Vegan Fest Montreal 2016 + blog announcement // Festival végane de Montréal et nouvel horaire de blog

(Version française plus bas!)

I’m super excited to let you know that Montreal’s vegan festival is coming back this week-end at the Marché Bonsecours in the Old Port. Last year I had a lot of fun perusing the different stands and came back home with quite a lot of spices and an excellent book. I wasn’t too happy about the long queue I had to endure to get in, but this year, they are extending the festival to two days instead of just one, so it should be much better. How exciting!

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This year’s schedule is quite extensive! At the festival, you can find all vegan foods from restaurants, farmers, and specialty products. There will also be quite a lot of very exciting guest speakers and food demos to learn new techniques! You will also be able to get in touch with animal protection associations and like-minded people. I really hope you’ll have a chance to go check this FREE festival out. See you there!

I also wanted to let you know about the blog’s new schedule. I really want to bring you with the best content possible, but it takes me a lot of time to come up with recipes, try them out, take pictures and write down the posts. As I also need to work, I’m changing the daily posting schedule to a Monday, Wednesday and Friday posting schedule. That way I’ll be able to bring you high quality content and still buy food… Cheers to that!


Je suis super excitée de vous annoncer que le Festival végane de Motréal débarque en ville cette fin de semaine au Marché Bonsecours du Vieux Port de Montréal! L’année dernière j’avais adoré me promener parmis les stands et j’étais repartie avec une tonne d’épices et un excellent livre. Je n’avais pas trop aimé la langue file que j’avais du faire pour rentrer, mais cette année le festival est étendu sur deux jours, ce qui devrait le rendre beaucoup plus agréable! C’est tellement chouette!

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L’horaire de cette année est encore bien chargé avec des stands de bouffe à visiter et pleins de conférences et de démos culinaires pour en apprendre toujours plus! Il sera également possible de rencontrer différentes organisation de protection des animaux. Bref, une belle fin de semaine en perspective! Surtout que le festival est GRATUIT! On se voit sur place!

J’en profites aussi pour vous annoncer que je change l’horaire de publication des billets pour le blog. Parce que je veux vous offrir un contenu de qualité, mais que ca prend pas mal de temps à produire, je vais maintenant publier des articles le lundi, le mercredi et le vendredi. En passant, je suis déjà dans le mood de Noel alors préparez-vous!

 

 

What do you have in your vegan kitchen? \\ Il y a quoi dans ta cuisine végane?

When you transition to a vegan diet, it can be hard to know want to have in your pantry to make sure you have enough food. After juggling with this for a while, here are my kitchen essentials for vegans.

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  1. A good legume variety: buying these in bulk is very cheap and they are easy to store. These will probably become an important part of your diet so it’s a good idea to have them on hand at all times. However, if you want to have a balanced amino-acid intake, you need to make sure that you eat a variety of legumes. If you’re not sure how to cook these, check out my tips.
  2. Whole grains and pasta: Wild rice, quinoa, amaranth or whole wheat pasta are all a great source of nutrients and are a great addition to any meal. As they are whole grains, they will also keep you fuller longer, so you might as well keep them on hand.
  3. Some canned tomato goods: Crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and pasta sauce are all great starting block to make simple meals: add some legumes to some pasta sauce, serve it on whole grain pasta and there you go! It’s a great lunch or dinner for when you are in a rush.
  4. Some plant-based milk: There is a wide variety of plant-based milk on the market now, and you can find some that don’t need to be refrigerated until opened. I like to stock up on almond milk when it’s on sale. That way I always have some to make oatmeal or to eat cereals. Be careful when buying: make sure it is fortified milk to get more nutrients for your buck!
  5. A wide variety of spices: Spices make everything incredible! Experiment with different types of curries, or explore the differences between paprika and smoked paprika. This will make every meal different and exciting.
  6. Fresh produce: Of course! Keep a good variety of seasonal and fresh fruits and vegetables to make everything nutritious and delicious!
  7. Chocolate: No explanation needed.

I hope these tips will help you ease into a vegan diet and know what to keep in your kitchen. Let me know what are some of your essentials!

