Dairy Free

Around last Summer, I realized that I was lactose intolerant. Every time I ate dairy, with the exception of cheese (thank God), I would completely break out and feel slightly nauseous (although sometimes it was worth it). This meant no more ice cream, yogurt, chocolate, or cereal… or so I thought. Since then, I have been aggressively trying different vegan/dairy free alternatives to the foods I most miss. Throughout this process, I have tested several brands and products, and decided to round up the good, bad and amazing in this post.

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Ice Cream:

I can’t live without my ice cream. Currently, the four types of substitutes on the market are soy milk ice cream, which I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole, coconut milk ice cream, which can be good but also can be a bit gritty in texture, water based, which is a total hit or miss, and almond milk ice cream which is flat out amazing.

When Halo-top released dairy free flavors, I was excited to try them, but had to wait an extremely long time for multiple flavors to roll out.  Halo-Top can make some good ice cream, but even with dairy struggles with their chocolate. Naturally, the chocolate flavor is a pass, as it is bland and gritty from the coconut milk. Both the chocolate and the cinnamon roll took a long time to harden and I found the taste of the cinnamon roll to be rather off-putting. The caramel macchiato also struggled in the texture department but had a good taste and is therefore my favorite of the flavors. The chocolate covered banana has pathetic swirls of fudge but tastes extremely artificial.  The oatmeal cookie flavor, while incredible in the dairy version, isn’t my favorite when prepared with coconut milk. It isn’t awful, but it doesn’t make me want to eat ice cream. Finally, the caramel flavor is actually pretty good and not super gritty, although the caramel used by the company taste a bit fake to me.

SO Delicious is where you can find excellent dairy free ice cream products. Their traditional coconut milk ice cream sandwiches are good, if you don’t mind the texture of the coconut milk ice cream, which in this case, is much smoother than halo top. Their pints are also good and the texture and taste of the coconut milk are not at all noticeable. The sugar free chocolate coconut milk ice cream is very rich and dark tasting; not as good as normal chocolate ice cream, but close enough if you really want it and it’s all the store has. Finally, SO Delicious makes amazing mocha almond fudge ice cream bars. The ice cream inside is smooth and tastes so good you can’t even tell that they are dairy free!

Saving the best for last, Haagan Das has the best dairy free ice cream that’s probably the worst for you as no dairy alternatives are used, and instead, it’s simply water and syrup of some sort.  While I would run far far away from any other dairy free ice cream that doesn’t have some sort of dairy free alternative, (hello rough texture and weird aftertaste), this ice cream is somehow amazing. Miraculously, the texture of this dairy free is exactly the same as their normal ice cream. However, it’s calorie content for a half cup is equivalent to an entire pint of the halo top. The chocolate salted fudge truffle non dairy flavor consists of a deep chocolate ice cream and comes with thick chocolate chunks that are fudge, salty and so good. It’s the kind of ice cream that you actually want to eat but don’t have to eat a lot of because it is so rich.

Yogurt:

Yogurt is one of those foods that is easily amazing without dairy. Coconut milk yogurt by SO Delicious tastes identical to normal yogurt. Especially in the vanilla flavor, you can’t taste any coconut and it has the best taste and creamy texture.

Milk:

Here’s where things get interesting. I dreaded trying almond milk. I’d used it before in smoothies and was horrified by its watery texture and bland taste. Finally, on the recommendation of a friend, I tried Silk’s Vanilla almond milk. It was a little sweeter than regular milk, but the texture was spot on! Later, I tried the Almond Breeze Vanilla almond milk which has a less sweet taste and tastes almost identical to regular milk (I think… I don’t exactly remember what cow milk taste’s like) Both are great with cereal and both perform perfectly as regular milk substitutions when baking.

Chocolate for Eating

Believe it or not, most chocolate bars are vegan, especially if they are dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 70% or higher. I love Lidnt special dark 70% bars.

