Easter is only a few days away. Which is crazy, because it feels like last week we were saying goodbye to 2018, and now we’re saying goodbye to April. But whether or not you celebrate Easter, it’s a chance to spend time with family, eat some delicious food, and most importantly, eat CHOCOLATE.
It can be a little tricky to find vegan chocolate bars, especially when you’re in a rush. Ingredient lists can be so hard to navigate, and most brands don’t flat-out say whether or not their products are vegan. So I’ve compiled a list for you of my favorite vegan chocolate bars to stock up on for Easter. And the best part? Most of these chocolate bars can be ordered on Amazon, which means you’ll get them just in time for Easter 🙂
Note: some of these chocolate bars are made in the same facility as milk chocolate bars, so if you have an allergy, make sure to double check the websites.
Justin’s is one of my favorite companies of all time. Not only are their almond butters out-of-this-world delicious, but they are also the nicest company I’ve ever talked to. Their dark chocolate peanut butter cups are one of my top 5 favorite snacks, for sure.
Endangered Species holds a special place in my heart. First and foremost, my boyfriend gets me one of their dark chocolate bars on almost every holiday. But more importantly, Endangered believes in giving back. 10% of their profits go towards different charities and organizations that help with conservation. If you like dark chocolate, you’ll love their chocolate bars. Try the Salted Peanuts + Dark Chocolate bar or the Raspberries + Dark Chocolate bar. The 88% Dark Chocolate bar is crazy good too!
Trader Joe’s, aka My Personal Heaven on Earth, has so many options for vegan chocolate. Not only are their chocolate chips accidentally vegan, but the Pound Plus Dark Chocolate and 72% Dark Chocolate bars are too. They also have a constantly-changing variety of smaller chocolate bars, but not all of them are vegan so be sure to check the ingredients list.
Alter Eco is another chocolate company that I love. My favorites are the Quinoa Crunch bar and the Salted Almonds bar. They even have a vegan variety pack of chocolate bars that you can order through their website!
I was never really a candy bar type of person. Of course I ate them every once in a while, but it was never my snack of choice. But something about going vegan has me craving a candy bar every once in a while! In steps Go Max Go to make all my vegan candy bar dreams come true. They offer all the classics (Twix, Milky Way, 3 Musketeers, etc.) in a delicious, personal-sized vegan candy bar. The Twilight Bar (aka Milky Way) is my favorite!
Chocolove is a company making chocolate bars in some crazy delicious flavors. Coffee crunch? Pretzels? Grapefruit? Sign me up. For a delicious vegan option, try the Orange Peel in Dark Chocolate Bar or the Raspberries in Dark Chocolate bar.
Hello, friends. I’m back after a short time away from the blog. I feel like I say that at least once a month, but this whole burnout thing is real. On top of managing this blog, hobbies, and keeping a clean house, it’s almost impossible to stay on top of everything. Add stress and lack of self-care into it, and it is impossible.
I struggled for so long trying to figure out what exactly my blog is about. I have friends or family ask and I always sort of stutter over the answer:
It’s hard to explain because there are so many things I love doing and so many things I want to share. And then a few nights ago I collapsed on the couch and sighed, and thought really hard about what is important to me. And all of a sudden, it hit me. My blog is about all things self-care.
I do yoga or dance every day because it makes me feel good. I usually eat a cookie every day because that also makes me feel good. Sharing recipes makes me happy, but so does sharing TV recommendations or lists of my favorite Amazon purchases. It all ties together in this weird way. And unknowingly, that’s what my blog has been about this whole time.
Self-care is a relatively new concept to a lot of people, myself included. I’ve struggled with being too mean to myself for so many years, and I hate admitting that, but it’s true. I pushed self-love to the side and made fun of it (it’s just some hippie mumbo-jumbo) until I realized about a year ago that I need it more than anyone. Self-care is nothing more than just taking care of yourself.
