Friday, December 6, 2013

Restaurant Review: Veggie Grill's New Winter Menu

Harvest Bowl from Veggie Grill

Written by Sarah E. Jahier

Veggie Grill introduced their new winter menu items this week, which include several new bowls, mini-wraps, regular fries, salads, nachos and more! I was excited to try their new items, so I got together with a few friends to have a family-style tasting! We ordered the Bombay Bowl, Harvest Bowl, BBQ “Steak” Sandwich, Mondo Nachos, Buffalo Mini Wraps, Mexi Mini Wraps and Yukon Gold Fries. We each sampled a bit of everything and were overall pretty pleased with everything we ordered. Below you’ll find a breakdown of each dish that we tried!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Beauty Review: Acure Organics Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner

Written by Sarah E. Jahier

I am constantly putting my hair through hell – dying, drying, and straightening all leave my already naturally-coarse, thick hair dry and damaged. So, I am always on the lookout for new cruelty-free, vegan shampoos and conditioners that will gently cleanse and repair my hair without too much of a fuss.

I have had my eye on Acure Organics' Moroccan Argan Oil and Argan Stem Cell shampoo and conditioner for a while now, and when I found them on sale at my local health food store I snatched them right up! I have used argan oil for my hair in the past (when I used harsher dyes on my hair) and always thought it did an awesome job of conditioning my hair, so I couldn't wait to try a shampoo/conditioner combo with argan oil!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

My Visit to The Gentle Barn and Vegan Bake Sale Fundraiser

November's visit to The Gentle Barn - 
(from left to right, clockwise) Vegan Bake Sale, vegan baked goodies, 
a cute piggie, me grinning (I was so happy to be able to buy so many vegan 
sweets and support The Gentle Barn at the same time!), and a turkey friend!

Last weekend I had the pleasure to visit The Gentle Barn, an animal rescue and sanctuary located in the hills of Santa Clarita, California, to participate in a vegan bake sale that raised money for the sanctuary. This was my second time to this magical place, and it was so amazing to spend time with the loving animals, be around like-minded individuals, and help raise money for a worthwhile cause.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Beauty Review: Mystical House Organic Skin Care

I am always thrilled to find new vegan options for skin care. It is always great to see more companies who believe in offering cruelty-free and compassionate products, and while there are a lot of larger companies doing this, I still love supporting the smaller, independent companies who offer vegan products. Companies like Mystical House, who specializes in handmade, organic, and good-for-you skin care!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Vegan Bake Sale to Benefit The Gentle Barn this Sunday in Santa Clarita, CA

Hi Boils and Ghouls! It is time for another vegan bake sale at The Gentle Barn in Santa Clarita, CA!

What: Vegan bake sale to benefit The Gentle Barn
When: Sunday, November 10th, 2013 from 10AM - 2PM
Where: The Gentle Barn, 15825 Sierra Highway, Santa Clarita, California 91390
Tips: A $10 donation is required for entry into The Gentle Barn. I also recommend bringing cash for the vegan bake sale (plus a container if you plan on buying several items), The Gentle Barn's own snack bar and gift shop, and vegan hot dog stand Frankens, who will be vending this Sunday! Spend your money on a good cause and local business! More info after the jump!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

31 Days of Halloween: Happy Halloween and Checking Off My Halloween Bucket List!

Wow, is it just me or did October really fly by this year? I cannot believe today is the day I have been counting down to for months and months and months! This was definitely a whirlwind month, and I wish I had more time to do more Halloween-y events! Alas, I did not complete all the items on my Halloween Bucket List for this year, but the good news is I was able to enjoy a fair amount of them! Let's review what I got around to doing this year, shall we?

Friday, October 25, 2013

31 Days of Halloween: The Halloween Kid Short Film

Only six more days until Halloween! And today I have quite a treat for you...The Halloween Kid, a short by filmmaker Axelle Carolyn!

I first heard about this short last year, but this year is the first time I was finally able to watch it! I think it is a really well-done, nostalgic short about a lonely boy and the joy he finds on Halloween. I love all the autumn and Halloween set pieces in this short and the rhyming narration adds a whimsical touch!

Check it out for yourself after the jump:

Monday, October 21, 2013

31 Days of Halloween: Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

One of my favorite things to do during the Halloween season is to bake pumpkin EVERYTHING, and these delectably fluffy cake-like cookies are always a big hit with vegans and non-vegans alike!

Check out the recipe after the jump!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Restaurant Review: Seabirds Kitchen in Costa Mesa, CA

Seabirds Kitchen at The Lab is now open!

I have been a long-time fan of Seabirds and their vegan food truck as year after year they have continued to impress me with their quality vegan food in Orange County! From delicious staples like their beer-battered avocado tacos to their other seasonal options and specials, I have always felt so lucky to have them in my community offering such amazing vegan food!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

31 Days of Halloween: Apple Festival in Julian, CA

Cute roadside pumpkin patch!

This past weekend I finally got to cross something off my bucket list...a trip to Julian, California to visit their world-famous apple orchards and attend their 100+ year-old apple festival! I have always wanted to visit Julian during the fall, when the colors on the leaves are changing, temperatures are cooler and the apples are ripe for picking!

