Ordering with Positive Affirmations in San Diego

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There are many fashionable trends when it comes to food, like fad diets, Instagram arrangements, and crazy ways to eat your food (remember the chew each bite ten times before you swallow?). What about ordering your meal using a positive affirmation instead of naming the dish? In San Diego’s Little Italy, a couple of restaurants are integrating positive affirmations into the ordering process and I got the opportunity to try them out and see what it’s like to say “I am adventurous” instead of saying “I would like the French Toast, please.” So, pack your bags as we head to San Diego for some good-positive-vibes vegan eats.

Click here to read more about Vegan Eats in San Diego.

And if you missed Part 1, click here to read it.

Why You Need Vegan Leather in Your Life

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Leather is a bit of a paradox in that it has a beautiful aesthetic but comes at an ugly cost. I’ve been a vegan for two years now, but just recently, I learned disturbing facts that forever changed my opinion on leather goods. So, prepare to hear the worst, but also prepare to hear how you can change and hopefully prevent this ugly practice.

China is the world’s leading producer of cheap leather, which means that a lot of animals are killed every year to produce purses, gloves, belts, etc. But, what if I were to tell you that dogs make up a large amount of the slaughtered animals to provide cheap leather for you to wear? How does that make you feel to hear that man’s best friend are turned into gloves, belts, and wallets?

According to the Guardian’s report on this issue, “The US banned the importation of dog and cat fur and skin, which is punishable by fines up to $10,000, as part of the Dog and Cat Protection Act of 2000. But distinguishing dog and cat leather from cow, sheep and pig leather is no easy matter, making it possible for unscrupulous manufacturers to pass off leather from dogs as leather from legal animals. A report by the Congressional Research Service shows that in 2014, the US imported $8.5bn in leather articles from China. It is unknown how much of each year’s total might be dog or cat leather.” Essentially, it is almost impossible to discern dog from other animals like lambs or cows. After the leather is tanned and cured they all look alike, and the only way to prove its species is to use a DNA test; and even that might be difficult since hardly any DNA might be left after all the chemicals used to process it.

According to One Green Planet, “the Chinese Leather Industry Association claims that they have no knowledge of dog leather industry, [however] an undercover investigation from PETA showed that this horrific practice is alive and well in the country.” In November 2014, an undercover investigator for People for the Ethical Treatment (PETA) Asia infiltrated one of the slaughterhouses where dogs were being bludgeoned and skinned to be made into leather. According to PETA, “one employee told the investigator that this facility bludgeons and skins 100 to 200 dogs a day.” Just this one facility kills upwards of 200 dogs per day. I’ll let you do the math per week, per month, per year. Now multiply that figure with however many slaughterhouses you think are doing this in China. No matter how you calculate it, the outcome is too high.

There’s no denying it. This is a horribly gruesome practice. There are currently no laws protecting the slaughter of dogs in China since they are considered livestock, not pets. There are also no laws that dictate how the animals (in this case, dogs) are slaughtered. So, many are bludgeoned to death. This made my heart break to hear about this practice, but I cried upon seeing PETA’s undercover footage showing this practice. In that moment, I felt so helpless. Mainly because, this was happening half-way around the world. What could I possibly do?

Well, after researching, I learned that no matter what you think, there is always something you can do to help. In this case, the most effective way to end this horrible practice is to use the power you have with your money. Let your dollars, your economic decisions, speak for you and say no to leather.

I understand that leather has a nice aesthetic look to it, and if you’re like me then you like the way leather looks. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. That’s why I want to share with you these vegan leather purse brands that provide that beautiful leather appeal without the pain and torture of being made from dogs, or any animal for that matter.

Here are my Top 5 Vegan Leather Purse Brands that offer great quality and affordable prices.

  1. Gunas

If you are a fan of the Hermes Birkin bag, then you are in for a treat. Gunas offers a Birkin dupe called Hermit that looks fashionable at around $100.

  1. Urban Expressions

If you are a fan of Chanel boy-bags, then you should check out Urban Expressions Sheena for only $55.

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  1. Melie Bianco

This L.A. based company offers a great selection of fashionable bags. Be sure to check them out at the end of the season for their sales. I ordered two purses from here because they had their buy one get one free promotion. You can easily find purses in the $35-$70 range, plus free shipping on orders more than $50. Just signing up for their newsletter can get you 50% off your first order.

