Lulu’s chocolate: organic, raw, vegan, and chocolaty! »
Lulu’s is an organic raw chocolate company with not only super exciting wrapping design, but lots of yummy flavors! They are on the Food Empowerment Project’s recommended chocolates list, wrapped in vegetable-dyed, environmentally-conscious packaging, made with fair-trade cocoa, and sweetened with low-glycemic coconut sugar. Basically: EAT WITH RECKLESS ABANDON! Lulu’s sent me a bunch of free chocolate to try and now I will tell you all about it.
Sexy packaging! Rococo, mother-lovers!
Overall: LOVE. And I don’t know if I’m just gassed from their write-ups, but I felt like I was totally eating something that is good for my body! Chocolate is good for you now, right? Especially raw chocolate!
My very favorite was the smoked sea salt almond bar. Salt and chocolate is the best combination and Lulu’s pulls it off perfectly! I shared all the bars with my coworkers (because I am so nice to them) and they liked everything, but this bar was especially popular with them as well.
My other favorite was the coffee crunch bar. I also love coffee with chocolate and once again, Lulu’s does it right!
Smoked sea salt almond bar.
At the top, you can see the maca Buttercups. Maca is supposed to be super good for you, I think? At least it’s supposed to be an aphrodisiac. Below is the chocolate maca chunk.
Chocolate maca chunk bar.
I have to be honest, I wasn’t that into the maca flavored chocolates. They are fine but just kind of not that flavorful and not as good as the straight chocolate bars. But the Buttercups were pretty good actually! Besides the Buttercups though, I would mostly get the maca chocolates for the interest-factor. I.e. APHRODISIAC SEXY TIMES!
The love truffles are pretty exciting. They have hazelnut Rawmio! They were a little too rich for me, all truffles are, but my coworkers really liked them. So if you are a truffle person, these are for you. They have a hint of salt too! Yum.
So clearly I am a Lulu’s fan! If you want delicious chocolate that’s actually good for you, Lulu’s is where it’s at.
In other Lulu’s news, they currently have an Indiegogo campaign! They want to open a “chocolate lounge” but they need your help. There’s less than a week left and they still have a ways to go! So let’s help them out! I love when we get together and support vegan, socially and environmentally-conscious businesses! And you don’t have to be in Arizona to donate, the perks include LOTS of chocolate! So if you are thinking of buying any of their chocolate to try, think about doing so through the campaign so you get yummy raw chocolate AND you help out a vegan business. Let’s do this!
Review: Vanessa Elise Skincare in San Francisco! Vegansaurus readers get 20% off! »
Vegan skincare is a tricky one, and I often find myself confused by ingredients and labeling when it comes to cosmetics. Thank goodness then for Vanessa Elise Skincare, a one-stop vegan shop for all your facial and waxing needs, based in San Francisco! I’ve known Vanessa for a while and not only is she a dedicated, very knowledgeable and completely professional esthetician, she is a fantastic, thorough and patient teacher at Marinello. She was one of my first roommates and friends in San Francisco, and it’s been so much fun watching her grow within her career!
I don’t trust many people or skin care products with my complexion, but I have no problem surrendering to Vanessa’s expertise. She gave me my very first facial at Marinello School of Beauty in downtown San Francisco, for which I was kind of nervous. I was her “model” and not only had I never had a facial before, I was going to get one in front of her students. Vanessa’s humor, professionalism and demeanor put me completely at ease and it was such a fun experience. I was stoked when she asked me to visit her Style Seat location months later, because my skin looked so impressive after that first facial. I appreciate that Vanessa understands not only the importance of what a vegan lifestyle means to certain members of her clientele, but what food allergies mean in terms of the kind of products she uses. She does her research not only based on cruelty-free products, but for all the various skin types and allergies as well! She has assessed I have sensitive skin, which I never really considered before, but is now so obvious. Vanessa has given me so many valuable tips* about how to care for my particular skin type, for which I am eternally grateful. This second time I went to see her, the stress of making a long-distance move had reared itself on my complexion and I was embarrassed. She assured me that she had my back, as she was in the business of fixing faces. What a relief! Vanessa also tinted my eyebrows, a procedure I had never had done before! She went back and forth about it, worried that tinting my brows would make them too dark against my pale skin and light hair. That is until I cried, “IT’S SO GWEN STEFANI, DO IT!” My friend Britney was in the room and not only laughed at my outburst, she was so impressed by my brows, she had Vanessa shape hers!
That’s me, getting a facial! Photo by Britney Roque
Enough about my experience, let’s get to know the woman behind Vanessa Elise Skincare a little bit more. Tell us more about yourself, Vanessa!
