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

AlimaPure

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.

DrugstoreVeganMakeup

HighEndVeganMakeup

5 Things to Use Instead of Wrapping Paper This Christmas

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As a child my favorite thing about Christmas morning was ripping open my presents. I loved the feel of soft plush bows, satiny ribbons, and crisp new boxes. In fact, when I was three I preferred the boxes my gifts came in instead of the actual gifts. I played with those boxes for hours.

However, I think everyone can agree how satisfying it is to tear off that wrapping paper, but had I known then how bad the gift wrapping paper was I would never have unwrapped my gifts. Now as an adult, buying wrapping paper is so costly for something that’s just going to be thrown away. I’m sure, like my family, this Christmas, after all the wrapping paper is torn off the gifts, you’ll gather up all the paper remains into a trash bag and throw it away. This is such a huge and unnecessary waste. Keep reading to find out how to replace gift wrapping paper with Eco-friendly options that also have multiple uses too.

The tradition of wrapping gifts in paper isn’t a very long one in American history. For most of the 18th, 19th, and early 20th century, gifts were presented in keepsake boxes which brings me to my first recommendation. A keepsake box today can be in the form of a nice storage container. You can find them for under $10 at places like TJMaxx, Ross, or HomeGoods. What’s nice about them is they come in various sizes, artistic designs, and they usually have magnetic top lids. So, after your friend or family member opens their gift they’ll have a great and unique box to use afterwards.

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However, if those boxes aren’t quite your thing my next recommendation can be used for many occasions. You can buy cardboard gift boxes in a bundle for pretty cheap at the dollar Store or online at Amazon. Since they are plain you can reuse them for many occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, etc. If you store them nicely, you can keep using these over and over saving you lots of time and making gift wrapping less of a hassle.

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If you have a smaller gift, you can try out this next recommendation by also buying a scarf. There are many tutorials on YouTube which demonstrate how to wrap a small gift with a scarf. This is a great idea since the scarf is not only the wrapper but also a bonus gift too!

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If a scarf is not suitable as a bonus gift, then I also recommend a small blanket, a coffee table cover, or even a table runner to use as the wrapper. These can also be useful in wrapping larger gifts too.

For my last recommendation, I suggest using reusable grocery bags. These are pretty affordable since most only cost between $1-$3. Plus, after Christmas is over you can easily put these into great Eco-friendly use at the grocery store.

I hope this list helps you create some new Christmas traditions that are Eco-friendly without the holiday waste.

Thrift-Giving for Mother’s Day

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With Mother’s Day coming up this Sunday (here in the US), all we hear on the radio and TV is how we have to buy our mothers something special in order to show her how much we appreciate her. But, do we really need to merit our appreciation for our mothers with a dollar value?

Growing up, I didn’t have a lot of spare change in my household, especially not enough to buy my mother the expensive items advertised on TV. And you know what? That’s very unfair to a child, to make that child feel incompetent because they can’t show their appreciation for their mother through materialistic means. Of course, you can always make your mom a gift, which is what I did for many years.

Now that I’m older and have a little money to spare, I want to buy my mom a nice gift. However, I also want to be consciousness about it though. I don’t want to contribute to the ever-growing fast fashion industry that horribly ruins the environment and workers’ lives. And I still can’t afford those flashy, expensive gifts advertised in the media for jewelry and department stores.

So, what’s a girl to do? Well, I decided to go to my go-to – thrifting. I checked out my local Goodwill and walked around with my husband hoping to see something that screamed “Mom” – and luckily enough, I also helped my husband find a gift for his mother too.

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Here’s a little outfit I put together under $10 for my mom. She lives in Florida, so a light-weight, flowy dress and a pair of sandals are very comfortable and fitting to her lifestyle.

I love the cinched-in waistline on this emerald green dress. It’s flattering for most body shapes and the extra space up top is roomy enough for women who need more space there. And I think this dark green will compliment my mom’s brown eyes. The faux-leather sandals have a sleek gold trim all the way around, which I think nicely pairs with the dress. I must admit though, there was a tiny chunk of the gold trim missing, so I simply filled in the scratched-up space with a gold sharpie and – voila – the shoe was fixed up. Now, it looks almost brand new.

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Now, I know you can’t always find clothing and shoes for your mother (due to various sizes and what’s available in stock), but here’s what you can find instead. Most Goodwill’s have a book section. So, for my mother-in-law, my husband picked out his favorite books. I think it’s a touching gift to give someone a favorite book of yours, to share with them something you fell in love with. But, what I think is so special about this gift for Mother’s Day is, chances are, your mother was the one who taught you how to read. So, it’s nice that she taught you how to read and now you can share the gift she gave you by showing her your favorite reads.

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Here, my husband found a complete Sherlock Holmes anthology (his favorite) and I picked out The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (two of my favorite books). My mother-in-law is an avid reader, so this was a fitting gift for her.

So, don’t worry about finding the most perfect or the most expensive gift for your mother. Just focus on giving something you think your mother will most enjoy. And by thrifting, you’ll often find it’s cheaper than buying something at the mall and you can feel good about reusing and recycling items instead of letting them rot in a landfall.

I hope you enjoy Mother’s Day and are lucky enough to spend it with your mother.