Monthly Archives: January 2015

20 Days of Happiness – I’m So Vain, I Probably Think This Post Is About Me (And FREE Wrap Contest!!)

There’s a scene in A Muppet Family Christmas where Ernie and Burt (from Sesame Street) have a conversation with Doc (from Fraggles) and Ernie and Burt can’t help pointing out what letter every word begins with.  “Bunk beds: B words!” they say as Ernie chortles.  When Doc looks at them askance they explain, “Where we come from, this is small talk.”  My sister once said that the scene reminded her of our family — except that complaining, not letters, are our family’s small talk.  It’s not that we are unhappy people.  We just like to air our grievances.  But sometimes it’s good to air positive feelings too and that’s just what I plan to do.  In this 20-part series, I focus on the many reasons I have to be happy.


And Now For Something Completely Different – Vegan Friendly Nail Art and Lotion

For the most-part, this blog is about my love of food and cookbooks.  But being vegan is about cruelty-free living, and that extends to beauty products.  This post is about my new-found love of two vegan-friendly product lines: Jamberry and Arbonne.  Full disclosure:  When I started drafting this post, I was merely a fan-girl, but a few days ago, I signed up as a Jamberry consultant.  I still have no affiliation with Arbonne, other than liking their product line.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved clothing and makeup.  Until I had my son, I never stepped out of the house without getting dressed in real clothing. Now, I make a limited exception for early morning dog walks, but you’ll still need to live next door to ever see me in jammies or sweatpants.  I also used to be a big fan of nail art.  I liked to do elaborate polish designs at home and occasionally treat myself to a manicure.  Once I had to be a “grown-up” with a busy job, that fell by the wayside. My free time tends to come just before I bedtime, which means I either have to stay up late watching polish dry (literally) or risk a smudgy mess.

Then, I discovered Jamberry nail wraps. The wraps are heat-activated vinyl and can be applied at home using nail scissors, an orange stick and a hair dryer.  They come in 300+ fun designs, last up to 2 weeks on hands and have zero drying time. The wraps are made of vegan ingredients and are not tested on animals.  (Jamberry does sell a lotion set with one item that contains beeswax.  Although it would be better if the entire line was 100% vegan, I was happy to see that the description of the non-vegan product clearly indicated the beeswax.)

The photo above is me wearing the first set of nail wraps that I bought.  The wraps held up so well (I took this photo 5 days after application) and I got so many compliments, that I signed up to host an online party.  Two days into the party, I decided to just become a consultant instead.  (Though I’m obsessed with Jamberry, I promise that this isn’t going to become a Jamberry blog.   I have a review of Inpired Vegan in the works for my next post).

Around the same time that I discovered Jamberry, I also discovered Arbonne.  Arbonne is a vegan beauty line (vegan is right on the bottles!) that is sold through independent consultants.  I bought mine from a fellow mom in a networking group that I belong to.  I’ve been using the hand and body lotion to fight against winter dry skin.  After 10 years in L.A., I am definitely not used to cold weather and indoor heating!  Having cute nails is a little thing, but it’s something that makes me happy.  Getting the chance to spread the message that awesome nails can be cruelty free makes me happier still.

Free Samples and Nail Wrap Giveaway!


As part of my Jamberry consultant launch, I’d like to giveaway a free half sheet of wraps to one of my readers — that’s enough wraps to do 1 manicure and 1 pedicure.  To enter, all you need to do is request a sample wrap using this link.  I’ll send you a sample that will allow you to do an accent nail manicure, like the pink and black manicure I did with a sample and some pink polish (above).

The contest runs from now until February 14, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. EST and is open to U.S. residents only.  Samples will be mailed to the first 100 people to request one.  Limit one sample request per household.

The contest is now closed.  Thanks to all who entered and congratulations to the winner, Aracelis from Puerto Rico.  I hope you enjoy your wraps!  Those still interested in trying the wraps out are welcome to request a free sample using the link above.


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New Year’s Brunch

For many, a new year brings with it a renewed focus on healthy eating habits.  But, New Year’s Day itself — a day of post-party hangovers — is the perfect excuse for one final celebratory meal.  After all that celebrating (and sleeping in for you lucky folks without tiny human alarm clocks), a tasty brunch is the obvious choice.  While a vegan brunch at most restaurants is an uninspired affair of fruit salads and plain oatmeal, the options for cooking at home are limitless.

Why not try a tasty stack of pancakes?  My tips for perfectly fluffy ones and a list of favorite recipes are here.  The pancakes pictured below are Coconut Pie Pancakes from La Dolce Vegan.  In my opinion, not as good as the coconut pancakes from Vegan with a Vengeance, but still a worthy holiday meal.


If pancakes aren’t your style, maybe a thick Belgian waffle will hit the spot.  Vegan Brunch has a lot of great recipes, including the wonderful peanut butter waffles pictured below.  I usually enjoy them with maple syrup and bananas, but this time I mixed it up.  I topped the waffles with birch syrup that I picked up in Alaska.  (Who knew that they tap birch trees for syrup too?)   The honey-notes of the birch syrup were a nice complement to the peanut butter.



Since it’s still the holiday season (at least for a few hours more), fragrant Gingerbread Waffles are also a good pick.  Or go for the tried-and-true Chelsea Waffles, an absolutely perfect version of traditional plain waffles.  Both recipes are in Vegan Brunch.

If a savory breakfast is what you prefer, tofu scramble always hits the spot.  Or go upscale with a Benedict.  Both Veganomicon and Vegan Diner have great Benedict variations.

If you’re not a fan of waking up to a big meal, a batch of muffins might be the perfect choice.  Bakery muffins are nearly always a disappointment — big on calories and sugar and lacking in the flavor department.  In contrast, homemade muffins are always tasty and sometimes even healthy.  These chocolate berry muffins from Vegan Brunch are low in fat (they call for applesauce in place of much of the oil, but I subbed raspberry jam) and made with whole-grain flour.  Plus, they are bursting with berries and chocolate, both of which are packed with antioxidants and deliciousness.



Now all you need is a glass of champagne to toast 2015.  Cheers!

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