un aguacate a la vez

cruelty free

Favorites and Fails | February 2018

Beauty, Podcast, wellness, Shopping, Real Talk, LifestyleMaría Elena RodríguezComment
february beauty favorites and fails

Favorites

We launched a Podcast!

Yes, you read that right. My friend from college, Silvia Vallejo and I decided that it was time to put our conversations to good use. O sea, to publish them. The Podcast is called Un aguacate a la vez and we will talk about everything wellness related: from supplements to all the woo woo astrological-mystic stuff! 

You can listen to it today and subscribe on iTunes or Soundcloud! 

Aaron Stewart Home - Love PR

After months of not knowing anything about Fernando Rodríguez from Aaron Stewart Home, I was pleasantly surprised to know how much they've grown and specially battled obstacles since Hurricane María hit them. They took all the devastating energy from the hardest months of modern day Puerto Rico and announced the launch of their new line: LOVE PR. This affordable new line is a capsule collection that will assist victims of Hurricane Maria across the island of Puerto Rico by going directly to The Boys and Girls Clubs of Puerto Rico, The Sato Project, ConPRmetidos, and Instituto Psicopedagogico de Puerto Rico. 

I personally love the t-shirt for working out and their luggage tags

Purina

Purina invited me to a doggie brunch with Fiona and I couldn't be happier!!! They gave us some samples of their new small breed line Purina Bella and Fiona has been loving it!

Quay Australia Black on Black Aviators

I found this during my recent trip to New York this past fall and I haven't been able to put them down! I love how edgy and trendy they look, but most importantly, their price! 

Seeing some progress in Yoga

After doing yoga for almost 6 months now, I can finally see some progress, specially in my chaturangas and crow pose. 

Glossier You Perfume

This is a favorite ever since I got it. Smells spicy yet sweet, but not TOO sweet for the day time. Grab it here. 

Learning to cook vegan

I have been having a lot of fun learning to cook some vegan recipes and sharing them over on Instagram stories. Check out some awesome vegan books here:

Got accepted in the New York Marathon!!!

This girl is running 26.2 miles on November 4, 2018 and I can't even begin to process that. With that being said, expect a lot more posts about running, nutrition and wellness! I will definetely need them... 

Coconut People

Coconut People is a store in Old San Juan that carries a variety of cruelty free beauty products that I've been dying to try. They gave me some products by Mad Hippie that I will start trying now in March to see if it fixes my hormonal breakouts. Check out some of their products here:

Fails

february fails

Beats by Dr. Dre PowerBeats 2

Now that I got accepted to the New York Marathon I am exceptionally mad at this. This is my second pair of PowerBeats by Dr. Dre and they keep failing on me. The battery doesn't last for even 24 hours without use! Ugh, please send me your recommendations for wireless headphones... 

Breaking out!

On February I suffered from some really heavy hormonal breakouts, which is why I'm taking some extra care of my skin this March! 

Overdoing it with Yoga

Yoga was my favorite, but being able to see some progress means that I pushed myself to the limit some days. Yes, I ended up in the chyropractor after failing to do a complete wheel pose. Yikes! 


What were your favorites and fails this month?

Until next time, 

María Elena

Valentine's Day Self Care Gift Guide

Beauty, Entertaining, wellness, LifestyleMaría Elena RodríguezComment
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1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9

I know, I have made it pretty clear that I am not a fan of Valentine's Day. If you are new to this blog or don't know what I'm talking about, check out this post and this post

But this year, after all that happened in 2017, I'm a new María Elena and I want to embrace love more than ever. But because I still believe Valentine's Day is just an excuse to make us shop for useless stuff we don't need, I decided to look at V-Day as a self-care day to embrace self-love. The best part? Your friends and/or significant other would truly enjoy and use these gifts!  

