Purifying Black Mask Review

My candid thoughts on the Soo Ae Purifying Black Charcoal Mask.

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Last week, while going through some things I got at BeautyCon NYC, I decided to try out a face mask from Soo Ae. The particular one that I tried out was the Purifying Black Charcoal Mask. I was initially drawn to it because  it contains charcoal, which does wonders for purifying and removing toxins from your skin.

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Other than the fact that this mask made me look like an old-school burglar, I think it did everything that it said it would. It gave me a lot of hydration, but since I’m oily, it was a bit too glowy for me. It did draw out some of the impurities in my skin as well. I noticed some bumps on my cheeks the next morning, but I did expect that because of the charcoal.

If you have sensitive skin, I wouldn’t recommend this only due to the fact that I got a pretty intense tingling sensation while I put this on.. then again, I did leave it on for a bit longer than the recommended 15-20 minutes. Afterwards, I sprayed some of my Mario Badescu Facial Spray and my skin felt a bit better.

Overall, it’s not a bad mask, but personally, I don’t think I’m going to use this again, mainly due to the fact that it’s not intended for those with oily skin.  It’s definitely more geared towards those of you with dry skin concerns.

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Another mask that I can definitely recommend is the Dr. Jart Water Replenishment Cotton Sheet Mask. It’s soothing and doesn’t leave me too gloomy. So if you’re looking for something on the other spectrum of things, I’d highly recommend that.

Origins Influenster VoxBox

Thoughts on some Origins products.

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Although people tell me time and time again to take it easy with my skincare, I’m very open to testing out new products. (Don’t do this. You’re skin will hate you!) With that being said, I was very excited to learn that I had been entered to receive the newest Influenster Originis VoxBox.

I was excited to receive this because Origins has products that are not tested on animals, and use natural ingredients that are supposed to do wonders for your skin. Inside, I found five sample skincare products. These included two moisturizers, (day and night) a face wash, mask, as well as an eye cream. The one thing I was disappointed about was the fast that we didn’t get an exfoliant.
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I’ll begin by saying that the stand out product was without a doubt the Origins Purifying Charcoal Mask. I’ve heard some people rave about this and I was excited to try it out, especially being that it’s a charcoal-based mask. It’s a typical mask that you let sit for 15 minutes then rinse off. (Sorry peel lovers!) I use this once a week, at night and find that my skin is much softer the next morning. If you have congested pores, I would look into this because charcoal works well to detoxify your pores and clear out the bacteria. I would definitely purchase a full size of this.
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The Checks and Balances Frothy face wash was pretty interesting. It has a bit of a minty, refreshing scent, but the thing that I really like about this is the fact that it does give me a nice lather. This may be a mental thing, but when soaps and face washes foam up, I feel as though I’m getting a deeper cleanse. I found that I have do go in twice to wash off my makeup, but I don’t have a problem with this, due to the fact that this wasn’t advertised as a makeup remover.
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The GinZing Energy boosting moisturizer is something that I’m not too sure how I feel about. Does it keep me moisturized throughout the day? Yes. Is it energy boosting? The smell definitely wakes me me. This has a very poignant citrus scent, which isn’t something I would recommend for those of you with sensitive skin. When looking through some reviews, I saw that people have explained that this caused them to break out. Fortunately, it did not happen to me, but I just wanted to make sure you all are aware of that. I did like the consistency of this, but I think I will probably back to my Belif Aqua Bomb.
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Sticking to moisturizers, let’s discuss the High-Potency Night-A-Mins Mineral enriched renewal cream. Much like the GinZing energy boosting moisturizer, this has a citrus scent, which concerns me for those that have sensitive skin. This is a thicker cream that contains Vitamin C and E, which is great for brightening your skin. Unfortunately, I’m not the biggest fan of this. Though this is oil-free, I found that my skin did produce a lot of oils throughout the night with this. I generally produce more oils while I sleep, so I’m going to continue to monitor this and just ensure that I’m not just being extremely picky when it comes to this.
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The last thing is the GinZing Refreshing eye cream. Like the moisturizers, this also has citrus scent, so those of you with sensitive skin: proceed with caution. I’ve used this every night for the past two weeks and I haven’t noticed any drastic changes. I’ll be honest and say that I don’t have really bad dark circles, but they are there and I haven’t noticed a lightening effect on it. As for depuffing, I’m probably not the best to discuss this. I have hereditary bags under my eyes, so it’s hard for me to really differentiate puffiness and bags. Overall, I’m going to continue to use this because it does have some good ingredients that I would like to keep in my skincare regimen. Also those of you with deeper skin tones, this is not a clear cream. It does give me a bit of a white cast, looking a bit ashy, so if you do purchase this, I would suggest you keep this in your nightly routine.
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Overall, I’m very grateful for everything I received in the box. I even was invited to an in-store event! Thank you so much Influenster and Origins for sending me this box. I’m definitely going to look into buying full sizes of the charcoal mask and the frothy face wash.
Please let me know your thoughts on Origins and these products. I’d love to get your thoughts on it! Also let me know if you’d want me to dedicate a blog post exclusively to Influenster on what it is and how to use it. I’d love to help you guys score free makeup.

