a lot more pink and is a bit darker.  You can also see the sheen in the shimmer formulas of Wicked and Heavy.  Again, how many times can we thank Urban Decay for these amazing pinks without the use of carmine?  Paranoid is also a must have.  Perhaps it seems as though Urban Decay is paying me to promote their products.  I wish!  No, that is not the case. I just am passionate when I find a great vegan product let alone a beautiful addition to my makeup arsenal!

Urban Decay lip pencil - Naked

urbandecay247liplinersUDlipliner-nakedHoly mother of God Naked is nice!  (I figure it's only fair to address the mother of all mothers since I included God in another recent review.)  

I am insane for Urban Decay's 24/7 lip liners!  They are hands down, without a doubt the most amazing lip liners ever.  You readers best sit down because I am about to use a word I do not utter easily....LUXURIOUS!  That's right.  Luxurious! These liners are nothing short of perfect.  They are smooth, creamy and moisturizing as can be yet stay put all day. How the hell did they do it?  Naked is freaking gorgeous.  Again, UD produces the perfect nude with a pink tone. They call this a neutral pink and that it is.  It's not too light like a lot of other nude pencils.  If you have never tried these liners or any other UD products, start with Naked 24/7 lip pencil.

Urban Decay lipstick - Apocalypse

UDlipstick-apocalypseOK, don't be scared!  This color is not the end of the world!  I could spend all day naming makeup colors, but I would never dare consider naming a lipstick Apocalypse!  But who the hell am I?  Obviously I am not as courageous as Urban Decay.  Again, I digress. 

Apocalypse is simply referred to as "blackberry" by UD.  It is a sheer coverage with cream texture.  Bust out your UD chart girls and boys!  You would think by the swatch that we are about to embark on a serious goth adventure and we could if we wanted to.  However, it is all in the building application.  This does not go on near as dark as the swatch would imply.  If you put it on lightly, it is a beautiful berry making your lips look like a deep natural stain.  If you build it up, it is rich rich rich!  This color can be worn in the day no problem whatsoever.  For some interesting reason I found this color to be slightly more drying than the other sheer colors.  I don't know why.  It is still more moisturizing than most other lipsticks.  I decided to live dangerously and order it in spite of the swatch color.  I am 48 and my goth days are over.  I was very pleasantly surprised by this color and impressed again by Urban Decay's production of cool purple and pink undertones without the use of carmine.

Urban Decay lipstick - Lovechild

UDlipstick-lovechildDear God thank you for pinks and thank you to Urban Decay for producing cool pinks without the used of crushed bugs!  If God exists, then she is guiding Urban Decay in their labs while they mix their luscious pinks.  Hot damn I love this lipstick!  I love all pinks...warm, cool, dark, light, cream, sparkle, etc., etc.  You get the picture. Lovechild is a sheer cream formula.  It is a very subtle color.  It makes your lips look like the color you would dream them to be naturally.  Speaking of God, why can't my lips look like this when I wake up?  Come on God!  Get with the program.  Where are your priorities?!  Here's my prayer: Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray oh God to get me pink!

Two words folks....Get Lovechild!

Urban Decay lipstick - Rush

UDlipstick-rushDid I say earlier that I struggled to decide which UD lipstick was my fav?  How does one choose a favorite color?  It's like being faced with choosing if you like your arms better than your legs!  OK, maybe a little drastic comparison, but I love lipstick so this is a serious dilemma.  I can confidentially say Rush is my favorite nude---ish lipstick.  It is described as a neutral pink by UD.  I think the subtle pink hue is what makes me love this so much.  Totally brownish nude colors can wash out my face because of my olive complexion. Also, my lips are not naturally pigmented like some lucky gals so I need the boost.  Rush is a perfect color for the days I go more intense on my eye makeup or when I just want an overall more natural look.  Rush is another color that would likely compliment any skin tone or hair color.

