Category Archives: Guest Editors

Celebrate Mom! LOVE GOODLY Mother’s Day Gift Guide


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Guest Post by Leslie Fischer

This Mother’s Day, I don’t want flowers or chocolate. I am treating myself to the luxurious and eco-friendly skin care products offered by Love Goodly! The long winter is finally over and the sun is out! This is the perfect occasion to treat my skin to the luxurious eco-luxury we mothers deserve.


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The facial steam from Mullein and Sparrow is a heavenly blend of organic rose, lavender and rosemary. This herbal steam bath is exactly what I need after an afternoon of working in the yard!


The Carrot Seed and Rosehip Eye Serum from Little Barn Apothecary is the perfect pick-me up for my eyes. It is loaded with fatty acids and its lavender fragrance is divine!

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The Undaria Algae Oil from Osea gives my skin a dewy spring glow. Osea soaks their algae in oil for six months to distill the vitamins from this remarkable leaf!


Love Goodly’s Mother’s Day Gift Box Bundle delivers vegan, non-toxic beauty and skin care products to your door for Mother’s Day. The gift box includes a facial bar, organic mascara, an antioxidant serum and organic cuticle oil from top eco brands!

Leslie Fischer is the founder of Sustainable Slumber, a website dedicated to helping eco-minded people get a good night’s sleep. She writes about sleep, organic mattresses wellness and environmental living at


Guest Editor: Jackie Johnson of Natch Beaut

This month’s Guest Editor is Jackie Johnson, founder and host of Natch Beaut, a fun podcast all about modern trends, cruelty-free beauty and skincare, and the golden years known as the late 90s to early 2000s. We chatted with Jackie about why she started her podcast, her favorite LA vegan sushi spot, and Weird Al (um, you will have to read on to find out…)


Image via Jackie Johnson

How start doing a podcast?
I have been doing live comedy in LA for several years, and last year I got really into Snapchat. I discovered it as a way to directly address my audience in a conversational way, and people started watching and the audience grew. Through the growth, I was encouraged by some fellow comedians to parlay this into a podcast so more people could find me and hear what I was doing. I knew doing a podcast on something as visual as makeup might sound crazy, but I had a hunch it would work if I handled it correctly. And a few months later, Natch Beaut was born!

What is your biggest challenge with producing a podcast? biggest reward?
The biggest challenge I have personally is relinquishing control. I planned an all vegan wedding last year and learned that about myself- I am a control freak. Luckily, I trust my producer Steven Ray Morris along with the entire team at Feral audio implicitly, and they help guide me down this path of team work. I still answer every email I receive myself because the audience is very important to me. I want them to know I am grateful for them for spending an hour of their week with me. The biggest reward hands down are the daily messages I get saying I have opened so many people’s minds up to the plant-based lifestyle and cruelty-free makeup and skincare world. Natch Beaut gives full transparency about the harsh truths of the beauty industry that no one really talks about, and I love that so many listeners have vowed to no longer support these injustices with their wallets!

How do you partner with Feral Audio – explain what they are?
Feral Audio is a “fiercely independent” podcast network (like a TV network, but for podcasts instead of TV shows), which means they host Natch Beaut on their server and allow me to record in their beautiful studio. Every show on Feral is 100% creator-owned, uncut, and unfiltered. When I started shopping Natch Beaut around, I knew I wanted it to be on Feral for those reasons. Plus, the name makes me think of kitties and raises important awareness of the importance of spaying and neutering your pets! We can all get behind that message.

Why is cruelty-free beauty important to you?
Beauty to me is not about achieving perfection. It is about self-care, taking time for yourself, and feeling like the most confident and best version of yourself. As a vegan and an animal lover, having animals harmed for the sake of my beauty would be an absolute irony of the entire point. We can all look beautiful and feel beautiful, animals included, without anyone being hurt in the process.

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Who inspires you?

My sister, who makes motherhood of two look easy. She still hot rollers her hair every day and had both of her babies all-natural at home. She is beautiful, inside and out, and has eaten a plant-based diet since she was a child.

My dog Chooch because she lives her life with such wild trust and unconditional love of all people and things. She is also vegan and the most gorgeous creature I’ve ever seen.

Lisa Simpson for being one of the first people (albeit a cartoon person) for first presenting me with the idea of not eating animals if you love them.