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On me demande parfois ce que je garde dans ma cuisine en tant que végane. Eh bien, de la nourriture! Sérieusement, voici une liste des choses que j’aime bien avoir dans ma cuisine pour être certaine de pouvoir cuisiner de nombreux petits plats délicieux!

  1. Une bonne variété de légumineuses: Comme les légumineuses jouent un rôle important dans un régime alimentaire végan, il est important d’en avoir à la maison! J’aime bien les acheter en vrac et en garder différentes sortes car il est important d’en manger de toutes sortes tous les jours pour avoir un bel arc-en-ciel d’acides aminés. Si vous ne savez pas trop par où commencer pour cuire vos légumineuses sèches, vous pouvez aller voir mes petits trucs.
  2. Des grains entiers et des pâtes: Le riz sauvage, le quinoa, l’amaranthe ou les pâtes de blé entier sont tous des sources de nutriments intéréssantes et complètes bien une assiette. De plus, puisqu’il s’agit de grains entiers, ils vous garderont rassasiés longtemps!
  3. Des tomates en conserves: Sauce tomate, tomates en dés, ou pate de tomates peuvent être la base de biens des plats délicieux! Ajouter des lentilles à de la sauce tomates, servir sur des pâtes de blé entier, et voila! Un repas rapide et nourrissant en deux temps, trois mouvements.
  4. Du lait végétal: Il existe de plus en plus de lait végétal et certains d’entres eux peuvent être conservé à température ambiante avant d’être ouverts.  J’aime bien acheter du lait d’amandes et en garder sous la main pour préparer mon gruau ou manger des céréales. Attention, si vous achetez du lait végétal, faites attention de regarder si c’est du lait fortifié: autant faire le plein de nutriments!
  5. Des épices de toute sorte: Les épices rendent tous les plats plus excitants et délicieux! Testez différents types de curry, explorez les différences entre le paprika et le paprika fumé et ajoutez des épices à tous vos plats!
  6. Des légumes et des fruits frais: Parce que c’est bon et nourrissant les fruits et légumes de saison!
  7. Du chocolat: Bien sur!

Voilà, j’espère que cette petite liste vous aidera à remplir votre cuisine de délices végans. Et vous, il y a quoi dans votre cuisine végane?

 

Vegan Story Time, Luisa from Sardinha fora da lata!

I’m really excited about this week’s vegan story because it is from Portugal! If you don’t know what vegan story time is, you can check out the series’ introduction. Again, I would like to extend the invitation to all vegans out there to send me their stories! I love reading these because they are so motivating and touching. Don’t hesitate!

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When I first read Luisa’s story I was amazed and really impressed. See, Luisa from the Portuguese blog Sardhinha fora da lata, has been through an amazing transformation when she switched her diet over. Anyways, I’ll let her tell you her story! 🙂

Three years ago I weighed about 98kg, then I decided to make things change. I set out 30 days to change my eating habits, stop smoking and start exercising. I lost 23 kg in total, quitted smoking and stopped consuming meat and fish.
I started smoothly and without exaggeration. Gradually I was losing weight and seeing the fruits of my efforts. At the end of the 30 days I was to continue, without a doubt. There were times that cost me a lot. I had eaten too much junk food and too much sugar, and I was dependent on it. The most important thing was to stay focused. I found that exercising helped me because after some time it became addictive and an important part of my routine.
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Vegetarianism came as naturally. I knew it was the right option. My husband also accompanied me in this change which facilitated the transition greatly. Also after being alerted to all the environmental and health issues that meat consumption causes, it was him who urged me to research and write about this topic for others to adopt conscious eating habits.
Since out diet change, I have been feeling refreshed and less contaminated. I think our temperaments also changed. We became less bloodthirsty and were more relaxed and tolerant. I have more vitality and a passion for life that I never had before. I am happy with my choice and at peace with my body.
I cannot change the world but I leave my contribution. Finally I have a phrase that I often tell people. I did not choose to be vegetarian. Vegetarianism chose me. ♥
Congrats Luisa on your amazing transformation! It’s so encouraging to see how a diet change can turn your entire life around! If you speak Portuguese, or are looking for amazing pictures, check out her blog!
Again, if you’d like to see your story featured here, contact me! I’d love to read and share your story!