 

April 2017 Favorites

A new month calls for a new monthly favorites and I have a few things that I’ve really been loving.

I can’t believe how fast the days are flying by. We’re already in May! (Cue Justin Timberlake.)

A new month calls for a new monthly favorites and I have a few things that I’ve really been loving.
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In April, I found myself reaching for the Tarte Tartelette in Bloom palette. It’s raved about for a reason. This classic has a variety of colors that are pigmented, easy to blend and smell like chocolate. What more can you ask for?
Though I am late to the game on this primer, I have to say I’m very excited about this discovery. Last month, I picked up the Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer and I haven’t put it down ever since. I was genuinely surprised at how much I really love this. I didn’t realize that this was highly rated by people with oily skin when I picked this up. It’s not necessarily going to leave you matte, but it will leave you with a smooth base for your foundation.
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Another eyeshadow palette I’ve been using has been the Too Faced Sweet Peach palette. I’ve captured a lot of pictures of this on my Instagram page, but it’s only because I really do enjoy it. I find that the colors are fairly easy to blend and you can get many uses out of this single palette from everyday to bold looks. The only downside is the smell. Sometimes it’s a bit too potent, making me want to forgo it, but once it’s on the lids, you won’t smell it throughout the day. I struggle to support this palette, especially with all of the controversy going around Too Faced currently, but I have to admit that I did use this palette quite a bit in the month of April.
Back on a lighter note, the Total Control Drop Foundation by NYX Cosmetics. I’ve talked about this on the blog before so I won’t go too in-depth about it. I can layer it up and I don’t find that it gets cakey once I do. I don’t find that I produce more oils throughout the day with this, which is a big plus!
The next product is actually a repurchase. This is the Black N’ Brown Brow Pencil from ColourPop. I ran out of this pencil and I thought I could use something else in its place, but I found myself really missing this pencil and I immediately reordered it once I realized. It’s not too creamy, nor is it too stiff. I find that It’s the perfect size for me to get thin, precise strokes for my brows.
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I’ve briefly touched on the Smashbox Step-By-Step Contour Kit here on the blog. I’ve really been loving this. A lot of contour shades for deeper skin come across red on my complexion, which is great for bronzing, but not ideal for contouring. This gives me the best of both worlds and I like to mix the two deeper colors to give me an all over bronze.
Another thing I’ve been loving has been the Wet N’ Wild Megaglo Highlighting Powder in “Precious Petals.” I’m surprised that I don’t hear people raving more about this. It’s a fantastic formula that is very smooth to the touch and you can build it up to an intense glow. (Which is what I normally do.)
The last thing is something that I don’t talk about very often, which is the E.L.F. 19 Piece Brush Set. E.L.F. has really stepped up their game and it really shows with these brushes. They’re extremely soft and apply my makeup with them has been a breeze. I haven’t experienced any shedding since I was given them on Christmas. Though they’re a little pricier for E.L.F., it’s much more affordable than some other brush sets on the market. I highly suggest these.
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That was quite the list! I’m really loving all these products, but I’m excited to try out some new ones in the month of May. Please let me know some of your favorites so I can test them out! I look forward to hearing them!

2017 Southern Women’s Show Recap

I had an amazing time at the Southern Women’s Show!

