Vegan Sandals for Summer

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With summer now here, I’m exchanging my winter boots for some sandals. One thing that most my vegan friends tell me is how hard it is to find good quality vegan shoes. Yes, you can technically find vegan shoes at places like H&M or Forever 21, but what they don’t show you is the unethical ways in which that shoe was made from the underage labor to the unsafe, toxic environmental damage that the materials impact water sources. So, beware of the true cost of cheap shoes. Instead, try investing in good quality shoes, which will be more expensive upfront, but will last you in the long haul, will be better for environment, and will provide a livable wage to whoever made them. So, keep reading to discovery some of the best companies in the business providing ethically made, sustainable vegan shoes.

This first company, Avesu is a vegan shoe company from Berlin, Germany. They have shipping to almost anywhere worldwide and all shoes and accessories are made from ethically sourced, environmentally friendly materials by workers who are treated fairly and with respect. What I like about this company is how transparent they are. Here are some facts about their workers in their Brazil factory: Location – Franca, São Paulo, Brazil, Production Volume – 50 pairs/week, 600 pairs/month, Factory Size – 11 employees, Working Hours – 7 am until 4.30 pm (including 1hour lunch break), Hours per week – 42.5 hours, Salary – 1.800 BRL/month (+ 275 BRL food bonus), Industry Standard Pay – 1.080 BRL/month. These simple facts go to show you how much their shoes are helping to pave the way for fair and respectful working conditions in factories. And on top of all of that, their shoes are amazing! They offer every type of style you can think of from high heels to hiking boots, to tennis shoes. And they have shoes for men, women, and children. These will be pricey upfront, but if you can spend over $100 on Nike shoes (which have very questionably unethical working conditions in their factories and unsustainable environmental waste from their materials), then these shoes will be a bargain for you in comparison without compromising the integrity of factory workers or without damaging the environment.

Cleo

Check out these gorgeous Cleo wedges that are perfect for dressing up any occasion. They were originally $108, but right now they are on sale for $54. I own a pair of wedges that my mother-in-law (who is from Germany) bought from this company, and seven years later I still have them, and they are in fantastic condition. So, if you choose some of the classier styles, then these will last you a lifetime, which is an amazing bargain. Another style that is very fashionable now are espadrilles. I’ve seen many fashion bloggers on Instagram sporting the Chanel espadrilles, which look chic but are made with leather. Avesu offers quite a selection on a similar style that I think look just as cute.

These shoes are great for when it’s hot and humid outside because they are lightweight and breathable. If you are planning on travelling this summer, these shoes make excellent walking shoes for your travels. I love how you can also easily slip these on or off. And they have many more styles, prints, patterns available on their website too. And at $55, these are way more affordable than the $700 price tag on the Chanel espadrilles.

Shop Avesu for even more options.

My next recommendation is a website called Moo Shoes. This PETA-approved vegan company is focused on bringing vegan fashion to the mainstream. Once you start browsing this website you can see how trendy their shoes are. They offer a selection ranging from budget conscious quality to handmade designer brands. All of Moo Shoes’ products have been vetted to ensure they meet the standards of cruelty-free sourcing to fair and safe working conditions during production. I love their block heels, they have both low and higher heels for this style.

I love the Gwen sandal on the right. It has a texture that makes it almost look like it is made from leather. And the lower block heel on the left is more of my heel preference, which is great if you are travelling or planning to walk around a bunch for the day. But both these shoes are stylishly trendy and great options for summer nights out. The average price of shoes from here ranges from $90-$140. They offer excellent quality with some style.

Leone Mule

Another style that is quite on trend at the moment are mules for summer. This is the Leone Mule from Matt and Nat and it’s simply gorgeous. I love love love the shiny, mirror reflection of the heel paired with the faux leather band of the mule. I can see this paired in so many ways, with jeans and a blazer, with shorts and a classic, fitted tee shirt, with a fun, floral dress, or with a bathing suit and cover. It’s definitely a statement piece, but they will dress up any outfit you can think of for summer. This pair costs $120, but you can trust the quality of Matt and Nat, they make some of the best (if not, the best) vegan shoes out there on the market.

Moo Shoes is located in New York and LA, but make sure to check out their website because they carry all types of shoes for women, children, and men that range from dress shoes, business shoes, boots, tennis shoes, heels, sandals, you name it.

Shop Moo Shoes for even more options.

This summer you can rock some serious kicks that are super cute, fashionable, ethically made, and vegan. Make sure to check theses websites out and show them some love. Shoes plus internet shopping, veganism has never been made easier!

