Sustainable Fashion Spotlight & Interview: Sundays Designs

I recently had the pleasure of working with Sundays Designs (formerly Vegan Resortwear). Their founder, Edina, is so sweet and very dedicated to sustainable fashion and vegan living. Check out the interview I did with her below!

Pieces I’m wearing: Hermosa Linen Tie-Back Top Navy and Hermosa Linen Lounge Pants Oatmeal

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Sundays Designs: Allison, would you please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about you and your lifestyle? 

 Me: Hi! I’m from Scottsdale, AZ and currently live in Long Beach, CA. I’m a freelance graphic designer, photographer, stylist, and creative director. It’s awesome being my own boss! I also have an eco/vegan fashion, lifestyle, photography, and travel blog. 

 

Sundays Designs: You had been vegetarian for quite long time but later became a vegan. What’s your advice to those who have hard time starting Veganism or to those who are still transitioning and feeling stuck?

Me: To be honest, going vegan was the best thing I could have done for my health, the health of others, the environment and for animals in my lifetime. It’s such an extraordinary thing that you can heal your body from the inside out with plants and live a lifestyle of loving other sentient beings and our planet – and the food is amazing! When I see something non-vegan that looks and smells delicious, for example pizza, mac & cheese, or a cupcake, I just think to myself, “I don’t need this now, I can be patient to find a vegan version of this later.” It’s not about limiting your taste buds; it’s about finding alternatives that are better for you, others, the planet, and animals. 

 If you need any inspo for going vegan, there is an abundance of environmental and vegan Instagram accounts, and documentaries on the Internet that I swear by. I keep a list on my phone in case someone asks me for vegan inspiration because they are thinking about becoming one. 

Documentaries: Forks Over Knives, Earthlings, Cowspiracy, “The Best Speech You’ll Ever Hear” – Gary Y on YouTube, Food Choices, Vegucated, Live and Let Live, Simply Raw, Fat Sick and Nearly Dead, Food Inc, Food Matters, Hungry For Change, Hell For Leather, 101 Reasons to Go Vegan, What the Health, etc.

Instagramers: @nutrition_facts_org, @sobeautifullyreal, @naturally.jo, @mindfuldiabeticrobby, @minimalistbaker, @nourishtheday, @bestofvegan, @vegancuts, @ehvegan, @365cleaneats, @yvonnesvegankitchen, @veganfoodpoint, @eatcleanwithsarah, @natalyahardan, @bionic_vegan, @avantgardevegan, @rainbowplantlife, @vegancommunity, @choosingchia, @loveandlemons, @theveganfiesta, @breezybalance, @lonijane, @panaceas_pantry, @veganfoodspot, @losvegangeles and @veganfatkid (if you’re in LA), @fullyrawkristina, @veganricha, @elsas_wholesomelife, @veganpregnancyandparenting (not now, but I still follow them for future knowledge haha), @vegan, @donutfriend, @cinnaholic, @eatdrinkvegan, @third_eye_vegan, @domzthompson, @veganwelcome, @crossroadskitchen, @vegetaryn, @plantpurenation, @ved_md, @veganflexzone, @farmsanctuary, @vegansofig, @ellenfisher, etc. etc. 

The reason people fail at being a vegan and end up going back to meat is often times because they lack creativity and motivation. Learning how to cook and learning how to cook vegan are both a challenge for some people and it can get boring and restrictive if you don’t intentionally seek out new things to make or have a 20-25 go-to meal ideas. If you have amazing vegan options at restaurants in your city – awesome! If not, cooking yourself will be even more essential. There are a lot of social, cultural, and environmental pressures that keep people “off track”, or “stuck in a rut”...it’s hard to change to vegan if you don’t live near many vegan options, or have family members who may be teasing you for your choices, but don’t forget; you have the resources and a massive vegan community that can help you!

My mother has her RN, MBA, and just finished her PhD in Nursing and Healthcare Innovation and is starting a company called WellOptima, that is especially, specifically designed for helping people who are “stuck” in changing their behavior—the whole point is to help people make changes in their health and wellness that they can “maintain”. She quickly turned vegan after I did, is an encyclopedia of knowledge on this topic and can assist in plant-based living and wellness motivation if you or someone you know could use it. 

 

Sundays Designs: We know how much you love to cook! Do you have any good vegan recipe book recommendations? 

 Me: I’m much more of a “buy it and look at the pretty pictures for inspo” type of recipe book buyer than one who actually follows recipes to a tee. Thug Kitchen is wildly entertaining and sassy in the verbiage and the food looks amazing. I also like Beautifully Real Food by one of my fave Instagram gals @sobeautifullyreal. Everything is actually so beautiful and I wish I could fly to Australia just to try some of her goodies she sells at a local shop there. 

 

Sundays Designs: Do you have a favorite recipe that you can share with us?

Me: Oh my goodness where do I start?! There are so many recipes I love but I don’t follow a lot of things precisely. I more have a general idea of what I want to make or look in the fridge for what ingredients need to be eaten first. We don’t like to have food go bad before we eat it! One particular one I love for the holidays coming up is raspberry cobbler. FAIR WARNING – this isn’t “healthy vegan”; this is “naughty vegan”. My mom would always make it for Thanksgiving growing up and since I, and then my family transitioned to vegans and mostly-vegans we altered the recipe so it’s vegan as well. Side note, my mom and I hope to make a cookbook together some day where we can include our favorites! This recipe is super simple and I’m going off of memory. 

 

Vegan Raspberry Cobbler

Ingredients:

½ cup organic vegan margarine (melted) 

½ cup organic sugar (for crumble)

1 cup organic all purpose flour

2 tbsp organic sugar (for raspberries)

3 cups organic fresh raspberries 

Directions: 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

2. Combine melted margarine, sugar, and flour into a mixing bowl until it’s a soft but crumbly dough. If it needs to be more crumbly, add more flour. If it needs to be softer, add more margarine. 

3. Take ½ of dough and press it into a lightly greased pan to create a thin crust – about the height of four pennies stacked. Bake in oven for 5-8 minutes while you wash and prep the berries.

4. Mix the sugar and fresh, washed raspberries in a bowl. 

5. Take out crust from oven and spread raspberry mixture on top. Take the remaining ½ of the crumble dough and disperse evenly on top. Place in the oven for 35-45 minutes or until top is golden brown. 

6. Top off with some vanilla vegan ice cream or eat as is! Enjoy!

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Sundays Designs: We think a vegan lifestyle should go hand in hand with living a sustainable lifestyle. When did you become more conscious about this lifestyle, and what inspired you? 

Me: I always said I would never be vegetarian, and then I turned 15 and my brother and his friends were blowing up little guppies and tiny critters in the backyard with explosive because boy teenagers (queue the eye roll) and I said on a whim that after that night I wanted to be a vegetarian because of animal cruelty. They all mocked me and said I’d never last. So at first I did it to show them that I could, and then I really became to love it and learned more about it.  

Then college happened and I had a random vegan roommate for a summer my junior year. I never wanted to go vegan because I loved cheese, sweets, and all my designer purses/shoes too much. I loved fashion and luxurious things. I wanted to be comfortably unaware; I knew if I saw the documentaries I wouldn’t be able to look back. Whelp, you guessed it… I watched the documentaries and she turned me real quick – only took about a month for me to go vegan haha. 