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  1. Matt & Nat

This company offers the most variety with the types of bags they have. They are a little bit pricier with bags ranging from $70-$200. However, they also offer vegan leather shoes and belts. I’m in love with their vegan leather boots for Fall.

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  1. Urban Originals

This is another great brand that sells their bags at retailers like Nordstrom’s and Macy’s, making it easier to find these vegan leather purses in person.

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Here are other Brands that are also selling Vegan Leather Purses

  1. Mod Cloth
  2. Free People
  3. Nordstrom
  4. Saks Off 5th

Just make sure to type in “vegan leather” in the search engines on their websites and a lot of results will come up for you.

But if want a high-end fashion bag, well there’s also an option there for you. Stella McCartney only sells vegan-leather products. So, you’ll never find any real leather, feathers, or fur at her store, which is awesome!

So, just remember that the cost of cheap leather from China is a lot higher than you might think. But, you don’t have to let any dogs, or any animal for that matter, die for your fashion. All you need is vegan leather in your life. And with every dollar spent on this material, you help drive the economic push towards sustainable fashion without ending a single life. Hopefully, someday soon, the practice of killing dogs for leather goods will be outdated and gone forever.

Further resources and works cited

  1. Kearney, Lauren. “Could Your Purse Be Made Out of Dog Skin? The Truth Behind the Dog Leather Industry.” One Green Planet, 12 Apr. 2015, onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/the-truth-behind-the-dog-leather-industry/.
  2. Weissman, Alanna. “Is Your Leather from China? It Might Be Made of Dog or Cat Skin.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 31 July 2016, theguardian.com/business/2016/jul/31/dog-cat-leather-china-us-congress-trade-peta.
  3. “Dogs Bludgeoned and Killed in Leather Industry.” PETA Investigations, PETA, https://investigations.peta.org/china-dog-leather/.

A Fire in My Hometown

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This morning I woke up at 4:30am to the news that my hometown of Santa Rosa, California is on fire. After frantically calling my friends and family, I learned that they had all safely evacuated. But now is the hardest part. The waiting. Waiting for hours possibly days before they can return home, waiting to see if our childhood homes have been burned, waiting to see what’s left after the destruction.

And I guess that’s the true heartbreak my family has to face. Even after going through everything they’ve already been through, they have to wait and anticipate the worst. My heart goes out to them. Because my grandparents’ home is my childhood home. I would be crush if it burned down, but it is currently right down the road from the flames. So it’s very likely my grandparents won’t have a home to return to. And that breaks my heart more than anything.

And my Uncle lives in a neighborhood right in the middle of the flames. He doesn’t know for sure, but he’s absolutely positive his home has burned down by now.

So, if you know anyone in the Santa Rosa area where the Tubbs Fire and Atlas Fire are currently closing in, then make sure to follow the police department and fire department on social media. It’s a great way to find access to water, gas, food, evacuation centers, and places that accept animal housing. I’ve been able to help my family, even though I live in Washington, by following these social media accounts and passing on the information posted there to them.

So, please stay safe during this hectic time and pass this on to anyone you think might need it.

Fit for Fall: Week 4 Update

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Have you ever started something with a lot of initial excitement but after a while you lose some motivation and feel deterred from accomplishing your goals? This week, for some reason, I wasn’t mentally all there. I only worked out three days this week, which is still good but not what I expected from myself. I may have put high expectations on myself, but it felt like I was off-track from my running, ab, and butt challenges.

I wish I could pin-point why I wasn’t feeling up to my workouts when for three weeks in a row I have been super committed to my fitness regimen. But the reason I embarked on this fitness journey was to improve my mental health. I want to perk up my outlook and not be stuck in the hazy, grim perspective I felt before. I can say I do feel better mentally since starting this, but I don’t want my lack of commitment to affect next week’s progress.

What I’m trying to say is that I hope this recent laziness/lethargic attitude I had doesn’t derail me for too long and that I maintain and continue my fitness regimen. I guess, it’s a natural feeling to think I might quit. Mainly because, that was something I would’ve done in the past. But here are the important things I will focus on; all that I’ve already accomplished so far, my future fitness schedule, and keep in mind the fitness goals I want to achieve.