Weird Al Yankovic for being one of my first big comedic inspirations, as well as a longtime friend to the animals.


Image via Jackie Johnson

What is your morning routine?
The first thing I do every morning is take Chooch on a walk. Then I wash my face with my face wash du jour. Right now I am all about Source Vital apothecary, which is an all-natural, cruelty-free skin care line out of my home state of Texas. I love their algae deep cleanse, and their custom facial cocktail has changed my life. I would bathe in it if I could! I also ALWAYS sunscreen my face and neck. I’ll give the hair and teeth a good brushing as well. I may or may not do makeup, as I love to take a break and enjoy a natch-faced day when I can. I also start every morning with a cup of organic jasmine green tea with a splash of almond milk. I am a big tea lady! And I will most likely check all of my social medias a few times throughout this whole process, let’s be honest.


What is your favorite restaurant?
I love the all-vegan sushi restaurant in Los Angeles called Shojin. I have every birthday/anniversary/excuse to celebrate there that I can. They have truly elevated the art of vegan cuisine there, and they are also so ridiculously nice there. The bathroom is also very cute. Go eat there and go in the bathroom and you will see what I mean!

My husband and I love to travel! We love to go on local trips in California, like to the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, or down to San Diego where the vegan cuisine scene is top-notch. We did a Euro trip for our Honeymoon and it was absolutely magical. We also love a short jaunt to Vegas for some slot machine action and our favorite vegan pizza place, Slice of Vegas inside of Mandalay Bay!

I don’t drink alcohol, but if I could drink a cold pressed juice from Kreation juice every day of my life, it would be the ultimate #LifeGoals. Everything in that place is delicious and makes my life brighter, although my favorite is the illuminate juice! It is truly the organic nectar of the Gods.

…Thing to do in LA?
I love taking my dog to the beach. She comes to life when her paws hit that sand. She also loves to sunbathe, which she got from her mom (although I SPF myself to a comical degree!) My favorite one is the Huntington Dog Beach. We always get lunch at Vegan Nirvana beforehand, so it’s not an entirely selfless excursion.

If you could have dinner with any 4 people in the world, who would they be?
This is a very difficult question, as I love having dinner with people and have a lot of favorites:

Paul McCartney because he means more to me than any person in the world I’ve never met for many reasons (He is a Beatle, he is a longtime animal advocate, and I like to think on some level that he is my dad.)

Howard Stern because I have been listening to him for so many years and following his life and career. We spend so many countless hours together- it would be nice for me to finally be able to respond to the conversation.

Weird Al. Is it weird that I’ve mentioned him twice in this post? Too late cause I’m going there.

And, Adam my husband who is my favorite person in the world to dine with.

Any advice for budding entrepreneurs?
Just do it. I waited for years to start my podcast because I kept talking myself out of it. “There are already so many podcasts; no one will listen to it. Get a life and stop listening to so much Weird Al, ya goof!” I was just afraid of “failure” or of what people might think. I was being lame. Don’t be lame like me. Put your art into the world. It will resonate with people who appreciate it and that is truly the only thing that matters. Do YOU, honey!


Guest Editor: Suzi, Founder & Blogger of Gurl Gone Green

This month’s Guest Editor is Suzi from Gurl Gone Green. She talks about her nontoxic beauty and skincare journey, her inspiration, and her favorite food (p.s. you can find a recipe in our blog here!).


Why did you become a natural blogger?

After reading a book called No More Dirty Looks, I realized what was in my products was anything but pretty and I needed to make the switch. I had already switched over to clean eating, so this was the next step towards a natural lifestyle. I knew I wanted to share what I had learned with others in hopes that they to would transition to a toxic free life.


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Instagram @ GurlGoneGreen

How do you balance your career with being a mom?


Oh man, this is a hard question! It’s a challenge for sure. For me it’s about taking advantage of nap times, and at night when they’re sleeping. My husband is so great and will take the girls when I need to get something done. We always say we’re a team and I fully believe it. He helps me with a lot of the technical aspect of blogging, which is huge! I think overall planning is key. If I don’t plan things out, then I set myself up for failure.

What one piece of advice do you have for new bloggers?

I would say just be consistent and write from your passion. It’s easy to get focused on what everyone else is doing but I would just focus on what you want to do, then you’ll be effective. Don’t try to be something you’re not. Just be you, that’s what people love as corny as it may sound.