At first, I only ate vegan and still wore my leather/suede shoes and bags even though I kinda felt guilty. It wasn’t until the summer after college when I was moving to Long Beach where I realized I had to cut down my wardrobe by at least 1/3rd. This meant I had to get rid of all the animal products. Almost everyday that summer I would go to work and come home and list my non-vegan pieces on Poshmark or eBay as well as clothing that wasn’t my style or didn’t fit anymore. It was a lot of work and I was actually very sad about letting some things go but it was much needed. I had a shopping addiction since I was in high school and certain pieces made me feel so good. It was difficult but after that transition it got a lot easier.

From there I started learning more about sustainable, ethical, and vegan fashion and fell in love with fashion all over again. But this time, it was different. It was about being a conscious consumer with everything - what’s on your plate, what you wear, and the products you buy and use. Now, I use every chance I get to educate friends, family, and strangers on the affects our purchases have on the planet and most of them are in complete disbelief. I also have become an avid compost scrap collector, recycler, and bring my own containers and utensils everywhere. I’m not zero waste, but I definitely try to do low-waste living as best I can. I feel like a whole new person than I was three or four years ago. 

 

Sundays Designs: What are the most important aspects to you regarding ethical and sustainable brands? 

Me:

1. Has to be vegan - obviously

2. Sustainable materials  - linen, modal, tencel, organic cotton, recycled cotton, eucalyptus, hemp, bamboo, etc.

3. Sustainable production - methods that enhance sustainability like less water, less waste, zero waste, eco friendly factory, safe/natural dyes, etc.

4. Ethical production - workers treated fairly, fair-trade, no sweatshops, etc.

5. Country of origin - Generally, the USA, Europe, Australia, and Canada have better and safer regulations for workers than Asia, Africa, and Central/South America. However, it depends on the factory – I’ve heard of some in Mexico and India, for example, that are higher quality and more sustainable and ethical than alternative factories in the USA. 

6. Charitable and give to philanthropic causes - Love this one! Bonus if the charity is sustainability, vegan, animal welfare, or environment related.

7. Transparency - I love to see photos of factories, workers, etc.

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 Sundays Designs: What’s your fashion look? 

Me: My fashion look is mostly bohemian, and mixed with romantic, edgy, and vintage/retro. 

 

Sundays Designs: What’s your opinion on “sustainable” leather, silk and wool products? Could these be ever sustainable? 

Me: This is a highly debated topic and everyone is open to their own opinion, but for me, I do not find these materials sustainable or ethical. The only argument you can make for “sustainable leather” is if you bought something secondhand at a thrift or consignment store, but even then it doesn’t check off the “ethical” box for me because I’d be walking around with a dead animal on my feet. Saying leather is a “bi-product” of the meat industry and that using it is sustainable because it’s not going to waste is just naïve; leather on its own is a huge industry and billions of animals are slaughtered for it, not just cows. 

Although I no longer purchase wool or silk, I’m much more lenient on these than I am with leather products. I think out of my whole closet I may still have a couple silk or wool-based pieces but I’m in the process of weeding those out and selling them. Harvesting wool is often unethical as wool farmers often gash, cut, and harm the animals in the process of cutting their wool from their bodies but the process itself doesn’t kill the animal. There are some “ethical” wool harvesters that boast about how well they treat their sheep, but it’s still not our wool to take even though it’s a much more natural fiber than the typical plastic-based wool alternative, acrylic. As for silk, this is a more natural fiber as well compared to the plastic-based polyester. The process of harvesting the silk kills so many worms. To be honest, I really don’t like bugs and the process kind of grosses me out just thinking of larvae and their cocoons. Basically, leather kills the animal, wool harms the animal, and silk kills most of the worms but I don’t consider them to have the morality or consciousness that a cow, pig, sheep, etc. would have. 

 

Sundays Designs: As a photographer who loves to travel, what’s your favorite location you have been so far, and what’s on your bucket list? 

 Me: My list is never-ending! It’s too hard to pick one, but some of my favorite places I’ve been to are Morocco, Belize, Thailand, Laos, Australia, Chile, Argentina, Guatemala, Italy, Alaska, Israel, and Spain. My top three places on my bucket list right now are Bali, Costa Rica, and Iceland. 

 

Sundays Designs: Do you prefer AirBnb or eco-resorts? 

Me: I’ve only stayed in one true eco-resort and it was the vegan Stanford Inn in Mendocino, CA. Cha Creek in Belize was very eco-friendly as well and a beautiful hidden gem in the jungle. They were amazing but I do love the flexibility of Airbnbs. It honestly depends on if I’m on a trip with my family or if I’m with friends. Family – eco resort 100% (also, mom and dad are paying). Friends – Airbnb 100% because it normally ends up being cheaper, we have more space, and you have way more freedom. 

 

Sundays Designs: What changes do you want to see in the fashion world in the future?

Me: I’d love to see more vegan, sustainable, and ethical options popping up! I want to see more designers and brand seeking alternatives. The information, resources, and materials are out there; I think there just needs to be more effort put in by consumers. The more consumers demand, the more shift we’ll be able to make! 

I also really struggle to find trendy vegan wide brim hats, so if there’s someone out there reading this that has been thinking about doing this, PLEASE DO. So many of them have wool, leather, and suede on them and it’s pretty disappointing. I get most of mine off of Poshmark but settle for the cheaper made ones because they are “vegan”. Most other fashion pieces I can find cute and vegan though. 

In addition, shout out to Stella McCartney for basically being the only luxury vegan brand. I think if more big designers and brands followed her example, people would think going vegan would be a whole lot easier. People are all about convenience, if it’s convenient to buy vegan at any price without scarifying quality or trend why wouldn’t you?

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Yosemite Feat. LNBF, Gaston Luga, Baume, Boody, Krochet Kids, Blanca Flor, & Fazl Socks

I had an itching to do some wilderness exploring and shooting so I assembled a small group of creative gal pals; Stephanie (@stephanieklotzphoto), Hannah (@hannahrosesesser), and Rachel (@notrachelmcadams), and we went on a 3-day, 2-night glamping trip to Yosemite National Park.

We stayed at one of the housekeeping units in the park. It’s basically a roof, bunk beds and a full size bed, a couple power outlets, covered by curtains and a fire pit, bear storage locker for all food and anything with a scent, and a table for meals. It wasn’t much but it was the perfect set up for what we wanted. It was kinda like camping but we didn’t have to set up tents and had a little more security with the bear lockers.

Over the course of the trip we visited a lot of the popular tourist destinations in Yosemite Valley, took lots of photos, made s’mores, wandered and explored! We worked with a handful of awesome sustainable brands also on this trip including Leave Nothing But Footprints (LNBF), Boody, Gaston Luga, Baume, Krochet Kids, Blanca Flor, and Fazl Socks. It was such a great time getting to adventure with these rad gals and I can’t wait to do it again!

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Canada, Alaska, & Seattle Feat. Poshmark, Boody, & Healthade

Full disclosure, I’m way behind on my blog posts due to my other business obligations and time – oh, and yeah I traveled a lot these past few months! This is also going to be a fairly short post because honestly, a picture speaks 1,000 words and I have so many pictures! My trip this summer to Canada, Alaska, and Seattle was once in a lifetime and was made possible by our family “travel agent” father, Scott, who spent so much time researching places to go and things for us to do. Unfortunately, we only had half of our regular crew with us as my brother, Nathan, his wife, Deanna, and my boyfriend, Zach, couldn’t make it. Thankfully, my schedule is flexible enough that when Mom and Dad want to take a killer vacay, I’m tagging along forrrsureeeee.

