Sprouting Random Thoughts

This is a blog about vegan food and recipes; restaurant and product reviews; information about veganism; interviews; travel; and other miscellaneous information and updates including giveaways!

This blog is a collaborative blog written by a group of individuals. This blog accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation.Even though the writer(s) of this blog may receive compensation for our posts or advertisements, we always give our honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on those topics or products.

The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the bloggers’ own and not necessarily those of Vegan Presence. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question.

Are you Interested in becoming a contributing writer? The only requirement is that you write about vegan related topics, product reviews or personal experiences being vegan, and please refrain from advertising. There is no compensation except the intrinsic reward of sharing your random thoughts :) We are considering submissions now. Send us an e-mail at info@veganpresence.com if you are interested.

You can subscribe to the blog “Sprouting Random Thoughts” by entering your e-mail address on the right hand side. 

Andrea/Vegan Presence

 

Vegan Presence Final Package Giveaway

Well it’s been fun sharing some of my favorite vegan products with you, but if you’ve been following us, you know that this is our last month. If you haven’t heard the news, please go here to find out why we are closing our subscription service. Our blog will remain open and active! Subscribe to this blog to learn more about future giveaways and read about all things vegan related, including travel!

1 lucky winner will each receive our very last June package that is no longer available. You can keep it or give it away as a gift!

If you’ve never tried Vegan Presence, this will be your only chance to try us out. For those of you already receiving our June package, you can try to win another because there are some variations in this month’s package!

Sorry but we only mail to Unites States or APO addresses. This giveaway only runs through June 10, 2015, 9:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, so hurry and enter!

Please comment below on what your favorite product received from Vegan Presence was, and/or what your favorite Vegan summer food is!

The more tasks you complete increases your chances! Once the randomly chosen winner is announced, the winner must respond to our notification e-mail within 24 hours with their mailing address. We are going on vacation to Africa and want to mail it to you before we go!

Best of Luck,
Andrea,
Co-Founder of Vegan Presence

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Win Vegan Presence’s Last Subscription: May & June

DOUBLE TROUBLE! 2 lucky winners will each receive our last subscription for 2 months: May AND June to keep for themselves or to give away as gifts!

These will be our last 2 packages. If you’ve never tried Vegan Presence, this will be your last chance to try both!

If you would rather purchase the packages you can do so here before we sell out, but since there’s multiple chances of winning,  go ahead and try to win! 

Sorry but we only mail to Unites States or APO addresses. This Giveaway expires May 9, 2014.

Comment below on what your #1 vegan beauty product is that you can’t live without!

Best of Luck!

Vegan Presence

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Important News: Vegan Presence Bids Farewell

Yes, it’s true after over a year we are ending Vegan Presence Subscriptions.

I have been living a vegan lifestyle for over 18 years and wanted to share my knowledge of wonderful vegan products. Together with my husband Krzysztof (Kris), we started Vegan Presence with the hopes of inspiring you to become vegan, vegetarian and/or make conscious choices as consumers for the animals, environment and your health. If you are already leading a vegan lifestyle, I wanted to introduce you to some of my favorite vegan products from eco-conscious companies that you may not have tried yet.

Please note that June will be the last month Vegan Presence packages go out.

What This means For you: If you have a subscription with us through June we will continue to offer our awesome vegan packages to you (April, May & June) but after the June package there will be no more renewals. For those of you whose subscriptions end in April or May, you will have the ability to purchase a May and/or a June package respectively, at a special rate not available to the public and will be contacted privately about the special insider sale. Make sure that your spam filters allow e-mails from info@veganpresence.com  or from the domain veganpresence.com

For those of you who have never tried Vegan Presence, there will be one more opportunity to purchase a May and/or a June package; however, only a limited number will be available and we may sell out.  I suggest you subscribe to this blog, follow us on social media or check our subscribe page for details when we begin selling those packages!

