• favorites
  • All Natural Brands at Target

    TargetTargetTargetDid you know Target started in Minnesota? And that’s where I’m from too! Us Minnesotans have a lot of Target pride and lately I’m loving Target even more. That’s because more and more of my favorite all natural brands are being carried at their stores as part of the Target Made to Matter collection. I wrote about Made to Matter last year too and it just keeps getting better and better. Made to Matter is Target’s collection of all natural, organic and sustainable brands. AKA brands that are better for you and better for the environment. The goal of the Made to Matter collection is to make higher quality, cleaner products available to everyone…and they are doing just that!

    Plus, all natural brands are more often than not cruelty-free (aka not tested on animals), so that is another great feature of the Made to Matter collection.

    My friends at Pacifica recently sent me some Made to Matter goodies and I was so excited to see even more of my favorite brands featured. Today I’ve put together a list of my favorite products that you can now buy at Target!

    Beauty/Body Care


    Pacifica Dream Big Mascara – My number one mascara. It’s equally perfect for a night out on the town or just an everyday look.


    Pacifica Eye Shadow Palette – My go-to eye shadow palette. I use it myself and I’ve given it as a gift multiple times too!


    Pacifica Eyeliner – The only eyeliner I use. Love it.


    Shea Moisture Anti-Breakage Hair Masque – This stuff has been a staple in my shower the last two years. Makes my hair so soft and shiny.


    Shea Moisture Hand & Body Scrub – This scrub has also been a staple in my shower the last two years. I love the smell and how smooth it leaves my skin.


    My favorite toothpastes are the Honest Company Mint Toothpaste and TOMS Toothpaste. I go back and forth between the two. Did you know most toothpaste is made with glycerin derived from animal fat? Pretty nasty to brush your teeth with that if you ask me. Look for all natural brands like these that use vegan aka plant-derived glycerin.



    Household Products

    Seventh Gen

    Seventh Generation Cleaning Supplies, Laundry Detergent, Dish Soap – I have everything from their multipurpose cleaner to their laundry detergent, dish soap, dish detergent, shower cleaner, glass cleaner and more. So does my mom!


    Mrs. Meyers Hand Soap – My favorite hand soap I’ve been using for years. You’ll find it in my kitchen and bathroom. My sister uses this brand too!


    Peanut Cups

    Justin’s Organic Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups – Always a favorite sweet and salty treat.

    vanilla almond butter

    Justin’s Vanilla Almond Butter – Amazingly delicious on toast.



  • inspiration
  • The Amazing Day-Day

    Day DayDay DayDay DayDay DayDay DayIMG_0962Day Day

    Meet my most recent foster, Day-Day. He is truly a dream dog in every way. I cannot say enough good things about him. However, I never would have known the amazingness of Day-Day had I only judged him from our first meeting at the shelter. This little guy reminded me of such an important life lesson about judgment, stress, and the power of love…

    “Oh no. I can’t do this. I made a mistake.” was the first thing to cross my mind when I picked up Day-Day at the shelter. He was barking the loudest, most piercing bark I’d ever heard. It was incessant and made me want to plug my ears. He was so dirty, his fur was full of mats and he was covered in his own urine and feces. As we left the shelter he barked aggressively at a woman we passed on the street, and again I thought, “Oh no. What have I done? I can’t foster this dog.”

    I told myself…

    His bark is so loud, he will disrupt me and my neighbors. 

    He’s covered in his own feces and urine, he’s going to have so many accidents. 

    He barked at that woman on the street, he’s going to be aggressive. 

    He is too difficult, I cannot do this.

    And even though, as a shelter volunteer and foster mom, I should have known better, I judged him. I made a snap judgment about how he would be in a happy, safe environment, by how he was acting in a stressful, scary environment. And in doing so, I made a terrible mistake, because I almost gave up on one of the sweetest, most amazing dogs I’ve ever known.

    In reality, in a safe, comfortable, loving environment, Day-Day was a totally different dog.

    He was housetrained from day one and never had a single accident. 

    He never, ever barked. Not one single time after we left the shelter. 

    He was kind and gentle to humans and animals alike. 

    He let children pet him and bunnies sniff him, all with a sweet demeanor and happy tail.

    He was happy to go for walks or happy to just relax and cuddle.

    He was always well-behaved. He never did anything naughty or mischievous.

    He was happy to wake up early or sleep in – whatever I preferred, he was happy with.

    He was, simply put, just the best boy.

    And the fact that once we got home he proved to not only be a pretty good dog, but one of the sweetest, easiest, most well-behaved dogs I’ve ever known, reminded me of how stressful the shelter environment can be.

    At the shelter Day-Day went to the bathroom on himself not because he doesn’t know not to, but because he had no choice. No one had had time to let him out since the day before.

    At the shelter Day-Day was barking so loud because he was stressed and scared. He had a bad case of kennel cough so he felt like crap. There was no air conditioning and it was 90 degrees outside, so that made him feel even more like crap. He was uncomfortable in so many different ways. He was barking not to be annoying, but because he needed help.

    At the shelter he barked aggressively at that woman because he didn’t know he was safe yet. He had been through so much, more than we will ever know, and he was terrified. He didn’t know yet who to trust versus who he needed to protect himself from. And with just a little bit of love, that initial sign of aggressive behavior disappeared forever.

    The difference between Day-Day at the shelter, and Day-Day once he was home, reminded me how important it is not to judge a book by its cover.

    To have empathy and try to stand in someone else’s shoes, whether it’s a person or an animal, before ever judging them.

