Recipe First Impression: Stuffed Acorn Squash

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I recently moved in to my first apartment, giving me the opportunity to try lots of new vegan recipes. So to share my culinary experiments with you, I thought I would create a series of “Recipe First Impressions.” In these posts, I will share a recipe I have never made before, recreate it, and share my finished product and opinion about it.

The first new recipe I am tackling is Stuffed Acorn Squash, using this recipe from The Roasted Root. I decided to veer away from the recipe by filling the squashes with wild rice, cranberries, apples,  pecans, and a drizzle of maple syrup. When I first picked up the acorn squashes, I was a bit nervous about how this meal would turn out, since they are a bit strange looking! But I found that they were very easy to cut open and cook. The wild rice filling was lovely and fragrant, too.

I enjoyed the combination of the buttery, nutty taste of the squash with the tart cranberries and apples. The pecans also added a nice texture. The only drawback was that I overcooked the squashes! 35 minutes as recommended in the recipe was not long enough, but the 55 minutes I cooked them for was too long. Next time, I will try cooking them for around 40 minutes.

Overall, I really liked this recipe. It was easy to make, delicious, satisfying, and healthy. It makes a festive and pretty autumn meal, and would be perfect for the holidays. I would make this recipe again, and I would recommend it to anyone interested. Below is a picture of how my stuffed squash turned out:

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I hope you enjoyed this post! If you have any recommendations for what I should make next, please let me know!

Best,

Leila

A Small Fall Haul

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The chillier temperatures, changing leaves, and cloudy skies can only mean one thing: it’s fall! I apologize for my absence last month. In the midst of starting my second year of college, moving into a new apartment, and starting a new job, I have been taking some time to figure myself out. But I’m back today to share a few fall-inspired items I purchased recently!

ModCloth Harvest Fest Coat in Vermillion

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Product listing here. And if you are a college student I recommend taking advantage of the 10% Modcloth Student Discount!

This coat was more expensive than I would have liked, but I am so glad I purchased it. Complete with a warm, reddish-orange color, cute toggles, big pockets, and a faux fur-trimmed hood, this is the perfect fall coat. And to seal the deal, it’s non-wool! The proportions are perfect: the sleeves are long enough to cover my half of my hands, and the medium length of the coat is extremely flattering. My only complaint is that the faux fur trim flops over my eyes when I put the hood up, and it cannot be removed. But overall, I could not adore this coat more and can’t wait to wear it all season!

Bath and Body Works Leaves Candle

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Product listing here.

I have heard many people rave about this candle, and after browsing the Bath and Body Works website and reading loads of positive reviews, I decided to give it a try. I love this candle’s pretty leaf-patterned bronze lid, and it has a lovely scent to match. Even when it’s not lit, this candle fills the room with a festive combination of autumn wreaths, cider, spices, and berries. I imagine this scent will be perfect for Thanksgiving time.

Bath and Body Works Pumpkin Pie Candle

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Product listing here.

Candles were 2 for $24 at Bath and Body Works, so naturally, I had to purchase a second one…And of course, what would a fall haul be without a pumpkin scented candle? I picked this one because I thought the picture on the jar was adorable, and who doesn’t want their home to smell like a scrumptious pumpkin pie is in the oven? I love this candle’s a warm, sweet, vanilla scent. My only complaint is that I wish the pumpkin and spice undertones were a bit stronger.

Bath and Body Works Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin Foaming Hand Soap

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Product listing here.

Since fall is the season of pumpkin-flavored everything, I have to complete my fall haul with one last pumpkin scented item: hand soap! This scent is described as “warm pumpkin, fresh cinnamon stick, & sweet sugarcane,” but to be honest, I don’t think it smells like pumpkin at all. To me, it smells sweet and slightly fruity with a hint of spice, but the soap does the job!

