2018 Holiday Gift Guide

This year's gift guide round up features some of my favorite cruelty free products, as well as some great products that I've had fun reviewing for you guys these past few months. I know you'll love these products as much as I have, and I hope your gift recipients will too.

I'm so excited to get into the spirit of giving this holiday season, starting with these awesome goodies.

For the Self Care Aware

Cloud 9 & Meltdown

I have been loving these products from Blume. Self care has become increasingly important to me since I began my journey in the full time workforce, and during 'that time of the month' I'm even more appreciative of these products.

Cloud 9 is an essential oil roll on, the scent has helped me calm down both headaches and cramps-- helping me to get through my work day in peace. Meltdown is a true skincare game changer for me, I've always used tea tree oil on spots however Meltdown seems to help my dry out larger hormonal pimples much faster. This blend also helps soothe irritation, so I will use it on my t-zone after masking.

Blume is cruelty free, sustainable, was created by female entrepreneurs, and also donates a portion of their proceeds to Days for Girls. I know I'll be keeping these products in my arsenal for years. Blume is a great brand to introduce your gal pals to this holiday season.

For the Zen

In Focus Guide Books

I have been learning more about essential oils and meditation ever since I got into yoga last year. These books are a great place to start and include a wealth of information including history, uses, and a breakdown of each essential oil or meditation practice.

My First Time Using a Bath Bomb?!

I have a confession to make; I, Patti, cruelty free Blogger of almost 3 years have never used a bath bomb. I don't think this realization is as shocking as it is a bit ridiculous. Over the years it's kind of crazy to me that I have never tried a bath bomb. My last apartment had a standing shower, so when I moved to our new place I was elated to finally have a working tub to soak in. Since I moved in I've tried a few bath soaks, but last night I tried out my first bath bomb.

Ethical Wardrobe Staples

Three years ago I started blogging about cruelty free alternatives to the beauty and skincare items I use in my daily life, since then my lifestyle has evolved quite a bit. I try to consider cruelty free alternatives in most aspects of my life, and now I think it may be time to shift my focus to ethical fashion as well.

This fall there have been 2 trends that I have been absolutely loving, animal print and leather*! I paired both trends together for today's look.

Today I opted for the 'Maria' a classic biker style jacket with an asymmetrical zip and silver studs. The Maria Jacket can be found at James & Co, an Australian ethical clothing brand specializing in conscience clothing.

James & Co is PETA approved, and only offers ethical vegan leather options.

Cruelty Free & Spooky| Cruelty Free Halloween Picks

As the fall weather rolls in I'm thinking more and more about everyone's favorite time of year-- Halloween! This month I was kindly gifted some spooky samples to review for you guys, and I'm really excited to share my thoughts.

via GIPHY
People always ask me if it was hard narrowing down my beauty and skincare purchase to strictly cruelty free products. With a number of brands jumping on the cf bandwagon I never really felt limited in my choices. There are always tons of amazing brands to try, and I don't think I've even scratched the surface of what's out there. Then the huge k-beauty trend emerged and I felt a bit left out-- I was having trouble finding information on a lot of trending brands so I kind of just gave up on the trend.

Lucky for me JJ Young reached out about their charcoal line, and I was happy to find that they are cruelty free. JJ Young is my first review of a Korean beauty line, and I'm excited to share my findings with you!


After spending a lovely Sunday apple picking and eating apple cider donuts with my boyfriend I decided to test out the line.

First I tried the black cleansing stick. I used a micellar water to remove my makeup first, rinsed my face with warm water, and then rubbed the cleansing stick in circular motions in each area of my face. The cleanser lathered nicely and did not leave my skin feeling stripped. I think this would be a great cleanser to travel with or to throw in a gym bag. After rinsing the cleanser off with warm water, I followed' with a rosewater toner and facial oil. I think this would be great for a multitude of skin types.

A Game Changer| What's in my blender bottle?

Up until this month I've kind of been struggling with supplementing my workouts with protein, I had become tired of the previous powders in my pantry and was looking for something a bit smoother.

Finding a smooth dairy free protein has been a hard task for me, so when Basik Health reached out to me about their Pea Protein Powder I was skeptical but I knew I had to give it a try.



Just Pea pea protein powder by Basik Health Co is dairy free, soy free, made in the US and has been tested for heavy metals-- something I have become concerned about when it comes to finding the right plant based protein for me.

Cruelty Free Brands that Give Back| Breast Cancer Awareness Month

As you may already know October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, this month serves as a reminder to all women to book their checkups and scans, as well as honor the women in their lives affected by Breast Cancer.