Why is nontoxic beauty and skincare so important to you?

I know firsthand the toxins lurking in the beauty industry. Being a cosmetologist I’ve seen it in hair products, skincare and makeup. It’s important because if we don’t advocate for cleaner products, then this is what my daughter’s are going to grow up using. It’s about making this world safer for the next generation. Knowing that I did my part to help protect my girls and others against toxins is a great feeling.

Who inspires you?

My brother. He is the first person that really challenged me to take my health seriously and helped me switch over to eating clean. Then he raised the bar and challenged me to look into cleaner beauty products. I’m so thankful for his passion to live life to the fullest, because it’s caused me to challenge myself!

What is your morning routine?

I go to the gym with my sister-workout for an hour. I always listen to a podcast while working out-me time. Come home, shower, wash my face, brush my teeth, do my makeup, blow dry my hair and then feed my youngest daughter(7 months). Then I make a smoothie for myself.

How did you decide to start a podcast?

I love listening to podcasts! Really that’s what started me thinking I should start one. I just really love learning as much as a I can and getting other people’s perspectives. I thought what better way than to start a podcast and share all of the nuggets with my audience. Plus, it’s totally different than writing and thought it might be nice to have something in a new format.

What is the most challenging about being a blogger?

One word that comes to mind is juggling. You’re constantly being pulled in a lot of directions. I could spend a day just responding to e-mails alone! Then you have new content you want to create, plus be consistent on social media, people want to interview you, you need to get new photos taken, update your website…etc. There’s just a lot of constant juggling happening. I’ve become an avid list maker-helps a ton!

What is the most rewarding thing?

Getting e-mails or messages telling you how your blog has changed someone’s life and how they’ve switched over their products. People will tell me how much the podcast has helped them. It makes it all worth it and so rewarding. It’s what it’s all about.


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Instagram @ Cafe Gratitude

What is your favorite food? drink? restaurant? place to vacation?
Mexican is definitely my fave. Give me some chips and guac and I’m good! I’m a lover of sparkling water-add some lemon or lime makes it even better. My favorite restaurant is definitely Cafe Gratitude even though we don’t have one where I live. Every time I go to L.A. I have to hit it up-so good! Hawaii is definitely my favorite vacation spot-nothing beats the beach.

What one (or 3) words best describes you?

Passionate, driven, consistent

We hope you enjoyed reading about one of our favorite women in vegan lifestyle. Thank you for visiting the LOVE GOODLY blog, where we promote a cruelty-free and nontoxic lifestyle!

Emily Deschanel Guest Curates for December/January Box Benefitting Farm Sanctuary!


We’ve partnered with actress, producer and animal rights supporter, Emily Deschanel, to curate an exclusive December/January subscription box just in time for the holidays.

“I am thrilled to co-curate this box with LOVE GOODLY to benefit Farm Sanctuary. These are some of my favorite vegan brands and products. Enjoy!” shares Emily Deschanel.

Long time vegan Emily Deschanel and LOVE GOODLY are helping women discover the best high-end products that are both good for your health and the environment with ingredients that are 100% organic, toxin-free and cruelty-free. Shipping on December 12th, the Dec/Jan Box features Emily’s top picks of deluxe, full-size beauty and lifestyle essentials, perfect for any woman on your gift list.

With each purchase benefitting Farm Sanctuary, the nation’s leading farm animal protection organization, the LOVE GOODLY Box is the ultimate holiday gift for those looking to pay it forward during this season of charitable giving.

Guest Editor: Anna Cummins, Co-Founder The 5 Gyres Institute


LOVE GOODLY is honored to introduce guest editor Anna Cummins, cofounder of nonprofit 5 Gyres, a community that fights ocean plastic pollution through education, science and activism. Anna embodies the spirit of our guest editors, powerful women changing the world. 5 Gyres is named after a sailing expedition to research pollution in the North Pacific Gyre. This expedition was where Anna met her husband Marcus.

Why did you start 5 Gyres Institute?

After first hearing about the “great pacific garbage patch”, I was horrified, and vowed to get more involved, immediately starting a “bring your own” project to engage others. ( I then joined a 4,000 mile research expedition across the North Pacific Gyre, as the one woman in a crew of men. One of them – the Director of Research Dr. Marcus Eriksen, proposed to me in the middle of the gyre, with a ring he made from floating plastic. We committed in that moment to take the plastics issue to a global level – starting 5 Gyres with wedding money in 2009.

