July Favorites

July 31, 2016

This month's favorites post is a bit late and I'm so sorry about that! I overestimated the amount of time I would have to do blog posts while on vacation, and I'm literally typing this on my phone while waiting for the valet to bring the car so we can go to breakfast! 

Style
Steve Madden Nylie Bootie: I got these boots from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale because I wanted a pair of taupe booties, but also to wear in Montreal. They've been perfect for walking around the city because they're cute and easy to wear while being comfortable throughout the day as well. I wore them on Montreal Day 1 for the whole day, and they didn't start hurting until after dinner.

Beauty
Sun Bum Sunscreen SPF 30: Most major sunscreen brands test on animals, but Sun Bum doesn't so I bought a bottle before I went to the beach and it worked.



Food
Fruitocracy Squeezable Fruit Pouches: I got these as a joke when my mom told me to go grocery shopping, but I actually love them! It's great sweet treat as well as a way to get my fruits in if I'm lacking them that day.

Chronic Taco: My sister had been raving about this place non-stop, so I eventually made her take me. I loved it and ended up going back the next day. They have options for vegans and non-vegans, so it's easy to take my friends with me as well.

Other
Erin Condren Life Planner: I was SO excited to order this planner when it came out I was on the site all day trying to customize and order my agenda for this year. I'm doing a full post on it soon, so stay tuned for that!

Books: I really enjoyed The Husband's Secret, which I ended up doing a whole post on this book which you can find here. I also liked Flowers for Algernon, which I'm not going to do a post on, but I think is definitely a must-read.

That's all for my favorites this month. Let me know what your favorites are in the comments! Stay tuned, xo Lauren.

Osheaga | Montreal, Quebec, Canada


I'm sitting in bed this morning trying to get this post done before we head out for breakfast. I'm super exhausted as we didn't get back to the hotel until 1AM this morning, but I think once I get food I'll be much better. Osheaga was a blast, and I'm so grateful I got to go and experience it.

Once again we woke up early to leave from Mt. Tremblant, except this time we had to pack up all of our stuff to move to a hotel in Montreal. We didn't eat breakfast at the hotel, this time, so instead we opted for a popular restaurant across from our new hotel. Le Cartet was 100% worth the 40-minute wait. There were limited options for me as a vegan, but I enjoyed my baguette with jam and fresh fruit.


From there we left directly to Osheaga, which was located about 15 minutes away at Parc Jean Drapeau. It took about 20 minutes to actually get into the park due to bag checks and the incredibly long line. When we were in, we lapped the park once before stopping for our first activity. The wifi in there was terrible, which was unexpected, but it wasn't hard to find hotspots in the park. We went to the H&M tent where we got flash tattoos, bandanas, and an 180-degree photo/gif of my sister and I.
From there we went to out first show which was Logic. The vibe for that sure was super weird but cool, as there was a bunch of drunk guys that were super excited for his music and singing along. From there we went straight to Post Malone who my sister was most excited to see. He didn't sing White Iverson until the end, but we were the closest to the stage for his performance! After that, we bolted to Bastille, who I was most excited to see. He played Good Grief as well as new songs that the audience had never heard and closed the show with Pompeii. By then it was 7:30PM and we hadn't eaten in 5hrs, so we found food for me at a vegetarian station while my sister & mom opted for fish & chips. I, on the other hand, enjoyed tempeh tacos and a vegan brownie.

After that, we chilled for about an hour at one of the wifi stations, and we checked social media, posted photos, etc. Then we headed to our last show, which was Lana del Rey. I was so excited to see her in concert, because although she isn't one of my favorite artists, I feel like the opportunity to see her perform does not come often. Once she sang Summertime Sadness, it was almost 11PM, so we headed out on that note. The drive home took over an hour when it should have taken 10 minutes, due the traffic caused by everyone leaving the festival. 

I think everyone should go to a music festival at least once in their life for the experience. Granted, if you get annoyed easily or are bothered by people that are under the influence (and I don't mean just alcohol), it definitely isn't for you. That also goes for if you are a more modest person, my sister and I dressed for a festival, but not scandalously at all, but I saw more skin on men and women than I've ever seen before. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for tomorrow, xoxo Lauren.

Sight Seeing | Montreal, Quebec, Canada

July 30, 2016

Hi all! If you follow me on twitter you may know that I'm in Montreal for the weekend. My family goes on vacation to a new country right before school starts every year, and this year we chose Canada! The main reason we're here is for Osheaga, the music festival, but unfortunately, we were unable to get the three-day passes, so we're just going on Saturday.

Our hotel is actually in Mont Tremblant, so we woke up early so we could finish the 2-hour drive by noon. Once we arrived, we started at Vieux Port or Old Port in Montreal. We walked up and down the area stopping at little shops and appreciating the view. From there we walked about half a mile over to Notre Dame Basilica. It was a beautiful church, and we all said a prayer and lit a candle on our way out. 

