ATZEN Skin Care 

Company: ATZEN Skin Care

“ATZEN offers the ideal combination of safe, natural, and high performance ingredients. Our products will transform skin conditions to bring balance, health and radiance to your face and body while slowing the aging process, controlling acne conditions, and repairing sun damaged skin. ATZEN products are user friendly, gender neutral, most have no fragrance, and take just minutes to use morning and night.”

Products: 

BALANCE Gentle Exfoliating Scrub (50 ml/1.7 oz – $50.00 USD)

Review:

This BALANCE Gentle Exfoliating Scrub is fragrance-free and contains smooth jojoba eco-beads for gentle exfoliation. Some of the natural ingredients include Kaolin, Organic Olive, Organic Sunflower, and Organic Green Tea Extract. When massaged into the skin, this product leaves your face feeling fresh, clean, and smooth without feeling dry or irritated. With just a few uses, it has improved the tone and texture of my skin. This product is Step 1 of ATZEN Skin Care’s  “Balance: Age Reverse Safely” Spa Facial System, which makes sense since it removes all dead skin cells, oil, make up, and debris, making the skin ready to absorb additional products.

The Bottom Line

This product is pricey but it is made of high-quality organic ingredients and it gets the job done. The tone and texture of my skin have improved, and I would definitely be interested in trying Step 2 of this skin care system. I appreciate the fact that eco-beads are used instead of plastic. More companies need to make this switch! If you aren’t familiar with the detrimental effects of microbeads on environment/oceans, please look into it! It’s shocking! Have you tried any products from ATZEN Skin Care? If so, I recommend that you give them a try! Let me know how you like them!

Thank you, ATZEN Skin Care, for sending me this product to review!


THE BLOCK off biltmore

Location:  

THE BLOCK off biltmore

39 S. Market Street

Asheville, NC

Atmosphere:  The BLOCK off bilmore (TBob, for short), is unlike any other establishment I have been to.  It’s described as an “eco-vegan, social justice, solidarity bar”, with all vegan alcohol and food.  All of the beverages, food items, and spirits are locally made, which supports smaller businesses in the community.  TBob has only been open for about 5 months, but has already become known for its community-based events, Open Mic Night, and delicious cocktails.

Food:  TBob hires local food artists to prepare and sell 100% plant-based foods on a nightly basis.  This not only supports local cooks/chefs, it exposes customers to a variety of freshly made, creative dishes and snacks.  Locally made gourmet potato chips, pretzels, and dark chocolate truffles are also available, in addition to absolutely fabulous coffee, served in small or large french presses.  The food options are always different, which is part of the fun of stopping by!   I’ve had many meals at TBob, including chana masala, mofungo, tempeh scramble with home fries, falafel, rosemary tofu and small plates/apps.  I’ve had incredible desserts including the best cupcakes I have ever had!

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Dig it or Ditch it?  DIG IT!  What’s better than a 100% vegan establishment that supports local businesses and the community?  I like the fact that the food is made with care from local food artists, and it is always spectacular!  If you’re in Asheville, stop by TBob for live music or a community based event, and order a plate of creative vegan food!

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Fruitive

Location:

1624 Laskin Rd

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Fruitive.com
Atmosphere:

Located in a strip mall, this little spot is really cute! Wooden everything, fancy chandeliers, books cases, and even a reading nook… What an awesome place to come chill!


There’s a very relaxed vibe here with friendly and fast service.

Food:

I ordered the Southwest Salad and the Coconut Colada Smoothie. The salad is not on their website’s menu, but I promise I ordered one!

Let me start out by stating the obvious. There are different types of vegans. There are those that enjoy the grassy taste of green juices and things like that, and then there are those that eat Oreos, and pizza, and fried tofu (cough, cough).

The food here caters to the more health conscious vegan. The ingredients are fresh and go through very few alterations, leaving the flavors as natural as possible. It’s light, refreshing, and tastes healthy.

The salad included; romaine, corn, black beans, red peppers, a small amount of avocado, cucumber, tomato, vegan ranch dressing and a large portion of spicy hummus. Again this salad tasted fresh, natural, and healthy. The ranch dressing went pretty much undetected, but the hummus offered a lot in the flavor department (pepper, cilantro). The salad was very dry, and I think they really skimped on the dressing. (Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyy???????!!!!!)