What is your mission?

Our mission is to stem the flow of plastic pollution that flows to our lakes, rivers and oceans through engaging communities in direct action. For the first few years, our focus was on conducting first hand science across the worlds oceans to elevate the plastics issue to an international audience. In 2014, we published the first estimate on plastics in all oceans, and are now focused on leveraging our findings to drive change on land. Most recently, we saw this to fruition when President Obama signed a Federal bill to ban microbeads from cosmetics, a campaign we spearheaded after finding plastic microbeads in the Great Lakes.

What is the most inspiring part of your job / nonprofit?

Getting to work with amazing people who are as committed as I am to seeing a better future. Being inspired all the time by individuals in our community who are affecting real change on a local, and global level. And watching my soon to be four year old connecting the dots on protecting our environment.

 What was the most challenging thing about starting your nonprofit?

Sometimes the greatest challenges turn out to be blessings! We didn’t have a clue what we were getting into, now if or how it would grow. Had we known how challenging the way forward would be, we might not have ever gotten started!

What advice do you have for other wanting to promote a cause or make a difference?

Ask for help, often! Remember that most people want to be helpful – receiving help/advice/support from your peers gives them a gift too!

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

That its okay, and to be expected, that I will make mistakes, and fail – often. Because out of these mistakes, out of the rubble even when you crash and burn, will come the foundation for even better opportunities.

Name 3 people you admire or are your heroes and why?

These change all the time. Right now:

1. My sister Emily – because as a social worker committed to justice, she is making a profound difference in an LA community that desperately needs more resources

2. Jose Gonzalez from Latino Outdoors, I haven’t met him yet, but admire from far, because he is working to bring much needed diversity to the sustainability movement and leadership.

3. Edward Abbey – because I’ve been on an Edward Abbey kick over the last few weeks, and – violence excluded – the world could use some more hard core disruptors!

How do you stay balanced in your life?

It’s a constant struggle…also as the mother of a small child. Staying active – through walking, running, hiking, or home yoga – helps a ton. When this falls away, I quickly fall out of whack! Girls nights, and date nights (when they happen) are also key  🙂

Guest Editor: Renata of Lipstick Angels

LOVE GOODLY is honored to introduce guest editor Renata Helfman, formerly a celebrity makeup artist and natural products advocate, who started the nonprofit Lipstick Angels in 2012 to use the power of beauty to transform and heal. She has made it her mission to bring beauty, compassion and human touch to cancer patients.

With the help of professional makeup artist volunteers, Lipstick Angels provides complimentary beauty services using with nontoxic beauty products to patients receiving chemotherapy at three different LA-area hospitals, including Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in LA.

Why did you start Lipstick Angels?

I saw a need that was not being addressed and I knew in my heart that it would be my life’s journey to fulfill it.

What is your mission?

 To restore dignity and hope to those fighting cancer.

What is it like working with women who are going through cancer treatment?

It really puts everything in perspective. It is truly amazing to witness the immediate happiness, hope and beauty you create when you connect with a patient who is so grateful. 

What is the most inspiring part of your job / nonprofit?

 Our volunteers inspire me every single day. To make a commitment to be of service and show up rain or shine is something I respect more than anything.

 What was the most challenging thing about starting your nonprofit?

 Raising the funds to support our work was the most difficult aspect of starting our non-profit, but I soon learned that being confident in yourself and your mission is conveyed to others who share your vision and they, in turn, contribute financially.

 What advice do you have for other wanting to promote a cause or make a difference? 

 Believing in your cause and having the passion to persevere against all odds, is an absolute necessity. Having a fire in your belly is a true gift .

 What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

 There are NO dumb questions.

 Name 3 people you admire or are your heroes and why?

 1. Dan Pollota– He wrote a Ted talk ­­called “the way we think of charity is dead wrong” He is challenging and informing the world that our understanding of charity is the very thing that is holding it back from making a difference. It is the underbelly of how I think, love, communicate and direct Lipstick Angels – it is a MUST SEE.

