2018 Holiday Gift Guide | Mindful Gifts for Everyone on Your List + Plus Gifts That Give Back

Gift giving can be daunting, am I right? With the holidays right around the corner, you’ve probably already googled “gift ideas for mom” or “gift ideas for women” and most certainly “gift ideas for men” because they’re especially hard to shop for! What about that one person that doesn’t need anything or has everything?! Yep, I’ve been there too. Don’t worry, this year, I got you covered!

Are you ready to give gifts that are going to really resonate with your loved ones? Are you ready to give with intention? Are you ready to give a gift that will be remembered and cherished for many years to come? GOOD! This holiday gift guide is going to knock your socks off! Not only are these gift ideas awesome, but most of them also give back! Yep, they do good for others, meaning you’ll be feeding two birds with one scone. 😉

Holiday Gift Ideas | Books

Let’s start with books. I love gifting books because they’re the gift the keeps on giving. A single book can completely change someone’s life. Take, for example, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn’s book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease. This information in this book can be used to reverse heart disease, but please, don’t take my word for it. Go read the 1,700+ reviews on Amazon where readers share their testimonies and lab results. This is some really powerful reading. I’ve been gifted many books over the years, everything from fiction, to non-fiction, to cookbooks, which I still use to this day. Cookbooks make life easier and I’ve loved collecting them since I was a kid. Here are some of my most recent favorites.

 

1. Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease: The Revolutionary, Scientifically-Proven, Nutrition-Based Cure

The New York Times bestselling guide to the lifesaving diet that can both prevent and help reverse the effects of heart disease

Based on the groundbreaking results of his twenty-year nutritional study, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn illustrates that a plant-based, oil-free diet can not only prevent the progression of heart disease but can also reverse its effects.  Dr. Esselstyn is an internationally known surgeon, researcher and former clinician at the Cleveland Clinic and a featured expert in the acclaimed documentary Forks Over Knives. Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease has helped thousands across the country, and is the book behind Bill Clinton’s life-changing vegan diet.”

2. How Not To Die by Dr. Michael Greger

“From the physician behind the wildly popular website Nutrition Facts, How Not to Die reveals the groundbreaking scientific evidence behind the only diet that can prevent and reverse many of the causes of disease-related death.”

3. The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, and Long-Term Health

“You can dramatically reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes just by changing your diet. More than 30 years ago, nutrition researcher T. Colin Campbell and his team at Cornell, in partnership with teams in China and England, embarked upon the China Study, the most comprehensive study ever undertaken of the relationship between diet and the risk of developing disease. What they found when combined with findings in Colin’s laboratory, opened their eyes to the dangers of a diet high in animal protein and the unparalleled health benefits of a whole foods, plant-based diet.”

4. The Blue Zones: 9 Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest

“Bestselling author, longevity expert, and National Geographic Explorer Dan Buettner reports on health, fitness, diet, and aging, drawing on his research from extraordinarily long-lived communities–Blue Zones–around the globe.”

5. This Cheese is Nuts!: Delicious Vegan Cheese at Home

“In their debut cookbook, The Plantpower Way, Julie Piatt and her ultra-endurance athlete husband, Rich Roll, inspired thousands to embrace a plant-fueled lifestyle, and through their advocacy efforts, podcasts, and talks, countless people are now enjoying healthier and more vibrant lives…Filled with the essential tips, tools, and mouth-watering recipes home cooks need to immerse themselves in the world of nut-based cheese-making, This Cheese is Nuts will demonstrate why nut cheeses should be part of any healthy, sustainable diet.”

6. Forks Over Knives—The Cookbook: Over 300 Recipes for Plant-Based Eating All Through the Year

New York Times Bestseller!

 

Holiday Gift Ideas | Journals

Journals are really trending right now and I’m predicting they will be one of 2019’s biggest trends. Gratitude journals, particularly, seem to be the most popular. Why is this? Well, it seems like this trend started with CEO’s and successful entrepreneurs; many of whom, speak about the power of practicing gratitude and being mindful of the things we have. This is a practice I’ve completely embraced in the last few months and I even started a #gratitudechallenge over on my Instagram. Exercising gratitude is easy and has the power to completely transform your life. I find that since starting this practice, I’m more mindful in more aspects of my life, I have a sunnier disposition, I handle “bad” situations better, I’m kinder to others, I’m nicer to myself, and I have a more positive outlook on life and the world around me. Here are some of my favorite journals.

1.52 Lists for Happiness Journal

2. Good Days Start With Gratitude Journal

3. Diario De Gratitud

A gratitude journal for Spanish speakers. Diario de gratitud en espanol.

4. Start With Gratitude Journal

 

Holiday Gift Guide for Everyone on Your List

 

1. Love Your Melon Pom Beanie

Fifty percent (50%) of net profit from the sale of all Love Your Melon products is given to the Love Your Melon Fund to support our nonprofit partners in the fight against pediatric cancer, create therapeutic experiences and fund charitable programming initiatives for children and families battling cancer.

