Ah, sweet, sweet summer! While it may not be my favorite season, I have learned to appreciate the joy that comes with floppy-brimmed hats and opened-toed shoes. Being a New England gal, the weather can be quite unpredictable here, so it’s best to always have a variety of wardrobe options year-round. I’ve been into warm colors and intricate patterns lately, along with textured neutral accessories. Enjoy my seven wardrobe staples for this month! (Postscript: I do quite a lot of Amazon shopping, and that’s where you’ll find a majority of these items.)

This short-and-sweet floral printed 50s style dress from Grace Karin. This sleeveless, cotton boatneck dress comes in forty-two different prints, so I had a difficult time picking which one to order! This dress is breathable, comfortable, and absolutely stunning over a petticoat. Every time I put it on, I feel like I’m getting ready for an afternoon tea party. You can find it here on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01J99PUF2/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&th=1&psc=1

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These classic flat Oxfords are perfect for both casual and formal wear- and they look fabulous with almost anything I pair them with. There aren’t many days I’m seen without a pair of heels, but these are my new go-tos for the long days spent on my feet. The little holes that dot the sides also make these shoes quite breathable and perfect for summer. Order them here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00724ZIBS/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

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This adorable dress is exactly same to the floral one- it just has a different print. I’ve never seen a print like this one before, and I fell in love the moment I laid eyes on it. Prepare to get loads of compliments when you wear this one out on the town! As I said before, the material is breathable yet thick, and looks marvelous over a petticoat.

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I purchased this beaded clutch at a local boutique for my Sophomore prom, which feels like ages ago. Though I scoured the internet thoroughly to see where else this clutch can be purchased, I couldn’t find the company or the seller. Fortunately, there are many other clutches on the market that are very similar, if not almost identical! This clutch isn’t big enough to fit a smartphone, but is the perfect size for tiny essentials, like lipstick and powder.

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Maaaaaybe my new favorite dress of all time? Gosh, this dress is amazing. I feel like a 1950s waitress every time I slip into it, especially when paired with the Oxfords. In the picture online, the minty color looked a brighter and tackier, so I was pleased to see that the actual color is rather muted and softer. This dress looks lovely with or without a petticoat, so have fun experimenting! Get it here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0727M7H5G/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

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I’ve posted about these flats before, but how could I not repeat myself? Yes, those are sloths hugging rainbows with cherub smiles on their faces. These flats are 100% vegan and ideal for both casual and formal attire, in my opinion. They pair nicely with any dress, adding fun and a bit of silliness to any summer look. Also, did I mention that they are insanely comfortable? You can find them here: https://www.modcloth.com/shop/shoes/slow-and-behold-vegan-ballet-flat/155024.html

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This A-line pleated high-waisted skirt, with a bow tie on the front. Sure, it’s only May, but can you imagine wearing this to a Christmas party with a ruffled green top in December? *dreamy sigh.* This elegant skirt is under $20 and comes in four different colors, including black, blue, and green. The material is breathable and light, while still keeping my tush fully covered at all times. I prefer it without a petticoat, but it looks lovely both ways. Find it here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06XSKL57Q/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

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That’s what’s new, everybody! Enjoy your day, and I’ll see you on Friday.

xx

Sarah

(Spoiler alert: it’s good.)

 

For me, becoming a vegetarian did happen overnight. I woke up one day, decided that I was disgusted by the murder of innocent animals, and made up my mind right then and there to stop eating meat. It wasn’t hard in the beginning, and it still isn’t hard now. Even as a vegetarian, there are still tons of perfect comfort food options: grilled cheese, fries, ice cream, macaroni and cheese…

Referencing the list above, I wasn’t always so keen on becoming vegan. Before I was fully educated on the vegan diet, I believed it to be only eating carrots and kale, with a plain glass of water at every meal. Cheesy, gooey, comfort meals were obviously off limits for vegans.

Or so I thought.

Obviously, I’m much more educated on veganism now. In fact, I’m about 95% close to being completely vegan, and I still enjoy flavorful, filling meals. Veganism doesn’t have to be about just eating raw- it’s about finding more ethical and healthier alternatives to the foods you already love. I made myself the world’s gooey-ist dairy-free grilled-cheese sandwich today, and it was fantastic. So why are vegans getting such a bad rep?

I’m taking it upon myself to broadcast the joys of dairy-free cheese products. Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to Daiya.

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I mean, come on. LOOK AT THAT.

I was first introduced to Daiya Foods by a Buzzfeed article about vegan cheeses (because, you know, Buzzfeed.) The glowing reviews about its “tastes-exactly-like-cheese-but-isn’t-cheese” quality really got me thinking, and before I knew it, I was strolling through Whole Foods with the products in my cart.

According to the Daiya website, their products are completely free of the following:

Dairy (duh)

Eggs

Gluten

Soy

Peanuts

Fish/Shellfish

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Not only are the products better for you health-wise, but the packaging used by Daiya is also eco-friendly. As someone who is an outspoken advocate for sustainability, the eco-friendly aspect of Daiya gives them huge bonus points from me.

Obviously, there are some differences between vegan cheese and “regular” cheese, but the differences really are remarkably subtle. These slices have the same cut, texture, taste, and smell of real cheddar cheese. They’re perfect for sandwiches, and melt decadently onto Boca veggie burgers.

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I also picked up a few boxes of the Daiya Deluxe Cheezy Mac, in both the cheddar and alfredo variety. I tossed some steamed broccoli into the cheddar macaroni for dinner last night, and to say the least, my results were not disappointing.

I can’t stress enough how similar these Daiya products are to the taste of actual cheese products. Some of the flavors are a bit more bitter and slightly different in texture, but the taste is truly something homey and delicious.

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Works consulted: https://www.livekindly.co/vegan-cheese-brand-daiya-arrives-uk/

https://daiyafoods.com/why-daiya/daiya-difference/

 

Spring has sprung, and so has the hunt for the best new cosmetic products. For me, the month of May is all about new beginnings and hasty changes in the weather- though I’m not too excited about the latter!