So, with a positive outlook I will focus on keeping up with my workouts. Stay tuned for my next fitness post to read how I found motivation during this week by thrifting for athletic gear.

The Best Fall Trends This Year: From the Runway to Your Closet

I love everything about Autumn, from the leaves changing colors to the cozy, comfy sweaters. There’s a lot to expect during the fall season. For me, I usually expect orange, yellow, and brown to be prominent colors on the runways and in stores. And I expect to see sweaters, leggings, and oversize coats to be in fashion. While these are all on trend this fall, there have been unexpected surprises on the runway. Here are the top five trends in season this fall.

  • Red

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(Victoria Beckham, Fall/Winter 2017)

You would think Taylor Swift’s Red album was just released this fall based on the love affair designers have with red this season. On the runway, models wore head-to-toe red as a monochromatic statement piece. But when I say red, think ruby red – no pink or orange undertones here. This color is usually seen during Christmas time or even in mid-summer. And if red is seen during the Fall it tends to be a dark, deep red like maroon. Seeing this ruby red on the runways is bold and bright and beautiful. For easy everyday styling, I’m seeing pops of red like a red purse, red lipstick, or red nails, which makes it easy to incorporate into your style.

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  • Pastel Pink

Nina Ricci RTW Fall 2017

(Nina Ricci, Fall/Winter 2017)

This is a color that has been trending since last Spring. In fact, it was also a very popular color for Summer too. On the runway, this color popped in floral patterns as seen on dresses. But other garments like jackets and midi-skirts were also in pastel pink. Here, I’ wearing a sweater wit faux pearls adorning the front. I found this at a vintage boutique for $18. Pearls were also a major decoration on shoes, jeans, and shirts this past summer. So, with this sweater I’m carrying a little bit of a summer trend into the fall.

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  • Crystals/Rhinestones

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(Chanel, Fall/Winter 2017)

One of the most memorable runway shows this fall was Chanel’s space-inspired collection. And the most memorable item from the Ready-to-Wear were the crystallized boots. But I won’t be buying Chanel boots anytime soon because a) they are made from leather and b) they are way too expensive to justify spending thousands of dollars on just a pair of boots. However, I did find affordable crystallized shoes that are cruelty-free. I’ve been on the look-out for a good pair of flats since last spring when my other pair got holes in the sole. And the wait was worth it. I found these crystallized pair of flats at goodwill for only $8. But these pair of flats are brand new and came with the original price tags. Not a bad steal, right?

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  • Midi-Skirts

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(Carolina Herrera, Fall/Winter 2017)

Skirts are always on the runway year-round, but what’s so unexpected is that this fall midi-skirts are in. Usually, midi-skirts are a spring and summer staple. And fall brings the more sturdy and reliable skirts that are thick and warm. So, to see midi-skirts on the runway for fall is quite a surprise. But, as seen in previous trends, it’s another trend carrying over from summer into fall. This is great if you’ve already invested in summer trends like the midi-skirt since you can continue on using this and get your money’s worth out of it.

  • Bare/Natural Face

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(Dior, Fall/Winter 2017)

There are some pretty crazy makeup trends this fall on the runways. From the wavy eyebrows to the wavy lips, these makeup looks are far out there to be used for an everyday look. But what’s also on trend is natural and light makeup. This was predominantly seen on models on the runway. The light makeup was probably done purposefully to better accentuate the eccentric bold trends and make them stand out. But, if you’re like me and want to skip on those crazy trends, then you’re in luck! Because instead of the darker, grungier makeup look that was seen in past fall seasons, we are seeing light and natural and fresh faces which means it’s easier than ever for you to copy this runway trend at home.

This fall season have a little fun with your wardrobe and use whatever you have in your wardrobe to mix it up or buy secondhand to afford the latest runway trends for less.

Vegas

Vegas

I was going to post an article today about fall fashion trends, but after last night’s events I felt that was grotesquely inappropriate. So, today I want to just heal. I want to use meditation and deep breathing techniques to keep my mind still. There’s a lot to fear in this world, but going to a concert should not be one. So, if you feel heartbroken, scared, loss, or confused, then tell someone you love “I love you.” Whether that is your best friend, your mom, your partner, or even your pet dog, just tell them you love them and hug them tight if they are close by.  Because we need to heal with love first before taking the next steps needed to prevent this from happening again.

Wishing all who reads this safety and blessings.