No New Clothes For a Year — Sustainable Style Challenge Three Month Update

As some of you know, I started a self-imposed sustainable style challenge. I hashtagged it #nnc365, which means no new clothes for 365 days. I’m shy of 3 months in, and I have an essential update for you all. We took a trip to Los Angeles, and things did not go as planned. I bought some new things.

I Forgot My Bathing Suit For Our Beach Vacation

Our toddler had frequently been asking when we’d be going back to the beach ever since we got back from Hawaii in March. She kept building imaginary sandcastles on the dinner table almost every night; it was breaking my heart. So we decided to take a quick trip to California and hit our “local” beaches. The whole purpose of the trip was to hit the beach as much as possible. But guess who didn’t pack her bathing suit? Yep, it was me.

Key To Sustainable Style: Be Prepared

We arrived Tuesday evening, had dinner, hit up Target for swim diapers, and headed to the hotel. Wednesday morning, we were up bright and early with plans to have breakfast at one of LA’s excellent vegan spots and then head to the beach. I failed my challenge our first day at the beach. The weather was lovely, it was probably 10-15 degrees cooler than Las Vegas. I wore shorts, a white free people top, and espadrilles. Breakfast was great, but when we arrived at the beach, it started to get really warm. By the time we found and paid for parking, walked up and down the shops at Manhattan Beach looking for sand buckets and shovels, grabbed our beach things, and put sunscreen on; I was melting. My top had too much fabric, and it seemed to be insulating me.

If I Don’t Pay For The T-Shirt It Doesn’t Count, Right?

There was no way I was going to lay on the beach in this top that was cooking me like a baked potato wrapped in foil. So I told Marc I was going to buy a t-shirt to change into. I was disappointed in myself for not being better prepared. It didn’t occur to me that I wouldn’t have an opportunity to change before heading to the beach. I could have avoided this situation, but this is real life, and these things happen. I reminded Marc of my no new clothes challenge, and he replied, “Don’t worry, I’ll buy it for you and that way you don’t have to buy anything new or even mention it.” Yes, technically he paid for the shirt, but I still count it as a fail.

Why I Started This Sustainable Style Challenge

Going into this challenge, I wasn’t thinking of ways I could add loopholes or extra exceptions to be able to make purchases while still in the challenge. Having Marc pay for my shirt, sounded like (and was) a loophole. I told him I was still going to count it as a fail and mention it to you all because this is what happened and you should know. I put myself in this challenge after watching the True Cost documentary and seeing the struggle those making our clothes live with every day. Their struggles are fueled by our obsessive compulsion to buy fast fashion and mindlessly stuffing our closets. We’re unknowingly funding slave labor. I wanted out. I wanted to do everything within my power to stop contributing to that system as much as I possibly could, that’s why I started this #nnc365 challenge.

Make Every Purchase Count

But here I was, standing at the base of Manhattan Beach, looking up at a hill lined with boutiques. I decided that if I was going to buy a new shirt, it should at least be made in the USA and be something I would use for a long time to come. The first three stores I checked were no good. Then finally, I saw a Michael Stars sign on a boutique window. I know this brand makes all their garments in the USA. They grow their own Supima cotton, which is always made here in the US, and their design and manufacturing are also done here. This means they are paying employees fair wages and providing safe working conditions.

Key To Sustainable Style: Know Your Brands

I went into the boutique and picked out a white, long sleeve, Supima cotton, crew neck tee. Why did I choose long sleeve if I was melting in the top I was already wearing? Well, for a few reasons. Firstly, this new tee is made of Supima cotton. This type of cotton breathes well and quickly wicks away moisture, this makes it an excellent fabric for hot climates. Secondly, the long sleeves will be great for layering since fall weather is upon us and we have some cold weather trips coming up soon. Thirdly, Supima cotton is a strong, durable fiber, that gets softer to the touch with each wash. These are essential things to always keep in mind when shopping. I really thought about how this new purchase would live in my life. How I would wear it, how cost-effective would it be, how would it hold up over time.

Key to Sustainable Style While Traveling: Plan Your Outfits

Walking over to the pier in my new shirt, I realized leaving my bathing suit behind was going to be a problem since we planned on visiting the beach every day. The next morning, my denim shorts were still soaked from our beach day, and I didn’t know what I was going to wear. I looked through my suitcase and realized I was very ill-prepared for this beach vacation. In the madness of packing for myself, our toddler, the groceries we didn’t want to spoil if left behind, and other miscellaneous things we’d need. I forgot to pack useful beach wardrobe staples. I typically plan my outfits for trips like this and pack them in separate containers to ensure I have enough clothing and don’t forget any part of an outfit.

So on the third day, we headed to Nordstrom Rack for a bathing suit only to find that they had ZERO options because fall had just arrived and every summer piece was long gone. I checked the one tiny rack of athletic wear they had, opting for running shorts and a cute cropped sweater. I picked these items because I knew I’d wear them many times again.

Am I Giving Up On My Sustainable Style Challenge?

So yes, I bought some new things. Three pieces in total. It’s not what I wanted to do, and I was a bit disappointed in my self at first, but not anymore. Sustainable style, to me, is a lot like veganism. It’s impossible to live 100% sustainably in this modern world, just like it’s impossible to live a 100% vegan lifestyle. But the point of veganism is to cause the least amount of harm with your everyday choices. It’s also about educating yourself on the impact your choices make so that you can make better choices for yourself, others, and our planet. And sustainable style to me is the same. I’m still continuing my #nnc365 challenge. This mistake isn’t going to be an excuse to give up. The silver lining is that I’ll be able to anticipate future errors of this kind and catch them before they happen. Perhaps this was a blessing in disguise because we have a lot of traveling to do soon, but now I’ll be better prepared.

Labor Day Sales – How Fashion Bloggers Are Supporting Slave Labor & How We Can Stop It

Labor Day sales started a week ago even though Labor Day isn’t until tomorrow, Monday, September 1st. This day is huge for retailers and the bloggers that influence people like you to buy from those retailers. My inbox filled up with sale reminders from blogger platforms. I signed up for these platforms years ago when I first started blogging. These platforms give me access to affiliate links, resources to help me figure out what sells best and which items I should promote to get more sales. If you don’t already know, I get a small commission for every product sold via my blog. I never really paid much attention to these sale reminders because I never felt the need to push a plethora of items onto you all. I don’t like selling needless items. I like providing value and showing you helpful things/products. 

