A New Year & My Veganniversary

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy 2019! 

The first LunaVida post of a brand new year always feels kind of special. It's just nice knowing the next 365 days are a fresh start. I mean, yes, every day, every minute, every second are all a chance for a new start. But there's something extra about January 1st specifically. Whether you make New Year's resolutions or not (personally sometimes I do, sometimes I don't - both usually with no rhyme or reason), this is such a good time to make - and welcome with open arms - change.

Two years ago this January 3rd, I made the decision to finally make a change in my life that I had been thinking about for half of my life at that point -- I went vegan. (If you read LunaVida you most likely already know this. If this is news to you please check out this blog that I posted when I made my very personal decision very public.) This one choice has changed the entire reason and path of my life. My daily life changed. My career goals changed. Mine and Matt's relationship changed. The primary purpose of writing LunaVida changed. And every single one of those changes was, without a shred of doubt, entirely for the better.

Going plant-based is the single most important decision I have ever made, hands-down. And as I come up on my second veganniversary on the 3rd, it makes me think back to almost exactly two years ago. This was when Matt and I had decided that in lieu of making resolutions we would instead complete a plant-based Whole30 (you can read all about that experience here). My intention was actually to utilize it as a jumpstart to a permanent lifestyle change into vegan-dom. (Matt was simply being a supportive partner who also happens to like a healthy self-challenge. While he was a vegetarian at the time, and a lifelong animal lover too, he had no real interest in going vegan. That quickly changed, however - which was a shock to both of us - and he's since become such a dedicated advocate, I'm happy to say!)

Now that I have seen firsthand how life can so drastically change from making small, everyday changes (such as simply eschewing dairy in favor of cruelty-free nut milk alternatives) I thought it'd be fun to share a few ideas that may help all of us, our nonhuman animal friends, and Mama Earth for the first LunaVida post of 2019!

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Make a concerted effort to stop using single-use plastics

Like many people, I started drinking from reusable water bottles years ago. I now finally remember to grab my reusable shopping bags more often than not (woo hoo!). We have started to use paper, metal, and glass straws (these are my personal favorites) in place of traditional plastic straws. These are all easy (and cost-effective!) changes to make that will have a lasting impact on our planet. They are undoubtedly a great place to start. We, as a society, desperately need to level up our commit though. I have a lot of room to grow in this space if I'm being brutally honest with myself. For example, I've previously discussed my love of Trader Joe's but the amount of unnecessary packaging they use for a lot of their products is downright painful to stomach. Their bags of prepackaged fresh produce are generally cheaper than if you buy said fruits and veggie individually; thus, I tend to grab the baggy of seven limes that costs $1.29 -- even when I don't need that many -- versus just picking three up for the same price but involves zero packaging. It's a life lesson I am trying to get through my thick skull, and I intend to make 2019 the year it finally becomes an ingrained habit.

Cut out environment-destroying household products

For so long I had absolutely no idea that our typical cleaning products (think Windex, Tide, etc) are actually full of harmful chemicals. They are damaging to our own health, our waterways, our air, and our environment in general -- and most of them are tested on animals. As we've used up the ol' standard products under our kitchen sink we have been replacing them with all cruelty-free and less toxic brands to reduce the risks. (Next up for me is delving into clean beauty!)

Up the activism

Becoming an "activist" had literally never crossed my mind. That is until I learned about the realities of factory farming and the constant abuse it places on the billions of animals. And discovering what industrialized agriculture has done -- and is continuing to do -- to our environment gutted me. I couldn't passively stand by and let it happen. So as these things typically work, I started out with me and personal changes I could make. I changed my daily habits by cutting out all animal products and switching to cruelty-free alternatives. Then I shared what I learned with my boyfriend (making sure to never preach or patronize - it's not my style, and it often does more harm than good). He went vegan! I started to look for volunteer opportunities in the movement. I leafleted about making compassionate food choices at a farmers market for the first time ever. I applied for jobs in the animal rights realm. I worked with the Prop 12 campaign. I met activists. They inspired me to get involved more. Matt and I changed our annual contributions to only giving to nonprofits that don't pay for animal suffering. I got a job within the AR movement. I signed up as a volunteer to help with an amazing organizations' campaigns. I organized my first ever protest (just last weekend actually which was very exciting!). And then, here I am today. I'm still fired up, and there's still a seemingly overwhelming amount of work that needs to be done. I don't ever want to become complacent and think "I'm doing enough as it is" because, quite simply, I'm not. There is always more room to grow, opportunities to educate, and compassion to be spread. This year I want to stretch myself outside of my comfort level and try out new forms of activism that I have yet to experience. And I'd love for you to join me in 2019!

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Remember: This is a New Year, a new opportunity to save innocent lives, a new chance to leave the planet better than we found it, and a perfect time to make positive change.

