How To Cut a Mango

how to cut a mango 2Ripe and sweet mangoes are the perfect cool and refreshing summer fruit. They are also rich in vitamins A, B and C, aid in maintaining clear skin, and even have cancer fighting properties. So in case you do not know this trick, this is how to cut a mango for maximum enjoyment. ๐Ÿ™‚

To get started, find a ripe mango and a sharp knife. If the mango is ripe, it should feel slightly soft when you squeeze it. They ripen well on a sunny windowsill.

Steps:

1. First, locate the top of the mango. To do this, hold it upright and find the knot where it attached to the tree.

IMG_20150803_134157470

2. Using the knot for reference, place two parallel cuts about one inch apart so the pit lies between them. Cut all the way through the mango to produce 3 slices.

IMG_20150803_134220721

IMG_20150803_134321460

3. On both end slices, place 3 parallel cuts and 3 perpendicular cuts in a checkered pattern, but do not cut through the skin. Then push up from the bottom to invert the mango skin and form cubes.

IMG_20150803_134438825

IMG_20150803_134455932

4. On the slice with the pit, place a slit in the skin so it is easy to peel away as you eat. This also makes it easier to hold the pit.

IMG_20150803_134624845_HDR

Now the mango is ready to eat! Happy snacking! ๐Ÿ™‚

Best,

Leila

4 Lip Colors, 4 Looks

4 looks

Lately, I have been opting for a minimal eye look and instead experimenting with lip colors. Each shade of lipstick has the power to alter and define your facial tones and features. In this post, I will demonstrate how to adapt your makeup to 4 different looks by only changing the lip color.

For each look, the eye makeup will remain constant: taupe shadow blended into the crease and outer corner, a matte white inner corner and brow-bone highlight, pencil liner smudged into the tightline, mascara, and clear brow gel.

Look 1: Mauve Nude

IMG_20150728_140242635

Shade: NYX Sable

For a look lighter than air, try a nude lipstick that just matches the color of your lips. Subtly enhancing your lips’ natural color gives a soft, free, and sunny appearance, and also draws out the warm tones in your skin and eyes. This pretty color is the perfect complement to an earthy bohemian look.

Look 2: Classic Red

IMG_20150728_143148699

Shade: Wet n Wild Red-dy or Not

Bright, classic reds never go out of style. No matter your skin, hair, or eye colors, a red lip will define your eyes and lashes, whiten your teeth, and of course give your confidence a boost. Who doesn’t feel like a million bucks while wearing the perfect sassy red lip? This bold choice pulls together a classy vintage look.

Look 3: Deep Wine

IMG_20150728_152543081

Shade: Wet n Wild Black Orchid

Deep and dramatic wines, though perfect for fall, are gorgeous for any season. Dark reds define the shape of your lips and brighten your skin due to the contrast. This lip complements and enhances dark hair, yet is also stunning when worn against lighter toned skin and hair. This lovely shade pairs beautifully with dark layered looks and elegant textures such as lace and warm knits.

Look 4: Vampy Purple

IMG_20150728_160144462

Shade: NYX She Devil

This vampy lip shade is not for the faint of heart. A dark and stormy lip color draws the focus to your lips and can even even give them a larger and fuller appearance. A near-black purple also makes dark brown eyes pop and enhances the cool tones in the skin, hair, and teeth. This statement lip adds the perfect finishing touch to a bold contemporary look or a dark grunge look.

IMG_20150728_161802893

All lipsticks featured are drug-store cruelty-free! ๐Ÿ™‚

There you have it! Makeup transformed to suit 4 different looks by only changing the lip color. So next time you do your makeup, consider passing up the complicated eye and instead leave it up to your lipstick to pull your entire look together.

Best,

Leila

What I Learned during my First Year Vegan

vegan 1 yr

Two days ago, I celebrated my 1 year vegan anniversary. It is a cliche, but it is hard to believe that a whole year has gone by already. However, reflecting upon where I started makes me realize how far I have come. So below are a few things I learned during my first year as a vegan.

You can’t be perfect.

During my first week vegan, I remember accidentally eating sauce that contained oyster extract. I felt so discouraged and upset with myself for letting it slip under the radar. Now I know that obsessing over the small stuff will simply burn you out. Your best is always the best you can do.

You can’t change the world all at once.

It is sad, and seems defeated to say, but because there is such a huge wall between consumers and where their food comes from, ignorance is something we must learn to live with it. There is not much you can do to stop a stranger at the grocery store from buying that jug of milk, and you would lose your mind if you got upset every time you saw someone eating meat. Simply put, you can’t change everyone. Striking a balance between understanding the cruel reality while at the same time working to make the world a better place is key to maintaining your strength to keep fighting.

Don’t be annoying.

I must confess that I went through a stage where I was an annoying vegan. I felt that if I didn’t speak up whenever I saw someone consuming animal products, I would be letting the animals down. But looking back, I was doing more harm than good. Criticizing your friends’ meal choices won’t make them want to go vegan. Who would respond favorably to someone who constantly picks on them?ย  By showing the world we are accepting and understanding, we can make being vegan much more inviting.