Self-care is literally anything that makes you feel better, anything that helps you to take care of yourself and recharge your batteries. Without it, we hit a wall, get that famous “creative burnout”, and even damage our immune systems. So without further ado, here are 30 self-care ideas for whenever you need it most.
1. Full-on spa treatment.
Fill a bubble bath, put on a face mask, light some candles, and give yourself the relaxing spa experience in your own home.
2. Go on a nature walk.
Getting out in nature has a way of calming me down instantly. Even just going for a short walk around the neighborhood will give you the same feeling!
4. Get a coffee at your favorite coffee shop.
5. Go to a park or the beach.
Sitting in a beautiful park or walking along the beach is the perfect way to calm your mind.
6. Unplug for an hour. Or two.
Social media has a way of completely overwhelming us, so it’s really nice to give your brain (and eyes!) a break from the screen. Spend an hour away from your phone and see how much more relaxing it is.
7. Read a book in bed.
8. Play video games.
On stream, I play fun, exciting games where I can laugh and talk to people. But when I want to relax, I’ll play house-building or exploring games, like The Sims or Fallout (just the house-decorating aspects, though!).
9. Take a small weekend getaway.
10. Do yoga.
11. Eat your favorite meal.
Whether that means spending hours in the kitchen cooking for yourself or ordering in your favorite Thai takeout, eating your favorite meal will definitely improve your mood.
12. Listen to your favorite music.
13. Lay on the couch and watch your favorite movie.
Snuggle up on the couch and give yourself permission to do nothing for a while.
14. Start a gratitude journal.
If you don’t want to start a whole journal, try just naming 10 things that you’re grateful for, right now. They can be small things or big things, or materialistic or not, just say the first 10 things that come to mind!
15. Play with your pet.
16. Paint, play an instrument, anything that sparks your creativity.
17. Take a nap.
When the burnout hits, you’re tired and cranky and lack any sort of energy. Sometimes the best solution is a good old-fashioned nap!
18. Eat a healthy snack.
As humans, getting stressed usually means reaching for the junk food. But eating a healthy snack instead will make you feel better for multiple reasons: it’ll literally help you feel better (vitamins and minerals!), and you won’t feel guilty afterwards. As I’m writing this, I’ve got a big bowl of carrots next to me, but boy did I want a slice of cake at first.
19. Paint your nails, dye your hair, do whatever makes you feel beautiful!
20. List 5 things that you’re good at.
Refocusing on yourself and your skills helps beat that overwhelming feeling of I’m not doing enough.
21. Go see a friend.
22. Get a massage or facial.
23. Take a minute to just relax.
Light some candles, burn some essential oils, plop down in a comfy chair. Take some deep breaths and relaaaax.
24. Learn something new.
Learning something new is not only fun and challenging, but also completely distracts your mind from stress.
25. Watch a funny YouTube video.
26. Garden (or get some new plants for the house!).
27. Clean the house.
Distracting your mind with cleaning will help you not only feel more relaxed, but you’ll also have a nice clean place to settle in at the end of the night. Two birds!
28. Find a new podcast to listen to.
29. Stand up and stretch.
This is the easiest thing you can do during the day. Take 5 minutes to stretch, and see how much better you feel.
Daydream about anything you want. It can be more serious, work-related things (you finally finished that huge project and your boss loved it!) or more freeing, adventurous things (I’m on vacation in Mexico with a margarita in my hand, and boy is it awesome). Daydreaming can help clear up your mind as well as reinvigorate you to push forward.
I don’t know about you guys, but I am always looking for better recipe organization. Recipes get out of hand so quickly and before you know it, the recipe you’re looking for is lost forever in a sea of magazine clippings and printed out papers.
Today I’m sharing 7 different ways you can organize your recipe mess. I’m including both paper recipes as well as digital recipes (I’ve got both, and I’m sure you do too!). Let me know in the comments which method is your favorite!
If your recipes are on paper:
In a recipe binder.
This is my personal favorite and the system I always stick to. There’s just something about having a physical copy of the recipe in front of me while baking that I love. My favorite method of keeping everything together is my DIY Recipe Binder (check out the blog post for a step by step!).
