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!

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.

The Cosplays of Comic Con 2017

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(My husband posing with these awesome Cosplayers)

Every year, San Diego’s Comic Con lures in all types of self-declared nerds and geeks to celebrate the art of comics and all things pop culture. With the love and appreciation for comics comes the creation of cosplaying.

You may ask, what is cosplaying? Cosplaying is when a person dresses up as their favorite character from a TV show, movie, comic, or video-game. But it’s not limited to just those things. As you’ll see from this year’s cosplayers, you can choose to be just about anything.

The real heart and soul of cosplaying comes from identifying one’s self with the character. And, like an adult version of Halloween, one can feel free to express this artistic aspect of themselves for a day. It’s a fun, creative form of self-expression that celebrates pop-culture and, more importantly, celebrates one’s self as well as the character they admire.

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(Me dressed up as Emily)

For Comic Con, my husband and I dressed as Emily and Corvo from the video-game Dishonored 2. Making these costumes together was a ton of fun (despite the few sewing mishaps we had) and it was a really great bonding experience for the two of us. Plus, it was really cool to be recognized at Comic Con by fans of the video-game. And it was absolutely an honor to have people ask to take our pictures. It was such a blast!

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(My husband dressed up as Corvo)

Here are a few awesome cosplayers we ran into. Look and see how amazing, fun, and various the cosplays were at this year’s Comic Con.

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(These cosplayers are dressed up as characters from the video-game Overwatch. The middleman is Cosplayer Mike Justice. Follow him on Instagram @mikejusticee or Twitter @mikeejustice)

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(another Overwatch Cosplay)

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(My husband posing with Pimp Darth Vader and Pimp Boba Fett)

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(A cool Deathstroke Cosplay)

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This beautiful Taco Belle Cosplay)

Review of San Diego Comic Con 2017 + 10 Tips for Attendees

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As you may know from my Instagram or Twitter, last month, my husband and I had the opportunity to travel to San Diego and attend Comic Con 2017. It was our first time attending this particular Comic Con, but I have been to other Comic Cons in Seattle and in London. So, there were some interesting differences (both good and bad) between this world-renown Comic Con and the other ones I’ve attended. I thought it would be beneficial to you to create some tips if you plan on attending next year’s SDCC that can help you navigate through the crowds and get the most out of your time there.

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(The crowds inside the Exhibit Hall)

First, let’s start with an overall review of SDCC 2017. I can say without a doubt that this Comic Con is without a doubt the most interesting one I’ve ever attended. There is so much to do and so much to see, that no matter where you go or what you do you will surely be entertained. But given its popularity, this is also the most hectic Comic Con I’ve ever attended. With over 130,000 people attending, you can bet that this place was consistently crowded, which can be overwhelming to people with anxiety or for any normal person for that matter. The only thing that I didn’t enjoy about San Diego’s Comic Con was their organization. In the past, I could easily find out which artists and guests were attending days/weeks before the event. However, at SDCC, they didn’t list artists/guests that were attending, which made it difficult to know who was even going to be there. For example, my favorite illustrator Dustin Nguyen was there and I had no idea he was going to be there. If I had known I would’ve brought the graphic novels he’s worked on and gotten his autograph. I feel like the only way I would’ve known he was going to be there was if I followed on him on social media (which I didn’t at the time). But, I’m sure the sheer amount of people, events, press, and exhibitors there, SDCC did have a lot to juggle in organizing this event. I just wished they would’ve given first-time attendees more info before entering the building so we could have an easier time planning our day there.

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(The Small Press Section in the Exhibit Hall)

Now, onto the specific tips to make the most of Comic Con. Here’s a list of Do’s and Don’t’s to help future Comic Con goers navigate through the crowds and really enjoy your time there despite the large crowds.

