Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Vegan Eats: Red Bank, NJ Red Bank Farmer's Market

The culmination of my mother daughter weekend with the vegan teen was a trip to Red Bank's Farmer's Market held each Sunday from 9am to 2 pm at the Galleria parking lot in Red Bank. In addition to wonderful organic, local or both produce as the green beans, corn and dandelion greens attest, there are a variety of venders with both vegan and non-vegan items. Also local purveyors of jewlery tee shirts and art work are on hand as well.

One of my favorite stands is Certified Orgasmic Chef, Adam Sobel and his host of vegan goodies. Including sandwiches,raw pizzas, raw deserts, yeasted and non yeasted donuts and blueberry crumb cake featured below. In addition to manning a Farmer's Market booth. Adam prepares take home vegan raw and cooked foods for pick up or delivery. He teaches raw cooking classes, provides desserts for local veggie restaurants and caters small and large events. His website has all the details including a means for signing up for his weekly email menu of foods available. In addition to the crumb cake, my daughter and I both got an apple cider donut but ate them too quickly for pictures...sorry!

We also discovered a new favorite vendor Ducky Life Teas . They feature fair trade, organic specialty teas such as the Green Tea hanging out with my awesome vegan crumbcake. They offer tastings of 2 varieties of their teas for sampling at the booth which were quite unique and refreshing. Unfortunately they were all out of the white peach variety I tasted that day but I am a green tea fan so I am pleased with my selection of Larry's Dragonwell Greentea. Also exciting to me is the fact that they are a local company taking party in the Asbury Park renaissance.

The Farmer's Market is a wonderful way to spend a Summer Morning. And the steamed green beans, corn on the cob and Shitake and Dandelion Greens Saute (recipe courtesy of Jae Steele ) dinner that night was nothing to sneeze at either!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Vegan Scoops Contest on Vegan Caliente!

Hey all! Our friends at Vegan Caliente are celebrating their 100th post with a contest. Just post a comment about your favorite icecream flavor and you have a chance to win Vegan Scoops by Wheeler del Torro. Who doesn't love vegan icecream and contests? Link is here or click the title of this post!
Good luck...but I'm telling you now..I'm gonna win!

Vegan Product Review: Lush Fresh Cosmetics Hair Products!

Unless you've been living under a vegan rock I have no doubt you have heard of LUSH handmade cosmetics . I myself have been a confirmed Lushie for skin care products(Angels on Barefaces, Aquamarine and Celestial Moisturizer) for quite sometime. But as I don't live near a shop to get a free sample of their haircare products and as I am not independently weatlhy and able to purchase multiple lines to compare and contrast, I had yet to try their haircare products. Last month I took advantage of their Big Hair Affair promotion and was able to sample 7 (well in my case 6 as you will see) of their hair products and you have the advantage of reading my reviews if you are on the fence regarding their quality! Included in the kit were a Hair Moisturizer, 2 solid shampoo bars, a solid conditioner bar, a liquid shampoo and conditioner and a styling gel. All items could be customized and therefore I chose vegan options, except for the hair moisturizer. While they do indeed make vegan hair moisturizers, the one sent to me was H'Suan Wen Hua which contains eggs so I did not try this product.

I was excited to try solid shampoo as the enviromental impact of consumers switching to shampoos without plastic bottles is significant. As such this is a product I would love to support. The solid shampoos we tested were Karma Komba which features the company's popular Karma fragrance which I love! and Trichomania a deep conditioning product with coconut. The shampoo was excellent. To use a solid shampoo, you must first work up the lather by rubbing the shampoo between your hands and transferring it to your hair. I found this a relatively easy process and the scent and lather were wonderful! I can best describe this shampoo as making my hair and scalp feel really clean without any build up feeling. I also found that all of the products made my hair feel increasingly soft as the day went on which was quite nice. My daughter described the Tricnomania as smelling like coconut and mashed potatoes which I think roughly translates as comfort and love. We are both very much interested in purchasing the full size version of these products for further use.

For solid conditioning bars, we received Jungle which is a Tropical Fruit scented product. It is vegan. I found the solid conditioner a little trickier on first use. For this product you run the conditioning bar along the length of your hair, rather than on your hands first. For some reason this was complicated for me the first time I used it but I think it is more likely my incompetence than a product issue. I found that the conditioner did a very nice job of making my hair soft, without adding any greasy or waxy build up. I also found the scent to be nicely complimentary to either of the shampoo bars. I was hoping to like the solid haircare products due to the lack of packaging, ease of storing at home and for travel use so I was happy to find they work as good or better than liquid products.

The liquid Shampoo I tested is one of the company's most popular products, Big. Big is a volumizing shampoo which is sea salt based. This lends an interesting texture to the product which feels rather like a grainy gel rather than a standard shampoo texture. It has very little scent. Like the solid shampoos I found that it made my hair and scalp feel very clean. My hair also seemed to get softer as the day went on. I would definitely recommend this product to anyone looking for a good volumizing shampoo.

The liquid Conditioner I tested was one of their few vegan conditioning products, Veganese--which I keep wanting to read as Veganaise. This had a very pleasant green sort of scent. It did a fantastic job of conditioning my hair without adding any sort of build up. I think this is a product I can definitely recommend as well.

The final product I tested was Goth Juice Hair Prep Paste Styling product. This without a doubt is the miracle product in their line. I was at first taken aback by the bright purple color of the product and the name thinking perhaps I would be going back to my 1990's big hair days..and perhaps I could have..but it was also capable of hold and managability in a much more subtle style. I used this for the first time in the last week of June in Central New Jersey. This is significant in that that week was the most digustingly humid alternating with rain storm week of this summer. I kid you not it was like living in a cloud. Why does this matter? Because after using this product and blow drying/straightening my did not frizz or fall or flop or anything. It stayed as it was styled! I got caught in a brief rain shower and it dried only slightly less full than before the rain. On top of that, my hair felt soft and not sticky at all. There was no hair gel or mousse feel at all. I do not know what pact with satan the creators at LUSH signed to create this formula but I think it is singlehandedly the best hair styling product I have ever used. And it is vegan! Obviously, I cannot recommend this stuff enough!

I have to say this is one of the most enjoyable blogging experiences I have had to date. I hope this is helpful to any of you curious about LUSH's haircare line. If I have one gripe with LUSH is that when they send me free samples with my orders, they frequently send me non-vegan product testers. I would think as I have ordered only vegan products from them, they would realize to send me vegan testers. But if this is their only misstep, I think it is safe to say I will continue to purchase from them for sometime.