A Small Fall Haul

a small fall hail

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

IMG_2027

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

IMG_2008

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

IMG_2012

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

IMG_2018

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

10 Tips to Shop Smarter

10 tips to shop smarter

I love shopping as much as the next girl, but I will be the first to admit that nothing good comes out of a mindless shopping spree. There are a ton of cute clothes out there, but a jumble of adorable pieces does not make for a functional closet. Below are 10 tips to help you get the most out of your shopping trips.

1. Decide What You Need

shopping list

Just browsing can be fun, but if you want to make it a productive shopping trip, it is best to go with a plan. Figure out what you need.  Is your closet missing sweaters or a coat for the upcoming fall season? A top to match the skirt you picked up last time? Shopping with a purpose will help make your shopping trip a productive one.

2. Go Pre-Shopping

pinterest

Pinterest is a great place to see what’s trending and get style inspiration

Before heading out,  browse the online stores to give yourself an idea of what to look out for. For even more outfit inspiration, visit fashion sources such as Teen Vogue (still useful even if you’re not a teen!) and Pinterest. Getting up to date on the season’s upcoming trends is a great way to give your shopping trip direction and inspiration.

3. Budget Your Trip

Before going shopping, check your bank account and decide upon a rough budget for the trip. This will encourage you to make more thoughtful purchases instead of buying first cute item you find. Also, don’t forget to check for any good sales going on, and whether you have any coupons to use.

4. Shop Alone

Going shopping with friends is a lot of fun, but if you want to get the most out of your shopping trip, it is best to go solo. When shopping with others, you may tend to take less time to think through your purchases, view fewer options, or buy what everyone else is buying. Shopping at your own pace allows you the freedom to accomplish what you need to.

5. Leave Your Options Open

If you come across something you are thinking about purchasing, don’t be afraid to leave it and come back later. This gives you the opportunity to think through whether the purchase is truly necessary and allows for the possibility of finding something else you like better.

6. Staple Pieces vs. Statement Pieces

The bright daisy print dress is a statement piece and the nude sweater and brown belt are staple pieces.

Statement pieces, such as stunning patterned dresses and floral blouses, are most tempting when browsing a store. But staple pieces, such as basic tees, tanks, and cardigans, will get the most wear. Staple pieces can be worn together, but statement pieces typically need to be paired with neutral-toned staples. Maintaining a balance of staple pieces and statement pieces is the key to avoiding having a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear.

7. Try It On

IMG_20141025_151142728

And sometimes a dressing room mirror selfie is completely necessary!

For the life of me, I don’t understand why people buy clothes without trying them on first! Sometimes a piece that looks really cute on the mannequin turns out to be disappointingly lackluster after trying it on. In the fitting room, move around, check out the back, lift your arms/legs, and really get a feel for whether you could live in the piece. Don’t be afraid to try on multiple sizes!

8. Ask Yourself…

dogs question

While examining a piece in the dressing room, ask yourself a series of questions: Am I prepared to care for it as recommended on the label? How often will I wear this? How would I style this piece with the clothes I already have? Would I feel comfortable wearing this all day? Do I have something like this already? Answering these questions will help you choose the pieces that will contribute most to your closet

9. Know What You’re Buying

IMG_20150817_201441732

This is the only reason why an animal should be in your closet!

Every time we make a purchase, we are voting with our dollars. It is important to know what we’re voting for. I avoid purchasing animal materials such as leather, fur, wool, and down because I cannot truly know how these animals were treated. Even animals at “humane” facilities are often subjected to cruel treatment and are ultimately slaughtered. I also try to inform myself about a company’s treatment of their workers to avoid supporting companies that do not treat them fairly.

10. Hang On To Receipts

IMG_20150817_201900552

The fridge is a great place to keep new receipts!

In case you change your mind about a piece or notice any defects, keep the receipts in a safe place until you are completely sure that you love your new finds. This takes a lot of the hassle out of making returns.

Those are my 10 tips for shopping smarter. I hope these tips help you make wiser purchases during your next shopping trip!

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.

Fashion 

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

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

IMG_20150131_201804523

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

IMG_20150131_201659979

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

IMG_20150131_200602370

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

IMG_20150131_200612387

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

IMG_20150131_200645625

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

IMG_20150131_200727212

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! 🙂

Best,

Leila

Go Vegan in 5 Simple Steps

I have blogged a lot about why to go vegan, but I have not written much about how. Considering we are beginning a new year (resolutions anyone?), now is the perfect time to take the leap and try out a vegan lifestyle.

You can pledge to try vegan for the month of January here. It’s called Veganuary! Thousands of people all over the world are have already pledged. Whether you are interested in the vegan lifestyle for health, ethical, or environmental reasons, this is a fun and simple way to give the vegan lifestyle a try. So here are five steps to help smooth your transition to vegan!

1. Crowd Out Animal Products. A mistake many people make when going vegan is cooking the same meals, minus the animal products. This method certainly will not help you to maintain the vegan lifestyle long term. In order to stay satisfied and enjoy the vegan lifestyle, you must replace the animal products you eat with vegan alternatives. I recommend filling your fridge with many varieties of vegan protein, such as Gardein vegan meats, varieties of tofu, and tempeh, as well as vegan dairy products such as plant-based milks, yogurts, and cheeses.

IMG_20141230_244627315

All vegan and all delicious!

People  often ask me whether I miss eating animal products. It is easy for me to respond with no, because I now have plenty of delicious vegan foods I enjoy instead. So I recommend chasing away cravings by adding many new, exciting, and delicious vegan foods to your diet.