Don’t Fall Into The Labor Day Sales Trap

After seeing the film The True Cost this year, I decided to take a more minimalist approach to my wardrobe, for ethical reasons. I started closing my affiliate accounts and taking my name off blogger platform lists, newsletters, and pr lists. I didn’t want to clutter my wardrobe and home with more stuff and I don’t want to tell you to buy things you don’t need. These retailers are literal experts at making you think A) you need all these things they’re selling; B) the more you buy, the more you save; and C) you’re losing money if you’re not buying their products. Click here to listen to my podcast episode where I cover how to shop more consciously, sustainably, and with intention. 

It’s An Influencer’s Job to Sell You Things

This is always something that bothered me about blogging. I’d see (and still do) many bloggers cramming as many products into a post as possible in order to get you to buy more. Everyday there’s an entirely new outfit complete with new shoes and accessories. It’s not about style anymore. Maybe it was a first, but as the blogging industry grew and retailers noticed how much trust readers placed in their favorite influencers, they harnessed that buying power. It’s an old model with a modern delivery.

We tell our readers, via social media/blog posts, to buy the brand’s products and they pay us a commission. The more outfits/items we push on our readers, the more money we’ll make. That’s why you used to see a blogger/influencer post 1 outfit a day, maybe 2 sometimes, but in the last year it’s really ramped up. Influencers started taking to posting videos in order to showcase more outfits per post. I’m sure you’ve seen those short video clips where an influencer changes into 5 or 6 outfits in just 30 seconds flat. Then the description will show a link to buy the dozens of items seen in the video. This has been very lucrative for some bloggers, some of which rake in an average of $600,000 per year. Can you see how a blogger would be incentivized to create and endorse more looks/products?

 

“Buy less. Choose well. Make it last.” —Vivienne Westwood, fashion designer 

 

Are Your Labor Day Sale Items Supporting Slave Labor? 

Cheap Garments = Cheap Labor = Human Exploitation 

Gap sweatshop raided in India found children as young as eight working there (left). Gap embroidered shirt (right).

Big shopping days like Labor Day, are massive earning days for influencers. If you’re following any fashion bloggers you’ve probably already seen a few Labor Day Sale “Must Haves” posts. You are made to think you need these items and you’ll be saving loads of money by purchasing from these curated lists. Millions of you buy into those posts, but what you won’t see are the many massive negative effects of this type of consumerism. These blogger sales lists are typically full of items made in unethical shops where workers are exploited. You can recognize those items by their price point and their country of origin. If a garment was made in Bangladesh, India, Cambodia, Sri Lank, or China, it could very well be a product of slave labor. 

Forever 21 Labor Day Sale Ad 2019- $5 Tops are Unethical and Unsustainable
Forever 21 Labor Day Sale Ad 2019

There is no way to ethically and sustainably produce and sell a shirt, or any garment, for $5. Purchasing items at such a low cost means someone else is paying the true cost in the form of forced labor. There have been recent reports of H&M still using child labor. Additionally, hundreds of workers from both GAP and H&M have reported daily abuse. For more in-depth coverage on the topics of cheap garments, cheap labor, human exploitation, unsustainable production, toxic chemicals produced by the fashion industry, and more, see my IGTV video which you can watch by clicking here. 

It’s a very common practice among bloggers to buy massive amounts of cheap clothing from fast fashion retailers like Forever21, FashionNova, Shein, H&M, Zara, TopShop, Amazon, to name a few, in order to create as many outfits as possible. Typically bloggers market their cheap finds as “budget-friendly” or “dupes”. They may think the’re doing their readers a favor, I thought I was when I did this, but they’re not. We have the power to decide what kind of conditions these exploited workers will have. If we stop buying fast fashion, they’ll stop making it. If we demand more ethically made clothing, brands will have to pay workers more and provide them with better working conditions. It’s my responsibility as a blogger to share this with you all and it’s our collective responsibility to shop more conciously and ethically. 

 

“The customer has to know they are in charge. If they don’t like it and don’t buy it, we don’t have jobs.” – Stella McCartney

 

Are Your Labor Day Sale Items Supporting Animal Cruelty? 

Then there’s the animal exploitation aspect. Most bloggers use a lot animal materials in their outfits. There is nothing chic about using animal products in your wardrobe. There are many faux versions of these materials now. Here are some of the most commonly used animal materials. 

Leather: used for shoes belts, bags, jackets, coats, accessories, etc.

Wool: used for coats, sweaters, tops, pants, blankets, socks, gloves, jackets, hats, rugs, shoe linings, coat linings, dresses, shawls, pillows, handbags, etc.

Feathers: used for dresses, skirts, coats, jackets, accessories, jewelry, handbags, pillows, duvets, etc.

Fur: used for coats, jackets, shoe linings, coat linings, fake eyelashes, accessories, rugs, pillows, home decor items, etc.

Silk: used for shirts, dresses, jackets, coats, pants, accessories, shoes, home decor, etc.

The methods used in producing these items are horrific. If you haven’t seen how fur is produced, take a look at this 60 second video (warning: it’s explicit). Click here to watch on Youtube.

How can you spot the difference between faux fur/leather and real fur/leather? Click here for my post on how to tell if your clothes and shoes are vegan. 

Most (I assume) fashion bloggers don’t know about the cruel and horrific ways animals are tortured and killed for their skins and fur. I certainly didn’t know up until 2 years ago when I went vegan. But once I learned, it was obvious that eliminating animal products from my wardrobe was the right thing to do. If you agree with that using animals is cruel and unnecessary, send this post to your favorite fashion/style blogger and tell them to stop using animal products. 

Are Your Labor Day Sale Items Supporting Environmental Degradation?

The best thing you can do to avoid buying unethical, unsustainable, anti-animal friendly items during Labor Day Sales is to not buy anything at all. If there’s an item you truly need, consider the following options. 

Repair

Instead of throwing out your freshly ripped tee or jeans, consider taking it to an alterations shop to have it repaired. These types of repairs only cost a few dollars. You can also fix ripped jeans yourself by adding a fun and decorative patch in matter of minutes with just an iron, no sewing required. 

Recycle

Consider recylcing your unwanted clothing into new items. Old jeans can be turned into shorts. A hole can ruin a shirt but if you choose to add more holes it becomes a cool new distressed tee. You can also remove sleeves off a shirt and now you have a new shirt, I’ve done this with ruffle sleeve shirts. Conversely, you can add sleeves to a sleeveless shirt to create a whole new look. 