Wishing you the best 2019 ✨

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What are your resolutions?

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The Fray | Cardigan + Plaid Top + Skinny Jeans + Ankle Boots

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Umm... Christmas is one week away. Seriously, where is the time going? If you haven't noticed, I've been *way* behind on LunaVida posts. I am also still so far behind on holiday shopping. This season of life had just been buuuusy. I mean, the holidays are always full every year but this year seems to be even more so than usual. I'm not quite sure when things will be calming down but I'm hopeful to get back to semi-normal blog posting schedule by the New Year! In the meantime, be sure to follow along on Instagram @alliegee319 for more timely updates... meaning photos of my dogs and cats obviously ;)

Navy fringe cardigan (also see here): c/o PinkBlush

Cropped navy blue and white plaid collared shirt (also seen here, here & here): Old Navy
[similar - on sale!]

Light wash distressed skinny jeans (also seen here, here & here): Target

Nude ankle boots with cutouts (also seen here, here & here): Target

Gold bracelets (also seen here, here & here): c/o oNecklace and Madewell via Shopbop

Cognac belt (also seen here, here & here): Gap
[similar - currently only $12!]

What are your holiday plans? Do you get dressed up or bum around in pajamas all day? We tend to be the Christmas PJs and slippers all day type of celebrators.

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Print In Progress | Cardigan + Blouse + Jeans + Boots [& LunaVida's 6th Anniversary!]

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Today is the 6th anniversary of LunaVida!

It's still so crazy to me that six years ago I decided to start a blog because we were living in a rural town in Florida -- and honestly, I was going stir-crazy for the year we were there. I needed a creative outlet and settled on a blog that I somehow still enjoy writing more than half a decade later - just now I get to do it while living in my dream city instead. You never know where things will go, or where life can take you in a matter of just a few years. (Which makes me want to remind anyone else who is currently feeling stuck, just like I was in good, ol' Spring Hill, that things do get better. We just have to work towards what we really want every single day, and eventually, we'll get there. Okay, sorry - promise that I'm done with the motivational speech... for today.)

Anyways, as I type this I am at my mom's house in Ohio with snow outside the window... aaand with hair that I dyed BLONDE kinda on a whim last night 👀 What better way to celebrate another "blogiversary" than with a brand new personal lewk? 😉 Just kidding, dying my hair had nothing to do with LunaVida turning six years old today. (And no, these photos don't show my new hair. You can see it on IG @alliegee319!)

White open front knit cardigan (also seen here, here & here): Target
[similar - currently 30% off!]

Multicolored floral print wrap top (also seen here): c/o Simply Be

Light wash ripped skinny jeans (also seen here, here & here): Target

Cognac belt (also seen here, here & here): Gap

Madewell cognac riding boots (also seen here, here & here): c/o Shopbop
[similar - under $30]

Mint green stud bracelet (also seen here, here & here): Urban Outfitters

14K gold layered necklaces (also seen here, here & here): c/o Sivado Studio

Urban Expressions vegan leather nude crossbody bag (also seen here): DSW

Off topic but the photos in today's post were taken in Julian, California back in October. I've discussed my love for this tiny town on more than one occasion, but the fall colors that were starting to pop through during this particular day trip made for the prettiest backdrop. Funnily enough, I'm now bundled under multiple blankets living that winter life back in the Midwest. Makes me feel like I'm really (temporarily) experiencing all the seasons this year!

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Vegan and Cruelty-Free Beauty Gift Guide

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Happy (Almost... Kinda Sorta) Holidays and Thanksgiving Eve! As you may or may not know, vegans only purchase products that contain no animal products and also those that are not tested on animals. This can seem confusing at first if you aren't familiar with the lifestyle. But fear not! It's actually not very complicated since many companies list these now -- but to make it even easier, I will put together gift guides to hopefully make the gift giving experience smoother. Plus, even if you or the person you're buying a present for isn't strictly plant-based, it never hurts to support businesses who don't hurt animals!

The first LunaVida gift guide of the 2018 holiday season features some of my personal favorite cruelty-free and vegan beauty brands. (Keep an eye on this list on Black Friday too because many of these will most likely go on sale then if they're not already! And who doesn't love a deal?)

Stocking Stuffers

It Cosmetics Airbrush Buffing Foundation Brush
I am a novice when it comes to cosmetics, and most days I don't even put makeup on. When I do go all out with foundation and all the things, this is my go-to brush to cover and smooth.

Urban Decay Beached Bronzer

Pacifica Indian Chai Lip Balm
This is one of the very best flavors of chapstick, plus it's super moisturizing. I also have this lip scrub, which I've talked about before in this post, and am equally as obsessed with it.

Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray
As I mentioned above, I am not super into makeup; however, when I do put on a full face, this setting spray keeps all my hard work in place - no matter what the weather is outside.

Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-in-1 Mascara
This is my all-time favorite. It gives you the longest eyelashes and never smudges - yet it's still easy to take off at night! This mascara is the only one I wear, and I've turned my mom and sisters onto it too.

ella+mila Nail Polish & Liquid Lipstick Duo

Pacifica Travel Size Indian Coconut Body Butter
This scent is so delicious! This particular bottle of lotion is perfect for throwing in your purse or carry-on bag too.

Photo via Ulta

Beauty Gift Sets

Tarte Gym Bag Grabs Athleisure Essentials

Real Techniques Makeup Must Have Brush Kit
I received this set complimentary from Influenster for testing, and I absolutely love it. I'm not a professional by any means (in fact, I'm not really great at makeup application at all) - but these make it easier for sure!

Pacifica 7 Free Nail Color Trio

Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Hair Products Holiday Gift Set
I love the smell of this shampoo and conditioner. It's also paraben free and color safe!

Pacifica Roll-on Perfume Trio
These are perfect for tossing in a bag for on the go. I have most of these scents, and I am a big fan of them all!

5 Pack of HURRAW! Lip Balms
I tried these out for the first time a few weeks ago, and it's safe to say I am hooked.

Photo via Amazon


Alba Hawaiian Detox Renewing Lotion Volcanic Clay
This is the lotion I use every single day. It hydrates so well but isn't sticky or stinky at all.

Pacifica Sheet Mask Set

Tarte Party Prep Skincare Set
Perfect for all the upcoming holiday parties!

Alba Botanica Papaya Anti-Acne Sheet Mask
I love this line of acne-fighting products. They're super affordable too!

The Body Shop Tea Tree Day & Night Rescue Kit

Tarte Mermaid Staycation Hydrating Skincare Set
This kit is currently 25% off with code VIP25!

Youth To The People Super Glow Hydration Duo

I was sent these clean beauty products to try out, and I immediately fell in love. After just a few applications my skin already looks transformed. Smoother, brighter, and more moisturized, oh my! As I continue to use them, I have a feeling these may become some of my all-time favorites.

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You may realize Pacifica is featured a lot. That's because 1) you can always count on it being vegan, 2) everything is cruelty-free, and 3) every product I've ever bought myself has worked super well. It's a top brand for me for sure!

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What are some of your favorite animal-friendly brands? What are you giving (and/or asking for) this holiday season?

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Wine Not? | Knit Cardigan + Tee + Ripped Jeans + Ankle Boots

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Hey there! Last week was spent up in Northern California for a retreat. As I recently mentioned, I started working for a farmed animal sanctuary campaign back in September. Our entire team works remotely though so it was super fun to meet everyone in person - and of course, to spend time with the 500 rescued animals! We were even able to help out with their annual Thank the Turkeys event (see a video of the cuteness here). I feel so fortunate to be able to do what I love (advocating for animals and sharing the benefits of veganism) every day. There is nothing else I can imagine myself doing for a living. It feels like exactly where I'm supposed to be, and I am so grateful to have ended up here.

Chunky gray knit cardigan (also seen herehere & here): Target
[similar - only $30]

Burgundy and white striped t-shirt (also seen here): Old Navy
[similar - on sale!]

Light wash ripped skinny jeans (also seen here, here & here): Target

Cognac belt (also seen here, here & here): Gap

Nude ankle boots with cutouts (also seen here & here): Target
[similar - under $40]

14K gold "A" initial necklace (also seen here, here & here): c/o Sivado Studio - 15% off!

Gold bracelets (also seen here, here & here): Madewell via Shopbop and c/o oNecklace

Today's outfit post is similar to what I'll most likely be wearing for Thanksgiving next week. Matt and I are as casual as they come (especially since moving to Southern California) so this is about as dressed up as it'll get for our holiday at home. What do you typically do (and wear) for Tofurky Day?

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Simple Ways to Live a Little More Vegan