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(The Star Wars exhibit promoting the new movie and video game coming out this winter)

Tip 1: DO plan 1-2 items you want to do/attend/see for that day. Try to have one goal for each day your there, since this will help you arrange your schedule in what you need to do to achieve that. For example, if you want to sit on a panel, then make sure you give yourself plenty of time to wait for it (i.e. 2-3 hours for a popular TV show, or 1 hour for an educational/informative panel of the industry), and then plan your day around that huge block of time. That way, you known for those 3-4 hours you will be doing that one item and you can take it easy before and after the panel and still get to enjoy the rest of your day. A great way to manage your time is to try to get at least 2 days in. I know it’s hard to get badges for certain days, but try not to fit all of Comic Con into one day. It’s just simply not possible and you’ll feel very rushed and anxious trying to fit everything into one day.

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(This statue is made entirely out of Legos and was found at the Lego Booth in an awesome exhibit showcasing popular figures made out of Legos)

Tip 2: DON’T sit on a panel if you are not really that interested in it. Otherwise you will be wasting your time (about 3-4 hours of your day) just waiting, and later you will feel like it wasn’t worth it. And it won’t be worth it if you’re not really that invested or interested in it. Since panels procure long wait times, you better be prepared to wait a long time since there are so many people who are also waiting. Also, if you are not that interested in a certain panel, it’s best to avoid it and give your spot to someone else who really wants to be there. However, if you are interested in a certain panel but you can’t get in, just know they have replays of panels later in the afternoon in case you missed it.

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(This awesome Cosplayer decided to go for a pun and dressed up as Taco Belle*wink wink)

Tip 3:  DO take pictures with or of cosplayers. This is by far the coolest aspect of SDCC. So many people dress up in cosplay as their favorite game/movie/tv show/comic book character. And it’s so cool to recognize them and see the amazing costumes people come up with. Of course, make sure to ask to take their picture. Just because they are dressed up doesn’t mean you have the right to take the picture without their permission. Most of the time (almost always), cosplayers will say yes and allow you to take their picture. And since you’ve asked, they will be able to pose/model for you, which makes your picture even more awesome! (*Note: I will be posting an entire article dedicated to the cosplaying/cosplayers at this year’s Comic Con. Stay tuned for that.)

Tip 4: DON’T touch cosplayers or their outfits without their permission. I know it’s cool to see their costumes, especially the ones that require mechanical engineering, but remember to be polite and don’t touch them or their costume. They might be uncomfortable with that or their costume might be fragile and can’t be touched by people. Just a little reminder to pass on, especially a good remember for parents to pass down to their kids.

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(My husband and I dressed up as Corvo and Emily from the video game Dishonored 2)

Tip 5: DO feel free to dress up. Feel free to cosplay, whether it’s a costume you hand-made yourself or if it’s a costume you bought from a Halloween store. You get a free pass to dress up as basically anything you want to here. No judgement being passed here. So, find something you’ll be comfortable wearing and have fun.

Tip 6: DON’T bring little kids for a whole, full day. Comic Con is a long, all-day event, which is naturally very tiring and exhausting after a long day of walking around. So, keep that in mind if you plan on bringing children to this event. It might be too much or too long for some kids. But, SDCC has dedicated Sunday as Kid’s Day. It’s also a shorter day (from 9:30-5) and has more activities dedicated just to children. So, this might be the day you plan to be with your children all day.

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(Can’t meet a celebrity? Didn’t win the raffle to get a celebrity signature? Just pose with their wax figure! Here is Jason Momoa as Aquaman)

Tip 7: DO visit Artist’s Alley. This is another cool part of Comic Con is all the artists and illustrators there who are selling their artwork. It’s cool to just look around, and if you find something you like you can buy a print. Remember though, don’t touch the art unless the artist allows you to. Think of museum rules when walking through this area.

Tip 8: Speaking of kids, DO remember to be a little mom-like and pack snacks. This is a long day, and yes there is food available inside, but remember how many people attend this? Yeah, all those people get hungry around the same time as you do. So, there will be long lines for food. But if you bring snacks, it can help you while you wait to order your food, or to help stave off your hunger a little while until the lines calm down some.