Mister Spooky and I were actually visiting San Diego for a concert, and so did a little sight-seeing / food-eating there before heading up into the mountains to Julian. Our first stop on the way down was at Stone Brewing Company, a craft brewery that makes Arrogant Bastard and other awesome beers (that also happen to be vegan, huzzah!). When we arrived, we grabbed a few beers from their awesome bar and strolled their beautiful grounds. I got an Autumn Maple brew from The Bruery and sat in a shady spot overlooking their turtle pond - it was bliss! We then took a tour of their brewery where we learned all about their production and even had a beer tasting! So fun! For lunch, we dined at their restaurant since they had vegan options (huzzah again!)! I had the vegan tempeh shepard's pie and it was delicious!

Monday, October 7, 2013

31 Days of Halloween: Tanaka Farms Pumpkin Patch

One of my most favorite places is the Tanaka Farms Pumpkin Patch in Irvine, California. I love the fact that it is a real working farm and you can actually pick your own pumpkins from the rows upon glorious rows of orange (and white and green) gourds that line its hillsides. It holds a very special place in my heart, and so of course one of my Halloween traditions is to visit it at least once every autumn! I generally try to go opening weekend, which is what I did this year.

Here are some photos from the patch this year:

 So. Many. Pumpkins!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

31 Days of Halloween: Happy October Plus My Halloween Bucket List


Happy October, fiends, and welcome to the most wonderful time of the year, the October countdown to Halloween! I've participated in the "31 Days of Halloween" since 2010 (you can check out past posts here), but this year is going to be a bit different...unlike past years I won't be posting every day, but will try my best to bring you a Halloween treat as often as possible!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Irvine Park Railroad Pumpkin Patch

I love pumpkin patches! They are probably one of my favorite places in the world! So when the opening of Irvine Park Railroad Pumpkin Patch coincided with the arrival of autumn, I couldn't resist checking it out! Irvine Park Railroad is located in the foothills of North Tustin/Orange in Irvine Regional Park. It's only about 20 or so minutes from my house, but I had never made the trek out there.

The pumpkin patch was a little more kid-oriented than I would have liked, but it was still fun! It had a small (but adorable) train that goes around the park, a hay maze, carnival games, a few kid rides and activities, hay rides and even a pint-sized haunted house (that was pretty awesomely decorated and free)! Most of the rides and activities cost money (plus it was $5 to enter the park), but I was content just walking around and going in the little (free!) haunted house. I was ecstatic to see all the pretty pumpkins carted in and arranged for picking, too!

Here are some pics from the first day of fall at the pumpkin patch:

You can tell I am sooooo happy in this picture!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

NYC Travelogue (Part 2)

Yesterday I shared part one of my trip to New York City, and below you will find the continuation of my travelogue!

We left off after I had eaten myself silly through Manhattan and Brooklyn, strolled through Central Park and attended the goth/industrial Triton Festival...

Monday, September 23, 2013

NYC Travelogue (Part 1)

Hello Foolish Mortals,

I apologize for my absence…I am usually chock full of updates this time of year (the most wonderful time of the year!), but I recently got back from vacation and then got overwhelmed with work, etc. upon my return. I wish I could be permanently on vacation (doesn't everybody?)!

Since I can’t be forever on vacation, I wanted to share with you my vacation to New York City I took earlier this month! Mister Spooky and I jetted off to NYC for Triton Festival, a goth/industrial music festival held every year there. We've always wanted to go, and this year we decided to do it! Below you'll find my travelogue of the trip, though I want to share so much that I'll be breaking it down into several posts over the next few days.

Our vacation began with a red eye flight on Wednesday night that got us to New York in the early morning on Thursday. Our friend that lives there was gracious enough to meet us and show us the ways of the subway back to his place on Wall Street, where we stowed our luggage and went off to explore! The streets of Wall Street were eerily empty and hauntingly beautiful just as the sun was rising. Then we hopped the subway and ended up in the East Village near Sustainable NYC, so I took a look around at this adorable eco-shop and grabbed a vegan muffin to go!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Halloween 2013 Items at Target

My local Target finally started stocking their shelves with Halloween items! I popped in earlier this week and found the candy aisle completely stocked, pet costumes out, some decorations up and lots of Halloween-themed food available! They also had a few Halloween-themed t-shirts out as well!

I find that Target drags its feet on putting out all its Halloween decor...sigh! This year is no different and they are really dragging out stocking their Halloween shelves. Still, the stuff they do have out looks promising!

Check out a few photos I took of what I found:

 Love the ghosty!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Night Gallery Halloween Display at Roger's Gardens

Boils and Ghouls, if you've been reading this blog the past few years, you know how much I love visiting Roger's Gardens over Labor Day weekend, since this is the weekend they unveil their elaborate Halloween displays! A visit to Roger's Gardens is an annual tradition in the Spooky house and really kicks off Halloween season for me.

This past Labor Day weekend was no different, and I headed over to the Corona Del Mar plant nursery to see their transformation to the "Night Gallery", which was their theme this year. Here is the description from the website:

"Wander down the central corridor of our Night Gallery, accompanied by chilling spirits, gawking at one-of-a-kind wonders from a collection of Halloween artists. Every corner, nook, and cranny of our four eerie art installations titled Cabinet of Curiosities, Mad Inventor’s Workshop, Day of the Dead, and Witching Hour overflow with creepy treasures to delight the most devoted of Halloween’s faithful."

