Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Review: The All Natural Face

Review: The All Natural Face

Who would have thought
that I'd find an all-vegan
cosmetic and bath products
shop that just opened
nearby! The All Natural
Face has been a popular
online store for quite a few
years, but owner Crystal
Clark just opened a
storefront at 861 Edgell Road in Framingham, MA.

Now anyone who knows
me, knows that I am not
really into makeup and
stuff, or actually spending
any time on my appear-
ance at all. But I couldn't
resist checking this place
out. Upon entering the
(very purple) shop,
handblown beads, and
jewelry made from them,
taunt you at the front windows. Crystal also sells these via her Etsy shop from time to time, but she put that hobby on the back burner due to the demand for her natural vegan cosmetics.

Just the delicious smell
alone will keep you in the
store. I had to try the
mango soap (Ryan's
favourite food after all).
It is fantastic, but subtle.
I also gave the flavoured
lip gloss a go, and the
raspberry scented one
takes me right back to kindergarten where my girlfriends and I would hide under the tables at naptime trying out our collection of various fruity chapsticks. I also got a coconut one, and a cherry bomb tinted lip gloss...not too strong a colour, but considering I hadn't bought a lipstick since my wedding in 2002 I figured it couldn't hurt. And I've been using it just because it smells so darned yummy.

That's about as much soap
and makeup as I could
handle consuming in a week,
so I also purchased a
deodorant. I asked for the
strongest thing she had,
because I am out hiking
or running almost every
day, and sweating a lot, so
I was skeptical. But so far my new vegan roll-on crystal aluminum-free deodorant in lemongrass-grapefruit scent works almost as well as my old super chemical toxic variety, so I think I'll stick with it.

I'm sure I'll be going back
for more soap, lip gloss &
deodorant in the future.
And what a great resource
for cruelty-free makeup
for festivals or Halloween.
Also should Nate be asked
to wear any makeup (he's
been doing a bit of modeling)
I'll know where to go. The prices are very reasonable, and Crystal can tell you the source of each and every ingredient.

Check out TheAllNaturalFace Facebook page and "like" it to keep up to date on products available in the store or online.

The retail shop has
plenty of parking.
Call 978-261-3238
for more info.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

April showers & some flowers

We've been spending lots of time outside enjoying the spring weather. Time for picnics at the park! After watching the Boston Marathon pass through our town, we walked to a nearby playground for lunch and some fun.I brought along a picnic bento of finger foods for everyone to share.

And here are some lunches from April:
Ryan & AJ's lunches: peanuts; cucumber slices; stir-fried broccoli over rice.

Maia's lunch was
similar: a strawberry;
a pickle; cucumber slices;
stir-fried broccoli over

It's trickier making a
complete lunch without
nuts for preschool.

Ryan & AJ's lunches:
cupcakes; sandwiches;
pickle; carrots.

Ryan & AJ's lunches:
Thermos' of tofu-herb
ravioli; pickle; carrots;
grapes; strawberries.

You can always tell when
the spring rains arrive--
my pics get dark & gloomy.
Ryan & AJ's lunches: somen
noodles with sesame tofu &
steamed broccoli; carrots;
grapes; apricots/raisins;
mini banana muffins.Maia's lunch: apricots; grapes; steamed broccoli; somen noodles w/sesame tofu; carrot; pickle; snap peas.

Happy spring!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Restaurant Review: The Pulse Cafe

On Earth Day we ate out at The Pulse Cafe in Somerville, MA. The food is all vegan, diner-style fare, and we definitely pigged out!

We started with a double
order of nachos, which
came piled high with
chili and nut-cheese. We
added extra guacamole
on top. The kids were
anticipating really liking
these, but I think there
were just too many
flavours happening at once, and the chili and cheese were not their preferred tastes. I think they're just accustomed to my own chili at home.

The buffalo tofu bites on
the other hand were
AMAZING. Our server
was concerned they'd be
too spicy for the kids, but
they loved them! They
came with celery and a
dip. Next time we'll
definitely be ordering more
of this superb treat!

While waiting for our entrees I browsed the vegan literature from the Boston Vegan Association, and various animal rights organizations. This restaurant is quite family friendly, with a decent bathroom and plenty of dining space. There was a queue developing for tables as our meal progressed!

Another nifty thing about The Pulse Cafe is that it serves breakfast all day (despite not being open at breakfast time, LOL). AJ wanted to try the scrambled tofu with toast. The servings here are HUGE, and we all shared some AND brought leftovers home which 3 of us split the next day!

All the kids had their first-ever root beer floats! And Ryan insisted on ordering a bowl of black bean soup--it was delicious! I ordered the "Bacon Cheeseburger" after seeing a recommendation from a customer on The Pulse Cafe's Facebook page. The bun was tasty, the burger a little plain, but the melted Daiya cheddar and the smoked tempeh strips and condiments were yummy.
My husband ordered the "Philly Cheese Steak". I later heard the whole wheat roll was an experiment--usually they use a white roll--and we thought it was fantastic. This giant seitan sandwich was a major win with us all, and we'll be hard-pressed not to order it again on our next visit! Super!
Despite being extremely
stuffed, we shared one
slice of the Silk Mint Pie,
one of the day's dessert
specials. I'm not a big pie
eater, but everyone
seemed to like it.

We will definitely be
returning to The Pulse
Cafe in the future! It
may rival the kids'
favourite sushi after their quarterly haircut visit in Cambridge.

The Pulse Cafe is located
at 195 Elm Street, Somerville,
MA, about half way between
the Davis Sq. and Porter Sq.
T stops on the Red Line (but
technically still in Davis Sq.).
They are closed mondays.
Call 617-625-1730 for more