It’s true. I, the sunshiney retro gal, am not the biggest fan of summer. I like my face a lot better when it’s not sunburnt and dripping with sweat, if I do say so myself. Nonetheless, these are the top five beauty products I’ve been using this month to keep my skin clean, moisturized, and as bright as it can be.

Ebb & Flow “Fire on the Mountain” Herbal Detox Clay Mask. I picked up this treasure at a local shop a few months back, but had neglected to try it out until recently. And boy, I had been missing out. Not only is this product 100% organic and cruelty-free, it’s also highly effective and carries a light, lovely, lavender scent. It’s also quite efficient for removing blemishes and blackheads when used twice weekly- something I’ll certainly need help with as the humid weather rolls in. To apply, mix a couple tablespoons of the mask with water until you achieve a sticky mixture, then apply all over the face. Bonus points: this product is VEGAN! Find it here for $16.00: https://www.ebbandflowbyty.com/shop/fire-on-the-mountain

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Valjean Labs “Restore” Facial Serum. Though traditionally found through the very boujee Urban Outfitters, I purchased this serum at my local Marshalls (for notably less than the original price, I might add.) For the days when my skin is feeling tired and uneven, this serum is perfect for brightening things up and truly tightening your pores. Traditionally, I use it before bed to give my skin a little bit of extra nourishment. This product is cruelty-free, and can be ordered either online or from the Urban Outfitters store. Find it here for $15.00: https://www.urbanoutfitters.com/shop/valjean-labs-facial-serum?category=SHOPBYBRAND&color=050

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ArtNaturals Brightening Vitamin C Serum. I learned about this product through WhispersRed ASMR, who mentioned it in her skincare routine video. She described the product as being excellent for brightening skin, tightening pores, and giving the skin a naturally radiant glow. Upon hearing of its clearly fantastic abilities, I had to purchase it myself, and I wasn’t disappointed in the least. Made in the USA and completely cruelty-free, this is another fantastic serum for daily use. I pat a generous amount of this serum on my face right after my morning shower, when I know my pores are the most open, and follow it up with a light moisturizer.   Find it here for $13.00: https://artnaturals.com/artnaturals-vitamin-c-serum-fights-free-radicals-and-reduces-wrinkles-1-fl-oz-30-ml-16-00.html

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Pukka Tea: “Revitalize.” Arguably, tea probably can’t be considered a “beauty product.” From my perspective, however, it is the products we put in our body that reflect how our skin looks on the outside. This vigorating and energizing tea will keep you feeling fresh and awake on both the inside and out. With ingredients like cinnamon and ginger, you’ll notice your eyes looking brighter and your skin looking clearer.  Find it here for £2.99: https://www.pukkaherbs.com/teas-supplements/pukka-organic-teas/revitalise/

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Lush “Mask of Magnaminty” Face and Body Mask. I must confess, this is a product I have been purchasing regularly since first trying it back in July. On those sticky, humid summer days, this stuff works magic for cooling off your skin and scrubbing out all the oily impurities from the day. This mask is also extremely moisturizing and soothing, both on the body and face.  Find it here for $14.95: https://www.lushusa.com/face/masks/mask-of-magnaminty/02129.html

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By Sarah Desroche

ASMR (Autonomous sensory meridian response), despite its remarkable following, seems to have picked up a notorious reputation over the past five to six years. There are a handful of adjectives I’ve seen attached to this sensation: weird, sexual, “cringey”, strange, even “wrong.” I recently watched the This Morning interview focusing on ASMR, and was horrified to hear the sensation referred to as “whisper porn.”

 

Um.

 

The reality is, many of the people describing ASMR in this way are the people who do not experience the tingly feeling themselves. They are outsiders looking in, judging a phenomenon they simply can’t understand. As once put by Phil Collins, “Some people don’t trust what they can’t explain.”

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It is my responsibility, amongst other members of the community, to set the record straight about ASMR. By definition, ASMR is “an experience characterised by a static-like or tingling sensation on the skin that typically begins on the scalp and moves down the back of the neck and upper spine.” The chemical reaction of ASMR releases a calm, relaxing, and usually sleepy feeling throughout the body. For myself and many other people, ASMR youtube videos are used to help us fall asleep and unwind our worries of the day. WhispersRed, one of the more prominent content creators in the ASMR community, has had perhaps the largest influence on my well-being in this context. For me, listening to Emma (WhispersRed) speaking quietly in a video is no different than if my mother was reading me to sleep. Her voice is calm, level, motherly, and sweet as honey. Even when she is pattering about, just simply talking about small events from the week, I get a great deal of comfort from the easy listening factor.

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Photo from DailyMail.com

When I discovered that I had developmental PTSD earlier this year, a lot of the unusual behaviors and panic attacks I’d suffered throughout my adolescence began to make much more sense. Certain environments and activities were (and still are) extremely anxiety-inducing for me, ranging from large social gatherings to simply falling asleep at night. While ASMR can’t magically erase all of my mental illnesses and daily strifes, it plays a crucial role in helping me to balance all areas of my health. When I put my head down on the pillow and plug into an ASMR video, I’m not focusing on childhood trauma or panic attacks: I’m focusing on Emma’s voice, or the relaxing sound of someone crinkling paper or tapping. Having this outlet to relax and feel truly safe in my own bedroom is a feeling I can’t even put into words.

Emma, who also struggled with PTSD after a car accident, is a true symbol of happiness and wellness after trauma. Despite the privations that may have held her back, she has demonstrated the strength within all of us to pick up the pieces of our life. She has taught me, probably without realizing it, that beauty can be found in the most difficult of times.