Urban Decay lipstick - Buzzkill

UDlipstick-buzzkillStep aside world ... Buzzkill has arrived!  First of all, don't you just want to buy this for the name?   I love it!  However, it does everything but kill my lipstick buzz.   If anything, it puts me on a high of fabulousness!  Rich is the first word that comes to mind when describing this color. UD refers to it as a dark rose, which is definitely accurate.  I think deep rose would be a more appropriate description hence why I feel UD should hire me as a consultant, but I digress.  Buzzkill is one of those colors that screams classy.  The formula is full coverage with a cream texture. It is highly pigmented and very creamy and moisturizing.  It is a warm and cool color at the same time and will wow your lips to eternity!

Urban Decay lipstick - Wanted

UDlipstick-wantedOK kids, you are about to get blasted with a bunch of Urban Decay reviews! I am on an Urban Decay craze.  I am so impressed with their products and I love that they have a vegan section on their website.  Thank you Urban Decay for making conscious shopping for great cosmetics so easy!

So onto the matter at hand: For you UD lipstick virgins, allow me to enlighten you.  UD lipsticks come in different formulas and different textures.  There is full coverage (FC), semi-sheer (SS) and sheer (SR) and each color has a various texture e.g cream (CR), sheen (SN) or shimmer (SM).  The website is very clear on coding each lipstick according to its coverage factor and texture.  

It is very difficult to decide which Urban Decay lipstick I love the most, but Wanted is definitely in the running!  It is described as a warm berry.  It is a berry color for certain, but it is not so warm that it turns orange by any stretch.  I am an expert in reddish tones turning orange being of Italian descent.  Wanted is a SR/CR, which translates into sheer and cream as the above formula description explains.  Although it is considered sheer, it has a beautiful amount of pigment with the first application and can be built up easily.  This color is gorgeous!  It stays true to color all day. It brightens you on a drab day and makes your lips luscious and moisturized.  Some people on other makeup review sites report there is a negative taste and smell to UD lipsticks.  I don't find this to be the case at all. There is a semi-noticeable scent, but it is not bothersome if you ask me.  I think it has a subtle vanilla scent and I don't notice it after 2 seconds once applied.  I think this color would compliment any skin tone and any hair color.  It is just that perfect!

Zuzu Luxe lip liner - Fraise

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Does your soul scream for more pink in your life?  Does your life feel incomplete because you just can't get your luscious vegan lips more pink?  Well no more!  This lip liner is fab-u-lous!  It wears beautifully, does not bleed and offers a true blue/pink undertone without the use of carmine. If you don't like bright pinks and lips that say...I am here! ... this is not the liner for you.  If you are like....hey world....look at my lips before noticing anything else....this is the liner for you!

Learn more: Zuzu Luxe

Zuzu Luxe lipstick - Galaxy

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Zuzu Luxe lipstick is simply one of the nicest vegan lipsticks known to women...or cross dressing/emo/transgender men!  The consistency is creamy and very moisturizing yet nicely pigmented.  Galaxy is a gorgeous maroon pink color.  It will brighten any complexion and remains true to color as it wears.  If it does not turn orange against my olive complexion, it won’t on anyone!  This is one of my go-to colors!

Learn more: Zuzu Luxe

Zuzu Luxe lipstick - Obsession

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Obsession is one of my all time favorite lipstick colors!  It is a bit more sheer than other colors in the Zuzu line but oh is it pretty!  It is very moisturizing. The color is maroon-ish with red brown undertones. It can be beautifully paired with a plum, red or brownish liner.  It's a great every day color, but could easily be rich enough for night.

