Jaunary Fashion and Beauty Haul

IMG_20150131_201210161I did some shopping this month and picked up some cute fashion and beauty items. I am excited to share them with you, so let’s get into the haul!

Fashion

Black Dress

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I found this cute black dress at PacSun. I love the flowy, off the shoulder sleeves. The dress is quite loose, but still flattering. The buttons and the thin crochet insets give it an element of dimension. I love the way this dress looks with black tights and black boots.

Black Long Sleeved Tee

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PacSun was having a buy one get one free sale, so I got this for free along with the dress. I probably would not have purchased this otherwise, but after trying it on at home I was very glad I did. I love the way the loose fit and tighter sleeves complement each other. I adore the elegance of the neckline as well.

Beauty

Burt’s Bees Natural Acne Solutions

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Finding cruelty-free and vegan acne fighting products can be difficult, but I really like this product. It contains salicylic acid and willow bark to help speed the healing of acne, yet is also natural and gentle, making it suitable for sensitive skin. I have been using it for a week and it has been helping heal the acne I already had and has prevented new break outs. Hopefully it helps me get my skin under control!

C.O. Bigelow Rose Salve

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This was a repurchase. This salve is has been a staple for me and I have used it nearly every single day since I last purchased it. The first tin lasted about a year. The skin on my lips can become a bit dry during the wintertime, so I like applying this at night. When I wake up, my skin is soft and smooth.

Kat Von D Tattoo Liner

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I have heard amazing things about this liner, which is cruelty-free as far as I can tell. (Kat Von D herself is vegan!) Hopefully, this product lives up to my expectations.

NARS Lip Pencils

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I got these lip pencils as a birthday gift from Sephora. It was a pleasant surprise, as my birthday was over a month ago. I was worried the gift would be a from a company that tests on animals, but I was happy to find it was cruelty-free. The colors are Rikugien and Cruella. I love how creamy and smooth these lip pencils are, though they are not long wearing. I have been wanting to try a matte red and mauve pink for a long time, so this sample was perfect.

That’s everything I picked up this month! I hope you enjoyed this haul. If you have done some shopping recently, feel free to share your finds with me. I would love to know what you have been enjoying! πŸ™‚

Best,

Leila

The Connection between Animal Rights and Women’s Rights

Years before I became a vegan, I considered myself a feminist. I abhorred that my gender would affect people’s perception of my abilities. I even pulled the classic “but human rights” excuse prior to going vegan. I thought, “Why worry about animal rights when women are still viewed as unequal to men?”

But after learning about the animal industry, I quickly realized that I could not have been further from the truth. Animal rights is very much a feminist issue. This is why:

Farmed Animals Lack Autonomy over their Reproductive Systems.

In the animal industry, farmed animals do not have the right to reproduce naturally. They are regularly artificially inseminated, genetically manipulated to produce more babies than they would naturally, and some are even kept pregnant for nearly their entire lives.

artificial inseminationArtificial insemination is alike to sexual assault in every way. In the dairy industry, when it is time to artificially inseminate the cow, she is first restrained in what is commonly called the “rape rack.” Then, both her anus and vagina are forcibly penetrated and she is injected with bull semen (which was also obtained with no consent). Worse, she must endure this highly terrifying and invasive assault every single year until her body becomes exhausted from being treated like a baby and milk machine.

The pain and fear the dairy cows feel prior to being violated in this forceful manner is incomprehensible. But I imagine that the most painful part is when her newborn calf, the only ray of sunshine in her dark and terrifying life, is torn away from her and locked in a crate to die.

veal calf

When you pay for dairy, you are paying for more than just a drink to wash down your cookies. You are paying for someone to repeatedly sexually assault a someone, steal her babies, and kill her when she is the equivalent of a teenager.

Farmed Animals are Objectified

animals are not objects

All farmed animals, male and female, are viewed as mere objects to be bought, sold, used, and killed as humans please. But in the conversation of women’s rights, let us turn our attention to the egg industry, where sentient hens are viewed as nothing more than disposable egg laying machines.

