Sunday, 16 October 2016

Product Review: Happy Skincare Facial Mask & Vegan Box

Source: likeavegan.com.au
Yesterday, amidst my stressful midterms studying, French dictionary searching and literature paper writing, I received a package. It turns out that a few of my amazing friends from back home in Sydney had come together to send me a box of love in the form of my very first Vegan Box! Inside were a whole variety of goodies, ranging from some of the best dark chocolate I've ever had (seriously, so good), a cacao ball, some coconut spicy snacks, vegan choi and a Happy Skincare facial mask (pictured above).

Overall, the box was amazing, and paired with my joyous surprise receiving it unexpectedly from some of the people closest to me, I loved it! After doing a little research into the brand, I've discovered that you can purchase boxes for beauty or snacks, in different sizes for different prices - you can check out their range here - and I'm completely considering signing myself up, so would definitely recommend!

But the one product I specifically want to review is the Happy Skincare "Pig In Mud Mineral Mask." This was actually my first time (I think?) using a product that is 100% vegan friendly, and I was curious to see how it fared.


The mask aims to minimize pores and blackheads on the skin, and is suitable for Normal, Dry and Sensitive skin types.

It comes in a powder, which you mix either in your hand or in a small bowl with the corresponding amount of water, in order to create a nice thick paste. From here, you simply leave it on your skin until it dries (5-10 minutes) and wash off with warm water. (Tip: use a dark towel to wash your face with, as the mask is a dusty pink color that stands out on light towels!)

Honestly, after using this product, I love it, and have to say I think I genuinely prefer it to any other face mask I own or have tried! It feels much lighter than other ones I have tried, incredibly natural, and instantly makes your skin feel open, brighter and deeply cleansed! It hasn't dried out my skin too much, either, which can be a common side-effect of facial masks, especially ones targeted at problematic skin, but I would still recommend applying a light moisturizer afterwards just for hydration.

Overall, I would 100% recommend both the Vegan Box and the Happy Skincare mask (I'm eager to try the rest of their range!) to anyone who wants to make the switch to cruelty free snacks, beauty and  a safe investment!

As always, please ask any questions in the comments below, or feel free to message me directly via my contact details!

Love,
Annabel



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Friday, 7 October 2016

ways to get in your plant-protein each day

Image Sourced from Every Day Simple Health 

I've never been much of a protein-powder kind of person - I tend to enjoy working out in a very 'raw' form (that is, running outdoors and doing bodyweight exercises that don't require any kind of equipment), and the same methodology has been at the forefront of my nutrition: supplements and vitamins haven't really been consciously amplified within my diet.

Recently, however, and since being injured, I decided that I wanted to try and find the right kind of protein supplement for my body; something that I could consume easily and enjoyably after my more intense workouts or with my breakfast, just to better my muscular repair and body strength training result.

After a little research, I decided to order just a single bag of chocolate protein powder from Tropeaka, and Australian protein brand. All of the products on Tropeaka are plant-based, pea proteins, which is not only amazing for your health, but also #vegan!

Whilst I haven't been using this product long enough to completely correlate its presence in my diet with any fitness results, I've absolutely loved the taste, it's been easy and affordable to incorporate into my diet, and I genuinely love having it in my cupboard! As a result of having enjoyed the product so much, I've tested out a few different ways to incorporate some added chocolatey-goodness into my diet!

  1. Banana-Berry-Chocolate Nicecream - This one completely depends on you; essentially you just blend frozen fruit with water and/or milk of your choice, with a scoop of the Tropeaka chocolate protein powder in it. I personally like to use less milk and more frozen fruit to ensure that my smoothie consistency stays thicker and closer to that of ice cream - from here, you can pour it into a bowl, top it with some granola or chia seeds (or whatever you want really), and eat it with a spoon
  2. Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding - This is a classic overnight breakfast that I have been making for a while now, however I have recently substituted cacao powder for chocolate protein powder the nights before I know I'm going to have a tough workout. Once again, you can top this however you like!
  3. Choc Oatmeal - If you, like me, love the taste, ease and affordability of oats, then why change? I sometimes make my oatmeal as usual in the microwave, then (once its out) immediately add some protein powder and stir it continually until all the chocolate has been absorbed!! I also personally love to add frozen raspberries, as this adds some yummy sugar, and the heat of the oatmeal defrosts the raspberries quickly and deliciously 
  4. Chocolate Milk - Simple and easy, you just blend together your milk with some chocolate protein power and, voila! Pro tip: use an actual blender rather than just stirring vigorously with a spoon - the blender is quicker and more effective, and easy to clean without any frozen fruit remnants 
  5. Protein Balls - Tropeaka's website actually provides some super easy and amazing recipes, a personal favorite being the refrigerated protein balls (I'm yet to try their cookies and pancakes....)! These are once again incredibly customizable, and are the perfect bite-sized snack to keep in your fridge in place of those sugary granola and protein bars!!
Tropeaka also provide plenty of other dietary supplements for smoothies and juices and desserts, such as Cleansing powders and Acai powder! I'm yet to expand my horizons, but I'll keep you updated... until then, you can check them out here! Oh, and they have fast, international shipping!