 

 

Vegan Story Time: Elizabeth from Enough Elizabeth

Another Tuesday is here! I’m really enjoying receiving and sharing all of your amazing vegan stories, so keep them coming! If you want to be featured here in a future Tuesday, you can contact me and check the guidelines. I can’t wait to read your story!

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Today, I’m sharing Elizabeth’s story. If you haven’t been over to her amazing blog, Enough Elizabeth, head over there now if you enjoy yummy vegan recipes, beautiful photographs, and fun reads. Her blog is so positive and pretty, and her story is truly inspiring. Here it is!

It all began when I was sitting on my balcony one summer morning, and came across a vegan “what-I-eat-in-a-day” vlog. I was intrigued by the video because the vlogger was a girl about my age at the time (16), yet seemed so aware of her eating habits and the impact they have on the world.

            At the time, I was struggling with an eating disorder and was looking for any loophole that might lead to recovery. I was already following a bunch of vegans on social media and noticed that a lot of them had gone vegan either during, or right after recovery. I read recovery stories that told of people leaving calorie counting, restrictive diets, and unhappiness behind for unrestricted amounts of beautiful, nutritious foods on which they thrived. Right then and there, I decided to see where a vegan diet would take me.

            For a while after going vegan, my eating disorder persisted. This was truthfully because I was not ready to recover.  I did not yet understand that I had to heal my mind before I could transition to the diet I had been dreaming of. However, I continued to practice veganism because I immediately noticed amazing changes in my body that resulted from eliminating harmful animal by-products. My skin had a novel glow, my thoughts became far clearer, and everything seemed to taste a bit better. After becoming aware of the intense and vital ethical and environmental aspects of veganism, I began to wonder why I hadn’t made the decision earlier!

Then, after several significant life changes, I found myself prepared to embark on the journey that is recovery. That is when veganism came to play a larger role in my life than I ever could have imagined. When I began to recover, I started thinking about veganism instead of my eating disorder. I began to see that veganism isn’t just a diet; it’s a lifestyle that calls for loving both your own body and that of the earth. The most exciting part of recovery has been finally enjoying my own recipes and trying new vegan foods at restaurants. I can now focus on the aspects of veganism that matter, and freely embrace the health and joy that come with them. My world has evolved from a sphere of frustration to one filled with tahini, brightly colored breakfast bowls and an endless stream of recipe inspiration that  I get to share on my blog!

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Thanks for letting me share!

Wow! I can’t believe how healing it can be to transition to a vegan diet. I’ve stumbled upon stories where amazing recoveries, like Elizabeth’s, are empowered through a diet change, but also stories of mental healing and changed mindsets. Thank you so much, Elizabeth, for sharing your story, being inspiring and bringing such beautiful recipes and posts to the world! Speaking of amazing recipes, you should clearly check out her recipe for her molasses muffins with cape gooseberries. Seriously beautiful!

Again, if you’d like to share you favourite vegan recipe or story, contact me! Until next time, take care!

Vegan Story Time, Kate from The Vegan Wayfarer

I have another wonderful vegan testimony for you! If you are not familiar with Vegan Story Time, it is a series that I started so that people could share how and why they became vegan. If you’d like to participate, check this out and don’t hesitate!

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Today, I’m sharing Kate’s story. Kate is a very passionate writer, and she has amazingly yummy recipes on her blog, The Vegan Wayfarer. I mean, seriously, double chocolate covered strawberry cake and apple and white bean cake? I wish she was my neighbour so that I could talk literature while eating her delicious cakes with her. Anyways, here is why and how she became vegan!

I became a vegan for both reasons of health and reasons of conscience. I was in my early
thirties and dealing with an arthritis problem that was becoming serious. I was experiencing pain in my joints and in the bones of my hands and feet that was getting so bad that, whenever the weather turned even mildly wet, I could barely walk across the floor. I had trouble using my hands and could not handle the weight of a blanket on my feet. I was worried I was going to end up in a wheelchair for the greater part of my life and was willing to do whatever it took to avoid that fate. I began to research which foods would not cause an inflammatory response in my body and came across veganism.