 2. My grandmother – A survivor in every sense of the word. Not only did she beat cancer several times but she was also a Holocaust survivor. I remember taking her to her radiation appointments; she would look impeccable and apply a fresh coat of lipstick in the car right before we entered the hospital. That always stuck with me, now I see why.

 3. Angelina Jolie – I am constantly in awe of this brave beautiful woman. It is clear that Angelina walks the walk and gets her hands dirty in all that she conquers. An educator, humanitarian and mother to so many. In world where a celebrity can have a voice that is impactful, she certainly uses it.

How do you stay balanced in your life?

This is an ongoing struggle for sure but I have found these 5 things work for me.

– turn off all devices at a reasonable hour

– read a fantastic book

– exercise

– laugh

– love


Guest Editor: CEO of Elevate My Brand, Laurel Mintz!

lauren mintz blog mainWhat do you do?

Elevate my Brand (EMB) is a creative marketing agency dedicated to elevating brands and companies globally.

What’s the best part about your job?

We love being able to work with a diverse group of clients in a variety of industries. It means we have to stay current on marketing trends in multiple verticals which means we are always learning and growing.

[Mintz is a jewelry girl and loves this statement arrow necklace from Christy Robinson.]

What’s the most challenging aspect of your job?

Quantifying marketing results is not always a 1 to 1. We do a good job of defining KPIs and other success metrics for our clients but it’s always a challenge to manage client expectations. The truth is there is no magic bullet to marketing. It takes time, effort and money to break through the marketing noise.

What’s the most under-rated thing about LA?

People think LA is all about Hollywood when really it’s a small portion of the overall community.  I think LA gets a bad rap for being superficial and shallow.  The truth is we have a ton of amazing cultural experiences here from museums and underground music and art to some of the best restaurants in the world.  We just happen to look better doing it.

What animal would you use to describe yourself?

I would say I’m a King Charles Spaniel which is a purebred dog. Being in the canine family, I love fiercely and am super loyal but am definitely a bit of a princess and need pampering. I’m also like a dog with a bone when I want to accomplish something.

Where did you go to college?

Undergrad UCSB law school and business school at Rutgers

Name one thing did you learn from your last job (or college or career)?

My last job was running our family retail business. It taught me that I was a business owner and not a cog in someone else’s wheel

What is the country you most want to visit?

We didn’t get to have an official honeymoon but were supposed to go to Fiji so that’s top of my travel list right now.

[A girly reminder to always shoot for the stars, Mintz loves these earrings from Latin Posh created exclusively for LOVE GOODLY!]

What is your favorite movie?

I’m a big fan of anything with Patrick Dempsy and I’m a big 80’s fan so Can’t Buy Me Love or Loverboy…I’m a romantic.

What’s your favorite restaurant?

I’m a huge fan of Chef Josef Centeno and any of his restaurants. My classic favorite of his is Baco Mercat downtown LA

What do you have for breakfast?

I usually make a frittata over the weekend so I can grab and go in the mornings with a little hot sauce.  And coffee coffee coffee of course!

[We all have that one scent that we absolutely love, Laurel swears by this exclusive scent from Cellar Door found only on LOVE GOODLY’s website!]

What’s one beauty tip you can share?

I’ve done a lot of media and I have an incredible makeup artist Phoebe Dawson. I recently had her come to my house and teach a master makeup class. She taught us all kinds of secrets so I would definitely suggest taking a makeup class so you can see what you’re personally doing right and wrong.  The best tip she offered was to use a beauty blender to make your makeup set and last longer.

Favorite drink?

I’m obsessed with Health Aid Kombucha and Bai Beverages at the moment. But on the alcohol side I’m a champagne or gin and tonic girl.

Favorite dessert?

I’m a red velvet girl…really anything with cream cheese frosting.

One tip to women entrepreneurs?

The tide is changing and there are so many organizations that are focusing on female entrepreneurs like EY’s Winning Women.  Find those organizations and get involved so that together we can break down the good old boy’s club.  Your network is everything!

Guest Editor: Fitness and Style Guru Skully Smith

Meet Skully. Photo: @skullysmith Instagram

We’ve been at this for a while, so trust us when we say that our next LOVE GOODLY guest editor is Balance Incarnate. Pairing pin-up girl flair with just the right amount of edge, fashion and fitness guru Skully Smith is a dark daydream come true. Yet she also has one of the brightest and warmest hearts, with a particular soft spot for animals, and this combo of light and dark makes her at once approachable and ethereal. Here she shares with us her fitness routine, tried and tested energy boosts, vegan fashion, and motivation tips to keep your Summer mind and body ready all year-round.

