Best Of February 2017 (Cruelty-free and Vegan)

This short month was epic, right?

By: Amber x Dani



West Elm Cotton Luster Velvet Pillow Cover in Dusty Blush

It’s so crazy how the smallest touch can make the biggest impact. I used to think the only exciting thing that could be waiting for me in my bed was a beautiful naked boy (still working on that), but I genuinely get excited every time I walk into my bedroom now because of these accent pillows. (Evidence is on our Instagram — you’re following us, right?)

Despite how high-maintenance they are (especially with two fur babies strutting around), I’ve always only been drawn to all-white-everything bedding – sheets, duvet, and pillows. I’m into the getaway, hotel, serene vibe. But I’m also all about a strategic pop of color.

But of course since I’m a neutrals-only girl, I had to find a hue that was muted and dreamy, one that would make an understated statement. The dusty blush color of these West Elm pillowcases captures everything I was going for – a subtle touch of French. It’s glamorous but not over-the-top, subtle but impactful, not to mention on trend, too. I’m not one to follow trends or ascribe to what editors say I should buy/wear/do, but velvet has been ubiquitous for the last few seasons, so if you’re into keeping up with the du jour, this is a great little accent.


Amy Rosoff Davis’s Toning Workout

Seriously, my legs have never shaken so much before this workout. It was like I was having the best sex of my life…but I was alone in our office desperately trying to keep up with my trainer for the day, who happens to also be Selena Gomez’s trainer.

Guys, ARD is so good. This routine is the perfect 30-minute low-impact workout to do when you want to get a good sweat and burn without jumping or doing any plyometrics. It’s a combo of yoga, Pilates, and toning that’s designed to get you lean. You need no equipment except an optional yoga mat so you can do this right in your apartment, no excuses.

The coolest part is the arm workout segment at the halfway point. I’m so not into using free weights or machines when working my arms because I don’t want to bulk up. I’m used to doing planks and push-ups to tone my arms, but I’m loving the arm dancing routine she takes you through because it works all those tiny muscles in your shoulders, upper back, triceps, and biceps to give you gorgeous definition.


Herbivore Phoenix Oil

I was absolutely gutted (slight exaggeration here) when we ran out of the first facial oil we tried from Herbivore. (ICYMI: You can read all about it here.) I contemplated trying an oil from another brand’s range, but found myself ordering this one at jump.

Coincidentally, Dani had been doing some reading and learned that rose hip (the fruit of rose plants) is amazing for lightening dark spots and dealing with hyper pigmentation because of the potent amount of vitamin C it contains (50% more than orphaned if you were wondering). Um, skin brightening properties and a luxurious oil? Instantly addicted.

I use this like it’s my new religion, morning and night before layering my moisturizer over it. The best part is that this is an oil that is acne-probe skin-friendly. All the ingredients have low comedogenic ranking, meaning they won’t clog pores unlike coconut oil or flaxseed oil will. I still have love for the Orchid oil, but if you’re looking for a slightly more decadent oil for the winter months, definitely try the Phoenix. Subtle warning: once you start using oils, you’ll never go back.


The Slight Edge

This is the bible for anyone looking to achieve success at anything. They all love to tell you (and us – yup, we were duped for so many years, too) that if you crave success all you have to do is one thing: work hard. That’s it. Hard work will get you there. Total bullshit and I love Jeff Olson for putting this fallacy on blast. It’s so beyond obvious, but still an elusive concept to wrap your finger around: if all it took was hard work, everyone who works hard would have made it already. How much blood, sweat, tears, obscene expletives have you put into pursuing something…and you’re still (hopefully) pursuing it because whatever circumstances get in the way?

Um, that flimsy luck thing? It’s not the way to success either, but if you want to keep waiting and waiting and waiting (you see where I’m going with this) for your “big break” go right ahead.

I hear you. What is this slight edge? It’s so simple that it might seem underwhelming at first, but once you read the entire book, you will realize how profound the concept is. So, the way to success is by committing to small, mundane, insignificant daily disciplines that over time compound and bring you straight to your goals. It’s the antithesis to a quantum leap, which everyone wants, but rarely finds. In short, consistency. I had a friend in college who told me this once and it’s been my motto ever since. Jeff’s book solidified this for me so I’m glad I read it. 


Pure Mask By YÜLI Skincare

Okay, is anyone as addicted to face masks as I am? Like have-to-do-one-in-the-morning-and-at-night addicted? Yeah, I’m that girl. After I (finallllly) pry myself from the desk in our office, I flick off the lights, set a few bougie candles on fire, make myself a pina colada (no alcohol), and luxuriate with a face mask for 15-20 mins.