The smoothie tasted primarily of bananas. In fact, it tasted exactly like a banana smoothie I made awhile back. I sensed a very light coconut flavor, but damn it, when I order a Piña Colada, I want the full, coconuts-are-kicking-you-in-the-mouth-flavor-go-put-on-a-hula-skirt, type of taste…. You know what I mean???

DIG IT or DITCH IT?

This is a cute place with simple, natural, and healthy food. It is pricey (this meal cost about $20). I was disappointed that they did not have the dessert items, like the raspberry cheesecake, that were shown on their website. The flavors were a little lackluster to me, but again, for raw food, it was pretty decent. I’ll say DIG IT for now, since I’d like to try another smoothie, but there are definitely many cheaper smoothie places to go to instead.

Sakura Sushi Bar Japanese Restaurant

Location:

2029 S. Lynnhaven Parkway
Suite 450
Virginia Beach, Virginia 23456
(757) 416-3551

Atmosphere:

Friday, Friday, Friday! The atmosphere was laid back, crowded but not crazy in any way. Booths, tables, and high top tables, were all filled up and they have a very nice bar with top shelf liquor.  Service is fast, just like the making of the sushi rolls. You can watch them make the rolls right next to the bar, which is always a good sign (nothing to hide , right?).

Food:

There are no words to describe the feeling I got when I heard “all you can eat sushi”.  My heart filled with joy and I waved my credit card in the air and screamed “Take my money! Take all of it!”

Not really, but for $25 that’s how I felt.  There’s an entire menu of rolls, rice, noodles, soups, salads, and appetizers that are included in this price.  You can order for hours and hours until the authorities are called and you are transported elsewhere via a flatbed truck.


The quality of the food was excellent. Pictured above is the Avocado Peanut Roll(top) and the Sweet Potato Tempura Roll.  The rice was perfectly cooked… Not too sticky or sweet. The avocado was ripe and it was absolutely freakin’ delicious with the sweet and salty peanuts.  I would have never thought of his combo, especially not in a veggie roll, but it worked!!

The Sweet Potato Tempura Roll was another new one to me.  The tempura itself was extremely crunchy and flavorful, which was a nice contrast to to soft rice. It had a sweet brown sauce on it, which enhanced the flavor of the sweet potato. I really enjoyed this one.

DIG IT or DITCH IT?!

DIG IT! DIG IT! DIG IT!

Excellent service, a clean laid back atmosphere, and the option to stay and eat high quality Japanese food for hours for one cheap price!? C’mon what’s not to like?  Try this place, you won’t be sorry.  Maybe I’ll see you there, I’ll be in the corner making room for Round 2. 

Java Surf Café and Espresso Bar

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Location:

Java Surf Café and Espresso Bar

301 25th Street

Virginia Beach, VA

757.963.6600

Atmosphere:

This is a quirky little coffee and sandwich spot located in a strip mall.  With outdoor seating, a chill surfer motif, and plenty of seasonal menu items to choose from, it’s no wonder why this seems to be a favorite of local hipsters and tourists. You’ll always know when a certain employee is around because evidently he failed the oh-so-important “indoor voices” challenge in 1st grade, and still seems to struggle to master that lesson.  Nonetheless, there’s free wifi, so just bring your headphones and let some Fleetwood Foxes drown that guy out.

Food:

Almond and soy milk are in the building for coffees and lattés. Woo hoo! I’m always grateful for establishments that cater to my raging coffee addiction. I actually ordered 2 iced lattes, coconut and vanilla for $4 a pop. They were smooth, sweet, flavorful, and strong.  What more could you ask for in an iced latté?

There was only 1 menu item that was specifically labelled as vegan… So I got it for $9. The “Chicken Avocado Panini” was pretty damn good! As you can tell from the picture, they didn’t skimp on the avocado (and you didn’t have to hear them say “Guac is extra, is that OK?”).  I believe the chiken was Gardien. It was cooked perfectly and had a nice grilled flavor. The combo of the fresh avo, tomato, seasoned chiken, and the bakery quality bread, made this a home run for sure.

DIG IT or DITCH IT?

Dig it!  The relaxed, friendly atmosphere, along with awesome coffee and quality ingredients, makes this place a winner.  The waitress let me know that they can veganize just about any of the menu items, so I’m going back for sure! Now put on some sunglasses and practice your best surfer-stoner accent, and head on over! Order a coffee for me, dude!