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Must Visit San Diego Vegan Spots

Friday, January 26, 2018

Here in Southern California, we are blessed with an evergrowing number of vegan and vegan-friendly businesses. It seems almost every month there is word of a new veg restaurant, or special menu, or food truck opening up somewhere in our area. Having previously lived in cities with less-than-stellar numbers of plant-based places, I do realize how fortunate we are in San Diego. Thus, I thought I would share my favorite vegan spots today. Whether you live here or are planning a visit, are a veg head or are not, like food or are head over heels for it, you need to check out these places ASAP.

Second Nature

This restaurant recently opened up a few miles south of us in North Pacific Beach. It's a totally vegetarian and vegan menu, the ambiance is so cozy, and the patio is dog-friendly! (Get their vegan caesar salad and thank me later.)

Don Carlos Taco Shop

Don Carlos is walking distance from Matt and me, so we end up here more often than we probably should. It also is not vegan, but they have plenty of options. Our go-to order is the veggie burrito with black beans, no cheese, add fries. Mmmmmmmm.

Plant Power Fast Food

I've discussed Plant Power previously, but damnit, it's so good it deserves more praise. They have a huge menu ranging from raw tacos to the colossal "Big Zac" burger - all of which are 100% vegan. (PS: If you visit their locations in Ocean Beach or Encinitas during the fall, make sure to try their pumpkin milkshake. Best I've ever had in my life!)

Ranchos Cocina

This Mexican restaurant is not vegan, but the amount of plant-based options on their (seriously extensive) menu is borderline overwhelming. It's SO delicious, though, and the price is right.

Native Foods

This is a chain, but their chicken and waffles is MY ALL-TIME FAVORITE. If I could physically live on one food item for the rest of my days, this dish would be it. Plus, the rest of their food is (almost as) amazing, too. If you ever visit a city that has a Native Foods, SPRINT to the nearest one.

Donna Jean

After months of hearing about it nonstop, I finally tried Donna Jean for the first time ever a few weeks ago. They're famous for their mac and cheese - and for good reason. It is the closest to "real" macaroni and cheese I've ever eaten. SO TASTY. Get yourself to this San Diego plant-based staple as soon as you possibly can.

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San Diego County has so many more delicious vegan places, but these are just some of my personal favorites. This list is just the beginning - I still have so many to try, too! What's your favorite plant-based place? Anywhere in San Diego I need to try, like, yesterday?

Now I'm off to gorge myself after all this food talk.

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Fringe Benefits | Poncho Cardigan + High-waisted Denim + Ankle Boots

Monday, January 22, 2018

Hey guys! After what has felt like the quickest weeks of my life, here I am comin' at ya with the second LunaVida outfit post of 2018... finally. I know, I know. It took me a long time. But I have a good excuse - and that is due to the fact that I haven't worn a real outfit or "gotten ready" in well, weeks. 😳  Seriously, it's been a hot minute since I did anything other than put my hair up in a topknot. (Full disclosure: I actually didn't even do my hair this day these photos were taken. The waves are the result of a braid that was slept in overnight. Really though, who has the time to curl their hair these days anyhow?)

Navy blue knit fringe poncho cardigan: c/o PinkBlush
THIS CARDIGAN IS SO DAMN SOFT. I couldn't believe it was a real article of clothing when I took it out of the package. It feels like wrapping yourself up in your coziest blanket - but you can actually go out in public wearing it!

Gray tank top (also seen here, here & here): Target

Cognac belt (also seen here, here & here): J.Crew

Kensie high-waisted skinny jeans: Marshalls

Splendid LA gray ankle boots (also seen here, here & here): c/o Shopbop

Silver pendant necklace: c/o Happiness Boutique

Hammered silver bangle (also seen here, here & here): Souvenir from our trip to Greece

Wooden clutch (also seen here, here & here): c/o Uncommon Goods

What have you been up to these first few weeks of January? I've mostly been a'workin' (and trying - keyword - to keep my house semi-in order), hence the lack of blog posts. (Sorry!) I'm still trying to find some balance within this new year but I guess isn't that usually the case with life as an adult?

