Animal Makeup: An Open Letter to Cosmetics Companies

lpobeauty.comI LOVE makeup. Thank you, Captain Obvious, right? Well why have I not bought any for the past six months? Well,  I finally broke my way out of my “ignorance is bliss” mindset and decided to educate myself. And I was disturbed. So disturbed in fact that my blog has virtually been in limbo. I’ve felt paralyzed at how daunting it can be to check all the ingredients, compare them with what I’m ok with and not ok with (for example, I can handle beeswax but the stomach lining of an animal is SO not ok to me), try to figure if ingredients are an animal or a synthetic form, etc. The days of just picking something up because “ooh I like this” are gone. I’ve learned a lot and I’ll include some links and tips for avoiding animal products in your makeup at the end. But for now, this post from Beautylish breaks it down great; it was a huge eye opener for me. So it’s finally time for me to have my say, and I’m doing it in the form of letter.

Dear Cosmetics Companies,
You have been the benefactor of a good chunk of my expendable income for the past 17 or 18 years … ever since I visited my first MAC Cosmetics store in California. I was in love. The color … oh the color. So much so that, four years ago, my friends encouraged me to start a blog to share the product reviews I did for them with the world.

I have been a vegetarian since 1997. I don’t expect anyone else to live that way, to avoid leather because I do. But it’s pretty clear cut, I know what to avoid and what to embrace. Buy you have so carefully hidden the fact that animal parts are rampant in your products. I had NO idea that because of carmine coloring, I’d been putting BEETLES on my lips and eyes for years. Beetles! And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

So I just have two questions for you:

  1. Why do you make it so hard to determine what I’m putting in my hair and on my face?  How do I know if the musk in perfume is from beaver genitals or if it’s synthetic? I know not everyone shares my views, bur ripping an animal apart in the name of beauty is not cool with me. And putting those things onto myself – seriously, ground animal hooves and derivatives from horse urine? No thank you. I have a feeling that your answer is going to include something relating to cost cutting measures, which leads me to my second point.
  2. Eyes Lips Face (e.l.f) products are completely vegan. Their items mostly sell for $1-6 each. If the most affordable cosmetics company out there can eliminate animal products, why do we need them at all?

I can’t wait to hear your answers. In the meantime, I’d like to thank those of you that do NOT use animal products and those that provide transparency on their websites about what’s in their products.

Liz Perry

So if you’re as grossed out as I was, here are some tips to help you get started:
1. I’m about 50/50 on PETA – Im not a fan of the whole world HAS to be vegan mentality or its shock tactics. However, PETA has accomplished some really great things (exposing animal abuses, helping end animal fighting, etc.) and one thing I really appreciate is their educational aspect. I’ve been referring a lot to this list of completely vegan companies, which takes out the need to read every single ingredient. I’m a big fan of Pureology (pricy but worth it), Skyn Iceland, Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics, and Pacifica.

2. Sephora’s website actually has great search function. Just type in “vegan and you’ll get pages of results.

3. Companies that are awesome with transparency include:

4. There are some really great bloggers that keep tabs on what’s available sans animal parts.Cruelty-free Kitty has great listings by brand and Logical Harmony does a great job of breaking down vegan products by store and by product category (foundation, skin care, etc.). They’ve done a ton of legwork contacting the companies who don’t publicly list what’s in their products.

Husker Punch

I apologize in advance for the pun, but this Husker Punch was a major touchdown at the party I took to last week. Whether you like the Huskers or you don’t, this punch is winner. It’s easy to make, and sweet but not too sweet. Using lighter versions of the punch and soda helped with that. Plus, with some fruit in there, you almost feel like you’re hitting all the food groups.

lpobeauty.comThe fun thing about this is you can do however you want. If you want more fruit, more alcohol or more juice, play with the ratios. If you want more sugar, go with the full versions of Sprite and Hawaiian Punch. If you like 7 N Up or Sierra Mist better than Sprite, go for it. You could also do fresh pineapple … I was just being cheap since it soaks in alkie anyway 🙂

This recipe is also scaleable. Just follow these guidelines and you can make anything from 1 glass to 100 gallons (ok that’s extreme, but who knows, maybe you’re having a frat party.)

  • 1 part strawberries
  • 1 part oranges
  • 2 parts pineapple
  • 2 parts pineapple rum
  • 2 parts orange vodka
  • 4 parts punch

One final tip – be careful when stirring … the Sprite could cause a bubble over.

Why I’m Digging Clothing Rental: Gwynnie Bee Review

Clothing rental – they send you clothes, you keep them as long as you want and send them back or buy them and keep them permanently. Compelling right? I thought so.

The second dress I purchased from GwynnieBee was perfect for travel (this photo was the result of 24 hours with no sleep)

So I decided to try out Gwynnie Bee for a lot of reasons:
1. Real girl sizes – I am struggling with losing this damn weight and they offer sizes 10-32. (What size am I currently? Not telling, but it’s not a 10 and it’s not a 32.)
2. Flexibility – As I lose weight, I can choose to have smaller sizes sent to me.
3. No Commitment – Have you ever bought something based on losing weight later or taken something home just because “it was such a good deal!!” Clothing rental means avoiding these kinds of “who was I kidding” retail regret.
4. Since I am losing weight, I don’t want to load up on a bunch of clothes at my current size.