That is my short and sweet fall haul! I hope you are enjoying the autumn season. If you have picked up some fall-inspired goodies lately, I would love to see your hauls too! 🙂

Best,

Leila

70’s Inspired Fall Fashion

70's inspired fall fashion

This season, the 70’s are coming back into fashion. The bold styles of the 70’s can be a bit intimidating, so in this post, I will demonstrate how to incorporate bohemian details into modern and wearable outfits for the fall.

1.  Button Front Denim Skirts

Button front skirts are shaping up to be a massive trend this season. These mid-length jean skirts give a casual and laid-back vibe, yet are still neat and dressy. For a balanced look, pair them with a flowy lace blouse or brightly colored peasant top.

2. Shift Dresses

Feminine and flattering, loose shift dresses make excellent layering staples. Try styling one in neutral color with a faux leather jacket, scarf, and tights. For a simple yet head-turning look, pair a dress in a statement pattern with boots. If you prefer a more fitted look, define the waistline with a thin leatherette belt or tie a patterned scarf around your waist for a 70’s inspired detail.

3. Bell Sleeved Tops

Though not the most practical, bell sleeves are an iconic look of the 70’s. Since bell sleeves make a bold statement on their own, try pairing a top in a neutral color such as cream, black, taupe, or caramel with jeans or a suedette skirt.

4. Shawls, Kimonos, and Ponchos

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Shamelessly twirl your heart out in a flowy chiffon kimono this season. To channel your inner Stevie Nicks, style a fringed shawl with neutral-toned staples. Paired with cognac riding boots and jeggings, western themed sweater ponchos make a stylish go-to on a chilly autumn day

5. Flared Jeans

This daring jean is the most difficult to style of all the cuts, but makes for a real head turner when paired with complementary pieces. Try wearing them with flowy blouses, loose tees or sweaters, and jackets. For footwear, choose a structured boot or wedge. If a bell bottom is outside of your comfort zone, give a boot cut a try instead.

6. Fringe Details

Fringe is not just for music festivals anymore. Style a fringe-detailed piece with casual fall textures such as distressed denim, leatherette, warm knits, and autumn-toned prints. As a rule of thumb, be sparing with fringe to prevent the look from venturing out of hand.

8. Bohemian Jewelry

Eye-catching bohemian jewelry has re-emerged this season. Complete your outfit with silver statement bangles, long pendant necklaces, turquoise and silver rings, tassle bracelets, or coin-detailed statement necklaces. Don’t be afraid to layer jewelry for an eclectic look.

9. Patterns and Color

The 70’s were all about bold prints, bright colors, and fearless layering. This season, try spicing up your wardrobe with colorful floral blouses, patterned maxi skirts, and bright scarves. Style a single bold piece with neutral staples, or mix prints for a more daring look.

10. Maxi Skirts and Dresses

Feel like a goddess in a comfortable yet stunning maxi skirt or dress this autumn. Be creative with colors, patterns, and textures and even dabble with stylistic details such as tiers, ruffles, and layers. Pair these statement pieces with neutral toned sweaters and jackets. To take the look a step further, layer with vests or kimonos.

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And of course, for an outfit that truly radiates peace and good vibes, be cruelty-free and avoid animal-derived materials such as leather, suede, fur, and wool. ❤

Best,

Leila

Get Ready With Me: Casual Fall Morning

Happy Saturday! I’m trying a new type of post today: a Get Ready With Me! So if you are at all interested in my typical weekend morning, just keep reading!

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The view from my dorm room

Today was a rather dark and cold October day. All I wanted to do was stay under the covers! But eventually, I got up and made my bed.

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Yes, I have an obsession with turtles. 😉 No shame!

Then, I went to the bathroom to brush my teeth and wash my face. I used the Kiss My Face Triple Action toothpaste and Trader Joe’s Face Wash with Tea Tree Oil, both of which I love. ❤

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Afterwards, I returned to my room to get dressed. I love layers and dark colors for fall. So I went for a pair of vertical stripe leggings, acid-wash shorts, my phases of the moon muscle tank, and an over-sized cardigan I thrifted a few months ago. For shoes, I wore my trusty black Bobs.