Check out some photos I took of Roger's Gardens' "Night Gallery" below!

 They have a lovely selection of beautiful pumpkins, too!

Welcome to the Night Gallery

Friday, August 16, 2013

Halloween 2013 Finds at HomeGoods

I stopped into my local HomeGoods store earlier this week and was thrilled to find some of their shelves stocked with Halloween items! At first, I was a little disappointed as they only had ONE aisle devoted to Halloween items, but my gloom turned to joy as soon as I realized how many Halloween goodies awaited me! I spent at least an hour browsing their offerings, and I think this is only the start of their Halloween stock. I plan on checking back in a few weeks to see if they add any extra items, but for now check out some photos I took while I was there:

The aisle was brimming with Halloween items!

 Here is the other side of the aisle...So many goodies!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Halloween 2013 Items at Pier One Imports

I gotta admit, I love when stores start putting out their Halloween items in early August! So I was pretty delighted to find that Pier One Imports had all their Halloween stock out earlier this week.

I found that they carried a variety of items in different styles - everything from elegant candles to rustic ornaments to glittering masquerade masks to homey pillows to even fun jewelry! I seriously spent at least a solid hour just wandering around exploring all their Halloween stuff.

Check out a few of my favorite items I found below:

I really adore this apron, pumpkin wine glasses and witchy decor!


Monday, August 5, 2013

White Trash Weekend at Hicksville Trailer Palace

Three trailers at Hicksville Trailer Palace - 
The Ingratrailor, The Fifi and The Lux

I finally got the chance to go back to Hicksville Trailer Palace for a friend's birthday a few weekends ago! I positively adored celebrating my own birthday there a year and a half ago (read about it here), so I was super-excited when our friend (go check out his web comic dot problems!) rented the whole place in honor of his birthday!

Hicksville is a small resort tucked far off the beaten path near Joshua Tree, California. They feature amazing restored Airstream trailers, each decorated in a different theme. They have a pool, archery, BB guns, fire pits, ping pong, a library, a jukebox loaded with cool tunes, and much more for their guests! I love going there and relaxing in the gorgeous desert! 

Let's start at the beginning of the trip, shall we? We went to Hicksville in late July, so I knew it was gonna be hot, hot, hot! I packed a cute sundress, new sunnies, and a witchy hat to protect my paleness from the sun, plus tons of sunblock (I use Trader Joe's cruelty-free 50 SPF sunblock spray, which is cruelty-free and vegan)!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Halloween Items Now at Big Lots Stores!

I received a tip from the lovely Fright Bites blog that Big Lots stores had begun putting out their Halloween items, so as soon as I could I visited one and, lo and behold, they had several aisles already full of autumnal and Halloween items!

Nothing really struck my fancy enough for me to actually purchase anything, but I did snap a few pics to share with you! Check out what Halloween items the Big Lots store in Fountain Valley, CA had in-stock just this past Friday:

Pumpkins everywhere! Though there were too many 
glittery ones for my liking.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

100 Days Until Halloween!

Only 100 days left until the very best holiday in the world!

Who am I kidding...I've been counting down the days since last November 1st!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Beauty Review: Vegan Cuts July Beauty Box

When Vegan Cuts announced their new monthly subscription box for beauty products, I immediately signed up! I just couldn't pass up a box of vegan beauty products for under $20 a month. I received their very first box recently and was pleased with the summer beauty products it contained.

Vegan Cuts July 2013 Beauty Box

Here is a breakdown of what the July 2013 beauty box contained: 

  • Essence of Vali's "Sleep" essential oil - "Contains soothing essences of Lavender Flowers, Cedar Wood, Marjoram Leaves & Ylang/Ylang Petals to calm you into a peaceful sleep and comfort you during times of stress." This oil smells AMAZING and will help me ease into a peaceful slumber at bedtime.
  • NYL Skincare's Organic Rosewater Face Wash - This face wash works as both astringent and moisturizer on all skin types. It is only made of three ingredients - rosewater, vegetable glycerine, and Castile soap. I tried it and it is quite refreshing and has a light rose smell.
  • Acure Organics' Argan Oil - I love argan oil, which can be used on hair or skin for its exceptional moisturizing and restorative properties.
  • LVX Nail Lacquer in "Deco" - This coral-colored lacquer is from LVX's summer 2013 collection. I'm not fond of the color, but I have heard great things about LVX's nail lacquers! 
  • Glamnatural's Mascara - I can't wait to try this chemical-free mascara, which claims to lengthen, thicken and separate lashes without clumping or smudging!
  • Suntegrity's Tinted Moisturizer - This tinted moisturizer boasts a 5-in-1 formula that treats, hydrates, protects, primes and covers your skin! I'll be trying it this weekend on a trip to the desert.
  • Lippy Girl Extra Virgin Lip Gloss - I already love this stuff! It smells like fresh-squeezed oranges and provides a glossy finish to lips (with no stickiness!). 
  • Namaste Jemma Pouch - This high-quality bag is the perfect size to stash some lip glosses in when I'm on-the-go. Bonus: I like the hot pink color!
Overall, I liked what I received in my very first Vegan Cuts Beauty Box! I can't wait to try/use more of these vegan, cruelty-free products. 

If you are interested in Vegan Cuts' monthly subscription beauty box (they also have an awesome snack box - check out my review of my first one here), you can sign up at!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

First Halloween Displays of 2013 Spotted at Michael's!