2. One Hope Wine Gift Box

One Hope Wine partners with numerous nonprofits to help support causes that support animals, children, women, veterans, education, environment, and health. Partners include Pencils of Promise and Room to Read.

3. Conscious Steps Mens Gift Box—Socks That Give Back

This box supports the movement to combat deforestation, protect our environment, and repopulate our oceans.

4. Ceramic Oil Diffuser

An oil diffuser is such a great gift to help your loved ones unwind and relax. This one is so simple to use, just fill the water cup to the line, add a few drops of essential oil, and push the start button. Not only is it super easy to use but the soft glowing light and vase design are so pretty; it makes a stylish addition to any room. It also doubles as a night light!

5. Lush Charity Pot

“This rich and generous cream contains seven ingredients sourced from our Sustainable Lush Fund projects that support regenerative agriculture around the world. With every purchase of Charity Pot, we donate 100% of the price (minus the taxes) to small grassroots organizations working in the areas of environmental conservation, animal welfare and human rights.”

6. Raw Sugar Body & Bath Gift Set

This product gives back! For every product purchased, one bar of soap is donated to a family in need. This brand is vegan and cruelty-free.

7. Raw Sugar Holiday Body Wash Set

The product gives back! For every product purchased, one bar of soap is donated to a family in need. This brand is vegan and cruelty-free.

8. Roma Rain Boots

For every pair you buy, a pair is donated to a child in need.

9. Krochet Kids Fox Ears Beanie

This gift gives back. Krochet Kids creates life-changing jobs through the making of apparel and accessories. They also provide social impact programming that helps communities get out of poverty.

10. Conscious Steps Womens Gift Box—Socks That Give Back

Each box plants 10 trees through Trees for the Future, promotes early detection of breast cancer through Keep A Breast, and empowers women with access to safe water through Water.org.

11. Love Your Melon Black Beanie

Fifty percent (50%) of net profit from the sale of all Love Your Melon products is given to the Love Your Melon Fund to support our nonprofit partners in the fight against pediatric cancer, create therapeutic experiences and fund charitable programming initiatives for children and families battling cancer.

12. Gift Prime

This is a gift everyone needs. I’ve been using Amazon Prime for years but when Athena was born, we used it nearly every day. This was invaluable to us because it saved us from having to go out for every little thing I needed for ourselves, the house, the dog, and the baby. Every parent knows the hassle of packing up the baby for a “quick” trip to the store. There’s no such thing; every trip somehow turns into a 2-hour long journey.  If you don’t know what to give someone, give them the gift of express delivery. Prime also comes with tons of free movies and tv shows as well as free audio books.

Prime Trial

If you’d like to try it for yourself, use this link to get a free 30 day trial of Amazon Prime.

13. Ruby’s Dream Big Socks

These rainbow sock are not only really cute, they also give back! Ruby’s Rainbows

“Ruby’s Rainbow is a nonprofit that grants scholarships to adults with Down syndrome who are seeking post-secondary education, enrichment or vocational classes, helping them achieve their dreams of higher education while spreading awareness of their capabilities.”

14. Naja Wonder Sports Bra

Naja offers lingerie and activewear. Their products are made by single mother and female heads of household. They pay above-market wages, provide healthcare, and support child educations with stipends.

15. Matas Traders Hammered Disc Bracelet

These beautifully crafted pieces are made by artisans in India and Nepal. They come from rural areas, tribal villages, and urban slums looking for a chance to lift their families and communities out of poverty. Your purchase supports these artisans and their families for generations to come.

16. I Have Done Love Necklace

This necklace supports the Aleksander Fund by donating $12 for every I Have Done Love necklace sold. The Aleksander Fund is a scholarship to send a woman in need or who have suffered a loss to one of Jen Pastiloff’s healing retreats. It’s named after Julia Anderson’s baby boy who passed away in July 2016.

17. Love Beauty & Planet Rose Gift Set

100% of the gift set profits go to The Recycling Partnership.

18. Petit Vour — A Cruelty-Free, Vegan, Subscription Beauty Box

This is not your ordinary beauty box. These boxes are packed with high-end, vegan and cruelty-free makeup, perfumes, and beauty items. This is the perfect gift for anyone who loves animals as much as they love pampering themselves. Use code: GIFT NOW for 50% off your first box.

19. Deer Sleep Mask

These are currently on sale. Buy one get, one free!

20. Love Your Melon Blanket

Fifty percent (50%) of net profit from the sale of all Love Your Melon products is given to the Love Your Melon Fund to support our nonprofit partners in the fight against pediatric cancer, create therapeutic experiences and fund charitable programming initiatives for children and families battling cancer.

21. S’well Teakwood bottle

This water bottle keeps your water cool for 24 hours and hot drink hot for 12 hours! It was created to reduce single-use plastic water bottles and is now the most popular water bottle on the market. S’well partners with UNICEF and other important charities to do great work.

