Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Surya Brasil: Sapien Women

I've long been a fan of Surya Brasil's henna hair dye, so when they reached out to me to ask if I wanted to sample some of their skin & hair care products, of course I leapt at the chance. Vegan, natural, & eco-friendly, Surya Brasil's products are exactly what I want to use on my body (no animal testing, free from parabens, sulfates, phthalates, GMOs, & synthetic fragrance, but full of exotic organic Amazonian awesomeness).

The first products I tried were from the Sapien Women line, the Shave Gel & the Body Moisturizer. They're made with fresh coconut & mango essential oil, so every time I use them, I can't stop thinking about how delicious I smell. The moisturizer absorbs quickly & is long lasting. The shave gel...well, I just need to tell you my whole thought process with the shave gel:
"I don't even use shave gel, I don't need it. I'll just use it for a giveaway. Well...maybe I'll just try it once, they DID send it to me, after all.... Wow. This is kind of nice. Hmm. A little goes a long way. Shaving my legs is SO EASY with this! OMG. So smooth! Look at that, I didn't even miss any spots! This is amazing! I'm obsessed! Where have you been all my life, Shave Gel?!"
Shave Gel & Super Smooth Legs
So sorry, readers. No giveaway today (I promise there is one coming soon!), but you can shop right now right here! Oh & there's a Sapien Men line too. Treat yourself!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Inspiration Monday: Takia

Apologies for the late post this evening, but I wanted to wait until I got home from The Supper Club Featuring Chef Bryant Terry, because I wanted to write about my friend Takia & I just knew this event would be amazing & I'm so proud of her for organizing it & doing all the cooking & just being awesome.

Before I fangirl all over my friend, I do have to say that tonight's event was fantastic: the food was phenomenal, all made by Takia from Bryant Terry's new cookbook, Afro-Vegan; it was well organized with great music & mingling; & Bryant Terry's talk was nothing short of phenomenal. I could talk about how much he inspired me, as well, but Takia is the one who brought him here, & this post is about her.

After Takia introduced him, Bryant Terry said that he "can feel her light shining" from all the way in California. I couldn't agree more. And I'm very lucky because I can see Takia's shining light right here in Philly.
Bryant Terry, Takia McClendon, LJ
I don't think Takia realizes yet how much of a difference she is already making for her community. She is always reading & learning & growing & evolving. I've been watching her journey since we met last year & I am always inspired by every step she takes. I don't know yet where her path is going to lead, & I don't think she knows either, but I know she's inspiring big changes.

Through her cooking, her knowledge, her compassion, & her drive, Takia is spreading a really positive & important message about food & health & community, & through that, she is truly making the world a better place. I am so very honored that she is my friend.

To learn more about Takia & all of the amazingness she does for her community, please visit Uptown Soul Food.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

"Because it is my name"

Here we go. Brief backstory of how I became LJ. And maybe a little insight into why you should really try to stop calling me Laura. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Thankful Thursday

Woo! Getting my Thankful Thursday written on actual Thursday. Just feeling a lot of general gratitude & happiness right now. I don't know, this is kind of a vague post, because I have other posts on my mind, but I'm simply thankful for the things I'm always thankful for. My friends. My family. My city. My nephews. My community. Flywheel. My career. Socks.

Life is great, but at the same time, I know there are things I need to work on, there's always room for improvement. I suppose I'm thankful to myself for having a solid plan for my own physical, mental, & emotional self care.

OH! I've been doing something new lately. This past weekend, I started taking walks. Long meandering walks with no real destination in mind. I enjoyed them so much that I decided to take a walk every day & I added it to my Day Zero List to do so for the next 6 months. I call them my "evening constitutionals." Constitutional is an archaic term for "a walk, typically one taken regularly to maintain or restore good health." I'm thankful that on my evening constitutionals, I always get some great photos of Philly.
Tulips on Tuesday
City Hall is just ridiculously big & intricate. I love it.
Finally, I'm thankful to a company called Surya Brasil. I've used their henna hair colors a few times & I love them. I reached out to them with a question & they sent me a lot of products to try & to share. I've been using nothing but Bronner's, baking soda, & coconut oil on my skin for a long time, & I've been wanting to start trying more interesting skin care products again, so my connection with Surya Brasil couldn't have happened at a better time. Look for product reviews & giveaways throughout the next week. Spoiler alert: I love everything!

conscious skin & hair care. love.
Oh here's one more thing to be thankful for. Tomorrow is Friday!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Inspiration Monday: Colton

I'm about to tell you one of my most favorite stories about one of my most favorite people & I'm super excited about it!