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Gotta smell good! First, I moisturized my hands and face with EOS lotion. For deodorant, I used Tom’s Naturally Dry.  My favorite fall scent is Bath and Body Works’ Aspen Caramel Woods, so I spritzed a generous amount all over my clothes. (Note: Bath and Body works IS still Cruelty Free! See here.)

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Onto my makeup! I went for a simple yet bold look today. I applied some dramatic winged liner using Wet n Wild’s Mega Eyes, moisturized my lips with C.O. Bigelow Rose Salve, and set my brows using Anastasia’s Lash Genuis gel. I finished the look with a dark lip using Wet n Wild’s Black Orchid. I absolutely love this shade for fall! The formula is super creamy and pigmented.

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Finally, I did my hair. Today, I parted it in the middle and then spritzed a bit of Not Your Mother’s Sea Salt spray through it, scrunching it to give texture.

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Then, I was ready to go grab some brunch in the dining hall! Lately, I have been loving wheat toast with peanut butter and sliced bananas. It makes a filling and energizing meal, and is super yummy, too!

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Afterwards, I decided to go to a local coffee shop, Expresso Royale, to do some homework. To drink, I ordered a mug of loose-leaf Peace Tea.

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That was my morning! I hope you are having a lovely Saturday! ❤ What is your favorite way to spend a fall morning?

Best,

Leila

Vegan Pumpkin Spice

vegan pumpkin spiceThe  fall season has returned once again, bringing its hoards of pumpkin-spice flavored goodies along with it! Like most people, I can never get enough pumpkin spice during the fall time. Unfortunately, as a vegan, satisfying my pumpkin spice addiction takes a bit more searching.

Mentally prepare yourself for the following: Starbuck’s famous Pumpkin Spice Latte cannot be made vegan, even when requested with soy and no whip.

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But don’t worry! You don’t need the Pumpkin Spice Latte to get your fix of pumpkin! I searched out the best vegan pumpkin-flavored goodies so you can still enjoy the signature taste of autumn without the cruelty! 😉

1. Nature’s Path Pumpkin Spice Waffles

IMG_20141010_214839149If you dream of having pumpkin spice every day for breakfast, then your moment has arrived: these vegan and gluten free pumpkin spice waffles are sold at Whole Foods! They are crunchy, delicious, and have a rich pumpkin flavor! Cuddling up with a mug of tea and a couple of these waffles makes cold, autumn mornings so much cozier!  I enjoy them topped with maple syrup and bananas.

2. SuperSeedz Cinnamon and Sugar Pumpkin Seeds

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These seriously addicting pumpkins seeds are the fall snack you have been searching for. They are crunchy and sweet with a touch of cinnamon. They also would make a wonderful topping for salads, smoothies, oatmeal, and soy yogurt. I purchased mine at a local natural foods store.

3. SO Delicious Pumpkin Spice Bars

IMG_20141010_214906713Eating one of these adorable coconut ice cream bars, you can feel like a little kid again! Besides being cute and pumpkin shaped, these dessert bars are super smooth, rich, and creamy. They have a delicious pumpkin spice flavor that people of all ages are sure to enjoy! I found them at Whole Foods as part of SO Delicious’s line of seasonal goodies.

4. Pumpkin Spice Oreos

IMG_20141010_224118290As if vegans did not have reason enough to love Oreos, these limited edition Pumpkin Spice Oreos are available at your local grocery store for the season! With a cup of almond milk or warm tea, these would make a great afternoon pick-me-up. If you like Oreos, these are definitely worth a try.

5. Trader Joe’s Pumpkin O’s.

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If you have a Trader Joe’s near you, I strongly suggest you check them out. They have created a vegan pumpkin paradise for the fall season! These pumpkin O’s are basically pumpkin-flavored cheerio cereal. They are nice and crunchy and have a delicious, slightly sweet pumpkin spice flavor.

Not to mention that the box has this funny message on the side. Am I the only one who really appreciates an interesting cereal box to read while I eat my breakfast?