A new take on “Corpse Pose” Photo: @skullysmith Instagram

Best advice you have for people starting out on their fitness journey
START TODAY! It’s so easy to get caught up in the, “I’ll start next week,” excuse – and then next week turns into next month, and so on! Excuses are the devil on your shoulder telling you that you don’t need to workout, when you know you do. You will ALWAYS feel such satisfaction for pushing through your barriers. As someone who used to loathe working out, I know how hard it can be to find a workout that you like and then actually stick to it! Fortunately I found a program that I absolutely LOVE, and I have been doing it for almost a year now. The best part is that its ONLY 30 minutes a day, a different workout each day of the week, and I get to do it in the comfort and privacy of my own home! If you want to learn more about the workout plan, send me an email and I will share all the details!

What always gives you an energy boost? No day starts without a cup of coffee in bed first thing in the morning! Once I have my coffee, water, and B12 spray, then I can face my workout! Once I finish my workout, I ALWAYS have my vegan chocolate Shakeology smoothie! It’s the perfect post-workout protein, pre-probiotic, nutrient dense shake that tastes like dessert.

Skip the pills: B-12 Spray is a quick and easy way to make sure you’re getting enough of this important vitamin! Find some at LOVEGOODLY.COM

What do you look for in vegan fashion? I’ve always been really into fashion and I’m super picky about what I wear. I’ve always had my own sense of style, and that hasn’t changed since I became vegan. I still wear all the same things I wore before, but cruelty free versions! That includes all my makeup and skincare! It’s so easy to shop cruelty free and vegan now that so many companies understand it’s an important issue for a lot of consumers. I think it’s important to stay true to who you are, and being vegan shouldn’t mean that you have to forfeit looking good! There are so many brands out now who are making awesome vegan clothing and shoes, so it’s not hard to look stylish and still stay true to your vegan ethics.

My super talented husband and I started a little t-shirt company called Modern Compassion. Our goal is to cater to our vegan friends who want to rep the lifestyle and look cool while doing it! As business grows, we plan to make donations to support our favorite sanctuaries and organizations so we can give back to the people who are making a big difference in the lives of animals. We plan to expand on the brand in the near future. Shout out to everyone who has purchased from us! We thank you!

Snag this shirt at Skully and Dan Smith’s shop Modern Compassion! Photo: @skullysmith Instagram

Most adorable animal encounter? My most adorable animal encounter is probably the bond I have with my cat Ashes. He’s a big, fluffy, 20lb ball of pure love that likes to sleep on my head every night. I’ve had pets my whole life, but he and I have a special bond that melts my heart. He’s really a Momma’s boy and is super attached to me. My husband and I rescued him, and his adorable sister Veil, when they were babies from The Rescue Train about 7 years ago. Adopt, don’t shop!

Ashes, Ashes, we all fall down (from swooning)! Photo: @skullysmith Instagram

One easy change people can make and see results? Consistency. In your workout, in your diet, in your ethics- you must be consistent. That will give you the change you wish to see. When you are consistent, people are motivated by your dedication and know that its not just a trend or something you’re following for the moment, and they realize that if you can do it, so can they. Consistency is key!

What motivates you in life? Realizing that you can make a difference. I don’t have the biggest following compared to some, but I have a decent enough following to know that my reach is wide, and important. When you have a platform to send a message, I think it’s important to put out a positive one. I just want people to be aware of the devastation that’s happening to our planet due to animal agriculture, the thousands of animals who are being held down and tested on for your makeup, body care, and cleaning products. The torturous life of a factory farm animal until their slaughter. The animals who are skinned alive for your coat. We can all make lifestyle changes that stop supporting this inhumane and destructive cycle. There are far better and sustainable ways to live life, you just have to have the desire and heart to be part of the change!

Thank you LOVE GOODLY for choosing me to be guest editor this month, and for all the goodies you have supplied me with to share with my followers! It’s companies like you that help show the world all the amazing cruelty-free alternatives we have!