Learn more: Zuzu Luxe

Sevi - Mineral Foundation

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Mineral makeup is very popular these days. I was thrilled when the prospect of using something as natural as pure minerals for foundation emerged.  However, as with most fads, many companies jumped on the band wagon and falsely marketed their products. I found most mineral foundations to be either too sparkly or freaky opaque and filled with all kinds of unnatural and even toxic ingredients.  Sevi Cosmetics Mineral Foundation is the best I have tried so far.  The finish is translucent, but very build-able for more coverage.  I personally like a very natural look for foundation so I appreciate that my skin shows through yet it evens out my skin tone.  Sevi Mineral Foundation is also truly pure.  Sevi is committed to purity and cruelty-free in every sense of the word.  It is free from nano particles, titanium dioxide, artificial fragrances or essential oils, bismuth oxychloride, animal by products (carmine), talc, pigments with nanoparticles, preservatives such as parabens and synthetic dyes (FD&C/D&C lakes).  Sevi also offers high quality synthetic brushes for mineral foundation application.  Look for a review on her fabulous foundation brush coming soon!

There are other truly natural mineral makeup companies emerging, but I found Sevi's foundation to be the most natural looking.

Learn more: Sevi Cosmetics

Jeffrey Campbell "Vita"

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 I think posting a pic of this shoe says it all and there is no need to go into a review.  I mean come on ... holy mutha of all that is good in the world ... these are dream shoes! However, I will share my unspeakable passion for Jeffrey Campbell and immense gratitude that he is making vegan styles so here we go …

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I am always on the prowl for fabulous vegan shoes. Having been veg for over 25 years, I have watched vegan shoe designs evolve and the options explode!  And may I say thank God because in the early days, all you could find was freaking earth mama shoes.  As if we needed anything more to peg us as granola tree huggers.  Sorry, I need style with a funky edge!  Anyhoo, during one of my caffeine induced obsessive online shoe searches about 2-3 years ago, I came across Jeffrey Campbell designs.  I just about fell out of my chair.  I had hit the mother load!  I do love fashion, but I am not a slave to the current trend of shoes especially if they are spike heal torture pumps.  Maybe I am stuck in a time warp, but I love platform shoes and holy moly Jeffrey Campbell knows platforms!  You get the dramatic height without the intense incline and I see no reason for us women to be in pain just for fashion, but I digress.  Back to my story … as thrilled as I was to discover this incredible designer, my heart sunk when I did not see any vegan styles.  I decided right then and there the universe would not be so cruel as to lead me to JC only to torture me so I contacted them and begged them to please consider making vegan renditions.  Guess what, they emailed me back and said it was already in the works!  The owner of a retail store in Berkeley, CA, Convert Style, was already working with JC to make vegan styles.  How do you express gratitude for something like this?!!  Well, buying the shoes and telling all your vegan friends to start!  So here I am to tell you that there are beautiful, fabulous and high fashion shoes out there for those of who don’t want to wear dead animals on our feet.  Yahoo!

Learn more: Jeffrey Campbell for Convert Style

 

Jambu Touring Vegan Women's Vegan Shoes

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These shoes are cute as hell!  They are very well made and the little flower pattern on the platform sole is very subtle, but adds just the right amount of girl-i-ness.  They are super comfortable and even offer some arch support.  Shoes this unique don't come along in the vegan world too often.  I highly recommend these.

Sunshine Burger - BBQ

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In my humble opinion, these are the best vegan burgers available. I love all the flavors, but BBQ is my fav.  Not only are these burgers tasty as hell, they are made of the highest quality ingredients.  No protein isolates, gluten free and delicious!

Ingredients: Organic Barbecue Sunshine Burger: organic cooked brown rice, organic ground raw sunflower kernels, organic pinto beans, organic brown rice syrup, organic onion, organic garlic, organic paprika, organic black pepper, natural smoke flavor, sea salt.

