Cultivated Revelations

A conscious lifestyle blog

What Can We Do?

I am thinking of and praying for all the lives lost and families forever changed after this. This, another mass shooting, on our own soil by our own hands. This time, “the worst ever.” A gunman opened fire with assault weapons at a popular, busy nightclub in Orlando, Florida at 2:00AM. He killed more than 50 people. He took more than 50 lives. {Stay up-to-date on the latest news via the NY Times here.} Guys. Girls. Everyone… We can do better than this. We can and we will do better than this. But, the thing is – each of us actually has to do better. We have to.

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Friday Favorites – 4.1.16

Happy Friday! It’s April Fool’s Day. I could take this opportunity to use Friday Favorites to list a few fake things I’m loving like anchovies on scrambled eggs or the idea of adopting a pet skunk – but, I refuse. This day kind of makes me nervous. Let’s move on. This week was a good one, and I plan to cap it off with an equally good weekend, seeing a movie and spending time indoors since it’s supposed to snow here in the Boston area! (Unfortunately, that’s not an April Fool’s joke.)

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The Best Dairy Alternatives

If you read my post couple weeks back where I explained my experience giving up dairy, you already know why and how I did it. Over the years of talking to others about this subject, I’ve heard a lot of people say how hard it must be to give up such an ingrained food group. “I could never give up cheese!” or “How do you live without ice cream?!” and I get it, I really do! It’s kind of rough in the beginning, but I’ve figured out ways to make sure I’m not missing out. The benefits definitely outweigh any inconvenience for me.

The great news is, over the past few years, dairy-free products have gained popularity, and food companies are taking notice. Dairy alternatives are getting better and better, and there are so many options for me to continue to enjoy all the dairy foods I used to love.

Inspired by the holy grail of ice cream – Ben & Jerry’s – finally introducing their dairy-free version of the treat, I thought I’d share some of my favorite dairy-alternative products today! This way, if you are considering trying to reduce or eliminate your intake of dairy, you have some options to help ease you into it.

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Spring Style

With the official start of Spring behind us, the temperatures in New England have been un-seasonable to say the least. It was warmer on Christmas than it was on Easter this past Sunday. I’m talking like, it was 60 degrees on Christmas and about 39 on Easter. It’s not right. This has left me with some serious cravings for sunshine, sandals and light, flowy clothes. Here are a few images I’m daydreaming about being able to wear:

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A Case for HBO’s ‘Girls’

When the HBO show, ‘Girls’ burst onto the scene in 2012, it was a big topic of discussion in the pop culture world. Called the real-life “Sex & the City” by some, and “unrealistic and over-dramatic” by others, it’s had quite a successful run. I, myself, have loved it from day one, and I think it’s super true to life in its premise more than in its details. For example, I have never cried to my best friend while taking a bath with her like Jessa did with Hannah in season 2, BUT I can absolutely identify with the close and intimate relationship that that scene was representing. After almost 5 seasons of this show, I think it’s clear that ‘Girls’ and ‘Sex & the City’ are more different than they are alike, but I think there are some interesting parallels that have been – and will continue to be – discussed as time goes on.

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Friday Favorites – Easter Edition

It’s Easter weekend! In today’s installment of Friday Favorites, I wanted to celebrate the holiday a little bit. I always love when Easter rolls around, and it’s for a few reasons. Number one: it means it’s almost my birthday. I turn 30 on April 11th! Number two: it means it’s Springtime! And in New England, that’s typically a very welcome happening. Number three: Because of the change of seasons and the symbolism of the Easter holiday, it feels like a chance for renewal and rebirth to me. I’m looking forward to celebrating all these things with family over the weekend, and I hope you get some time to enjoy it for yourself this weekend, too! Read on for a few things I’m loving this week.

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Think Dirty App: How to Know if Your Beauty Products are Safe

When I heard about the Think Dirty app a couple of weeks ago, I was intrigued and excited. After learning, years ago, that beauty and personal care products can contain potentially harmful chemicals and ingredients, I began to scour the ingredient lists of all the products I’d buy. However, it’s hard to know what’s good and what’s bad! I mean, I understand the big ones: parabens, sulfates, petrolatum and aluminum (all ingredients that are very common in beauty and personal care products, but have been shown to have direct links to cancer or other scary health side effects.) Beyond that, I’m kind of lost. You might even be lost with those ingredients alone! It’s difficult to keep up, and the U.S. has the least amount of regulation than almost any country in terms of what is allowed to be in personal care products. Other countries have a slew of banned ingredients that are a-okay by our standards….scary. So, we can’t rely on companies to make the right decision. Really, we can’t trust that something is safe just because it’s available for purchase. I wish we could, and maybe someday we will. So, every time I buy a new product, I kind of just look for the shortest ingredient list and then cross my fingers and hope I’m making the right decision. Well, I won’t be doing that any more with Think Dirty! It does a lot of the work for me. It’s a free app, and its motto is: “Think dirty, shop clean.”

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I have long been a fan of Instagram. A picture is worth a thousand words, they say, and it seems everyone became a semi-professional photographer when Instagram popped onto the social media scene years back. What started out as sort of an eye-roll inducing “hipster” and fake filter-ridden app has become something that most people now embrace as another useful tool in self expression and social connection. I love browsing my feed to keep up with what my friends and family are up to, but also to find inspiration from other bloggers, YouTubers, fashion designers, beauty brands, celebrities and more. Since I am constantly hearing people ask the question, “Do you follow ___________?” and then sharing funny or beautiful or inspirational accounts with each other, I thought I’d round up a few of my most-loved Instagram accounts and share them with you today!

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Book Report: “Luckiest Girl Alive: A Novel”

Growing up, my mother always encouraged me to read, and as I got older, I also watched her mom, my Nana, consume book after book after book. It took me a while to find my love of reading, but I finally did at around the age of 18. I think it’s fascinating how everyone enjoys a different type of writing or a different type of story. I’ve enjoyed a mix-up of things over the years, of course influenced heavily by the stage of life I was in – while I was younger and single, I enjoyed reading happy, girly romance novels. Now that I’ve found my match and am engaged, I enjoy delving into some darker topics – but I still love it all! I want to share with you the times when I read a book that really stays with me, and that’s what I’m going to do today. Truly great stories are ones that the reader can identify with, and even fiction, non-self-help books can assist us in becoming a better person.
Luckiest Girl Alive: A Novel by Jessica Knoll is a book I mentioned I was reading in my last Friday Favorites, and I finished it this past weekend. It was a fascinating read for me. I could see my (past) self in the story a little bit, in that the protagonist, Ani, is striving to have it all and keep up appearances. I think a lot of us have gone through this, and looking at this behavior from an outsider perspective can be eye-opening. So, since I enjoyed this book so much, I would like to share with you my review, a book report of sorts, on Luckiest Girl Alive: A Novel.

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Friday Favorites – 3.18.16

Another week has come and gone! This was a super laid back week for me, which was nice. My life has been moving at a slower pace in general since I made my big career change in November, but this week was extra quiet. The biggest thing that’s been going on is I have had a couple of interviews for new jobs over the past two weeks, so I feel like this might be the calm before the storm. I want to enjoy the calm while it lasts!
Anyway, I’m excited to spend this weekend with family and friends, hopefully enjoying some time outside before we get hit with snow (up to 8”, they say) on Monday. I thought we were done with winter, but Mother Nature tricked me, again, in true New England fashion. Lame.
Here’s a round up of some of my favorite things from the past seven days:

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