Review: Austin's Counter Culture

In , / 2/02/2015
When you live in a city like Austin, it can be easy to get stuck in a routine. You go to the same stores, buy the same groceries, and eat at the same restaurants. This year, I set out to shake up my routine and explore some of Austin's vegan options - much like I do when I travel. After all, Austin has a great vegetarian restaurant scene - as long as you know where to look.

One of the first restaurants on my list was Counter Culture. The restaurant had its humble beginnings as a food truck, and got its own brick-and-mortar location with the help of a kickstarter campaign back in 2012. I'd been meaning to try it for quite some time, so when I was downtown  for an event recently, I decided to take a chance. And boy, am I glad I did.

Pros:
  • Tasty yet moderately healthy vegan comfort food
  • Many gluten-free and soy-free options
  • Environmentally responsible
  • Fun vintage decor
  • Use organic, fair trade, and locally-sourced foods when possible
  • Reasonable prices
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Review: Nature's Gate Pomegranate Sunflower Shampoo and Conditioner

When you pay hundreds for your hair color, it's a shame to watch it fade in a matter of days. That's why color-safe hair products were developed. It may seem easy just to buy what your stylist recommends, but if you're looking for something vegan or just something more affordable, check out your local health food store. Nature's Gate offers one option for vegans: the Pomegranate Sunflower Shampoo and Conditioner.

Pros:
  • Textures similar to conventional products
  • Affordable
  • Retail availability
  • Nourishing for color-treated hair
  • Fragrances are phthalate-free
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Review: Jane Iredale Jelly Jar Eyeliner

When it comes to winged eyeliner, I love a great gel formula. Typically applied with a brush, gels are usually creamy and provide a great wash of color. I recently tried out a version from Jane Iredale, the Jelly Jar Eyeliner.

Pros:
  • Smooth, creamy application
  • Great for winged looks
  • Available in multiple shades
  • Some retail availability
  • Gentle formula
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Article: Common Eyeliner Problems and Solutions

In , / 1/12/2015
Image: 22Lauren via Flickr and Creative Commons 2.0
Of all the cosmetics I've used, few will dramatically change your look the way eyeliner can. Which is why it's so important to get it right. There's a lot of room for play, but I've found that those who hate eyeliner typically have similar complaints. Read on to find out how you can address these problems and learn to love your liners.
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Review: E.L.F. Essential Flawless Eyeshadow

Sea Escape Palette
Many drugstore brands are tested on animals, but did you know that there are a few cruelty-free budget brands? One of these is Eyes Lips Face (E.L.F.), which is sold at stores such as Walgreen's and Target. While I usually stick to their mineral line, I decided to test out the E.L.F. Essential Flawless Eyeshadow to test out brighter pressed vegan shades, which can be hard to find in many natural lines.

Pros:
  • Available in brighter shades
  • Very affordable ($2)
  • No parabens
  • Colors can be worn together or alone
  • Vegan and cruelty-free
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Review: Rainbow Honey Nail Polish

In , , , , , / 12/25/2014
Did you know that many nail polishes aren't vegan? Many conventional brands, particularly red shades, contain carmine. When you're looking for polish, I recommend getting one that's both vegan and free of the "Big 3"(formaldehyde, toluene, and dibutyl phthalate). One brand that passes this test? Rainbow Honey.

Pros:
  • Super cool themes and polish names
  • Available in many fun colors
  • Big 3 free (formaldehyde, toluene, and dibutyl phthalate)
  • Mini (half size) bottles offered
  • All vegan line
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Review: Acure Day Cream

As a makeup artist, I often get asked about moisturizers for use under makeup. A good day moisturizer needs to be light enough to hydrate without leaving skin oily. Day moisturizers can also be mixed with powder foundations for DIY liquid foundations. So selections a quality product is crucial. One great pick? Acure Day Cream.

Pros:
  • Absorbs quickly
  • Yummy fruity scent
  • Many organic ingredients
  • Claims to help fight lines (wrinkles)
  • Retail availability
  • Gluten-free and vegan
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