Natural, Organic, and Eco-Friendly Vegan Makeup Brands

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If you are new to being vegan, you might not know that a lot of makeup companies still test on animals. I honestly have no idea why animals need to be tested for mascaras and lipsticks. It seems a bit outdated to me. But, not to worry because more companies everyday are becoming cruelty-free and are making their ingredients vegan. So, I’ve compiled some of my favorite companies that are organic, natural, and eco-friendly. If you are like me and you like to change up your makeup for summertime, then make sure to check these makeup brands because they offer lightweight, colorful, and fun products for summer. But make sure to read to the end to find even more vegan makeup options at the drugstore and high-end vegan makeup options at places like Sephora and Ulta.

Before I dive in, I’d like to note that certain vegan makeup brands are excluded from this list because while they retail in the US as vegan, however, they sell to China which tests all their imported makeup on animals making them not vegan.

Pacifica

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This is a wonderful, budget-friendly brand. They offer quite a range in skin care as well as makeup items. Their primers, skincare, lotions are by far some of their best-sellers. But I happen to like their eyeshadow palettes because they make have natural colors as well as colorful, smoky palettes as well. Most products range from $10-$20, making these makeup items easily affordable and accessible.

Shop Pacifica online here.

Real Purity

RealPurity

This makeup brand is perfect for those that are new to vegan, cruelty-free makeup because they are best known for being able to select sample colors to choose from, which makes it easy for you to pick the right color for you and your skin tone. So, you can easily get samples without having to commit right away to the investment of a whole bottle or tube of product. What I like best about this company is that their products are made from all-natural botanical and plant-derived ingredients. Plus, they affordably range from $10-$30 per product.

Shop Real Purity online here.

Juice Beauty

JuiceBeauty

This natural and organic makeup company is best known for moisturizers and anti-wrinkle treatments and serums. But this company takes eco-friendly to the next level by being USDA certified Organic, using local sources for its ingredients, and using solar and wind power in the manufacturing as well as using recycled packaging. Not only are they vegan and cruelty-free, they also give back to charities as well. They are priced from $20-$40.

Shop Juice Beauty online here.

Afterglow

Afterglow

Afterglow is a great brand for those with sensitive skin because their organic, natural ingredients blends minerals and natural pigments to carefully formulate their makeup to be soy-free, gluten-free, cruelty-free, vegan and fair trade. They are best known for the colorful pigments which are exemplified best by their color range in blushes and lipsticks. What’s also unique about this brand is that their products can be refilled (not wasting its packaging) and their packaging is made from recycled materials. Most products range from $20-$40.

Shop Afterglow online here.

Alima Pure

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This makeup brand is highly regarded for its inclusiveness for having their signature powder foundation for all skin tones. They have an amazing wide range of diverse skin colors to choose from, so if you have a skin tone that is harder to find in most makeup brands, make sure to give this makeup brand a try because I’m sure you’ll find your shade with them. Their signature powder foundation is like Bare Minerals, but their high-quality, pure ingredients never includes synthetic dyes to achieve its color. Not only does this company dedicate itself to uncompromising natural and organic beauty, they also are eco-friendly. They use soy-inks on recycled paper for packaging, they are carbon-neutral, and their compacts are refillable. Pricing for their foundations is $28, with eyeshadow pigments costing $14 per color. So, it is a little bit pricier, but it’s still comparable to brands like Bare Minerals.

Shop Alima Pure online here.

If natural looking makeup isn’t your go-to look and you prefer brands at the drugstore or brands at stores like Sephora or Ulta, then below are bullet point lists with a few more of my favorite vegan companies that are sold at these places. And if you are interested in seeing more vegan makeup companies, then make sure to check out Cruelty-Free Kitty. They introduced me to many of the vegan products I have listed here, but they have a great compiled list of vegan makeup brands. And now, onto some of the best high end and drugstore vegan makeup brands.

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How to Pack for Spring Break

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For Spring Break most people travel to celebrate and welcome the warm spring weather. If you are planning on travelling this month or next month for Spring Break, then keep reading to check out how to pack the easiest and best suitcase to help make your travels hassle-free.