Swap

Instead of buying new items, consider having a swap party with friends, family, neighboors, or all of the above. You can swap unwanted items for new items to freshen up your wardrobe or even household goods. 

Thrift

Thrift stores are a great way to shop sustainably. When you buy new items, you create a demand for more new items which means more resources will be used to create those items. Shopping thrifted does not create a demand for more new items, in this way we save resources and directly stop funding forced labor. If thrift store options are limited in your area, consider thrift shopping online. Click here to read my post on the top 5 places to thrift online. 

Cheap Garments = Unsustainable Production Methods = Toxic Chemicals Dumped into Our Environment

Cheap Garments = Poor Fit = Short Garment Lifespan = Garments Quickly End Up In Landfill

Cheap Garments = Poor Quality = Item Warps/Fades/Rips = Garments Quickly End Up In Landfill

Buy Ethically Made/ Sustainably Sourced

If you really need to buy something new, look for an ethically & sustainably made option. Websites like DoneGood.co can help you source great options. You can shop from catergories like Vegan, Cruelty-Free, Eco-Friendly, Made in the USA, Recycled/Upcycled and more.

Vegan Fitness TrueStrength 8 Week Challenge Review | Week 1

Vegan Fitness TrueStrength 8 Week Challenge Review | Week 1

Vegan Fitness TrueStrength 8 Week Challenge Review | Week 1

Finding a weight loss program is a daunting task. There are SO MANY to choose from. Finding one that meets your needs and budget can be really challenging. I signed up for the TrueStrength 8-Week Challenge from Veganfitnes.com. I’ve looked at various options but decided to try this challenge because it’s made by vegans with a focus on vegan nutrition. However, you don’t have to be vegan to do this program. I asked my Instagram community if they’d like to see a weekly update with my thoughts and opinions and I received a resounding yes. So this is my review for week one of the Vegan Fitness TrueStrength 8 Week Challenge. 

Why A Review

I wan’t planning reviewing this program. I was going to do it for myself to get healthier and not really share anything about it. However, after the first 2 days I had so many thoughts about it that I thought should be shared. I’d want to know these things before spending this kind of money on a program. I’ll cover who this program is for, cost, whats included, what’s not included, meals, nutrition tracking, extra costs you can expect, and more. I hope you all find this helpful. Ok, let’s get started.

What Is This Program?

This is an eight-week fitness training program to help you get fit. The program comes with a vegan nutrition plan, basic nutrition information, planned workouts, and simple how-to videos for both the workouts and some food. You’ll also be granted access to a private facebook group to join other who are also currently doing the challenge. Once a week, there will be a livestream with the founders of the program where there answer pre-submitted questions. 

The Cost

This cost for this eight week program is three hundred dollars. You can recieve $10 off the program total by clicking the following special link. Click Here.

Preface

Before we get into the review I should tell you some information about me and my fitness level. Before the challenge I was regularly working out 3-4 days a week. Some days are just strength training, others are just cardio, sometimes it’s yoga, somedays it’s a combination of these. I work out because my work leaves me idle most days. I’m typically sitting at a computer for hours on end, so moving is quite necessary. I’m not a stranger to working out. I’ve hired professional personal trainers in the past. I hired the first one when I was 18 years old. This was when I was introduced to the world of macros, counting calories, the app My Fitness Pal, and basic “nutrition”. The word nutrition is in quotes because what I learned then was nutrition as influenced by the meat and dairy industry. 

Even while on a diet focusing heavily on meat, dairy, and eggs. I was able to loose weight and get fit. My trainer at the time had me eating string cheese, cottage cheese, spoonfuls of peanut butter, and plain hardboiled eggs as go-to snacks and sometimes also as lunch. While consuming these foods high in saturated fat, I still lost quite a lot of weight. I dropped from a size 12 to a size 6 within about 10 months. I learned how to workout, meaning which types of exercises to do to target the desired areas. I learned how many set and reps to do, I learned how to use gym equipment, and much more. 

All this to say, I’m not a novice to the gym and I know about conventional nutrition. However, I don’t consider myself a very “fit” person, meaning I don’t have muscle definition, I don’t have low body fat, I can’t lift large amounts of weight. Keep this in mind when reading the following review. 

TrueStrength 8 Week Challenge Review – Week One

Choose Your Preferences

You’ll start off by answering some questions and entering some basic information about yourself like age, height, and weight. They’ll also ask you to upload pictures of yourself in a bathing suit to track progress, this part is optional but highly recommended. Then you’ll choose between the shred program (weight loss) or bulk program (muscle gain). I chose the shred program.

You’ll also choose between a home workout or gym workout. I chose the home workouts because I can’t always get to the gym since I have a toddler. For food, you can chose the conventional plan or the meal prep plan. I initially chose the meal prep plan. They give examples you can follow for both. You’ll then receive a slightly customized program. I write “slightly” because it’s not as customized as a program would be if you were training one on one with a personal trainer.  

What I Don’t Like About The TrueStrength 8 Week Challenge 

This Program is Not For Everyone

Let me start off by saying I thought this program was for everyone. It isn’t. Even though I workout 3-4 times a week, I would consider myself a beginner because I’m not very strong. I would not recommend this workout program for beginners. If somewhere it clearly explains who this program is for, someone please let me know because it wasn’t made clear to me. I only realized this after doing the first workout and joining the discussions in the private Facebook group. I definitely struggled with the workouts this week. A lot of people in the group expressed the same feeling. After doing the workout myself, I could see why other people were also struggling. Keep in mind, everyone received different workout plans customized to them and their goals. 

Week one consisted of 5 workout days and 2 rest days. The workouts each have 9 or 10 exercises plus 20 minutes of HIIT (high intensity interval training) cardio. Each workout consists of 3 sets of 10-12 reps for most. Let me give you an example of why this program is not for beginners. Day five’s workout started with pull ups; there is also the option of assisted pull ups. Even when I was at my fittest when I was a 18 and a size 6, I could not do a pull up on my own; I was barely even able to do assisted pull-ups at that time. Currently, I can’t do either. I’d be a bit worried about beginners starting this program injuring themselves with some of these exercises.