I've spotted my first Halloween items of 2013! The arts and crafts store Michael's has started setting up their 2013 Halloween displays and has some gothic Halloween decor out, as well as faux fall foliage and Halloween party favors, games and arts and crafts already on its shelves. They had many items decorated with skulls and owls in silver, purple and black (seems this is Michael's favorite color palette to use in recent years) and a few "leftover" items from last year.

I can't wait until they put out more, but for now here are photos of Halloween items the Michael's store in Costa Mesa, California had on its shelves:

I loved the metal signs with the skeletons on them! 
The mirror in the upper right hand corner was lovely as well!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Knott's Berry Farm Offers New Vegan Food Options!

Gasp! America's first theme park, Knott's Berry Farm in Orange County, California, has started offering some of their carnival fare VEGANIZED! Think vegan funnel cakes (!!!), vegan mac 'n' cheese, vegan chick'n tenders, vegan hot dogs/burgers/pizza and even a vegan tofu scramble for brunch! Many vegan options will also be gluten-free and soy-free. Way to go, Knott's!

Credit should also go to Carolyn Scott-Hamilton, aka The Healthy Voyager, for working with the amusement park to develop vegan options of theme-park favorites! Thank you, Carolyn, for your amazing work!

I just read about this awesomeness this morning on Compassion Over Killing, but after a quick Google search it seems this once announced last month. Still amazing news, though, especially since Knott's Scary Farm is fast approaching! Maybe they will have some special Halloween treats veganized as well? I can only wish!

I'm not sure if all their vegan options have been rolled out yet...has anyone had a chance to try them yet? I can't wait to try the vegan funnel cake!

UPDATE: I haven't been to Knott's to try these options myself, but I've heard a lot of people say they haven't been able to find these vegan options in the park and that park employees have been less than helpful and seem clueless about vegan options. Not sure what the deal is, but I hope Knott's gets it together and becomes more consistent with their vegan offerings. If you visit the park and are able to locate any vegan options, let me know in the comments below! Good luck!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Food Review: Beyond Meat Chicken-Free Strips

Beyond Meat is a new plant-based protein that is said to look, taste and feel exactly like chicken! This vegan protein was created to perfectly mimic animal protein so going meat-free would be easier than ever. If people switched to Beyond Meat and stopped eating animal protein, think of the environmental benefits (reducing pollution, saving water, saving land, etc.), the health benefits (no cholesterol, more nutrients, etc.) as well as ending the cruelty of factory farms (just Google "chicken factory farming" to get an idea of the horrific lives these poor creatures live in order to end up on people's plates). With all these benefits, who wouldn't want to try Beyond Meat?

Being vegan, of course I couldn't wait to try Beyond Meat! Just think of all the cruelty-free chick'n dishes you could create with something like this! Well, I finally found some Beyond Meat at Whole Foods (they were $5.29 a package) and was very excited to try it! I especially couldn't wait for my omnivore boyfriend, Mister Spooky, to try it and see what he thought.

I bought the grilled variety (there are also lightly seasoned and southwest varieties I need to try!), sauteed them with some onions and bell peppers to make fajitas with them. Mister Spooky and I even had a few uncooked pieces (they are fine to eat straight out of the packaging, so you could even use them in salads or other cold dishes!) because we just couldn't wait!

Both cooked and uncooked they were pretty darn amazing. They have the same texture and bite as chicken animal protein, yet none of the cruelty! Woo hoo! I really liked how they were seasoned, too, and they didn't even need any additional salt, pepper or any other spices. It tasted so good that I didn't even get to take a picture of the dish...we ate it too fast! If you want to see a video of me preparing the dish, just check me out on the Vine app (just search The Spooky Vegan...for some reason it won't let me embed the video here).

My favorite part of trying Beyond Meat was that Mister Spooky (an omnivore) remarked how good it was and that he didn't need to eat chicken anymore since he will be buying Beyond Meat instead! Score!

The only fault I found with the Beyond Meat strips is that they tend to get a bit rubbery once they cool off after cooking. Still, despite this they still tasted amazing! I can't recommend these enough and found them to be the best plant-based chick'n I've ever tried.

Beyond Meat is a revolutionary and delicious plant-based protein that I think will encourage more people to adopt a more sustainable, plant-based diet - and rewards those that already live cruelty-free with delectable flavors and endless options!

For more info, please check out Beyond Meat's website.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Food Review: Daiya's Fire Roasted Vegetable Pizza and Mushroom and Garlic Pizza

Daiya Fire Roasted Vegetable Pizza and Mushroom and Garlic Pizza slices, 
plus some Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale I had been saving for a special occasion

Pizza is my absolute favorite vegan junk food...I love kicking back and enjoying a big pizza pie and a horror movie any day of the week! When that pizza craving hits, I usually go one of three routes: I either make my own pizza with hand-rolled dough topped with tomato sauce, Daiya cheese and pineapple chunks, buy the Amy's Roasted Vegetable Pizza, or, if I'm feeling indulgent, I'll order the Berkeley Vegan from Zpizza.

I was excited to hear Daiya was making their own frozen vegan pizzas, thus giving vegans even more options when it comes to noshing down on some pizza pies!