In my life, ASMR videos are one of the key components for self-care. The list essentially goes as follows: bubble bath, tea, vegan cheese, Bob Ross, ASMR videos…and a good night’s sleep. I recommend these videos to anyone and anybody who expresses difficulty dozing off and relaxing. If you try out the videos and decide it’s not for you, so be it, but I amend you for giving it a chance. There are millions and millions of people around the world, one by one, coming forward and finding their place in this growing community. If you truly feel like you are one of them, don’t let any negativity prevent you from the self-care that you deserve.

I’m all for flavorful fresh produce, especially since it makes up a vast part of my diet. As I am slowly but surely trying to wane myself into being a vegan, the emphasis on getting the most of my food is becoming even more crucial. Here, I have compiled a list of the fruits and vegetables in season this May.

Vegetables:

Rhubarb. Hooray! I must confess, I have a huge place in my heart for this bright, tangy vegetable. Though categorized as a vegetable, rhubarb can be cooked and prepared to have a soft and sweet flavor, ideal for pies and crisps. Growing up, one of my fondest memories is preparing rhubarb crisp with my best friend as a child, happily awaiting until we could dig into its gooey, creamy texture. Just be careful if you are harvesting it- rhubarb leaves are poisonous substances.

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Cauliflower. In my opinion, cauliflower is the Cinderella of vegetables. A little extra care and magic can turn this otherwise bland-looking vegetable into something truly irresistible. Because of cauliflower mild, shy taste, it is an extremely flexible and forgiving vegetable to flavor. Roasting cauliflower with olive oil and sea salt gives cauliflower a crispy, crunchy texture- similar to that of a french fry. Another trendy way to prepare cauliflower is in the form of a pizza crust, which is something I’ve yet to try.

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Kale. Personally, I’m very specific about when and how I like my kale eaten. In fact, I’m so specific, I really only consume it in the form of a green smoothie. Kale is undeniably superb for your health, as it’s loaded with fiber and magnesium. Kale is also remarkably low in calories, making it a great filler-food for a variety of hearty dishes. I do really enjoy the tofu scramble bowl by Amy’s- a brand you can find at your local supermarket- but besides that, I’m rather picky about my daily kale intake.

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Fruits:

Avocados. I challenge you to tell me a fruit more versatile than the saintlike avocado, sent to us by the gods of delicious meals. I love spreading this creamy staple on my toast and then popping an over-easy egg on top- it’s the perfect combination of sweet and savory. Avocado is a lovely addition to many vegetarian meals as well, such as bean burritos, grilled cheese, and, of course, Mexican food. Finding the perfect avocado can be a tedious equation of time, patience, and freshness, so utilize the magic of May while you can.

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Mango. Packed with vitamin C and vitamin A, mangos can offer a variety of health benefits. I love adding mangos to breakfast smoothies, fruit salsas, or simply just eating them diced. Though they may seem a bit difficult to work with at first, it’s actually very similar to cutting an avocado. Slice off one-third of each side, from the top down, and dice from there. The combination of their bright, sunny color and soft texture makes them a lovely addition to any meal.

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Peaches. Peaches are a treasure chest of nutrition. Not only are they absolutely sweet and delicious, but they are also loaded with anti-aging properties and detoxifying nutrients. Studies show that eating peaches can also reduce reduce the risk of cancer, due to its chlorogenic and neochlorogenic acids. Enjoy this tasty fruit in pies, desserts, breakfasts, or as a raw side dish.

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Pineapples. Pineapples deliver a fierce punch of flavor and a handful of health benefits all at once, making them (yet again) a fantastic option for any meal of the day. Pineapple-based breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert recipes can be found all over the web, but my personal favorite way to consume pineapple is in a sunshiny smoothie. The smell of pineapple also carries a nostalgic string of memories for me, as the fruit was often seen around many happy Christmases.

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Cherries. Did you know that raw cherries are eighty-two percent water? Though they may provide little nutritious content, eating a bowl of cherries is inarguably better for you than digging into a bag of chips. Cherries also have a little bit of melatonin present in them, so if you find yourself struggling to fall asleep, try eating a handful before bed.

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Works Consulted: https://cookieandkate.com/2015/whats-in-season-may-produce-guide/

https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/health-benefits-of-peach.html

Anxiety disorders are the onions of mental health. They pertain to a variety of different levels and layers, each one more intense and eye-watering than the last. When undiagnosed, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) can make people feel hopeless, lost, and sometimes, even invalidated. In high school, I had a very difficult time staying calm and focused in classrooms due to excessive worry and unavoidable wandering thoughts. I consider myself to be somewhat of an “intuitive learner”- I don’t necessarily need to understand what the teacher is saying to do well in the class, I pick up cues from other students and mimic their actions. This method successfully got me through high school, but my decent grades were not an accurate reflection of my internal emotions. On several occasions, I suffered unexplainable breakdowns and found being in the public school environment to be extremely painful. Being an underfunded public high school who feared that my unusual attitude was actually suicidal behavior (and obviously trying to avoid a lawsuit if that was the case,) I was often called down to the nurse’s office, and once sent to a hospital for an evaluation. The reality is, however, I was not suicidal, and I never had been. I actually has undiagnosed GAD, and the school was putting in no effort to properly help me explore my resources. It’s extremely difficult to talk about your anxiety with a figure of authority if you’re consistently afraid of being wheeled off to a psychiatric hospital.

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After being diagnosed with GAD, I began taking a “selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor”- or SSRI. The medication I have been prescribed since and take daily is Lexapro- a powerful medication for reducing depression and anxiety. I have been taking Lexapro daily for about a year and a half, and have already noticed a remarkable positive change. Yes, I still experience some depression and anxiety, but my symptoms are nowhere near as extreme as they once were.

One of the biggest challenges I faced with starting college was adjusting to a new, strange lifestyle. I, like many other people, was uncomfortable with the idea of having to make brand-new friends and learn to live in a dormitory with a roommate. In my particular situation, living with a roommate for my first semester of college was an extremely traumatic experience. I felt targeted and ostracized by my former roommate and her friends- eventually reaching the point where I considered sleeping on benches to avoid going back to my room. For my spring semester, I was offered a single dorm room in the same building where I already lived, and I took that opportunity immediately.