I was so incredibly excited when Jennifer Pullinger reached out to me to join a several other bloggers for the Southern Women’s Show Blogger Preview Night this past weekend. At the Blogger Preview Night, my friend, Hailey, (Follow her on her Instagram! @h.viley) and I had the opportunity to sit in on mini-fashion shows, makeup tutorials, and demos as we sipped champagne and hung out with other amazing Richmond bloggers. We also got to watch some brief runway walks from CEO Magazine, and much more. All of this was in preparation for the 2017 Southern Women’s Show, which was March 17th through the 19th.

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During the Blogger Preview Night, bloggers were able to sit through live demos with Dior and Clinique. In fact, we got to learn about the newest edition to the Dior family, the Laquer Stick, which just launched on the 17th.
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I even managed to get a quick workout with Tiramisu for Breakfast, and several other bloggers during a PowerHoopz tutorial. The hoops are weighted, which made it especially easy for us to hula hoop. It also helps to slim your waist. Hello curves!
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Not pictured: Me dropping the hoop halfway through the demo because my abs started to hurt. #NoAbs.
The lovely Hailey and I walked around the venue a bit and we stopped by the vendor, LulaRoe, where she was able to name all of the pieces with just one look. (I’m not kidding. She named out at least six styles, pulling out her favorites.)
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And I couldn’t walk away empty-handed, so I I went over to the Let’s Talk Towels booth. Let’s Talk Towels has an array of 100% cotton Turkish Towels. There, I bought myself a beautiful towel that I’m wearing as I write this. Fun Fact: The owner’s daughter is Rebecca Piersol, from The Crystal Press. (AKA My idol.)
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The wonderful hosts from the show were also so kind to also provide us with fun-filled goodie bags during the Blogger Preview Night.
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I returned to the show that Saturday with my mother and sister,  where we went on a shopping spree. As you can see, my mother really enjoyed herself. She ended up purchasing a couple of statement pieces that she found around the venue.
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Our first stop was the Let’s Talk Towels booth, here I got to see Rebecca Piersol yet again. (I was mentally jumping up and down.) We picked up some more towels and a couple hand towels. They’re all so beautiful.
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Being the beauty addict I am, I had to stop by the Dior booth to pick up the Lacquer Stick.
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I got the shade 420, which is the perfect mauve-y nude. I got to test out the Lacquer Stick and also the Lip Glow with the help of Counter Manager for Dior at Dillards in Stony Point, Kaitlyn. If you go there, definitely ask for Kaitlyn, she was so nice and helpful! (She also had one of the best smokey eyes I’ve seen in a while!) P.S. Kaitlyn, I’m coming back for the Lip Glow!
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I also fueled my makeup obsession at the Salt Soothers booth. They had an array of bath bombs, salts and scrubs to try out. I ended up getting a demo of the Blue Lagoon Dead Sea Salt Body Scrub. (Which smells amazing!) 
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The salts are combined with a mixture of oils that exfoliate the dead skin while leaving your skin nourished with the oils.
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There were so many wonderful vendors that were there and I’m so sad that I wasn’t able to stop by them all!. Nonetheless, I had such a fantastic time. If you weren’t able to come this year, you should mark your calendars for next year because you don’t want to miss out again!
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Thank you again to Jennifer for inviting me to join in on all the fun during the Blogger Preview Night! It was such a wonderful time and I can’t wait to go again next year’s! Make sure to mark your calendars! It’s going to be March 16-18 at the Richmond Raceway Complex.
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Product Empties

I was going through my makeup stash and found that I had finished a fair share of products. I thought it would be interesting to share my thoughts on these products and hopefully get your thoughts on these items.

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First, lest talk about the Boscia Detoxifying Black Cleanser. This is actually the second bottle that I’ve purchased, so that should tell you a lot about my thoughts on this. I talked about this in my Best of 2016 post, so I won’t go too in-depth. However, I will say that this is one of my favorite cleansers that I have ever tried.  And trust me when I say that I’ve used my fair share.  I really enjoy the warming sensation that you get when you work this into your skin. That along with the active charcoal ingredients make my really feel like that I’m getting rid of all the toxins in my skin. If you’re on the hunt for a detoxifying cleanser, I would highly recommend you to get a sample of this from Sephora.