Forget about going out to dinner! Self-care is all about feeling cozy and being comfortable in your own skin and who doesn't love some cozy pj's and fuzzy socks for a night in?! But if you decide to have a steamy night with your lucky guy/girl, you can also take your Netflix & Chill time to a whole new level with a cute throw and indulgent aromatherapy like these candles or my current personal favorite, essential oils. And if you are thinking about a Galentines day, why not have a girls night in with some extra fancy skincare like this scrub or this mandarin orange body scrub that I'm dying to try! You can finish the night with a good nourishing recipe from a plant based cookbook like this one

Finally, I decided to throw in a crystal book, because yeah, I've been into some crystal healing magic lately. Thanks Gwyneth! And no, I'm not talking about Breaking Bad, by the way. Let me know if you are not totally weirded out by this topic and I will happily make a post about it. One of you guys already noticed them in one of my Instagram stories

However you decide to spend your Valentine's Day, it's ok. Just remember that you should always be your own priority. Give yourself some love!

Let me know how are you spending this VDay!

Until next time, 

María Elena

Shop this post:

March Favorites | 2017

Lifestyle, BeautyMaría Elena RodríguezComment
march favorites 2017

Shop the Picture:

Casemate iPhone Cover | Too Faced Sweet Peach Palette | Wet N' Wild Photo Focus Foundation | Meaningful Growth Planner | The Code of the Extraordinary Mind | Kindle | La Línea Boutique Maxi Dress | Triangle Trio Necklace

Surprisingly, I haven't experimented that much with makeup this month. I have been letting my skin breath quite a bit, since it has been looking kind of dull lately. Nevertheless, I've been wearing two makeup products whenever I go out and you will see bellow why I'm loving them so much!

March has been a lot more about reconnecting with myself and getting back into my reading routine instead of just browsing around my phone until I fall asleep, which has been causing me the most horrible migraines. But 'nough rambling! Here are my March favorites. Enjoy!

Wet n' Wild Foundation

I decided to try this Wet N' Wild Photofocus Foundation once [Queen] Tati Westbrook recommended it on Youtube. I gave you a little sneak peek about my new found love on this Instagram post and here is the end result: It is by far, one of the best foundations I have ever tried. I've been wearing it everyday and can't stop recommending it to everyone, even though it is a shade or two darker than my skin tone. If that doesn't tell you how much I love it, I don't know what will. 

Gotta say Wet N' Wild is ki-lling it these days! It would've never crossed my mind just how good a $5.99 foundation could be. 

Meaningful Growth Planner

meaningful growth planner
meaningful growth planner
meaningful growth planner

Back when I interviewed Zahira Domenech for one of my first career profiles, she gave me a little hint about this planner that she was designing. So it felt a little surreal once I finally had it in my hands. From the packaging to the covers and paper quality, everything is so well-thought and designed, that I remembered exactly why I admire Zahira Domenech so much. This woman is fearless and she doesn't stop until she gets what she wants!

The Meaningful Growth Planner is all about getting to know yourself, being a little more mindful with your everyday life and scheduling your weeks according to your life's plan and purpose. I really enjoyed filling out what I'm thankful for, my goals, strengths and weaknesses. It has really helped me be more conscious (in a totally good way!) about my purpose in life, since it's the perfect combination of an agenda and a guided journal. 

The planners are currently sold out, but follow them on Instagram (here) so you're the first to know once they're available for the second batch of the year. 

If you're interested in knowing more about Zahira and her work, you can check out her career profile here and her 23 tips to have a more organized life here

If you're somehow scared of red eye shadow like I am, this is the perfect palette for you. It is a true blend of warm toned neutrals that you can use to be as sophisticated or as edgy as you'd like. Some people really don't like the peachy smell, but I personally don't mind. Also, the mirror in this palette is ideal for doing your makeup on the go. 

I'm not a huge Too Faced buyer (apart from the Better Than Sex Mascara, which is A-MAZING), but after trying this beautiful and super blendable eye shadows, I know I will be checking out more products. 

Grab the Too Faced Peach Palette here

Casemate iPhone 7 Plus Cover

Have you ever decided for a cellphone cover before you purchased your actual phone? I have! 🙋🏻. I knew I wanted a silver iPhone because it would go perfectly with this Casemate iPhone cover I saw online. I mean, look at it! Can you judge me?

Grab a similar one here. It's on sale! 