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8 Goals For 2018

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Did anyone else just now realize it's 2018? We are almost two weeks into the new year and I am just now feeling like I can take a second to stop and breathe. That said, I've been really behind in the resolution arena. I've been racking my brain and couldn't narrow what I want to accomplish this year down to only one main resolution; therefore, I decided to craft a list of 8 goals for 2018 (in no particular order).

1. Actually take the time out to travel with Matt

Matt and I love to travel, but we rarely get to take a vacation together. This is due to the fact that we have two cats and two dogs (one of whom is... difficult and can't be trusted with any old pet sitter). We hate to leave them behind, so it seems like one of us usually stays home with them while the other goes back home to visit family, attend weddings, etc. I realized how long it's been since we were able to take an actual vacation together and it bummed me out. So this year, a trip has to happen.

2. Spend more time with my family

Moving to California was a lifelong goal of mine; however, the downside of living in SoCal is that I am super far from my family back in Ohio. I have two young nieces in Cincinnati who I want to see grow up, and I have to make sure I can get home more often to do so.

3. See our out-of-town friends more often

Having moved around the country so much, Matt and I have been blessed to make friends in each city we've lived in. This is great because we've been #blessed with some many amazing relationships. The unfortunate part is that also means we are split all across the world, which makes seeing each other a rare occurrence. This year I want to make more of an effort to better plan trips to spend time with as many of these pals as possible.

4. Help get the ballot initiative we are currently working on onto the California ballot (and then voted "YES" in November!)

If you didn't know, I am working on a campaign to get a bill on the 2018 California ballot that will help prevent cruelty to animals on factory farms. This is a dream come true because my #1 professional and personal goals revolve around reducing the suffering of farmed animals. We have to get 600,000 signatures across the state by late April, and then it gets on the ballot to be voted on. I am so motivated to help however I can to make this happen because when this passes it'll be the biggest legislation ever passed in the name of farm animals!

5. Take the time for self-care

Believe it or not, but I am incredibly low maintenance. I know this may shock some of you, seeing as I have a "fashion" blog. But really, there is nothing I like more than wearing sweatpants and no makeup. I can count the number of times I blowdry my hair in an entire year on one hand. I will go weeks without using a styling tool, on the reg. Even though I've always liked clothes, I've never been super into "beauty." That said, I am turning 29 this year and it's probably time I become a real adult. (It had to happen at some point, I suppose.) In my head, real adults actually take the time out to take care of themselves. I need to do this, big time. I need to make myself actually schedule the yoga classes, book the hair appointments (especially since 28 seemingly was the year my head decided gray was the new brunette), get in the habit of going to the doctor more than once a decade, stop feeling guilty for spending money on myself, and take advantage of the beautiful weather here and get out in nature for those hikes I've been missing.

6. Make "tidying up" a habit

Growing up, when I heard the term "tidy up" it was an automatic eye-roll from me. I was never a slob per se (germs gross me out) but I have never been super clean at home. My work desk? Organized to a tee. My home life, though? Far from it. I want to change that as I head into the last year of my 20s. I read that you should always do a task that takes under 60 seconds right away, no matter what it is. Those little tasks add up, so getting them done with quickly makes a difference throughout the day. I've been trying to incorporate that and it's already helped in my tidiness. (Obviously I need to do much more than just that, though, so if you have any tips, please share!)

7. Read more

This kind of goes along with the lack of making time for self-care in my life, but it deserves its own goal. I used to enjoy reading, but then working full-time came into my life, and out reading went. I need to prioritize better so that I can actually finish a book that I start. (I'm lookin' at you, The Casual Vacancy, all alone on my nightstand for the past six months.)

8. Learn to cook better - and do it more frequently

When I first went vegan, I was forced to start cooking more than I ever had before. I wish the cooking bit had stuck, but then life got busier - aaand I discovered the treasure trove of delicious plant-based restaurants San Diego has to offer. This year, however, I would like to get back to the kitchen and making healthier meals at home again. I know it's better for me and saves money, but somehow I still end up eating out multiple times a week. I gosta change that pronto!

