Ask Me Anything!

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I want your questions! Ask me anything, whether it be about me, college, makeup, fashion, my pets, going vegan/cruelty-free, living straight edge, my advice/opinions, or anything else you may be wondering. (Just keep them respectful, please! 😉 ) Leave me your questions in the comments, and I will answer them in a Questions and Answers post later this month or early next month. ❤ So ask away!

Best,

Leila

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College Grocery Store Haul

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This weekend, I did some grocery shopping. Since I live in a dorm, I do not cook my own meals. However, I do like to keep some food in my room. So if you have ever wondered what a vegan college students eats, keep reading!

Club Crackers

IMG_20141115_170323096These light and delicious crackers are great for snacking on! They go well with peanut butter, vegan cheese, or hummus! I grew up eating these crackers, so they also have a nostalgic feel.

BelVita Blueberry Biscuits

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These breakfast biscuits are a great option for breakfast on the go. They are delicious (they taste like cookies!), portable, and filling. Most days, I do not have time to go to the dining hall for breakfast, so these are perfect!

Amy’s Rice and Veggie Bowl

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I sometimes enjoy having a heat up dinner as an alternative to eating at the dining hall. I really wanted to get Amy’s vegan macaroni and cheese, but unfortunately, it was sold out. 😦  This was my first time trying it, and it made an amazing dinner! It was very flavorful, while still being light and wholesome.

Hummus

IMG_20141115_170415638Hummus is a creamy and delicious spread made from chickpeas and tahini. It goes very well with pita chips, tortilla chips, pretzels, or fresh veggies. It also makes a great sandwich spread! I just got the plain flavor, because I couldn’t decide which to try!

Carrot Sticks

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I bought these to go along with my hummus. Carrot sticks are my favorite thing to dip in hummus.

Blueberry So Delicious Coconut Yogurt

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This is one of my favorite dairy free yogurts. It is made from cultured coconut milk. I purchased blueberry flavor, which is my favorite of the flavors they carry.

Peanut Butter

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Peanut butter is one of my favorite foods. I love eating it with bananas, crackers, in sandwiches, straight out of the jar… (Don’t judge 😛 )

That’s all I got while out grocery shopping! What are your essential groceries?

Best,

Leila

Straight Edge in College

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I have been in college for almost 3 full months now, so I thought I would write an update on my experience being straight edge. Straight edge means no drinking alcohol, smoking, using drugs, and (in my case) consuming excess caffeine. It also includes abstaining from emotionless sex. Living straight edge definitely goes against the grain, but the benefits of this lifestyle are beyond worth it.

This semester, I have chosen to stay away from college parties. Football is an huge part of the culture here, as I attend a Big Ten school, so before games people go CRAZY. I live next to several fraternities, and earlier in the year when it was warmer, people would be up partying before 9 AM. The music was so loud, it would wake me up!

I am not hugely into sports, so I don’t mind missing out on tailgates. But the time I felt most left out was on Halloween. I felt a lonely spending the night inside by myself while my friends went to parties. The reason why I choose not to attend parties isn’t because I fear that I would be tempted to drink, but because I don’t want to influenced by the atmosphere there.  I would rather engage in more positive activities that align with my values.

Abstaining from coffee, the drink most college students run on, is also difficult. I choose to not drink caffeinated beverages because I do not want to give them the power to control my mood and behavior. I do not want to get to the point where I need coffee to function. However, I have been enjoying drinking caffeine-free herbal tea instead  With the weather becoming colder, sipping a warm mug of tea feels feels so calming.

Overall, I am very happy with my choice to live straight edge in college. I know there will be times when I feel left out because I choose to live this way, but it will all be worthwhile in the end. I want to always experience life in its purest form. It gives me a far better feeling than any substance ever could.

Best,

Leila

Vegan in College

An excuse to not go vegan I hear frequently is that it is too difficult in a university setting. However, I find eating in the dining hall manageable. It can be a bit annoying on days when vegan options are scant, but with a bit of planning and creativity, you can always make something to eat. At each station in my dining hall, there is a sign with symbols such as a red V for vegan, a carrot for vegetarian, etc. In addition, you can check the dining hall menu online to plan your meals in advance.

So here was my dinner for Friday evening:

First, I ate this vegan pot pie. I wouldn’t exactly call it a pie. It was just the filling with this little bread wedge. But it was super cute, and very delicious too.

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Then, I had this miso and rice noodle soup with shiitake mushrooms, carrots, and tofu.

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To finish, I had some steamed vegetables, pineapple, and watermelon. Yes, I eat a lot of fruit, please don’t judge me… 😛

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On days when the vegan entrees are lacking, I resort to the salad bar, sandwich making station, or a tried and true plate of hummus and veggies. For snacking between meals, I keep fruit, granola bars, soy yogurt, and other goodies in my room.  A mini fridge and microwave can be a vegan student’s best friends!

As you can see, being vegan in college is not difficult at all! Since vegan foods such as breads, vegetables, fruits, rice, and grains are a staple in all diets, you can eat vegan almost anywhere.

And if you need even more inspiration, PETA published a cookbook with hundreds of dorm-friendly vegan recipes that can all be made in the microwave:

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Being vegan in college is easier than ever now! If you are a student considering going vegetarian or vegan, I hope this helps you to take the leap and give it a try.  It is easier than you think!

And as always, leave me any and all of your questions and concerns. I would be happy to help you as best I can! 🙂 ❤

Best,

Leila

Global March for Elephants and Rhinos

Today, Saturday October 4th, is the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos. This event aims to call attention to the dire need of a worldwide ban on selling rhino horns and elephant tusks. Each year, a staggering 35,000 elephants and 1,000 rhinos are killed each year due to the demand for ivory and rhino horn and increasing poaching rates. It has been estimated that, if this trend continues, both species could be extinct within 20 years.