I’ve been a licensed Esthetician since 2006. I am still teaching the Esthetics program at Marinello, and I’ve been here since last Spring. Previous places I’ve worked were Super/Perricone MD, Sephora, Pure Beauty, Always Tan Skin & Body. The things I consider to be my specialties are brows and treating problem skin (acne/clogged pores, sun damage/hyperpigmentation), but I offer facials for all skin types and ages. I do chemical peels (lactic, glycolic, TCA) and use microcurrent to lift, red LED to stimluate collagen and firm, and ultrasonic technology to exfoliate and infuse products into the skin. My whole concept is that professional skincare should be results-oriented AND cruelty-free, and that people shouldn’t have to compromise on either one of those things. I wanted to create a space where clients could feel confident that they are going to get the results they want, be it clear skin, beautiful eyebrows, or a basic bikini wax, with products that are ethical and luxurious at the same time.
The products I use and sell are from Skin Script and Dawn Lorraine Conscious Skincare. Neither line is 100% vegan, but all of the products I have from them are. I also sell Hurraw! Lip Balms. Dawn Lorraine is made up Nevada City, and the line uses organic ingredients whenever possible (meaning, when it will not compromise the effectiveness of the product), is paraben and pthalate free, uses eco-friendly packaging and supports animal and environmental protection. Plus it smells AMAZING. I use skinscript to fill in the gaps where Dawn didn’t have vegan options, mostly for acne stuff, and my professional enzymes and peels.
Right now, Vanessa is offering vegan facials and waxing treatments a couple days a week in downtown San Francisco, using Style Seat. If you are interested in booking an appointment with Vanessa, you can do so here! She has generously offered 20% services for Vegansaurus readers’ first visit, so let her know you found out about her here! Be sure to follow her on both Facebook and Twitter, as she is always offering specials to current and future clients! You an learn more about Vanessa and her campaign to open her own skincare studio here!
*Valuable tips include the importance of eye cream (the skin around your eyes has no oil glands and needs the extra moisture of eye cream to help keep wrinkles at bay. Drier areas of the body show age quickly) and not using an exfoliator, no matter how gentle, on my sensitive cheeks.
Full Disclosure: Vanessa did give me my Style Seat facial on the house, but I was so impressed, with both my skin and the products that she used, I purchased the exfoliator and moisturizer, and I have contributed to a past IndieGoGo campaign to get her started. I will definitely be booking an appointment with her during my next visit to San Francisco. I still can’t get over how clean my face feels after visiting Vanessa!
Images courtesy Vanessa Elise Skincare.
The LA vegan mac truck fundraising campaign has moved internet locations! »
Recently we posted on Chef Ayinde Howell’s efforts to raise money to open a vegan and gluten-free MAC’N CHEESE TRUCK in LA. Well, the campaign has moved from Kickstarter over to Indiegogo, and I want to help get the word out because I am incredibly selfless. I also want it available for my consumption upon arriving in LA; it looks scrumptious! Anyway, you know how Kickstarter works; if you don’t make all the money you tried to raise, you don’t see any of it! That’s bananas, right? Or not, whatever, but it seems nutty to me. If you were thinking about, or did contribute to the original fundraiser, go ahead, take a look at the new internet location. Let’s not only help make Chef Ayinde’s dream a reality, but also my dream of eating a plate of Mac and Yease a few times a week!
Can’t see the videos? Check them out at Vegansaurus.com!
Fair-wage vegan accessories—you can help make them possible! »
You guessed it! It’s your weekly vegan crowd funding effort. I think you’ll like this one! Miss Manos is a project to help women in Costa Rica make a good wage by making animal friendly handbags! Here’s their mission statement:
Empowering women and improving their quality of life through a shared initiative. A fair-wage sewing venture that creates beautiful eco and animal friendly handbags and accessories.
I know, you’re in love. Well if you want to help, better do it quickly! They have 40-some hours left to meet their goal!
I have to see if I can get that brown one without the flower thing. I love the clutch shape and asymmetrical front flap. Not the flower though. OMG and I love the color!
But there’s lots of fun rewards for donations so check them out and donate if you can/want!
Help FFAC get better ads on BART! »
FFAC needs our help again! Now they’ve won another $50,000 of free advertising on BART, they need fresh new ads! They’ve got an Indiegogo campaign up now to raise money to pay for professional graphic design. They’re looking to raise $2,000.
High-quality design will give our ads maximum visual punch and allow us to relay our message clearly and effectively.
Any additional money raised will go towards our educational outreach program, to train more presenters and reach out to new audiences.
Want to see super-slick pro-animal rights ads on BART? Throw a few bucks FFAC’s way. The Indiegogo campaign is open through July 15, and they aren’t quite halfway yet.
ugh is this quid pro quo? http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/factory-farming-ads
Help a vegan chef deliver delicious vegan food to Philadelphians, get yummy treats! »
My friend Jess alerted me to this project and as I’m so totally busy because I’m super important, she was kind enough to do a write up for me. I’ve actually had brunch at Miss Rachel’s and can attest that it’s fantastico. Read on!:
Want to support a vegan business in Philadelphia and be rewarded with delicious thank-you gifts?