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These are just the first things that popped up into my head when I thought of what I want for 2018, but there are plenty more shakin' around in my head. (For instance, I didn't even get to the long list of goals for this here blog!)

What about you? What are your goals/resolutions/hopes/dreams/wishes/aspirations for the new year?

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Blue Hues | Crewneck Sweatshirt + Raw Hem Jeans + Converse

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Happy First Sunday of 2018! I hope your end of 2017 and beginning of the new year have been amazing. Personally, the end of 2017 was downright awful for Matt and me. We had an emergency occur after Christmas and are still dealing with it now. (We're fine, though, and we'll be fine - promise.) Thankfully though, even with the bad moments, I'm constantly reminded of how lucky we are and have been. I find that when I consciously change my perspective from "Woe is me" to "Whoa it could be so much worse" I can reset a bit better. That said, unfortunately, there's no denying that bad things will always happen. But how we choose to view and then deal with these issues that arise can be the best lesson of all. So here's to 2018 and all the lessons to be learned and all the good times to be had!

Sky blue crewneck sweatshirt (also seen here): Old Navy
[similar - on sale!]

Black and white striped tank top (also seen here & here): Forever 21

Dark wash raw hem jeans: c/o PinkBlush
These jeans are so comfortable and have the perfect amount of stretch to them. Plus, the distressed looks and raw hem make them "Oh my god, sew on-trend!" (Please tell me you read this in a 1990s Valley Girl voice like I did.) Seriously though, they've already become my new go-to pants for weekend errand running.

Converse Chuck Taylor All Star gray low top sneakers (also seen here, here & here): Journeys

Reversible black and white print infinity scarf: Old Navy

Rebecca Minkoff "Mini Avery" black tote handbag (also seen here, here & here): c/o Shopbop

Black oversized "Ruby" sunglasses: via DIFF Charitable Eyewear

What are your hopes for the New Year? Did you set any resolutions? I haven't set any yet and I'm still trying to figure out my intention for the year to come. Last year, rather than resolutions, I instead did a self-chosen "Word of the Year" which was nourishment. I chose this because I wanted to focus more on better providing in every aspect of my life with more, from the basic diet and exercise so many of us emphasize on January 1st, all the way to my friendships and nourishing them no matter how far apart we may be. Since my brain has been a bit more scattered than usual the past week and a half, I haven't found the energy or time to sit down and really think about 2018 yet. I know that I need to though, so as soon I am feeling back to semi-normal again, I fully intend to get back at it and make 2018 the best yet!

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    Vegan-iversary | What I Learned During My First Year As A Vegan

    Wednesday, January 3, 2018

    Today marks 365 days since I went fully vegan! As you may remember, after 14+ years as a strict vegetarian I decided to finally make the transition to vegan at the beginning of 2017. Thanks to a plant-based Whole30 that Matt and I decided to do last January, I was able to finally transition to the cruelty-free lifestyle I always claimed I would "one day" adhere to. During the (many, many) years prior to going totally plant-based, I always made excuses for why I couldn't go vegan quite yet. It's too hard socially. It will be so much more expensive. I'm a terrible cook. Blah, blah, blah. And on and on and on the lame excuses went, as more and more animals were suffering -- just so I could eat cheese. Looking back, as many fellow vegans I have since met have also said, it makes me sad to think I waited so long to go vegan. I was contributing to (and paying for) so much unnecessary torture of animals and degradation of our environment.

    I figure there are probably plenty of partially vegan, vegetarian, kinda plant-based, and veg-curious people out there who are thinking of more ways to incorporate veganism into their lives in 2018. So in honor of my one year anniversary, I thought I would share some of what I have learned from my first full year of veganism. I hope you'll find it useful!

    The social aspect has been tough, as I always thought it would be - but for a totally different reason than I expected.