Love,
Annabel

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Thursday, 6 October 2016

college night routine



Having a routine helps in a lot of ways - it enables you to feel organized, to calm down, to unwind before bed, to maintain check of your priorities, and most importantly, to get enough sleep.

As the nights here in LA begin to cool down, and Fall settles itself upon us, having a calming and relaxing nighttime routine not only relaxes me personally, but also allows me to get excited for those cosy winter nights that are so close (but yet so far) within our winter break.

There are a few key elements to my own nighttime routine that personally allow me to prioritize myself and my health above the flustering demands of college work and social upkeep. (The only prerequisite to this routine is your time management throughout the day - if and when you have a chance to get a little bit of reading or homework done, you should do it, that way, when you're tired and worn out, you can freely begin your personal evening routine and ease your way into bed for a healthy amount of sleep and relaxation).

1. Have dinner early, and then stick to tea. In general, I'm a huge believer in eating early to allow your body enough time to fully digest your food and recoup over night before another day of heavy foods and rushed tasks. I love ending my meal with some warm peppermint tea - this eases digestion - and I've recently got into the habit of enjoying some hot, caffeine-free herbal sleep tea as well. I'm not sure if this is all the 'placebo effect,' but I definitely fall asleep better and wake up less dehydrated.

2. Allow yourself some 'chill time' between finishing your work and going to bed. Of course there is going to be an overload of work - especially now in the midst of midterms and assessments - but making time for the things you enjoy, whether this is watching Netflix or reading a book or painting your nails, enables you to clear your mind and feel more balanced in your time management. College is important, but it isn't every little thing, and having some fun you time before you crawl under the covers allows you to remind yourself of those little things that continue to make you happy.

3. Plan out your tomorrow. By writing down the things you have on for the next day, as well as the goals you have for yourself over the next twenty-four hours, you can get into bed with your mind at rest knowing that you aren't going to forget anything crucial overnight. Making a list each night to get up and glance at can be the smallest addition to your existing planners and time management, but can drastically reduce the amount of stressful, sleepless nights you endure as a result of worrying and forgetting.

4. Disconnect half an hour before bed. This is probably the one aspect I struggle most with, but have been trying really hard to make happen. Going from staring constantly at screens and LED lights to trying to rest and switch off is difficult on the brain and on the body. By turning your phone off, closing your laptop and moving away from screens in general just half an hour before you get into bed, you can give yourself a chance for a better, more restful sleep overall. If this is something you, too, struggle with, I recommend trying to take this time to brush your teeth, wash your face and flick through a book or magazine from the comfort of your bed, so you can simply switch off your lamp as your eyes begin to feel heavy.

5. If possible, take a bath - If not, have a warm shower. In the cold weather, having a nice warm and soapy bath (bubbles encouraged) can aid in the relaxation process and force you to be away from social media, text messages and schoolwork for a while. If possible (and if safe) lighting a candle or two can also help with the ambience, and although you may feel silly for doing so, the aromas and lighting really assist in your ability to close your eyes and meditate silently within and for yourself.

Love,
Annabel


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Wednesday, 5 October 2016

books that will change your perspective

I love books - real books; the ones you can smell and touch and hold and turn the pages of. I can't remember a time when I haven't been genuinely excited about receiving one or two or twelve books for my birthday - to me, books and stories are the perfect gift.

But stories and fiction are more than mere recreation - through fiction, we can discuss controversy, compare worlds, challenge boundaries and imagine a life completely different to the one we inhabit.



Through creating a parallel world within our minds, stories can transform us entirely.
Below is just a small list of books that, for me, have made me think differently, act consciously and question normality.

I cannot recommend these books enough - you will change and grow for the better.

  1. The Book Thief 
  2. It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To Be
  3. The Sky is Everywhere
  4. The Curious Incident of the Dog In The Nighttime
  5. Never Let Me Go
  6. 13 Reasons Why
  7. The Power of One
  8. The Perks of Being A Wallflower
  9. Outliers
  10. The Boy in The Striped Pajamas 
  11. The Murderer's Daughters
  12. Eleanor & Park
  13. We Were Liars
  14. The Lovely Bones
  15. The Little Prince
  16. The Virgin Suicides
  17. My Sister's Keeper
  18. Chinese Cinderella
  19. Of Mice and Men
  20. The Great Gatsby
Love,
Annabel

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Monday, 3 October 2016

How to Re-Kick Your Fitness Routine


Have you slipped out of your fitness routine? Do you feel like, despite running every day for three months at the beginning of the year, you can no longer bring yourself to tie up your shoelaces, or get out the door? Don't worry! It happens to the best of us. As someone who has been active my entire life, I can relate to the feelings of frustration when, for one reason or another, you can no longer get yourself going.