In file folders / in a filing system.
Another easy way to organize full-sized sheets of paper or printed recipes is to organize them in file folders and use a filing system. This keeps everything super organized and makes it easy to find exactly what you need.
In a recipe card box.
If you prefer a more nostalgic recipe organization, you can always write your recipes on recipe index cards and line them up in a recipe card box. Plus you can customize the index cards as well as the recipe box itself, and I’m such a sucker for anything customized.
In zip-up plastic folders.
This is something I had never thought of until I noticed my mom organizing her recipes this way. Sort your recipes by course (appetizers, dinner, etc.), ingredient (chicken, fish, etc.), or type of recipe (cake, cookies, etc.), and stick them in plastic folders. Easy peasy.
If your recipes are online:
Pinterest is my number 1. My ride or die. My favorite thing in the entire world. Pinterest makes it easy to keep literally thousands of recipes and organize them any way you want to. Pinterest also makes it super easy to find exactly what you’re looking for, instead of having to search multiple pages on Google!
I tend to scribble down recipes that I find on Pinterest, test them, and if I like the recipe enough I’ll print it out and stick it in my recipe binder.
Evernote is a personal organization and note-taking app. I’ve read a lot of positive reviews from people who have had success using Evernote. I have never personally used it, but I know that it’s great for recipe organization!
In Google Drive.
Google Drive is a file storage system included when you sign up for a Google email address. Drive is great for not only note-taking and recipe organization, but also for sharing recipes with others! Drive also allows you to access your files on any device, which makes finding your recipes super simple.
Which method of recipe organization do you use? Let me know!
Friends! Happy (almost) 2019! This year has been a struggle, and I feel comfortable saying that only because I think a lot of people feel exactly the same way. 2018 had a lot of tough moments, but we made it. I made this list of yearly favorites for you guys to showcase some things I found that make life a little better and a little easier (and yes, I included lots of links to said products). Enjoy!
This post may contain affiliate links, which means that I earn a commission if you purchase through those links (at no extra cost to you!). Thanks for the support that makes Panthers & Peonies possible!
1. Blue Light-Blocking Glasses.
These are first on my yearly favorites list for a reason: they literally saved my eyes. Blue light-blocking glasses help ease headaches and eye strain for anyone who looks at a computer screen or tv monitor for long periods of time. I’ve never felt that I needed them until now.
Onto the embarrassing story… I got shampoo in my eye. I’m a grown adult and can usually keep track of where my hands are at all times, but one night for some reason I smacked myself right in the eye with a big handful of shampoo. And since then, my eye has been a little blurry, I get headaches, and my eye is full of those stupid eye floaters and it started to really impair my vision. Not to mention the fact that between blogging, streaming, and editing videos, I’m on the computer all day every day.
I finally decided to try out blue-light blocking glasses to try and help ease my headaches and eye strain, and I KID YOU NOT, since the first time I put these glasses on, I have had ZERO eye floaters. Not a one. These are actual magic. I bought the TIJN ones in black, but I plan on buying them in pink and the leopard print too!
2. Bullet Journaling.
Bullet journaling is not a new thing. It’s not even a new thing for me. I’ve been hooked on The Happy Planner for a few years now, mainly because all the work is done for me and all I have to do is fill in the blanks. I’ve tried creating a bullet journal in the past but have never stuck with it, until I realized that I don’t need to have flawless pages. It sounds like “duh, Brittany, that’s the whole point of a bullet journal”, but for a perfectionist like myself it was a hard concept to grasp. I now realize that I can do it however I want, use whatever type of journal I want (currently using a lined 8.5″x11″ softcover journal because I love the lined pages and the large size), whatever type of pens I want, etc. AND I LOVE IT.
3. The One-Minute Rule.
I never thought this would make a difference, but BOY HOWDY was I wrong. The one-minute rule basically states that if something will take you a minute or less, just do it now instead of putting it off until later. Sounds simple, but I’ve felt so much more organized (and the house has been a lot cleaner!) since I started.