    I always used to think up these imaginary scenarios of me being at a dinner party and the host plopping down a plateful of buttery mashed potatoes in front of me. I couldn't get past the horror of trying to politely explain the difference between vegetarian and vegan to someone who was kind enough to cook me a meal, or trying to move the food around on the plate so no one would notice I wasn't eating it... I don't know why in my mind I thought I was all of a sudden going to start attending tons of dinner parties out of nowhere. Since going vegan, I have been to one dinner party. ONE. And upon being invited I simply explained my dietary restrictions and offered to would bring food that Matt and I could eat so the hostess wouldn't have to do any additional work. (I also made extra servings - and made sure they tasted delicious - just in case other people there wanted to try vegan food for themselves!) 

    You can definitely find vegan options when you're out and about. You just have to be resourceful and a bit more flexible.

    I used to think a difficult part of navigating veganism would be trying to find food to eat when I was not at home. How wrong I was. In my opinion, one of the easier aspects has actually been finding delicious food out on the road - totally opposite of what I always assumed it would be. (I mean, even Taco Bell can be made vegan - seriously. Check out what to order during road trips in the middle of nowhere right here.)

    Being vegan in a world full of non-vegans can feel a little lonely at times.

    If I am being brutally honest, the hardest part for me has been the feeling of isolation I have experienced. Once you know the full truth of the factory farm industry (no longer just meat, which was hard enough to stomach the thought of, but also dairy and eggs) and you choose to actually do something about it, it can be rough at times. (And not because of the lack of aged cheddar in one's life.) Now you probably never stop feeling the urge that you have to do something, anything, always to help these innocent souls. Now you have to deal with random flashes of how these animals are treated from the countless undercover investigation videos you’ve seen. And then somehow, it's not cravings for ice cream you're fighting off, but rather you're having to constantly battle the internal struggle of wanting to shake every person you know -- and pass on the street -- until they, too, wake up to the realities of the torture and suffering we have created for these poor beings. By far, the harshest reality I’ve realized in the last 365 days is trying to remain a “normal” and non-stereotypical vegan... in a world where you are considered an extremist for choosing not to pay a hit man to do the dirty work for a job you’d never do yourself.

    Vegans are freaking NICE.

    Having previously lived in Ohio, Florida, and Arizona, I hadn't met many vegans in my life. Thus, Internet trolls and memes had been most of my exposure; therefore, it suffices to say that my actual experiences were nearly nonexistent. I did, however, always look up to vegans. I always was in awe of how they were so selfless, often in the name of animal welfare and/or their love for our planet. Now that I live in Southern California and work alongside animal activists everyday, I can say with 100% certainty that every single interaction I've had with vegans has been nothing short of fantastic. Whenever I meet someone who is vegan, I feel an automatic camaraderie that I've never experienced with another stranger before. Maybe it's the fact that I know the struggles they face, assuming they too feel that same isolation at times. Maybe it's the fact that they probably love animals, which means I already like them (because, lets be honest here, animal people > non-animal people). Maybe it's that I subconsciously know they chose the less traveled and unorthodox path in life, all in the name of making the world a better place through their daily actions and choices.

    I won't lie to you - just as the memes say, I do want to tell you I'm vegan within a few minutes of meeting you.

    But it's not for the reason you may think. It's not make you feel guilty, or brag, or get up on my high horse. I want to tell you so you can see that we really are your everyday peeps. The Interwebs makes it out that all veg heads are radicals -- when in fact, all of my experiences have been quite the opposite of that (see above). The reason I want you to know is for the simple fact that I hope it'll open up a dialogue between us. I am not attempting to "convert" you, but rather just to open up to your mind to other possibilities. See for yourself that I'm not an extremist, or malnourished, or underweight, or overweight, or burning down slaughterhouses, or throwing red paint on anyone who dares to eat meat near me. I'm just a woman in her late 20s, who likes to watch Friends reruns on Netflix, spends too much time thinking about her cat, and just so happens to not consume or wear animal products. And another reason I am never afraid to say I'm vegan? I don't have any reason to be ashamed of my lifestyle. I'm proud of my decision to put the welfare and wellbeing of animals in front of my previous selfish desires for certain foods, and I'm not going to shy away from that passion.