1 in 8 women are diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lives. If you haven't already had your checkup this year I would encourage you to make an appointment soon. Early detection is key and I am a huge advocate for yearly checkups.

This October there are two cruelty free brands I would like to mention that are donating a portion of their proceeds to Breast Cancer charities.

The Better Skin Co. 


I Moved to a New Apartment!| Creating a Gallery Wall

Last year I moved to a new area to live with my boyfriend (of now 4 years) we had rented a home with some roommates and it was my first time living away from home, aside from my semester abroad. Last month we moved into a new apartment and we've slowly been making it our own. I plan to take pics of some of the details in another post, but not everything is exactly how I want it yet.

Nevertheless I am very happy to be in a new place, and excited to personalize my new home.
A diamond painting I created this summer, part of my gallery wall.
One thing that has been instrumental to making my new apartment feel homey, is hanging artwork. This can sometimes be challenging especially if you are going for a "gallery wall" look. A gallery wall is when you hang 3 or more frames in an arrangement, kind of like a collage of frames. My vision for the apartment was to have tons of white framed and matted artwork in a gallery wall arrangement. As I've been decorating I've strayed from that idea a bit. But I do love how this particular arrangement looks.



Better than I Could Have Dreamed| Veise Dream Serum Review

When I first came across a press release for Veise Dream Serum I had read that it would be great for acne scars and I thought it would be perfect for any pigmentation I was experiencing. Shortly after receiving a bottle of the serum my skin snapped out of it's stress phase (thank you vacation) and I couldn't properly test it on scarring or pigmentation.

Fast forward to a few weeks later when one of my favorite beauty brands was having a sale, from which I ordered a new mascara. It took me a few tries but I soon realized that the mascara was causing an allergic reaction, I'm not sure if I had a bad batch or I was allergic to the formula but it caused my eyes to become irritated, puffy, and dry. An allergy medicine helped with the puffiness, but I couldn't shake the dryness and irritation-- until I realized I had Dream Serum in my arsenal.

Veise's Dream Serum is cruelty free, for all skin types, and helps with keeping your skin hydrated, healing blemishes, and reducing scaring.

You Are Not A Failure, They're Just Not Ready Yet; What I Learned in My 22nd Year

Last month was my 23rd birthday, and after a very tumultuous year I've found myself reflecting a lot lately. 22 was a year of ups and downs, mostly downs to be quite honest.
If at first you don't succeed, you're running about average- M.H. Anderson
As I sit here on a particularly down night with my pint of dairy free ice cream I feel the need to share, not because I have any angst towards those who may have contributed to my down periods, but because I know that many of my friends, and other recent graduates are feeling the same and maybe sharing this will offer some solace.

My Favorite Apple Cider Vinegar Smoothie Recipe

Since starting my fitness journey last year I've seen a lot of videos and blog posts surrounding Apple Cider Vinegar, or ACV. While I've become accustomed to the taste of ACV shots not everyone loves them, so when I was sent information on Apple Cider Vinegar Drinks for Health I was excited to be able to try out some new summer recipes with the addition of ACV. I was most drawn to the recipes that target inflammation, but there are tons of awesome recipes to try!
Pink Pineapple Perfection

My favorite recipe is called Pink Pineapple Perfection, its a sweet blend of pineapples, raspberries, yogurt and of course ACV.

I've included an except below of the recipe for you to try on your own!

June Favorites

It's been a crazy start to summer with the weather, work changes, and all of the products I've been trying out-- It's been absolute chaos! There have been a ton of gifted products to come across my desk these past few weeks, as well as some store-bought favorites that I wanted to share.

Two items that are of utmost importance to me in the summer are sunscreen and self tanner. As a self proclaimed (and nicknamed) blanquita it's important for me to get my glow on safely. Last summer I posted about the importance of oxybenzone free sunscreen, and this year mineral sunscreens have gotten a lot of press and have been proven to be safer for the environment. I usually keep multiple sunscreens in my beach bag, one lotion and one spray. I like having a lotion on hand for initial application, and for multiple applications to my face. Having a spray on hand is great for touch ups, and applying sunscreen to your back on a solo beach day.
Love Sun Body

The sunscreen I have been testing out this summer is by Love Sun Body. It is a cruelty free, vegan, mineral based, oxybenzone free sunscreen. I love that these bottles come in multiple sizes, SPF 30 and 50, and scented and unscented versions. I have been using the lightly scented version which is Tiare and Vanilla, and it smells amazing. It's very fresh and light. I used this on my face and body, and was very impressed. It felt nice on the skin and did not break me out. The product does have a soft matte effect, I felt this worked great on my face, but my body seemed to stay a bit tackier which isn't a huge deal for me as long as I'm protected from the sun. 😎 Perhaps it just needed to be worked into the skin a bit more.
Double Shot Espresso Tan

As for self tanner I've recently been trying some varieties from the OG Fake Bake. I've been using the Double Shot Espresso formula for the past two weeks and so far I really like it! I'm still getting used to using gloves in place of a mitt, but I've found you use less product with this method. This formula, leaves a nice dark, even tan, and smells of coffee. The tan seems to last a bit longer than tanners I've tried in the past which is a huge plus for me.