Living with non-vegan friends and family can be challenging.

Friends and family are the most difficult people to change. Talking to them about veganism can be awkward, and friends and family are more likely to take arguments and disagreements personally. For the sake of peace among comrades, I choose to simply avoid confrontation and tolerate their choices to consume animal products. In fact, not being judgmental makes friends and family more likely to show interest in talking to you about veganism.

Keep an open mind.

As a vegan with strongly-held ethical beliefs, it is easy to go into every conversation with my mind already made up. But I find it does more harm than good to come off as someone who is unwilling to listen and consider opposing viewpoints. How can we expect others to consider our message if we won’t consider theirs? Ask questions and listen to others, even if they disagree with you. You will find common ground if you listen to their side.

Stay positive!

Let’s be real: confronting some of the most twisted, terrible, and cruel sides of humanity can be a burden sometimes. But it is always important to stay positive. Being vegan is a joy. Our attitude and outlook on the world should reflect that. Smile. Be lighthearted. Watch happy animal videos. Take a time out to de-stress. Making the world a more positive place begins with you.

Here’s to the start of the second year of my vegan journey! I can’t wait to see where this year takes me.

Best,

Leila

Ghost Fishing: Merciless Killers Haunting Our Oceans

IMG_20150521_191135480_HDRThis is Nemo. Nemo nearly died today, but luckily I was in the right place at the right time and was able to save him.

This evening, I was enjoying a peaceful moment by a pond, when I noticed him struggling near the shore. Upon taking a closer look, I saw he was caught in plastic netting. I transferred him to a bowl, where I was able to closely examine him. A loop in the net was squeezing his body so tightly, it was digging into his flesh. Working carefully, I cut the loop trapping him. Finally free, he excitedly circled the bowl. I then waded into the pond and released him.

Nemo was a victim of ghost fishing. He survived, but thousands of other marine animals are not so lucky. Ghost fishing occurs when fishing gear, such as nets, are abandoned in a body of water and continue to capture animals. Ghost nets indiscriminately trap, maim, starve, and suffocate hapless animals such as fish, turtles, cetaceans, birds, and crustaceans. Trapped fish can act as bait for larger animals, who also become ensnared in the netting.

A sea turtle tangled in a fishing net.

A sea turtle tangled in a fishing net.

Ghost fishing has become a serious problem with the advent of nets made of non-biodegradable materials, such as nylon. Abandoned nets account for a significant 10% of oceanic litter. It is estimated that 640,000 tons of ghost netting are haunting our oceans right now, trapping and killing hundreds of animals each day. Worst of all, non-biodegradable nets remain active for up to 600 years. And even when those nets break apart, they continue to harm the marine animals that ingest the bits of plastic.

Please do not fish. It has been verified time and time again that fish feel pain just as intensely as other animals. (To learn more, see my post Marine Animals Deserve Protection) The fear and pain they experience when a hook pierces their lip and drags them up to the surface, where they suffocate, is incredible. Catch and release is also cruel, even if the hook is removed from the fish’s mouth, as their injuries and psychological shock often kill them. There is no reason to subject innocent animals to this cruelty for the sake of our entertainment and tastes. Please choose compassionate vegan alternatives to fish.

And if you are walking near a body of water and notice abandoned fishing gear, please do not leave it to continue harming wildlife. Collect it and safely dispose of it in a recycling or trash bin onshore. When disposing of soda can holders, be sure to cut open the rings so wildlife cannot become caught.

Freeing a fish caught in an abandoned net has helped me to realize the danger of the seemingly inactive pieces of waste in our environment. From now on I will be careful to leave no trash behind when outdoors and pick up the litter I come across before it can harm wildlife. And I hope you will too.

Best,

Leila

A Colorful Spring Makeup Look

colorful spring makeup

With the green grass, leaves on the trees, and blooming flowers, I can’t help but notice that spring has come. Inspired by the bright and warm colors of springtime, I created this colorful spring makeup look featuring bright, multicolored eyeliner.

1. I began by priming the lid using Urban Decay Primer Potion. This step is especially important when using bright colors, as it helps to make them pop.

2. I packed a Urban Decay’s Sin, a shimmery champagne color, onto the lid and inner corner using a flat shader brush.

IMG_1874

3. Using my Elf “C” eyeshadow brush, I blended chopper, a warm rose gold shimmer, into the crease and corner, bringing it a bit above my natural crease and drawing it outwards for a more dramatic look. I also ran this color along the lower lashline.

IMG_1880

4. Now for the fun part: the multicolored eyeliner. It you have multicolored eyeliner pencils, you can use them for this step. If not, colored eyeshadows will do. The colors I used from inner to outer corner are green, blue, light purple, and dark purple.

To apply them, I wet an angled eyeliner brush, shook off the excess water, and lightly dipped the brush into my first color. Starting in the corner, I dragged the brush along the lashline a length a bit longer than that of the brush tip.ย  After I finished the first color, I wiped off the brush with a tissue, re-wet it, and moved on to the next color. To ensure each color faded smoothly into the next, I slightly overlapped the boundary of each new color with the one I had applied before it. To add an eyecatching detail, I winged out my last color.