Chocolate for Baking:

I have the worst allergy to nestle chocolate chips and most other baking chocolates. Nothing will make my face explode worse. However, the one safe brand for me that uses nothing but the best ingredients is Guittard. They taste better, are higher quality, and are better for you. These chips have a 46% cocoa content, are non GMO, gluten free, peanut free and all natural. While they are technically not safe for those with an actual milk allergy, not a slight intolerance, their ingredient list is kept simple, featuring only sugar, cocoa beans, cocoa butter, sunflower lecithin and vanilla. Their while chocolate chips are also fantastic and make for the most addicting desserts!

 

Gal Meets Glam

I’m finally done with finals! I feel like I finished strong after feeling extremely unmotivated all day yesterday which led to a night filled with studying. I’m so happy that it’s finally summer vacation, even if said vacation is only going to last ten days… oh well…

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Gal Meets Glam Collection

Gal Meets Glam launched their first line of dresses last month and is set to launch again later this month. I was blown away with how fast they sold out and how beautiful the dresses were! Julia definitely stayed true to her style when designing the dresses and I wouldn’t be more obsessed with them! I’m also thrilled that there are wisteria blooming literally everywhere I look. After a winter that felt as if it would never end, spring blooms are all I want to see for awhile.

Eyelets and Blooms

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I am so over studying. All I want to do is eat cupcakes and not be focused on schoolwork. While I know I only have 5 days left of the semester, it couldn’t feel any farther away. All I want to do is go for a walk around Georgetown, pick up cupcakes, and look at different blooms. This light blue eyelet top was so comfortable and perfect for the spring weather that has since been replaced with heavy humidity. The funnel neckline was wide in shape which made the cut of the top so unique. It was the perfect light weight spring top that has the ability to look casual or put together.

Top // Jeans // Heels

 

Tulips With A View

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I must say, for a city, DC (and Arlington) are really killing it with the flower fields. I would have never expected to find essentially what was a field of daffodils in the middle of a city, or a field of tulips just outside of one. Not having a car in DC not only makes it difficult at times to get around, but more difficult to happen upon cool spots. If I had not been driving, I never would’ve found the daffodils and if I had not been driving around with my cousin a couple of weekends ago, I never would’ve known where these tulips were! For reference, they are located between the Iwo Jima Memorial and Arlington Cemetery, just beneath that giant tower on the hill. Because there isn’t a place to park anymore, I metro-ed to Rosslyn and walked about ten minutes from there.

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Because it was a warm, spring day, I chose to wear this fun, ruffled skirt with the cutest black gingham print. I paired it with a plain ruffled black top, and practical white sneakers that completely didn’t match. The grass around the tulips was wet so I didn’t bother to put my black glitter slides on, and ended up turning my white shoes brown! Wish me luck with washing them later… 😳

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Skirt (40% off with code SUMMER) // Similar Top

Chambray and Sunshine

Today was my last day of classes! All I have left now for the Spring semester is finals! Immediately after being released from my final lecture of the semester, I went to pick up cupcakes to celebrate (like I need an excuse). Finally, it’s starting to feel like spring outside and I couldn’t be happier.

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I’m absolutely in love with this light wash chambray top. It’s a soft material and extremely well made. I love how it looks untucked but can also see myself wearing it with skirts or tucked in to a belted pair of white jeans. On this particular day, I was dying to get out of my room. I’d had a fever for the past few days and couldn’t stand being cooped up any longer. However, since walking was still exhausting, I decided to metro to Smithsonian to get some fresh air in the garden behind the castle. I the garden existed, I just didn’t know what it looked like. Fortunately, I was in for a pleasant surprise. The way the tulips were planted was so cool and everything was green and pretty with the afternoon sunshine streaming through the trees. The benches were also very comfortable and I can see myself studying here on a warm day.