I partnered with a couple great brands on this trip as well; Poshmark, Boody, and Healthade. Poshmark is a recycled fashion marketplace and app (maroon felt hat) - yay for sustainable secondhand finds! Boody is an eco clothing brand made from bamboo viscose (cream scarf, white 3/4 sleeve top, and I wore the black 3/4 sleeve top under a lot of outfits too for extra warmth). Healthade Kombucha is a healthy vegan non-gmo probiotic tea.

We started off in Vancouver, Canada where we were able to spend time with one of my close friends, Janie, from Arizona who is getting her nursing degree up there. From Vancouver, we took a cruise through the southern coast of Alaska. We visited Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, College Fjord, and then from Anchorage we took a train up to Denali National Park and Denali State Park where we spent a few days on land. We took the train back down and spent a day kayaking in Whittier and two nights in downtown Anchorage. This concluded my Alaska portion of the trip.

Although my my dad is about 70% vegan, he just “couldn’t” go to Alaska without fishing (lol), so he stayed for a few days to go on a guided fishing trip while my mom and I finished off our trip in Seattle for some girls time. We had the best time there together finding all the cool places to go and vegan foodie spots. So cheers to an amazing trip with my amazing parents, you guys rock!

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Canada ————> Alaska

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Alaska ————> seattle

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Vegan Eats: Easy Homemade Dough & Pizza Recipes

Last week I was craving pizza! Rather than go out and get some, I wanted to challenge myself to make it on my own and I also needed to use up some things in the fridge. I have purchased pre-made crusts in the past, but they’re never as good as homemade and they have all the extra pesky packaging. Trying to avoid purchasing pre-made things if I can make them from scratch at home and to get more on board with the low-waste vegan living, but some things you just have to buy at the store (ie. most vegan cheese – although, I can make a mean cashew cheese myself).

The dough is so easy to make and you have so many variations with toppings. Next time I think I’ll try a buffalo, pesto, or barbeque base! I split the dough into two portions, so I had one pizza one day and a different type the next – which explains the two different outfits haha.

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Dough:

-1 package (2 ¼ tsp) active dry yeast

-1 cup warm water

-1 tbsp sugar

-2 tbsp olive oil

-2 cups all-purpose flour (plus more as needed)

 

Day 1 Pizza

-1/2 of dough

-2/3 cup tomato sauce

-3/4 cup vegan cheese shreds

-1/3 cup corn

-1/3 cup broccoli florets (steamed)

-3 cloves garlic (minced)

-Garlic salt to taste

 

Day 2 Pizza

-1/2 of dough

-2/3 cup tomato sauce

-3 slices vegan mozzarella

-1 vine tomato (diced)

-1/4 cup corn

-1/4 cup onion (diced)

-4 cloves garlic (minced)

-Handful of basil leaves

-Garlic salt to taste

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Dough:

1. Combine the yeast, warm water, and sugar in a large mixing bowl and allow mixture to rest for about 5 minutes.

2. Add the olive oil, flour, and salt adding more flour as needed to make for soft pizza dough. The dough should be a little sticky but not overly gooey and you should be able to work with it with your hands. If it is too gooey, add more flour.

3. On a lightly floured surface, kneed the dough for 5-10 minutes. Once completed, put the dough into a greased bowl and let sit in a warm place for an hour. During this time, the dough should rise quite a bit.

4. Once the dough has risen, take out of bowl and kneed again on a floured surface. Cut dough in half and save half for later.

Pizza:

1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Sautee veggies and fix-ins in a lightly greased pan and add water as needed in 1 tsp -1 tbsp increments.

2. As toppings are cooking, prepare the base of your pizza. Roll and flatten half of dough into your desired shape on your pizza pan or tray. Add tomato sauce and sprinkle cheese evenly on top of pizza. You can add any toppings or seasonings that don’t need to be sautéed separately now (ie. basil)

3. Once toppings have been sufficiently cooked, spread over pizza and pop in the oven for 25-35 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

4. Add any additional seasonings you may want (ie. garlic salt, red pepper, vegan grated parmesan), slice, and enjoy! 

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Big Sur feat. Kindom Shop, Slide Belts, Proof, Mad Hippie, & Zealous

Last month, some friends and I camped in Big Sur-- it was a really good time in a beautiful setting, despite some interesting challenges along the way!  The trip included me, Dan, (@deer_dann), Ish (@ohheyits_ish), and Erikson (@eriksonerise), as well as Eddie (@edikins) and Joy (@_madewithjoy) who joined up on day two. While we had originally planned a larger creative trip mixing models and photographers, we made the most of our photographer-heavy clan, and still had fun!

The four of us left from Bakersfield at 4 a.m. on Friday to get a step up on the Big Sur Memorial Day weekend holiday surge. I was in fine form, having pulled an all-nighter to finish up some work on my laptop, so I was glad to not be driving. Our winding, twisting road trip there took some unexpected detours from Highway 1 road closures, and as well as an occasional hurling stop for my car/motion sickness--always a possibility on a real curvy road, especially when I am NOT driving!

Although we had arrived to the campgrounds before 8:30 am, there were no available or unreserved camping spots at either of the two camping options. Oh, did I mention we did not have a “reservation”??--(not recommended on holiday weekends, lol) . Luck was definitely on our side, however, since later on that afternoon, a nice lady at one of the campgrounds ended up giving us a place to park.  It wasn’t a legit “camping spot” because it didn’t have a grill or bonfire pit like the others, but it was a nice open space with lots of trees. We were grateful and happy to have a place to stay, so all was good.

Once we set up camp, we went down to the beach to walk around and explore - SUCH A BEAUTIFUL COAST. OMG. We definitely loved our time there.

We went back to camp to eat dinner and have some s’mores (mine were vegan obvi) We didn’t stay up too late as it was cold at night and we all wanted to bundle up in our sleeping bags.

Joy and Eddie (surprisingly) found us on day two and set up camp next to us. I say surprisingly because our campground and the surrounding 30 minute drive radius was a complete dead zone for cell phone service-- totally “off the grid”. We used a nearby pay phone  (a first for me!), to leave Joy a detailed voicemail describing our exact location. They never would have found us otherwise if they had already lost “service”. How much we depend on technology, even when we are trying to escape it!

Over the next two days, we explored the Big Sur coast, checked out McWay Falls, went into town, hung out at the beach, and got some good photography content for a few brands that Dan and I were working with.

The brands I had partnered with were Kindom Shop, Slide Belts, Proof, Mad Hippie, and Zealous.

Kindom Shop is an online boutique specializing in products made of sustainable, natural, reclaimed, and indigenous materials. The grey Madison Column Dress, Kaile Cosmic Universe Convertible Dress, and black Kira Convertible Ruffle Sleeve Top are all Kindom and made from reclaimed fabrics.

Slide Belts are not a vegan company, but they did just come out with a vegan women’s collection of skinny and thick slide belts. I’m wearing the brown/gold and black/silver combinations.

Proof is primarily a sustainable eyewear company that gives back to the community, however they do have other travel inspired goods. They use biodegradable, recycled, and natural materials and have a socially conscious business model. I'm wearing the Wilder Eco sunglasses in matte black/grey lens.

Mad Hippie is a vegan and cruelty free skincare company that gives back $1 of every web sale to conservation. They are sold in natural health food stores and markets as well as in Anthropologie and Free People. I featured their exfoliating serum, face cream, antioxidant facial oil, vitamin c serum, and their vitamin a serum - seriously some great skincare products.