Favorite Essential Oils of the Moment

I have been loving my diffuser these past few weeks. I seem to have collected an essential oil or blend for every time of day. I have blends to relax, oils that help me destress, and others to provide a little pick me up.

I've been using two blends pretty consistently for the past week or so. One being the relax blend from EO. I love this for the end of my workday, when it's time to unwind, decompress, and unplug. I find this blend very soothing. This blend included frankincense, orange, lavender, lavandin, vetiver, and ylang ylang.

On the other end of the spectrum I've also been using EO's Focus blend. This blend of lemon, peppermint, orange, and rosemary is perfect for when you need a bit of waking up. I love using this during the final stretch of the workday.

A Quick Blemish Fix| Better Skin Co. Review

Since middle school I have been looking for quick blemish fixes, and while my complexion is 2,000x clearer than it was back then I still get pesky stress and hormone related spots from time to time. I've tried quite a few spot treatments, and in recent years have stuck to sleeping with a clay mask on the spot, or a dot of tea tree depending on the severity.

Enter The Better Skin Co. and their Zit No More rollerball. This little gem is amazing, it's travel friendly and is super effective!

Ingredients:

Salicylic acid, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Rosa Canina (Rose Hip) Fruit Oil, Brassica Campestris (Tung Wood)/Aleurites Fordi Oil Copolymer (Rapeseed Oil), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E Acetate), Aniba Rosodora (Rosewood) Wood Oil. 

This rollerball has great wholesome ingredients, is cruelty free, paraben free, and vegan friendly. I've been testing it out for roughly two weeks now and I am hooked it's amazing on those pesky blemishes that sometimes take forever to break the surface-- you know the ones!

Cruelty Free Review Round-Up| Mythologie & CBD for Life

I've had a few products in my stash that I've been taking my sweet time testing. ...sorry! Frankly my house, and schedule have been crazy the past few weeks so I've been doing my best to test everything thoroughly, but hadn't actually gotten around to posting as soon as I wanted to. So hello, Long time no speak! I've missed you!

First up is Mythologie, a brand that specializes in natural and organic facial oil. I have been majorly into facial oils these past few months and as the weather warms up it was nice to return to sea buckthorn oil. It's light, soaks in quickly, and does wonders for my acne-prone, oily skin. I sampled their Radiance blend, which is meant to encourage cell turn over, hydrate and brighten the skin. I also love that this blend includes Neroli, an essential oil known to be uplifting. It's one of my favorites and I'm so happy to come across it in a skincare product.

Gym + Coffee + A Cruelty Free Me

I'm super picky with my workout apparel, and recently I've been seeing what a difference quality can make. Thanks to my proximity to the outlets, I admittedly have stocked up on my fair share of leggings.

One of the apparel items I find a bit harder to buy are hoodies. Don't get me wrong I love my oversized comfy hoodies, but sometimes I want to workout in them and the typical fleeces don't quite cut it for me, sometimes the excess fabric feels like it's getting in the way if I'm lifting.
Gym + Coffee
Enter Gym + Coffee. Gym + Coffee is an Irish athleisure brand that just launched in the United States. Their sweatshirts tick all the boxes for me! These hoodies are fitted, without being constricting, are slightly longer in the back, have zippered pockets, a roomie hood, and thumb holes!

Details

SIBU's Mother's Day Giveaway

As I'm gearing up for Mother's Day, and a potential Mother's Day Gift Guide I thought I'd share an awesome giveaway my friends at SIBU are having.

A post shared by Patti (@acrueltyfreeme) on
I've worked with SIBU in the past, so If you're not familiar with their line of sea buckthorn oil products I would highly recommend checking out that post, and the products SIBU has to offer!

SIBU is giving away their Perfect Skin Bundle to some lucky winners! There's no purchase necessary and the winners will be chosen by May 3rd -- in time for Mother's Day delivery.

SomeBunny Loves You// Personalized Easter Gifts

Easter is right around the corner! I felt like it really crept up this year, probably because it's still less than 40 degrees most days in New York... It just doesn't quite feel like spring yet.