Guest Editor: Jen From Cuddles and Chaos

This week, LOVE GOODLY sits down with wellness blogger Jen – founder and creator of Cuddles and Chaos. We find out how this “real life mom from the suburbs of New York City” navigates through her daily life and her tips on going gluten free!


What is the biggest challenge you face balancing family, work, and personal health? 

When you think of balance when it comes to yoga or surfing or tight rope walking, it’s actually constant motion. Lots of tiny little movements to compensate and keep everything from tipping too far in one direction or another. Balance in our lives is no different, but somehow we aren’t conditioned to think of it the same way.

My biggest problem is beating myself up when I’m tipping too far in one direction instead of just taking a deep breath and trying to refocus and adjust my priorities.

What advice do you have for other mothers trying to balance these areas in their lives?

Give yourself a break. No matter what social media tells you, no one has their shit completely together. We’re all just doing the best we can. Some days, your kids are going to need every last bit of attention you’ve got. Your work and sanity might suffer that day, but as long as you keep realigning, everything will be ok. The universe will not implode. The earth will keep spinning.

And if things don’t feel right? Make a change. This bit of encouragement from Dallas Clayton is one of my favorite things to turn to when I start to feel overwhelmed: Make a list of things that make you happy. Make a list of things you do every day. Compare the lists. Adjust accordingly.

Share with us your top three wellness tips.

1.     It’s not all or nothing. I don’t know about you, but the second I have a moment of weakness, I’m ready to throw in the towel and dive face first into a bowl of chocolate. When you do something that doesn’t contribute to your wellness, you should acknowledge it, think about how you can react differently to the situation next time, and let it go. The same is true for trying to make positive changes for your wellness. You don’t have to do it all at once. Start small and build off of that. I’ve been trying to do that with my monthly wellness challenges.

2.     Hydrate. Until recently I was admittedly terrible at making sure I drank enough water throughout the day. But I challenged myself to focus on it one month (and I tracked my progress to make sure I wasn’t lying to myself) and my skin is clearer, I have more energy and less headaches. I feel like a new woman!

3.     Self-care is essential. As a mom, it’s easy to put myself last. I have small humans who rely on me for so much. But if you don’t take care of yourself, everyone will suffer. You can’t give your all when you’re a shell of a human. This means getting sleep. It means setting time aside to exercise. It means carving out pockets of time to do things that you love and to do it in peace.

Has being gluten free changed other areas in your life?

Going gluten free made me much more aware of my body. It’s amazing to see symptoms that you weren’t even fully aware of (like bloating, skin issues, and brain fog) disappear when you remove foods that don’t agree with you. It’s made me pay closer attention to the other foods that I eat and how they affect me. It also made me pay closer attention to my skin care products and how they affect me. Reading Skin Cleanse by Adina Grigore of SW Basics drove that point home even harder.

What is your favorite new gluten free food or recipe?

I was always a big fan of pasta. Since I haven’t found many gluten free pastas that taste like the real deal (especially texturally), I’ve gone the veggie route. I’m absolutely obsessed with zucchini noodles with pesto or hummus. It’s not the same as pasta, but I’m ok with that now. I also really like brown rice salads, especially in the summer months. We make them similar to pasta salads with lots of fresh veggies. We just sub brown rice for pasta.


What is the hardest thing about being gluten free, e.g. eating out, explaining to friends?

The hardest thing for me has been tuning out other people’s opinions. I gave up gluten after bloodwork came back inconclusive for celiac. My doctor said I might have a sensitivity to it and suggested I eliminate it from my diet for a few weeks. It’s my life. I should be able to do what makes me feel good. But people like to spout their opinions. People have told me that gluten sensitivities are made up or accused me of jumping on a weight loss fad bandwagon (nevermind that weight loss was never the reason behind it). I’ve even had waiters spout off about how everyone thinks bread is evil now.

What advice do you have for people transitioning to a gluten free lifestyle?

Google is your best friend. For real. It’s insane how many things have gluten hidden inside them (from spices to soy sauce to things that get cross contaminated, like oats). When I first started, I Googled everything. I also make sure to check out menus before I go to restaurants. Many places clearly list their gluten free options now.

Shop LOVE GOODLY’s favorite Gluten free products here!

Guest Editor: Halle Jacobs – Our Summer Intern!