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Next, we have the Peter Thomas Roth Irish Moor Mud Purifying Cleanser Gel. Much like the Boscia cleanser, this contains active charcoal which is great for getting impurities out of your skin. The only thing different is it does not have the warming effect as the Boscia cleanser, but it still foams up into a nice lather, making me feel like I’m getting a nice cleanse going. I’m a big fan of incorporating charcoal into my skin routine because I really feel that it helps to get all the toxins out, as I explained previously.

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Another empty product is the Smashbox Brow Tech Matte Pencil in “Dark Brown.” I prefer brow pencils that twist up like this, rather than crayons because I feel like I waste less product, being that I don’t have to continuously sharpen it. I enjoyed this pencil, but I have to admit that it’s not my favorite. If you need something to compare it to, it’s similar to the Anastasia Brow Wiz, but this is much more stiff. I found this helpful when trying to get those really precise, hair-like strokes. At the beginning, I really enjoyed this and would have probably said that this was my favorite brow pencil on the market, but towards the end it crumbled up on me as I went to fill in my brows. I may give this another try, but as of right now, I’m not going to repurchase it.

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The next product is the cult favorite, Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in “Caramel.” This has been raved about on nearly every blogger’s page so I’m going to keep this short. This is a great, buildable medium-to-full coverage concealer. You definitely need to set this, or you’re going to crease up. It sits nicely on the skin and I love it so much that I have already repurchased a backup.

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This product is technically not empty, but I thought I should include it because I have such a small amount left. This is the Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick in “Warm Almond.” I also touched on this in my Best of 2016 post. I bought this back in September and I completely fell in love. It’s such a beautiful foundation. It gives off a nice, natural finish and it is a medium-to-full coverage. The finish leads me to believe that it would be great for both dry and oily skin. It’s perfect for both everyday and glam makeup. I strongly suggest that you go out and purchase this foundation because it has honestly changed my life.

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I know a couple of people that don’t really like this, but I’m a big fan of the Maybelline Brow Drama Sculpting Brow Mascara in “Deep Brown.” I found that this keeps my brow hairs in place for the whole day and I don’t have to worry about them going AWOL. Albeit, the brush can be a bit difficult to work with, but once you get the hang of it, you love it! I use it both alone to amp up my brows on my “no makeup” days or over a brow pencil on days I opt for heavier makeup.

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I have another skincare item. This is the Fresh Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask. I snagged a sample of this product from another blogger and I instantly fell in love with it, which breaks my heart, considering the full-sized version is $92. After I use this, I find that my skin looks brighter, smoother and all-around healthier. I used this at night and in the morning, I saw that my breakouts have visibly reduced in size. It has a tingling sensation, so I wouldn’t recommend this for  those of you that have sensitive skin, being that it may irritate your skin, but if your skin isn’t really sensitive, you will love this.

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The last thing I found was the LUSH Ultrabland Facial Cleanser. Let me tell you that this completely revived my winter skin. I had an issue a couple months back where my skin reacted poorly with another product that I was testing. My skin was completely dried out and flaky and being that I typically have oily/combination skin, I had no idea what to do. I walked into my local LUSH and they referred me to this. Within a week, my skin was restored. It’s perfect for using as a daily cleanser, removing makeup and moisturizing your skin. I highly recommend this.

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For the most part, I’ve really been enjoying the products that I’ve ran out of and I’m going to be repurchasing most of them. The only product that I’m kind of iffy about is the Smashbox eyebrow pencil.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on these products or learn about some of the products you’ve been trying out. Let me know what products I should try out because I’d love to test out new items!

Winter Reading List 2017

Winter is the perfect time to incorporate hygge into your daily life. If you’re wondering what hygge is, it is a Danish concept that defines the feeling of warm, cozy comfort. (You can read more about it in this article I wrote on Womanitely.com a while back.)

With that being said, my favorite way to incorporate hygge into my life is by taking the time to grab a cup of tea, throw on some fuzzy socks and read an interesting book. Here are some of the books that I’ve had my nose in these winter months.