I was finally able to score some of these new pizzas in the frozen section of Whole Foods (on Vegan Pizza Day no less!!). I took home the Fire Roasted Vegetable Pizza and the Mushroom and Garlic Pizza at the cost of $9.99 each (ouch!). I got home, preheated my oven, and unwrapped my pricey pizzas...only to find they were pretty small compared to the cardboard box they were in. I also noticed they had a pretty thin crust, though I didn't see anything advertising them as such on the box besides that they are gluten-free, so maybe that had something to do with it.

The pizzas crisped up nicely in the oven, and the extra crisp of the thin crust worked well with the subtle flavors. The Fire Roasted Vegetable Pizza was okay, but I prefer the Amy's Roasted Vegetable Pizza, which has more flavor, even without having cheese on it. I liked the Mushroom and Garlic Pizza better as it had more flavor, but it was still lacking. I think both pizzas could have used more sauce, thicker crusts, better flavors and a more even distribution of toppings (see pic above for an idea of clumped together the toppings were).

I also couldn't get over how small these pizzas were. Sure, they run about the same size as the Amy's pizza I am used to buying, but the boxes they come in make it look like the pizzas would be bigger. The price was a bit steep for what you get. Two Daiya pizzas barely fed two people, and that was $20 worth of pizza. It felt more like eating an expensive appetizer than a meal, especially when I can buy an extra large Berkeley Vegan AND have it delivered for around $25 and it feeds more people.

Overall, I was let down with the Daiya pizzas I tried. The flavor was lacking, the size was definitely lacking and they just didn't compare to other pizzas out there or to Daiya's other products. I would probably not buy again unless they were the only vegan pizzas available.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Healthy Junk's Vegan Breakfast Club

You know what one of my favorite meal times is? BREAKFAST! I love tofu scrambles, hash browns, (Smart) bacon, fresh fruit, french toast, bagels, pancakes, waffles, cereal and lots and lots of coffee. The problem is, I'm pretty lazy and I'm not a fan of cooking when I get up in the morning. Another problem is that there aren't too many places you can get vegan breakfast items in Orange County. There is always Mother's Market (their tofu scramble is bomb) or Freesoulcaffe (delicious waffles), but sometimes you crave something new...

Enter the all-vegan eatery Healthy Junk in Anaheim, California, which already serves amazing vegan comfort food for lunch/dinner, that just had their first ever "Breakfast Club" this morning! I am already a big fan of Healthy Junk's yummy vegan offerings, so as soon as they announced their breakfast club I was one of the first to sign up! I believe they had 50 slots for their first breakfast club, to test it out and see how it would work. I was placed into the "earlybird" 8 AM group, which I was totally stoked for. I definitely don't mind getting up early for a delicious vegan breakfast food as long as I don't have to make it!

Healthy Junk in Anaheim, CA

Mister Spooky and I arrived there a few minutes before 8 AM and you could tell everyone there, patrons and employees, were excited for the first-ever breakfast club! Chef Lynda herself was greeting everyone at the register and later walked around to talk to everyone! She is such a sweetie (as are all her employees!)!

Breakfast Club

It was $15 per person for an all-you-can-eat buffet style spread that included fried chick'n smothered in gravy, buckwheat waffles topped with your choice of maple syrup and bananas/blueberries, tofu scramble with "fakin' bacon", crispy homestyle potatoes, fresh baked muffins (blueberry, cranberry walnut and chocolate chip), fresh fruit with mango lime dressing and beverages (coffee, tea or OJ). It was SO MUCH FOOD!

Healthy Junk's Fried Chick'n, Homestyle Potatoes, 
Buckwheat Waffles, Tofu Scramble!

Mister Spooky and I had our plates loaded with fried chick'n and gravy, a waffle topped with fruit, tofu scramble and potatoes (we skipped the fresh fruit cuz we are rebels like that). We each grabbed a muffin, coffee (for me) and orange juice (for him) and found a cozy spot on their outside patio. We dug in and weren't disappointed! Everything was delicious, but the chick'n fried steak was the real standout! THIS was vegan comfort food - the gravy was thick and creamy and the chick'n was fried to perfection - delectably crispy on the outside and tender in the middle. Even Mister Spooky, who is an omnivore and can be picky with vegan food, loved it!

Healthy Junk in Anaheim, CA

We also enjoyed the other items. I liked the flavors of the tofu scramble and thought the addition of zucchini was a nice touch. The buckwheat waffles and homestyle potatoes were scrumptious! My favorite way of eating all this deliciousness was layering the chick'n, waffles and potatoes into bite-sized morsels and stuffing them all in my mouth at once for an explosion of flavors! MMMMMM!!

Healthy Junk's Breakfast Club

After eating one plate of food each, we were both stuffed!! Hard to believe, but just one plate each satisfied us both. I tried a bit of the muffins (I was too full to enjoy any more), but I can't wait to have them later because the tiny bites I took were so fluffy and wonderful!

Healthy Junk's breakfast club was a huge success and I really hope they do one at least once a month (or maybe just decide to open for breakfast every Saturday)! It seemed like everyone that was there had a wonderful time and the food was so amazingly good!

If you want to get in on Healthy Junk's next breakfast club (and drool over their regular menu items), follow them on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook!

