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Taking some (tub) time for yourself
Dec08

Taking some (tub) time for yourself

Right now I’m in the middle of law school exams, so I need to make the most of whatever time I can grab in between studying to help reduce stress and keep myself energized. Just fifteen or twenty minutes in one’s own bath tub can work wonders. Relax, restore, renew. But even for those not in school and facing finals, this time of year can be incredibly hectic and stressful. During the holiday season — after working, shopping, and then coming home and cooking — this little indulgence will go a long way to making sure we don’t look totally wiped out by the time we get to New Year’s Eve. Here are some of my current favorites for bath bliss. Add a few soy candles and some soothing music (maybe a glass of vegan-friendly wine, if you’re not taking exams). EO Bubble Bath (French Lavender) EO Bath Salts (Hinoki Ginger) Salt of the Earth Bath Salt by Bubble Genius Harmonizing Soak Tonic by SPAritual Bonus Tip! Mask-imize your relaxation by freshening up your face at the same time. While I’m soaking, I like to treat myself to an at-home facial. Alba Botanica makes some great ones that are the perfect inexpensive pick-me-up, and they’re available at so many stores — from Whole Foods to Walgreens. In the winter months, when my face needs extra nourishing, I use the Deep Sea Facial Mask (4 oz. tube is only $9.95); in summertime, I like the Papaya Enzyme Facial Mask....

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NYC Spa Day!
Dec02

NYC Spa Day!

If you’re living in the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple, spa days are essential to peace of mind and body — especially during the craziness of the holiday season. Whether it’s for a one-hour facial or a full day of treatments, here are a few of my NYC faves: Bliss Spa I’ve been a regular at the SoHo location for a long time. The “fabulous facial” really is fabulous. And your aesthetician will be glad to discuss products, to ensure you’re only using cruelty-free. Word to the wise: book well in advance, especially if you’re hoping for an appointment this time of year. It was here that a woman gave me the advice that I still follow today: “Honey, you have to plan and book your year.” Other New York locations on West 57th and at the W Hotel on 49th Street. La Casa Day Spa This spa on East 20th Street focuses on Ayurvedic principles of detoxification, which speaks to the yogini in me. I’m also a huge fan of the body wraps here. But my favorite service, which I’ve always added to whatever else I have going on: floatation, where you practically levitate in a a tub of water filled with mineralized salts. Besides the detoxification and relaxation it provides, a session of such quiet and stillness can be a wonderful meditative experience. Sweet Lily Natural Nail Spa & Boutique This nail salon in TriBeCa uses all-natural, animal-friendly products such as Zoya nail polishes. Holiday Shopping  Idea! Gift certificates for a manicure or massage where they use cruelty-free products make terrific gifts and stocking...

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The Social & Sexy Vegan: Condoms!
Oct20

The Social & Sexy Vegan: Condoms!

Since I’ve been focusing on the social life this week, I’d be remiss if I didn’t include a bit on vegan condoms. The mention of vegan condoms usually prompts some puzzled looks. Aren’t all condoms vegan?  So, here’s the scoop: although latex does indeed come from rubber trees, most condoms also are made with an animal by-product called casein, which is derived from milk. Here are some options for the sexy vegan: Glyde Condoms These condoms have been around for quite some time, and they still seem to be the most readily available here and abroad. In addition to regular condoms, Glyde offers a variety of flavors such as Strawberry and Licorice. You can purchase these on Glyde’s web site or from other online stores catering to the vegan crowd, such as  The Sensual Vegan and Cosmo’s Vegan Shoppe. Sir Richard’s Condom Company This brand is my recent find. The company is based in Boulder, Colorado, and the condoms are available for purchase online and in select stores. I picked up a 3-condom variety pack at Food Fight vegan grocery in Portland. Styles available: classic ribbed, ultra-thin, extra-large, and “pleasure dots.” What’s super-cool about this company: it has established a “buy-one, give one” program: for every condom someone purchases, Sir Richard’s donates a condom to a developing country. Bonus tip! To spice things up, The Sensual Vegan and Babeland (search “vegan”) offer fun “sexccessories” — everything from vegan lubricants to faux-fur...

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Great news from the makers of Botox!
Oct06

Great news from the makers of Botox!