Zealous is a sustainable home goods online store. The Beech Wooden Plates were used for the s’mores photos. These are biodegradable (obviously) because they’re made from wood!

I loved my time in Big Sur, and am excited to return!  Hopefully next time we can get a bigger group of friends, models, photographers, and significant others--AND we’ll have a reservation or stay in a cabin or AirBnb!  

Not showering for three days while trying to look and feel decent in photos was definitely a bit of a struggle for me, but still lots of fun!  

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Banana Berry Smoothie Bowl feat. Zero Waste Almond Milk Maker, Almond Cow

GUYS! Need to tell you about my new almond milk maker from Almond Cow. I had been wanting to start making my own plant-based milks, so when Almond Cow approached me I was so excited! Basically, it’s a super easy nut milk maker that takes less than a minute to make once you’ve prepped and soaked the nuts.

There is a fast-growing trend for plant-based food products in general, especially dairy replacements, following research about the effects of the dairy industry on the environment, including environmental pollution, harm to animals, and negative effects to human health. A great resource for  learning about the negative health effects of dairy consumption is nutritionfacts.org. Here is the link to dairy specific topics.

Consuming lots of dairy products, including milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream is very engrained in our society, and an important part of our traditions and culture—but people often don’t take a step back to ask why we do this and how the consumption of dairy products affects others and our planet. This is one of the many reasons I’m a vegan.  

I’ve been buying plant-based milks at the store for years now and they’re great – love them! However, most of the packaging is not recyclable and has bits and pieces of plastic and there is often many other additives in the milks. These additives aren’t bad necessarily, but it’s nice to know exactly what’s going into your food and there is a sense of pride in making your stuff from scratch.

I started off with making some classic almond milk, chocolate almond milk, and then dove into a tasty smoothie bowl. Without further adieu, here are the recipes:

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ALMOND MILK:

makes 2-3 pitchers

-1 cup soaked almonds (4+ hours)

-6 cups of water

-Pinch of salt

-1/2 tsp of vanilla extract

-4 tbsp agave nectar 

-1/4 cup cocoa powder (for the chocolate almond milk!)

SMOOTHIE BOWL:

makes one serving

-1/2 cup frozen berries

-1 frozen banana

-1 cup almond milk from above recipe 

-1 tsp of chia seeds

-1 tsp of flaxmeal

-1 tsp of hemp seeds

-4 tbsp granola 

-1 tbsp gogi beries

-2-5 strawberries sliced

-1/2 banana sliced

-1/4 of mango sliced

-

ALMOND MILK: 

1. Take 1/3 of soaked almonds and place in cup of Almond Cow

2. Add water into base of Almond Cow

3. Close container and press Almond Cow button on top

4. After Almond Cow turns off, pour out milk into a pitcher container

5. Stir in rest of ingredients

6. Repeat process 2 more times. The Almond Cow portion size makes about 2-3 pitchers worth.

7. For chocolate almond milk, stir in the cocoa powder until blended completely

*Rather than tossing almond pulp, you can save/freeze pressed almond pulp to make almond cheese or compost scraps!

SMOOTHIE BOWL:

-Blend frozen berries, frozen banana, and almond milk

-Pour in a bowl and add remaining toppings; granola, gogi berries, hemp seeds, chia seeds, flaxmeal, sliced strawberries, sliced mango, and sliced banana.

-Enjoy!

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What constitutes eco and ethical fashion?

When people ask me about my interests, and I tell them "eco and ethical fashion", many have never heard of these terms--and so there is often some confusion about what I am even talking about.  So I'm here to clear things up and provide you with some information and perspective on something very near and dear to my heart. 

"Eco" (ecological or sustainable) fashion is clothing that is kind/good to the EARTH, and "ethical" fashion is kind/good to PEOPLE (and animals).  Eco fashion is not always ethical, just like ethical fashion is not always good for the environment--but when your fashion items are both eco and ethical, its a win-win for both the environment AND people! 

Photo by me, taken at MATE the Label, Headquarters in Los Angeles, a brand dedicated to sustainability.

Photo by me, taken at MATE the Label, Headquarters in Los Angeles, a brand dedicated to sustainability.

EXAMPLES OF "ECO FASHION" PRACTICES:

-Buying secondhand from a thrift or consignment store (this is the most sustainable option): 1. These items are discarded or donated as the owner no longer wants them. If these are not given to a secondhand store or new owner they will be thrown away, likely into landfill waste. 2. You can use less gas by shopping at small, "local" thrift and consignment stores that are often within your own community.  3. You are literally REDUCING your total purchases at a normal retailer, the cost of the item (your wallet thanks you!), and your environmental footprint, REUSING someone’s discarded clothing, and RECYCLING the items back into your closet so the pieces can have a new life. 

-Buying secondhand from an online store such as Tradesy, eBay, Poshmark, Mercari, Depop, thredUP, etc. Buying online as opposed to in person is slightly less sustainable as you have to factor in environmental pollution from packaging materials and shipping/transportation.

-Buying something secondhand that is still new from online or in-store. Not all secondhand items have to be "used". Although buying new secondhand items is slightly less sustainable than buying used, it still offsets the manufacturing and production impacts in comparison to buying new straight from the company or retailer. A great item to buy secondhand that is new is swimwear, as it seems unhygienic to most people to purchase swimwear worn by other individuals. 

-Using more sustainable fabrics such linen, hemp, modal, tencel, etc. Bonus if you use organic! 

-Using recycled fibers, fabrics, and materials. An example would be using old plastic bottles to spin into fibers and then into fabric to make a new shirt. 

-Upcycling fabrics and clothing items. This is not to be confused with recycling as upcycling does not go through a shred>spin>new fabric cycle that recycling does. Upcycling keeps the general fabric components. An example would be cutting up an old t-shirt and making a reusable grocery bag out of it. 

-Purchasing products from companies who implement sustainable practices and elements in their production, factories, packaging, etc. 

-Purchasing products that use natural dyes like vegetables or seaweed instead of harsh chemical dyes that impact your health and the environment.

 

EXAMPLES OF "ETHICAL FASHION" PRACTICES:

-Having a "Sweatshop" free environment: There should be no harsh working conditions for the employees, all the design and production and shipping facilities and factories must comply with state/country regulations and standards.

-Fair Trade: Workers are compensated fairly for their work in accordance with regulations and wage guidelines.  

-Any initiatives, programs, partnerships, etc. that a brand may have that is dedicated to social/environmental good.  An example could be an artisan jewelry company that donates a percentage of profits to the World Wildlife Foundation or charity wellness programs for the artisans who make the jewelry. 

Taken at MATE the Label Headquarters. Wearing vegan hat, MATE the Label organic cotton tee, thrifted vegan belt from Poshmark, Boyish by Her jeans made from 30% recycled denim and 70% BCI cotton (Better Cotton Initiative) designed by one of my best friends Nicole Azevedo, and vegan Coconuts by Matisse x Free People booties.

Taken at MATE the Label Headquarters. Wearing vegan hat, MATE the Label organic cotton tee, thrifted vegan belt from Poshmark, Boyish by Her jeans made from 30% recycled denim and 70% BCI cotton (Better Cotton Initiative) designed by one of my best friends Nicole Azevedo, and vegan Coconuts by Matisse x Free People booties.