For more info you can also visit their website!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Beauty Review: Pacifica Perfumes New Eyeshadow Palette and Lip Tint Makeup

My Pacifica haul from Target

Did you know that Target now carries Pacifica products, including their new makeup items? I have adored Pacifica's perfumes for a long time (check out my review), so I was very excited to try their makeup, which, like their other products, is vegan and cruelty-free!

I picked up their mineral-based Enlightening Eye Brightening Shadow Palette, which on their website is described as:

An incredibly innovative formula that pushes mineral makeup color to new bounds. Rich, lasting, creaseless eye shadows are infused with coconut water for a velvety, cream-like finish. These four highly pigmented mineral satin makeup and iridescent shades are specially curated are designed to brighten the eyes and make you look gorgeous and awake. (Even when you did not get a good night's sleep!) 

The palette contains four jewel-toned colors (descriptions are from the Pacifica website):

  • Urchin - An iridescent jeweled purple with gold tones. Use dry as a shadow, wet as a liner. Perfect for smudging and a great substitute for black.
  • Golden - A perfect gold with just the right amount of shimmer. Use on the lids or line the eyes.
  • Coral Sand - A satin lid base or highlighter. 
  • Skinny Dip - Matte nude base, a universal brightener. Perfect for using on the inner eye to add brightness.
I really loved the subtle shimmer of each color and the versatility of the palette. The colors can be used for an everyday look or dramatized for nighttime. The colors are gorgeous and really do give your eyes that extra pop! I also like that the colors can pretty much be worn any season. 

The consistency of the eyeshadow is silky and easily applies to eyelids. I used a primer (ELF brand, in case you are wondering) before applying the shadow and the eyeshadow held up very well, both in daytime and nighttime wear. My eyelids tend to get pretty oily, so it is quite important that eyeshadows "stick" and not run all over the place on me. Luckily, these Pacifica shadows passed the test!

On eyes: Urchin, Golden and Skinny Dip
On lips: Guava Berry

I also picked up two colors of their Color Quench Lip Tint, one in Sugared Fig and the other in Guava Berry. These lip tints are also mineral based and contain coconut oil for moisturizing. The description for the lip tints from the Pacifica site is as follows:

Give your lips the love they deserve! Color Quench lip tints packs major moisture, nourishing naturals and gorgeous, sheer color into one perfectly portable, 100% recyclable tube. Essential fatty acids from rich and amazing avocado and coconut oils leave lips luscious and healthy. Natural flavor and 5 perfect shades produce the prettiest, most kissable mouth ever. 100% vegan and gluten free. Your lips will love you back!

I liked both lip tints, but both are very, very sheer and don't provide much color. I love the natural look they gave me, though, with just the perfect amount of shimmer! My only complaint about the lip tints is that I didn't care much for their taste/smell. It just didn't taste/smell appetizing to me. However, I do want to pick up some other colors since I love the subtle look these lip tints gave me!

Pacifica also has other new eyeshadow palettes (including the Mystical palette I'm dying to try), as well as mascara and eye lining gel I'm excited about! I hope Target starts carrying these new(er) products soon!

To note, Target also carries many of Pacifica's other products, including lotions and perfumes (including my fave, the Indian Coconut Nectar lotion, which you can see in the pic above).

You can also purchase Pacifica products online at their website, at Sephora, or in other select stores.

Monday, June 3, 2013

How to Make the Best Handmade Vegan Deodorant

This is the best natural, vegan deodorant I have ever used! If you follow me on a regular basis, you know I am always on the hunt for an effective deodorant as I have a tendency to sweat quite a bit! I have reviewed several vegan deodorants in the past, and they have all worked fairly well, but this handmade one is by far the most-effective deodorant and it is the only one I will use now.

This handmade deodorant effectively gets rid of any body odor, no matter how hard I sweat. It is tried and true! I've had people say this deodorant is the only thing they'll use now, and that it is the "be all and end all" of vegan deodorants! And these are active people in warm climates, and they claim even on the hottest day of the year at their most active this deodorant keeps them from smelling funky. I don't know how it works, but I suspect it may be magic (okay, maybe not, but it sure feels magical!)!

This magical deodorant recipe requires only three easy-to-find and inexpensive ingredients and it usually yields enough deodorant to last me a good 3 months! Natural, effective, vegan and cost-effective deodorant – this is like the holy grail for sweaty broads like me!

Here is all you need to know to make it yourself:

You only need three ingredients - cornstarch, baking soda and coconut oil!
Plus you'll need some small bowls for mixing, measuring cups/spoons, and
some kind of mold or container for the deodorant.

Simple, Safe Ingredients:

6 Tablespoons Coconut Oil

¼ Cup Baking Soda

¼ Cup Cornstarch (if preferred, you can use Arrowroot Powder)


In a small bowl, mix the baking soda and cornstarch (you can also use arrowroot powder) together. Make sure you break apart any clumps in the mixture – I use a spoon to mush up any clumps.

Here is the solid coconut oil measured out (right before it goes in 
the microwave to be liquefied), plus the cornstarch and baking soda
mixed together in another bowl.

In a separate, microwave-safe bowl, measure out the coconut oil then heat on high in the microwave for 20 - 30 seconds, until the oil is liquefied, like in the bowl on the left below:

Liquified coconut oil, plus the mixed together baking soda 
and cornstarch, and an adorable skull mold I picked up
at the Dollar Store one Halloween season.