2. Research the Animal Industries. Before I was vegan, I was vegetarian for about a week. I had never done any research on the animal industries and had no clue how animals were treated. It was quite clear to me that meat came from animals who had been killed, but I was unaware of the cruelty in the dairy and egg industries. Because I thought that taking milk from a cow did not kill her, I still saw dairy products as food. But once I did my research and discovered the dark truth (Dairy cows are forcibly impregnated year after year, have their babies stolen from them so humans can drink the milk, and are slaughtered once their bodies are exhausted), giving up dairy was easy. So I encourage you to learn all you can about the animal industries through simple Google searches, watching undercover investigations such as from Mercy for Animals, and watching documentaries such as Vegucated, Cowspiracy, Food Inc, and Forks over Knives. Many are available on Netflix!

the difference

3. Find a Vegan Role Model. Chances are, you do not know a vegan in real life. I never met any vegans until I started college! So find a vegan role model, whether it be a celebrity or animal rights activist. My role model, who was part of my inspiration to go vegan, is Alissa White-Gluz. She is the singer for the band Arch Enemy, as well as a longtime vegan and animal rights activist. Having a vegan you admire and look up to will help you to stay motivated!

the second

If you do know vegans personally, connect with them. To meet other vegans, join an animal rights or vegan group in your area. Alongside others who share the same lifestyle, you will feel much more confident in your decision to live vegan.

4. Veganize your Favorite Foods. What food is stopping you from going vegan? Is it ice cream? Cheese? Burgers? I felt much better about my lifestyle change once I had looked up recipes of all of my favorite foods or found vegan versions of them at the grocery store. It turns out, when you go vegan, you do not have to give up any of your favorite foods! Whatever your favorite non-vegan food is, chances are a delicious vegan version is out there or is simple to prepare. (You can even cook with the same recipes, just replacing the animal products with vegan alternatives.)

IMG_20141104_132241610

Vegan grilled cheese and tomato soup. You name it, there is is a vegan version of it!

And be sure to give veganized foods a chance. Don’t expect them to taste exactly like your old favorites. They will taste a bit different, but embrace that difference. Different can be a good thing!

5. Learn from your mistakes. It is a given that you cannot be a perfect vegan. I have accidentally consumed animal products a few times since going vegan. In my first week vegan, I accidentally used a sauce that contained oyster extract. I once accidentally ate a granola bar that contained honey. I have accidentally purchased non-vegan makeup. The list goes on. But the key is to not let these slip-ups get to you. You are already doing all you can to help animals, and there is no way you can reverse your mistakes. Do not dwell on them, whether they be accidental or not. Simply move past them and continue working your hardest to help animals. All the good you are doing far outweighs these tiny mistakes.

mistakes

These are my five steps to going vegan! I hope you find these helpful. I strongly encourage you to try vegan this January. You have nothing to lose! I promise, with proper planning, the switch to the vegan lifestyle will be far easier than you think. I always wonder why I did not go vegan sooner!

If you have any further questions, ask away! I would love to help you in any way I can. Good Luck!

Best,

Leila

Ask Me Anything!

IMG_20141205_201048(1)

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

Lifestyle Haul

???????????????????????????????

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of excitement. I have been busy packing for college, settling in to my dorm, and starting my classes. In the midst all of this, I have acquired a few items that are worth sharing.

Elephant Tee Shirt

IMG_20140908_082734887

???????????????????????????????Last weekend, I went exploring downtown and visited a really cool recycled clothing store called Ragstock. They carried a large variety of unique, vintage, and affordable items. I managed to find this adorable elephant tee shirt and had to get it! The material is soft, airy, and loose. I love the beautiful elephant graphic! The design is so stunning in person.

Ecos Laundry Detergent Pods

???????????????????????????????

Cruelty-free laundry detergent is difficult to find. Most common brands, such as Tide, Downy, Snuggle, Bounce, and Seventh Generation, are involved with animal testing. Last weekend, I paid a visit to a comfy and quaint natural foods store called People’s Food Co-op.  They sell many vegan cleaning, health, and beauty products, all of which are cruelty-free. I was so happy to find these convenient laundry detergent pods!  No more lugging a huge jug of liquid detergent around! 🙂

Nature’s Gate Tea Tree Shampoo

???????????????????????????????

While at my local natural foods store, I picked up a new bottle of shampoo. This product is a calming formula said to gently cleanse hair and soothe and moisturize the scalp. It contains a blend of tea tree oil and herbs, as well as plant-based oils and proteins. It has a cool and refreshing minty scent too!

Mug

???????????????????????????????

My mom bought me this adorable mug as a housewarming gift for my dorm. I love the soft, worn blue color! It is decorated with a cute vintage embroidery pattern. The shape of the mug and handle also fits perfectly in my hands. I can’t wait to pull out the cozy (non-wool) sweaters and chai tea and put this mug to use this fall!

Alternative Baking Company Cookies

???????????????????????????????

I have been wanting to try these cookies for the longest time!  I was pleasantly surprised to find them at a local convenience grocery store and purchased the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip and Colossal Chocolate Chip flavors. Alternative Baking Company’s cookies are completely vegan, and are also free of hydrogenated oil, preservatives, artificial ingredients, and refined sugars. They come in many flavor varieties and are the perfect size for sharing with a friend (or keeping to yourself! 😉 )

???????????????????????????????

IMG_20140906_221928864_HDR

That’s all for my haul! I hope you enjoyed it! If you have done a haul recently, I would love to check it out! 🙂

Best,

Leila