This segways nicely into my first recommendation for anyone struggling with GAD: if you are uncomfortable with your rooming situation, do not hesitate to ask for a medical accommodation. With a medical note from your doctor disclosing your anxiety, it is possible your school will be able to offer you a single room. Unfortunately, my school has informed me that there are not enough available singles to acquire my medical accommodation for the next fall semester. Because of this, I’m going through the long and somewhat irritating process of transferring to a school that will accomodate. It may sound like a drastic move, but after my diagnosis with GAD and rather horrifying experience with my roommate, the situation is very black or white. If I have the accommodation, I will stay. If the school will not offer it, I’m going to take my twenty grand somewhere else.

Don’t forget, you’re paying for this. This is your education, your future, and your initiative. If there is something you really, truly need to make your educational experience the best it can be, never hesitate to reach out and make a request. Your mental illness is valid.

While having GAD can make it difficult to socialize and join organizations on campus, I highly recommend getting involved in something. It doesn’t even have to be a club! Consider picking up a new hobby to keep you occupied, like blogging or knitting, or getting a small pet to improve your personal accountability. And yes, while making friends can be a difficult and tedious game of chance, it’s inevitably something you will have to go out of your way to do. As of right now, I only have one relatively close friend on campus. Despite the fact that we (basically) only have each other, having a shoulder to cry on and a dinner companion has reduced my general anxiety considerably. Exploring campus, registering for classes, and even studying can become loads easier when you have a close companion to ramble with.

Obviously, it’s almost impossible to completely eradicate GAD, especially if it’s causing a toil on your daily life. There are, however, a few little helpful pointers I’ve picked up along the way. I cannot speak for everyone dealing with anxiety, nor would I ever want to. GAD is a very individualized disorder. That being said, if any of my suggestions can make even a smidge of a positive impact, I’ve completed my job here!

Ultimately, the best advice I can leave you with is to understand that you don’t need to be okay every second of every day. College is about finding yourself, making mistakes, screwing up, and then laughing about it later. If you use your resources wisely and take care of yourself to the best of your ability, I promise that you will make it out fine. My journey so far has been quite a rollercoaster, but I’m learning to appreciate it and make the best of what this experience has taught me.

 

I’ve yet to find my holy-grail makeup routine, but I’d like to think I’m on the right path. I’ve exercised a majority of looks in my lifetime, and the metamorphosis has been…a journey.

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Thankfully, with my horrendous goth phase in the past, I’d love to share the products I use now to give my face a classic vintage semblance!

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(Preface: As I am becoming more aware of animal cruelty in the cosmetic industry, I am in the process of transitioning all of my products to ones that are cruelty-free. I can safely say that 95% of my products are now at least cruelty-free, and some of them are vegan as well. I’ll be sure to clarify under each product I use whether or not it is cruelty-free. If you have any suggestions for new makeup brands I can try, please let me know in the comments!)

(Another preface: I am by no means a makeup guru. Take everything I suggest with a grain of salt.)

After moisturizing, I officially begin my day with the Laura Mercier Radiance Primer. I purchased this primer at a Sephora pop-up shop about seven months ago, and have been using it (almost) on the daily since. The slits in the side of the tube are attributed to me cutting open the package to get every last drop of product, as this primer was very, veeeery expensive. Laura Mercier claims to be a cruelty-free company company, and their products are not sold in China. While this product seemed like a nice little spurge at the time, I don’t see myself purchasing it again. It gives me skin a rather shiny appearance, and didn’t prove to have any remarkable results. In the future, I intend on stocking up on ELF for my cruelty-free primer needs.

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Laura Mercier Radiance Primer

On to foundation! I have been using the Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation in the shade 1.0 for about five or six months now. It is a little bit lighter than my natural skin tone, but doesn’t look chalky or ghostly once applied. If anything, it gives the pale, matte glow that my inner pinup soul has been dreaming of. I apply 1-2 coats of this all over my face and neck with the Aesthetica Cosmetics Beauty Sponge Blender- which is latex-free and vegan. The only criticism I have for this foundation is that it can look a bit drying and patchy unless you really get in there and moisturize your skin. Urban Decay is proudly a cruelty-free company, and received a pat on the back from PETA for their cosmetics.

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Urban Decay Foundation

For brows, I use the Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade in the color “Granite.” When doing my makeup, I prefer for my eyebrows to be quite dark, and my eyeshadow to be soft and warm-colored. This pomade is perfectly pigmented and stays all day, without being over-powerfully dark on my otherwise pale frame. And, fun fact, this brow pomade is both cruelty-free AND vegan!

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Eyebrow Pomade

I haven’t applied an eyelid primer since last summer, as the last one I tried by Urban Decay gave me a somewhat hilarious allergic reaction (think Admiral Ackbar from Star Wars). To prime my eyelids, I instead just coat them with my foundation and allow the formula to dry. My eyeshadow is a little bit different every day, but primarily, my favorite palettes are the Too Faced Peach Eyeshadow Palette and the BH Cosmetics Carli Bybel Palette. I start by applying a light, shimmery shade on my entire lid, and then go back in with a darker and warmer shade to buff out the crease. Occasionally, I’ll also add a little bit of black eyeshadow to make my eyes more dramatic, but it truly depends on the day. For my lower line, I’ll go back in with a medium-dark shade and brush it over my waterline, winging it out slightly to create an illusion of an eyelash shadow (a trick Marilyn Monroe did herself.) All of my eyeshadows are cruelty-free as well.

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My eyeshadow palettes

I use the Urban Decay Cream Eyeliner in the shade “Jet” to apply my winged eyeliner, though I generally prefer to use a liquid eyeliner if I have one on hand. This UD eyeliner gets an A+ for ease of use, but a B for longevity. Even with setting spray, I do find my eyeliner to be bit oily and faded once I reach the five-hour mark. I apply my eyeliner with a small angled brush that I purchased at an Ulta quite a while ago.