Our summer intern – Halle Jacobs has been a vegan advocate since she was a little girl! It would be hard not to be when her mom is the owner and founder of Real Food Daily! Read on to find out what it’s like growing up vegan and why it’s so much more than a “hipster fad”…

While sharing lunch with a friend one third grade afternoon, she offered me a bite of a small, circular shaped potato-type food. After popping it in my mouth, I exclaimed, “wow, this is really chewy! What is it?”.

Her response that “it’s chicken” prompted me to immediately spit the bite out onto the grass and reminded her, “I’m vegan!”.

“Oops, sorry, I forgot”, she responded.

“I’ve never eaten meat”, I said.

She raised her eyebrows, her eyes widen, and she craned her neck forward with her jaw dropped – a look of astonishment on her face. Baffled, she ask, “but how? It tastes so good!”.

I responded with, “it’s just how my parents raised me”.

Born into a vegan family, I’ve grown up with the smell of home-baked granola wafting from the kitchen instead of cheerios drenched in frothy white milk; on family road trips, we always make sure find the local natural foods store rather than drive(ing) ‘thru’ Burger King for a quick meal. The first time I ate (or rather, picked at the ‘vegetables’ that rested on the crinkly romaine lettuce of my salad) at McDonald’s on a school trip was also the first time I was exposed to the the opposite end of the vast array of foods in the public spectrum. Until stepping outside the comfortable world within my vegan upbringing, I was naîve to what lay beyond its borders. However, in recent years, I’ve come to realize that it’s more significant than a diet I’ve passively assumed because of my alternative childhood, but rather a lifestyle I’ve chosen in order to best represent my personal values and worldview. My vegan mindset has opened its borders to a flood of influences outside of food, with immigrants including sustainable household products, an eco-friendly and cruelty-free beauty regime, and overall informed and conscious consumer practices.

Some believe that veganism is a restrictive diet for those lose trying to lose weight or young, ‘hipster’ college students. Au contraire, being vegan provides the opportunity to grow as a ‘foodie’ and, most significantly, a conscious consumer. Veganism goes far beyond the parameters of just a plant-based diet. It’s a lifestyle that finds its way into every action you take and every purchase you make. As a high-school student, I found this especially applicable to my experience growing up in the consumer-driven mindset of Los Angeles.  

While broadening my vegan diet to an all encompassing lifestyle, I’ve grown hyper-aware of the products I buy, their ingredients, and the environmental implications. It’s easy to spend hours at the grocery store, cross-examining labels and double-checking ingredients or scouring a restaurant menu for the right meal choice as the waiter painfully attempts to aid in your quest to find the right option that can be prepared vegan. The ingredients that blend the increasingly popular organic, gluten-free, non-GMO, soy-free, nut-free, dairy-free (and, of course, vegan!) smoothies from one of the many popular juiceries found in Los Angeles are often colorfully displayed on a chalkboard above the array of blenders visible to all customers: you can literally see your smoothie being made. However, beauty products are quite different. The components of your favorite grapefruit body soap, coconut hand lotion, or peachy-pink blush are not displayed right before the buyer, considering that not many purchase their beauty products directly from the laboratory they’re made in.

I’ve become a strong advocate for cruelty-free beauty products, however the harmful chemicals and the ensuing environmental impacts of the beauty industry had yet to draw my attention until my first makeup purchase. Since I attended an all-girls school, my interest in makeup was delayed until my 16th birthday, whereupon I entered Nordstrom’s beauty section, pacing the aisles, frantically searching each brand name on my iPhone to decide whether to consider purchasing their makeup products based on their environmental philosophy. Afterwards, I immediately rushed home to clear out my assortment of hair products and body washes that failed to meet sustainable standards.

[Is your mouth watering yet?! Real Food Daily is Southern California’s premier organic plant-based restaurant (and my family’s restaurant!) that serves a quality, authentic, creative, and nutritionally balanced menu. Since 1993, RFD has been a cherished destination where community happens around education, connection and hospitality, over delicious, accessible food that’s real.]

Nevertheless, it proved difficult to easily find products that fit all of the key search words: non-toxic, cruelty-free, organic, sustainable, and vegan. The beauty of Love Goodly allows the conscious consumer to take a break and, while scrolling through their website, find products they love without hours of scrutinizing tiny labels with unpronounceable words. In turn, by opening my mind’s borders to a lifestyle rich in challenges and growth, I’ve found an ally in Love Goodly.