I've been having some massive headaches this month and I'm 99.9% positive it has to do with the blue light in my phone. I'm too used to sleeping with my phone in my hand and it's been backfiring me. So I've been trying to get back into my reading habits and giving some much needed love to my Kindle

I downloaded The Code of the Extraordinary Mind back in November and I finally got back to it these past few weeks, not because it was boring, but because the last months of 2016 were one of my busiest ever. If you know someone who is pretty negative or that is going through a difficult time, this would be a perfect gift! The book is all about how there are some "models of reality" that are put in our lives by society and family members, that don't necessarily have to be our truths. It's all about how you can create your own reality by bending the rules. The rebel inside me is having a field day with this book. 

Grab The Code of the Extraordinary Mind here

Grab a Kindle here -- I have the classic Kindle, but I can't wait to purchase the Kindle Paperwhite

La Línea Boutique

la linea boutique maxi dress

When Alexandra Ruiz, one of my co-workers told me about her new online store, La Linea Boutique, I knew I was going to love it. She has always had amazing style and a great attitude towards everything. No wonder she's an advertising account executive! 

I wore this beautiful red maxi (almost sold out!) last Saturday for a STEM Events brunch and the Saks Fifth Avenue Anniversary in the Mall of San Juan and many people stopped me to talk about my dress. It is definetely a statement piece, specially if you wear it with a big chunky necklace like this one

La Línea Boutique also carries beautiful dainty jewelry (my jam!) and I have been wearing non-stop this beautiful triangle trio

The word is spreading fast so I would suggest you grab your favorite pieces ASAP! I already have my eye on this sundress

diy Flower Arrangements

Picture provided by  STEM Events

Picture provided by STEM Events

Picture provided by  STEM Events

Picture provided by STEM Events

When Osvaldo Martir invited me to this flower arrangement workshop in La Social in Condado hosted by STEM Events I knew I was in! If you know me personally or have been following for a while now, you know how much I love fresh flowers. 

From left to right: Perla Sofía Curbelo from  Agrochic , Anabelle Barranco,  STEM Events  co-owner, Sandra Lobos from  The Decor Hunter  and yours truly wearing a  La Línea Boutique dress .   Picture provided by  STEM Events

From left to right: Perla Sofía Curbelo from Agrochic, Anabelle Barranco, STEM Events co-owner, Sandra Lobos from The Decor Hunter and yours truly wearing a La Línea Boutique dress

Picture provided by STEM Events

Anabelle Barranco, Co-Owner and Creative Director at STEM Events hosted a flower arrangements workshop to a group of bride to be's, editors and fellow bloggers. I really enjoyed learning how to create the perfect composition of flowers and how to correctly cut a flower stem. 

My plan for April is to buy more fresh flowers and start arranging them as new creative outlet. It's so much fun and as I told you in my Instagram post, this was not as easy as I thought! 

 

 

What did you love about March? Let me know in the comments bellow. 

Until next time, 

María Elena
 

Top 5 Cruelty-Free Brands at the Drugstore

BeautyMaría Elena RodríguezComment
best cruelty free products

I've been postponing this blog post for a while now because this cruelty-free journey hasn't been as easy as I thought it would be in the first place. I've had to cut off ties with several beauty and makeup brands because even though they may claim to be cruelty-free, resources like Peta, Cruelty-Free Kitty and The Leaping Bunny disagrees and I won't compromise my credibility for a pretty shade of lipstick. I'll just patiently wait until these brands update their policies to 100% cruelty-free, which they will. And I'm writing this right after I found out Stila Cosmetics just gained back their cruelty-free status, which makes me so, so happy! 

My point is that it has been frustrating at times, which is why I talked a little bit about it on my January Favorites. But one of the toughest things about going cruelty-free is that most of the main drugstore brands do test on animals, so I've had a hard time researching and getting to know these new brands that I would've otherwise ignored. Luckily, Cruelty-Free Kitty has an awesome list of the cruelty-free brands that you can find at the drugstore, which has helped me a lot during this one and a half year of being a more ethical beauty buyer. 

That's why I decided to make your life a little easier and give you my top 5 cruelty-free drugstore brands so you can have a much budget friendly beauty hauls. Enjoy! 

