College Dorm Haul

???????????????????????????????As August begins, it is time for me to prepare for the next chapter of my life: College! Soon, I will be moving into my dorm and beginning my classes alongside thousands of new people in a brand new setting. The thought of this is both exhilarating and frightening. Though this will be my fourth year living in a dorm, I am still nervous about living in an entirely new environment!

Today, I did some shopping for my dorm room, so I thought I would share what I got. Hopefully this haul will help anyone else who is moving into an apartment or dorm soon!

Desk Lamp

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Most dorm rooms do not provide adequate lighting, so a desk lamp or floor lamp is a must for college students. They are especially useful for late night study sessions while your roommate is sleeping! Mine also includes an organizer that will hold bits like paperclips and electronics, which is quite handy.

Shower Caddy

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These are especially useful if your dorm have a community bathroom.  Mine separates into two. I plan on using the smaller clear caddy to store the items I would use in the morning (toothbrush, toothpaste, contacts, etc.) so I can grab what I need quickly and get ready faster.

Laundry Bag

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If you are attending college far from home, you may have to *gulp* do your own laundry! A laundry bag will help you keep all of your dirty clothes contained between washes so they will not litter your floor and annoy your roommate!

Sheets

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You will need to bring your own linen, blankets, and pillows to college. Don’t forget! I also recommend bringing a mattress pad, as some schools have rather old and uncomfortable mattresses. My college has twin extra long mattresses, so be sure to check what size sheets you need!

Towels

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This is an important item you don’t want to forget! Since towels take up a lot of space in a washing machine, you will not always be able to fit your towel into your laundry load. I recommend buying two so you have an extra  clean and dry one for those weeks when you cannot get around to washing your towel.

Suitcase

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If you are attending college far from home like I am, you will need a suitcase for traveling for breaks and holidays. I recommend a medium sized one so it is not too heavy to lift into an overhead bin, but spacious enough to hold everything you need for a holiday at home.

Fold Up Chair

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This isn’t an absolute necessity, but I have been wanting one of these in my dorm room for a long time. These chairs are super comfy and soft. Most dorm chairs are made of uncomfortable wood or plastic, so a plush one like this will instantly make your room a bit more homey.  I like that it folds up so you can conserve space if you have a tiny dorm room.

That’s all! If you are moving into a dorm soon, too, I hope this haul gave you some insight! College is getting more real for me day by day! It’s hard to believe I will be all moved in in less than a month. I’m hoping it’s true that life begins at the end of your comfort zone! 🙂

Best,

Leila

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July Favorites

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As July comes to a close, it is time for me to share the things I have been enjoying most. It as been a long month, but it is still hard to believe that August is already here! This will be an exciting month for me as I am preparing to move into college.

Highlights

July was rather uneventful, but I did get the chance to attend Vans Warped Tour! I had an amazing time. All of the bands we listened to were great. And did I mention that I met Ariel from Icon for Hire? *mini heart attack*

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And of course, this has been my first month vegan. My decision to go vegan and live a cruelty-free lifestyle is by far the event I am most proud of this month.

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Beauty

I haven’t worn much makeup during the month of July. But when I did, two products I consistently reached for were the Wet n Wild “Walking on Eggshells” palette and the Stila Stay All Day Liquid Eyeliner.  The quality of the eyeshadow is amazing for its low price, and the eyeliner is completely budge proof.

This month, I began using the Not Your Mother’s beach spray and hair cream.  I had been meaning to give these products a try for over a year, but never got around to it. I am so happy I finally picked them up! They give my hair amazing volume and texture, and smell great too.

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Fashion

This month, I picked up a new pair of Bobs (knockoff Toms from Sketchers) and have been extremely pleased with them.  This pair has a sturdy sole and a memory foam cushion. They’re super comfortable and easy to slip on. Plus, for each pair purchased they donate a pair to a child in need.  I know these shoes will be a favorite of mine for the months to come!

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Music

This month, I discovered an amazing indie band I somehow had never heard before. They are a band of two called Dresses. I have been enjoying their album Sun Shy, which came out in 2013. I find this album very relaxing and I love the beautiful harmonies and whimsical lyrics. If you have never heard their music before, I recommend the song Sun Shy, as well as the entire album!