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Cream Eyeliner

For mascara, I’ve been really hooked on Tarte’s Lights, Camera, Lashes. Ideally, I would like to wear a pair of false eyelashes every day to make my hooded eyes pop, but who really has the patience to sit and apply those every morning? Tarte claims to be cruelty-free, and the products are not sold in China, but consumers should still be aware that Tarte’s money goes to KOSE, which does test on animals.

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Tarte Mascara

My favorite blush right now is another Tarte product- the Amazonian Clay 12-hour blush in the shades “Paaarty” and “Seduce.” My face ends up looking like a nightmare whenever I try to apply contour, so I chisel out my cheeks with a popping pink blush instead. I’d like to add that I didn’t purchase these blushes myself- they were handed down to me by someone else. I wouldn’t spend more than ten dollars on a blush, let alone $29.99.

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Tarte Blush

Before I apply my lipstick, I use a sweep of the Ulta brand setting spray, which I purchased in the store for ten dollars. Ulta brand cosmetics claim to be cruelty-free, but I’m going to need to do some additional research on this…

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Ulta Setting Spray

Lastly, I almost always finish off my makeup look with either a Kat Von D Studded Kiss lipstick, or one of my sixteen Froomer Liquid Lipsticks. Before I go any further, let me make it loud and clear that the Froomer lipsticks are almost definitely NOT cruelty-free. I purchased them off of Amazon a while ago, and the shipping label says they were manufactured in Hong Kong. These liquid lipsticks are designed to be exact dupes of the Kylie Jenner lip kits, and despite my ethical problems with the brand, the lipsticks actually perform quite impressively. That being said, I don’t intend on purchasing them again in the future.

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Froomer Lip Kits & a Kat Von D lipstick

Though my makeup routine may seem extensive from what you’ve just read above, the reality is, it only takes me about thirty minutes to complete my entire routine. I am also extremely open to other makeup brand suggestions, especially since I am going to need an ethical replacement for my Froomer lip kits oncetheyrun dry. Drop me a comment below!

Where to buy these products:

 

PRIMER: https://www.sephora.com/product/foundation-primer-radiance-P299223?skuId=1382670&icid2=products%20grid:p299223

FOUNDATION: https://www.urbandecay.com/all-nighter-liquid-foundation-by-urban-decay/ud778.html
EYEBROW POMADE: http://www.anastasiabeverlyhills.com/dipbrow-pomade-waterproof-color-brow-sculpt/dipbrow-pomade.html

EYESHADOW PALETTES: https://www.bhcosmetics.com/carli-bybel-deluxe-edition-21-color-eyeshadow-highlighter-palette / https://www.toofaced.com/eye-makeup/eye-shadow-palettes/sweet-peach-eye-palette/41025.html / https://www.urbandecay.com/naked-3-palette-by-urban-decay/409.html

EYELINER: http://www.anastasiabeverlyhills.com/waterproof-creme-color/waterproof-creme-color.html
MASCARA: https://tartecosmetics.com/en_US/makeup/eyes/mascara/lights-camera-lashes-4-in-1-mascara/6.html?cgid=makeup-eyes-mascara&dwvar_6_color=black#start=3

SETTING SPRAY: https://www.ulta.com/matte-makeup-setting-spray?productId=xlsImpprod10141284&sku=2271525&cmpid=PS_Non!google!Product_Listing_Ads&cagpspn=pla&CATCI=pla-195115267710&CAAGID=39172131008&CAWELAID=330000200000136900&catargetid=330000200000921473&cadevice=c&gclid=CjwKCAjwlIvXBRBjEiwATWAQIvHzTS8WSTbc4uU1D3ufsQhV08ecC28WNi_xOVUz4K4aKsrAeSomgBoCSRYQAvD_BwE

BLUSH: https://tartecosmetics.com/en_US/makeup/cheeks/blush-cheek-stain/amazonian-clay-12-hour-blush/236.html

FROOMER LIPSTICKS: https://www.amazon.com/Froomer-Colors-Waterproof-Lasting-Lipstick/dp/B01N8YWE0V/ref=sr_1_1_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1524834874&sr=8-1&keywords=froomer%2B16%2Bcolors%2Bwaterproof%2Blong%2Blasting%2Bmatte%2Bliquid%2Blipstick&th=1

KAT VON D LIPSTICK: https://www.katvondbeauty.com/lip/lipstick/studded-kiss-creme-lipstick/40006.html?gclid=CjwKCAjwlIvXBRBjEiwATWAQIotAsVVhm69ZZoWlgiM44aoOgKVIN5RLrRQeQBS6P6Ds3-C4Q_U34xoCnYoQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

 

By Sarah Desroche

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Regina Spektor is a Regenius.

I have been a fan of Regina’s music for as many, many years, starting with the heartfelt ballad “Eet.” I must have been in early middle school the first time I heard it, and perhaps too young to understand the emotional context. Still, the elegant chattering of Regina’s voice and poetic verses inspired me to dig even deeper. With every song she records, and ever lyric she pens, a deep and intimate story is being released to her viewers. Do the stories come from a mystical place inside her head, or is she drawing out her storytelling from past experiences? I can’t say for sure.

Eventually, I do plan on reviewing every album Regina Spektor has released to date. She is a hidden treasure in the chest of folky-punk-pop, if we’re counting that as a complete genre. Many people will say they’ve heard one or two of their songs, but haven’t listened much beyond “Fidelity” or “Us.” For anyone who loves to feel their heart shattered and then sewn back together again through the beauty of music, I highly recommend giving a few more of Regina’s incredible songs a listen. Let’s start with Far, released in 2009 by Sire Records.