Miss Rachel’s Pantry is a meal delivery service and catering company in Philly that needs your help to get a new, more eco-friendly van for roaming the Philadelphia countryside delivering vegan treats and goodies to the masses.
Miss Rachel’s been in the Philadelphia vegan catering scene for many years, catering punk shows and delivering bagged lunches. Her most recent venture is a storefront on Passyunk Avenue that serves four-course vegan farmhouse dinners and offers catering for weddings and parties.
A $25 contribution will get you a limited edition Miss Rachel’s tote bag filled with vegan sweets, and larger contributions will win free brunch, farmhouse dinners and gift certificates.
Hella Vegan Eats pop-ups this Saturday in S.F. and also, help them start a food truck! »
We love Hella Vegan Eats a lot. Like, tons and tons. All the love! And anyone who enjoys super delicious food feels the same way and that’s a fact! So, we’re psyched to see the menus for their pop-up brunch and dinner this Saturday at Dear Mom in the Mission! Hooray, let’s go:
As anyone with one or two eyes can see, these menus are filled with insanely delicious sounding food so you better bust your butt over there and eat it all! And also, donate to Hella Vegan Eats Indiegogo campaign because we so sososososoooo want them to be successful and serve us mean dean doughnut burger supremes forever! Seriously, if we don’t support this amazing ladies-owned vegan business and they don’t get off the ground then the republicans have already won and we should all just donate our brains and vaginas to science* because honey, trust me, you will not want them in this new scary world. Support them if you don’t want to face a United States that’s basically the set of the alternate present in Back to the Future 2. You know what I’m talking about! Marty’s mom is an alcoholic hooker married to Biff who is the president of the world and biker gangs shoot grandmas in the street and there’s no longer a sun and Crispin Glover is dead or becomes a club kid or something. Point is, that’s our future if we don’t support Hella Vegan Eats. Do it. To it.
*while it still exists. hang in there, science!!!
Vegan Corner: the ultimate online vegan community! »
Say hello to Vegan Corner! It’s “building a nexus between vegans and local business!” It’s basically like a much awesomer Yelp for vegans, so I’m pretty pumped. And guess what! There’s an entry for Vegansaurus! I just looked, and we were already on it! But we have no reviews. Give us reviews! But only good ones because Laura’s a cryer. JK! She’s tough as nails! I’m the cryer. But only in my apartment in the dark with the curtains drawn and the mirrors covered.
They are already up but they are raising funds to be even cooler. I’m into the perks. I want a t-shirt. I need to be less of a rascal and more of a billboard for veganism!
Save Kate’s Joint in NYC! »
A New York staple in the veg community has fallen on hard times! Kate’s Joint needs to raise $30,000 dollars to pay back rent before April 11 or they have to close down for good:
Kate’s Joint, vegetarian restaurant and bar, has been a staple in New York City’s East Village since 1996. Solely owned and operated by neighborhood native Kate Halpern, who dreamt to create an affordable restaurant to serve the community she grew up in. Kate’s Joint has grown to become much more than just a business, it is a home for locals and travelers a like, a place to bring family and friends, and to meet new ones.
Unfortunately, with the changing neighborhood and economic recession Kate’s Joint has seen a fall in business and rise in costs. Kate is currently in arrears with the landlord. Eviction notices have been sent, court appearances have been made, and if a substantial amount of money is not raised by April 11, the next court date, the doors will shut permanently at Kate’s Joint. The East Village will lose another neighborhood landmark.
Of Kate’s Joint, Laura has proclaimed: “It’s really good!” Meave dragged an omnivore friend there once and they both loved it. (The friend became a repeat customer!) So if you can, donate! If you can’t, then at least spread the word to your rich friends! Pass this page along!
Vegan bakery needs help expanding into the wonderful world of espresso! »
It’s the latest and greatest vegan endeavor to take over the world! Seattle-based vegan bakery Bouteloua Bakery, which reader Bryan tells me makes the best vegan croissants ever, is looking to expand their business to include espresso, in all its glory. But they need our help! Enter IndieGoGo! Bouteloua is trying to raise enough money to buy an espresso machine, among other things, and enough funds to hire some new people! Nice. Besides making the best vegan croissants ever, Bouteloua is also all organic and serves fair trade coffee from The Vashon Island Coffee Roasterie.
I know, some of you are like, “Megan, I don’t live any where near Seattle!” but guess what! I asked the owner (another Megan! Megans unite!) and she said if you go in for the $10 perk or the $50 perk, she will mail chocolate chip cookies to you! You won’t get the free drink on the $50 perk but that should cover shipping. So, you get to help a young vegan business and get some vegan cookies to boot. More importantly, you’re supporting another step in total vegan dominance! Huzzah!