The best method I’ve found for packing a suitcase is the 5,4,3,2,1 Packing Guide. Thanks to apairandasparediy.com for introducing me to this method because it has helped me travel throughout Europe while I live there. And once you use this method, you’ll never go back. This method is essentially creating a time capsule wardrobe for your vacation. I find that this wardrobe lasts about one week without washing, but if you bring laundry pods/laundry detergent packets then this suitcase can last you for weeks. For your suitcase, you pack 5 tops (make sure to include one jacket), 4 bottoms of your choice (shorts, pants, jeans, skirts, etc.), 3 dresses and/or rompers, 3 shoes, 2 swimsuits, 2 bags, 1 hat, 1 watch, and 1 pair of sunglasses. This packing guide just makes it so direct and easy to pinpoint exactly what you need. But also, one last thing to make sure to pack are 7 pairs of underwear and 7 pairs of socks.

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Now that you have a list of your essentials, here’s a few more tips on how to pack everything so it fits perfectly in your suitcase.

The first thing you should pack are your shoes. Place shoes foot-to-toe in the bottom of your suitcase to save some space and to ensure that your suitcase is balanced. Two ways to cover your shoes and avoid the dirt from the bottom of them getting everywhere is to 1) lay a towel over the shoes to serve as a barrier (plus, if you are staying at a hostel remember to bring a towel since most hostels don’t provide them) or 2) if you have a plastic bag you can place them in there.

The next thing to pack are your socks. Put rolled up socks inside your shoes to help save space and preserve the shape of the shoe while inside the suitcase.

Next, you will pack your clothes. Roll clothing up and then se are compression bags to squeeze air out of the clothes. If you don’t have air compression bags, then use large gallon size plastic bags instead. These are just as helpful. When choosing which clothes to bring invest in wrinkle-free, light-weight clothing that you can layer. Pack clothes with a similar color palette so you can mix and match outfits.

For toiletries, pack travel-sized toiletries that are 3 ounces are less. The best and cheapest place to find these are at the Dollar Store. Also, make sure to double-bag toiletries to prevent spills. If you bring a razor with you but you don’t have a protective case for it, just use a binder clip over your razor blade to preserve it and prevent you from getting nicked.

For all your wires, chargers, and cable cords, use a pencil case or sunglasses case to store cables in your carry-on or suitcase. If you’re travelling internationally, don’t forget to bring an adapter (a multi-plug universal adapter is one of the best options).

And don’t forget your bags/totes/purses. Even if you think you won’t need two bags, it’s a good idea to still pack a couple of totes so you can put your toiletries, wire cables, accessories, souvenirs, etc. inside your bags to keep everything organized and stored safely in a conserved space.

One last thing I like to do is place dryer sheets inside my suitcase to ensure that my clean clothes don’t take on the odor of the dirty clothes. And this packing list will last you for about a week, but if you want/need it to last 2-3 weeks, then bring individual packets of laundry detergent (or laundry pods), so you can wash your clothes on the go.

I hope this packing guide and these packing tips will help make your travels a little easier, so you can focus on a fun and relaxing vacation this spring break.

Photos courtesy of @michelletakeaim and apairandasparediy.com

The Perfect Book and the Perfect Night in on Valentine’s Day

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This Valentine’s Day, my husband and I will be taking a break from the hoopla that is Valentine’s Day. So, instead of putting pressure on each other with gifts and dinner reservations, we’ll be staying in and hanging out at home. And if you find yourself at home too, then I have the perfect book to keep you company, because who needs a Valentine when you have the perfect book.

Tucker Shaw’s Oh Yeah, Audrey! is a well-written easy read that pairs Audrey Hepburn’s most infamous character Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s with your inner fangirl in this sparky and delightful novel.

Breakfast at Tiffany's

Just as the book jacket states, 16-year-old Gemma Beasley runs away to New York City for 24 hours to meet up with other Holly/Audrey fans to see a special anniversary screening of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. But best laid plans can and do go awry when Gemma gets swooned off her feet by a real-life Paul Varkjak. Gemma lives her New York minute life by following the mantra of “What would Audrey do?” but ends up in situations closely similar to Holly, where she ends up around suspicious people with questionable motives.

I absolutely loved Gemma and her reactions to the things going on around her. It felt completely authentic and very relatable. I was a little disappointed in the fact that it’s set in only 24 hours. This led to little character development, especially all of Gemma’s friends and Gemma’s love interest. Because of this, some characters felt like clichés, like the fabulous gay best friend and the entitled rich-boy who thinks he can buy a girl. Actually, that last character bothered me a lot because the novel shows him genuinely pursuing Gemma. I mean, why bother having him spend month after month having hour long phone calls if all he wanted was sex? This character just didn’t add up to me.

