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Tips for Transitioning From a Vegetarian to a Vegan Lifestyle

Monday, May 28, 2018

This may very well be one of my favorite blog posts I've had the pleasure of writing (which makes me wonder why I never thought of it prior to today?). It's said that you become an expert on a matter after doing it for 10,000 hours. Well, I can't claim to be an expert but I have most certainly spent more than 10,000 hours of my life telling myself it was time to go fully vegan from being a vegetarian. I've discussed it before but I went vegetarian when I was 14 years old. It then took me nearly 14 more years - and plenty of failed attempts over that decade-plus - to finally make the transition to veganism. Therefore, you can trust that I too know what it feels like to see the value of going plant-based but also not being quite sure how to make it work for you in the beginning. Scroll down to see a few of my tips for transitioning from a vegetarian to a vegan diet - and some of Matt's advice, too!

Find a way to veganize your favorite vegetarian products and recipes

There are so many awesome resources out there ranging from books to blog that can help. Do you love scrambled eggs? Try a tofu scramble for a healthier and cruelty-free version. (This one from Minimalist Baker is my all-time favorite! It's also my go-to food blog that I immediately visit every time I need a plant-based version of a recipe.) Love mayonnaise, ranch dressing, mac and cheese, and/or brownies, too? You're in luck then because there's a vegan brand out there that has already created it for you! (Some of my other personal favorites are Follow Your Heart, Chao, Violife, and so many others. These days there is a plant-based alternative for almost any food you can dream of, and Whole Foods carries tons of vegan brands if you don't know where to start!)

Stop worrying so much about the social aspects

One of the reasons excuses I always told myself was that it would be too difficult because societally veganism isn't totally understood by a lot of people. I was worried that I could never eat at a dinner party again (I've previously discussed this fear and the actual reality in this post) or that my family and friends would think I was "too radical." In my personal experience, I also stressed about just how many animal rights videos I could share on social media before people thought I had joined a cult. However, these videos are what made me finally commit to going vegan so I've since decided that I don't really mind if they throw some people off.  Because you know what I realized? If someone doesn't want to learn about the realities of factory farming, well then, they can just "mute" me or unfriend me. The others who force themselves to look at what's really happening are the ones who will hopefully be moved to change their lifestyles. Those are the same people who message me on Facebook or text me for advice on how to veganize their lives. They always remind me that sharing those uncomfortable posts, despite that a few people may silently judge me, is always worth spreading the knowledge because every time someone chooses not to eat meat for their next meal, an animal is saved and the amount of suffering is lessened. Those moments and people make me remember that I should stop worrying about temporarily upsetting my cousin twice removed with a video that shares the harsh reality of factory farming if it means innocent animals' lives could be spared.

Get involved somehow

It can be helpful to reach out to some local animal activist groups to get involved and meet like-minded people (many of whom are most likely plant-based and can physically be there to support you in your journey to veganism - and try out all the best restaurants together 😉). I actually did this the opposite way -- I went vegan which instilled the need to volunteer more for the cause, which then led to me becoming an activist and meeting other local activists who have now become friends. It's a great way to meet people and there is a group for whatever your views are on animal rights! Some ideas of possible organizations to check out are your local chapter of The Humane Society of the United StatesThe Humane League, Mercy For AnimalsAnonymous for the Voiceless, signature gathering/campaigning for pro-animal welfare ballot measures in your state, your local humane society, etc. Do some research and see which org's viewpoints best align with your own.

Watch the documentaries

If you ever feel yourself hardcore craving, flip on one of those Netflix documentaries to remind you why you wanted this change in the first place. Going vegan for the animals? Watch Earthlings. Care deeply for the environment? Check out Cowspiracy. Interested in the health benefits of being plant-based? What The Health is super informative. Need a movie rather than a doc? Okja is for you.

Work in phases if it helps you

Personally, the only way I could commit to going vegetarian and later vegan was to do so cold turkey (which is probably not that best phrase to use when speaking on this topic...). I recognize that most people I know who are veg did not do it this way though and that many people prefer to work in phases. What worked for Matt was first to stop buying animal products for our home, then he stopped eating it at family gatherings and restaurants, then when he felt comfortable, he full out stopped eating it anywhere, and finally, he stopped purchasing leather. This step-by-step method worked for him because he wasn't feeling pressured or overwhelmed by doing it all at once. You have to do whichever works best for you and will help you stick to your new lifestyle.