NYX Cosmetics 

I've talked about my obsession with their brow pencil here. I am also obsessed with their lip products, because they are simply amazing! I also can't wait to try their Pore Filler which people claim it can be a Benefit's Porefessional dupe as well as their new Total Control Foundation which could be a nice drugstore dupe for Cover FX's Cover Drops. Their Concealer Wand is apparently a good dupe for the Nars Creamy Radiant Concealer as well. Sadly, I can't find any of these last two in Puerto Rico, so please help me out if you know of a place! 

best nyx cosmetics beauty products

Milani

To be really honest, I used to ignore this brand until I became cruelty-free and saw Tati talking about it on her Youtube Channel. I've heard amazing things about their blushes and highlighters. But the one I can't wait to get my hands on is their Conceal and Perfect Foundation! Apparently it is the best drugstore foundation but sadly, I also can't find it anywhere in Puerto Rico! I guess I'll have to order it online... 

best milani cosmetics products

e.l.f.

Even though I didn't pay as much attention to this brand before going cruelty-free, their prices never failed to amaze me! I remember seeing all that cheap makeup in Kmart and asking myself: "Could it be any good?"  And it is! I still have like three of their $0.99 brushes, which have lasted me more than two Sephora branded ones I purchased a few years ago. This brand is highly underrated and I will continue to purchase their products to give you better reviews coming soon. 

best elf cosmetics products

Wet N' Wild 

Another brand I used to take for granted, and you know what? Now it's one of my favorites! Their nail polishes and matte lipsticks are ridiculously long lasting! And to be super honest, yesterday I saw this video of Tati recommending their new Photo Focus Foundation and I went to Walgreens right after work and purchased it. Because #priorities. 

best wet n wild beauty products

Eco Tools 

I've wanted MAC makeup brushes for a long time, but I never end up buying them because the quality of my EcoTools is just as good! I can honestly say that I have thrown away only one of my brushes and it was just because it became moldy from washing them the wrong way. I can't recommend these enough, so I've put a list bellow of my favorites and the ones on my wish list:

best ecotools products

Please notice that these are not all the cruelty-free brands at the drugstore, these are just the ones that I reach for the most. Hope it gave you a clear guide into your cruelty-free journey!

As always, don't forget to subscribe to my newsletter and answer these few questions if you haven't yet. 

Until next time, 
María Elena

 

8 Things You Learn After Going Cruelty-Free

Beauty, Lifestyle, Real TalkMaría Elena Rodríguez6 Comments
animal cruelty-free beauty

I’ve been cruelty free for almost 6 months now and I can honestly say it has been a bumpy ride. I’ve read almost every article on Cruelty Free Kitty and stalked PETA’s Cruelty Free list many, many times but still, I’ve purchased brands that I thought were cruelty free only to find out they weren’t (I’m looking at you Jurlique Rose Water Spray!). Needless to say, I’ve become very aware of what I purchase because I really don’t want to support brands that agree with animal testing.

Sadly, all this research has lead me to one hard conclusion: In the beauty blogging community, the awareness about brands that test on animals is practically non-existent. This is why I think it’s my responsibility to do my part and show you the reasons why I strongly support the cruelty-free movement by creating this list for you. So here you go, 8 things you’ll learn after going cruelty-free:

1. Going Cruelty-Free is not as simple as you may think 

I flirted with the idea of going cruelty-free many new years eve. But my love for Sephora, Nordstrom, CVS and Walgreens was too strong and I didn’t feel mentally ready to give up on most of my beloved brands. My advice to you is to do your research on all of the horrible stuff these brands do to innocent animals just so you can have the perfect shade of long-wearing lipstick. If that still doesn’t make your eyes watery, just think about your pet going through that stuff just so you can look a little prettier.

2. You’ll be disappointed with the amount of brands that test on animals

Once you do your research you’ll learn that most of the brands you love and use daily test on animals, even if they they claim to be “natural”, like Originins and Khiels.

3. The wildlife will make you happier

I was never a big animal lover, but ever since I attempted to go vegetarian and went completely cruelty free, I have more appreciation towards animals. I hate looking at them in cages or aquariums and I just wish I could set them free.

