the lifestyle reporter

TLR Eats: True Food Kitchen // Santa Monica



True Food Kitchen has quickly become one of my favorite spots in LA. The healthy restaurant has so many choices and caters to meat eaters, vegetarians, vegans and people with gluten free allergies. I’ve gone to True Food several times over the past year and each time, I’ve been impressed with my meal.

On Sunday I went with my sister and our friend and I had such a delicious lunch. I chose the Teriyaki Quinoa, which was so flavorful and fulfilling. It had broccoli, carrot, bok choy, mushroom, toasted sesame, brown rice and avocado. I paired my meal with iced green tea – it’s my go-to beverage at True Food.

My sister got the Butternut Squash pizza which looked incredible. It was vegan too! I tried it and it was absolutely delicious. The cheese was made out of almonds and I couldn’t tell it wasn’t real cheese. It also had kale and cranberries for added flavor.

My friend got the garden scramble and it looked really fresh and healthy. She said it filled her up completely.

There are several True Food Kitchen’s in Southern California, but they also have locations in Austin, Atlanta, Denver, Houston, Phoenix, Scottsdale and more.  Check out their locations here as well as their amazing menu.


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June Beauty Favorites


My top five beauty products from June are a mix of hair, skin and makeup items.  Read on to find what I loved as well as where to purchase them!

1. NYX Cosmetics HD Foundation

NYX Cosmetics HD Foundation

For the past year or so, I used Bobbi Brown stick foundation, which I loved.  What I didn’t love was the price tag.  One stick cost $44 and lasted about 5-6 weeks if I was careful. I decided to find a new foundation that was way more affordable. I follow @msirsah on instagram (she’s amazing, make sure to check her page out) and she mentioned the NYX Cosmetics HD liquid foundation.  I decided to take a leap and buy one and test it out.  I went to Ulta and chose the color “sand beige.”  The foundation retails for $18, but I used a coupon and got it for $13.  I am in love with this foundation!  It is dewy, which I wanted, and long lasting if I use a powder on top.  You have to powder on top or the foundation won’t stay on the skin.  I can layer the foundation for extra coverage and it looks great.  I would absolutely recommend this foundation and if you don’t want to pay $18 for a drug store foundation, shop at CVS or Ulta and use a coupon (if you sign up for emails or their points card, you get coupons).

2. Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Powder Duo

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Powder Duo

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Powder is my favorite product in my makeup bag.  It’s literally magic.  I love thick brows and I as a kid, I took that for granted.  As I got older, I noticed that my brows don’t really grow and that’s where brow powder comes in.  I use the dark brown (Brunette) to fill in my brows as well as lengthen the front end of them.  I use Anastasia’s brow brush #12 ($18) and using the lighter color of the duo, carefully draw the tips of my brow (above my nose)–this gives the illusion of fuller brows. The powder lasts all day, as well as during a sweaty session at the gym.  I’ve tried the brow wiz and the dipbrow pomade from her line as well–both of which work great.  I prefer the powder because it’s easier for me to apply and it looks natural. You can purchase the brow powder for $23 at Sephora/; the brow powder has two shades, one lighter and one darker.  There are 11 shades in the line.

As a side note: When I was blond, instead of dying my brows lighter, I decided to just use a blond colored brow product instead.  I thought that my brows would get ruined by dye so instead, I bought the Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade in blonde and painted over my brows to make them look lighter.

3. Tarte Maracuja Oil

Tarte Maracuja Oil

I got a mini bottle of this and fell in love with it!  It’s a treatment oil that you put on your face and neck at night.  A little bit goes a long way for this product, which actually brightens, moisturizes and smoothes skin.  I did not break out at all and the next day, my skin felt smoother and less splotchy.  I also felt like it faded redness which is a major issue for me.  I like to put it on my forehead and neck especially to prevent wrinkles and keeps it moisturized.  When the mini bottle is done, I will definitely be purchasing this product again.  The Tarte Maracuja Oil comes in a .5 oz bottle ($15), a .6 oz rollerball ($17), a 1.7 oz bottle ($48), and and a 3.4 oz bottle ($75) at Sephora and

4. Marrakesh Oil Products, including the Marrakesh Nourish Shampoo, Hydrate Conditioner, Marrakesh X, Marrakesh Endz and Marrakesh Oil

Marrakesh Oil Hair Care Products vegan

My hair became extremely damaged after going blond last year so I decided to go for gentle, moisturizing products and found Marrakesh Oil products. I love how these products are vegan and cruelty free.  There are no animal ingredients, no animal testing, no sulfates, no parabans, no phalates, etc.  They have Argan and Hemp oil so they are extremely nourishing. The nourish shampoo ($13.99) and hydrate conditioner ($15.99) are gentle on color treated hair and afterwards, my hair feels good.   I used the Marrakesh X ($15.99) immediately after I get out the shower and brush it into my hair.  That product is a detangler and really helps with frizz control and adds moisture.  Next, I use the Marrakesh Endz ($17.99 for 4 oz), which is a cream you put on your ends (for split ends).  I like to use the Marrakesh Oil ($22.99) after I wake up in the morning and want to put some moisture and shine into my hair.  You can either order the products online or use their salon locator to find a vendor located near you.

5. Redken Smooth Lock Heat Glide

Redken Smooth Lock Heat Glide

This product is essential in my hair routine.  I put a small amount into my hair and brush it in before I blow dry it.  My hair becomes visibly shinier, softer and way less frizzy.  It also protects your hair from hot irons and hair dryers. The key is not putting too much or else your hair can turn oily.  Always, always dry your hair with a blow dryer after putting this product in your hair. I don’t recommend using this before straightening or curling it because then you start making your hair really oil.  It really works amazing when you want to blow dry your hair. It also has a nice scent. In the summertime, my hair can become frizzy so anything that combats that, I love.  One bottle lasts a long time and definitely worth the price. It’s on sale on Amazon for $16 right now.