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Food

Since this is my first month vegan, I have been trying lots of new foods!  One of my favorites is Edamame. These soybeans come frozen in a bag at the supermarket, though I store mine in the fridge. I just boil them for 3 minutes and snack on them while they’re still warm. They can be topped with salt or spices, but I prefer them plain. I have also been enjoying green apples with peanut butter. I was always skeptical of putting peanut butter on apples, but after I tried it, I understood!  The tart apple pairs perfectly with the sweet and salty peanut butter.

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Books/Movies

I have been trying to learn as much as I can about veganism and the animal industry this month. A notable documentary I watched was Vegucated. It follows three ordinary people taking on the challenge of going vegan for six weeks. It gives a comprehensive view of what veganism is and motivation for going vegan, but is more entertaining than most documentaries on the topic. It is overall very funny and engaging and I recommend it to anyone curious about veganism. It is available on Netflix.

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That’s all of my favorites this  month! Hope you all had a great July. I would love to know your favorites too! Feel free to let me know what you have been enjoying this month. Happy August!

Best,

Leila

Quick and Easy Heatless Waves

???????????????????????????????When it comes to styling my hair, I am constantly searching for an easy way out. These heatless waves have become a favorite of mine, so in this post, I will show you how I achieve them.

1. I begin by showering and washing my hair the night before I plan on wearing the waves.

2.  I rub a pea sized amount of Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Hair Cream between my fingers and run them through my damp hair until it has been evenly distributed throughout.

3. I then braid my hair in two french braids.

4. Sleep……

5. In the morning, I unbraid my hair and either comb through it with my fingers or with a wide toothed comb.

6. I mist my hair with a generous amount of the Not Your Mother’s Sea Salt Spray and scrunch the waves to give them texture and volume.

Done! Cue the awkward hair modeling… 😛 🙂

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That’s it!

Best,

Leila

Soft Smokey Eye

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Though I usually gravitate towards neutral eye makeup, I have been dabbling with darker, smokier eye looks lately. In this post, I will show you how I achieve a soft smokey eye using the Stila “In The Light” Palette.

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1. Tape. Stick a piece of tape to the back of your hand a few times to remove a bit of its stickiness. Then align the tape with the corner of your eye and the tip of your brow.

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2. Prime the lid. For a lighter, softer look, apply a champagne cream shadow all over the lid and browbone. If you want a dark, dramatic look, prime the lid using a black shadow stick.

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3. Apply a shimmery gray to the lid. Do not let this enter the crease or inner corner. Pressing the shadow onto the lid will give added pigmentation.

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4. Blend a transition shade into the crease. I will be using a light, matte brown. A facial powder will work as well. Use a fluffy crease brush.

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5. Begin working a matte black shadow into the outer corner and crease. Be patient with this part,as it takes a lot of blending. Pick up a little bit of pigment on the brush at a time and gradually build up the color. Use a denser crease brush so you have more precision.

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6. Blend. Take a bit of the transition shade on your fluffy blending brush and work this into the crease, blending upwards. We want a gradient effect where the crease is the darkest, and the color fades above the crease. When you think you are done blending, blend some more!

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7. Intensify. Repeat steps 5 and 6 until you are satisfied with the smokiness of the crease. To restore lost intensity to the lid, reapply the gray shimmer.

8. Lower lashline. Using a smudging brush, run the black along the lower lashline as close to the base of the lashes as possible. Blend this out with side-to-side motions to achieve a smokey effect. Take a bit of the transition shade on your brush and continue blending.

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9. Apply liquid winged liner. The tape makes it easy to achieve a perfectly sharp and angled wing. (Although I don’t suggest you use this method on a regular basis, as removing the tape stretches the skin.) Also tightline and line the waterline with a black pencil liner. Finish with a few coats of mascara or falsies if you so desire.

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10. Remove the tape and use a makeup wipe to clean up fallout.

11. Apply a shimmery white to the tear duct, inner corner, and browbone. Typically, applying a shimmer to the browbone scares me, but I find it looks nice paired with the dark smokey eye.

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12. Fill in and set your brows. Defined brows are important when going for a bold eye, as the dark shadows tend to wash them out.

13. Pair with a red lip for a pop of color!

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The completed look:

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Leila

 

Wet n Wild “Walking on Eggshells” Palette Review

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Today, I will be reviewing this little drugstore superstar I purchased a few weeks ago. Wet n Wild is known for their MAC and Urban Decay dupe eyeshadows, high pigmentation, and low price.  They are among the cheapest brands in the drugstore! So in this post, I will be reviewing the Wet n Wild “Walking on Eggshells” palette to see if it really lives up to its reputation.