22. S’well Gold bottle

23. S’well Pink Bottle

24. S’well Silver Bottle

25. Future World Changer Tee 

Use code: SITEWIDESALE for 50% off your purchase.

This tee gives back. “Each year, millions of women and children are trafficked into sexual exploitation in India.  Sudara Freedom Fund and the certified B-Corp, Sudara, are working to change this by providing hope and opportunity through living-wage jobs, skills training, and education.  This change is possible because people like you are making donations to Sudara Freedom Fund and customers are purchasing Sudara goods.”

26. Cuddle and Kind Sebastian the Lamb Stuffed Animal 

For every doll purchased, Cuddle + Kind donates 10 meals to children in the USA and around the world.

27. Cuddle and Kind Lucy the Lamb Stuffed Animal

For every doll purchased, Cuddle + Kind donates 10 meals to children in the USA and around the world.

28. Krochet Kids Fox Stuffed Animal

This gift gives back. Krochet Kids creates life-changing jobs through the making of apparel and accessories. They also provide social impact programming that helps communities get out of poverty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Non Candy Halloween Goody Bags

 

Goody Bags | Ghost Erasers | Mini Erasers | Glow in the Dark Bracelets | Bat Rings | Spider Maze | Monster Finger Puppets

This year will be our second year giving out non-candy Halloween goody bags. Last year was Athena’s first Halloween. I started thinking about what I would do when she became of trick or treating age. I really hope that by then there are more houses handing out non-candy treats. I’ve always loved Halloween, the costumes, the trick or treating, the fun decor, what’s not to like? However, now as a parent, I see this holiday a little differently. I’m definitely concerned with the amount of sugar kids consume nowadays. Not wanting to contribute to this, and also to set a good example for Athena, I decided to make Halloween goody bags filled with toys. It was around this time last year that I either saw a teal pumpkin on someone’s porch or heard about the teal pumpkin project. If you’re not familiar with the Teal Pumpkin Project, it’s a movement encouraging parents to give out non-candy Halloween treats to make the holiday more inclusive to those with food allergies. These bags are also great for vegan kids, which are also not able to eat most of the candy given out on Halloween. The fact that there are kids with food allergies never even crossed my mind so when I learned about this project I convinced me even more to make these goody bags.

I decided to make this a tradition. Last year I got all my supplies at the Dollar Store. This year I saw so many cute items, perfect for these bags, at Target so I just bought everything there. It was pretty inexpensive too. Target has really been stepping up their game when it comes to the under five dollars items bins near the front of their stores. I Linked all the items except the Halloween sticker boxes and the Halloween tattoo boxes. I searched high and low for these items online but I just couldn’t find them. However, I’ve checked two locations near my house here in Las Vegas and they still have these boxes, I think maybe they’re just not available online.

It took me about an hour to make 40 goody bags. I took my time and sipped on a latte, I love this little Halloween tradition. There are all kinds of cute ways to decorate these types of goody bags but I wanted to keep it simple so I bought these orange bags with the bat print. This pack also comes with ghost-print bags, but I didn’t use them. I also bought a couple packs of bat rings. I tied the goody bags using the bag ties that come with them, then I put a ring around the bag tie to cover it up and make the bags a little cuter. It’s so easy and they turned out great!

Athena has been having a blast with all these goodies. She already made off with a handful of the mini erasers. Lol. I can’t wait to hand these out to trick or treaters. Also, if you’re too busy to make these goody bags (not that it takes long at all), Target also has these little Halloween mini play packs. Each one is about the size of your palm and comes with a mini coloring book, 2 crayons, and a sticker. Each bag is only $3 and has 8 mini play packs inside. Athena really loves these, she asked for one while we were still in the store and she colored the whole time I was shopping. I’m keeping a few extra for future shopping trips. 😉 I couldn’t find the link for these but they still have them in store. You can find all these supplies at Target.

How to Raise a Vegan Baby from Day One

If you caught my interview on the DM Show Podcast you’ll remember I spoke about adding more vegan-related content to my blog. A while back I also mentioned wanting to add more motherhood-related content as well since I get a lot of questions about that in my Instagram direct messages. There’s so much I’ve been dying to share but it’s been really challenging trying to focus on the blog and raising Athena (not to mention work & personal life stuff) at the same time. But Athena’s now a year and a half old, which means things are starting to get a little easier. Ok well, that’s not technically correct. What I should say is that some things are starting to get easier while others are becoming more challenging. But she’s growing up and becoming a bit more self-sufficient and Marc and I are getting really good at dividing and balancing our time with her so each of us can also get some work done. Long story short, I feel like I’m finally starting to have a bit more time to produce content for the blog, so get ready! 