Don't beat yourself up if you slip up

"Progress not perfection" should be the newly plant-based person's motto. It's okay to not get it 100% correct every single time right off the bat. There will most likely be a time or two or three or ten when you quickly check a label or assume it's good to go (because why do you put dairy in so many unnecessary products, America?!) only to later rescan the ingredients list and see they snuck in something you didn't expect. It is OKAY. Don't fret or start to self-criticize. You did your best and had good intentions. Just use it as a lesson for the next time and soon enough you'll be the quickest list checker known to humankind 😏

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Are you currently trying to lean into a more plant-based lifestyle or have you already transitioned to veganism? If so, what has worked best for you? Please share your tips, too!

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Florals For Spring... Groundbreaking | Off-The-Shoulder Maxi Dress + Denim Jacket

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Happy Wednesday! I just booked a trip home to see my family in Ohio for June which makes today a great day! Between multiple treks up to LA, a farm animal rescue fundraiser in Temecula (this off-the-shoulder floral dress in today's post is actually what I wore to that event), and various day trips around Southern California, it feels like I've barely been in La Jolla on the weekends for the past few months. I'm grateful though that I still get to experience a bit more of early summer in SoCal before I head to the Midwest for a week with mom, sistas, and nieces. Hooray for a new season and the opportunities that come along with it!

Dark wash denim jacket (also seen here, here & here): Kohl's

Floral print off-the-shoulder maxi dress (also seen here): c/o PinkBlush

LC Lauren Conrad brown cork sandals (also seen here, here & here): Kohl's

Brown skinny belt (also seen here & here): Forever 21

Raw ruby necklace (also seen here, here & here): LoveGemStudio

Gold half-moon necklace (also seen here & here): c/o Happiness Boutique

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

Urban Expressions vegan turquoise weaved crossbody bag (also seen here, here & here): DSW

What summer travel plans do you have coming up? I feel so lucky that I was finally able to find a cheap flight back east after weeks of searching because prices have been so high recently! I still have a few more upcoming trips I need to book but those summertime rates make my bank account so, so sad. Do you have any great websites I should check out?

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What I Love Most About Summer

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

I think we can all agree that today's blog post title is very fitting for a 4th-grade homework assignment. But ya know what? It's perfectly sunny and warm out today so I'm feelin' extra excited for the upcoming summer season. Thus, in the name of summer lovin', I'm sharing some of my favorite aspects of these fine months to come.

Black ruffled off-the-shoulder one-piece swimsuit: c/o PinkBlush
Who else is psyched that one-pieces are "back"? 🙋 My bathing suit collection has been steadily growing since moving to the beach and one-pieces have definitely come front and center. This one is so classic that it would also work as a bodysuit to go out in public in if you're into that sorta thing. Count me in!

Print shorts (also seen here and here): Forever 21

Wide-brimmed straw sun hat with black ribbon detail (also seen here, here & here): Target

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1. Longer days for the win 🙌

I may be a night owl but that doesn't mean I can't obsess over the length of days. I am happiest when the sun is setting after 8 PM - it means more time for activities!!

2. Windows wide open every day and every night 💨

And I mean this both in the car and in the house! Something you may not know about Southern California is that a lot of places don't have central air conditioning. Case in point: our house. So come June, we've got all of our windows busted wide open with the ocean air surrounding us and it's my very favorite.

3. Trips to the beach, but of course 🐬

June means it's finally warm enough to go to the beach all the damn time. Although it's pretty much never warm enough to comfortably jump into the waters of the Pacific Ocean, summer is the one time of year that you can actually stick your feet in and be grateful for its coolness.

4. Is there a better time for trips than between June 21 through September 22? No, there is not. 🚗

I've got a long list of people and places I need to see. Thankfully summer is the perfect time to do so - including my sister and niece coming to see us and my best friend's bachelorette party and wedding!

5. The sounds that surround us 💞

Does anyone else ever miss the sounds of the soft wind and birds in the trees during the colder months? I know it's cheesy but I really do take notice when the noises come back when it starts to heat back up!

6. Outdoor events are king 🌴

Picnics, concerts, movies on the lawn, hikes, cookouts, farmers markets... they're all outside. They're all fun. They're all I wanna do.

7. The holidays are some of the very best of the year 💥

I mean, let's be honest, there are multiple long weekends which I think we can all agree automatically takes summer up a notch compared to other seasons. Plus, we get to grill out (veggie burgers and corn on the cob, of course) for Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, etc, etc, etc.

8. Dresses all day, every day 👗

There is nothing easier to wear than a sundress, in my humble opinion. They're comfortable and cute, and I will never get enough. Thanks to summer, we can wear them every dang day!

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What's your favorite part about summa, summa, summatime?