(I’d also like to add that Regina is known for not revealing the meanings of her lyrics, so every idea I express below is simply my interpretation and not officially “true”.)

  1. The Calculation: A bright and catchy opener to the album, “The Calculation” is an thoughtful interpretation of a souring love story. Though the lyrics to these songs themselves may come across as vague, each line is dotted with metaphors and profound truths. The relationship between these two lovers has become blueprinted and formulated- a calculation stripped of feeling and intimacy. The example in verse two of a “macaroni computer” doing all their “thinking” is an analogy for technology desensitizing our emotions and genuine human connection. Regina also alludes to this thoughtless love by describing the removal of her own heart, a “little stone,” and placing it on the granite countertop. To me, this is an example of defeat; a concrete physicality of feeling heartless and loveless. While “The Calculation” wasn’t my absolute favorite song on the album, a five to ten listens allowed me to better understand the perspective and the deeper meaning.
  2. Eet: “Eet” is perhaps one of Regina’s better-known works, and it’s the first song I heard from her back in 2012. The desolate, sweet, and almost desperate nature of the song drew me in and begged me to tear it apart. By definition, eet is an old fashioned word for the backspace key on a typewriter. Throughout the song, Regina describes the remorse of forgetting the words to her favorite song, perhaps alluding to the fact that she desires to “backspace” on her own life. As humans, we tend to lose sight of the richer elements of life and focus solely on the things that seldom matter in the long run. Perhaps Regina has spent so much time fretting about the “adult” aspects of her life, she has lost sight of the things that make her the happiest. The song truly holds a nostalgic place in my heart, and I find myself going back to it when I’m facing an abrupt identity crisis.
  3. Blue Lips: This song is almost certainly some sort of religious statement, even more so than “Laughing With.” While Regina is not necessarily outspoken in her religious views, she has expressed interest with a variety of religious themes. Sometimes cynical and even deliciously sarcastic in her lyrics, “Blue Lips” opens with the following verse:

He stumbled into fate and thought,

“God, this is all there is?”

Though simple in language, the verse sets the mood for the entire song and highlights a potential loss in faith. Through her references to the destruction of the “knowledge tree” and the growth of a heartless world, I am given the sense that Regina fears for the destruction of our planet. We may act holy and righteous, but how can we give ourselves that title if we are promoting the annihilation of what the higher power has given us? A beautiful, blue planet.

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4. Folding Chair: With loss for a better word, “Folding Chair” is what I consider to be the comic relief of Far. From my interpretation, “Folding Chair” is a relatively simple song with lyrics that are meant to be interpreted literally. Hooked with a poppy, vintage tune, “Folding Chair” describes a woman at ease by the beach of life, burying her feet in the sand and reclining in her folding chair. She has strong desires to settle down someday and start a family, but the mere thought of commitment scares her off; “Every time the tide come in to take me home, I get scared, and now I’m sitting here alone…” Also, how could anybody resist smiling at Regina’s amazing dolphin sounds towards the end of the song?

5. Machine: As seen in many contemporary indie works, robotics and machinery are often have a dystopian association. Both the lyrics and the music itself have a mechanical and almost creepy ambience. Perhaps one of the most meaningful recurring themes in the song is humanity’s obliviation to the destruction of society as we know it. We are upgraded daily with explosions of information and fake news, eventually leading to the apocalyptic collapse of our fragile, beautiful world. The song closes with this haunting verse, fading out into a lonely prediction:

Everything’s provided

Consummate consumer

Part of worldly taking

Apart from worldly troubles

Living in your prewar apartment

Soon to be your postwar apartment

And you lived in the future

And the future

It’s here

It’s bright

It’s now

6. Laughing With: This has always been one of my absolute favorite songs from the album. Though the song constantly references people laughing at God and making jokes of his presumed power, I have never considered it to be a song pertaining strictly to religion. The song, rather, is about taking our mortality for granted. We scoff in the face in a higher power until we ourselves experience grief and loss. We laugh at the idea of divinity until our we’re poor, or starving, or receiving a call from our doctor after that routine medical test. After tasting the bitterness of death, we pray for forgiveness and mercy. To me, the song relates to how people only recognize what they truly have when they are about to lose it. We treat the idea of a higher power like a genie- something that grants us wishes and creates the illusion of magic, until we lose what we have always wanted.

7. Human of the Year: Yet another sacred and hauntingly beautiful song, the disconnection of emotion in Regina’s voice combined with the complex piano pattern creates a beautiful atmosphere. This song is also incredible just as an instrumental- the rise and fall of the piano, the angelic chorus of voices that fluctuates towards the climax of the song. The song describes an average, unassuming man- Karl Projektorinski- and his newfound honorable title of Human of the Year. We, the listeners, do not know what Karl Projektorinski has done to earn himself such a prestigious title; we only know that he is responding with fear and utter surprise. The delicacy of Karl’s humbleness and struggle to feel pride offers some valuable social commentary: nobody can be perfect, so why should Karl be rewarded for just being human?

8. Two Birds: The beat and melody of “Two Birds” reminds me quite a bit of the energy Regina brings in “Folding Chair” and “The Calculation.” To me, the song is about relationships. Not necessarily romantic ones, though it proves to be heavily applicable to the song. The birds are analogies for two very different people: one is controlling, and one is struggling for independence. He is trying to keep her grounded and attached to the wire, saying again and again that someday he will fly away. Such a phrase seems to commonly come from the mouth of abusive partners: the idea that someday, everything will be okay. The independent heroine of this story knows better than to believe the words of someone so small-minded and controlling.

9. Dance Anthem of the 80s: Upon first listen, I believed “Dance Anthem of the 80s” to be one of the most charming Regina songs I had ever listened to. To this day, “Dance Anthem of the 80s” and “Genius Next Door” are the two songs that strike the biggest cord in me. However, the lyrics to this song represent the loss of innocence in the 80s-  a that you wouldn’t automatically associate with such a charming beat. I find it quite brilliant how Regina chose to represent love and sex, and the emphasis of physical attraction in this decade.