Today I want to talk about how to raise a vegan baby. Specifically, what to give your baby from day 1 and what options you have as a vegan parent trying to raise a vegan baby. Now, if you’re not vegan, or are but don’t plan on raising your baby vegan, you should still read this post because I’m going to cover some stuff every parent should know. Yesterday, I got a message from a reader asking me if I was still breastfeeding. I’m am still technically breastfeeding Athena but I don’t think I’m producing any milk at this point if I am it’s probably trace amounts. At this point, she’s already eating a wide variety of solid foods so for these reasons, I’m planning to stop breastfeeding her in the next couple weeks. I was also asked if I’m supplementing her diet with a milk replacement. I’m not and I never have. Athena has only had breastmilk since the day she was born. To be completely transparent, I did try giving her goats milk formula on three separate occasions (because I thought she needed it) that first day but she spit it all up and did not seem to be doing well with it, so I stopped and waited for my milk to come in. 

I wasn’t educated enough on breastfeeding and this is something I wish I had done much more homework on. I thought my newborn baby was going to starve if I didn’t give her a lot of milk right away. I didn’t know her stomach was only the size of a large marble and that she’d only need 1.5 to 2 ounces of milk per feeding. I didn’t know about colostrum. I think as women, we just grow up thinking breastfeeding will be easy and come naturally to us, but it isn’t and it doesn’t. So I really advise every mama to really learn as much as possible about this topic.

Here are some great resources for doing so:

La Leche League (click here to find a league near you)

Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding

 

What type of milk should I give my vegan baby? 

I get this question quite often. It may not surprise you to hear that breastmilk is the best option for all babies, not just vegan babies. A lot of parents worry that raising their baby vegan will be challenging because they won’t get enough protein. Breastmilk is the product of millions of years of evolution. Over this period of time, it’s been refined to be the most perfect food to ensure that humans not only survive but thrive. Breastmilk is high in fat and other nutrients but quite low in protein, in fact, protein only makes up 6% off calories in breastmilk. Compared to breastmilk from other mammals, humans breastmilk is extremely low in protein and this is a good thing.  Babies just don’t need tons of protein at this stage in their development. 

Can’t I just give my baby infant soy formula? That’s vegan right?

No, soy formula is not vegan. However, it is a slightly better option. Soy formulas still contain whey or casein and minerals derived from animals. If you need to use formula for your baby, I would suggest using a soy formula that doesn’t have any whey or casein. Earth’s best makes one that is plant-based. While it’s not entirely-vegan, I think this is one of the better options in soy-based infant formulas. 

Are there any vegan baby formulas available?

Yes, but not in this country, yet. If you really need to use formula and you must have a 100% vegan formula, you can order Premeriz. The stage one formula seems to be sold out at the moment but you can sign up for email alerts for when it’s in stock again. This formula is also organic, gluten-free, and free of palm oil. You can find Premeriz vegan baby formula at boutiquevegan.com.

There is also a new vegan baby formula coming to U.S. markets. Nestle recently submitted a patent for a vegan baby formula that will be 100% vegan, soy-free, gluten-free, and minimally processed. It will be made from potato microparticles and will be suitable for vegan as well as non-vegan babies. You can read more about this news here

Donor milk could also be an option for you.

Donor milk comes from women who produce an excess of milk and kindly donate it—or sometimes sell it—to a milk bank. Donor milk is screened and tested for viruses, diseases, and other harmful substances before being accepted. However, different milk banks have different protocols for this. There’s some debate about how stringent for-profit milk banks are on their testing methods compared to non-profit milk banks. If the milk passes the screening, it is then pooled with milk from 3-5 other mothers and pasteurized. It’s then bottled for donation or sale. There are many ways to go about getting donor breastmilk. You can check with the hospital at which you gave birth, some of them have what is known as “compassionate milk” which they donate to babies in need. You can also check with local non-profit milk banks or buy some from for-profit milk banks. The latter option can be quite pricey but some insurances cover the costs. This article from What to Expect has more thorough information on the topic of donor milk. Also, keep in mind that some individuals do not consider breastmilk vegan if the donor is not vegan as animal products can pass through the mother into the breastmilk.

*Please note regular plant milks (coconut, soy, hemp, almond, hazelnut, etc.) do not provide a sufficient amount of nutrition to replace breast or formula milk within the first 12 months of a babies life.

Additional resources for vegan mothers:

RaiseVegan.com (If you’re on Facebook join their vegan parenting group!)

Vegnews.com

PlantbasedNews.org

ForksOverKnives.com

PlantProof.com

 

Sources for this article include:

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

www.nutritionfacts.org

www.psychologytoday.com

Kimono Cardigan Fall Outfit

Cardigan | Jeans | Top | Boots & here | Bag | Hat | Sunglasses & here

This is one of the other looks we shot while we were in L.A. a few weeks ago. This kimono is now on sale for 50% off! Fun fact about this shoot, we got kicked out of this location. Lol. The guard that walks the premises told us that the owner of that development sent him down to tell us we had to leave and that we’d have to pay for permission to shoot there. He also said, and I quote, “People usually pay millions or billions to shoot here.” Lol. Um, yeah ok. Kristina and I just nodded then politely left. So there’s a little-known blogger secret for ya’ll, sometimes you do in fact need to request permission in advance to shoot in some locations, sometimes you have to pay (though never millions, unless you’re shooting a major motions picture or something), and sometimes its free and you can shoot wherever you like. But this guard was so funny. He was serious about those figures too, lol.

