Recipe First Impression: Stuffed Acorn Squash

recipe fip acorn

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

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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

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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.

love life hippie boho colorful advice kindness positivity mantra kind Spiritual

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

Summer to Fall Transition Makeup

summer to fall transition

Sadly, summer is coming to an end. Fortunately, we have rich, smokey eye shadows and dark lips and nails to look forward to. But before you break out your fall colors, here are some tips for transitioning your makeup smoothly from summer to fall.

Eyeshadow

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Honey Pot is a beautiful gold-toned shadow from the Too Faced Natural Eyes Palette. 

To transition from summer brights into darker fall eyes, give a muted gold shadow a try.  This color has a beautiful sheen and flatters every skin tone. The ultimate late summer color, a soft gold is the perfect stepping stone between summer corals and fall bronzes.

Lips

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NYX Simply Nude in Sable

When in doubt, go nude! A rich neutral lipstick just a smidge darker than your natural lip color is an excellent transition from summer brights to dark fall shades.

Nails

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OPI Nail Lacquer in Barefoot in Barcelona

Mauve tones are the perfect colors to prep your nails for the deep and dark shades to come. Put the summer neons and pastels aside and instead embrace this earthier look. I chose this purple-toned mauve and love how it matches every outfit, from sun dresses warmer days to the sweaters on cooler days.

Cheeks

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Urban Decay Naked Flushed Palette

When I think about summer, bright pink, coral, and orange blushes come to mind; however, fall is all about the darker red and purple tones. Using bronzer as a blush serves as a great segway into fall blushes. This may seem strange at first, but it gives the cheeks a beautiful summer-tinged fall look. Just blend the bronzer onto the top of the cheekbones and up towards the temples.

Here is a look combining these products:

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Those are my suggestions for transitioning your makeup from summer to fall, cruelty-free as always! I hope you found this post helpful. Happy (almost) fall! 🙂

Best,

Leila

How I Cleared My Skin

How I cleared my skin 1

Since I was 11 or 12, I have been struggling with acne. Even after going vegan over a year ago, my skin was still uncooperative as ever. But this summer, I have been taking measures to clear my skin and am finally seeing results. So in case you are also struggling with skin that has a mind of its own, below are the things I do to help clear my skin.

1. Keep my hair off my face. When you have what feels like a mountain range on your face, it can be tempting to hide it behind a curtain of hair. But after consistently pulling my hair back in a ponytail or half-up half-down do to keep my hair off of my cheeks and forehead, my breakouts began to calm down.

2. Change my pillowcase. I aim to change my pillowcase every other day (1 side of the pillow per night), and it has been making a world of difference! My acne heals much better overnight when I sleep on a clean pillowcase.

3. Sleep well. Going to bed early maximizes the healing sleep your body needs to repair itself. I tend to get into the habit of staying up late and waking up late, but I have found that my skin fares much better if I go to bed earlier and wake up earlier, even if I get the same amount of sleep.

4. Don’t touch it! I am always tempted to touch or pick at acne, especially when I am stressed or nervous. Messing with pimples only makes them worse. They heal much slower, can leave scars, and can spread to nearby skin. Keeping your hands off your face makes a big difference in lowering healing time and preventing future breakouts.

5. Go bare faced. My solution to breakouts has always been to slather on a bit of concealer and head on my way. However, even the lightest coverage makeup still does more harm than good for my skin. It can feel embarrassing to leave your imperfections out in the open, but after not wearing face makeup regularly for over two months, I found that the benefits far outweigh those first few weeks of insecurity.

6. Remove my makeup. But if you do wear makeup, make sure you remove it completely. I still have clogged pores near my eyes from not removing my eye makeup thoroughly. To prevent this, I go over my eyes and face with a makeup wipe after washing it to be sure I have cleaned away every last bit of makeup.

7. Avoid trying new products. A month ago, I tried out a new concealer and almost instantly got the hugest breakout. So if you are trying to clear your skin, it is best to avoid risking aggravating it with new products. But if you must try something new, go for something more natural or something that is formulated for sensitive skin.

8. Patience. When taking steps to clear your skin, it is important to stick with it even if you do not see results right away. Healing acne takes time. With persistence, your skin will improve.

My Skincare Routine

My skincare routine 1

I have very sensitive skin, so I find that less is more when trying to clear my acne. I wash my face every evening with Yes To Tomatoes face wash, which is very natural and gentle yet formulated to fight acne. Then, I moisturize dry patches using C.O. Bigelow Rosebud Salve. In the morning, I wash my face with only water and then moisturize.

Final Tip

Remember that having acne doesn’t make you less of a person. Don’t let it get you down or stop you from doing what you love. Make efforts to be the best you you can be, but also don’t fret over every imperfection. My skin still isn’t perfect, and I don’t expect it to ever be. We all just have to learn to love and nurture our skin as it is. ❤

skin you're in

Best,

Leila

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. 🙂

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Now the mango is ready to eat! Happy snacking! 🙂

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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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All lipsticks featured are drug-store cruelty-free! 🙂

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