I’d always respected in those who’d committed to a vegetarian or vegan diet but believed- as do many, I think- I couldn’t get the nutrition I needed without eating meat and dairy products. It was also normal to eat meat, wasn’t it? How could I give up chicken or beef? And yet, my studying had raised questions I had trouble answering. Why did I choose to eat some animals while the thought of eating others horrified me? Was perceived intelligence of the animal the criteria I was basing my diet on? The more I learned, the more I realized I had to make a change.

Fortunately, nutritionists like Julieanna Hever and Ginny Messina were there to assure me I’d get everything I needed from a vegan diet and they were right. I’ve been vegan five years and have never had a problem with low protein or missing vitamins. The arthritis in my hands and feet has vanished and I’ve been able to turn my attention to other health problems previously treated with medication. This lifestyle also reconciles with my conscience and I know that, for me, there is no going back.

I have many things I consider ‘staples’ in my vegan lifestyle. A can of organic chili beans (I like Westbrae Organic Vegetarian Chili Beans) can be added to a bowl with couscous and steamed broccoli for a meal that’s faster (and healthier) than any so called ‘fast food’. Miso paste is so versatile and I use for many things besides miso soup. I’ve already posted my Spicy Mac recipe made with white miso paste.

One of my most useful items is not food, it’s a tofu press. I didn’t think I needed one when I first became vegan. I used two plates and heavy books to press tofu and then dealt with one side collapsing and the books crashing to the floor. Finally, I broke down and purchased a press. It isn’t fancy, it cost me less than $20.00, and is worth every penny. I highly recommend getting a press if tofu is a regular part of your diet. Slide the block in the middle, tighten the screws, and the tofu can be set aside with no danger to the floor. The press gets out more liquid than books and plates ever did; something you’ll prefer if you’re like me and like a chewy texture in salads and stir fries. Now that I have it, I don’t know what I ever did without it!

Tofu Press

Ouh! That tofu press sounds amazing! It might be in my next order! I hope you enjoyed Kate’s story, I find it very touching and encouragin. If you want to check out her writing and thoughts, you can check out the Renaissance Woman. If you are more interested in her recipe, check out The Vegan Wayfarer. Finally, you can also find her on Facebook.

If you feel like sharing your own vegan story, please contact me! I really love sharing these so keep them coming! Cheers!

Vegan Story Time, Amanda from The Shared Skillet

I feel so lucky to be contacted by such inspiring and positive vegans from all over! It’s really motivating to hear different stories and how this lifestyle choice has played an incredible part in so many people’s lives and growth. Incredible! If you want to participate in this series, contact me!

This week, I’m sharing with you Amanda’s story. If you haven’t stumbled upon her blog, The Shared Skillet, you just have to go there now! She has delicious recipes for soups, desserts, meat substitutions and more! It’s seriously yummy and making me hungry every time!

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Without further ado, here is her story!

I became vegan because of food intolerances/allergies, and also other digestive issues in general. No matter what I tried I still had troubles. After doing research, I decided to change. What was a 2-week trial is now 3 ½ years… mostly vegan. I sleep better, and I have more energy. I have fewer digestion issues and if I do, I know what caused it. What was difficult was cooking food for my husband when I was first starting to change. One thing in particular I remember was I told him that if he wanted macaroni and cheese, he’d have to cook it because I couldn’t smell it. Now it doesn’t affect me. He was really supportive and still is. I still crave some things, but most times I have been able to find plant-based versions that satisfy what I want from a certain recipe.

One thing I had to learn was that I didn’t have to eat meals. Especially on busy days, just grabbing fruits, energy bars, nuts, and just snacking whenever I was hungry made busy days really easy to stick to a plant-based diet.

The fun part for me was using and “manipulating” food in a way I never knew I could. It’s been so much fun to experiment and to find new flavors and new combinations. Because of that, one thing I always have in my kitchen that I never had before and I now love is nutritional yeast. I’ve slowly grown to love it, and now it’s something that has become a pantry staple.

Another staple is that I always try to have ingredients ready to make a “Chickpea Salad/Sandwich”. It’s quick, it’s delicious, and one of my favorite lunches. Here’s one of the recipes I had found early on that I started with from The Simple Veganista . I’ll be posting on my blog a few versions that are my recipes, but since I don’t ever measure anything with this, I have to make sure it’s correct!