Las Vegas Dining | Tacotarian — Delicious Mexican Food that Just Happens to be Vegan

With Regina Simmons, part owner of Tacotarian.

The concha loca.

I’m SO excited to be sharing this post with you all today! Ladies and gentlemen, this is Tacotarian—a Mexican eatery based in Las Vegas that makes mouth-watering Mexican food, that just happens to vegan. That’s right, everything you just saw in the pictures above is vegan, including the people, lol. This spot opened up just a few weeks ago and it’s already becoming a favorite with the locals. I had been stalking their Instagram page before they launched and was finally able to stop by about a week after they opened. My friend Kat and I met for lunch there and we ordered half the menu, you can see that pic here. We were floored by how good everything was. The tacos are packed with flavor, the enchiladas rival the animal-based versions served elsewhere, and the desserts are not to be missed!

If you asked me for a recommendation I wouldn’t know what to suggest first because the menu is killer and the execution is even greater. BUT, if had to really choose, my first recommendation would be the tacos in this order: the baja, chorizo, chicharon verde, the super taco, and the gabacho. Next, you HAVE to get the frito pie and the takis elotes, both are great for sharing! Also you’re going to want a side of guac because it’s the best in town; I’ve tried a lot of them and this is the one, folks. Lastly, you’re probably going to be full but you can not leave without trying the concha loca and the churros with caramel sauce! Again, great for sharing! Honestly, you can’t go wrong with whatever you decide on.

I love the design of this space. Their branding is modern yet traditional, vibrant, and spotless. It flows seamlessly from the bright shade of turquoise on the benches to the fixtures and the serveware.  Even the branding on the paper your food is served on is pretty. Every detail was really well thought out— the Tacotarian team are clearly professionals in their arena. It may have something to do with the fact the Regina Simmons, one of the owners is also part owner of two other popular dining establishments— Firefly, and Tacos & Beer.

Tacotarian also offers aguas frescas, margaritas, beer, and kombucha on tap! I mean do you really need another reason to go? I didn’t think so. Go try it for yourself and be sure to catch my interview with Regina Simmons, on my Instagram soon! And when you stop by Tacotarian, be sure to take a selfie with the sombrero hanging to the right of the bar (you can’t miss it) and tag Tacotarian. You can find Tacotarian in the west side of Las Vegas at the cross streets of Fort Apache and Patrick, which is about 15 min (11 miles) off the Las Vegas strip. I love that it’s off the strip because that means there’s plenty of parking and it’s free! Be sure to follow them on social media below and check out Tacotarian’s Yelp page for more Mexican food goodness!

Tacotarian.com | InstagramFacebook | Yelp

Thank you to Tacotarian for sponsoring this post!

The Perfect Chunky Knit Sweater for Fall

 

Dress (also here) | Cardigan | Shoes | Bag | Shapewear

Hey guys, if you recall I shared this cardigan in my Instagram stories last week and said I’d be sharing it as an outfit soon. Well, here it is. I present to you THE BEST cardigan for fall. This is one of the outfits we shot in Pasadena this past week. By the way, can I just say how much I love Pasadena? The weather was a perfect 86 degrees and as the sun went down, we were greeted by a light cool breeze. The city is so picturesque and two of my favorite things are that it’s the home of the Huntington Library and it also offers a wide variety of vegan dining options— one of my faves is Real Food Daily (yelp them!).

Ok, now let me tell ya about this cardi. This chunky knit oversized cardigan is super soft, cozy, and best of all, it’s wool-free! I can not tell you how hard it is to find chunky knit cardigans for fall and winter. It seems like 90% of all cardigans manufactured are made with wool or other animal materials. For as long as I could remember, I’ve been allergic to wool. I had always loved chunky knit oversized cardigans made of wool. They looked so warm and cozy but I wouldn’t even dare try them on because the times I did, my skin would become so irritated. It wasn’t until I worked at James Perse that I found out I wasn’t allergic to cashmere, so I started buying that. Then last year, I went vegan and slowly started eliminated all animal products from my wardrobe, including all my cashmere pieces. So now when I find a really well made, chunky knit cardigan that’s not made of wool or animal materials, I immediately jump on it. This is one of those pieces. The material is a little heavy, but not in a bad way, it has the perfect weight to it. I love the oversized fit and it has pockets! It also has beautiful movement and pairs equally as well with jeans and a tee. If you buy one cardigan this fall, I would suggest investing in this piece! I’m OBSESSED with it!