Here are the swatches:

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From left to right: lid, crease, browbone

I am impressed most by these shadows’ pigmentation. Even without primer, they stand out boldly on the lid. Many neutral drugstore lid shades, especially those from Covergirl and Maybelline, barely show up on my skin. I would argue that the shadows from this palette have pigmentation that rivals Urban Decay.

Below, I swatched Urban Decay’s Sin on the right and Wet n Wild’s lid shade on the left.  They are almost impossible to tell apart, even when looking at the swatches up close!

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The colors are also very smooth and blendable. They have a nice creamy texture and are not at all chalky. Just a little shadow is needed to achieve a bold effect. I don’t notice any fallout after blending them, which my Urban Decay and Too Faced shadows are prone to. It annoys me a bit that the crease shade is shimmery, as I prefer matte browns, but the shimmer is not noticeable after the crease has been blended out.

To test out the wear of the shadows, I applied the lid, crease, and browbone shades with no primer.

This is what the eyeshadow looked like shortly after application :

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This is what it looked like after 5 hours:

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As you can see, there was some creasing and fading, so I would recommend using a good primer with these shadows.

So overall, I recommend that you give this palette a try. It costs only $2.99, after all!  The quality of these shadows is amazing for the price! If neutral shadows aren’t for you, Wet n Wild also carries many different colored palettes. I am sure they will have one you like. Affordable, high quality, and cruelty-free makeup? What are you waiting for? 🙂

Best,

Leila

My Vegan Diary: Week 1

016One week ago, I was pacing around my room at 12:30 at night, nervous about telling my family about my decision to go vegan. Fearing their reaction to my lifestyle change, I typed a note that I planned on leaving for them to read in the morning, but I was getting cold feet. Finally, I built up the strength to leave the note on the kitchen table and return to bed, where I tossed and turned all night.

Now, one week later, I feel powerful strength and confidence in my decision to go vegan and live a cruelty free lifestyle. I experience no cravings or feelings of loss, only regret for hiding from the truth and not making this decision sooner.

Welcome to my Vegan Diary! Every Friday of my first year of being vegan, I will reflect upon my week, complete with its victories, struggles, emotions, and experiences. Unlike my usual posts, my Vegan Diary will be full of my personal ideas, which I do not expect everyone to agree with. That’s OK. But I hope this diary will serve as a resource for those considering becoming vegan or are already vegan.

So let’s start by addressing the obvious question: Why did I choose to go vegan?

The ideals of veganism were first introduced to me by Alissa White-Gluz six months ago, when I began listening to her music from The Agonist. (If you have been following my blog for awhile, you may be aware of my obsession with her current band Arch Enemy.) She is an amazing role model to me. I admire her how she puts 100% into everything she does. In addition to being a talented artist, she is dedicated to animal rights activism and has been vegan for 16 years.

I know metal isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, so I won’t force you to listen to her music. But check out this video she did with Peta2 about why she is vegan.

Even though I had been hearing about the ugliness of the animal industry for months, I chose to put off being vegan with a bunch of lame excuses. About a week and a half ago, through a dream, it finally hit me that animals are not ours to eat or use in any way. They have lives and futures worth living for too, just like humans. I feel that people do not have the right exploit their bodies as a food source. These animal products that line the supermarket walls and fill our refrigerators are stolen life.

Over the past week, I have been educating myself as much as I can about where our food comes from, what animals used for food experience, and the health and environmental consequences of the animal industry. Now, I just want everyone to know the truth about what they’re eating. Milk, hamburgers, and eggs weren’t born at the supermarket. They have a story behind them, and it’s a sad one. This is an issue that affects everyone. Eating is the single most important thing you do. It gives you nourishment. It keeps you alive. Why should you thrive off of another’s suffering?

So naturally, the first people I wanted to share the truth with was my family. But unfortunately, though they have been supportive of my lifestyle change, they did not want it to rub off on them. When I asked my mother if she wanted to know where her beef came from, she told me not to bother her with my vegan stuff. My sister responded similarly when I offered to let her know how milk is obtained, telling me to keep my personal beliefs to myself. The tortuous lives of animals used for food aren’t my beliefs! They aren’t my opinion, they aren’t fiction. They’re real life, and people must stop hiding from the truth! The hope that this food comes from cows, pigs, and chickens frolicking on a happy farm is a lie. People must wake up and realize what they are supporting. Because every time you purchase something, you are voicing your approval of the product, how it was created, and encouraging the company to continue producing it. I want everyone to know exactly what they are supporting. Because if everyone did, I believe that they would be vegan too.