Top // Jeans // Heels

Wandering in the Wisteria

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My posting schedule is hereby cancelled until the semester is over. There will be new posts, but I have no idea what days they’ll be going up on.  I’m spread a bit thin and have too much going on in the next couple of weeks. I’ve also been sick which means precious time that could’ve been spent productively has been spent sleeping and wandering around my room in a confused state. When I miss class, you know it’s bad. However, before everything went downhill, we had that beautiful, 80+ degree Saturday last weekend. I spent about an hour of it in Old Town Alexandria, walking around with my cousin enjoying the weather and signs of spring. It was the perfect excuse to wear these seersucker shorts that I’d recently picked up and had been dying to wear. There’s nothing better than loose, comfortable shorts on a hot day, or in general. My bag for the day was this light pink polka dot backpack that I found on sale over the winter and use religiously. It’s the perfect size to carry all of my essentials (camera, wallet, lipstick, portable charger) and wears comfortably on my back. Hopefully this weather will return with a little less humidity so I can start studying outside soon!

Shorts // Sandals // Backpack

Family Weekend

This past weekend, I convinced my cousin Scott to drive down from RI for a weekend visit. He arrived Friday night and left Sunday afternoon. While I probably should’ve spent the entire weekend writing a big paper I have due Tuesday, we had a fun weekend playing tourist.

When he arrived Friday night, we immediately went to visit my friends and spent a few hours with them. We played our silly games which reminded Scott of his own social life… in tenth grade. Afterwards, we found batteries and inflated Scott’s air mattress before falling asleep… or at least he did. I, instead, got to stay awake and listen to his snores.

 

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Saturday morning, we got up and headed to Georgetown so Scott could get coffee before driving over to the national harbor to do some returns and shopping. While in a store, Scott thought a gift card looked cool so he asked the employees who he’d quickly befriended if he could take one with $0 on it. They agreed and laughed at him some more. Next, I was dragged to an army store before doing some dragging of my own over to Old Town Alexandria. We got pesto asiago croissants from the farmer’s market before walking around and exploring a bit. After, we intended to explore the area surrounding Iwo Jima, but because it’s under construction, there was no parking so we settled on a half hour of traffic instead.

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After our late night and busy morning, I was exhausted and decided to take a nap which in all actuality consisted of taking an allergy pill, turning the AC on, drinking a ton of water and eating half of a banana bread, whatever works! While I decompressed, Scott headed off to explore the city on foot and go to a museum. We eventually met up at Lincoln before walking over to see what was left of the cherry blossoms.

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That evening we drove back to Georgetown, this time for cupcakes, which I force fed half of to Scott. I don’t know what’s wrong with him, but he has something against sugar. Doesn’t he know that dessert is the most important meal of the day?!?!?! Between eating cupcakes, we visited the Jefferson, which is my favorite monument, before heading back. I almost forgot to mention how on the way back from picking up cupcakes, Scott decided it would be a fabulous idea to yell at some pathetic-looking frat boys. They were sitting out on their little bench, minding their own business and thinking they were so cool, when my lovely cousin, while driving his car, stuck his head, upper body and arm out of the moon roof, honked the horn, and started screaming “WOOOOO!!!!!!!” like a mad man. For a solid four seconds, there was dead silence as they were in a state of shock, but after the slight buffer period, several screamed back. I’m still shaking my head.

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Sunday morning, we got up, and again, headed to Georgetown. Scott found a parking spot while I picked up cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcake, both for myself and for my parents. Sunday is mocha fudge day and April is salted caramel chocolate chip month. Needless to say, everyone in my family was pretty excited for dessert. After I got the cupcakes, Scott got his coffee and we headed to the NRA’s firearm museum in Fairfax. It was so cool! I love guns and this place had more than I’d ever seen before in my life. I definitely got some room inspiration from the framed of bullets… bullet art is going to be a thing!  After spending over an hour looking at every single gun in the place, we got matching NRA hats and talked to the man at the desk. He informed us that they had a state of the art, BYO gun shooting range on site that was only $15/hr for non-members and $20/hr for members.  Unfortunately, neither of us had guns on us.

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After driving aimlessly around and stopping so Scott could shoe shop, we drove back into the city for dinner with my roommate at 1pm. Then, it was off to Autozone for new windshield wipers to equip Scott’s safe drive home in the rain. Overall, we had such a fun weekend. It was great to have family who is just as crazy as me around and to be able to play tourist and explore so many different surrounding areas that I’d never been before. Scott is definitely going to come back and visit next semester and the one following that!

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