I've known Colton since October 2007 when he became a student in my AP English Literature class online. He was a senior in high school & from our first conversation, I knew that I had a new favorite student (it's true, we have favorites...there are some students I connect with more than others, just like people in any situation in life).

We stayed in touch throughout Colton's college career (facebook IS good for some things): he had dual majors of English Literature & English Education. Just when I thought I couldn't be prouder, during Colton's senior year, he became my intern for two semesters. Naturally he excelled. (He excels at everything: he won so many awards in college that I use him as an example of "understatement" when I say that he did "OK" in college.)
Staff Conference 2011: First time I met Colton in real life!
Immediately after graduation, Colton was hired (of course) & became part of my team (of course). For the past 2 years, I've been his Lead Teacher (I'm sort of like a supervisor, but more like a helper), watching him learn & grow as an educator. Not only has he become an amazing English teacher, he has also pursued a Master's Degree in Publishing (I just read his thesis about the history of young adult literature & the role of censorship, SO rad!) & he graduates next month! Squeee! And just last week, I wrote him a recommendation letter (the 4th rec letter I've written for him) for a Doctorate in Educational Leadership. More squeee!
Staff Conference 2013
Every day, I am impressed with Colton's drive to succeed & his unending compassion as he interacts with his students & his colleagues. I am honored that he chose to become an English teacher & I am honored to work with him. Spending all day in IM with him is the highlight of every single workday. Not only is he my "work son," but he's also one of my very best friends.

Colton has said that one day he'd like to be our CEO. It wouldn't surprise me one bit. It also wouldn't surprise me if within 5 years, he'd be my boss. I hope he'll give me a raise!


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Springtime Saturday in Philly

I went for a frolic today. Frolic is, of course, LJ for walk. This is what I saw.
many trees are flowering
not vegan friendly, but friendly nonetheless
people in Kahn Park...which isn't really that much of a park
more flowering trees
people in Washington Square Park...which is definitely more of a park
red doors. blue doors.
springtime selfie
Get out & enjoy the day if you haven't already! It's never too late for a frolic!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Another Thankful Thursday on a Friday

What? Thankful Friday? Yesterday was pretty much the worst day of my weeks of being sick. I went to 2 meetings for work while in bed, then rolled over & took a 2-hour nap. So yeah, that was my Thursday.

OK, so with a cold that has lasted almost 3 weeks that turned into a sinus infection while also having my period for going on 9 days, I still have time to be thankful.

This week, I am thankful for:
  • Being able to rally when it really mattered, despite feeling like shit. I had a good visit with my friend Kenda last week, scored some great vintage at the flea market last Saturday, got through my step-sister's wedding on Sunday, & made it to the Humane League's Philly Veg Dining Guide Release Party on Wednesday where I hung with old & new friends! 
    I look like such a weirdo. I AM such a weirdo.
  • My dad's friend's son-in-law, who is now my conveniently located primary care physician. He gave me antibiotics on Wednesday. They seem to be starting to work.
  • Instacart. I had groceries delivered & then I made soup. Because nobody needs to rally to go to Whole Foods.
  • Coconut oil. Without it, I'm pretty sure my nose would have like fallen off or something. Even with coconut oil, it's raw & red & hurty. But it could be worse.
  • Working from home. I can get my shit done & take care of myself. Win-win.
Oh just doing professional development. In bed.
That's enough of a list, don't you think? Of course, I'm always thankful for YOU, dear readers. It's nice to know that people are reading my ramblings. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Inspiration Monday

I'm not feeling inspired today. I feel sick & triggered & mad at the world.

My friends are still awesome & inspiring, but I'm just not feeling it today. The friend I was actually thinking about writing about today is even getting to me.

So what do you think, dear readers? Can I put this on you this week? Please tell me about someone who inspires YOU! It might even help lift me out of my funk.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Philly Veg Dining Guide Release Party

Did you know that there's a Philly Vegan Drinks that meets once a month at one of my favorite places, Tattooed Mom?

And did you know that this coming week, on Wednesday April 16 at 7pm, there is going to be an extra special Philly Vegan Drinks at Tattooed Mom?