    To remember that any dog at a shelter has been through tremendous stress, and just as we would not be our best selves in the conditions listed above, neither are they.

    And to remember that behind every shelter dog, lies so, so much potential to be the companion of a lifetime.

    Day-Day has been adopted, but there are millions of other dogs just like him sitting in shelters looking for their forever home everyday. To find dogs in your area look up your nearest shelters or visit petfinder.com.



  • city guides
  • Chicago Vegan Eats

    Believe it or not, before I read the book that changed my life and led me to a plant-based diet, I scoffed at the idea of going to a vegan restaurant. I so clearly remember, back when I lived in Chicago, the night my friend suggested we check out The Chicago Diner, a famous Chicago vegan restaurant. My response was, “No way. WTF would I order at a vegan restaurant?!” Pretty crazy how much things can change! I recently got back from a quick trip to Chicago and, with a whole new mindset, got to try out some of the delicious vegan-friendly juice bars and restaurants popping up around the city. Today I’m highlighting some of my Chicago favorites here on the blog.Native FoodsWho doesn’t love nachos? Especially when they’re loaded with so much deliciousness like the ones above. My sister introduced me to Native Foods Cafe and we both thoroughly enjoyed everything we ate. The nachos were delicious and came with cashew cheese instead of dairy cheese. The chipotle sauce was also delicious and I loved that the nachos were loaded with so many toppings. Next time I visit Native Foods Cafe I will definitely be ordering the nachos again.Native FoodsNative Foods Cafe also serves vegan “chicken” that will really blow your mind. It tastes exactly like chicken but it’s completely made out of plants like soy, wheat, peas and seasoning. Vegan meats don’t make up a big part of my diet, but when you’re in the mood for them this is a great place to go. Pictured above is my sister’s favorite, the twister wrap. It comes with fresh baby greens, cucumber salsa, avocado, crispy (or grilled or buffalo) “chicken” with a creamy ranch dressing. Native Foods is also great if you’ve never had vegan food before because you’ll be able to order things that are familiar to you – just vegan!Harvest Juicery

    One morning I stopped by Harvest Juicery near the Fulton District. It’s a super cute, clean, bright space that offers juices, nut milks, smoothies and some plant-based eats too. Their juice combos are really unique and healthy. Some of those unique juice flavors include fennel juice with orange, lemon and mint and melon juice made with cantaloupe, honeydew, lime, cilantro and lemongrass. They also offer pitaya bowls too!Left Coast AcaiLeft Coast Food & Juice is one of my new favorite lunch spots in Chicago. It’s a California-inspired restaurant that offers clean healthy eats in another super cute spot. The acai bowl pictured above was fantastic. It had everything I want in a smoothie bowl.IMG_0795The hermosa avocado toast at Left Coast was also fabulous. It comes with toasted semolina bread, smashed avocado, mojo rojo, basil and red onion. Definitely order it if you find yourself at Left Coast! You can see our whole Left Coast spread below. YUM!Left Coast

    blue spirulina

    I fell in love with this blue magik drink from Real Good Juice Co located in Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood. Not only does it taste amazing and look beautiful with those all natural blue hues, but it’s so good for you too! This drink gets its color from blue spirulina, which is one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. It contains over 65 good-for-you vitamins, minerals and nutrients including B vitamins, bio-available iron, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin A, calcium, antioxidants and omega-3s, to name just a few. It helps with everything from detoxing our bodies of heavy metals to treating allergies and lowering cholesterol. Who knew such a pretty drink could pack such a healthy punch?!
    Bad Day Donuts

    Chicago is also now home to Bad Day Donuts, a 100% vegan donut shop. I first heard of Bad Day Donuts when my sister went to the Chicago Vegan Food & Drink Festival where she said the lines for the donuts were a hundred people deep throughout the whole event! She didn’t get to try them that day so I knew we would have to check them out while I was in town. The dough of these donuts was absolute perfection. You would never ever know that they were any different from “regular” donuts. Bad Day Donuts doesn’t have a brick and mortar location yet, so you can order donuts by the dozen or find them at street fairs, festivals, pop-up shops and farmers markets around Chicago.

    And there you have it! Some of my favorite vegan eats from my recent trip to Chicago. Comment below with your favorite Chi City veg-friendly places for next time!



  • favorites
  • Pure Genius Brownies & Blondies

    Pure GeniusPure GeniusPure GeniusPure GeniusPure GeniusPure GeniusHow good do these brownies and blondies look right about now? Would you believe me if I told you they’re actually good for you?? Not just not bad for you, but good for you! That’s because these sweet treats by Pure Genius are made with a special ingredient at the core of their recipes…beans!

    Pure Genius was created by a former health journalist and certified health coach who had one objective when she set out to satisfy her sweet tooth: to make the most incredible tasting healthy treats ever. And she did just that. The blondies and brownies are made of wholesome ingredients like whole beans, oats, maple syrup and dairy-free chocolate. They use garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas) as their sweet treat bean of choice and it’s amazing how delicious they taste. Because of those wholesome ingredients the bars are high in protein, high in fiber and low in calories. (Not that calories matter when you’re eating whole, plant-based foods, but hey, just sayin’.) They are also gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan, nut-free, soy-free and kosher.

    For me they are the perfect late night snack to indulge in without any guilt. I had one last night while watching Odd Mom Out and it was tasty and absolutely satisfied my desire for something sweet. You can buy Pure Genius brownies and blondies directly on the Pure Genius website or check out their store locator for retailers near you.