OVERLAP - CAN BE BOTH ECO & ETHICAL

Made in America: Most clothing items made in the United States are not necessarily eco-friendly or sustainable. However, if the clothing is made in the United States, wages and working conditions in American factories are usually better than in other countries, due to stricter regulations and workplace standards. However, there have been reports that there are still sweatshops in the US where workers are not earning minimum wage, or are required to work long hours or work in other potentially hazardous conditions, so try to do some research. By shopping local(ish), you also cut down on transportation pollution. Something shipped within the same state or country has much less of a transportation environmental impact than something shipped from overseas. Some companies take greater measures to implement sustainable practices and materials than others. Depending on the company or brand though, you could be shopping both eco and ethical made in the USA items! Bonus: by purchasing items within country or state lines, you're also supporting the economy and hardworking Americans! 

Made in Europe, Australia, or Canada generally have similar working conditions to the US. 

Vegan Fashion:

Vegan fashion includes clothing items that are free of any animal products! This means no leather, suede, wool, silk, cashmere, fur, etc. The debate of vegan fashion needs to be addressed--you can make the case that it is eco or unsustainable and you can also make the case that it's ethical and non-ethical.  Every situation requires a bit of thoughtful analysis--Here are a couple of examples:  

Example 1: Company X sells Vegan shoes for ($10 - $30)

-Eco: Good because you're using much less resources to produce the fabrics and materials to make the shoes. Bad because this particular company is known for its pollution, harsh chemicals, etc. to produce shoes--thus potentially harming both the environment and workers' health. 

-Ethical: Good because you're not harming animals, but not so good because this company may cut corners in taking good care of their employees, and not pay them a fair wage for work, and there have less than good working conditions in their factories. 

Lower price point items are typically made cheap, do not last as long, but are much less likely to have animal products, whereas most more expensive items (unfortunately) are made with animal products and are durable. This is not the case with all brands and items though.

Example 2: Company Y sells Vegan shoes ($500+)

Eco: This company as a brand is dedicated to sustainability efforts in every area of its development and production.

Ethical: This brand is ethical all the way around - to humans, animals, and the environment. 

Promoting and practicing sustainable initiatives. Environmental sustainability is both a concern for both ethical fashion and eco fashion. While it is both eco and ethical--there is sometimes a conflict in that you can't always afford to buy the most expensive items you'd like--a good time for shopping for resale.

 

Reflect

I hope this information helps you think about the purchases that you make and the types of companies you support. This has been quite the learning process and journey for me over the last few years and I’m always learning more about this topic and am happy to share with you all. As sustainable/ethical fashion awareness grows, so does the industry. Consumer demand drives companies to make changes, so the more we learn and talk about these issues, the more companies will shift their mindset. Let’s #MakeShiftHappen! 

Zero Waste Toothpaste feat. Gondola Bamboo Toothbrushes

In honor of Earth Day tomorrow, I’d like to encourage conversation about “living more sustainably”.  Small changes can make a difference! I try my best to introduce and continue sustainable practices whenever possible (and practical).  Many of us create a lot of unnecessary waste in our beauty and hygiene routines. *Queue the sighs and eye rolls*

BUT HEAR ME OUT! I’m not saying you have to be super rigid or extreme about your getting ready routine, but why not try to implement a more sustainable option every few days? Or even better, make it your daily routine if it works well for you!  

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I started using a compostable toothbrush a little less than a year ago and have since gone through a few of them (your toothbrush should be replaced every couple of months!).  They are gentle on my sensitive teeth, but also clean the teeth and gums very well. The best part? I can reduce my disposable plastic consumption! Gondola brushes are one of the best deals out there for bamboo toothbrushes, and you can find them on Amazon.

I started using bamboo toothbrushes after I saw reports of plastic toothbrushes (and other plastic) that ends up polluting the environment--floating in oceans, littering beaches, and ending up in the bellies of marine creatures. Plastic doesn’t fully decompose, it just degrades, eventually getting cut up into smaller pieces of plastic called microplastics-- Yikes!

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I also use homemade “zero-waste” toothpaste and supplement this with natural toothpaste products which can be purchased at most health food stores. Since you hopefully are taking care of yourself to brush your teeth two to three times a day anyway, it’s nice to switch up your toothpaste products a bit for some variety, and have your store-bought brands last a little longer.  Plastic toothpaste tubes are one more piece of plastic that ends up in the trash once all the toothpaste has been squeezed out. The very few that you do find with metal-based packaging are extremely difficult to recycle.

Fair warning… zero waste toothpaste will not have the same creaminess and smoothness as store-bought brands, but they it is still very effective in cleaning those pearly whites! The baking soda/coconut oil based ones, like mine, may have a little salty taste as well.  Spirulina powder assists in the re-mineralization of teeth but also gives it that nice minty green color. This recipe is refreshing, but go in with an open mind and remember this is not your typical toothpaste! So without further adieu, here’s the recipe!

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Zero Waste Toothpaste

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- 3 Tbsp coconut oil

- 1 ½ Tbsp baking soda

- 30-35 drops peppermint essential oil or extract

- ¼ Tbsp Spirulina Powder

(Bonus if these are organic!)

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- Combine ingredients in small container. I used a tiny glass mason jar.

- If coconut oil is crumbly or not completely smooth, melt over heat or in microwave.

- Cool toothpaste in fridge until it solidifies to room temperature coconut oil structure

- Apply a small amount to  your bamboo toothbrush, and brush brush brush all tooth surfaces, and concentrate on the gumline--for two minutes--then rinse – you know the drill!

TIP: You can use a small metal spoon or wooden scooper to apply toothpaste. Don’t dip your brush in the paste directly… that’s how you can spread germs! You can also transfer your mixture to a reusable squeeze tube if that makes it easier. Hope you enjoy!

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My Low-Waste (Vegan) Lifestyle

I do my very best to reduce trash and disposables in my life, but I am not full “zero-waste”. I eat no animal products (dairy, eggs, meat, fish, and honey) and avoid wearing animal products like leather and suede. I’d like my lifestyle choices to be kind to the environment in as many ways as I can. 

I cleared my closet of animal products when I moved to California almost 2 years ago. I may still have a few items with leather embellishment and maybe a wool hat or two but it's hard to tell exactly what it's made of if it's missing a materials tag. Not going to lie — me being a fashionista my whole life, this cleanse was tough, but I feel so much better now! 

I think that this is a big step toward living in a more sustainable manner.  I've only personally met a handful of people that live a full vegan lifestyle and only one that was “zero-waste” — sure I see the ones on social media, but in general, these lifestyles are very rare. When you limit all of your shopping options to this level, it can be overly restrictive. Anything extra that you can do to reduce the amount of animal products and garbage/waste that you consume or produce is a good option! I like to think of searching for vegan low or zero-waste items as an opportunity and challenge to find more sustainable items/products/food. It makes me very happy when I choose kindness for both people and the planet.  :) 

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So, while I am moving towards more “zero-waste” options, I am really more “low-waste”… I could never do full “zero-waste” for a few key reasons: 

1. Convenience, time, and my taste buds are a big factor. I like my tofu, tempeh, soy/pea protein vegan meats, seitan, almond based yogurt, vegan coconut milk ice cream mochi (when I can find it), and vegan cheese. I just don’t have the time or resources to make all of these products myself. I can make a bomb cashew cheese and cashew cheese sauce, fresh pesto, lentil bolognaise sauce, and attempt some homemade seitan or nut milks – but the rest of the items seem pretty out of my league. If you know where to get some of these products zero-waste around Long Beach (or LA/OC within a reasonable distance) let me know!