Sexual discrimination in the egg industry begins shortly after the chicks emerge from their eggs. The males, useless to the egg industry, are dropped into a grinder alive or are suffocated.

But they may very well be the lucky ones. The female chicks have their highly sensitive beaks cut by a searing hot blade to prevent them from hurting one another in the highly stressful conditions to come. This process is so painful that some birds die on the spot from the shock. Others may die of infection or starvation due to the pain preventing them from eating.

On factory farms, the hens are kept in tiny battery cages, where they cannot even lift one wing. So called “free range” hens do not have it much better. They are packed into large, dark warehouses, constantly standing on their own feces with little space to move.

The egg industry has turned these sentient beings into egg laying machines. All hens, from backyard to factory farmed, have been bred to lay 300 or more eggs per year, when they naturally would lay only 10-12. This is extremely taxing on their bodies, and many die of complications due to this gross manipulation of their reproductive systems.

And when their egg production declines, laying hens are sent to slaughter and are quickly replaced with younger hens so the cruel process can continue.

Farmed Animals Cannot Give Consent

number of acceptable reasons

When did the cow tell you you could take her milk? When did she say it was OK to rape her and steal her baby? When did the hen give you permission to manipulate her reproductive system and turn her into an egg laying machine? When did animals ever tell you that their bodies were yours to use, that their flesh and secretions were for the taking?

The answer is a resounding NEVER! Never would anyone want lose control of their own body. Never would anyone want their reproductive system to be used for someone else’s pleasure and profit. Never would anyone want to be viewed as merely a nameless machine.

Just because animals cannot speak or defend themselves, does not give us the right to invade their bodies without consent. It is time for us to give animals their bodies back.

imagine

As you can see, animal rights and women’s rights are strongly interconnected. As I painfully learned, all feminists should be vegan, or else they do not stand by the rights of all females. Animals may not be human, but they are persons. Persons who deserve to be respected, to have control over their own bodies and reproductive systems.

As a woman, it is deeply saddening to see other females being abused in this way, just because they were born a cow or a hen instead of a human. It is time for equality take on its true meaning. Equality is not conditional, not divisive, not exclusive. Equality means Equ-ALL-ity, with no one left out. It means that no matter how different someone is from you, their feelings never stop mattering. Because in terms of our abilities to feel pain and fear, we are all the same. We are all equals.

Best,

Leila

My Vegan Story

my vegan story

I am vegan. In other words, I do not eat animal products, including meat, dairy, eggs, and honey, wear animal fibers and skins, use products tested on animals, or visit places that use animals for entertainment.

But it was not always that way. Six months ago, I made the commitment to live vegan. In this post, I will share the story of how and why I went vegan. It is a very personal story and was difficult to write, but I hope that if you are interested in going vegan, this helps you put your heart and mind in the right place.

I will begin my vegan story in November of 2013, before the idea of going vegan had even entered my mind. My parents were divorced and my sister and I were caught in the middle of a custody battle. I hated that, just because I was a minor, I had no say in what was happening to me. The judges, lawyers, and psychologists who did not know me at all had more power over my life than I did. And no matter what I said or did, I was always told the same thing: I had no choice.

Through these hard times, I turned to music. In February 2014, I started listening to The Agonist, a metal band fronted by Alissa White-Gluz. I loved listening to bands with a strong female vocalist because it made me feel empowered, like for a second my life was in my own hands again.

the second

In addition to being a vocalist, Alissa White-Gluz is a passionate vegan and animal rights activist. Her passion soon began to rub off on me. I looked up to her and decided I wanted to be vegan too someday.

During the spring and summer of 2014, I began to realize that eating animals was wrong. I would feel so guilty every time I ate or prepared meat. But I was afraid to talk to my family about going vegetarian or vegan. I figured I would wait until I went to college that fall to make the change.