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

November is World Vegan Month! If you're new here, and somehow couldn't already tell, I'm a vegan. (You didn't think you could meet a veg head and not know about it in the first two minutes, right? Kidding, kidding! That's a false stereotype 😉) I am a lifelong animal lover but it wasn't until I was a teenager that I realized loving all animals means including animals that were farmed for my food; thus, I became a vegetarian at 14 years old. I made the connection my freshman year of high school when I did a research project on animal rights. Said research led me to countless gruesome images of slaughterhouses, factory farms, and labs that conducted vivisection. I went vegetarian overnight, never looked back -- and vowed to "one day go vegan." You see, I made the excuse that since I lived in Small Town, Ohio there was no feasible way for me to cut out dairy and eggs. Well, I continued lying to myself about it throughout college. And then through the early years of my adult life. And then fast forward 14 more years since I first stopped eating meat, and after a handful of half-assed, failed attempts at trying out plant-based living, I finally fully committed to the lifestyle at age 27. I share this story because it just goes to show that every single vegan has their own journey, whether they were born and raised plant-based (I have personally never met anyone who belongs in that category, however) or tried 400 times and finally on attempt #401, it finally stuck. We all get here on our own timelines and with the method that works best for you. Now, I'm not going to lie to you - if you are reading this, YES, I do want you to stop eating meat, dairy, and eggs, wearing animal skins as fabrics, and to switch over to cruelty-free brands of your favorite cosmetics, cleaning supplies, etc. But I do also understand that hearing all of that can seem way overwhelming to commit to all at once and to quit cold tofurky (that's a classic vegan joke there for ya) overnight. That's why I continue to share ongoing simple ideas for you to add a little more veg and a lot less cruelty to your day-to-day life (read the first set of easy tips here).

Start with one step you can take right now

Pledge to yourself that, for example, every breakfast you consume will be vegan. Or that you'll only get the plant-based option when dining out, no matter where you go. Or that you will watch one animal welfare documentary a month. These can really add up to big changes over time.

Purchase vegan treats for your pets

Every single veg product you buy to replace your typical meat/eggs/dairy makes a difference, no matter how seemingly small it may be. Your companion animals need their fruits and veggies too, so why not make their tasty treats plant-based? The two favorites in our household are V-dog and Zuke's.

Take your friends to a vegan place the next time you go out

You're probably (re: hopefully) already cutting down your own meat consumption and eating Beyond Burgers when you can find them at the store, but why stop with yourself? Invite all of your loved ones to join you in your journey to a plant-based lifestyle. The next time you're meeting for lunch suggest the local vegan spot so they can also see how delicious the food tastes too!

Follow all of the farm animal protection groups on social media

Ready to really learn about the harsh realities of factory farming? Follow all the top farmed animal advocacy groups such as The Humane League, Animal Equality, Mercy For Animals, etc. They frequently post undercover footage that makes it impossible to want to continue to support these industries with your hard-earned money. (Hey, it worked for me! Forcing myself to watch an undercover video from MFA is what finally made it truly stick. You never know what'll be your final straw!)

Share the knowledge you discover

So you took the step to educate yourself about the realities of factory farming? Bravo! Now go one step farther and share what you learned. It can be as simple as hitting "Share" on a Facebook post from one of the orgs listed above, or you can write a personal blurb about where you are currently in your journey to cutting out animal products and why people should join you. You never know who you'll impact. (Pretty much every time I post something vegan-related, I have a slight twinge of "Oh my gosh, am I going to offend/annoy/frighten people?!" only to then be sent a message from someone I never expected to hear from asking for advice. It's so motivating to keep going despite our innate fears of other's personal opinions!)

- - - - -

What steps are you taking towards a cruelty-free lifestyle? If you're already vegan, what are your top tips?

- - - - -

Well, I hope you found that helpful! I am headed up to Northern California for the next few days for our work retreat. I'm so excited to hang out with the team and the rescued farm animals!

Lastly - but equally as important! - since today is Election Day, please don't forget to get out and VOTE. ** If you're in California, make to vote YES on Prop 12! **

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Autumn Attire | Cardigan + Tank + Skinny Jeans + Ankle Boots

Friday, October 26, 2018

Happy Friday! We made it. What are you up to these next two glorious days? This weekend involves fitting in some more fall fun for us (and my mama's birthday -- Happy B-day, Mom!). My friend and I are hitting up another pumpkin patch today before coming back here to carve them by a fire in our backyard, cider in hand of course. On Sunday we are headed up to Orange County for the day to go to Knott's Berry Farm. I've never been before but I love me some roller coasters! And then somehow next week it's already Halloween, quickly followed by the election (make sure you're registered to vote at www.vote.org, please!), and then I head up to Northern California for a retreat at the farm animal sanctuary I started working for recently! Autumn really is shaping up to, once again, be the best time of the year 😊

Navy open-front knit cardigan (also seen here, here & here): Gap

Gray floral print tank top (also seen here): Old Navy

Light wash ripped skinny jeans (also seen here, here & here): Target
[similar - on sale!]

Nude studded ankle boots (also seen here, here & here): Old Navy
[similar - under $40]

14k gold triangle necklace: c/o Sivado Studio - currently 25% off!

Gold bracelet (also seen here, here & here): Target

Cognac belt (also seen here, here & here): Gap

What are you wearing for Halloween? We don't have any plans for the holiday this year so I don't have a costume planned, unfortunately. I'll most likely be sportin' my favorite jogger sweatpants and an oversized tee, as I watch The Office and Parks & Recreation Halloween episode reruns. 👻

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