My last thought for this is that you’ll have to buy some equipment if you chose to do the home program. So far, I’ve purchased 2 sets of dumbbells and a resistance band with handles; I spent $85. I guess I was also expected to buy the pull up bar (additional cost) but I chose to just replace that exercise. You’ll also need to get the paid version of My Fitness Pal app, which costs $10 per month, in order to track your macros.

The Meal Prep Plan Is Very Plain

A lot of the prepped meals contain fake meat to get the required amount of daily protein. A lot of people don’t have access to these fake meats so I would really take that into consideration if you’re thinking about purchasing this program. There’s also a lot of protein powder required. This will be an added cost which can get very expensive depending on the type of protein powder you decide to use. One of the daily meals consists of a protein shake. Another consists of a smoothie bowl with added protein powder to meet protein and calorie goals.

Lack of Guidance From Admins

I incorrectly assumed from the founders’ promotion of this program that there would be more guidance than there is. I also thought, they’d be more involved in the private facebook group with answering questions. There was a live Q & A with Nimai and Bianca (the founders), in the evening of the first day of the program. They answered questions but I’m not sure where the questions came from. I never saw a spot to leave questions before the live Q & A. I also requested to be added to the private FB group after signing up but wasn’t granted access until the next night so I missed the live Q & A, which I wanted to watch live to see if I could submit questions during it. The session was saved and posted afterwards so at least there’s that.

The private FB group is great for those that need the community aspect. However, they also ask and answer each others questions about workouts and nutrition. Which, in my opinion, is not super helpful for these two topics because most of the people in the group are not super knowledgeable on these two topics. There is an email where we can contact the founders directly so I guess I’ll start making more use of that. Hopefully, they’ll be quick to reply to messages; so far, according to other users, it take a while to hear back from them.

What I Do Like About The TrueStrength 8 Week Challenge 

Planned Workouts

Having a planned workout saves a lot of time. This is one of the main reasons I purchased this program. I’m knowledgeable on workouts and how to workout, like I said earlier but I didn’t want to think about and take time to put together a workout plan. This helped with that. 

The Meal Prep Plan Is Easy

I know, this is in both what I don’t and do like. While I don’t love the meal prep plan, as stated above, I think they are useful for those that are completely new to plant-based eating (not everyone in the program is vegan), don’t have any idea how to prepare food, or don’t care too much about taste. The meal preps are basic and straightforward. They’re not terrible but they’re also not impressive, which I understand because they are there to serve a specific purpose and not to indulge in. There are also about 45 basic standalone recipes in the program that one could choose follow. 

Basic Nutrition Info

I do like that there is basic nutrition information. They explain what macros are and there are simple how-to videos for making tofu taste good. This would be really helpful for beginners. 

The Final Say For Week One

Would I recommend the TrueStrength 8 Week Challenge? After this first week I would say no. Personally, I don’t feel like I’ve learned anything. I purchased this program because I thought I’d learn something new. I already know how to workout, track macros, and eat a healthy, low fat diet in order to loose weight. I also have the same plant-based nutrition certification from eCornell as one of the founders of the program.

If you’re looking to lose weight, get fit, and healthy, you need three things: a workout plan, which there are many of for a significantly lower cost (around $20/month), a plant-based diet meal plan (also available from various sources for a much lower cost, approximately $30), and an app that tracks your macros and calories (my fitness pal, $10/month). Cost is a huge deciding factor for most people when choosing a program. My total cost for this program has been $395 so far. Keep in mind this total does’t include protein power, which I’ve chosen to exclude thus far. 

TrueStrength 8 Week Challenge Discount Code

If you’re still interested in this program, you can use get a $10 discount off the total by clicking this link

My Daily Program Updates

You can follow me on Instagram for daily progress pictures and video. I post what I eat in a day as well as some snaps from the gym. To follow me on Instagram click here. 

 

Sustainable Jeans VS Fast Fashion Jeans

 Top | Jeans | Shoes | Handbag | Sunglasses

Is it possible to be stylish and sustainable? Yes, it is. Case in point, the white jeans I linked in this post. I want you to take a look at the jeans I’m wearing, then at the ones I linked. They’re nearly identical, except the ones I’m wearing are from a fast fashion brand and the ones I linked are from a sustainable, environmentally-friendly brand.

Sustainable Jeans from Outer Known

I purchased the jeans I’m wearing back in March for $15 without much thought as to who made them or what conditions that person was working in. Since then I’ve educated myself on sustainable fashion. One of the first sustainable brands I learned about was Outer Known. I purchased a few shirts for Marc as a gift for Father’s Day. The quality and design blew me away! Co-Founded by environmentalist & world surfing champion, Kelly Slater, Outer Known also offers clothing for women. While their price point is much higher than the fast fashion brand’s sticker price of $15, they’re worth every penny. Here’s why.

The white jeans I linked in this post are made from 100% organic cotton, which is far more eco-friendly than conventional cotton. The denim comes from Milan, Italy and they’re cut and sewn in Saitex Vietnam, the world’s leading sustainable denim factory. This means the manufacturer takes great precautions in not wasting natural resources or polluting the earth. The jeans are also guaranteed for life; if they become worn out, Outer Known will replace them for free.

Why Quality Matters

Greater quality jeans, like these, will last for decades so you’ll only need to buy a handful of pairs. The alternative is buying low quality $15 jeans every few months that won’t hold up very well and will need to be replaced frequently at an additonal cost to you. Frequently replacing clothing means creating more demand for fast fasion and creating more waste, as the majority of fast fashion textiles end up in landfills were they take hundreds of years to decompose.

Lastly, when your Outer Known jeans are ready to be retired, you can send them back to Outer Known where they’ll be upcyled into something useful, like house insulation. Outer Known is really changing the fashion game and creating a truly sustainable and stylish model for future brands.

P.S. My handbag is made from vegan leather, quality canvas, and fabric made from recycled plastic bottles. This brand offers a wide variety of styles. It’s hard to pick just one so I ended up purchasing three my first time!

Click on the image below to shop.

5 Best Places to Online Thrift

There are so many benefits to thrifting online. I just thrifted the cropped black sweater I’m wearing in the picture above! My favorite aspect of online thrifting is the freeing feeling I get knowing I’m not contributing to the production of more waste. Whether you’re thrifting in perosn or online, is a great way to practice sustainable fashion. It’s also such a time saver and online thrift sites save you the struggle of sifting through unwanted items. Finding exactly what you want/need can take as little as just a few minutes! But where should you online thrift? Are there any good online thrift stores? Yes, there are lots! Here are the best 5 places to online thrift.