We had lunch a few blocks down at Olive & Gourmando, which was amazing. It's super packed, so I recommend making a reservation before, but the seating is super open while being packed at the same time because they keep the large windows open. I ordered the Big Healthy salad, which is exactly as it sounds. It was full of kale, quinoa, and a bunch of vegetables with an amazing flavor. Across the street is the Phi Centre, were we participated in a VR (virtual reality) exhibit put on my the New York Times. I think that VR is a super cool concept, and I enjoyed it a lot, even though it gave me a bit of a headache.

From there we explored more of Old Montreal, walking around Place Jacque Cartier looking at the shops and vendors in the area. We finished our day in Montreal with dinner at a restaurant called Bevo. I ordered the gluten free pasta, which was incredibly filling and equally delicious. 

By the time we got pack to our hotel I was exhausted, so I fell right asleep. That's actually why this post is late. I'm typing it on the way to Montreal, so I'll get it posted as soon as there is wifi. Today we're headed to Osheaga music festival, so there will be a post about that tomorrow! xoxo, Lauren.

Strawberry Mango Sorbet

July 25, 2016
I just got back from a yoga class that I did with a friend, so to be honest writing this post and looking back at the photos is making me super jealous (of myself 3 days ago) and crave sorbet! I love sorbet in the summer as it's cool and refreshing, without being thick and heavy like ice cream, and of course, it's vegan! This is a super easy recipe that anyone can make (trust me, if I can do it you can) and requires only 5 ingredients! It's also extremely adjustable flavor wise, so you can make it with whatever combination of fruits you like! Thanks for reading and I'd love if you left a comment letting me know what flavor(s) you made! Stay tuned, xo Lauren.



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Strawberry Mango Sorbet
Ingredients
  • 1 pound mangos
  • 1 pound strawberries
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
Instructions
1. Make a simple syrup by boiling the water and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Allow it to cool.2. While the simple syrup is boiling, clean and chop the fruit.3. Mix your fruit and lemon juice in the blender until it is fully blended.4. Add your simple syrup and blend until smooth.5. Pour the mixture into a freezer safe tub and use a baking spatula to fold it onto itself a few times.6. Freeze for at least 4 hours before enjoying.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 6 servings

Book Talk: The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty

July 17, 2016

I finished reading Liane Moriarty's The Husband's Secret last week, and for almost the entire book I was sure that I wasn't going to be writing a book talk about it. Then, I read the epilogue and I was completely thrown for a loop. While I enjoyed the book a lot, it wasn't the type of book that made me think really hard or guess what was going to happen next. It was kind of way that my mind could relax and enjoy the drama without thinking too hard...until I read the epilogue.

NEW BEGINNINGS!

July 15, 2016
Hi! So once again, I've hit the place where I'm not sure what I want to do with my blog! I've loved how it's been for the past few months, but I feel like I've hit a wall and run out of ideas for posts. I feel like a huge part of this is because I've been trying to commit to posting every 3-4 days, and then after 2 months of doing this I'm fresh out of ideas. I think I'm going to reduce my posts to once a week for sure (I'm thinking Sundays or Mondays), and then maybe a second post later in the week (like Wednesday or Thursday) if I'm feeling super inspired.

I also want to talk about changing up the type of posts I do. I obviously love beauty and fashion, and I will continue to do those kinds of posts, but there is so much more I want to talk about that means so much more to me. I love doing posts about travel and books, so I'm going to start doing more of those, whether it means big trips to different countries, or just visiting new places within my state. You may have noticed that I added a bucket list page, and it's mainly meant to serve as a source of inspiration for myself.

That is all I have to say on this subject for now, but I'm super excited to see where this leads me/us! I cannot believe I forgot until now because I'm super excited, but look up at the url!! This blog is officially misslaurenalston.com!! It's been a long time coming, but I'm super excited to have my own domain name, I feel fancier already.

Cheers to 17 years old (my birthday was a few days ago), my own domain, and a bunch of exciting adventures to come! xoxo, Lauren Alston.

Cruelty-Free Beauty Favorites

July 7, 2016

Hello everyone! If you didn't know, I'm vegan, not only in the food I eat but in all areas of my life. This means I only use vegan and cruelty-free products. I've listed my favorites below and I'll keep adding to it. Enjoy!
Skincare:
Good Soap by Alaffia - I use bar soap to wash my face and body, and I recently switched to this soap which I purchased from Whole Foods. I like it because it has all natural products, including shea butter and coconut oil which are moisturizing and hydrating for my skin.


Hawaiian Moon Aloe - This is a cream/lotion that my dad actually purchased (I kind of stole it from him) and I fell in love with. The only thing strange about it is the consistency, it feels and looks kind of like mayonnaise (which I hate), but it does wonders for my dry skin and it smells amazing.


Sun Bum - I used their SPF 30 on my day trip to the beach last weekend and I loved it, I also purchased their chapstick which I have yet to use, but I'm sure will be great as well.