2. I like to wear makeup. Nothing too crazy, but just the basics! I haven’t found a vegan, cruelty-free, makeup brand that has the products I normally use with a recycling program or with compostable/fully recyclable packaging. If you know of any, hit me up! I also go through makeup extremely slowly, which is a good thing — it’s not like I am using a lot of product or packaging. I’ve had my daily eyeshadow and bronzer for at least four or five years, so some perspective is in order!

3. You must consider your own living environment, and others. Composting in an apartment can be obviously difficult, and impractical, depending on your living situation. We currently have limited freezer space for me to freeze scraps and take to a composting site later on. I would love to start composting someday — I saw a super cool composter that turns food scraps into soil within 24 hours on Kickstarter! Expense, appropriate space, and facilities is a common barrier, so you may certainly have to scale back what you can do until you can be in the proper space, place and time. Having a yard, garden, or a really convenient setup makes a huge difference in how all this can work. Typically local urban gardens will take your compost or in some big cities have services or drop off sites. You also don’t want your struggle for an environmentally low-impact lifestyle to have a high negative impact on your relationships with your roommate, spouse, or significant other. While being kind to the environment is important, people come first — for some things, it’s always best to just do your best, and not obsess! 

4. A lot of mailed packages arrive encased in Styrofoam or other non-recyclable materials. I did learn recently that the City of Los Angeles will recycle styrofoam, but Long Beach will not even though it's technically LA County (sigh). And yes, the items delivered I cannot get second-hand or at a thrift shop. Whenever I know I can buy something elsewhere without the waste, I do so! I’ve heard of some zero-waste people taking these materials back to the post office, but I need to look more into this. 

5. Traveling and eating out can be a barrier as well. I always bring my metal cutlery set but often when doing either of these things, restaurants prepare meals with unnecessary disposables despite ordering from more health conscious/vegan-friendly places.

6. Medical and necessary health products are a must. If you have regular medicines, get sick, or have another issue that requires medical attention, you need to use the proper products to aid your health — many of which have extra waste and packaging for sterilization and sanitation purposes.

Despite my handful of barriers, I’m really trying my best to reduce plastic use and disposables when I can. I’ve been researching zero-waste places to buy products around me and have found some great spots. One spot in particular is called Co-Opportunity in Culver City. It is amazing! They have a location in Santa Monica too but it doesn’t have a deli. They have so many items in bulk. You can get apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, liquid soaps, detergents, lotion, buy zero-waste by bringing your own containers or buy the glass mason jars they have there.

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I had been using zero-waste shampoo and conditioner bars, and although I loved the shampoo, the conditioner didn’t actually make my hair silky or help me get out knots so I was super excited to find some liquid shampoo and conditioner that I could refill! It’s vegan, eco-friendly, smells like lavender, and works wonders. What a find!

I’ve been in the process of replacing my pantry items into jars. I got a label maker — yeah I know, also not technically zero-waste, but it reduces a lot of packaging in the long run and I need to know what’s in my jars! It’s been great to see my pantry evolve.

Baby steps people, baby steps! Kindness to people and the planet!  You can live a lower-waste life and make a positive impact on people and the planet through your example.

This is all pretty new and exciting for me and I’m happy to share the resources and practices I’ve learned so far with you. Here’s to learning more about a low-waste lifestyle, educating those who aren’t familiar, and to reducing your carbon footprint and environmental impact through daily actions and lifestyle choices!

Remember, you certainly don’t have to be perfect at all of this to make a big difference. Any little bit you can do helps a lot!

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Vegan Beauty: Phlur Sustainable Fragrances

I probably have enough perfume to last me ten years right now, but when the influencer marketing group that I'm a part of, Obviously, approached me about working with the sustainable vegan fragrance company, Phlur, this was not an opportunity I was going to pass up!

Surprisingly, many fragrance companies still use animal bi-products and/or test on animals. You would think with advancements in technology they wouldn't have to, but it's a sad and realistic truth. The odd products range from, "wax-like pathological growth found in the stomach and intestines of about one in a hundred sperm whales, and also in the pygmy sperm whale," to the male musk "stored in a hairy pouch just the size of a golf ball, in front of the penis" from a Siberian Musk Deer, to castoreum which, "comes from the castor sacs of the beaver, which occur in both males and females between the pelvis and the base of the tail." The list can go on forever, but if you'd like to learn more you can visit this link or do some of your own research online! Knowledge is power!

Information like this is not well-known and is hidden by the name brands, big corporations, and advertisers as they want to portray the ultimate luxurious fragrances - to you (the consumer) to buy buy buy. And guess what?! It works! Many people only buy fragrances because of the name brand and how the brand symbolizes wealth, power, beauty, etc. - it's all marketing! 

Phlur is a whole different type of fragrance company - no big corporations, no department stores, no harsh chemicals or additives, no celebrity-endorsed advertisements, no animal cruelty, and no weird and unnecessary animal products. This keeps the scent vegan, pure, and natural. You can feel confident putting Phlur on your skin knowing it was thoughtfully made with consideration and respect for your beautiful skin, your health, animals, and the environment!

What more can a girl ask for in a perfume? Oh ya! It needs to smell BOMB. Good thing the peeps over at Phlur know what they're doing. Every scent I tried in my sample set and full size bottle were amazing and could be worn so effortlessly. Loved being able to try these out. Big thanks to Phlur for my new favorite scents!

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Mendocino - Eco Travel & Vegan Resort, The Stanford Inn by the Sea feat. Feroshchick

Over Labor Day Weekend, my dad planned an awesome family trip for us to Mendocino! There were many things to celebrate as it was my 24th birthday on the 4th, my brother, Nathan, and his wife, Deanna's, 3rd wedding anniversary on the 12th, and my mom's 60th birthday on the 13th. So it was pretty much a celebratory present for us all to have a nice trip together and see each other. My boyfriend, Zach, came as well. 

We all flew from different cities and met in San Francisco. Zach and I came from Long Beach, Nathan and Deanna from Tucson, and my parents from Phoenix. It took a while for all of us to land, get the two rental cars, and be on our way to Mendocino. 

We stopped for a lovely lunch at a cute vegan Mexican place called Gracias Madre in SF (not to be confused with the West Hollywood Gracias Madre - completely different restaurants!) that was fab. Unfortunately, San Francisco was in a heat wave with 100 degree weather and no place has AC so that was a brutal few hours in the city. Found a cute bookstore boutique with some vegan baked goods too so my dad and I got some pastries. 

We then continued on our way to Mendocino on super windy roads through the mountains, forest, and coastline. Such a beautiful drive! I'm sure a lot of you are thinking, "why would they go to Mendocino out of all places?" Well... it just so happens that Mendocino is home to North America's eco-vegan resort, The Stanford Inn by the Sea, which my mom and I have been dying to go to! 

To give a little background, I was vegetarian for seven years and went vegan over two years ago. My mom is a bit of a health nut and soon became vegan once I did after learning of all the health benefits, treatment of animals, and environmental impacts. Over the last six months, the two of us have had quite an effect on our other family members and friends. 

Nathan, Deanna, and my boyfriend, Zach, eat mostly vegan with the occasional cheat meal, and my father, Scott, eats mostly vegan as well with mainly pastries being his cheat. All pastries are "vegan" in Scotty's eyes haha. Deanna's family also has adopted a more plant-based diet as well as many of my parents' friends. 