 

 

 

Black Linen Wrap Dress & Ark Bag

Dress | Shoes (similare here, here, & here) | Bag | Earrings (similar) | Lipstick

Ok friends, I have a few things to share with you all today. First, we shot this look a couple of months ago, but I’m just now getting around to posting it. I absolutely love this dress, and it’s under $100! It’s the perfect blend of rayon and linen. Which means the fabric has a good weight to it and it drapes beautifully. I love a good wrap dress but what sold me on this one were the pockets! Dresses with pockets are just the best, don’t you think? Anyway, this dress comes in 5 different colors; one option is a beautiful, light gingham print. I love the drop shoulder and the midi length. The cut and style are elegant enough to wear it to a more formal event, like dinner. But the fabric and drape make it more casual when paired with flat sandals and casual accessories, like a crossbody bag and a fun, long necklace. I’m so excited for fall weather, but I don’t think it will be arriving here in las vegas any time soon. So this is a good transition piece until then.

On another note, if you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see that my interview on the DM Show Podcast is now live! It was my first podcast ever, and I was so nervous to record! I think it went well overall. Anyway, I linked it in my Instagram stories, but you can also listen to it on Apple Podcasts for free here. We spoke about veganism, vegan lifestyles, vegan babies, vegan fashion and beauty, and a there’s a bit about my personal life. Please go listen to it and let me know what you think!

Also, as you can see, I’ve been adding other types of post besides fashion and beauty. I plan to start sharing more inspirational content with you all. I want to share all the things that inspire me to create a beautiful, happy, fulfilled life, that will help make the world a better place. There’s so much that I have planned and I’m beyond excited to share it all with you. I want to give back. I want to serve others. I want to do work that inspires and uplifts others. If you follow me on Instagram and you read those posts, you’ve seen a little glimpse of that in my latest sponsored post. I’m also working on covering more vegan, cruelty-free brands that are stylish and ethical. So watch out for that and make sure to subscribe to my newsletter so that you don’t miss anything. I’ll have some exclusive content on there including giveaways for subscribers only. Btw, newsletters only go out once every month.

Ok, that’s it for today. Hope you all have a beautiful Wednesday! Thank you to each and every one of you for following along, it means the world to me. 🙂 <3

First Time Leaving Baby

When mom watches you…

When mom watches you.

 

VS when dad watches you…

 

When dad watches you,

I have a huge family. There are fourteen aunts and uncles (not counting their spouses) just from my mother’s side of the family. And they’re all spread out across the country and around parts of Mexico. So when the opportunity arises for all of us, or a lot of us, to get together, I really make an effort to show up. When I learned that this weekend a small portion of my family was getting together in Pasadena, I was instantly excited. If you have kids, you know that traveling with them is…difficult, to say the least. The last time we traveled with Athena, our now 17-month-old, she was only nine months old. She was still a baby, so she slept most of the car ride from Las Vegas to our destination near Salt Lake City. But even so, it was SUCH a production traveling with her. A baby’s packing list is soooooooo long. Between sound machines and multiple outfits (because oftentimes they’ll poop so much that it goes up their back and you just have to throw the whole outfit away) and diapers, wipes, breast pump, breast pump equipment, bottles, bibs, Nosefrida, swaddles, nail clippers, shampoo, lotion, the list goes on and on and on. We even took her crib with us. Yep. We did that. Anyway, the car was packed to the brim. But whatever, we did it, and overall it turned out fine.

However, I was not looking forward to doing all that again AND dealing with any new hurdles that might be thrown at us now that she’s a toddler, aka tiny tyrant. But how could I leave her?! I don’t think I can. The trip is only for one night so it should be easy, right? Well exactly, it’s just for one night, so instead of loading our entire house into the car and strapping the baby in for 4+ hours each way on back to back days, we decided it’d be best if I went alone. Insert sobbing emoji. I’ve never left my baby, and I’m honestly not sure how I’m going to handle being away from her for almost two days.

My worry about leaving her is literally giving me anxiety. I’ve been feeling a tightness in my chest since yesterday. I’ve been preparing food to leave behind for her as if I’ll be gone for weeks. I even bought new toys for Marc to distract/bribe her with while I’m gone. And don’t get me wrong, he’s more than capable of taking care of her on his own, but it’s different, you know. It’s different when there are two of us with her than just one. Even though we love her the same and always do our absolute best, it’s like the pressure is on when one parent is away, and the other one forgets how to function at full capacity.

For example, there have been days when I’ve been out of the house for a few hours and come home to find him frazzled and frustrated. He’ll tell me what issues he had with her, and I’ll instantly offer various solutions to the problem that didn’t even cross his mind. And somedays, our roles are reversed where I’m the frazzled one, and he’s got all the answers that would’ve never occurred to me. But like, I said before, it’s not even that that’s causing most of my worry. It’s something entirely different. I can’t even bring myself to write it because I feel like that will somehow be inviting it in to happen. Part of me believes that this type of worry is entirely typical, it’s just a mom’s nature. But the other part of me thinks I’m totally neurotic.

