Monday, April 25, 2016

A Few Makeup Things I Like Right Now

Here are a few things that are in rotation in my daily makeup routine. As always everything is cruelty free and vegan.

Makeup Revolution - Iconic 3 Redemption Palette: I bought the palette hearing that it is a dupe for Urban Decay Naked palette. Actually all 3 icon palette have been reported as UD Naked dupes. At $7 it is a steal and unlike UD these are vegan and cruelty free. I like the matte shades the best, I found the glitter dark brown burgundy shade (last shade on the right) had a lot of fall out (which I am sure is common with glitter shades - I try to avoid them). They all blend nicely though and the middle colors get a lot of use in my makeup looks. I will most likely go back for the other two.

I am more of a liquid matte lipstick fiend lately but could not pass up this set of Anastasia Beverly Hills Lustrous Lip Gloss Set $40 considering each gloss in the set individually retails at $16. The shades range from a true sheer gloss to a deep opaque hue. The darkest color Black Cherry is really rich and opaque. I really like the litter shades for layering and creating a dimensional lip look.

The boyfriend bought me a ELF Contouring Brush and it is great for the cheek, chin and forehead area. The dense bristles deposit color nicely. I am not a contouring artist but I do use bronzer to help me define my cheekbones.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

New Issue Of Cemetery Gates Out Now

It is finally here: Cemetery Gates Volume 4! 28 pages of cemetery adventure, death culture and an interview with modern mourning jewelry designer Wisp. Each issue comes with a 1" button and will help fund future projects.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Celebrating National Pet Day

I want to give lots of love to the two fur balls in my life that are helping me celebrate National Pet Day as well as one special guy who carried a big chunk of my heart when he passed. I love you!

Never trust a long tail and a smile...

All this fluff is perfect for cuddling....

 Will always be in my heart.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Talking Art & Mental Health With Dustooned

I met Dustin at EBABZ. I overheard him talking about how he was doing portraits of people facing their fears and I was curious. So after I spoke to him about my life with OCD and anxiety I walked away with new art and more reassurance that the creation is a form of therapy no matter what you create.

How long have you been into art?
Since day one. I have always had an interest since birth. I can still remember watching flashes of cartoons on screen from my youth. Cartoons were a way of bonding with my folks. In a classic nuclear family setting, Mom watched Disney, and Dad watched Looney Toons. Both just were imprinted in my brain early and became a strong presence in my artwork as far back as I can remember. Also, I liked the Looney Toons so much more! 

How long have you been into doing comics?
Comics have always had a presence in my life, and luckily I was born during the huge comic industry boom of the 90s. I think one of the first comic I ever read was a Batman or Spiderman comic. Ever since I discovered them, I started drawing my own. I think I Was about 4 years old at the time.

Where do you find inspiration?
Inspiration for me comes from everything. All art forms, all great master artist of the past, but I think most importantly life is what inspires me. What drives me is love, and love life and people very much. I feel we can learn so much from each other. Especially from those who we love, and also can't stand. Shadows tend to be ignored, but sometimes I feel those are the greatest teachers in our lives.
Where did the inspiration for doing portraits of people facing their fears come from?
As I child, I was terrified of the world. I was in constant anxiety, but somehow found solace in expressing the strange shadows that lurked in my youthful angst. During my life, I feel into a deep darkness and mental disarray. This in turn caused me to question everything I thought about myself, and why I feared what I feared. One of those things was mental illness, and since at that point in my life I had began to brush the edges of mental illness, I knew I had to face them in some way. 

Hearing the stories, and fears of what others had been through that were close to me and seeing how they survived them gave me a drive to somehow find a way to encompass that visually. I have always been a supporter of therapy having personally benefiting tremendously from it. 

It taught me that its important to experience fear, accept it, but do not allow it to remain within you. It was all about perspective, and changing the perspective of how we saw fear, despite its strong challenges. So I thought, why not illustrate the worse that could happen rather than thinking about it? 

I feel in a way, it helps the mind see it for what it is in a way that is separate from reality, and I hope in some way it inspires the soul to see it not as intimidating as the mind perceives it. 

How do you personally face your fears?
Accepting myself 100%, loving my fears 100% but allowing them in my mind to control me. I have learned that we are not our thoughts ,and if we were to draw them, like Iam occasionally, we can see that they are a part of us, but not us. I guess in short, I tend to face them head on in whatever rhythm or way that seems tangible and or compatible in the moment.  Sometimes though, it takes me time and from there I will have to allow myself to gradually face them by making steps or little changes everyday. The mind works that way sometimes, we can't always allow ourselves to think that somethings can change overnight, but we can allow ourselves to believe overnight that we can change and face our fears. I feel that fear will always be with us, and instead of resisting it, like many of us do including myself, it simply better to just accept it, face it and stop running from it. 

As a very wise monkey had said about fear and the past, which go hand in hand quite well: "The past can hurt, but you can either run from it, or learn from it!"

More of Dustin's work can be found here:  

Monday, March 28, 2016

Restaurant Review: Thai Chili Restaurant Elk Grove, CA

I was looking for a new spot to eat at in Elk Grove over the weekend and Thai Chili Restaurant came up as vegan friendly. Matt was game to check them out.  I called ahead and asked about vegan items and they said they had some. So once there we walked up to the place ready for a food adventure.  The spot was nice with outdoor and indoor seating - we choose indoor, due to allergies and all.
They have a large vegetarian menu so I asked our waitress what could be done vegan, she had another server help us who could point us in the right direction. There was a lot of food I wanted to try but he recommended the yellow curry so I ordered avocado yellow curry. We always have to have rice with our curry and they brought out a nice sized portion to go with a big bowl of curry.