Why are we closing?
Vegan Presence is a labor of love but it’s not my only job and I find myself working 7 days a week with little time for family and friends. Additionally, I would like more time for myself to explore other pursuits and projects, as well as focus on other passions including animal and environmental activism and volunteer work. For those of you who follow my blog, you know that I have a penchant for luxury travel and vegan dining and would love to have more time to share my world-wide vegan adventures with you through my blog Sprouting Random Thoughts, that will now simply be called Vegan Presence. The Vegan Presence blog will remain active and will still feature giveaways and useful vegan information. At this time, only our subscription service will end.

We sincerely thank you for supporting Vegan Presence and it has been our pleasure to share our favorite vegan products with you!
Andrea & Krzysztof (Kris)
Co-Founders of Vegan Presence

Vegan Presence April Package Giveaway

One lucky winner will receive 1 sold out April Vegan Presence package to keep for themselves or to give away as a gift!

You have multiple chances of winning,  just follow the Rafflecopter directions and Good Luck!

We can only mail within the Unites States.

Comment below what your favorite product has been in a past Vegan Presence package or what your favorite vegan beauty product or food item is!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Vegan Presence Announcement #6

We are SOLD OUT for April!  Subscribe to our blog/mailing list with updates when we are accepting customers again.

We have a few giveaways planned, so make sure you are subscribed to this blog, Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter 

Thank You for your support!  ♥ Vegan Presence

Review of Beach Organics + Interview with Founder

image-logo

Beach Organics offers a complete line of certified organic bath and body products that are all natural and safe to use.  Almost all of their products are all vegan too with the exception of the deodorants and lip balms which contain organic beeswax. We featured Beach Organics wonderful certified organic soaps in our Vegan Presence February anniversary package for those lucky enough to get one before they sold out! I recently had the opportunity to chat with Susan Moore, Founder and CEO. Without further ado, I would like to introduce you to this awesome organic company that supports the community in many ways, including work with cancer patients!

Andrea: Please introduce and tell us about your company.

Susan: Beach Organics™ Skin Care is a certified organic, certified vegan skin care company that operates out of sunny Cocoa, Florida. We ensure that everything that leaves our facility is the best that it can be.  Our products are made in small controlled batches ingredients so that you, the consumer, don’t have to.

Andrea: Why was Beach Organics created?

Susan: I started Beach Organics™ Skin Care as a way to bring about change.  Most commercial products for skin and hair contain toxic chemicals.  We believe it is important not to use things like SLS, parabens, perfumes or artificial dyes on your body.  As an example, perfumes can have up to 80 ingredients before the scent is even added, and not all those ingredients are required to be disclosed to you.  Skin is the single largest organ in the human body.  It will readily absorb anything that comes in contact with it directly into the blood stream without benefit of a filter.  Parabens and SLS are in most skin care products; when you factor in shampoo, conditioner, soap and facial cleansers, you can begin to see how those chemicals get layered onto your body and absorbed into your blood stream.  We believe that food grade ingredients, things your body normally processes and digests happily, allow your system a better chance of fighting off disease.  Our food grade ingredients and plant based essential oils create a base that your body is not only familiar with, but able to process.  Some skin care products even contain chemicals that are in engine degreasers and radiator fluids.  Who wants to bathe in those?  “Nature is our Chemist” and “We take the aging out of bathing” are a couple of our trademarks.  We believe if you use good products your body doesn’t have to spend time metabolizing toxic ingredients, and can get back to the job it is supposed to do, which is making you the healthiest version of yourself.

Andrea: Why was it important to seek the many eco certifications Beach Organics has?

Susan: We wanted our customers to know we go the extra mile to insure our ingredients are pure and the best available.  We chose CCOF for our Organic Certification because the biggest companies, like Whole Foods and Bonners, used them.  We went through a 9 month process of ingredients being checked all the way back to the beginning of harvest, to the certified companies that distribute them to us.