Slowly add the liquefied coconut oil to the baking soda and cornstarch. Stir together until well-blended and smooth, with no clumps (break apart any clumps with a spoon or fork). The mixture should now have the consistency of a thick paste, but it's okay if the consistency is a bit thinner. At this point you could also add a few drops of essential oil for scented deodorant, but I find essential oils in deodorants usually irritate my skin, so I steer clear of adding any additional perfumes to this deodorant – the lovely coconut smell from the oil is more than enough for me!

At this point you have two choices - you can keep the deodorant as a paste to smear on your armpits like a lotion (just store in a small Mason jar or other container) OR you can go with my preferred method, which is pouring the deodorant mixture into molds, sticking it in the fridge to harden and using it as a stick-like deodorant.

Pouring the deodorant into a Wilton Pumpkin Faces Silicone Mold,
which works great for this deodorant! They also have a ton of other
designs to choose from - hearts, shamrocks, stars, etc.!

As you can see from the photo above, I like pouring my mixture into some Halloween molds (which are usually either ice cube trays or silicone baking molds). You can find silicone molds for cheap on Amazon (like the link above for the Wilton ones or you can try these brain ice cube trays, which are perfect due to their size and shape!). Once poured into molds, I stick them in the fridge for a few hours or overnight so that they harden. Once hardened, I pop them out of their molds, place them in an air-tight container and keep them in the fridge so they stay hard.

Now, it took a little getting used to going to the fridge to put on deodorant every morning, but for this magical deodorant it was worth it! It goes on smoothly, melts into my skin with no residue (goodbye, white armpit stains!), and keeps me from stinking up the joint all day, every day!

A batch of "spooky" deodorant that will scare your stench away!
Say "boo" to bad B.O.!

Seriously, though, you can’t beat this easy-to-make, cheap, long-lasting, natural and vegan deodorant! Try it and see how magical it is yourself!

Update 11-April-2015 - This deodorant continues to be a great success! I've gone ahead and added all new photos to this post, especially since the original baking soda I included in a photo was not cruelty-free (stay away from Arm and Hammer - they test on animals). I still keep hearing raves on this deodorant, so I'm glad it is working so well for everyone! I am still using it and haven't had to purchase a store-bought deodorant in years! Also, I wanted to update this post in order to answer a few frequently-asked questions about this deodorant, so here goes!

Question: Is this an antiperspirant and will this stop me from sweating?
Answer: This deodorant is not an antiperspirant and will not stop sweating. Antiperspirants are actually really unhealthy for you since they interfere with your body's natural cooling system and clog sweat glands. I recommend staying away from them!

Question: I've used this deodorant but now I've developed a red rash in my armpits. Help!
Answer: When switching to a more natural deodorant, your body goes through a detox period. It has been recommended that when you ditch your store-bought deodorant you should give your pits a break for a week before you begin using this deodorant. However, this is real life, and I doubt you want to disappear to an isolated location for a whole week to let your pits adjust. Instead, I recommend using less of this deodorant - it really doesn't take much for it to be effective. Also, your body will adjust over time and your rash will go bye-bye. If it doesn't go away after a week, try using some apple cider vinegar on your pits to balance your pH levels. Just use a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water (1:1 ratio) on a cotton ball and smooth over the affected armpit area on a daily basis until you see improvement.  Another suggestion - ditch essential oils if you are using them to scent your deodorant - they can be irritating to the skin. Note: If it is a SEVERE rash, discontinue use as you may be overly sensitive to baking soda.

Question: How much should I use?
Answer: There isn't a right or wrong answer to this - I use around 10 swipes per armpit in the morning, but I tend to overcompensate and could probably use less and still be protected. I would advise trying different amounts to see what works best for you. Also, one application a day works like a charm - no need to re-apply throughout the day!

Question: Will this stain my clothes?
Answer: Nope! I've never had an experience where I got the dreaded white ring on my clothes (and all my clothes are black, so I definitely would have noticed!). If you do happen to get some on your clothes, it comes right off with a bit of warm water or in the wash, with no staining whatsoever!

Let me know if you have any other questions, I'd be happy to answer them!

Please note: There are tons of variations of this recipe all over the internet and unfortunately I don't have the source for this particular version, but I wanted to share it since it is the BEST recipe I've found! 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Halloween Comes Early this Summer with Los Angeles' ScareLA Convention

Whoa, the coolest news ever was announced August, LA will host its first ever Halloween convention! It is being organized by the cool cats over at CreepyLA and promises lots of Halloween and horror themed panels, booths, speakers, workshops, screenings, and so on!

Here is a little bit of what to expect, courtesy of ScareLA's site:

ScareLA premieres on August 10 & 11, 2013 as the first Los Angeles convention dedicated to celebrating Halloween. Situated in the entertainment capital of the world it will combine the city’s top talent and unique cultural setting with a twist! Drawing fans and haunt entertainment professionals, the event will feature top attraction designers and operators, manufacturers, artists, filmmakers and more. The weekend-long Halloween season teaser will celebrate California’s hottest scary faire with attraction unveils, workshops and classes, top industry panels, haunt tours, screenings and activities. Share, inspire, play – ScareLA.

Sounds pretty awesome, right?!

Tickets are set to go on sale this month...I can't wait to buy mine!!