  • Adulting is a Myth by Sarah Scribbles
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    Sarah Scribbles literally draws out what it truly means to be an adult in a comical way that leave you laughing at how true it is. I received this as a gift from Her Campus for my graduation. So, if you know anyone graduating, this is the perfect gift!
  • Capture Your Style by Aimee Song
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    Are you addicted to Instagram? Do you want to improve your aesthetic? Do you love Aimee Song? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you need to grab a copy of Capture Your Style. Song goes in-depth of how to really lock in your own personal style, using Instagram. I’m so glad to have gotten this from the lovely Christina from Tiramisu for Breakfast. Definitely check her out!
  • Facts by Bernhardino Pierre
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    Before I really go into this book, I have to disclose that my cousin actually wrote it. However, I have to say that if you like poetry and someone really laying in the facts to you, this is an amazing ebook to read. If you’re looking for a book with advice on love, life and happiness, I highly recommend this. You can find the ebook here.
  • Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler
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    If you haven’t heard of Sweetbitter before, I would probably think that you were lying. It’s been on the New York Times list of bestsellers. I’ve just started this book but the style of writing is utterly beautiful. It’s a coming-of-age novel that follows a girl, Tess, who just moved to NYC and finds herself at a job in a restaurant. If you’ve read this, I beg you, don’t give me any spoilers!
  • The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae
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    True Issa Rae fans unite! I was so excited to open up a gift from my sister to find this. Before Insecure, Issa Rae created the YouTube show, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl. The show followed the life of “J” who is the epitome of an awkward black girl. I don’t want to give too much away so I’m just going to to say that her new ABC show, Insecure is loosely based off of the YouTube show.
  • You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero
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    This was another present from my sister for Christmas. I actually haven’t started this one, but as you can tell from the title, it’s a self-help book that looks into helping you from self-doubting yourself. I’m so thankful to have received this book because I definitely am one to self doubt myself. Hopefully, I can get some pointers from Jen Sincero.

If you’re reading anything interesting, I’d love to get some recommendations to add to my bookshelf So go forth and practice hygge, and don’t forget to grab yourself a cup of tea!

Blogger Tasting at Ginger Juice

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Last week, I had the wonderful opportunity to join several other bloggers for a private blogger tasting at Ginger Juice in Richmond, Va. There, we got to try some amazing new dishes that are going to be served at the location and I have to say, all of them were so yummy! We were also able to meet Erin Powell, the owner, and Jermaine Jonas, the Ginger Juice chef.

Ginger Juice is a small fresh juice shop, located in RVA. The shop just opened in 2015, and has gained much popularity for the section of freshly pressed juice. Powell began juicing when her redheaded son (Hence the name “Ginger”) didn’t want to eat her vegetables and she’s been juicing ever since.

During the tasting, Jonas prepared some delicious plant-based options for us, and I have to say, I’m getting hungry all over again looking at the pictures.

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We started with a kale salad, which I’m surprised to say that I enjoyed, considering I have a love-hate relationship with kale. It was paired with their “Golden” pressed juice.

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We, then got to try the avocado toast with chipotle cashew mayo and cucumber, paired with what I believe was their “Greggory” juice.

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For dessert, we started with a slice of lemon pie with a raspberry sauce.

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And we ended the night with my favorite from everything we tasted: vegan ice cream.

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As takeaways, they prepared our choice of a shot of tumeric or ginger, along with their “Glitzy” fresh pressed juice. Taking a shot of ginger is really helpful to your immune and digestive systems. Warning: The shot of ginger is not for the faint of heart. Be prepared for the spicy, yet refreshing ginger flavor. It did clear out my sinuses though, so that’s a major plus!

Final Thoughts:

There are major benefits to juicing. It promotes healthy eating habits, curbs hunger, detoxifies your body, and much more.

If you’re in Richmond or plan to visit anytime soon, you should definitely stop by Ginger Juice to taste the fresh juice and awesome food choices. Both Erin and Jermaine were so incredibly sweet and friendly.  If you’re nervous about vegan options, trust me, Jermaine Jones, the chef knows what he’s doing. You’ll love it.

If you’re not going to be in RVA anytime soon, don’t worry, you’re able to find a selection juices that you can ship right to your home! Get your cleansing on today!

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