Poshmark

Poshmark is probably the best-known online marketplace for online thrifting. It’s an app-based marketplace featuring hundreds of thousands of users and millions of thrifted items. The app first launched eight years ago and has since garnered a huge user base. Poshmark offers a wide variety of clothing for women, men, and children. They also offer shoes, accessories, & beauty products. Their Instagram-like feed makes shopping so much fun. You can find everything from designer items like Chanel flats to premium brands like Good American, Michael Kors, and even more affordable brands like Urban Outfitters, Topshop, Old Navy, and Asos. and Fun fact: Rachel Zoe and Ashton Kutcher are investors! Get $10 when you sign up for a Poshmark account using my referral code: jeanettepvega. 

Tradesy

Tradesy is also an app based platform, similar to Poshmark, with an emphasis on luxury goods. This is the place to go to find you next thrifted designer bag or shoes. One great feature about Tradesy is the ability to communicate directly with sellers or buyers. I’ve been able to negotiate for a lower price on more than one occasion. You can find luxury items from designers like Stella McCartney, YSL, Prada and more. 

Goodwill Online

Did you know Goodwill has an online store? They do and it’s a treasure trove of amazing finds! You can find anything from clothing to furniture, rare collectable art & jewelry pieces, and even cars for sale!  Goodwill’s online store is set up auction-style, much like eBay. This is a great option if you’re looking to buy a thrifted gift for a loved one. Keep it sustainable by shopping Goodwill online. 

Thred Up

Thred Up is my favorite app for getting the most bang for your buck. They offer a wide variety of brands at super low prices. There’s no option to bargain but there’s no need to because prices are already super affordable. You can find brands like J. Crew and Free People items as low as $8. Tradesy also offers a really awesome consignment service that allows you to send in all your unwanted items and they’ll do all the work of selling them for you. 

The Real Real

The Real Real is the leading luxury online consignment store. You’ll find just about any luxury brand you can think of here. They often have 20% off sales and a few times throughout the year they have 50% off sales. Items go fast so if you see something you like, it’s best to buy it asap. The Real Real is the best place to find gently used luxury items because they authenticate every item before it goes up. 

What are your favorite online thrift stores? Do you know of any that aren’t on this list? Share them below!

Click here to see my IGTV video about 3 reasons why you should by thrifted. 

how to tell if shoes are vegan

What Even is Vegan Style? How to Tell if Your Clothes And Shoes Are Vegan

The booming trend of vegan style and fashion comes as no surprise after millions of millennials and younger generations drop animal foods from their diets. An obvious next step for these ethically-minded individuals is stripping animal products from their wardrobe and beauty routine. But where do you even get started? What even is vegan style? How can you tell if a shoe is vegan? How can you tell if a piece of clothing is vegan?  I’ll answer all these questions and more within this post. By the way, can you tell all four of my outfits below are vegan?

how to tell if shoes are vegan

What is Vegan Style?

Let’s be real, “vegan” can be a scary word.  It’s a loaded term that has a wide array of interpretations depending on who you ask. Let me offer some clarity on how I define “vegan”. I define vegan as a diet and lifestyle that uses zero animal products or animal by-products. I don’t wear fur, silk, feathers, leather, wool, or use any other product that comes from animals. You may be asking yourself,  “Well what do vegans wear?” It seems restrictive but it’s really not, in fact, you’re probably already wearing vegan outfits all the time and you don’t even know it.

How Do I Know If My Outfit Is Vegan?

Figuring out if your outfit is vegan is pretty simple. Grab an item of clothing and look at the tag. If the tag lists any of the following materials, it is not vegan. If it doesn’t, it is vegan. 

  • Angora
  • Calf hair
  • Calfskin
  • Cashmere
  • Down
  • Feathers
  • Faux feathers
  • Fur
  • Fox Fur
  • Leather
  • Merino wool
  • Rabbit Fur
  • Silk
  • Shearling
  • Suede
  • Snakeskin
  • Wool

If your garment doesn’t contain any of these animal materials, then congratulations, it’s vegan! 

How to tell if shoes are vegan?

There are a few different ways to tell if a shoe is vegan or not. Grab a pair of your shoes and look on the upper inner area near the heel. There you’ll find the shoe material composition listed. You can also find this information on the back of the shoe tongue, on the band of the shoe, or on the strap of women’s heels. The most common animal materials used in shoemaking are the following. If the shoe contains any of these materials, it is not vegan.

  • Calf hair
  • Calfskin
  • Fur
  • Fox Fur
  • Leather
  • Rabbit Fur
  • Silk
  • Shearling
  • Suede
  • Snakeskin

If your shoes don’t contain any of the materials listed above, then congratulations they’re vegan!

What Are Those Symbols on the Bottom of Shoes?

You can also look at the bottom of a shoe to see if it’s vegan. Most shoes will have a clear sticker with black or gold symbols indicating what that shoe is made from. Use the key below to figure out if your shoes are vegan or not. The two symbols on the left are not vegan. The first sign is the universal symbol for leather, aka cow skin. The second symbol is for coated leather. The third symbol is for textile; this indicates the shoe is made form fabrics, typically viscose or cotton. The last symbol (first on the right) stands for all other materials, including man made materials. Man made materials are synthetic materials, you’ll typically see “all man made materials” printed on the bottom or inside of nearly all vegan leather shoes. 

 

Here’s an example of leather symbols on the bottom of a leather shoe

Example of faux leather symbol on the bottom of a vegan leather shoe

For higher-end shoes, it’s common to see the leather symbol embedded in the shank of the shoe.

 

Some of the best vegan and cruelty-free fashion brands

There are currently lots of amazing vegan fashion brands offering cruelty-free shoes and clothing. The vegan fashion scene has really eploded this past year. Dozens of new brands have launched just in the the last year from 2018 to 2019, and there are currently dozens more preparing to launch. Even history fashion houses like Gucci and Hugo boss have dropped some animal products and introduced faux fur and vegan shoes.

Perhaps the most well known vegan fashion brand (and one of my favorites) is Stella McCartney. Her ultra recognizable handbags are stylish and mimic suede really well and are completely vegan. Click on any of the products below to shop. 