Yes! It's true! It's the Release Party for The Humane League's Philly Veg Dining Guide. You don't want to miss this! Lots of goodies from lots of vegan-friendly jawns & lots of awesome vegan peeps! Don't Miss it! If you haven't RSVPed, yet, here's the link.

Hope to see you there!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Thankful Thursday

Oops. Forgot to post yesterday. I guess I'm thankful that nobody really cares, right? I really like focusing on the little things for this one, it was fun making a quick list like I did a couple weeks ago, so here it is.

I'm thankful for:
  • The wireless mouse I found in a box in my desk that still works.
  • That even though the weather is improving, my building management hasn't switched our system from heat to AC too soon like they did last April.
  • That the weather is improving. 70s for the next 4 days!
  • That I only worked 2 days this week.
  • That I got to spend about 36 hours with my friend Kenda who I see so rarely. 
  • That we ate at Vedge this week.
  • That my friend Betty & I are making a point of connecting more frequently.
  • That I'm connecting with more Yelp friends, especially the Yelp vegans.
  • Outdoor Flea Market Season!
  • That it's payday & after paying my bills, I have plenty left to treat myself. To these. And these. And this.
I could go on. But I need to get some work done & have some breakfast so I can go outside & frolic in the beautiful weather.

But before I go, if you haven't commented on my previous post about the dentist (& you haven't because nobody has) & you're interested in trying to win a giftcard, go there & comment now. If not, I'm thankful I have friends to give these giftcards to anyway. :)

Oh, & as always, I leave you with the opportunity to comment here or tweet at me something you're thankful for!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

"It's Like a Spa Day for your Mouth!"

The title of this post comes from Chloe, my dental hygienist at Premier Dentistry of Philadelphia, & I think that's a great way to think about a trip to the dentist. The dentist is not something that you have to fear or suffer through: it's an important part of your self care & it can really be a positive experience, especially with the staff at Premier Dentistry!
Smile! Floss!
I've always enjoyed the dentist, but from my perspective (based on other life experiences), part of getting over that dread, is simply an attitude change. Thinking of it as a Spa Day for your Mouth puts a positive spin on it, & the friendly attitude at Premier Dentistry will help you feel immediately comfortable enough to discuss your what you need.

What I love about Premier Dentistry is that it's a judgment free zone. You haven't been to the dentist in years & you rarely floss? Don't worry, the amazing hygienists will be happy to work with you & help you on your path (but you should really start flossing every day...just make it part of your routine!).

Premier Dentistry has a Special Offer if you don't have dental insurance, but to show just how much Premier Dentistry cares about your smile, we're doing a giveaway! I currently have in my possession THREE $100 giftcards for Premier Dentistry of Philadelphia & I want THREE of you to win them!

Here's what you need to do:
  • Like Premier Dentistry of Philadelphia on Facebook and/or follow them on Twitter.
  • In the comments, share a story about your dental experience & why you'd like to win.
  • Include a way to contact you if you win; otherwise, I will have to choose someone else. 
  • Contest is open to people without dental insurance. (That seems fair, right?)
Three random winners will be selected on Tuesday, April 15 @ 8pm. Winners will be posted on Wednesday. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Inspiration Monday: Kiera

I have to tell you about my friend Kiera. We first met on twitter (of course) & she was one of the first friends I met in real life upon moving to Philly & I just adore her.

Get this. I wanted to give you a little bit of Kiera's backstory about her weight loss journey, but I couldn't find exactly what I was looking for on her blog, so I googled, & wouldn't you know it, I found her article in The Huffington Post in 2012! Talk about inspiration!

Here's what makes Kiera extra special, though. Eating right & exercising for herself just wasn't enough. She wanted to share her success with other women & build a community. To that end, she created City Fit Girls. City Fit Girls is a network of women, who Kiera has brought together, to "inspire, uplift, encourage, & motivate." YES!
This is one of my favorite pics of Kiera at her Wellness Retreat
last August; I totally just stole it from her CityFitGirls Instagram.
And here's the really exciting news in Kiera's life. Just a few short weeks ago, she was able to quit a job that wasn't making her happy to be able to pursue what she's doing with City Fit Girls full time! She made her passion her career! Does it get any better than that?

Learn more about all of the amazing things Kiera does by visiting City Fit Girls. Find out about upcoming events, workouts, & more, & don't forget to subscribe to the City Fit Kit while you're there!

Get inspired!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Thankful Thursday: I love Philly.

I thought I'd make a little vlog about Thankful Thursday today. I did just one take & it's super awkward. Enjoy!