There’s a meat market down the street

The boys and girls watch each other eat

The boys and the girls watch each other eat

When they really just want to watch each other sleep

A “meat market,” as you may or may not know, is slang for a place where hookups or romantic encounters take place. Watching someone sleep, however, is a complete contrast of interest: watching somebody in an extremely vulnerable and intimate state. These two attitudes could be social commentary on the cold war: hostility and a loss of innocence in the country was pushing young people to find fast pleasure. However, what everybody really wanted was simply to feel validated and cared for.

10. Genius Next Door: The first time I ever listened to this song, I’m pretty sure it made me cry harder than any other song I’ve ever listened to (I may or may not have cried to it again since.) Perhaps it’s the dismal piano accompaniment, or the poetic storytelling, but there’s something about this song that hits me in my feels every time. The nature of the song’s true meaning has been disputed for almost a decade, but there appears to be some key points everyone can agree on: a terrible tragedy occured in a local lake, something that the townspeople avoid speaking about. The lake is as “thick as butter,” and happened phenomenally overnight. The kids of the town, however, disregard the tragedy and continue to swim and drink at the lake. The story takes another terrible twist when the “genius next door,” a character frequently described throughout the story, wades into the lake and dies himself, his brain releasing a massive, orgasmic amount of chemicals as he fades into death.

11. Wallet: A combination rich descriptions and elegant storytelling makes for a nice contrast from “Genius Next Door,” but nonetheless, they are both impactful in their own ways. The song, with its charming and simple lyrics, plainly tells the story of finding a wallet and returning it to the rightful owner. In several points throughout the song, the narrator implies that she herself is strapped for funds: her cards are held together with a blue rubber band, and she perhaps works long and tiring days. Despite the temptation some may feel to take the contents of the wallet, the narrator finds the goodness in her heart to return it. And how does she do this? By bringing it to the local Blockbuster, of course.

12. One More Time with Feeling: Because of the complex nature of this song’s themes, the actual meaning could translate to a variety of different topics. From the first line of the song, we can hypothesize that the subject is struggling to overcome some degree of trauma. This could be hospitalization, depression, or a breakup, but the exact trauma is never clarified. The subject is staring at a balloon- perhaps a “get well soon” balloon in their hospital room?

Your stitches are all out

But your scars are healing wrong

And the helium balloon inside your room has come undone…

I have always interpreted this song as an anthem of encouragement. Regina tells the subject again and again to breathe, try again, and find the strength to keep on living. As someone myself who has also struggled with trauma in the past, this song helpful for the days when I can hardly get out of bed. Paired with an upbeat rhythm, this is one of the more comforting pieces of the album.

13. Man of a Thousand Faces: Let’s get back on the Train of Dark Depressions, shall we?

His words are quiet like stains are

On a tablecloth washed in a river

Stains that are trying to cover for eachother

Or at least blend in with the pattern

Alright. This song is almost definitely about a murder, and the psychological impact this crime is having on the subject. He’s clearly lost in his own world- perhaps on drugs, perhaps suffering from an undiagnosed mental illness. The song is coupled with a gentle piano accompaniment, which somehow makes the nature of the song even more haunting.

Thank you, Regina Spektor, for blessing your listeners with this work of melodic art. Thank you for giving a voice to storytellers, to those who suffer, and those who have been forgotten. Most importantly, thank you for being my nightly bedtime story, wrapped up in one introspective album. I’ve exhausted myself writing this extensive review, but hopefully, my point has been made.

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Regina Spektor Website: http://www.reginaspektor.com/

Works Consulted: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Far_(album)

Picture source: https://www.amazon.com/Far-Vinyl-Regina-Spektor/dp/B0027HBAB2

http://www.popload.com.br/quer-ir-ao-show-da-regina-spektor-popload-ajuda/

Regina Spektor is getting presidential

By Sarah Desroche

Name: Carnelian

Chakras: Base & Sacral

Zodiac: Taurus, Cancer, Leo, Virgo

Planet: Mars

Element: Fire

Every night, I find a great deal of comfort in tinkering with my crystals. As powerful healing tools, it is my responsibility to make sure the crystals are appreciated, cleansed, charged, and given individual attention. Depending on my mood and which chakra I feel needs attention, I will usually select a different crystal every night. Lately, however, I have felt an extremely strong connection to my carnelian. Carnelian is a powerful stone for generating creative willpower and confidence, along with promoting sexual energy and fertility.

Whenever I meet people interested in furthering their knowledge on crystals, I always recommend The Little Book of Crystals by Judy Hall. It is a fabulous beginner’s guide for anyone wanting to know more about the world’s most essential crystals, along with how to use your healing crystals to the best of their abilities. On top of using my own knowledge, I will also be using the book as a source in this article. Another great resource for furthering your crystal knowledge is The Lune Innate- I’ll include her website and youtube link at the bottom.

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Carnelian has a vivacious red-orange brightness.

I purchased my tumbled carnelian stone about 2-3 weeks ago, along with many other stones that are perfect for the root chakra. Carnelian’s fiery energy and vivacious tangerine color make it an eye-catching stone for any crystal collector, and the amount of information available for carnelian is incredibly extensive.

Generally, the color of the crystal is a fair indication of its healing powers. Carnelian, like many other red-orange stones, promotes vibrant vitality, creativity, and assertiveness. Red stones are also very energizing, and can help you to rise more easily in the early hours. After I cleanse my crystals (which I intend to write a blog on), I hold the carnelian in my palm and thank it for the generosity it has already given me. While giving your crystals positive affirmations isn’t necessary to achieve its benefits, I don’t think it hurts to give your crystal some one-on-one every once in a while. I will usually also compliment the crystal on its stunning beauty and attributes, and finish by humbly asking the crystal for the things I want. Before I go to sleep, I’ll set the crystal on my nightstand, or sometimes, even on my bed frame. After that, it’s out of your hands; let the crystal do its magic!