A few months ago, whilst training for the New York Marathon, I managed to injure myself and put myself not only out of the marathon (still heartbroken), but also out of exercise altogether.

Injury isn't the only reason people slip off their routine, so to speak - sometimes life just happens. Sometimes you take a break day, and then three, and then it's been a week, and all of a sudden you find yourself feeling as though you're back at square one, learning how to run (or swim, or spin, or skip, or lift) all over again.

The important thing to remember when you're feeling like this is that you can make a change! You weren't born exercising, you learnt and practiced and worked hard until it became a habit - and you can do it again!

That said, there are a few smaller steps required to make that 'giant' leap into your health and fitness routine again:

  1. Take progress and progress: You've all heard the saying "strive for progress, not for perfection," and that's exactly what you should do. Say for example that you used to be able to run ten miles straight without taking a break or feeling like you're going to implode. Great - use that as a goal, not as an expectation. Start running, today or tomorrow, and just run. Don't set yourself a distance to hit - just run as far as you can/feel comfortable running. If you only manage three miles, that's fine! Run three miles a day for a week, and then the next, increase it to four Be proud of yourself each time your runs increase and each time you get out the door, and be realistic about where your fitness level sits now.
  2. Listen to your body: Just as you need to accept your fitness levels as they stand, you also really need to listen to your body and how it responds to certain workouts. When your muscles pull up sore after a workout, don't be afraid to take the next day off and as an active rest (walking, stretching, yoga, etc.) instead of an intense workout. Rest is just as important as your high intensity workouts in terms of getting your body back on track in the safest way possible
  3. Your diet really does matter: Of course your diet and its contribution to your weight is important, but even if you are returning to exercise for reasons other than your own weight (such as health, enjoyment, habit or mental clarity), you need to embrace a clean diet, also. Through consuming good, whole, plant-based foods, you not only fuel your body correctly, enabling you to actually feel energized enough to go and workout, but you also consume foods that will aid in muscle repair and the building of lean muscle for increased strength. (I personally promote a HCLF Vegan diet, but so long as it's clean and suits your personal tastes and decisions, that's what matters most).
  4. Make your health and fitness a priority. For most of us, with the exception of chronic injury, we slip out of fitness routines at times when we are overwhelmed, stressed, busy or even simply on vacation and relaxing instead. It's important to understand and accept that there will never be the 'perfect' time to workout, and that you will have stresses and work coming and going consistently throughout the rest of your life. That being said, you need to make the conscious decision to prioritize your own health and wellbeing, sometimes above things that may seem to demand more attention, such as your school work or social life. Balance is key, and working out what matters most to you is the first step. 
  5. Enlist the help of others. You don't have to do everything alone! By getting yourself a workout buddy - someone who understands that you're just getting started, but will motivate you and help you get back into the swing of things can be the best thing for you! If you don't have anyone there to be your training buddy, that's fine - there's so many apps out there to help keep you on track. I personally love the Nike Training Club app, where you can set up your own goals and personalized workout schedules, and you'll receive some workouts on your phone to follow over a period of 4-10 weeks.
At the end of the day, your health is super important - but what's more important is not beating yourself up over your lapse. You took a break, it's done, it's perfectly fine and you need to move on - give yourself the chance to start again and work harder, get better and feel amazing! It's all a mind game, and whilst it can be difficult, it's both as easy and complicated as deciding that you're going to focus on you!

Do you have any other tips for people? Let us know below and share the love & motivation!

Love,
Annabel


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Saturday, 1 October 2016

Fab Fit Fun - Discount Code!




I am SO happy & lucky & honored to be an official Campus Ambassador here at USC for FabFitFun!
What exactly is FabFitFun?

For those of you who don't know, FabFitFun sends out seasonal boxes (4 times each year!) filled with goodies and gifts ranging from lifestyle, beauty, fashion and health products! The products are all FULL SIZE, not small samples, and amazing! 

Valued at $200 per box, but sold for just $49, these boxes have literally exploded all over the internet and social media - with over 280k followers on Instagram, girls aged 14+ all over are loving the gifts of FFF! They're also honestly the most amazing gift for a sister/daughter/mother/aunt/cousin/friend, especially when you don't live with them, and want something special delivered straight to their door!


Just yesterday, I received my very first box, themed and timed appropriately for the beginning of Fall, packed with amazing treats I cannot wait to use, including a blanket, some Skin Laundry facial night cream, coloring books & pencils, a travel coffee mug, some lavender body oil, a soap scrub, and SO much more!

YOU CAN GET YOURS, TOO - CHEAPER!

Click here to check out Fab Fit Fun's website, and here to check out their amazing Instagram!
Use my code "ITSLIT" at the checkout for $10 off your first order, and feel free to message me here for any further details!
Stay gorgeous & Keep your head held high!
You're beautiful!

Love,
Annabel


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