Learn more: Sunshine Burger

Vegan Nutritionist - Brenda Davis

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Brenda Davis is a leading vegan nutritionist.  Not only is she incredibly well versed on vegan nutrition, she went vegan because of her compassion for animals!  Brenda is a well renowned author and her books on the vegetarian, vegan and raw food diet are accessible, informative and a must have for anyone journeying into this lifestyle.  She is an amazing resource as well.  I have been vegan for a long time so I have a good handle on nutrition.  However, I wanted to check in with a professional.  Brenda lives in Canada, but offers long distance consulting.  She sent me a questionnaire to fill out, which was very thorough and targeted issues I was concerned about.  It also included a 3 day food record for her to access my eating habits.  She thoughtfully and carefully read my submission and prepared her findings and evaluation before our phone appointment. She skillfully honed in on what adjustments needed to be made to ensure I was meeting my nutritional requirements based on my caloric intake.  Only small changes needed to be made, but they made all the difference in the world!  Brenda is a joy to talk with.  She is genuine and caring and we are so lucky to have her as a resource!!!

Learn more: Brenda Davis

Sauce Restaurant - Vegan Food Review

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I am about to make a bold statement, but one I feel confident I can stand behind: Sauce Restaurant is THE place to get the best vegan meal in all of the Rogue Valley!

The style of food is hard to describe, but on their website they use the term “Healthy Comfort Food.” I think that is pretty accurate; however, when I think of comfort food I think heavy. This is not exclusively the case. Yes there are rich and heavier choices, but you can get a deeply satisfying lighter choice with their Build-A-Bowl option. I'm sure the chefs went to great lengths to create their other vegan masterpieces, so I apologize for taking control and always wanting to build my own bowl (thanks to being a Virgo!) Seriously, though, I was personally elated when they added Build-A-Bowl to the menu option because ... well ... I like getting what I want and the way I want it! You can choose a grain, an array of decadently cooked veggies (e.g., braised kale, caramelized onions, miraculously and magically cooked Brussels sprouts, yams, butternut squash, roasted cauliflower just to name a few), and a protein choice of tofu cooked and seasoned to perfection, black beans, or golden dal. You also have amazing vegan sauce choices to add such as Green Sherpa, which is creamy spicy goodness; Ginger Teriyaki; mango sauce; and more. I need to backtrack and say that I have been vegan for over two decades, so you would think I have mastered the art of cooking veggies, but Sauce kind of puts me to shame! What the heck do you guys do to your veggies to make them so completely unforgettable! (Rhetorical question :o) Have I raved enough about the Build-A-Bowl option? Probably not!

A few of the ready-made dishes are already vegan, but they can veganize others, so be sure to ask. I can only speak about the Gaia Bowl because again … I am a control freak and always want to build my own ingredients, but when I had the Gaia Bowl, it was in fact dreamy! They refer to it as the "Mother Bowl." Need they say more? It has roasted organic carrots, organic cauliflower, brussels sprouts, yams, butternut squash, kale, and dal all mixed in a special sauce.

They have amazing appetizers and are adding vegan desserts. My husband goes insane for the Sherpa Naan bread.

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Oh, did I mention they use organic whenever possible? Bonus! AND, equally and possibly more important, the owner has went to great lengths to make the kitchen vegan friendly. I won’t lie; I wish they would take dead animals off the plates. Their vegan dishes prove there is no need to eat animals. However, although they do offer meat, we are SO grateful that they have a high consciousness about veganism and they work hard not to let any animal ingredients sneak their way into vegan dishes. They color code pans and utensils used for vegan dishes and even color code their recipes for the cooks. I have talked with the owner about this and I can tell you she is so respectful about the sacred choice not to consume animals and she could not be more supportive. We love Tara! We also love the cooks and all the staff. They are all so lovely and their service is wonderful.

Sauce’s ambiance is casual and cozy. One of the owners custom built the tables, benches and some light framing, which are all beautifully crafted. The lighting is warm and inviting and the colors vibrant and cheerful. My only critique is that they could invest a little more in their décor. Some of it is quite outdated. Their food is just too outstanding to be served with interior inadequacies. Admittedly though, they could serve in a back alley and it would not stop me from ordering up one of their dishes!!