Since utilizing my carnelian and placing it on my nightstand, I’ve noticed positive changes in both my positive and emotional realm. I willingly wake up earlier now, as opposed to the days when I’d pull the covers over my head and sleep until the last possible second. I also put much more love and care into my morning routine because I have more newfound energy: that means prolonged showers, a lengthy makeup routine, and a much fuller breakfast, just to name a few perks. On top of this new stamina, I have also noticed an improvement in my creativity. One of the hardest things about college is finding the time and energy to keep up with my hobbies, but carnelian gives me the willpower to find time. Not only that, but taking time for myself no longer feels like a chore. Once again, I am finding myself getting pleasure out of reading, writing, blogging, or simply just appreciating existence.

Carnelian, in the metaphysical realm, is perhaps best known for its vitalizing and motivating properties. Meditating with carnelian at your base chakra is said to cure everything from back pain to depression, while putting it on your sacral chakra can promote fertility and sexual energy. Because of its positive significance to both mental and physical health, carnelian can be an excellent stone for overcoming any trauma. Granted, no stone by itself should be used to treat/diagnose any illness or disorder. Crystal healing is a supportive benefit, not necessarily an alternative to scientific medicine. That being said, I do feel that carnelian is helping me to process and work through my own illness, complex PTSD. For anyone struggling with mental health, creativity, or even just getting out of the morning, carnelian could be the perfect stone for you. Who wouldn’t fall in love with that beautiful glowing orb of fire?

 

Some useful sources!

The Lune Innate’s youtube channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPCHuLiHbhG3s_YxhMLOn6Q

Her website:

://www.luneinnate.com/

You can get The Little Book of Crystals here:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/p/the-little-book-of-crystals-judy-hall/1122639596/2674150684663?st=PLA&sid=BNB_DRS_Core+Catch-All,+Low_00000000&2sid=Google_&sourceId=PLGoP79700&gclid=Cj0KCQjwn-bWBRDGARIsAPS1svtREV_64Z7cStLW-hnkXYTtoltDqR769UtnXQn1qeeF01taZ-FS4zMaAh_lEALw_wcB

Image Source:
https://www.energymuse.com/carnelian-stones.html

 

 

Sarah Desroche

I have been fully vegetarian for about five months now. So many positive changes appeared in my health after making this decision: my nails grew stronger and faster, my energy levels increased, and I ultimately feel so much more positively about my body. One concern I hear a lot from people struggling to adapt to this lifestyle is the stigma around the scary P-word: protein.

There seems to be a common misconception in the United States that sufficient protein can only be found in meat, fish, and other animal products. The reality is, protein is an extremely versatile nutrient found in everything from seeds and lentils, to breads and eggs. Even better, many of these protein sources can be dressed up or dressed down, depending on which meal you’re cooking. Here is a compiled list of my eight favorite sources of vegetarian protein.

1: Chia Seeds. Not only is this protein source perfect for those trying to lose weight, but it can also reduce risk of heart disease. Shake a tablespoon of chia seeds into a morning berry smoothie, or sprinkle it on top of your evening salad. Chia seeds are dense and crunchy, and taste a bit like a poppy seed.

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Chia seeds are great in a smoothie or salad.

2: Boca Burgers. The only con to this tasty soy-based burger brand is that they are not available outside of North America! Boca products are also completely egg-free, and some of their products are also vegan. The burgers almost perfectly mimic the taste of a cheeseburger, a taste I found myself missing upon coming fully vegetarian. You can pick up a box at your local supermarket or club store.

3: Quinoa. There are more than 1,400 quinoa products on the market right now, so why wouldn’t you shake up your diet with some of this crunchy grain? Because quinoa is a great source of both protein and fiber, it will keep you feeling fuller longer. Quinoa is perfect for adding a touch of flavor to your salad, veggie burger, or breakfast bowl.

4: Peanut Butter. Ah, peanut butter, yet another renaissance man of protein. In a healthy portion size (about seven grams), peanut butter provides a punch of protein and several healthy fats. Consuming peanuts can also reduce heart disease, so go ahead and spread it on your toast or sandwiches. Peanut butter is also a delicious staple for any breakfast smoothie bowl.

5: Eggs. While they used to be something of a dirty word in the food industry, eggs are now admired for their nutritional benefits and metabolism-boosting proteins. An egg a day will keep your stomach full and your hunger levels low, along with hosting the fat-burning nutrient choline. Tofu scramble is one of my favorite breakfast egg dishes.

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6: Chickpeas. A primary member of the legume family, chickpeas are chalk-full of energizing vitamins and minerals. They are also a great source of both fiber and protein, and can be cooked in various different forms. Enjoy a bag of flavored, cooked chickpeas, or toss them raw onto your salad to add a blast of texture.

7: Hummus. In my nineteen years on this planet so far, I have met many, many hummus fanatics. It’s something about that smooth, creamy taste that draws people in, and the endless amount of pretzels and veggies you can dip into your hummus. Hummus, a hearty mix of amino acids and lysine, is a lovely way to squeeze in some daily complete protein. Hummus is a healthy alternative to putting mustard or mayo on your sandwich, while still delivering a fluffy punch of flavor. Upon asking hummus-enthusiast Eli Ratner about his favorite hummus attributes, he replied, “Oh, what isn’t my favorite thing about hummus? Its subtly complex and satisfying flavor. Its lovely creamy texture. It is a nutritious and satisfying snack.”

8: Peas. I can’t speak for everyone, but for me, green peas have always held an especially nostalgic flavor. Though they may appear measly on the outside, eight grams of green peas can supply almost 100% of your daily vitamin C. Peas make an excellent side dish when sauteed with onion and garlic, but are also perfectly filling when consumed raw.

peas

 

Works Consulted

https://www.eatthis.com/lose-weight-build-muscle-with-complete-proteins/