Imagine that. Our generation’s children will be living on an earth that is not graced by these graceful, gentle, beautiful giants. Elephants and Rhinos will become a whimsical memory, elusive as dinosaurs. And all that will be left of them is the reason why they were extinguished: the ivory humans stole from them.

Elephant Tusks are used to make jewelry, souvenirs, and other trinkets.

Rhino Horns are believed to cure fever, pain, arthritis, convulsions, and other maladies.

We demand greater protection for Rhinos and Elephants. We cannot stand by and allow this vicious, greed-driven massacre to continue. Drastic action must be taken now. It doesn’t matter how lucrative the elephant tusk and rhino horn trade is. It doesn’t matter how many ignorant customers will be disappointed when they don’t get their precious ivory goods. Elephants and rhinos play an irreplaceable role in their environments. Saving these species must become the priority.

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To voice the need to extend greater protection to elephants and rhinos, I participated in a March for Elephants and Rhinos in my college town. Individual voices are small. But together, our shouts will be heard around the world. We demand that all trade and poaching of elephant tusks and rhino horns be immediately put to an end. That all carving shops and factories be shut down. For the law to strictly enforce penalties for harming these animals.

Today, we are at a crossroads of two futures. In one, elephants and rhinos roam freely and peacefully, awing the world with their grace and beauty.

But in the other, the earth is barren and plain. Their large, looming figures do not frame the horizon. The ground never rumbles with their mighty steps. Instead, the quaking earth mourns the loss of the beautiful beasts who used to bring such pride and magnificence to her plains.

If we do not take initiative today, that somber, desolate future will become a reality. We will be left in painful regret, that we were the reason why these remarkable and irreplaceable creatures were driven into extinction.

Sometimes, giants need protection, too. And there will always be space in my heart for them, no matter their size.

 Below are my photos from the March:

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I couldn’t go to the march without my beautiful elephant tee shirt. Unfortunately, it was super cold so I had to wear a jacket over it. 😦

I made these signs the night before:

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We marched through the streets yelling these chants. Many heads turned. Some applauded to show their support. One woman we met even joined our march!

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I marched alongside these inspiring, motivated people.

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Afterwards, we hung up the signs for display on campus.

Participating in the 2014 Global March for Elephants and Rhinos was an amazing experience.  This was my first animal rights protest, and I truly feel like I have found my passion in life: fighting for animal rights! I hope to participate in many, many more protests to spread awareness of the suffering of our animal friends.  The world must see and know!

Best,

Leila

Project Post It!

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Right this second, millions of animals are trapped in cruel conditions suffering terribly, already marked for death. Beyond choosing a vegan lifestyle, it can be difficult to make a difference in their lives every day. So that’s why I created Project Post It! To promote compassion towards animals, all you will need is pad of sticky notes, markers or pens, and some creativity.

Here’s how it works: Jot down a quick message, quote, fact, or sketch that will expose the cruelty that animals endure behind our backs. Then, post it in a public place. This can be in a restroom, at the cafeteria, at the park, at the gym, on a bus, at the library, on your locker…Any place you can think of, unless it is explicitly stated that no leafleting or posting is allowed. I recommend preparing some Post It notes in advance and carrying them around with you for convenience.

This week, I placed my Post Its in various locations across my university campus. Here are some of my notes:

In a community shower:

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In a community shower:

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On a table at the dining hall:

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On a table in a group study room:

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On the community bathroom mirror:

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On a table at the dining hall:

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In a bathroom in the Information Resource Center:

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On a bench:

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On a table in the Dining Hall:

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In the community bathroom:

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As you can see, it is simple for anyone be an advocate for animal rights on a daily basis. If you choose to to join me in Project Post It!, I would love to hear about your experiences. If you feel so inclined, snap some photos of your notes and tweet them to me @LLinaBlog. Where will you let your voice for animals be heard?

Best,

Leila

Vegan Food Diary

After a long afternoon of driving, we made it to my college campus! We are staying overnight in a hotel, and tomorrow I move in. So as a last dinner with my family, we ate at a local vegan restaurant called Jazzy Veggie. I will admit that the super cute name drew me in! The atmosphere was relaxing and welcoming. If the weather had been drier, it would have been very pleasant to eat at the street side seating. Maybe next time! Best of all, the entire menu is vegan, which feels like a luxury!

My sister and I shared this bottle of delicious Pineapple Peach Limeade. It was sweet and tangy. The lime gave it a very flavorful twist.

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My family and I shared a plate of veggie pot stickers as an appetizer. They came covered with a sweet and spicy chili sauce, which was delicious! We ended up also eating the lettuce the pot stickers came on with this sauce like a salad!

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For my entree, I enjoyed a bowl of pasta with pesto, cashew cheese, zucchini, sun-dried tomatoes, and artichoke. I ordered this dish because I was interested in trying cashew cheese. The sauce was very smooth, creamy, and flavorful. I had never tried artichoke before. It was rather tasteless with a soft texture. Overall an amazing pasta dish!

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While walking around town later during the evening, we spotted a frozen yogurt shop conveniently displaying this sign in the window.

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Need I say more?

The only vegan option they carried was coconut. It was very thick and creamy. Not at all watery! It also had a rich coconut flavor. I topped mine with strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, mango, and almonds. Yummy! 🙂

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That was my evening! Definitely a very delicious one!  It was nice spending some last moments with my family while unwinding from the long drive. Why am I going to college so far away? But I am in love with my college town. So many fun places to explore! And lots of food to eat, as you can see… 😛 Yum yum!

Best,

Leila