Andrea: What’s your favorite vegan Beach Organics product?

Susan: Our soap is amazing.  Not only moisturizing, but can be used for multiple purposes.  You can shave your under arms, legs and bikini area in the shower as you lather up.  Men use it to shave their beards.  We do not have the harsh chemicals of shaving cream.  One product works for all these uses.  You can even wash your hair with our soap if you are on a trip.  We have customers who brush their teeth with it also.  At our company, we all use it as toothpaste.  Our soap works great for airplane travel, as one bar can be used for all your grooming needs and will go through the security check.

category31

Andrea: What is your bestselling Beach Organics product?

Susan: Our best selling product is our deodorant, which was created with cancer patients in mind.  It is the most amazing product which we supply to many cancer centers throughout the U.S.  We use essential oils known for their natural antibacterial and antimicrobial properties.  You are able to sweat, which is your body’s natural detoxification process, without the odor.  I am personally in menopause and the deodorant works wonderfully.  I have 3 or 4 hot flashes an hour and do not worry anymore about smelling fresh all day. 

Andrea: What environmental or social causes are important to you?

Susan: We are passionate about people who are sick with cancer and cannot work, afford to buy groceries, or even to pay their bills.  As a result we donate to these causes.  Breast cancer is one of our biggest concerns.  1 in every 3 women in the U.S. will get breast cancer, up from 1 in 10 a few years ago.  We give to cancer centers who take patients even if they do not have money or insurance.  To hear even the children of some of these moms ask, “Mom, are you going to die from cancer?” lets us know that we are doing the things that would make our moms proud of us.

We also love the elderly.  We donate the other half of our proceeds to Meals on Wheels and a great organization called Aging Matters.  It matters to us.  The elderly are sometimes forgotten, so we have partnered with a wonderful organization that provides what is sometimes the only meal a person may get that day.  The organization also does well checks to see if there is any other need that they can meet, be it medical or personal.  Giving is our reason.  We give our customers the best products we can manufacture, and we give our profits to people who are not able to help themselves at some time in their life. 

beach organics

 

Beach Organics is an awesome company that dedicates their time to helping others, and is passionate about creating the safest, most effective natural and organic products. By supporting Beach Organics, you are directly involved in helping them help others. I love their hand-made soaps and find that they are non-drying, pleasant smelling, and love knowing that I am using and supporting organic!

Hurry and use coupon code organic to receive 20% off through the end of March 2014 at www.beachorganicsskincare.com

 

 

 

 

We have our Om Nom Nom cookie winner!

om nom nom 6 pack

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you for participating in the Om Nom Nom giveaway! Congrats to Jennifer W. who will get to enjoy a variety of vegan gourmet cookies courtesy of Om Nom Nom cookies! Enjoy them with a glass of soy milk or your favorite non-dairy drink, yum!

Stay tuned as we have more giveaways coming up! Be sure to subscribe to this blog so you’re in the know!

A delicious giveaway: OM NOM NOM cookies

om nom nom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cookies are my favorite sweets and I was really excited to try OM NOM NOM  gourmet vegan cookies. We carried some of them in one of our previous Vegan Presence packages. 

Red Velvet is my favorite one because it’s so unique and taste just like Red Velvet cake. It’s their softest cookie too which I love. I think the red color is just beautiful!

red velvet

Orange Zested Chocolate Chip is my second favorite cookie of theirs. It’s like their chocolate chip cookie but it has a very tasty orange zest to it. Orange and chocolate are such a killer combo. 

I’ve always loved snickerdoodles as a child and they carry 2 very unique versions of the classic snickerdoodle. They have a Chocolate Snickerdoodle for all you chocoholics out there, and a Spicy Mexican Snickerdoodle which is muy delicioso (very delicious)! It’s spiciness is due to the pinch of cayenne and uniqueness due to the cinnamon. It reminds me of a Mexican Hot Chocolate drink, yum! 

om nom nom cookies

I’m not a fan of anything that tastes too healthy. I eschew granola, trail mix and anything bland tasting and dry. I was worried that the Cranberry Walnut Oatmeal cookies would be too healthy tasting but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Even though I typically do not like nuts and fruits in my cookies; I have to say that these are sooo good. They are moist and amazing. I think they should come up with an oatmeal chocolate chip next! 