Thanks for letting me share!

My pleasure! Thank you, Amanda, for sharing your story! I have to agree with you on nutritional yeast: it’s the best.

If you want to catch the other stories or participate, jump in!

Vegan Story Time, Traci Lyn Hobson

It’s time for another vegan story! Thank you again if you have contacted me to be featured here. I really love reading your stories and recipes and sharing them. Don’t hesitate to contact me if you want to share your unique vegan story!

Today, I’m sharing a recipe from the amazing Traci Lyn Hobson. Traci is a freelance writer and vegan lifestyle coach based in Wilmington, NC. Traci’s passion is to educate other women about natural health and wellness, including the health, environmental, and karmic benefits of vegan living, and the importance of living a balanced, compassionate, connected life. When she’s not writing, teaching, or coaching, Traci can be found creating new and delish vegan dishes in her tiny kitchen, hanging out with her amazing fur babies, friends, and family, or communing with nature in the Port City.

She sent  me a deliciously gorgeous recipe for a cashew sour cream! Yum!

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Here is her recipe:

I confess: I’m one of those vegans who used to say things like “I love cheese,” and “I don’t know how to live without dairy.” (Mexican food and baked potatoes without sour cream? No thanks.) Now? I am coming up on my five-year veganversary and can’t imagine ever contributing to the ugliness and exploitation of the dairy industry again – and I don’t have to! Sour cream is and always has been one of my favorite condiments. This vegan version made from cashews is absolutely divine. I always have some of it on hand – for nachos, tacos, and enchiladas, or to top chili, baked potatoes, or lentils…the possibilities are endless! Add this gem to your recipe arsenal and never yearn for dairy again.

Ingredients:

  • 1 C soaked cashews

  • 1/2 C organic rice milk (or other non-dairy milk)

  • 2 T fresh organic lemon juice

  • 1/2 t raw apple cider vinegar

  • 1/2 t garlic powder

  • 1/2 t onion powder

  • 1/4 t salt

  • 1/4 t ground white pepper

Preparation:

  1. Put all ingredients in a high-powered blender and blend until completely smooth and creamy.

  2. Enjoy!


Here’s a bonus tip: lessen the amount of liquid for a thicker version to use as cream cheese – just add fresh herbs (I like chives and cilantro) once it is blended, and voila! Vegan cashew cream cheese. Or, add more liquid and omit the spices and lemon juice and add a touch of vanilla to make cashew creamer or milk. The possibilities are endless!

If you want more delicious recipes, tips, and tricks, follow her! She can be reached through her website, tracilynhobson.com, or found on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/tlhobson), LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/tracihobson), and Pinterest (https://www.pinterest.com/tracihobson).
Come back next week for another vegan story! And if you missed last week’s, here it is! Until then, keep being so inspiring!

Vegan Story Time, Layla from Clean Cheaters

A few days ago, I opened an invitation to fellow vegans to share their story on how they became vegan or to share their favourite vegan recipes. I really like hearing these stories when I meet vegans in real life, and so I thought it would be nice to hear more of them. It’s always encouraging to see that others are making the switch, and I love learning from others’ experiences: everyone has a different favourite recipe, one ingredient they can’t live without or a special trick that will make all our lives easier. It’s so great to feed on these stories because it really creates a sense of community and sharing.

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In the next few weeks, I will be sharing some amazing stories that I have received. I extend the invitation to every vegan out there! If you want to see your story featured here, contact me!

Today, I’ll be sharing Layla’s story. She has a great blog where she shares recipes and musings from her life. Go take a look!

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So, this is my ‘vegan’-story. I never really cared for meat. I’ve been vegetarian off and on for about 6 years, only eating meat when I was still lifting weights, and I didn’t know I could get all the protein I needed from plants. I still had to learn a lot you see 😉

In January 2015, I started eating vegetarian again, already looking towards the vegan diet. I did feel weird in my stomach every now and then, especially after my oatmeal with milk. Just for fun and giggles, I tried soy and oh my, did that work! My stomach felt better and my skin looked so much better. Cutting out milk and eggs in my own cooking was easy, cutting out these ‘hidden’ ingredients was harder since they seem to be hidden in everything.