But, nonetheless, this novel successfully delivers a story about friendship and about Gemma finding herself while paying tribute to Audrey Hepburn’s Holly Golightly.

Like I said before, this is a fast read and can easily be read in a day. So, I recommend watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s (available on Netflix) to better understand all the book’s references. For Valentine’s, all you need is a fabulous evening. Whether you inhibit your inner Holly Golightly by wearing a black dress, black opera gloves, pearls, with a coffee and croissant in your hand, or you stay home in pajamas cuddled up with a book on the couch with a glass of wine, just remember that this Valentine’s Day can still be fabulous darling.

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And if you stay in and find yourself reading this book, just remember Holly Golightly’s advice, “A girl doesn’t read this sort of thing without her lipstick.”

Vegan Makeup Brands

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If you are new to being vegan, you might not know that a lot of makeup companies still test on animals. I honestly have no idea why animals need to be tested for mascaras and lipsticks. It’s absolutely ridiculous to me. But, not to worry because more and more companies everyday are becoming cruelty-free and are making their ingredients vegan. So, I’ve compiled some of my favorite companies that range from high end, to drugstore, to natural makeup brands.

Before I dive in, I’d like to note that certain vegan makeup brands are excluded from this list because while they retail in the US as vegan; however, they sell to China which tests all their imported makeup on animals.

Below are bullet point lists of my favorite vegan companies and if you are interested in seeing more vegan makeup companies then make sure to check out Cruelty-Free Kitty. They have a great compiles list of vegan makeup brands that you can see here. And if you love the galaxy animal prints above, then make sure to check out The National Anthem on Etsy to buy some of their cool prints and wall art décor. You can see some of their cool artwork here. And now, onto the list of vegan makeup brands.

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DrugstoreVeganMakeup

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Thrifty Girl Guide: Workout Clothes

Many people start the new year with the goal to work out and exercise more, and if you are on this journey then this post will help you motivate you to achieve that goal. If you aren’t on that bandwagon of new year’s resolutions, then not to worry, because finding workout clothes for a steal is still a good enough reason to keep reading this. Because, let’s be honest, even if we aren’t working out in our workout clothes, they are still incredibly comfy to lounge around in. But work out clothes are so expensive. I knew there had to be a better way to find something comfy enough to move around in without breaking the bank. Keep reading to find out I bought 5 workout outfits for only $50!

Here is my first look where I paired these Reebok capris with this FILA top. I like the contrast of the accenting neon yellow against the greys and blacks. The Reebok capris were only $7 and the FILA top was $5, both found at Goodwill.

In Look 2, I found thee amazing pink Nike shorts at Macy’s for only $4. Buying summer clothes in winter is a great way to find exclusive discounts. Plus, Macy’s also has some good coupons that reduce an already great price to an even better deal. The black top seen here is from Danskin and at only $4 it puts the good in Goodwill.

Look 3 is my comfy lounge around the house look. These are all workout clothes, but I tend to them casually as my normal clothes. You don’t need to workout to feel comfy, so another great use of these outfits is just to wear as your normal clothes. Normally, these Spalding pants retail at $55. But I found these at Goodwill for only $6! I paired them with this athletic top that I was gifted for Christmas, but it too was second-hand.

In Look 4, you can see I found another Danskin athletic shirt but this time in white. I paired it with these Under Armour shorts I found at TJMaxx for $12. So, for a total of $16 you can look like a total work out goddess.

For my fifth and final look, I paired my favorite Adidas capris with this black Nike athletic shirt. Bothe were found at Goodwill. The capris cost $5 and the top cost only $3!

Getting in shape, being more athletic, whatever your goals for 2018 may be, just know you don’t have to break the bank to invest a little into yourself. Now, that you know where to find the best deals for workout clothes, I hope you have enough motivation to kick-start 2018. I’ve linked below some of my favorite YouTube channels if you need a good workout but can’t afford a gym membership. These at-home workout videos are short enough to make it easy to fit into your schedule but intense enough to feel a good burn. Good luck with your workouts or make 2018 your most comfy year yet.

YouTube Channels:

  1. Boho Beautiful: Has great Pilates and Yoga workouts
  2. Lucy Wyndham-Read: Great low-impact and short workouts that make it easy for everyone to exercise.
  3. Zuzka Light: High cardio, core strength, and short workouts that will make you feel the burn.

Save Like a Girl Boss: Issue 1

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One of my new year’s resolutions this year is to save money where I can, but it’s a little hard when I like to spend certain expenses on taking care of myself. I think it’s important to do things that make you feel good as well as boost your morale and self-esteem. For me, that means getting my nails done once a month. I limit myself to once a month, so I don’t spend a lot, but recently I found a way to cut my expenses in half.