Peanut Butter cookies are dear to my heart. I love anything with peanut butter so I knew these would be awesome and they are! 

Now that you guys are salivating, you probably want to try these right? Well your in luck because OM NOM NOM  is giving away  one mix and match pack which contains six of their delicious vegan cookies! Please note, cookies contain wheat and/or nuts for those with allergies to these. This giveaway is only open to US residents. 

om nom nom 6 pack

Good luck and may the winner enjoy these with a tall glass of soy milk (or their favorite non-dairy milk) not included with the giveaway. :) 

What’s your favorite Om Nom Nom cookie, or which one are you really excited about trying? 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 * photos are courtesy of Om Nom Nom’s

    Review of WEBA Natural Products and Interview with founder

    WEBA

     

    WEBA Natural Products features handmade, vegan, GMO-free personal care and home products and is owned and created by a very talented and conscientious vegan woman who is passionate about creating safe, high quality products in a beautiful presentation. We featured the lavender tea tree balm in our Vegan Presence February anniversary package!

    weba body balm

    I adore this wonderful body balm and find it to be incredibly healing! It’s suitable for all skin types and you can use it virtually anywhere.  Don’t forget to focus on elbows, knees and cuticles. You can also use it on lips, razor bumps, eczema, skin irritations and insect bites. Lavender essential oil is soothing and antibacterial. Tea tree oil is great on razor bumps and insect bites. Eucalyptus and peppermint oils are natural decongestants and bug repellants, and can also soothe aching muscles. Completely plant-based and made with the finest organic oils of mango, sweet almond, and olive oil, they blend right into the skin and leave no greasy residue. Shea butter and castor oil provide extra moisturizing qualities. Bonus- the product labels are completely biodegradable and aluminum tins are reusable and recyclable. The body balm is mildly scented with steam-distilled essential oils and no added fragrance, artificial ingredients or chemical preservatives. It also comes in a eucalyptus peppermint scent.

    weba soaps

    I’m also a fan of their handmade soaps that come in gorgeous packaging and would make awesome gifts or a treat for yourself! I’ve tried and love them all!

    We are always very interested in learning about the companies that we support and the people behind them. So let’s get to know Lydia, the founder and creator of WEBA Natural Products.

    Andrea: Please introduce and tell us about WEBA Natural Products.

    lydia WEBA

    Lydia: The idea for came about 2 years ago, after I’d experienced frustration with some organic and “natural’ products on the market that still contained synthetics and animal ingredients. My sensitive skin benefited from oil-based skincare with few additives and no artificial fragrances, which I couldn’t tolerate.

    Andrea: What is your background in soap making and skin care?

    Lydia: My training is in nursing and social services, so I am essentially self-taught when it comes to formulating and manufacturing soothing personal care products. A few years of testing in my “laboratory” at home yielded the products I carry today.

    Andrea: What is your best selling WEBA Natural Product?

    Lydia: I’d have to say that my lavender soap is my bestseller, with the lemongrass soap and lavender balm coming closely behind.

    Andrea: What is your personal favorite WEBA Natural Product?

    Lydia: I love the Lavender/tea tree balm – I use it everywhere, but I’ve developed a real liking for the sugar scrub, too.

    Andrea: Why was it important for your products to be vegan and Non GMO?

    Lydia: I’ve been anti-gmo since the beginning, not wanting to support companies like Monsanto or ConAgra, which I feel are contributing to the depletion of our natural resources and cross-contamination with organic crops. I also felt that using animal products was unnecessary. If I didn’t want to eat animals, why would I want their by-products on my skin?