For me, the hardest part about going vegan is going out for food. It’s getting easier, since it’s getting more mainstream, but I always look for places to eat before going somewhere, and I always bring a snack.

My tip for new vegans: try to find websites with easy recipes (like mine :P) that don’t require a lot of ingredients. That made the switch easier for me.

My go-to recipe is definitely my ‘paprika’-pasta. I used to make it a lot when I was in school because it’s super cheap to make. I replaced the real bacon with tempeh-bacon to make it vegan. And it’s delicious! Apart from that recipe, I think everyone should try my recipe for vegan chili. Yes, even now that it’s summer. It’s easy to make, and it doesn’t need a lot of stuff or a lot of skills to prepare.

 This takes me to the ingredient I can’t live without. Actually, I can’t pick ONE ingredient, I need 3:

  • Low sodium soy sauce
  • Liquid smoke
  • Chili sauce

 Thank you for reading my story and I hope to see you soon on Clean Cheaters!

I hope this was as interesting to you as it was to me! Watch out for the next Vegan Story Time, as this one came to me in the form of an amazing recipe. Don’t forget that if you want to participate, you can!

 

Calling out to other vegans!

I hope this message finds you happy and inspired! I’m always on the look out for new blogs, fun food and other vegans to share stories, finds, new ingredients and, of course, amazing recipes. So, I had an idea!

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The vegan community has been an incredible source of motivation and support when I became vegan, and still is now. I love stumbling on new blogs, and I feel really happy that more and more people are switching to this more respectful way of living.

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So, I would like to invite you to share your stories: why did you become vegan? What was difficult about the switch? What was fun? What are your tips for new vegans? I would also love to see what your go-to recipe is: if you had to live on only one recipe, what would it be? What is one recipe every vegan should try? What is one ingredient you always have in your kitchen?

I would love to read your stories and discover your recipes, but I would also love to share them here, on my blog. Here are a few guidelines: your post should be maximum 350 words, and include at least 1 picture. Make sure you include your blog’s name if you have one, and if you don’t, well don’t worry about it! I would love to start posting your posts next week, so get on writing!

If you are interested in participating, send me a message using the contact form, and I’ll get back to you! I can’t wait to read your posts!

 

Because Outer Happiness is pretty great!

A few days ago, I contacted Outer Happiness, an Montreal-based Etsy store specialized in vegan body products like bath salts, body scrubs, masks and even candles. The products looked really cute, and the scent combinations sounded amazing! Marina, the shop owner, was kind enough to give me a few samples to try out: how exciting!

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I took advantage of the rainy week-end to pamper myself. It is so important to take a break from time to time and just take care of ourselves! The first product I tried out was the white tea and ginger revitalizing boy scrub.

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Now, I have to tell you the smell of this is INCREDIBLE! The ginger makes this scrub super energizing and fresh. Made with Himalayan and Dead Sea salts, this is a perfect body scrub as it is quite chunky. Enriched with vitamin E, avocado oil and almond oil, it is also super hydrating and soothing to the skin. It left it smooth and so soft!

After that amazing scrub, I relaxed a bit with a strawberries and champagne bath. Doesn’t this sound amazing? Well it was!

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The smell of this is wonderful: you feel like you are bathing in a giant strawberry candy! Made with Epsom salt and bicarbonate of soda, this bath salt is super detoxifying and relaxing. I felt like my muscles were unclenching one by one. It was great!

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Once out of the bath, the Argan oil left my skin soft and hydrated. Plus the strawberry smell lingered too, which was fun! I can’t wait to use this salt in my bath again! It’s so great!

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If you like pampering yourself, I really encourage you to try out Outer Happiness products because they are AMAZING! The packaging is reusable and super cute, and they really make you feel like you are using luxurious products, while not breaking your bank. These little wonders are very affordable and are also helping the world be a better place as one dollar per sale goes to Save the Children. How great? I will totally be buying some of her products in the future as I think they would make perfect gifts. Marina is super friendly so don’t hesitate to get in touch with her if you have an idea for a custom order. Make sure to go check her store out! It’s amazing! And support her amazing work by liking her Facebook page. Let me know if you try out some of her products!