But my guilt continued to grow. I began to feel nauseous every time I ate meat and tried to stop. I would cook dinner for my family, eat the side dishes, and then put the meat away once my family had left.

All the while, I was in a constant mental battle with myself, fighting against what I knew was right. What if the animals died painlessly? What if I only ate meat that was hunted, so they weren’t being killed in a slaughterhouse? But deep down, I began to realize that none of the excuses I came up with could justify killing animals.

Then, I had a dream that changed everything. In my dream, I was in a forest with sunlight shining through the green leaves. I saw a deer in the trees. The deer was so detailed, that I could see the sunlight shining through her ears and the delicate veins running through them. She was not just an animal. She was someone.

But behind her, I saw a hunter.

in that moment

In that moment, animal rights became real to me. I realized that animals have their own lives, families, futures, hopes, and dreams and do not want to die. They deserve to live out their lives free from harm, just like people do. They are not objects here for us to use. They exist for their own purposes. I realized that I should not gain my nourishment from someone else’s pain and suffering if I do not have to.

I still felt shy about talking to my family, so on July 17, 2014, I wrote my family a note about my decision to stop eating meat. They were very supportive and understanding of my lifestyle change. My mom even bought tofu and tempeh for me.

But after doing research on the dairy and egg industry, it quickly became obvious that a vegetarian lifestyle was far from cruelty-free. So I decided to go vegan. July 18, 2014, 6 months ago from today, was my first day vegan.

Since then, animal rights has become my passion. I know with all my heart that animals deserve to live free from harm, usage, and exploitation, and I will never give up until they are free.

angora hurts rabbitsAfter I started college, my painful custody battle finally came to an end. I now use my experiences to strengthen my empathy for animals. Their suffering is a thousand times worse than mine, with no freedom in sight. And until the world hears their voice, I will speak for them:

Please, go vegan. I know that you care about animals, and that you could never hurt one with your own hands. I know that it is difficult to unlearn the idea that animals are here for humans to use. I know that making such a big lifestyle change is scary. But it is beyond worth it.

Living vegan means that the hundreds of animals you use and consume each year do not have to suffer any longer.

It means that mother cows get to feed and nurture their calves instead of being separated at birth.

cows reality vs hope

It means that male chicks get a chance at life instead of being ground up alive by the egg industry.

chicks reality vs hope

It means that pigs get the opportunity to show their intelligence and personality instead of becoming a meal.

pigs reality vs hope

To you, choosing between soy milk and dairy milk, a veggie burger and a meat burger, does not seem like a big deal. But to them, it means life or death.

It does not take a special person to be vegan. You don’t have to be an animal lover or health fanatic. I was just an ordinary person who decided to care. And I know you can do it too. All it takes is an open mind and a compassionate heart.

Best,

Leila

January Outfits of the Week

january ootw

There’s no better way to kick off wool-free winter than with a week full of fun outfits! In this post, I will share the outfits I wore each day of the week, Monday through Friday. (No, I won’t be showing you the super fashionable sweat pants and tee shirts I wear over the weekend!) Of course, all of the outfits are vegan because animals are meant to be loved, not worn! So here are my outfits of the week:

Monday

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On Monday, I wore a black long sleeved tee shirt underneath this adorable jacket. I love how it is has the comfort of a sweat shirt with the put-together look of a denim jacket. I paired the jacket with a pair of distressed black jeans. I am also wearing a pair of crew socks with my trusty black combat boots (which will be glued to my feet all winter).

Tuesday

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On Tuesday, I wore my adorable elephant tee shirt with a long gray cardigan. For bottoms, I wore a pair of dark washed jeggings, a pair of crew socks, and my favorite shoes πŸ˜‰ .

Wednesday

IMG_20150114_173536714On Wednesday, I wore this adorable 3/4 length tee decorated with unicorns, bunnies, kittens, and puppies having a tea party under a tree. What could be better than that? Hopefully, the adorable shirt distracts from the fact that I wore the same cardigan two days in a row :P.Β  I tucked the tee into these dark indigo high rise jeggings, which match nicely with the design on the tee. And of course, I had to wear socks and boots again!