Cult of Coquette

One of my favorite vegan high heels shoe brands is Cult of Coquette. If you’re looking for a vegan version or just a cheaper version of a Christian Louboutin So Kate heel, take a look at Cult of Coquette’s Gloria heels. They’re nearly identical to the So Kate heel but they’re cruelty-free! Another great shopping site for vegan shoes is Beyon Skin. They offer a wide range of vegan shoes and accessories for women; they even offer vegan bridal shoes!

Will’s Vegan Store

For men’s vegan leather shoes, one of my favorite online retailers is Will’s Vegan Store. They offer a wide range of men’s vegan leather shoes from many different vegan and sustainable brands. They options range from casaul sneakers to high end dress shoes. If you want good quality vegan men’s shoes or vegan leather belts and accessories, take a look at Will’s Vegan Store.

A Special Note About Feathers

Feathers are often used as accessories or as embellishments on clothing. Most recently, we saw gowns at the MET gala made almost entirely of feathers. While feathers on some of those brightly hued gowns can seem fake, unfortunately, they are entirely real. You may have purchased a feather boa or feathers from your local craft store at some point in your life. Those feathers are also real, meaning they come from real birds. Bird are forcibly held down and violently plucked without, any sedative, for their feathers. The birds are often left bloody, hurt, but still alive to be plucked again in the near future. 

Fake Feathers Are Not Fake

After posting about Kylie Jenner’s feather-embellished MET gala on my instagram feed, I received a few dozen messages and comments stating those feathers were fake. They certainly look fake and I wish they were but they are not. Brightly colored or patterned feathers look fake because they are dyed or stamped with unnatural looking colors. You can find “faux feathers” for sale online or at you local craft store, however they are not fake. They are marked as “faux” because they have been dyed or stamped so they no longer have their natural color; however, they are still sourced from real birds.

The only true faux feathers that I’ve been able to find, that are not sourced from animals, are made from wood or paper and you can certainly tell they are not real bird feathers. As of the writing of this post, I have not been able to find a vendor for authentic looking non-animal sourced feathers. I messaged several dozen online retailers marketing faux-feathers and they confirmed their feathers are sourced from animals. They are listed as “faux” because they are dyed or altered to look unnatural. If you’re buying a garment or accessory with feathers, chances are those feathers are real and you should look for a cruelty-free alternative.

How to Style Heart Shaped Sunglasses

Dress (from Ross, similar here & here) | Cardigan | Shoes | Handbag | Earrings | Sunglasses

Heart Shaped Sunglasses for Spring

These are the perfect sunglasses for spring. I adore how these heart-shaped sunglasses compliment any face structure. The cat eye shape elongates the face giving you a more narrow face shape. Heart shaped sunglasses are honestly so flattering on everyone, I’m obsessed with this trend! I just bought these same sunglasses in pink and Athena stole them form me, lol.
pink heart shaped sunglasses
I’m so surprised at the quality of these sunglasses. I bought these white heart shaped sunglasses as a set, a black pair was also included. The set was only $15.99! And they look just like the $500 Saint Laurent version. They’re great dupes and they come in a variety of colors. 

How to Style Heart Shaped Sunglasses

My favorite way to style these sunnies is with a flowy feminine dress like the one above. The fun playful shape of these glasses pairs perfectly with the flowy fabric of a midi or maxi length dress. But honestly, these sunglasses look cute with practically any dress. I would also style these sunnies with a maxi dress, cropped denim jacket, and a cute tote bag. My second favorite way to style these heart-shaped sunglasses is with an edgy look. You can click here to see how I styled these heart-shaped sunglasses in red. The bold cherry red hue really makes an outfit pop. 

 

Side note, how cute are these clear heels? They’re one of my top picks from my recent roundup of the best vegan shoes for spring 2019, click here to read that post.

 

The Best Natural Deodorants | Vegan Deodorant Review + Why You Should Stop Using Your Crystal Rock Deodorant ASAP

Native | Schmidt’s Rose | Natural Vegan Club | Schmitds Fragrance-Free | Green GooCrystal

An increasing number of people are ditching their aluminum-based antiperspirants in favor of natural  deodorants. I switched from antiperspirants to deodorants years ago and finding a natural deodorant that actually works has been quite the journey. I’ve tried many brands of natural deodorants and something I learned is that “natural” doesn’t always mean non-toxic. Additionally, “natural” doesn’t mean aluminum-free. In fact, one of the most popular natural deodorants is made from aluminum. In this post, I’ll go over which natural deodorants actually work well at preventing odor and keep you smelling fresh. I’ll also share how to tell the difference between antiperspirant (aluminum-based) and deodorant. Lastly, I’ll tell you why it’s important to use a natural & aluminum-free deodorant.

What’s the difference between antiperspirant and deodorant?

It’s important to first understand the difference between antiperspirant and deodorant. Put simply, antiperspirant blocks sweat and deodorant blocks smell. Antiperspirant contains aluminum salts that work by clogging and blocking sweat glands from excreting sweat, a natural cooling process, thus preventing odor. Deodorant doesn’t block sweat glands it simply masks sweat odors to keep you smelling fresh while allowing your body to perform its natural cooling process, known as sweating.

What’s the problem with using antiperspirant?

The main problem with using antiperspirant is the worry of aluminum absorption. Aluminum has been linked to breast cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, hormone disruption, neurological damage and more. Studies on this subject are mixed. Some research has shown a strong correlation between aluminum exposure and Alzheimer’s while others haven’t found a clear correlation. However, that could be because there simply aren’t enough studies or enough data. According to Cancer.gov, only a few studies have explored the link between aluminum-based deodorants and breast cancer. We need more studies on the subject so this is why I recommend to play it safe and steer clear of aluminum. We also know that aluminum is widely accepted as a neurotoxin and has been found in high concentrations in the brains of those with Alzheimer’s disease. This is a subject that has not been extensively studied so, in my opinion, the most logical thing to do with the findings that we do have is take precaution and stay away from products that contain aluminum. While aluminum is a naturally occurring mineral, it is not naturally found or necessary in the body at any level.

A Little TMI About Me

Before I get into this deodorant review, let me preface this by stating that I sweat very easily. I don’t sweat a lot, just a normal amount, but I do sweat very easily. For this reason, a good deodorant is very important to me and I’m constantly trying new ones to stay up to date on the most effective natural deodorants. Also, I recently did a juice cleanse and it had been a while since I’d done one. What I had failed to remember is that juice cleanses tend to make one a bit stinkier than usual because your body goes into detox mode. Luckily, I had a good deodorant. Read on to see which deodorant I used to keep me stink-free during my juice cleanse.