Gifts For You Now helped bring a bit of spring to my doorstep today.  I received this adorable bunny from their site that I cannot wait to give to my (one day) nephew on Easter.

How Cute! 

Glowing Spring Favorites

I've been testing out some awesome cruelty free products this past month, and I'm pretty excited to share since these products hit some of my favorite categories.

A peek at my unboxing

If you're following me on instagram you may have seen me unbox an amazing box of Scentbird goodies. Scentbird scent me (lol) an amazing array of candles and skincare products. I've put a candle  in every room.

My current favorite is the cucumber and lotus scent. I love that each jar has an adorable saying on the back. I've been burning this particular candle quite frequently and it's pretty slow burning, it has a 40 hour burn time to be exact. The scent isn't over powering, and is very fresh.


Best part about these candles is that they are made with soy wax and are paraben, sulfate and cruelty free! You can purchase these candles as part of a subscription service, or individually.

Currently, my favorite scent.
I also received Scentbird's best selling coconut & sugar scrub. I love beachy scents and this scrub gives me some serious summer vibes. I love using this prior to shaving my legs, and fake tanning. The sugar scrub is a bit less harsh then scrubs I've used in the past, vitamins E and C leave my skin feeling nourished and not stripped.

Oprah, Hot Chocolate, & Hoochie Mama from Lit Cosmetics

I was saving these Lit Cosmetics kits for a special occasion and I finally experimented with these during Saint Patrick's Day weekend. Last Saturday I attended the NYC Saint Patrick's Day Parade,  I wore my usual winged liner but topped my lids with Lit Cosemetic's Hot Chocolate glitter, and ABH Lucky Clover highlighter. It was gorgeously sparkly, and I loved that it wasn't the typical green eyeshadow look.
💖

The Sunday after I was attending a local event with friends, so I toned it down a bit and also experimented with how controlled I could be with a glitter pigment. I flicked a line of gold glitter underneath my black winged liner. I love this stuff! I can be as controlled and precise as I like, it's easy to apply with just a simple two step process-- and now I want to wear glitter everywhere!

Exfoliated and Tanned thanks to Fake Bake

Getting Fit While Keeping Cravings at Bay with Stabilyze

I've been taking some much needed time away from my blog these past few months, and instead have turned to another past time for some post work relaxation, I may not be in front of a computer screen as often but that doesn't mean I've stopped testing out products for you guys!


I've spoken a bit about my new found love for the gym in some recent posts, but now that I'm seeing results I am obsessed! I'm constantly researching protein types, smoothie/shake recipes, new exercises to try, and meal planning. Meal prep is something that I still struggle with from time to time, as some weeks are busier and more stressful than others.


Green Goo Part Two :)

After a hard workout at the gym I've been reaching for Green Goo's Forest Bar. I've used Green Goo products before and they never disappoint. I'm becoming increasingly aware of additives and unnatural ingredients in my beauty products so I love that Green Goo is made with all-natural herbs and essential oils. I also love the fuss free packaging since it's recyclable. Green Goo is also a woman owned, family business. All amazing things and factors I'm starting to look for when shopping!
Thank you Green Goo for sending this my way! 

My Best Skin| Oxygenetix Foundation Review

If you haven't read my last post yet, you may not know that I've been overhauling my skincare routine and it has made a major difference. My skin hasn't looked this clear in ages. Thanks to a few new additions to my routine, my skin is looks and feels incredibly healthy. 

Oxygenetix is a line of oxygen enriched skincare products, that have been dermatologically tested, and are also cruelty free. I received a sample of the Oxygenetix foundation in the shade cream, and have been using it over the past week or so. 

These photos are upon first use, I wanted to test how the foundation wore throughout the day. Oxygenetix is meant to be more breathable than typical foundation so I tested it throughout a full day of work, and then at the gym. (I was also testing a new under eye concealer from a different brand, looking back at these photos I see now that its way too yellow. 😱). 

Glow with Desert Aloe| All Natural Rosacea Fix

Rosacea is something that I've learned to deal with, after discovering that rosacea products are hard to come by in the cruelty free market.  This winter my skin really flared up once the cold temperatures hit and I decided I had enough. I was doing ok crafting a skincare routine, my dry skin had subsided, and acne was healing... but my rosacea (although improved) wasn't subsiding. Around this time Desert Harvest sent me an email regarding their aloe products, and I'll admit I was skeptical but I had never used a cf product specifically for rosacea before so I was intrigued. I also like that Desert Harvest is family owned and operated, and that their products are 100% natural and paraben free.