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(Getting a feel for the Oculus Rift controllers at the Marvel Booth)

Tip 9: DO make time to just check out the exhibition hall and look around at everything there is to offer. The big companies like Marvel, Blizzard, Nintendo, etc. all offer interactive exhibits to do while you are there. Sure, there will be a wait, but they tend to be really fun and enjoyable (especially the video games). My husband and I got to try the Oculus Rift game made by Marvel. And it was completely awesome! We got to play for a whole 10 minutes, and we got the chance to try a virtual reality game that turned out to be really cool.

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(The Oculus Rift Marvel Game up on the screen. The four characters you got to play as were The Hulk, Rocket, Deadpool, and Captain Marvel)

Also, you can check out the small press section and see lesser known comics being released. My favorite thing to do was to look around and buy little souvenirs for my friends. They have really awesome fandom gear (T-shirts, art, gadgets) for sale which was a marvelous find.

Tip 10:  DO talk to people. While you are standing in line, get the chance to meet new people from all over the world (we met 2 nice girls from South Korea). And while you’re talking make sure to compare your Comic Con experiences, because it’s a really good possibility that you’ve missed something. We stood in line and met a nice guy named Sydney from the press (DCCOMICNEWS.COM) who shared with us his favorite things at Comic Con which is how we ended up at the Marvel booth playing the oculus rift game. So, it’s totally worth it to talk to people when you’re in line, because they might give you a good recommendation and they’ll help make the waiting time pass by faster.

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(Our Badges for the Day)

I hope these tips will help you in your future visit to Comic Con. I obviously created this tips with San Diego in mind but feel free to apply these tips to any Comic Con you may be attending. Out of the three Comic Con experiences I’ve had, I can say that these tips are pretty universal and transferable to any comic con no matter where it’s located.

Can Vegans Use Non-Vegan Makeup?

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With the prominence of beauty gurus emerging on social media platforms such as Instagram and YouTube, makeup is fashionably at the forefront of shopping habits for many boys and girls. You even have big celebrities creating their own makeup like Kylie Jenner’s cosmetic line, Kylie Cosmetics.  And with makeup gaining popularity, gaining commercial success, more companies are opting for cruelty-free options and vegan ingredients.

As a vegan, I love finding these new vegan products and companies. However, I still have some products from before my vegan transition. The dilemma is then, what do I do with these non-vegan makeup products? Do I throw them away? Do I give them away to someone else?

I don’t recommend throwing away unused or lightly-used non-vegan makeup because it is very wasteful and will contribute to the increasing trash in landfills. Plus, makeup is not cheap. You spent your hard-earned money on that. You wouldn’t throw a twenty-dollar bill in the trash, would you?

As for giving away your non-vegan makeup, I think this can be a good idea. You can be both conscientious about the environment while simultaneously being thoughtful to someone else. But keep in mind, used makeup can carry people’s hygiene since it is evasive and personal to the face. Most people don’t regularly sanitize their makeup. Meaning, you can potentially and accidentally pass along your cold, disease, bacteria, (you name it) etc. to someone else. So, if you do select this option then make sure you sanitize your makeup before gifting it as a courtesy to whoever receives it.

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If you feel like those two options don’t suit you, then you can do what I do – wear it! To be clear, I do not buy non-vegan makeup products anymore, but every now and then I am gifted these expensive makeup products. Naturally, I wish they had purchased a vegan product, but I am grateful and appreciative that they think of me. So, I do accept these makeup gifts. When appropriate, I subtly hint my favorite vegan makeup brands by saying something along the lines of, “Thank you for this beautiful lipstick, it reminds me of one of my favorite lipsticks from Benefit. That’s one of my all-time favorite makeup brands.” By saying something like that, I am showing my gratitude and appreciation while subtly informing them of future gift purchases they can make for me.