Although it was late at night, we were welcomed at The Stanford Inn and then got settled into our rooms. The lobby was cozy with couches, a fireplace, plant-based recipe books, vegan lifestyle books, local vegan wines (I know I know, it's weird that all wines aren't vegan, it should just be grapes!), toys, nik naks, etc. I could tell this place was going to be a blast. These people get me!!

In the next couple of days, we did a lot of fun things together! We explored the resort and their facilities, the garden, went in the pool and jacuzzi, went mountain biking through the forest, explored the nearby city of Fort Bragg, went canoeing, ate sooo much delicious vegan food, and went to the little downtown area of Mendocino. We saw otters, crabs, and seals too while canoeing because it was an estuary -  it was like a river/ocean which was super cool and different! We also celebrated my birthday on the 4th! 

The drive back to San Francisco was much shorter than the drive there. Nathan, Deanna, Zach, and I left on Tuesday as we had school/work to get back to but my parents stayed a few extra days and continued their road trip up the coast to the Pacific Northwest. It was such a wonderful trip with my fam and Zach, my heart is so full from it! 

I also recently collaborated with vegan-friendly bohemian boutique, @feroshchick, so many of my outfits pictured are thanks to them! Shop my looks here: Sleeveless Midi Dress with Lace DetailMatilda Lace Tank, Sleeveless Ruffles and Lace Dress (sold out - sorry babes!),  Draped Ribbed Sweater Poncho,  & Boho Striped Ribbed Cardigan.

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Terranea Cove X Vegan Boutique: MooShoes

A couple weeks ago, I went out on a little day adventure with one of my girlfriends, @imadilife, to Terranea Cove in Rancho Palos Verdes, California to shoot for MooShoes! I came about MooShoes from an Eco-Sessions event I went to in Downtown Los Angeles a month or so ago focused on vegan fashion - count me in! I met many vegan fashion lovers, some vegan-curious attendees, and some awesome vegan brands and companies - one of those being MooShoes! And so came, the partnership with the vegan boutique on this lovely shoot!

In my first look, I styled both the Matt & Nat Shareen black purse as well as the Novacas Olivia Heeled black sandals. For those of you who don't know Spanish, "No vacas" means "no cows", aka animal free! Both the purse and the shoes were such high quality, they could have fooled anyone into thinking they were real leather. Very comfortable sandals as well!

I styled the Good Guys Daisy Booties in black in my second look. No joke, these are probably some of my favorite boots I've ever worn, with the exception of them being too big on me haha (last pair!). You can dress them up, dress them down, and the heel is only a few inches so you can wear them all day! Definitely worth the extra dough for versatile, ethically made killer booties!

In my third look, I'm carrying the Matt & Nat Parabole bag in brown and wearing the BC Footwear Valor Sandals in sand.  These items paired so nicely together and are neutral enough to wear with most outfits! BC Footwear in general is a more affordable vegan-friendly shoe brand and these ones were awesome with their lace-up detailing. The purse is pretty versatile and has a long shoulder strap to be worn at your sides or crossbody too. 

Overall, I had the best experience with these products and with MooShoes as a company! My hope is to bring veganism (no, not just food!) mainstream and show others that you can be stylish without harming others, the planet and your health. There's no need when there are plenty of vegan friendly options nowadays! One of the hardest parts of my transition to living a full vegan lifestyle was giving up animal based fabrics like leather and suede (aka 95% of my shoes and purses)! This was pretty difficult for me as I have always been fashion and shoe obsessed. I had a realization though - that I can live a kinder, happier, (and still fashionable :D ) life with less material possessions and rid my closet of items where someone had to die in order for me to enjoy them. There is a guilt and burden you feel when wearing animal based fabrics once you look at it from that perspective. There are also environmental and human rights/safety implications as well that are a big issue... but that's all for a future blog post! Companies like MooShoes make it so easy to shop ethically and responsibly - no checking labels, tags, materials, etc. - just shop freely and shop with compassion!

That's all for now babes! and remember...

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San Juan Capistrano X Bead & Reel Ethical Boutique

It is so inspiring to me to work with brands and companies that share my values and passion for a healthier planet and world. Bead & Reel prides itself on an ethical and sustainable approach to fashion. You can shop by your values including fair trade,  female founded, artisan made, gender neutral, made in the USA, gives back (percentage of profits go to charity), made to order (combats textile waste!), nonprofit, organic, vegan (anything without animal products), plant-based (slightly different from vegan - products that are plant derived without the use of animal products), recycled (made from recycled fibers), upcycled (made from same fibers, just repurposed), vegan company, and zero waste. Most consumers are unaware of how the products they buy impact the environment, their own health (harsh and sometimes toxic chemicals!), and other people (ever heard of sweatshops?). Both my goal as a sustainable style blogger and the goal of Bead & Reel is to change the way people shop and have them be more thoughtful of their purchases and lifestyle. 

I styled three pieces from the boutique to showcase how fashionable and trendy ethical fashion can be! My friend, Autumn aka @grlwithbangs, was my lovely photographer and tour guide of San Juan Capistrano as we sought out some cool photo spots! My first look was the Rujuta Sheth Harem Jumpsuit. The jumpsuit is vegan, artisan made, and is a female founded brand. Rujuta Sheth is a New York based charitable brand that works with independent nonprofit organizations dedicated to empowering women and developing artisan businesses in India and supports fair trade. In my second look, I'm wearing the 5-in-1 Long Infinity Dress by Orgotton. Even though this dress says 5-in-1, it can honestly be worn 20-something ways! I styled just a few of these but there is definitely room for creativity with this one! Loved this piece and its' timeless, classic style! The dress is vegan, organic, made to order, made in the USA, and is a female founded company. Orgotton is a Philadelphia based brand focusing on ethical practices, organic materials, and local production. It had been sprinkling just a little bit of rain during my first two looks, so it was fairly wet out and my hair was getting pretty flat by my third (haha), can you tell? Thank goodness this look came with a hat! I styled the Navita Sleeveless Tunic by Sevya. The tunic is vegan, comes from a female founded brand, and supports fair trade. Sevya is an eco-friendly handmade collection that benefits local artisans and funds need-based development programs throughout India. 

The journey to a more sustainable lifestyle does not happen overnight, but by being more thoughtful in your purchases (especially clothing!) you'll be on your way! To learn more about the ethical boutique and ethical fashion in general I encourage you to check out Bead & Reel online! That's all for now babes, until next time! XO

Sevya navita sleeveless tunic:

Rujuta Sheth Harem Jumpsuit: 

Orgotton 5-in-1 long infinity dress:

Southwest Road Trip: CA > AZ > UT > NV > CA

This year both my boyfriend, Zach, and my brother, Nathan, had the same spring break - yay!! My brother is in medical school at the University of Arizona and Zach is in physical therapy school at California State University Long Beach, so you can imagine our family's excitement that they would be out of school at the same time! When schedules align, my dad loves to plan family trips so this time we made it a southwest road trip!

Zach and I drove out from Long Beach to Scottsdale, AZ where my parents live and stayed a couple nights. Nathan and his wife, Deanna, drove up from Tucson and met us in Scottsdale a day later. We then caravanned in two cars (mine and Nathan's) to Sedona/Oak Creek Canyon for two nights. We stayed in the cutest lodge right on the creek and it was super roomy for our group of six. While in Sedona, we hiked, explored and shopped around downtown Sedona, went to Tlaquepaque, etc.