4. Essential Oil Diffuser.
I tried to fight it, but I finally became one of those people obsessed with my oil diffuser. I never wanted to get into essential oils, partly because it can be an incredibly expensive hobby and partly because I don’t really believe in the “healing properties”. But within 10 minutes of turning this thing on, our entire apartment smelled incredible and I’ve never looked back.
5. “You are a Badass” by Jen Sincero.
Please don’t leave, I would usually be rolling my eyes too. A self-help book, really? But there’s something about this book that just really stuck with me. I’m a huge believer in the Law of Attraction, but there are a few little specifics that I still have trouble with (how can you ‘let go and forget’ your desires!?). This book is such an easy read, and it writes everything out so simply and explains the LOA so clearly. Honestly, I can’t put it down.
6. Getting a New Tiny Friend (AKA Putting an Aquarium in My Office).
Let me be a responsible pet owner and say something right off the bat: THIS IS NOT FOR EVERYONE. You should never get a pet (even a fish) if you don’t have the time to take care of it.
Now with that said, I put an aquarium in my office and life hasn’t been the same since. I told my boyfriend that I wanted a new pet for Christmas (yes, I’m actually 5) and when we went to Petco, I let my eyes pass over the Betta fish display. I never let myself look at the Betta fish, because seeing them in the little cups makes me so sad. But for some reason I looked. There sat a cup marked “Baby Boy” with a tiny pink fish who was smaller than my pinkie nail (not an exaggeration). I had to have him, we bought him on the spot, brought him home, and put him in an old fishbowl until I could overnight a new tank for him (thanks, Amazon Prime!).
He’s got a super cute setup in my office now, and as I write this post I hear his filter humming away and every so often I’ll look over my shoulder to see him swimming around, and it brings me this sense of peace that I can’t quite explain. If you have the time (and the room!) for a fish tank, I highly recommend it.
7. Daily Gratitude.
I have trouble with gratitude, not because I’m an unhappy person or because I don’t have anything to be thankful for. But I’m a natural pessimist who gets stressed very easily, so it’s hard for me to see the good sometimes. I’ve been trying to focus on all the good in my life throughout the day, and surprise surprise it’s helping. I know it seems painfully obvious but focusing on good rather than bad is easier said than done. Noticing all the tiny things that make me happy (a hummingbird outside, a text from a friend) as well as the big things (being healthy, having pets, the ability to blog for a living) has made me happier overall.
Letterboards were a huge trend this year, and for good reason. I bought one from Target a few months ago and have so much fun customizing it every week or so. Currently it has lyrics from The Front Bottoms (my favorite band of all time), but it’s also had lines from New Girl and The Office, and “Subscribe to Pewdiepie”, because duh.
9. Yoga Every. Single. Day.
Out of everything on this list, this is the one that has single-handedly changed my life the most. I try to do yoga every single night, a 40 minute workout if I can. And if I don’t have the energy, at least a 15 minute stretch. There’s something about yoga that helps your mind as well as your body, and doing it every day just amplifies that.
10. Vega Protein Powder.
Are you noticing a trend here? This year I tried to really start taking better care of myself: figure out my macros, work out every day, drink enough water (but not too much, which I’m actually guilty of). When I figured out my macros, I realized that I’ve fallen into the cliche vegan trap: I’m not getting enough protein. I’ve never been a fan of protein powder, but now that I’m working out every day it seems necessary. The Chocolate & Greens from Vega is by far my favorite protein powder. It blends super well and doesn’t leave a bad taste in your mouth (which a lot of protein powders do). I usually make a breakfast shake with frozen bananas, cold coffee, ice, almond milk, and this protein powder and oh my god is it delicious. 10/10.