Whew. So that’s what’s been on my mind this week. But I’m finally coming to terms with the suffering and damage I am responsible for during my lifetime, forgiving myself, and moving on to a new life. Now that I am vegan, I feel much happier and healthier. Every cell in your body is composed of the food you eat. If you eat flesh tainted with pain, suffering, and sadness, that’s what you will be. So eat the happy stuff!  🙂 🙂 🙂

Think vegan food isn’t tasty or satisfying? Once you learn about the horrors of the animal industry, food that is free of animal products will taste amazing. Check out this tofu and vegetable stir fry I made! Yummy! 🙂 🙂

012And you should know, Oreos are vegan! (Oreos+coconut milk=pure vegan bliss!) 011My thoughts and mood have been lifted after living on a plant based diet for a week. I truly feel renewed. I cannot wait to see what benefits await me in the coming weeks. 🙂

Best,

Leila

Resources:

Want to make the change? Going vegan has never been easier than it is today.

Check out vegan blogs! There are some really cool ones right here on WordPress. I recommend “My Vegan Valentine,” http://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/71184832/

Get a FREE vegan starter kit! http://www.peta.org/living/food/free-vegan-starter-kit/

Cruelty Free Product Haul

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Over the past couple of weeks, I picked up a few new items to replace those in my shower and haircare routine that are tested on animals. All of these products are cruelty free and contain no animal byproducts. I have been enjoying using them so far, so I will be sharing my thoughts about them in this post.

Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Texturizing Sea Salt Spray and Hair Cream

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I recently cut ten inches off my hair and donated it. I never bothered to style my hair when it was long, as waist-length hair makes enough of a statement on its own. So in order to give my short hair a bit more life, I purchased these texturizing products. As I have naturally wavy hair, I was hoping they would enhance its natural appearance. I love these two together! The hair cream smells wonderful–like coconuts by the seashore 🙂 ! But be careful with it! The first time I used it, I applied way too much, giving my hair that crunchy texture :P. I now rub a pea-sized amount on my fingers and run them through my hair, scrunching it to enhance its natural wave and give it volume. Afterwards, I spritz a generous amount of the sea salt spray through it. I purchased both of them from Ulta. My friend who has straight hair also enjoys the sea salt spray, so I encourage people of all hair types to give them a try!

Trader Joe’s Nourish Spa Conditioner and Shampoo

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I needed new shampoo and conditioner  to replace my Pantene ones, so I decided to give these a try!  I like that these products are natural and do not contain any sulfates. Both also have a clean and refreshing scent. The conditioner is rich and creamy and contains Argan oil, which nourishes dry hair. I massage it through my hair, focusing on the ends and avoiding the scalp, and rinse it off a few minutes later.

Trader Joe’s Refresh Citrus Body Wash

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This is a very nice and gentle body wash. Its citrus scent is supposed to be aroma therapeutic. I am not sure whether it has an affect on my mood, but I guess I will find out when I start college and the stress begins, haha!  I do love the scent though–very fresh and lemony!

Trader Joe’s A Midsummer Night’s Cream

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This cream is quite rich, thick, and smooth. It is very moisturizing without being greasy. My skin does not become dry throughout the day, and it absorbs this lotion quickly. It is enriched with aloe, so it is soothing as well. Some lotions, such as Vaseline, burn when I apply them to the sensitive skin on my face, but this one does not. So if you have skin that is easily irritated, I recommend this cream.

Trader Joe’s Spa Face Wash with Tea Tree Oil

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This face wash is like nothing I’d ever used before. It is a very thin liquid and does not lather. It is difficult to see when you pump it in your hand, so be careful not to use too much! The first thing I noticed about it was its scent. The tea tree oil smells very strongly, but is not unpleasant.  It feels very clean and refreshing on the skin without drying it. Tea tree oil is an excellent natural treatment for acne. I have not gotten any breakouts since I began using this face wash, though I am sure eating vegan is largely responsible for this. If you have acne prone skin like I do, I recommend that you give this face wash (or another that contains Tea tree oil) a try.

That’s all for this haul! (haha that rhymed :P) I encourage you to give these products or other natural products a try! It is fun to switch up your shower routine and try new things. It is also great to know that you are not rubbing any mysterious chemicals on your body and hair. And of course, you can shower in peace knowing that no animals were harmed in the making of your soaps and lotions! 🙂

Best,

Leila