The Most Delicious Vegan Chickpea Shawarma Recipe!


Vegan Shawarma Recipe The Lifestyle ReporterIf you follow my instagram @thelifestylereporter, then you’ve probably seen the photo of my vegan shawarma from Mendocino Farms, a popular sandwich shop in Los Angeles.  It was absolutely delicious and so fulfilling.  It’s funny though, I honestly didn’t know what shawarma was until I saw it on their menu.  I wanted to try something new, because I usually got a salad there.  After I had my vegan shawarma wrap from Mendocino, I started thinking about how to recreate it in my own kitchen.  I also had a good motivation–I don’t want to dish out $10 every time I wanted it.

My sister and I decided to take a stab at it and created our own recipe. It came out so amazing!  We made it two times within three days to one, test the recipe, and two, because it’s that good.  Shawarma is a Mediterranean dish and typically made with meat, but vegan shawarma can be created with chickpeas or seitan.  I’ve never tried seitan and I honestly don’t want to, so that was out of the question for me.  I love chickpeas and so we when we started crafting the recipe, we included the chickpea base, and a tahini dressing, all in a whole wheat tortilla.

Anyways, the recipe is below–it’s completely vegan, healthy and delicious!  I hope you enjoy!

The Lifestyle Reporter Vegan Chickpea Shawarma

Vegan Shawarma (Serves 4)

-2 cans of garbanzo beans (also called chickpeas)

-7 TBSP Tahini

-1/2 of a yellow onion (medium sized onion)

-2 cloves of garlic

-2 TBSP Lemon Juice

-2 Persian Cucumbers (skinned)

-1 tsp cumin

-1 tsp turmeric

-salt and pepper to taste


-2 TBSP Tahini

-1 clove of garlic

-1 TBSP Lemon Juice

-1/4 of a yellow onion (medium)

-1-2 Persian Cucumbers (skinned)

-Salt and Pepper to taste

For the Wrap:

-whole wheat wrap bread

-purple onions, diced

-tomatoes, diced

-romaine, diced

-cucumbers, skinned and sliced into long, thin sticks

The Lifestyle Reporter Vegan Chickpea Shawarma Wrap

 To Prepare:

1. In a food processor, add the onion and garlic.  Blend the two ingredients.  Now add the tahini, spices, lemon juice, and cucumbers and blend well.  Finally, add the two cans of beans after you’ve washed and drained them.  Don’t blend the beans in too well, just roughly blend it, leaving beans mostly whole.  Put the mixture into a separate mixing bowl.

2. To make the dressing, use the food processor again.  You don’t need to wash it, because you want the flavors from the bean puree to infuse with the dressing.  Add the garlic and onion and blend well. Next, add the remaining ingredients: the tahini, lemon juice, cucumber(s) and salt and pepper.  For the cucumbers, first add one and mix.  If it has a creamy/liquidity consistency, one is enough. If it’s not wet enough, add the second cucumber.

3. Turn the stove on to medium temperature and use an olive oil spray to coat it.  While it’s warming up, assemble the wraps.  Lay the wrap bread down and then add the bean puree, making sure not to go to far out near the edges.  We put a couple of big spoonfuls of the puree because we were really hungry ( 🙂 ) and then on top of that layer, add a thick layer of the sauce, spreading it evenly.  Next, add the cucumber slices in the middle, and then top it with the romaine, tomatoes, and onions.  Fold the bottom part of the wrap up and then pull each sides to meet in the middle. Use a little bit of purified water to kind of seal the fold so it stays like a open-ended burrito.

4. Put the wrap on the stove open side down and let it cook for a few minutes to get a golden crispy texture.  Turn it over and do the same on the other side.  Once it’s done, cut in half and enjoy.  We had it with a side of baked potato slices.

The Lifestyle Reporter Vegan Chickpea Shawarma with baked potato slices

Let me know if you try the recipe below!  Ok, now I’m totally craving some more of this shawarma 🙂 !!

Avocado Cilantro Pasta


One of our go-to vegan meals has currently been this avocado cilantro pasta dish–it’s easy and so delicious.  I found the recipe on sweetsimplevegan, but we changed it up a little bit.  The day after we made it, we took the leftovers for our lunch and it still tasted fresh and amazing!


2 cups gluten free brown rice penne pasta

2 cups baby spinach

1 bunch cilantro, stems removed

3 cloves of garlic

1/2 red onion

1 large avocado

1 can garbanzo beans

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved



Juice of one lemon

3 tsp olive oil

1 tsp agave

2 tsp spicy mustard (I got mine from Trader Joe’s)

1/2 tsp. cumin

dash of salt and pepper


1. Cook pasta according to package instructions.  Drain and let it cool.

2. In the food processor, add the spinach and cilantro and turn on until finely chopped.

3. Add the food processor chopped spinach and cilantro mixture to a large bowl.

4. In the newly empty food processor, add the onion and the three cloves of garlic; chop until it is a fine mixture.

5. Add the onion and garlic mixture into the large bowl with the chopped spinach and cilantro.  Mix.

6. Dice the avocado and cut the tomatoes in half.  Drain garbanzo beans.  Add the diced avocado, tomatoes and garbanzo beans to the large bowl.

7. Pour the pasta into the mixture.

8. Make the dressing in a separate small bowl, mix well and then pour over the pasta and greens mixture.

9. Toss well and serve. Enjoy!

It tastes good fresh or the the next day, as a cold pasta dish.  Best stored in the fridge in small air tight container.