Desert Harvest kindly sent me two products from their Aloe line of skincare, the Rosacea Gele, and the Aloe Vera Gele. I began using the Rosacea Gele immediately and saw a huge difference even by the next day, my irritated skin appeared soft and the redness had greatly reduced. When I began using this product I also had some stress breakouts, and those quickly subsided as well. It's been just over a week and a half now, and I can sincerely say I will be a Desert Aloe customer for a long time! My skin hasn't looked this great months, and I am enjoying makeup free days more often.

Edougble... A health conscious foodie's dream come true!


I'm known to get excited when interesting press emails arrive in my inbox, but this was another level.  I'm pretty sure everyone's mom at one point or another told them not to eat raw cookie dough, maybe you listened, may you didn't... but there are are some health risks associated with consuming "meant for baking" raw cookie dough. Now there is cookie dough that is made to be consumed "raw". Edoughble doesn't actually contain any raw egg, raw flour, or chemical leaveners the ingredients are all natural so it's 100% safe to eat! As someone who's trying to be more conscious about what I'm putting in my body this was music to my ears!



The team over at Edoughble kindly sent me their DIY kit so I could dough it myself. 😋

Megan Markle's Beauty Secret Weapon


It seems that Megan Markle and I have something in common... besides our love for England. Tea tree oil is a major staple in our beauty routines. Known for it's antiseptic qualities tea tree helps heal various skin ailments. 
"The one thing I cannot live without when I'm traveling is a small container of tea tree oil. It's not the most glamorous thing, but if you get a cut, a mosquito bite, a small breakout, no matter what it is, it's my little cure-all." -Megan Markle, Allure Magazine (2014)

Here are my top 3 uses for Tea Tree Oil: 

  1. Spot Treatment: Tea Tree Oil is amazing on breakouts and usually helps decrease the size of any spots that may pop up on my face overnight. 
  2. Makeup Brush Cleanser: I love to sanitize my brushes using tea tree oil. I'll either wash them with a shampoo first, and then use the oil before rinsing or mix coconut oil, dish soap, and tea tree oil as an all in one brush cleanser. 
  3. Soothing a dry scalp/removing excess oil: Tea tree oil shampoo is a lifesaver and essential for post-workout showers and gives my hair some bouncy volume. 
Thursday Plantation Tea Tree Oil

Testing out Co2 Lift

 As you may know I'm no stranger to mixing my own face masks, but this was my first time trying out a product like CO2 Lift. CO2 Lift is a holistic anti-aging face mask claiming to lift, hydrate, and brighten the skin. The kit includes 2 gel packets, a cotton headband, and a stirring stick. You simply mix the two gel packets together and apply to your face, neck, and even your eyelids. The mask can be left on for up to an hour. I left mine on for about 45 minutes before peeling it off. 


First Impressions: 

  • Application was quick and easy. 
  • The gel was refreshing, had a pleasant scent, and was cooling. 
  • I've never used a mask on my eyelids, this was an odd feeling but it felt similar to using cucumbers. 
  • The consistency of the mask was thicker than any gel mask I've used in the past, this seemed to aide the "refreshing" feeling

Removal: 

  • Removing the mask was easy, I simply peeled it off and rubbed the remaining serum into my skin. 

My Favorite Quick and Easy Recipe Ft. HIC Olive Oil


This recipe is one of my all time favorites, it's quick, it's easy and it keeps me full and focused. This time I switched up my usual olive oil in favor of HIÇ. HIÇ sent me a bottle of their Turkish olive oil to try, and I am a major fan! HIÇ is a woman owned company founded by Duygu and Nancy who are passionate about clean living. The nature in which the olives grow lend a unique and pure taste to their olive oil. 



Lemon Garlic Pasta: 

What you'll need: 


  • HIÇ Olive Oil
  • Broccoli (one head, or you can use one bag of frozen broccoli) 
  • 1 Box of Whole Wheat Penne
  • Lemon Juice
  • 1 Head of Garlic
  • Fresh Cracked Pepper (optional) 
  • Red Pepper Flakes (optional)

What's in my Gym Bag? ft. SWAY

The past couple weeks have been great in terms of my fitness goals, I've been able to increase the amount of weight I'm lifting, plank for longer, and even increase my amount of reps for some exercises. Since I've been spending more time at my local gym, I've also been putting some new products to the test. 

I've been using a natural deodorant for a few years now, bouncing around between different brands. I never found one that I loved 100%. I switched to natural aluminum free deodorants when I learned that aluminum may be linked to breast cancer. As someone who has a family history of cancer, including breast cancer, I dont like to take risks with potentially harmful products.