4. You’ll feel better about yourself

We all know there are many ways society does inhumane and animal cruel things every day. But by going cruelty-free you are helping make the world a more compassionate place, because you know that everything you’re putting in your face was not tested on innocent creatures for your pleasure.

5. You’ll find a lot of really cool and indie brands that you wouldn’t have given a chance if you weren’t cruelty free

Hence Tarte, Josie Maran and my most recent love affair: Farmacy Cosmetics!

6. Many cruelty free brands are more natural focused

Win win!

7. Buying cruelty free brands at the drugstore is the hardest

Most of the big brands are cruelty free, but here is a cool link from the blog Cruelty Free Kitty that will actually help you on your next trip to the drugstore. For the record, my current favorite drugstore brand is NYX. :)

8. You’ll consider going vegetarian or vegan on all aspects of your life

So this is a tricky one! I experimented with going vegetarian for a while and it worked for like three months. -- It ended on Christmas, can you blame me? -- And even though I am not currently a vegetarian or a vegan, I feel guilty at times and I wish I could go back. Maybe one day... I’ll keep you guys updated.

 

Hope this helps you make the switch! Believe me, it is worth it.

Until next time,

María Elena

Going Animal Cruelty-Free

Real Talk, Beauty, wellness, LifestyleMaría ElenaComment

I'm turning 25 this month... and even though I'm pretty proud of who I've become, I know I can always be a better person. Plus, turning 25 feels like a benchmark age to make important lifestyle decisions. I feel like a big kid now!

But seriously, I may seem like a "grown up" who has everything figured out, but I don't. If you read the title and you know a little bit about the blogging world you must know closing my audience's niche is a very risky move for a beauty blogger. So believe me when I say I've never been this scared to publish a post ever since I officially announced my blog on social media. But this feels different...

First of all, I've always been into health which is the main reason I've always flirted with the idea of becoming a vegetarian. My excuses for not becoming one earlier were pretty much what everybody says: "but how can you give up chicken or bacon? It's so good! Where would you get your protein?" and so on. So back in 2013 I had the New Years Resolution of never buying animal tested products again, but sadly, my love for makeup and skincare products made me forget about this important cause very quickly. Plus, I thought how could I ever blog about beauty without trying out all those products from major brands who do test on animals?!

It took me one conversation with one vegan co-worker and re-watching Vegucated on Netflix to become a vegetarian and stop supporting animal tested products overnight.  How did I do it? I'm not really sure how, but I am positive it had to do with the fact that in every animal I saw being tortured on that film, I saw Fiona, my non-breed shelter dog. I couldn't stop wondering why we eat some but love other animals. But this is not that type of post so you can stop playing your violins!

Before you start making a judgement, I can imagine what most of you must be thinking by reading this post... "Ambinity is now a crazy hippy blog, shaming every brand or person who is not vegetarian or vegan!". Honestly don't even worry about it, because it isn't. You won't even notice the change. This means that my blog will stay the same, but from now on, I will not be endorsing or recommending brands that are tested on animals. And I know it's a risky move that will close many doors for me and believe me when I say I LOVE many, many brands who do test on animals. A simple Google search will let you know which major brands I'm talking about, and sadly, the list is pretty huge. :(

The thing is everyone should do what makes them happy and honestly, I feel like karma is on my side since I feel like in some way, my choices are making the world a little more peaceful. It also makes me feel more in sync with nature, now that I am more aware of animal cruelty and it's consequences on nature and our society. I really do believe I'm helping animals by helping you guys make healthier decisions. Win win situation, right?

As a last disclaimer, this doesn't mean I'm going to throw away all of my products that are animal tested. I will finish them completely, because let's be real guys, I spent money on them! As I said before, I just won't be endorsing them anymore, and I will make sure all my new beauty products are cruelty free. Hope you can all understand my decision and if you would like to join me on my journey, stick by! I will continue to give you my 100% honest reviews, only this time, it will be with brands who don't engage on animal cruelty. Sounds like a happy plan to me, doesn't it? :)

XO,

Elena