Read more on ScareLA's website!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Vegan Soft Serve at the Veggie Grill in Laguna Niguel, CA

Vegan soft serve from Veggie Grill in Laguna Niguel!

Veggie Grill recently opened its newest location in Laguna Niguel, California and to the delight of Orange County foodies is using this location to try out vegan soft serve ice cream! I recently visited this Veggie Grill location to try their soft serve and can I just say...OMG it was UNBELIEVABLY DECADENT & DELICIOUS!

First off, this Veggie Grill is so nicely decorated and quite spacious! It looks very chic and I really like how they decorated this one. There are plenty of tables both inside and outside and it has a very welcoming feel to it. Mister Spooky and I went there on a Monday night and the place wasn't too crowded, but it started getting pretty busy with local families coming in around 7ish.

Veggie Grill in Laguna Niguel interior - 
not pictured are the roomy booths along the wall

Now, I didn't see the vegan soft serve listed on the menu, but it is the first thing I asked about! I've heard that there have been some instances of their soft serve machine breaking down or the restaurant not having soft serve available for whatever reason, so I wanted to make sure they had it before ordering. They assured me it was available, though. I went ahead and ordered my meal (I got the vegan "crab" cake, which was delicious BTW) and the soft serve. They give you a little sign for your table so they can bring you your soft serve once you've finished your meal.

Veggie Grill in Laguna Niguel interior - love the ambiance!

I ordered the soft serve with all the toppings (Newman-O's cookie crumbles, chocolate sauce and nuts) and got the "swirl" - both chocolate and vanilla mixed. You can get either flavor or the two mixed together and whatever toppings (or no toppings) you want! As you can see, I went all in and got everything possible on it!

The soft serve was absolutely me it tasted like a Wendy's Frosty (which I used to love in my pre-vegan days), but so much better and more flavorful and rich! It didn't taste like regular ice cream (and it shouldn't), but an entirely new and delicious concoction! I've never tasted its equivalent! Mister Spooky loved it as well, and he usually isn't a sweets type of guy and he isn't even vegan! I had to fight him for the last couple of bites, haha!

The soft serve is made by Chicago Vegan Foods (fine purveyors of Dandies vegan marshmallows and Teese vegan cheese) and I really hope more restaurants pick up this amazing vegan product! It is so amazing I want more people to be able to experience it to see how delicious a cruelty-free lifestyle can be! Lucky for us, Veggie Grill plans to expand this soft serve to their other restaurants providing it does well at this test location. Considering how amazing it was, I don't see how it can fail!

I can't wait to go back to this location JUST for more soft serve! I encourage you to visit this location as well and let the Veggie Grill know how much you love this product!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Restaurant Review: Vegan Pizza in Garden Grove, CA

Philly Cheez Steak Pizza from Vegan Pizza

Did you know that the first ever all-vegan pizza joint has opened in Orange County? Sure, lots of places make an awesome vegan pizza (mmmmm, like Zpizza's Berkeley Vegan pizza), but the new Vegan Pizza in Garden Grove is different in that ALL menu items are vegan and they have lots of vegan fast food items other than pizza. We are talking pizzas, corn dogs, Buffalo wings, chili cheese fries, pastas and a variety of desserts! Woo hoo!

They opened a few months ago and I was finally able to go there last week to try some of their menu items. They are located in a strip mall off of Chapman Avenue in Garden Grove and while their surroundings might be humble, their vegan food definitely earns them some bragging rights!

The first thing I noticed on the menu was a vegan corn dog, which I just HAD to order! Their veggie dog is dipped in scrumptious batter and deep fried to crispy perfection. I can't remember the last time I had a corn dog, but I remember basically living off of them in my pre-vegan days of college. This cruelty-free version tasted just like how I remember them tasting, but better! The golden, crispy batter that enveloped the veggie dog was just to die for!

Vegan Chili Cheez French Fries and 
Vegan Corn Dog at Vegan Pizza

I also ordered the Chili Cheez French Fries and was surprised how big the portion size was! These fries were piled high with refried beans (not your traditional chili), vegan cheese, jalapenos, onions, sauce and olives. They were tasty but could have used a bit more sauce and/or beans.

Mister Spooky ordered the vegan Philly Cheez Steak pizza (pic above), which was really good as well (yes, I snagged a few slices). The crust was cooked just right - crispy and chewy. They were also generous with their toppings of bell peppers, onions and vegan cheese (pretty sure they used Daiya), though it could have used a bit more "steak". Still, it was definitely a tasty pizza pie and I can't wait to go back and try their other variations (like Greek, Mediterranean, Indian, Meat Lovers, etc.).

I got one of their vegan pastry puffs as a dessert, but it was more of a turnover rather than a pastry puff. It was good, but I wasn't blown away by it. Next time I'd like to try their chocolate cake!

They have a ton of other options, like pasta, sandwiches, salads and lots of sides...I can't wait to go back and try them all!

Vegan Pizza in Garden Grove...just look for their cute 
SmartCar parked out front!

I also liked the service and the owners were really sweet and friendly! It felt very welcoming and they greeted you like family! They have several tables for eating in, or you can take your food to go. It's not fancy, but it is clean and inviting, perfect for grabbing some vegan comfort food!

I will definitely go back and if you are in Orange County I highly recommend checking out Vegan Pizza!

You can check out their menu and get more info on their website.
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