Crystal deodorant review

The pros:

It’s vegan & cruelty-free.

It prevents bad odors.

The cons: It’s made from aluminum.

I’m starting with the worst one because this one really is really sneaky and widely misrepresented as natural and non-toxic. Crystal deodorant sticks can be found in the natural deodorant aisles of most health food stores. However, they aren’t any more natural or safe to use than conventional deodorants made with aluminum. Crystal deodorants are available in a few varieties. The most common one you might have seen is the one pictured above, with the rollerball, or the big salt rock stick. Looking at the salt rock stick deodorant you’d think it’s just a big piece of natural salt that you rub on to prevent odor. However, these “mineral” deodorants are not what they seem. I used this deodorant for a month and it worked really well. I was actually surprised at how well it worked. Then I read the label and was shocked at what I found, it’s made from aluminum. The rollerball deodorant above contains potassium alum which is made by mixing sulfuric acid with bauxite ore; the reaction creates aluminum oxide. This is then mixed with potassium sulfate to create potassium alum, the second ingredient listed on the back of this Crystal roll-on deodorant. Don’t fall for the greenwashing marketing tactic, read the label on the back!

I say to read the label on the back because the label on the front is also designed to fool you. It reads “mineral deodorant roll-on”. What’s so deceptive about that? I mean, “mineral” sounds good. Minerals are natural, right? Well, this is technically not a lie, but it is deceptive. Minerals are natural in that they are found in nature. However, they are not all safe for the human body to absorb. For example, petroleum is a natural mineral from the earth. We use it to fuel our cars but we wouldn’t want to ingest it because it’s lethal to the human body. We also wouldn’t want to put it on our skin, however, we do, unknowingly. Petroleum is found in deodorants labeled as “petrolatum”, “mineral oil”, or just “minerals”. This ingredient is derived from crude oil. While most non-toxic deodorants can claim to be aluminum free on their product labels, Crystal deodorants cannot make the same blanket claim. There are many varieties of aluminum so Crystal deodorants try to fool the consumer by marketing “no aluminum chlorohydrate” on the front of this bottle.

Schmidt’s Deodorant Review

Now let’s talk about the best aluminum-free natural deodorant that actually works. That title goes to Schmidt’s deodorant. This is my favorite and most recommended deodorant.

The pros:

This deodorant is vegan and cruelty-free!

It’s also free of any toxic substances including aluminum, propylene glycol, parabens & phthalates. It’s got simple and clean ingredients. It’s now been about a year since I started using Schmidt’s deodorant and I keep going back to it. It’s absolutely my go-to for every day. I put this deodorant to the test on the daily. I do a heavy workout in the gym for an hour 3 days a week and cardio outdoors for an hour 3 days a week. There’s a lot of sweating on those days and this deodorant really works! It keeps me smelling like roses and I love how long it lasts.

I also love that I don’t have to reapply throughout the day. The only exception to this is when I do a juice cleanse. I do a juice cleanse once a month just for a day or two and I notice my sweat does get a little stinky on those days. This is when I do reapply about halfway through the day. And with the second application, it keeps me smelling fresh and clean. I absolutely love this formula.

Schmidt’s deodorant is available in many different scents including jasmine, coconut, tea tree, charcoal, and a fragrance-free formula which I discuss below. They even have a Lily of the Valley scent that they created in collaboration with the Jane Goodall Institute. Five percent of each purchase will go to the institute which helps animals.

It’s widely available. Find it at Target, Sprouts, Natural Grocers and other health food stores.

The cons:

It’s on the pricier side of the spectrum. Even so, it’s worth it! Target offers a smaller size (2.75 oz)  priced at just $5 vs the original bigger size that’s around $9. If you have a Costco membership, you can buy a three pack of the regular 3.25 oz sticks for just $10.99

It’s not organic. I hope they start making organic options soon!

The formula could be a little easier to glide on. It’s just a tad on the grainy side. Now I’m just nitpicking but this is a review so I’m saying it all!

Native Deodorant Review

I heard a lot of good things about Native deodorant so I gave it a try. I used this deodorant for a month before reviewing it. I despise overpowering chemical smelling deodorants so these are lovely because they use natural flower oils; this has a clean, subtle lavender scent that perfectly covers up any stinky sweat.

The pros:

Award-winning deodorant.

This deodorant is vegan and cruelty-free!

Free of aluminum, parabens, and sulfates.

It holds up well during intense workouts. I only had to reapply during my juice cleanse days, which produce stinky sweat.

It’s got clean ingredients like tapioca starch, coconut oil, shea butter, & lavender oil.

It glides on smoothly, more than Schmidt’s deodorant.

It’s made in the USA.

It’s available in a variety of scents including unscented and my favorite lavender rose.

It’s widely available. Shop it at Target or on their website here.

The cons:

It’s on the pricier side of the spectrum. Even pricier than Schmidt’s at $11.99 for a 2.65 oz stick.

It’s not organic. I hope they start making organic options soon!

Natural Vegan Club Deodorant Review

Before we get into this deodorant review, let me quickly introduce you to Natural Vegan Club. This deodorant comes as part of a monthly subscription box that is natural, vegan, cruelty-free and zero waste! Their packaging is compostable and all their items (including the bamboo toothbrush in every box) are biodegradable! I mean, what more could you ask for? Ok, let me tell you about this heavenly-scented deodorant.

The pros:

This deodorant is vegan and cruelty-free!

It smells fantastic! Natural Vegan Club’s deodorant is scented with natural essential oils. I could smell it before I even opened the box. The scent is citrusy and clean and really works! It’ll keep you smelling fresh all day without the need to reapply.

I absolutely love Natural Vegan Club’s compostable containers. Think about how many deodorants you go through in your life, that’s a lot of plastic! I wish all deodorants came in these biodegradable containers!

It’s Paraben Free, Sulfate Free, Aluminum Free, Cruelty-Free, Vegan, 100% Backyard-Compostable, Dye Free, Soy Free, Gluten Free Friendly, and free of all toxins!

It’s handmade.

It’s got super clean ingredients including coconut oil, shea butter, arrowroot powder, essential oils and more.