Thursday

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Thursday’s outfit was a bit more casual. I paired a cream colored shoulder-studded sweater with simple black leggings. I wore brown and white mottled socks today with my boots (of course).

Friday

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For my final outfit of the week, I wore a gray cable knit sweater paired with a turquoise and blue infinity scarf. I paired this with dark wash jeggings, pale blue crew socks, and boots.

Those are the outfits I wore this week! I hope this gave you some cruelty-free winter fashion inspiration. I would love to know which outfit was your favorite. Have a relaxing weekend!Β πŸ™‚

Best,

Leila

Answering Your Questions!

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About a month ago, I asked for your questions. In this post, I will be responding to them!

What template do you use and are you a premium member?

The template I use is the Fictive theme. I am not a premium member, as I feel satisfied with my blog as it is now. If I ever felt that I needed to upgrade to premium in the future, I might, but I don’t think a premium membership is necessary for me. My main focus is the content on my blog as opposed to the appearance.

How do you use images legally with copyright?

When I use images, I first check to make sure that they do not say on the site that you are not allowed to use or republish them. If a copyright symbol or source is present on the image itself, I make sure to display it and not crop it out so credit is given. You can also provide a link to the source of the image in the caption.

What vegan food does Macantosh eat?

For those of you who don’t know, Macantosh is my pet red footed tortoise. I want to start by saying that neither Macantosh nor our dog Dahlia is completely vegan. Unlike humans, not all animals are meant to be herbivores. I feel that if I am going to be keeping an animal as a pet, it is my responsibility to give them the best life I can. Right now, I am not completely sure that feeding Macantosh a 100% vegan diet would be best for his health, as all of the tortoise foods I have found contain animal ingredients. There are many vegan dog and cat foods on the market, but no vegan tortoise food yet 😦 . However, he does eat a primarily vegan diet. Some of his favorite foods are watermelon, strawberries, papaya, grapes, dandelion greens, wheat grass, and clovers in the backyard during the summertime. He loves any food that is red or bright pink. (It’s dangerous to be around him with red toe nails!)

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I know that Leila means night in Arabic. What does Lina mean?

I never looked into the meaning of my name, so thank you for sharing! I looked up the meaning of Lina, and in Arabic, it means small palm tree. However, I do know my Chinese name (which is not my official name) means beautiful flower.

What’s your fave foundation and tool/way to apply foundation?

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My favorite foundation tool is my makeup sponge from Up and Up, which I purchased at Target. I have always wanted to try the Beauty Blender, but $20 for a sponge seems ridiculous to me, considering that I rarely wear foundation. I find that this sponge does an amazing job of blending out my foundation and making it look natural. Moistening it with warm water beforehand also improves its blending ability.

That is all of the questions I received. I hope I answered your questions sufficiently. πŸ™‚

Best,

Leila

Darken Your Hair Naturally

darken your hair naturally

Last weekend, I purchased a box of black tea. To my disappointment, it stained the inside of my nice blue mug! 😦 However, that gave me an idea: what if I used tea to darken my hair? So I decided to give it a try!

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You Will Need:

  • 3 bags of black tea
  • Large bowl
  • 2-3 cups of hot water
  • Hair tie
  • Wide-toothed comb
  • Optional: Shower cap

Instructions:

1. Begin by steeping 3 bags of black tea in 2-3 cups of water in a large bowl. Make sure the tea is very strong in order to give more dramatic results.

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I allowed the tea bags to steep for about 5 minutes to reach my desired strength

2. Soak your hair in the tea for about 5 minutes. Then, pour the remainder over your hair and comb through it with the wide toothed comb to evenly distribute the tea from root to tip.

3. Tie your hair into a bun and allow the tea to sit for about an hour. The longer you leave the tea on your hair, the better results you will achieve. If you wish, wear a shower cap over the bun.