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I normally get a fill with gel polish, which costs $26, and including a tip makes it about $30-$31. I have no idea why nail salons charge $10 more just because of the gel polish. However, I do like the gel polish because it can last 3-4 weeks on acrylic nails. But a whole bottle of gel polish costs less than $10. So, for this past Christmas and birthday, I asked for gel polishes that came in plenty of different colors to start my own mini salon. I found some good collections that are reasonably priced on Amazon. This one here has six bottles for only $16, making it less than $3 per bottle. What a steal!

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I still go to the nail salon once a month. But, now I ask for a fill with no polish, no top coat, nothing. This costs $16, and with a tip makes a total of about $18-$19. Afterwards, I go home and apply whatever polish I want to. And recently, I got a chrome kit that included nine colors for only $16 on Amazon, which I’ll link here. Below, you’ll see the evidence of how good this stuff works. I’ve had it on my toes for two weeks and the chrome is still great.

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At the salon, they charge $15 for chrome nails, but for a dollar more you can get a set of nine chrome colors.

Initially, you’ll have to put up some money to invest in a few good bottles of gel polish, but overall, it’ll be cheaper. If you can get gel polishes gifted to you like I did for Christmas and your birthday, then you’ll save even more money like a girl boss!

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/.

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

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(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.

Affordable & Chic Back to School Supplies

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At the end of every August I feel the start of the new school year. Maybe it’s because I was a student for so long. But August, the start of a new school year, feels like the beginning of a new year. Forget January – August is my new year, my time of the year where I need a little reboot.

And with this reset, this new start, I like to find good deals on some very-much-needed supplies. I used to get back to school supplies as a student, but now I buy supplies at this time of year to restock my personal office.

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My favorite place to go for both stylish and affordable school supplies is the Dollar Store. I got these adorable holographic writing notebooks, these planning journals with beautiful, chic designs and inspirational quotes on them, as well as packs of pens and pencils. At only $1 for each notebook and each pack, it’s a great deal! Plus, there are a ton of designs and styles if these don’t quite fit your personal taste.

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And my biggest steal was this iMac computer. I bought this computer for only $50 using he app OfferUp. It’s an older Mac desktop, sure. But I wanted a desktop for my office work without having to pay hundreds of dollars for it. So, I thought about looking for a gently used one that’s been refurbished and/or updated. So, when picking out this computer, I checked if he specs were listed as well (see end of post for a checklist of what to look for in a listing) because I wanted to deal with someone whose familiar with the technology and I wanted to make sure that this older computer was updated to the newer systems. All an older computer needs are updated specs and it’ll run just fine.

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My seller, Tom, was an amazing gentleman who let me try it out (running online searches, opening documents, etc.) before buying it. All I did was simply ask if I could try it and out he more than gladly complied. Another plus about this purchase was that the mouse and keyboard were also included in the sale. When I took it home, all I had to do was buff out previous scruffs left behind from stickers and voila this computer was like brand new.

Turned out, this computer belonged to Tom’s granddaughter and he wanted to sell it at bottom line just to get rid of it. And like I had guess from his listing, Tom was a tech guy. He had been in tech before retiring and now he buys faulty computers for cheap prices, refurbishes them, and sells them at low prices. No hidden gimmicks or anything, just a retiree with a hobby/side-job.

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So, not only did I get a great deal for a nice desktop, I got to meet the guy who made/re-made it. How cool is that? And he’s not the only one doing this. You can easily look on OfferUp and see if anyone near you does this as well. Buying used electronics is such a good, positive step forward environmentally. Electronics don’t always get recycle and can end up in landfills. So, when you can, try using an older, working electronic. Like momma always told me, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Or, in this case, “If it is broken, just fix it up.”

If you don’t feel comfortable testing electronics like I did, then try meeting in a public place (like Starbucks) and bring along someone you know who is tech savvy (I brought my husband).

Here is a checklist to help you feel more confident about buying a used computer.

Some things to look for and to ask when buying used computers

  • Does it have integrated WIFI or does it need an Ethernet cord?
  • What is its Operating System (OS)?
  • Does it have/include programs you need, like Word, Excel, etc.?
  • Does it include accessories (keyboard/mouse)?
  • Was the computer reset to manufacturer’s settings?

So, make sure to be smart this school year and find great deals and steals to help kick start a brand new school (or work) year for you.