April’s Crush–Five Faves of April

April’s Crush–Five Faves of April 

Hi and welcome back to Ria Lives Well! 

It may not be April anymore…in fact, we have both feet firmly planted in the month of May. But I look back on my faves of last month and feel like sharing my top five beneficial, inspirational and pleasurable April crushes.

5. Bigelow Vanilla Chai 

This stuff is pleasantly addictive. Since I no longer own a blender and can’t enjoy my morning smoothies, I’ve returned to the simplicity of tea and coffee.

Bigelow is my mom’s favorite brand, but she hates the vanilla flavor. As a result, I hated the vanilla flavor. I still don’t know how that worked out. Psychology, man. Stuff is deep.

The other day, I blindly picked up a box of vanilla chai {like my dad says, “I don’t buy what I see, I see what I buy”} and didn’t realize the faux pas until long after. Well, this “faux pas” was an absolute delight! I kept wondering why it tasted so good. And then I looked at the box: Vanilla Chai. Well I’ll be…

One way I enjoy making it is iced and with a sprinkling of unsweetened cocoa powder. Studying in my sweltering attic room, I can’t put into words how relieving this drink is. I asked my roommate, a fellow chai addict, if she ever tried it with cocoa powder. She gave me a look as if I were crazy.

“Don’t judge until you try it,” I replied; and then I showed her how to make it:

  • 2 bags of chai 
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • dash of cinnamon (optional, recommended)
  • dash of cloves (optional)
  • dash of chili powder (totes optional)


In a pot, boil water, add chai. Allow it to simmer for 3 minutes; remove teabags. In a different pot, simmer milk. Add cocoa powder, brown sugar and optional spices. Stir until dissolved. Pour milk into tea; heat until blended. Pour over a glass of ice. Enjoy!

So my roommate tried it. And now I have a feeling she’ll be on the receiving end of that “you’re crazy” look.

4. Torani Irish Cream Syrup 

Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh. This stuff? This stuff here? It is so good! It works wonderfully in my oatmeal, over pancakes, in tea and, most importantly, my morning coffee. It’s a great flavor enhancer for vegans who love coffee, and it replaces the need for extra sugar. It did cost a pretty penny, but was totally worth it. My Torani Irish Creme Syrup plays a special role in my Best Vegan Coffee Ever recipe, which I’ll be posting shortly. The thing about the best vegan coffee is the formula behind it. But I’ll get into that in another post.

3. Puritan Pride Biotin 

I take a lot of supplements for health, so when I find one that doubles as a vanity supplement, I’m all in. Biotin works for those who suffer from hair loss, malnutrition, rapid weight loss, brittle nails and even diabetes–that’s how it works as a health supplement. As a vanity supplement, it thickens hair, grows hair faster, grows nails longer and stronger, and promotes healthy skin. Wins across the board. If you choose to purchase Biotin, make sure to consult with your doctor first.

2. Impulse Co Vegan Lipsticks 

Vegan Lipsticks
Vegan Lipsticks

If you look inside my Etsy shopping cart, you’ll see my love affair for Etsy’s natural beauty products. Many of these handmade products are vegan, hard-to-find and often affordable. An added bonus is, you’re putting money into the pockets of small business owners rather than a huge, destructive corporation like…I don’t know…off the top of my head? Wal-Mart.

My most recent purchase were these Impulse Co vegan lipsticks.

Image By: Impulse Co. (Etsy) Vegan Lipstick in Medusa
Impulse Co. (Etsy) Vegan Lipstick in Sweet Nothings

I’ve been using them for a few days now, and I can already tell they’re keepers. They moisturize my lips and provide a burst of color with one gentle swipe. This is good news, because it means that both lipsticks will last a while. They were a little more than I hoped they would be, but I still love them and will be re-purchasing.

Gents, this vegan lipstick may not be for you, but if you have a vegan or vegetarian girlfriend, sister or friend, direct them over to Impulse Co. Thank me later.

1. Study Abroad in Chile

Image by: Amazon.
The 2nd edition on How to Survive the Chilean Jungle

Although it’s not official, I’m thinking long and hard about traveling to Chile for a Fall study abroad program. Studying abroad is something every student should experience. A few key reasons I listed on my England essay were:

  1. It looks great on a resume, as traveling outside of one’s country requires a set of skills most employers look for.
  2. It builds interpersonal strengths on both a professional and personal level.
  3. It’s a wonderful experience no one can take from you.

I’m going for a Spanish class, so I have a lot of brushing up to do–1) I haven’t taken a Spanish class in well over a year and, 2) Chileans are among the fastest talkers in all the Spanish speaking countries.

Image by: Amazon A dictionary/Phrasebook for Chilean Spanish–Yes. Chileans have their own Spanish.

On top of that, their accents are thick and they change the suffixes of many words. On top of that, they have unique phrases, such as “pololo/polola” for “boyfriend/girlfriend” instead of “novio/novia“; there’s also “cachai” for “understand” instead of “comprendo/entiendo“. And then on top of that {last one, I swear}, they have a few idiosyncrasies, like ending each sentence with “po”. Don’t ask. I can’t answer.

Suffice it to say, if you understand a Chilean conversation, you can understand any conversation in Spanish.

If I go, I’ll go armed and ready for battle with “How to Survive in the Chilean Jungle”; a book on “Chileanismos”; in other words, Chilean slang or Chilean Spanish.

This way, if I get lost in the language, I’ll be able to find my way back.

My Chilean trip may not be official, but it has inspired me to pursue a forgotten passion: learning Spanish.

~Live Well!


What are your April Faves?


2 thoughts on “April’s Crush–Five Faves of April

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s