I call YÜLI’s pure mask a do-it-yourself mask because inside the jar isn’t a typical clay paste. It’s a super fine powder that you add water or anything else to it to make it into a paste, as thick or as thin as your prefer. It’s customizable skincare, which is a luxury in itself. I personally love spritzing my face 2 or 3 times during the 20 minutes I leave it on with one of their elixirs. It’s important to refresh the clay every now and then to keep the active botanicals hustling to detoxify your skin.

Best thing about the Pure mask is that it can be used to treat active breakouts or just bas weekly pick-me-up for your skin. If you have problem skin – congestion, clogged pores, one and off again breakouts, this is definitely something to keep handy. It’s an investment for sure, but your skin is your largest organ and your best asset (aside from your smile), so putting a little extra into it is worth it.


The Fashion Law 

I’ve been following TFL on twitter for months and I think they take the cake for the most retweets.

They’ve not only got some of the best posts on the pitfalls of fast fashion (like this one and this one), but I love posts like this one that explores the rise of fashion design competition. Of course, they also are up on the legal issues that arise in the fashion industry. A recent favorite was delving into celebs and designer endorsements.

They also do cool and helpful roundups of content all over the internet so you don’t have to search for all the good stuff. Everything is neatly complied for your perusal.

If you’re a blogger or work in the fashion industry, definitely follow them on Twitter for updates about the fashion industry. This should be one of your prime sources.



The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck, by Mark Manson

If you hate those typical self-help books that speak in metaphors you should definitely get your hands on this book. At least read the sample. His chapter on boundaries is my favorite. Just a warning, there are quite a bit of f-bombs inside, as Mark is a self-proclaimed “potty-mouth.” So  if you’re easily offended (which we presume you’re not since you’re here), then this may not be the book for you.

The main point Mark makes is that the point of his book is not to give a fuck about nothing, but to only give a fuck about the things that really matter to you. And if you’re not exactly sure about what actually makes you happy, Mark breaks down the psychology of why we tend to care about stuff that doesn’t really matter, and he gives guidelines on how to narrow down your fucks given so that you get to the point where you’re only putting your time, energy, and love into the things that bring you joy and make you happy.

Happiness is another big topic in this book, and it’s not discussed not in the traditional way. Mark makes a really good point, that happiness, true, fulfilling happiness comes from solving our own problems. Hence, it is our problems that ultimately make us happier people and a life devoid of problems turns out to be quite unfulfilling actually. So embrace your struggles people! And read this book. It’s really that good. And not to sound super corny (although there’s no way around it), its actually life-changing, in that it changes the way you think, the way you look at a lot of different things.


Sunday Riley Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream, 50ml

I am in love with this cream. Even though it is a cream, it’s so lightweight on your skin, which I like because I can still layer an oil underneath or on top without feeling like I’m clogging my pores. What’s really impressive about this moisturizer is that because of the HA, it instantly brightens and plumps up your complexion, but the exfoliating enzymes will work to brighten your skin over time. I think it’s perfect for morning or nighttime, but of course, if you use it in the day wear a separate sunscreen on top since this has no protection in it. And even though 50ml doesn’t seem like a lot of product for an moisturizer, a little bit goes a very long way.


Shea Moisture Fruit Fusion Coconut Water Energizing Shea Butter Soap, 8 oz

I never really buy into things that claim to be energizing because, well, I don’t really look for a body cleanser to wake me up. But I will definitely say because of the beautiful, intoxicating scent of this bar soap, I felt so refreshed. And I love that the actual bar is so big. Between the two of us, this lasted a good two months.


Herbivore Botanicals, Coco Rose Lip Conditioner

When I first tried this, I will admit, I was unimpressed, which was pretty disappointing since I literally love every single HB product I’ve tried. I loved the scent, but the fact that I had to dig in the pot four and five times before I got a decent amount of moisture on my lips was just too high-maintenance for me.

Then I was reading the ingredients online, and noticed that this product has a coconut oil base instead of a petroleum base like most other lip balms out there, and then it all made sense. Coconut oil, of course, is a solid at room temperature and gets more and more emollient once it’s warmed by your body temperature. That’s why it was so stiff in the pot. So once I started applying it differently – now I use the tip of my fingernail to dig into the balm slightly and them once its on my finger I spread it over my lips – and it’s perfect.


Sharing time, guys! Leave a comment below with some of your favorites for the month. Anything we need to try? Read any good books and have a recommendation?

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