I’ve been practicing visualization recently, the science behind it is super cool. It’s really helped me with other aspects of life. Also, gratitude. I’ve been practicing mindfulness and gratitude which have helped immensely. I recently heard someone say that gratitude and negativity can’t exist in the same place, meaning that when we practice gratitude there is organically no space left for negativity. I think the key here is to keep practicing. But I’m curious what your experiences with this issue have been. What did you do the first time you left your baby behind. How did you handle it? Did everything turn out okay? Have you done it again since then? Please please please leave me a comment down below or on my Instagram and let me know.

Eyelet Wrap Top & Woven Round Handle Tote

Top: Anthropologie | Jeans: Nordstrom (sold out, similar here & here) | Bag: Boutique (nearly identical one here) | Sunglasses: Karen Walker (sold out, similar here & here) | Shoes: Forever21 (similar here & here) | Scarf: Anthropologie

I had of lot’s questions about the details of this outfit when I posted it on Instagram last week and I’ve been dying to share it. This wrap top has the prettiest eyelet trim detail all around the neckline and sleeve. I bought it specifically to shoot a sponsored campaign, which by the way you should check out on my Instagram because we’re doing something awesome to help those in need. I needed a lightweight top that is easy to take care of but with lots of pretty detail so I went with this wrap blouse from Anthropologie. I think it was like, 114 degrees the day we shot this and we were outside for quite some time so naturally, the blouse got soaked in my sweat and wrinkled. So glamorous, right? Lol. Anyway, it doesn’t normally wrinkle that easily, it’s super pretty, and perfect for summer—such a good find!

I’m also obsessed with these little kerchief scarves from  Anthropologie. They’re made of cotton (they have silk too but let’s keep our style cruelty-free) and they’re perfect for wrapping up your hair or around your purse like I typically do. Ok, last style obsession for today, these sunglasses. They’re sold out BUT, I linked two very similar pairs from the same designer. Which pair do you like best? I have to go with the gold-rimmed pair, the gold glimmers so beautifully in the sun! I’ve been wearing these non-stop because they go with everything and I love the oversized look!

ICYMI everything I wear and all the products I use are now and always will be vegan.

By the way, I linked some cute bow espadrille shoes that are similar to the ones I’m wearing and the linked options are made of vegan leather. In case you don’t watch my Instagram stories, I decided a while back to eliminate all animal products from my life. This includes shoes, handbags, and accessories that are made with animal products. So now everything I link is 100% vegan and cruelty-free! If you’re curious as to why I went vegan, there’s a post about it and you can read it here.

Ok you guys, today I have a special guest for you all.

Miss Athena Esmeralda joined me for the sponsored shoot we shot right before these pics. She wasn’t supposed to be in these outfits pics but she kept walking over to me, standing right in front of me staring, then asking me to pick her up. Lol, it was so cute. Her nanny Taryn, kept trying to entertain her to get her out of the shot but she just wanted mommy. So I thought I’d include some behind the scenes with Athena today. 🙂 I can’t handle that cute little face!!!

 

My Favorite Podcasts: Inspirational Conversations You Need to Hear Right Now

If you’re like me, you have trouble staying motivated and inspired. It’s not easy when there are so many distractions all around you. The news crushes our hopes for a better tomorrow. Social media makes us feel inadequate through comparison. And we can even get lost entirely in the roles others expect of us, mother, daughter, father, employee, etc. Well, today I just want to remind you to take a deep, long breath and remember that you are your unique self, and you deserve to go after all your dreams. The world needs you to create, teach, innovate, and bring more beauty and joy into the universe. Now, do you need some inspiration? Great because I have some for you! 🙂

Today I want to share with you my absolute favorite podcasts. I had coffee with one of my girlfriends a few days ago, and I was telling her about some of these when I realized I need to share them all with you! Honestly, every single episode I’ve listened to has been either super insightful, inspirational, interesting or all three. For those of you with iPhones, do you know that your phone comes with a podcast app and that podcasts are all 100% free?! YEP! Open your phone and look for a little purple icon with a picture of a microphone on it. That’s your podcasts app! Tap on it to open it and search for any of these podcasts to start listening right away. There’s nothing to sign up for or pay for. You just find the podcast you want, tap on an episode title that sounds good, and it will play. It’s the best thing ever! If you don’t have an iPhone, do not fret! There are other easy ways to listen, such as by downloading the Google podcasts app, Stitcher, Audible or any other similar app. You can also listen on your desktop via the podcast webpage. Click on the podcast names below to listen or find them in your podcast app.

The School of Greatness with Lewis Howes

If you want to be inspired to unlock your inner greatness, this podcast is the one you’ve been waiting for. Lewis Howes speaks with a variety of phenomenal and inspirational individuals from all walks of life. These conversations are inspiring, enlightening, and valuable. There’s so much to take away from each of these episodes. You’ll be left feeling energized and with a renewed sense of motivation for whatever it is you’re aiming to accomplish. I’m not exaggerating when I say this podcast is a treasure trove of inspiration. Go listen to it now! And while you’re there go ahead and subscribe because you won’t want to miss a single episode.