    Andrea: Are you vegan or vegetarian and what are your favorite foods?

    Lydia: I’m a practicing vegan. I love a number of things, including rice & beans, potato salad with veganaise, and tofu egg salad.

    Andrea: What animal rights or environmental organizations do you support or are dear to your heart?

    Lydia: We support the Catskill Animal Sanctuary, a local haven for abused and abandoned animals of all kinds (www.CAsantuary.org). Other organizations that are dear to my heart include: 1) The Rainforest Alliance; 2) The World Wildlife Fund; 3) PETA, 4) The Humane Society, and others.

    Andrea: Besides, creating awesome soaps and skincare, I heard you are quite musical. What do you listen to or sing to while creating?

    Lydia: I love music! My daughter, Amanda Brown, who was recently on NBC’s The Voice, has a single out (Dreamer), as well as her Voice performances, which I listen to. I have eclectic taste – everything from One Direction to U2, Bruce Springsteen, Rihanna, Sheryl Crow, and John Mayer are on my playlist.

    Andrea: What do you think makes your soaps and skincare products different from others?

    Lydia: My handmade soaps are longer lasting, gentle, multi-purpose, and use sustainable/biodegradable packaging. No synthetic fragrances, preservatives, or dyes are used. Although more expensive, we use extra-virgin olive oil and shea butter in our products.

    Andrea: Thank you for participating and interviewing with Vegan Presence! We wish you much success!

    Use coupon code SHOPVEGAN and receive a 30% discount through WEBA Natural Products Etsy shop Expires tomorrow February 28, 2014!

    *photos courtesy of WEBA Natural Products

    North Coast Organics review + interview

     

    north coast organics

    What I am about to say some people may find controversial, but at Vegan Presence we believe that everyone should wear deodorant. Period. Especially with many non-aluminum, natural deodorant alternatives, there really is no excuse for being malodorous. 

    Having said that, while it is true that there are an abundance of natural deodorants on the market, unfortunately not all of them are effective. North Coast Organics deodorants are handmade, organic,100% natural and they really work to keep you smelling fresh all day long without the use of aluminum or parabens! In addition to being certified organic, North Coast Organics is Green Certified, Vegan certified, PETA certified and Leaping Bunny certified! I love when companies keep up with their certifications. 

    What initially attracted me to the deodorant was the uber cool labels. I was very drawn to the artwork and then I noticed that they use the same wildgrass labels that Vegan Presence uses! Additionally, I like how the scents are subtle and don’t compete with your perfume.

    naked deodorantMy favorite one is naked which is their unscented deodorant formulated for sensitive skin. I normally have a penchant for things that smell lovely and strong, but I am beginning to gravitate toward products that have their own natural scent and I really love this one. My second favorite is Revolver

    revolver deodorantI love Revolver’s earthy, woodsy scent. I think it is geared toward guys but it’s scent is so gender neutral it can really be for anyone. My husband Kris’ favorite is Death by Lavender which has the coolest artwork and was the first one that piqued my interest. North Coast Organics makes mini sizes that we carried in January’s Vegan Presence package, perfect for traveling, your gym bag, purse, desk drawer and more!

    deodorants

    death by lavender deodorant

    Now let me introduce you to the peeps behind North Coast Organics (NCO). 

    Andrea: Please introduce and
    tell us about your company.

    NCO: North Coast Organics believes in being certified organic, certified vegan, certified cruelty-free and green certified.  Our effective, enigmatic personal care product line is a manifestation of our core beliefs. North Coast Organics is a mother/son team.  Debbie, the mother, hand makes the products that her son, Nathan, creates.  Together they have grown the company from a personal, house kitchen to full fledge production studio.

    Andrea: Why was North Coast Organics created?