On day three of our trip, we ventured north to Flagstaff and stayed at my aunt and uncle's cabin in Forest Highlands. We did a little bit of hiking, explored downtown Flag, etc. We also went to one of my fave restaurants, Whyld Ass - literally the best vegan mac and cheese and baked goods omg. unreal. 

We continued north on day four and drove up to Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend in Page, AZ. My dad booked us on a tour of Upper Antelope Canyon which was pretty cool! I had seen the Lower Antelope Canyon before but this was my first time seeing the Upper one. The main difference is that the Upper one is more expensive, there aren't any stairs or climbing that you have to do, you get driven in, and you walk through it there and back. After Antelope Canyon, we stopped by Horseshoe Bend. It was really windy and people were getting way too close to the edge it looked like some of them were going to blow off the edge! Serious anxiety there haha but the view was worth it! Nathan and Deanna parted ways with us here and drove back down to Flagstaff for the night as we continued the trip to Utah. 

Once we left Page, we drove into south Utah and made it to our cabin in Duck Creek Village around dusk. It was such a cozy place but every restaurant nearby was closed so we ended up scrounging up some food from the cooler to put together dinner. It was super cold and snowing out too which we didn't prepare for either. 

On Day five, we drove through Bryce Canyon National Park which was spectacular! There is one main road and many lookouts and places to stop along the way. We didn't bother hiking much here because it was snowing, my dad has a bad hip, and Zach recently hurt his ankle. We ended the day at a hidden gem of a restaurant that was super nice! We drove back to our lodge in Duck Creek and stayed for a second evening. 

In the morning, we packed up our stuff and got ready to go to Zion National Park. Because I was so cold the day before, I thought it would be a good idea to wear four pairs of pants (three leggings and one pair of loose fitting jeans over lol). This was a new record for me, but Zion was surprisingly much warmer than Bryce Canyon so I ended up taking off most of my layers. Zion was much more crowded than I was expecting and it made for a less relaxing time there than Bryce. It was still very beautiful and scenic though! Once we were done driving through the park, we started making our way to Las Vegas!

We checked into the Mirage and got settled. They got both of our room arrangements wrong and my dad through a fit haha but they wouldn't do anything to fix it - pretty bad customer service if you ask me. Anywho... we ended up finding this super vegan-friendly steakhouse (lol, weird I know) at the Wynn and ate dinner there! This was probably one of the most expensive menus I've ever seen but everything was amazing and they really catered to vegans so my mom and I were super happy. After dinner, we went back to our hotel and got ready for the late showing of the Cirque du Soleil show Beatles Love. It was very 70's and hippie vibes - pretty cool tricks and acrobatics as well! We finished off our night in Vegas drinking at a cocktail lounge and hanging around the casino. 

We ended the last morning of our trip eating at a buffet at the Mirage for breakfast. Zach and I parted ways with my parents and drove back to Long Beach. It was such a great trip and even better times with my fave people! Can't wait for our next family vacay :)

 

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NOW ENTERING...

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LAST STOP... VEGAS!

StyleWe Collab Part 2

This is part 2 of my collaboration with StyleWe! The first one went so well, we decided to do another :) I met up with model, @cosettedemille , in Manhattan Beach and we explored the area looking for cool spots to shoot around! She was a pleasure to work with and also happened to be vegan so we bonded about that! Not only was she my model, but she was also the girl behind the lens for my photos! Don't ya just love when people are multi-talented?

In my first look, I'm wearing the IVY Floral-print V Neck Boho Long Sleeve Mini Dress! Besides the fact that is was super windy out and my dress kept flying up (definitely wear shorts under), I absolutely love this dress! It's also short enough that it would look really cute as a long top with black skinny jeans as well,  but I'll save that for next time! BTW I tend to like to blend in with plants if you haven't noticed already lol. 

In the second look, I'm featuring the Casual Sleeveless PU Paneled Pierced Midi-Dress from Liya's Closet! I'm a huge fan of how leather looks, but I'm very against actual leather for many reasons. This is why I'm a HUGE fan of vegan leather styles - you get the same look without all the cruelty, environmental impacts, and smell (yes, leather smells..bad). After visiting a tannery with my study abroad group in Morocco a few years back, I will never look at leather the same way again. I started dry heaving and was having gag refluxes seeing and smelling all of the rotting carcasses and harsh chemicals. It was hard for people to breath, myself included. Sorry if that got too graphic too fast haha but I needed to share! So in light of my experiences, when I find a cute vegan leather style I gotta have it! This dress was so cute on and I liked how it was slimming but still a relaxed fit. Thanks for the goodies StyleWe!  

Green Vegan Suede Hat - Free People

Black Floral Dress - StyleWe

Cream Socks - American Apparel

Black Lace-Up Vegan Suede Shoes - Coconuts by Matisse

Black Vegan Suede Hat - Free People

Black Vegan Leather Dress - StyleWe

Silver Necklace - Free People

Gray Studded Vegan Suede Booties - Coconuts by Matisse

Sequioa National Park Feat. JORD Watches

Zach was lucky enough to have a few days off of school this past week so we took advantage that it was over Valentine's Day and took a little trip together up to Sequoia National Park! Originally we had planned to do five day, four-night loop around to Sequoia, Yosemite, Mammoth Lakes, stop by Death Valley and spend the fifth night in Ridgecrest. Unfortunately, there was way too much snow and a lot of roads were closed so we’re going to save that trip for a warmer time. We ended up booking two nights in Sequoia at Wuksachi Lodge. It was way up in the mountains on a windy, narrow road and I actually got motion sickness! 

Over the past two days, we explored the area, the lodge, went to the General Sherman Tree (biggest tree by volume in the world!), the Giant Forest, etc! It almost felt like we were in a fairytale like Jack and the Beanstalk because the trees were so huge! There was so much snow too, close to an 8 ft. snow bank in some places.

I had the pleasure of collaborating with Jord Wood Watches as well on this trip! All of their watches are vegan and super high quality! It’s pretty difficult to find animal-free, sweatshop-free, sustainable products, (especially watches), so I was thrilled for the opportunity to work with Jord. I’m wearing one of their newer styles, the Reece watch! It’s really important to me to that the companies I wear and use share my same values towards sustainability and ethics. I’m not always the perfect eco consumer, but each purchase can be a step in the right direction if you make it one. I would highly recommend ordering from Jord for your next watch purchase!

Overall, the trip was pretty relaxing and the perfect little romantic getaway with my boyfriend, Zach. We ate way too many snacks and not enough actual meals (two to be exact) lol but that’s what you get for being a vegan with only one lodge restaurant for two days! Next time, I think we’ll go back in the summer so we can actually hike some of the trails and not have to worry about driving through the snow, getting snow tire chains, etc. Cheers to a wonderful few days with my honey! 

XO

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Saltwater Luxe Collaboration

This was probably one of my favorite shoots I've ever done! I had the pleasure of working with Saltwater Luxe, a casual luxury brand based in Long Beach, California. No joke, their office is two minutes from my apartment!! As you guys know, I'm a huge advocate of ethically sourced goods and Saltwater Luxe is Los Angeles made (yay no sweatshops!), and often sources vintage fabrics reducing their carbon footprint. Their style is beachy bohemian with a little adventure. Toria Webber (model) and I sought to capture the wanderlust #SWLBabe vibe and hit the road on a day trip to Angeles National Forest just east of Pasadena. Side Note: I highly recommend going on a weekday, there were barely any cars or people! We also ventured around some neighborhoods around Pasadena. It was so much fun and I can't wait to work with Toria and the gals over at Saltwater Luxe again in the future!