So, I tend to use all the non-vegan makeup I have until it is all used up. That way I’m not being wasteful and I don’t have to worry about accidentally giving someone an infection. This is what I prefer. But of course, you can do whatever fits you best. And the best part is when I’m all out I can replace it with a vegan product.

Some things I currently have that are non-vegan and animal tested consist of my foundation (a medical formula which is required by law to be tested) and a few lipsticks from various companies. Again, these were gifted to me which is why I have them to begin with, but once they are used up I’ll replace them with a vegan product.

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Here, I’m wearing a Dior Addict lipstick in a beautiful dark pink shade (shade 976). It’s one of my favorite picks for Summer with the current Pink Trend happening at the moment. Click here to read more about that fashion trend.

Listed below you’ll find the name of companies that are cruelty-free and 100% vegan to help you decide your future makeup purchases, courtesy of crueltyfreekitty.com. This list has helped me immensely, especially at places like Ulta or Sephora where there is an overwhelming amount of makeup in stock. And I hope this list helps you take on step closer to becoming more aware about what goes into makeup and empowers you to use your dollars to demand change in the beauty industry, because no animal should have to suffer for our beauty.

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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.

Think Pink for Summer

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This Spring, pink is the prominent color of fashion. But not just any pink – a light, airy, blush of pink is this year’s favored color. And as spring turns into summer, I predict pink will not be going anywhere. In fact, I think the fashion palette that you’ll see everywhere in stores is going to resemble very closely to a summer sunset with various shades of that blush pink with hints of gold and orange.

The thing about fashion though, is that these trends are swiftly changing. And with fast fashion chucking clothes out at an unprecedented rate, sometimes I hesitate to be swept up by these trends because I don’t want to buy something that I won’t wear frequently and, ultimately, I don’t want to contribute to the poor labor laws that enables fast fashion and the textile waste that impacts the environment very drastically. If you are interested in learning more about the impact of fast fashion, I highly recommend watching the documentary The True Cost which is available to watch on Netflix. Or if you don’t have a Netflix account, click here to watch Real Stories’ undercover investigative documentary which exposes the horrible conditions workers endure at fast fashion sweatshops.

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If you want to be a conscientious fashionista, then I recommend buying used clothing. Not only does this help environmentally with recycling already made fabrics, it can also help people in your community through your purchases if you buy from organizations like Goodwill.  Or if you prefer a vintage style, you can also buy at thrift stores or boutiques which will help local, small businesses thrive in your community. Wherever you choose to buy your used clothing, you can easily recreate today’s fashion trends with clothing that is already made. And this pink trend is one that you and I can easily jump on board since it is just a simple color palette instead of some crazy pattern or some design that is risky or uncomfortable.

The gold and pink combination is my favorite at the moment since it brings out the femininity of spring and summer as well as making anyone instantly look elegant and well-dressed. This light-pink blouse is one that I already owned for four years. And just because it’s old doesn’t mean it’s lost its quality or appeal. I love the color block design this shirt has with pink as the prominent color with a pop of sandy-brown and burnt-orange that compliments the flaps and sleeves.

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Here, you can see I paired the blouse with this amazing gold skirt I found at my local Goodwill for only $3. What a steal! This beautiful skirt has a subtle floral pattern which is also trending right now. And even though it is used, the stitching on this skirt truly showcases its great quality, which makes me happy knowing this skirt will last me years to come.

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And to finish the look, I paired the outfit with some simple wedges that I’d already owned for five years. These shoes were not cheap, however, they are super comfortable and durable as they have lasted me this long and are still in good condition.

To me fashion is all about creativity and reinventing yourself by simply dressing yourself in something new. And I love how in doing that fashion makes me feel confident and beautiful, but I believe it’s important to be aware of the impact fast fashion has on the world, impacting the environment as well as worker’s lives. By buying used clothing, you can afford to try more trends and be creatively expressive through your fashion while also being a mindful fashionista. And that’s something that will always be trendy for years to come.