    NCO: North Coast Organics was created to introduce an effective deodorant to the marketplace that matched the lifestyle of the product creator.  Nathan has been committed to the organic, green and veg-head movements for the past 14 years. When he started wearing deodorant again, he was surprised not find a certified organic one on the store shelf.  He created his own deodorant so that he could safely commute by bike in the hot, humid Chicago summers.  A friend suggested that Nathan sell the deodorant and North Coast Organics was created.

    Andrea: Why was it important to seek the many eco certifications North Coast Organics has?

    NCO: North Coast Organics sought so many certifications in our first year of business in order to show the consumer that our products are what we say they are and to support the mission of each agency. Not many people know North Coast Organics, but they know PETA, Leaping Bunny, Vegan Action, Green America and/or EcoCert ICO.  The third party certifications prove our claims as well as further the mission of these programs through paying their fees and spreading awareness about them. We chose to seek so may certifications so that a consumer can be sure they are getting a genuine product and we can help support organizations that fit our core beliefs.

    Andrea: I absolutely love the packaging, design and names of your products, can you tell us about the inspiration behind it?

    NCO: Nathan’s long exposure to the organic, natural movements here and abroad provided the inspiration for the design and names of our products.  It seemed most brands conformed to the typical theme of unspoiled nature for their product design.  As a result, the store shelves from San Francisco to London to Buenos Aires were all uniform.  Few products stood out from their peers. Additionally it seemed as if existing brands were afraid to take a different approach.  Why were so many brands adhering to the status quo?  The lack of risk taking created the ubiquity of imagery that we felt made the organic movement inaccessible due to the perception that it took itself too seriously.  We wanted our products to be fun and different in order to be accessible to everyone, especially to the younger demographic often ignored by our industry. When it came time to name and give artwork to our first product, we wanted something that stood out on the store shelf, was edgy in order to draw the attention of our target demographic and reflected our conscious choice to have fun with our brand and not to take ourselves too seriously.  Our core beliefs smooth out the edges and prove that our artwork choices aren’t just cheap gimmicks.  We can be edgy because our certifications show that we are indeed serious about creating quality products. Additionally, Nathan’s love for rock ‘n roll has informed product design.  Our spray lotion contains mace essential oil and Nathan wanted to name it mace.  Given the defence spray of the same name, Nathan chose to follow in Led Zeppelin’s and Prince’s footsteps by not naming the product.  Instead, he chose to use a piece of art to symbolize the name of the product.

    Andrea: What’s your favorite North Coast Organics product?

    NCO: It is hard to pick a favorite product because each product we release is a product that we first made for ourselves.  It is really rewarding for other people to love the products that we had first intended to be used only by us and not sold.  Our favorite product group is our deodorant.  We know this is side stepping the question but we hope this will suffice for an answer

    Andrea: No problem! What is your bestselling North Coast Organics product?

    NCO: Death By Lavender in stick form is the best selling North Coast Organics product.  She is the second product we launched after the original product that came in a jar.  Our company’s early success is owed to popularity of Elite Assassin of Odor

    Andrea: Tell us about some of the DIY classes you offer.

    NCO: North Coast Organics is giving away all the trade secrets in our DIY classes.  For real, we began in an apartment kitchen making products for ourselves.  We want to empower other people to do the same by offering hands-on lessons that demonstrate the ease of making personal products at home and provides the student with a product they handmade thus giving them confidence to do this on their own. We offer several different classes in which we have made lip balms, lotion bars, body sprays, facial toners, deodorants, spray lotions and/or lotion candles.  During the lessons, we talk about the importance of the organic movement, being green and why one needs to be mindful of what one puts on their body in addition to the usual logistics of making ones products at home.

    Andrea: That’s wonderful. Thank you for the interview!

    deodorant

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Enjoy 15% off your next purchase using coupon code VP2014 at http://www.north-coast-organics.com/

    What’s your favorite North Coast Organic product? I want to try their Death by Lavender cream deodorant next!

     

    *photos courtesy of North Coast Organics