4. Afterwards, rinse out your hair and allow it to dry.

My Results

Here are my before and after pictures!

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Before

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After

Β  As you can see, I have naturally dark hair, so the results are not very dramatic on me.Β  If you have lighter hair, you may be able to notice a more significant change. Since tea is natural and gentle, you do not have to worry about damaging your hair. Therefore, if you would like to achieve more dramatic results, you can repeat this process as many times as you would like!Β  And plus, this method of dying your hair is not permanent, so if you do not like it, rest assured it will wash out soon.

I personally like the results, though I wish the color was more dramatic. If you are looking for a subtle, commitment-free change to your hair, this is definitely worth a try!

Best,

Leila

My December Favorites

my december favorites

December has treated me well! I successfully completed my first semester of college! πŸ˜€ I have also been enjoying spending time at home celebrating the holidays with my family. I appreciate the much needed break from cafeteria food! I have quite a few favorites I can’t wait to share with you, so let’s get into them!

Highlights

My main highlight was my eighteenth birthday on the 16th. Because I skipped a grade, I am always a year younger than my peers, so it felt good to finally catch up!

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Me on my 18th birthday

For my birthday gift, I got my septum pierced! I am super excited about this piercing. I have been wanting it for a long time. I don’t expect everyone to like it, but I personally am in love with it! ❀

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My new septum piercing!

Beauty

IMG_20141129_142113349I have been absolutely loving the felt-tipped liquid eyeliner from Sonia Kashuk this month. The Stila stay all day liquid liner used to be my holy grail liquid liner. But after I found out they sell in China and therefore are not cruelty-free, I did not know how I would find a liner to replace it. But luckily, I love this eyeliner even more! I got it at Target for less than half the price of the Stila liner. I love how sturdy the tip is, making it easy to get sharp, precise winged liner with a single flick. I also love how dark the color is. I have had it for a month now and it hasn’t dried out at all, which is a great sign! I will definitely be sticking with this liner for a long time!

Fashion

???????????????????????????????Me and my pair of black vegan combat boots have been inseparable this month! They are so comfy and were easy to break in. They go with almost every outfit, and are super warm and sturdy. I have been especially loving pairing them with thick crew-length socks. I got them for under $25 from the brand Soda on Amazon.com and am so happy I purchased them instead of vegan Doc Martens, which are too pricy to think about. I am sure I will be wearing these all winter!

Food

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Let’s establish this: Field Roast’s new Chao cheese slices are THE thing in vegan cheese! The texture is perfectly on point. They melt very nicely as well. If you gave this cheese to a non-vegan, I am positive they would not be able to tell it was vegan cheese! “But I can’t live without cheese,” and “Vegan cheese does not taste like the real thing,” are no longer valid excuses! In fact, I almost do not like the Creamy Original flavor because it smells and tastes exactly like real cheese, which disgusts me a bit. (Although it is amazing in grilled cheese sandwiches!) I prefer the Coconut Herb flavor, which does not have that distinct cheese scent because of the flavorful herbs.

Music

Β I have been listening to the band New Year’s Day nonstop lately. (Ash Costello’s perfect two toned hair is probably part of it πŸ˜› ) I have been especially loving their album “Victim to Villain.” The instrumentals are solid, and the vocals and lyrics are also awesome. My favorite songs off the album are “Do Your Worst” and “Angel Eyes.”

Blog Updates

I made an Instagram account this month, so for lots of pictures of tasty vegan food, my makeup loves, and my adorable pet tortoise, follow me @leilalinablog!

I am still collecting questions for my Questions and Answers blog post! Feel free to ask me anything in the comments. πŸ™‚

Lastly, I added a “Why Vegan” page to my site. To learn more about the motivations to go vegan, check it out!

These are all my December favorites! I would love to know what you have been loving this month! ❀ Hope you all had a joyful holiday season and a happy new year! πŸ™‚

Best,

Leila