    - - - - -

    There ya have it. What I've learned during my first year of veganism - surely with many more lessons to come over a lifetime to go :)

    Whether you are considering a more plant-based lifestyle or not, there are so many ways we all can help animals, the environment, and our own health. Even if you're not ready to jump fully into veganism (listen, I get it... it took me nearly 28 years to get to this point), everyday is a new possibility to vote with your dollar. Next time your shampoo bottle runs out? Spend the extra two minutes to Google a cruelty-free product replacement. (Try Pacifica. Look, I did the research for ya!) Craving spaghetti and meatballs for dinner? Make your standard pasta dish, but pick up some meat-free balls (ew. gross term. sorry.) instead. Your winter coat needs replacing? Look for a new one that doesn't contain wool, leather, or down feathers.

    We all have the power to change this world. Individually, yes, we can make a difference -- but working together is where the real success is going to happen. Collectively we are going to create a better, more just, and more compassionate planet.

    Wishing you the happiest 2018 💞

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    Travel Comfortably | 5 Essential Tips For The Plane Journey

    Tuesday, January 2, 2018

    When it comes to plane journeys, many people suffer with getting comfortable. Whether it be an inability to sleep or too much noise making the journey particularly difficult, you may be in need of some tips to help you enjoy the flight more.

    Fret not – here are 5 essential tips for the plane journey to ensure you travel comfortably.

    Travel Comfortably: 5 Essential Tips For The Plane Journey

    Wear comfy clothing

    When on a plane journey, there’s nothing worse than feeling restricted or uncomfortable due to your clothing. Be sure to wear the comfiest things you own, packing the rest of your clothes in your suitcase ready for when you land. Be honest with yourself – style simply isn’t a priority on the plane, as everyone simply wants to be comfortable even if it’s at the sacrifice of looking good.

    Consider shorts or tracksuit bottoms, nice warm socks to keep your feet from getting cold, and a lightweight top that doesn’t cling or feel tight. This way you’ll feel much more comfortable and at ease throughout your journey, instead of restricted. This is especially important if you’re wheelchair bound – your comfort is paramount, and although staff will do all they can to help, it’s sometimes difficult to get comfortable.

    Invest in some headphones

    It’s no secret that flights are noisy. With loud conversation and laughter, babies crying and even a few snorers, with the background noise of the jet’s engines to boot, you’re bound to get sick and tired of the plane’s soundtrack after a while.

    With that being said, consider treating yourself to some noise-canceling headphones. They’re surprisingly effective in drowning out all background noise and giving you a chance to kick back and relax whilst listening to your favorite music. As an added bonus, you’ll likely be able to plug them into the flight’s entertainment system to watch a film or two.

    Stay hydrated

    Water is essential to keep you feeling healthy and hydrated during the flight. Although you may be tempted by the promise of free alcohol or teas and coffee, you’ll find yourself unable to relax if you’re consuming any other beverage. Water is your best bet to feel energized and ready to go once you land on the other side.

    Make sure you pick up a big bottle in the airport before you go, and try to finish it before you land. You’ll definitely feel better for it.

    Ensure you’ve got entertainment

    Although we’ve already mentioned headphones, it’s important you’ve got things to keep you entertained during the flight to eliminate the potential of getting bored. Whether it be your music, some movies on a tablet or even a book, make sure you’ve got a backup just in case the in-flight entertainment doesn’t tickle your fancy.

    Make sure your gadgets are fully charged and ready to go, too. There’s no greater disappointment than boarding the flight to realize your tablet has only got 1% of battery left. Preparation is key!

    Get some sleep

    You might find it difficult to catch some shut-eye on the flight, but it’s easier than you think. There are plenty of useful tips to help you sleep during the journey – it’s especially crucial you get some rest, in order to feel refreshed and energized once you land.

    Make sure you uncross your legs, lean back and try not to expose yourself to too much light. If you can, shut the window in order to get a better chance of drifting off – Haley Byers talks of how the suppression of melatonin release after light exposure will make it particularly difficult to sleep.

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    Do you have any more tips for flying comfortably? Be sure to share in the comments below, please!

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