And I am HOOKED. Why? Well, first off, to give you an idea, I pay about $37 a month. That means I get one item at a time, and can send it back unlimited amounts of time within a month to get a new garment. The turnaround is pretty quick (a few days) and you can notify them ahead of time that you’re sending it back so they can get your next item ready.

Why I’m addicted:
1. Laundry salvation – A little too much fun this weekend, last night, whatever? At least I’ve got ONE clean outfit that just came in the mail.
2. Versatility – A lot of the outfits work for both work and casual (mainly the dresses).
3. Loyalty perks – On a couple of occasions, they’ve given me two outfits at a time, just for being a loyal customer.
4. The discounts – Because you pay for the service, you already get a killer discount (like $100 dresses for $50), but watch your emails – sometimes they knock more off. Also, they have a store with good deals just for members (I think these are for the items they retire).
5. Public opinion – A lot of times I’ll base which items I keep on how many compliments I get. You can’t do this when you’ve already purchased the item 🙂 I also try to only keep items that will look good as I go down in size (to a point – but they are all quality pieces, so it’s worth getting them altered down the line if needed.)
6. Prioritizing – You pick everything you want sent to you and it goes into a closet. See a pic of mine below.You can choose which items you’d prefer to have sent to you first (this is a newer feature not originally offered by the site).
Really my only major complaint is the lack of tall sizes (for pants). The sizing is pretty accurate, but until you get the hang of it, check the size charts, as every designer is different.

So what did I buy? So far, two super versatile dresses and I’m definitely buying the one I’m wearing today. Check it out!

The great pieces I’ve scored so far from Gwynnie Bee

Awesome Smoothies in Omaha, and Your Chance to Try Them!


And the winner of the $25 Smoothie King gift card is Julie Otto Schmitz of Family Fun in Omaha!


I love smoothies. Almost as much as I love cheese. And THAT is some serious love. But I’ve always been disappointed with smoothies in Omaha. Too much ice, heavy syrup, crappy ingredients, etc. I got spoiled by going to school in Cali for a year where we had a Jamba Juice ON campus. Well guess what, that’s all changed with the arrival of Smoothie King. Good Lord am I happy!

IMG_3741[1]So first let’s address the elephant in the room. Are they as tasty as Jamba Juice? Hell yes. BUT way healthier. As a vegetarian who’s losing weight, seeing that some of them have up to 50 g of protein makes me mucho happy. PLUS a drive thru! Wha whaattttttt??!?!?!

Smoothie King Omaha drive thru (that’s my pretty Jeep Gypsy in the background)

I got to try out Smoothie King with some fellow Omaha bloggers. It’s at 90th and center, across from the Hy-Vee on the end of the plaza where Senor Matias used to be (I totally miss that place, can you tell?)

I was in love with everything I tried. The Hulk is for adding weight, so it has ice cream, but it was so good. I’m really into the veggie blends; they are a great, tasty way to get your veg in. I couldn’t even taste the carrot in the berry carrot one I tried.



Wellness is really at the heart of the whole operation. They have healthy snacks too, like protein cookies!


I was excited to learn they were founded in New Orleans, since my brother is moving there in the fall. I may be sneaking in some smoothies when I visit him.


I definitely see myself spending a lot of time at 90th and Center in coming months. Speaking of which, if you download the Smoothie King app, you accumulate points toward free smoothies for everything you purchase. Score!!!


Ok but first, here’s a chance to try out Smoothie King for free. I can’t make any promises, but if you don’t like it, I’m pretty sure you’re not human!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tom + Chee: America’s Freshest Franchise – win FREE food!


Ok, so when Tom + Chee announced it was opening in Omaha, I was excited. I mean grilled cheese and soup, how can you go wrong? Plus apparently there was a lot of hype because everyone and their mom (except me) saw the company founders on Shark Tank. But there was so much didn’t know that made it 10 times more amazing:

  • Everything is fresh – no blenders, no freezers – everything down to the salad dressings and meat rubs are made from scratch Same category but deserves its own nod – made from scratch, made to order MAC and CHEESE (my fave food if you couldn’t tell)
  • HEALTHY options – yep, surprise!
  • Gluten free and vegan options
  • TONS of vegetarian options
  • NO sugar added to the soups
  • TONS of options, including build your own
  • Crazy, amazing doughnuts that are NOT fried
  • Off the menu, daily special options you can find in their Facebook updates
  • The sandwiches are super filling, which I just didn’t expect, as are the awesome entrée salads

It’s off 145th and Maple, so personally for me, that a long drive but WORTH it. We got to try TONS of stuff, so get ready for some food porn! IMG_3668[1]IMG_3673[1]IMG_3667[1]IMG_3681[1] IMG_3674[1] IMG_3682[1]Now it’s your a turn for a shot at enjoying the goodness – take a friend or go twice by yourself! The winner will receive soup, grilled cheese and deluxe dessert doughnuts (trust me whatever you’re expecting, they’re even better)! a Rafflecopter giveaway