The Animal Welfare Act sets minimum standards of care for animals bred for commercial sale, used in research, transported commercially, or used in public exhibitions. The USDA, through the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, is required to enforce these standards. However, the Animal Welfare Act — the only federal law that covers animals used in research — excludes mice, rodents, and birds, which comprise approximately 95% of the animals being used for research purposes. Thus, the law offers no protection for these animals, as many as 100 million each year, and industries are left to regulate themselves. So isn’t it GREAT news to know that Allergan — maker of Botox and other products — has made the decision on its own to phase out its use of animal testing? Last June, the company announced it will eliminate 95% of its animal testing within the next three years. YES! I know any talk about  the use of Botox and other aesthetic products is going to ignite a debate. Whatever your stance on these products — like it or not — they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. As with any other pharmaceutical product, animal testing is still widespread. And, in this area, the LD50 test often has been the standard. In a nutshell, this kind of testing means that doses are tested on animals to figure out at what level 50% of the animals die. For the 100,000+ mice used each year in Botox-related research, this has meant a slow death by suffocation once the mice were injected with the product’s paralyzing ingredient. Kudos to Allergan for committing to this change, which took ten years of research and over $65 million to achieve. Although it’s not 100% cruelty-free, Allergan’s decision will save thousands of animals each year from suffering. Taking such a step, Allergen sets the example, and we can only hope its competitors will follow suit. Allergan aesthetic products include Botox, Juvederm, and Latisse. The company also manufactures products for eye care, including artificial tears for dry eye and eye drops for...

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Personal Care Products by J/A/S/O/N
Jun21

Personal Care Products by J/A/S/O/N

A few weeks ago, I was running low on toothpaste and wasn’t going to make it to Trader Joe’s until the weekend (my usual toothpaste brand). So there I was in Whole Foods checking out some other options, and I chose the Fennel toothpaste made by J/A/S/O/N Natural Products. I liked it so much that I decided to try some other J/A/S/O/N products, hoping I’d discover some new favorites to share with you. J/A/S/O/N offers a range of natural products for personal care that are blends of plants, herbs, and minerals. All the products are free of animal by-products, and J/A/S/O/N does not use animal testing. Another nice thing about this line: all of the products are moderately priced, so choosing cruelty-free will more easily fit the budget! My personal picks: Fennel Premium Toothpaste Sea Fresh Mouthwash (spearminty!) Naturally Fresh Fragrance-Free Deodorant Stick Kids Natural Sunblock SPF 45 (for my sweetie-pie nephew!) Other products by J/A/S/O/N include body and haircare products, shaving lotion, and hand sanitizers. You can find local shops that carry J/A/S/O/N products on the company’s web site, or purchase by using the online...

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One Lucky Duck
May11

One Lucky Duck

Some of my NYC friends already may be familiar with the raw vegan restaurant Pure Food & Wine. If you haven’t been there yet, now is the perfect time of year to enjoy a meal at Pure, with its backyard-garden dining — great food and a great vibe!  Among the dishes to try: King Oyster Mushroom Scallops in Lemongrass Coconut Broth,  Sweet Corn & Cashew Tamales with Chili Spiced Portabella, and — dessert! — the Salted Chocolate Caramel Tart: pecan caramel, dark chocolate ganache, sea salt, and vanilla cream. And Pure, staying true to its full name, has a fantastic wine list, all vegan-friendly. But the fabulousness of Pure  is not limited to Irving Place, thanks to their One Lucky Duck Juice & Takeaway locations in Gramercy Park and Chelsea. Also, for those of us not in New York at the moment, there’s a whole host of treats available via the One Lucky Duck online store. Offering so much more than just gastronomical delights, other shopping categories are Glow (cosmetics, bath & body),Wear (hemp hoodies and bamboo baby socks!), Nest (books, kitchen appliances, and… an infrared sauna for $3,395), and Pet (see my purchases below). My recent little online splurge: One Lucky Duck Blonde Macaroons One Lucky Duck Buckwheat & Hemp Granola SkinnySkinny’s “Fetching” Dog Shampoo Biodegradable “Business Bags” by Spike Simply Fido Organic Pup Toy Since I’m in Tucson and it soon will be nearing the usual summertime 100 degrees again, I decided to pass on the sauna for...

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