From The Heart: Conversations with Yoga Girl

I love Yoga Girl, aka Rachel Brathen. This is another inspirational podcast that you’ll definitely want to subscribe to. Rachel is so down to earth, funny, humble, inspiring, and overall a great person. After listening to a few episodes, you’ll feel like you know her personally. I sometimes forget we are not actually friends— because she doesn’t know I exist, lol, but you’ll feel like you know as a close friend. She’s built this incredible empire and yet is still so relatable and humble. You don’t have to be into yoga to enjoy her podcast. In fact, most of her episodes are not about yoga. She speaks a lot about self-care, self-development, and mindfulness. And while I’ve been completely turned off by these topics in the past, mostly because it was from people that were disingenuine, Rachel is entirely herself.

One of my favorite episodes is from June 8 of this year, titles “Yoga with Usher and An Emergency Toolkit for Wellbeing.” The toolkit part is what really made me love this episode. It has several wonderful tools you can use immediately to bring inner peace and calmness into your life. It’s so worth listening to, I hope you’ll all check it out. If you want to skip ahead to the emergency toolkit bit, it starts around the 24-minute timestamp. Fun fact: Rachel’s baby, Lea Luna, is one day older than Athena.

The Rich Roll Podcast

If you’re interested in adopting a plant-based diet, or recently went vegan and are looking for some guidance or support, or aren’t ready to take the plunge but want to learn more about a plant-based diet and lifestyle, this is the podcast you want. Rich Roll is well-spoken, easy to listen to, and he interviews the best people on nutrition and athletic performance. I’ve been listening to this podcast for a couple years now, and there are some episodes that I’ve relistened to a few times because there’s just so much information to take in. In one of my favorite episodes, guest Dr. Zach Bush speaks about the history of pesticide use—like Roundup— on crops and the severe ramifications it has on our gut lining as well as on our individual cells.

Girl Boss Radio with Sophia Amoruso

Are you on a mission to build your empire? Are you a girl? Then you won’t want to miss this podcast. Okay, you don’ have to be a girl to get some information out of this podcast, boys can listen too, but they’ll have to enter a password, jk. If the name Sophia Amoruso rings a bell, it may be because you already know who she is. Have you heard of or shopped at Nasty Gal? Yep, that’s her company. Sophia started selling thrifted clothes on eBay back in the mid-2000’s. After being banned from eBay in 2008, she started Nasty Gal— a company she quickly grew to be worth millions. Girl Boss Radio features interviews with women that are thriving as entrepreneurs and, well, girl bosses. Guests include Charlize Theron, Tamara Mellon (co-founder of Jimmy Choo and fashion line Tamara Mellon), Aimee Song (creator of Song of Style), Miranda Kerr, and Leandra Medine Cohen to name a few.

Problem Solvers

Editor in Chief of Entrepreneur Magazine, Jason Feifer heads this podcast. If you’ve started a company or are thinking of starting a project, a mission, a brand, or have any type of entrepreneurial goal in mind, you’ll need to listen to this podcast. Jason speaks with entrepreneurs that have overcome huge obstacles in creating their brands. Episode titles include “How do you find your first customers”, “People love your idea, but it doesn’t make money. Now what?”, and “Build an audience without advertising”.

Oprah’s Master Class

Do you really need me to tell you why you should listen to this one? Lol. It’s Oprah. I feel like that says it all. Okay, let’s get a little more descriptive. This podcast just recently launched and these interviews are different than those on her talk show. Instead of interviewing them, the guests just speak on their own, sharing their story with you. The format is different from other podcasts, this one feels more intimate. Each guest shares how they got into the industry, reached success, overcame adversity, and what inspired them. Guests include Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson, Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, Justin Timberlake, and Shaq.

Ted Talks Daily

You’ve probably already watched a Ted Talk, or several, but did you know there’s a podcast? Yes! The Ted Talks Daily Podcast is a menagerie of talks from all sorts of different categories ranging from health to science to innovation. You can hear from experts in the field of arts, artificial intelligence, medicine, philanthropy, and so much more. There are about 500 episodes currently, with new ones added every day. This is an excellent podcast for those that are interested in a wide range of subjects.

The Birth Hour

I’m including this podcast for all the mamas that follow me. If you’re expecting or know someone who is, you’ll definitely want to listen to or share this podcast with them. It was immensely helpful to me when I was pregnant. In case some of you are not aware, birthing a baby can be crazy and wildly unpredictable. The creator, Bryn speaks with expectant mothers of all types. You can listen to first-time moms, moms that have had 10 kids, moms that gave birth naturally after a c-section (VBAC), moms that had c-sections after giving birth naturally.

There are interviews with moms that have given birth: in hospitals with doctors, without drugs, with drugs, in hospitals with midwives, at home alone, at home with midwives, in the car, etc. There is such a mixed bag of stories, it’s really very informative and insightful. This podcast really helped me let go of my fear regarding all the things I couldn’t control when it came to giving birth. I thought about some of these interviews during my nearly 30-hour long labor with Athena, and it really helped me surrender to the process of birth.