Alba Even Advanced Sea Lipids Daily Cream - A great base for applying makeup, rejuvenates and brightens the skin.

Makeup: 
Lorac Unzipped Palette & Primer - I've featured this palette & primer before on my blog, and when I discovered that Lorac is cruelty-free I was relieved. This is one of my favorite palettes because of the great quality of the product for such a great price.

Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette - Once again, I was relieved to discover that Urban Decay is cruelty-free because this palette has become one of my go-to's. Everyone knows that Urban Decay is bit pricey, but in my opinion, the price you pay is worth it.

theBalm's Nude Tude Palette - This is a palette that I've had for years and I still find myself using, so I wanted to make sure I mentioned it. theBalm is cruelty-free and I believe this palette is a definite buy for anyone looking to start their makeup collection.

BH Cosmetics Malibu Palette - This is one that once again, I've had for years, but I don't reach for as often. Lately, I find myself using this palette not for the eyeshadows, but for the blush and highlight that it houses as well. I only ever really use this palette when I'm traveling because of its compact size and the fact that it has eyeshadows as well as blush and highlight, unlike my other palettes.

BH Cosmetics Carli Bybel Palette

Pur Cosmetics Volume Vixen 4-in-1 Mascara

Tarte Amazonian Clay Smart Mascara - It's a great black masacara for adding volume to the lashes.

ColourPop Lippies

Kylie Cosmetics Kylighters


NYX Mineral Stick Foundation - I wear this almost everyday because I love that it's a moderate coverage but doesn't feel thick or heavy. With a damp beauty blender it gives a dewy look that lasts all day  and doesn' dry out your skin.

Real Techniques Brushes - These are the makeup brushes that I use, they are 100% cruelty-free and I think that they are great. I've only ever used these so I don't have any comparison but they work well to apply eyeshadow, blush, powder etc.

Essence Volume Boost Mascara - I talked about this product in one of my recent favorites posts, but it's a great mascara as it darkens my lashes and makes them look more voluminous. It's not great for elongating my lashes, but I still use it every day to enhance my eyes.

NYX Lip Products - For the 1 millionth time it feels like in the past month, I love NYX lip products as they have a super wide range which is all 100% cruelty-free and creamy on my lips with lots of pigment. Some of my favorites are the Lingerie Liquid Lipstick and the Butter Gloss.

Kylie Cosmetics Lip Kit - I'm not sure if I mentioned this in my review post or not, but Kylie Cosmetics is cruelty-free. I don't want to speak a lot on this as I've done a review and comparison post on my blog already, but I had to make sure I included it.

Pogo Balm - This is my new favorite chapstick, so make sure you go get yourself one.

Palmer's Flip Balm - I've spoken about this before on my blog and Instagram, but Palmer's is cruelty-free is their lip balm is amazing.

Nails:
Seche Vite Dry Fast Topcoat - This is one of my favorite products of all time, and by far the best top coat I've ever used. I never paint my nails without it and it is cruelty-free so there is no reason not to buy it!

Pixi Beauty - I own three Pixi nail polishes, and I don't use them often because they are glitter, but I do love them!

Butter London - This is my favorite nail polish brand, as they are cruelty-free and have such a wide variety of colors that can be found at most beauty stores. They're quite pricey at $15 a bottle, but sometimes you can find mini ones cheaper at places like TJ Maxx and Nordstrom Rack.

Hair:
Shea Moisture Shampoo & Conditioner - Shea Moisture uses natural ingredients and never tests on animals which I love. I only recently started using their products when I was on vacation in the Bahamas, but I am highly impressed. It's great that they have a range of products for different hair types and needs, so it's easy to find something that will work for you.

Rusk Thermal Serum - I use this as a heat protectant, and while it is on Peta's list of cruelty-free companies, there is much debate and skepticism regarding whether the product truly is or not. I use PETA's list to check my products, so I do use Rusk, but it's definitely something to look into.



Influance S3 Serum - I recently started using this to smooth fly-aways and moisturize my hair every other day and I love it. I couldn't anywhere online whether or not they were cruelty-free, so I sent them an email and they responded saying that they were!


Carol's Daughter Black Vanilla Leave-In Conditioner - I love this because it detangles my hair, but it also adds a bit of shine and makes my hair look super smooth and moisturized!

Thank you so much for reading this post! Going vegan and using cruelty-free has become a huge part of my life for the past month and a half and I cannot wait to continue on this journey! I will continue to update this list whenever I start using new products so it will stay relevant. Leave your cruelty-free recommendations in the comments below :) Stay tuned, xo Lauren.

Book + Movie Talk: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

July 3, 2016

When I read Me Before You over a year ago, I had no idea it was going to be made into a film. Jojo Moyes' novel moved me in unexpected ways and seeing it on the big screen was (almost) everything I wanted from the film.
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