It’s a food grade product. Meaning it would even be safe to eat, but don’t because then what would you put on your underarms?

It’s good for sensitive skin.

The cons:

This deodorant is part of a subscription box but you can also order it separately directly from www.NaturalVeganClub.com.

There’s not too much product in the bottle. However, if you’re signed up for the monthly delivery it’s more than enough for a month.

It’s not organic. I hope they switch to organic ingredients soon!

Schmidt’s Fragrance-Free Deodorant Review

Ok, I raved about Schmidt’s rose vanilla deodorant but I have to be honest, this formula didn’t work for me. Schmidt’s fragrance-free deodorant is designed for those with sensitive skin and sensitivity to baking soda. I’ve heard great things about this deodorant. It’s quite effective for a lot of people but for me, it just didn’t work. I felt like I had to keep reapplying and it didn’t keep me smelling fresh for long periods of time.

The pros:

This deodorant is vegan and cruelty-free!

Clean ingredients, no aluminum, no parabens, no sulfates or dyes.

Fragrance-free.

It glides on easily.

It’s widely available. Find it at Target, Sprouts, Natural Grocers and other health food stores.

The cons:

It didn’t work for me.

It’s on the pricier side of the spectrum. Even so, it’s worth it! Target offers a smaller size (2.75 oz)  priced at just $5 vs the original bigger size that’s around $9. If you have a Costco membership, you can buy a three pack of the regular 3.25 oz sticks for just $10.99

It’s not organic. I hope they start making organic options soon!

Honest Deodorant Spray Review

It seems Honest may have discontinued this deodorant with their beauty revamp last year. I included it in this post because I’ve used it for long periods of time and was impressed with it. I still find it at Marshall’s and Ross Dress for Less stores but it does seem to have been discontinued by Honest. So if you see a bottle at Marshall’s or Ross, give it a try!

Pros:

It’s vegan & cruelty-free!

Clean ingredients, no aluminum, no parabens, no sulfates or dyes.

It really works. One spray will keep you smelling fresh for 6-8 hours. I did feel like I needed to reaplly after long days toward the evening.

Sprays on easily.

Has a clean scent.

Available in a few different scents.

Affordable. This bottle was $4.99

Cons:

Not organic

Discontinued by Honest. But it’s still periodically available at Marshall’s and Ross Dress for Less.

Green Goo Gel Deodorant Review

This natural deodorant was the least effective of them all. It didn’t work for me even a little bit. I loved the easy glide on formula and it smelled great but it didn’t hold up well against sweat and the rose scent dissipated quickly.

Pros:

It’s vegan and cruelty-free.

It glides on very easily.

It smells great.

It’s Gluten-free.

It’s free of aluminum, propanediol, Parabens, phthalates & artificial ingredients.

It’s got mostly clean ingredients including coconut oil, aloe vera leaf juice, and lemongrass oil.

Cons:

It contains two slightly questionable ingredients, glyceryl laurate, and propylene glycol.

It’s not widely available. I found this one at Marshall’s and do see them there periodically but I’ve not seen them elsewhere. You can find them online.

They’re pricey. They retail for $10.50 on their website. However, I found this one at Marshall’s for $5.99.

It’s not organic. I hope they start making organic options soon!

I hope you found this natural deodorant review useful. I tried to keep it short and to the point. If there’s something I miss or you have a question I didn’t cover, please let me know. Leave a comment below or shoot me a DM over on Instagram.

Pro tip: If you’re not sure about an ingredient listed in your deodorant or want to see how toxic or non-toxic it is, look it up on the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database.

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New Finds | Organic Vegan & Cruelty-Free Beauty Products

I’m always looking to improve my beauty and skin care products. Everything I use is now vegan and cruelty-free as of 18 months ago and just recently, I started incorporating more organic items into my skin care products. If you’re new to organic skincare, let me tell you why this matters. Women use approximately 12 beauty products per day on average. Sixty percent of what you apply on your skin gets absorbed within 25 seconds. Think about that. Lotion, face moisturizer, foundation, concealer, lipstick, shampoo, face gels, creams, exfoliants, anything that touches your skin qualifies for this absorption rate. If the ingredient in your skin care items are not organic, then you’re most likely absorbing pesticides (among other chemicals) through your skin.

Now, consider how often you use all the products and multiply it by the years you’ve been alive and the years you’ll continue to live, that’s a HUGE toxic load. My point here is not to scare you, but rather, inform you and empower you with the knowledge to do better for your skin and your health. I’ll be posting more organic beauty and skin care products regularly, and as always, they’ll be vegan and cruelty-free. I linked the same products from different online stores so you can shop at your preferred retailer, please not prices vary.

2019 Hair Trends | Cheetah Print Bow Headband

Headband (currently 20% off!)| Earrings| Top (old, similar) | Jeans | Purse | Shoes |

Is anyone else loving this headband/hair accessories trend right now? I’m totally obsessed with it. I’ve been buying hair clips as if I were a six year old girl. I can’t get enough of them! I’m particularly loving this cheetah print bow headband from Anthropologie. The print is so pretty and perfect the current animal print trend. Additionally, the fabric is super silky soft and best of all this headband has a wire inside. I love these types of headbands because you can shape the wire inside the bow anyway you want and really adjust it to wear your headband just the way you like it. I love feminine pieces with with a bit of edge and this headband is exactly that. I feel like I can’t pull off a fluffy pink headband but this leopard print headband is perfect for feminine girls that like a bit of edge. This piece is currently 20% off right now which makes it $14!

My jeans are sold out but I linked a similar pair by the same (and my favorite) brand ever. They’re from Nordstrom and they’re currently doing 2x points on all purchases through May 12th. Nordstrom credit card holders earn 6x points! I just ordered myself some more of these Good American jeans because they have THE BEST fit! See my previous post about their fit here and see two other ways I styled these Good American jeans here and here.

How cute is this little double strap satchel? I love finding a good vegan leather purse, especially when it’s a designer dupe! The designer version is $479; this one is under $50 and it goes so well with jeans and dresses a like! Hope you all have a fun Mother’s Day, if you need some last minute ideas check out this post about 20 vegan and cruelty-free perfumes you can gift every mom on your list. There’s options for all budgets and a lot of these you can find in person at your local beauty store, Target, or department store. And if you want to give something a little more meaning, try this gift guide packed with meaningful gifts that give back!