IMG_1911

5. To finish off the eyes, I dabbed a bit of brown eyeliner pencil from Physicians Formula on the lower lashline and blended it out with a blending brush for a bit of added definition. Then, I curled the lashes and applied mascara to the top and bottom lashes. Lastly, I filled in my brows with Anastasia brow powder and set them with the Anastasia brow gel.

6. To complete the makeup look, I applied a rose-pink blush from the Naked Flushed palette to the tops of my cheekbones and blended it with a circular motion towards my temples. Then, I applied a soft pink lip color, Nars Rikugien .

Here’s the finished look:

IMG_20150508_135524628

IMG_20150508_140705761

That’s it! I hope you enjoyed this makeup look. Happy spring! ๐Ÿ™‚

Best,

Leila

April Favorites

It has been a long time since I published a favorites of the month post. I have been enjoying a few things this month that I think are worth sharing, so let’s get into them:

Beauty

Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Eyeshadow

IMG_1848With the warmer spring weather this month, I have been using my Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Eyeshadow in Playa del Pink. It is a very nice metallic rose gold shadow that wears well as a base or on its own. Wearing it underneath shimmery champagne shadows gives an intense and radiant look. Best of all, this shadow is super light, natural, and cruelty-free!

Yes To Tomatoes Acne Cleanser & Yes To Cucumbers Body wash

IMG_1844

I have also been loving Yes To products this month. Their tomato acne cleanser is very nice and has been helping clear my skin. I switched from their scrub to the gel because I learned that the beads found in exfoliating products are too small to be removed by water filtration and often end up in local bodies of water. When aquatic animals as fish and turtles ingest the pellets, they may accumulate in their stomachs, causing them to die of malnourishment. I also found that the harshness of the exfoliating beads irritated my skin, so using a clean washcloth to exfoliate is kinder to both the animals and your skin.

I also love the cucumber body wash. It is gentle for sensitive skin and smells super refreshing. It is a great cruelty-free and natural dupe for Dove’s Cucumber Green Tea body wash.

Fashionย 

I purchased a few items at winter clearance sales that have become staples this month.

First, I have been loving these strappy heeled booties. They are very versatile and comfortable. I also love the texture of them. They are some of the nicest vegan leather shoes I have come across.

IMG_1855

Second, I have been enjoying incorporating this crescent moon pendant necklace into my outfits. If you wear a lot of black like I do, a silver pendant like this one adds an eye catching touch of detail and texture.

IMG_1861

Third, I have been wearing this black kimono style top often this month. I love the delicate crochet sleeves and long fringe detail at the bottom. It is light and comfortable and adds a bohemian vibe to any outfit. I pair it with high waisted shorts and black maxi-skirts.

IMG_1869

Food

I have been eating strawberries like crazy this month. I like snacking on a bowl of them for dessert or between meals. They are also great chopped up in a bowl with bananas.

strawberries

Those are all of my favorites for this month! I would love to know what you have enjoyed during April. Hope you have a lovely May!

Best,

Leila

Animals Suffer During Transport

While driving home from college earlier this week, I saw a truck transporting pigs, most likely to slaughter. Through the holes in the truck I could see the pigs’ pink bodies. One pig stuck with me: he was lying on his side with his back pressed against the wall of truck, as if the exhaustion and fear had overcome him. On that day, the sun was shining, the skies were clear, and it was seasonably warm. But knowing that for every pig in that truck, these were their last moments on earth–their first and last chance to see the sun and sky–I could not help but feel tears coming to my eyes.

inside transport truck after arriving at slaughterhouse

The inside of a transport truck after arriving at the slaughterhouse. Imagine spending the last moments of your life here.

The suffering animals experience during transport to slaughter is arguably even worse than the slaughter itself. The animals are crammed into trucks with barely any room to move. Birds are roughly shoved or thrown into crates, their heads and wings often painfully slammed in the doors or even torn off in workers’ haste to unload them. These journeys may last for 28 hours or more, despite suffocating heat and bitter cold. Animals are forced to defecate where they stand and are not given a single drop of food or water. Many animals arrive at the slaughterhouse frozen solid, stuck to the cold metal sides of the truck, or dead due to heat exhaustion.

Chickens crammed into transport crates.

The number of animals who die before even making it to slaughter are astounding, and further demonstrate how disposable the meat industry views these animals. It is estimated that 17-41 million chickens and over 250,000 pigs die during transport in the United States. Though death is less common in cows (I assume due to their higher body mass allowing them to survive longer amounts of time without food and water), transport is considered to be the most stressful experience a cow ever goes through. It is not uncommon for cows to become “downers,” unable to stand or walk due to their bodies giving out, during transport.

Cows being transported to slaughter.ย 

No taste, tradition, or moment of pleasure can make the incredible fear and suffering these animals endure worthwhile. And with a plethora of fresh, delicious, and nutritious vegan foods available at every local grocery store, eating animals is simply unnecessary. To spare animals cruel transport to slaughter, please choose a compassionate vegan diet.

Best,

Leila