11. Deleting Old Social Media.
It’s always bothered me that my old social media accounts are just out there, hanging around, forever embarrassing me (I’m lookin’ at you, MySpace). So quite recently I decided to purge my old social media and yes, it took a lot of effort and a lot of digging through old notebooks to find passwords (or even worse, password clues). But now I feel so relieved, knowing that my angsty high school tweets are no longer out there for everyone to see.
12. Cravings (and Cravings 2).
Ahhh, Chrissy Teigen. Queen of Sass, Maker of Delicious Recipes. These cookbooks have gotten me through many nights of “I don’t know what I want to eat”. The Salty-Sweet Coconut Rice and the Hawaiian Roll Fish Sandwiches are two of my favorites.
13. The Realization That You Can Start at Any Point.
I think a lot of us wait for “the perfect moment” to try something new or take the first step, but I hate to break it to you, there will never be a perfect moment. You just have to do it. I’ve been waiting to decorate our apartment because I don’t like the layout, or the color of the walls, or the color of the carpet, etc. But I realized that this is where I am right now, and I won’t like the layout any more if I don’t decorate. So I started really decorating this place and WOW has it made a huge difference. Same with starting a second YouTube channel or posting more on this blog. Just start!
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
14. Reusable Cups & Straws.
If you’re not using reusable cups and straws, what are you waiting for? DO IT. HELP THE ENVIRONMENT.
15. Reusable Grocery Bags.
While we’re on the subject of reusable things, reusable grocery bags are something that everyone should be using by now. DO IT. HELP THE ENVIRONMENT.
16. Endangered Species Chocolate Bars.
Not everything on this list is so dramatic or life-changing. These are my favorite chocolate bars, that’s all there is to it. Try the 70% Dark Cocoa, you won’t regret it.
17. Establishing a Small Morning Routine.
Every morning, I make a fancy coffee and some breakfast, go sit on the couch, and eat my breakfast while I watch an episode of Criminal Minds with my cat. Is this some life-changing revelation? No. But it’s a small act of self-care, and that’s what 2018 is all about.
18. Asking for Help.
Ugh, this makes me cringe just typing it out. I HATE asking for help. But this year has taught me that asking is ok.
My mom always said, “if you don’t ask, it’s an automatic no” (I think all moms say that?), and it’s true. I hate every second of it, but asking a simple question can make all the difference. When I finally asked people to share my stream and videos, my social media skyrocketed because of it (my number of viewers TRIPLED). I ask people to try my recipes and give feedback, and in turn I usually end up getting even more ideas. I ask restaurants if they’ll make me a vegan meal, and I always end up with a delicious (and filling) meal instead of just settling for a salad. Asking for help has always made me feel weak, until this year when I found strength in it.
What were some of your yearly favorites that made 2018 easier?
An ebook technically, but it still counts. I’ve been working on this book for the past month or so, and I’m really excited about it. Here it is:
It’s called The Ultimate Guide to Going Vegan, and it’s all about the transition into veganism and how to make it easier, staying healthy, and how making small changes in your everyday life can help the planet. It’s a good read for new vegans, anyone considering a plant-based diet (or just eating a little healthier), or even a longtime vegan who needs a little brush-up on their vitamins and minerals.
It includes tons of super useful pages and diagrams, such as:
An Introduction to Veganism
10 Reasons to go Vegan
How to Stock a Vegan Pantry
Eating on the Go
How to Make the Transition to Vegan Meals
How to Go Completely Vegan in 2 Months
The Vegan Plate (AKA What You Should Be Eating)
An Extensive List of Necessary Vitamins and Minerals
And so much more. It’s a non-preachy way to explain veganism without any graphic images or descriptions, and I hope you guys love it!
Going Vegan is available in my Etsy shop, which is linked here and also down below. And because I love you guys so much, I’m offering 10% off everything in my Etsy shop until July 26, all you have to do is enter coupon code GOINGVEGAN.
This is the first of a few ebooks I have planned, and the first of many vegan materials that I’ll be releasing throughout the next few months (I’ve had a few people ask about ecourses… so be on the lookout for that too!). Enjoy! ♡