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6. Vegan Pumpkin Pie

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Pumpkin pie has always been my favorite dessert. It must be something about the smooth, creamy, and spicy filling and crumbly crust! I purchased this beauty from Whole Foods, which carries many other vegan desserts.  Now, you can enjoy vegan versions of all of your favorite desserts without having to bake them from scratch yourself!

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 As you can see, there are plenty of vegan pumpkin spice goodies to indulge in this fall! If you try any of these products, or if you have any recommendations to add, please let me know! 🙂

Best,

Leila

Vegan Chai Latte

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With the weather cooling down, there is nothing I enjoy more than curling up on the couch in a cozy sweater with a warm chai latte. However, dairy free chai lattes are difficult to come by and the soy chai latte from Starbucks contains honey.  So in light of the autumn season, I created this spiced vegan chai latte. This recipe makes 1 serving.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 chai tea bag

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  • 1 cup nondairy milk. Coconut milk has a thick and rich texture that is perfect for latte making. If you would prefer your latte to be very creamy, then eliminate the water and use two cups of the milk.

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  • Optional: Cinnamon Agave

IMG_20141012_121751215Instructions:

  1. Combine the water and nondairy milk in a saucepan and bring to a boil. If you are without a stove top, feel free to heat up the water and milk in the microwave.

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  1. Turn down the heat and add the tea bag. Allow it to boil until your tea has reached the desired strength. I allowed the tea bag to steep for 2 minutes.

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  1. Strain the tea if necessary and pour into your favorite mug. Add the cinnamon agave and stir.

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There you have it! A warm and delightfully spicy vegan chai latte!

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I hope you are all having a lovely weekend. Savor autumn before the long, cold winter arrives! I enjoyed a picnic in the park and a walk in the woods this afternoon. Views like this that make me feel so thankful to be living on this amazingly beautiful planet!

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Best,

Leila

Lost in the Woods: A Fall Makeup Look

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Today was a lovely fall day. The sky was clear, the temperature was perfect, and the leaves were just starting to change color. To capture the beauty of the season, I created this fall eye look inspired by golden sunlight, autumn leaves, and getting lost in the woods.

To begin, I primed my eyes with the Urban Decay Primer Potion and applied Josie Maran’s coconut watercolor eyeshadow in Playa del Pink as a base.

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Using Urban Decay’s Ammo Palette, I applied Chopper, a warm rose gold, to  the lid, avoiding the inner third. I then applied Smog, a rich woodsy brown, to the outer half of the lid, focusing on the outer V. I dragged this color into the crease and blended it well to give a soft, smokey, and blown out effect.

I then applied Sin, a soft champagne, to the tear duct and inner third of the lid. I also re-applied Chopper to the center of the lid to intensify the color. Then, I ran Smog along the outer third of the lower lashline and applied chopper to the middle of the lower lashline, blending the two colors together.

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To further intensify the outer corner, I smudged Urban Decay’s 24/7 eye pencil in Black Velvet into the outer half of the waterline and applied thick winged liner using Wet n Wild’s Mega Eyes liquid liner in black. I love how firm and precise the tip of this liner pen is, allowing me to create a sharp wing with ease. I finished the eyes by curling my lashes and applying mascara.

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To fill in my eyebrows, I applied the Anastasia brow powder with an angled brush and set them with the Anastasia Lash Genius brow gel.

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As a finishing touch, I applied Wet n Wild’s Silkfinish Lipstick in Black Orchid. This deep, bold wine color is beautiful for fall. I love how this lipstick glides on smoothly and is extremely pigmented. The quality is amazing for its low price!

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Here is the completed look:

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I hope you are enjoying autumn! It is a busy season for me, with midterms coming up. But sometimes it is best to pause, take a deep breath, look up at the beautiful sky and golden leaves, and get lost in the moment. Time is constantly passing by, like the falling autumn leaves, so never lose sight of the beauty in the simple things.

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Best,

Leila