The curry was lovely. The sauce was thick and rich, super yummy. Big chunks of potatoes, tofu and avocado mixed in with other veggies. I loved how the avocado was warm and soft - very fresh tasting. We would both order this again!

Since Matt and I were sharing I said lets go for two appetizers. I really wanted to try the fried bananas - because they sounded really good. Matt pointed out Tofu Lover and being a fan of fried tofu I said we should try that as well.
The fried bananas were coated in a light crunchy batter and served with chili sauce. They were sweet and tasty, I wanted to grab a few to go and have them with non-dairy ice cream. I really liked them. The tofu was fried to perfection, crunchy outside and chewy inside and came with a tasty sweet and sour sauce. Even though both items were fried they were not greasy or heavy. The sauces were really good as well, tasting fresh and not from a bottle.

I cannot wait to go back. The service was attentive, the space was clean and the food came out fast (even with a crowed). The only complaint is we ate so much and wish we had room for more.

Thai Chili Restaurant is located at: 8696 Elk Grove Blvd #5, Elk Grove, C. If you are ever in the area check 'em out! 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Tropical Skin Storm (Vegan Body & Skin Care Reviews)

Spring has sprung. A day on the calendar does not help determine that for me. Nope - my skin breaks out in tiny blisters and I itch like I am a bug buffet, that is how I can tell spring is here. So I wanted to get myself a few skin soothers and ended up with a nice mix of tropical scents.

So not everything is heavily scented on my list but this Pacifica Cactus Water Micellar Cleansing Tonic is refreshing and has a load of feel good tropical flower extracts. It really removes stuck on makeup and oily grime. I use it after taking my makeup off with coconut oil and my skin feels cleaned and refreshed not dry and itchy.

Pacifica Pore Refine Deep Detox mask is loaded with stuff I like to eat in my fruit salad: berries and lemon. It helps get rid of clogged pores and shine - things to consider as the weather starts warming up. The texture is very runny and the formula is clear something I  did not expect with a mask but it is not bad. The smell is light but fruity. It dries pretty fast and once rinsed off my skin felt soft and refreshed. This is a good mask - one I will go back to. Masks are something I have been missing out on - either they leave my skin to dry or do nothing for me. This feels like it will keep my skin happy.

This Hempz body lotion in  Goji Orange Lemonade is amazing! It smells like a melted Popsicle on a hot summer day. It is sweet and refreshing at the same time. The lotion moisturizes nicely and does not leave a greasy residue on my skin. Plus I do not get chest breakouts like I have in the past with other highly moisturizing citrus lotions. It is cooling and light but leaves you soft and smelling great! This is a limited edition scent - get it while you can!

I walked into Lush and noticed the new Yuzu And Coconut Shower Cream and walked out with the big bottle. It smells good - like a tropical cocktail. It is moisturizing but not greasy and the scent lingers on your skin.  The bright yellow color makes me think of happy warm days and flowers in bloom.Sometimes cream products make me feel oily after I wash them off but this left behind nothing but soft skin.

If you try any of these products and like them let me know!

Monday, March 14, 2016

The Butcher's Son Berkeley, CA Review

For the last few weeks pictures rolled in on social media of The Butcher's Son. Matt and I put it on our list of must try places with each new photo that we saw. a 100% vegan deli - yes please! We got there at lunch time on a dreary Saturday and the small spot was packed. The case was pretty empty but after looking at the menu up front we saw they were not sold out yet. We got our order to go just in case a seat would not open up. We got lucky and a seat opened up though.

We both decided to try the Cotija cheeze so we bought a sample sized piece, I am not really a cheeze person but this was so good. Dry and salty and just perfect.

We both decided on the Sriracha peppersteak sandwich with potato salad as our side. We heard my name called and Matt got up to get our order only to see someone else walk off with it. After telling them what happened they made our meal again. Ughh the wait!

Photo courtesy of Matt - I was busy eating.  The sandwich is so legit. It truly tastes like a deli sandwich and not some fast food chain mumbo jumbo. Seitan based steak, peppers, veggies, sauce and crusty (not hard) bread. Every bite is an explosion of flavors. The sandwich is huge - so come hungry or split one. The sandwich + side is like $11, which is not bad. We have paid the same for a sandwich that lacked 90% of what these bad dudes pack. The potato salad is really good too, it has a savory smokey flavor and a crunch on the potatoes.

As we wrapped up our meal I saw someone with a cannoli and made Matt go get one.  Growing up these were a staple at Christmas gatherings. My grandma would make them and an assortment of other Sicilian treats. I never cared for them as a kid - maybe because I was busy with all the other food. I have been nostalgic for good Sicilian/Italian pastry forever. While the cannoli was good I do not think it was a cannoli. The shell was lacking crunch which was disappointing, it was more of a French pastry shell. Also the creamy center was missing that tang you get after the sweetness melts away. If they worked out the kinks I would eat more than one! Would it be too much to ask for a espresso machine too?

Go to The Butcher's Son and have one of the best sandwiches ever. From what I understand they are still working out hour-day kinks. Check online to see their current schedule and see what they are serving. They are located 1941 University Ave, Berkeley, Ca. 100% vegan and awesome!