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Bow Out | Jacket + Tank Dress + Espadrille Slides

Monday, May 7, 2018

Happy Monday! We had the most beautiful spring weekend here in San Diego! It was pure perfection. Matt and I spent as many hours as we possibly could outdoors, enjoying the weather with the dogs. Yesterday really was my favorite type of day. We walked down to get coffee from one of our favorite local coffee shops and then headed up a hill to get a good view of the ocean. We happened upon a park and had the whole place to ourselves to just post up on a picnic table and take in the sights of our stunning city and coastline. We have lived here for over a year and a half now but we both have to pinch ourselves at least once a month that we actually ended up here. It's our own dream come true, and spring always reminds me even more so!

Tortoiseshell sunglasses (also seen herehere & here): Jeffrey Bay

Olive green cropped military jacket (also seen here, here & here): Forever 21

Gray tank dress: Old Navy
[similar - on sale!]

Not Rated blue bow slide flat espadrille sandals: Zappos

Gold half-moon necklace (also seen here): c/o Happiness Boutique

Wooden clutch (also seen here, here & here): c/o UncommonGoods
[similar - more than half off!]

Madewell gold circle ring (also seen here): Shopbop

Gold cuff bracelets (also seen here, here & here): Shopbop and c/o oNecklace - on sale!

14K gold X earrings: c/o AUrate New York
These new AUrate gold earrings are my absolute favorite staple accessory! I've been wearing them nearly every day since I got them. Another reason I love this brand aside from all of their gorgeous jewelry? They are ethically sourced, use real gold, made in NYC, and they give back to kids in need. Now that is my kind of company!

This is the first time I've worn a dress in a bit... and oh my gosh, my legs were PASTY. I decided it's officially time to start using sunless tanner for the first time in my life because I am not a fan of sunbathing and the skin damage that comes with it. Since I'm also not liking the translucent look on me, I feel like this is a solid compromise (with myself). I'm just hoping it doesn't come out orange and/or streaky. Wish me luck!

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PS: I also received this AUrate gold stackable ring that you will see in future posts. It's another piece that I can't stop wearing. And since it's so classic and sturdy, I plan to keep it in rotation for many, many years to come 😍

How To Get Through The Midday Slump

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Over the years, I've worked active jobs, cubicle jobs, and from home with this here blog, but one thing they all share is this: getting sleepy in the afternoon. We all know that dreaded 3 PM slump. You know the one - when you are back from lunch and you aren't sure whether or not drinking the second (or third... or fourth...) cup of coffee of the day to get through the rest of your work is worth the risk of being antsy as all get out at 11 PM. That is the midday rut many of us experience.

Since it's been dreary and rainy in San Diego today, it feels extra appropriate to share some tips I've learned along the way for how to get through that late afternoon slump. 😴

Arrow mirrors: Target | Himalayan salt lamp: Amazon

Take ten minutes to get outside

Whether you work in an office building or you work from home, get outdoors. It can be extremely helpful to spend a little time outside when that midafternoon tiredness hits. When I'm working from home, I like to leash up the dogs and take them around the block. Smelling fresh air and seeing the sun always hits the reset button for the remainder of my day.

Drink your caffeine but do it a bit earlier in the day than usual

As previously mentioned, a lot of us tend to run to the coffee pot when we start to feel drained. By setting a cut-off time earlier than we may be used to, such as 2 PM, you can get the jolt of energy you're looking for without hindering your sleep later in the evening.

Utilize essential oils

I am not fully on the oil train, as I know many people are, so I can't pretend to know much at all about them. I do, however, use peppermint oil for waking myself up. When I need to stay alert but I feel my eyelids slippin', I reach for peppermint oil. I like to put a few drops along my temples and behind my ears. It's so pungent and does a great job at waking me up in an all natural way. (Be careful of putting it too close to your eyes though because I've definitely done that before and it made my eyes tear up like crazy!)

Do some light stretching

Have you ever taken a yoga class and afterward you feel not only so limber but extremely energized? Take a note out of the yogi's notebook and do some easy stretches when you're feeling sleepy. Getting a little bit of blood flowing can help you feel more awake.

Surround yourself with what makes you happy

Whether I am in a 4x4 cube or my home office (I use that term lightly since mine is just a desk and chair set up in a corner of our tiny 700 sq. ft. house), I have always found it super helpful to make my space feel cozy and comfortable. Personally, I prefer to place pictures of past travels, family, and friends and fresh greenery everywhere I can within eyesight. When I need to take a quick break from staring at the screen after 5+ hours, it's much nicer to avert my eyes to something I find pleasant. It reenergizes me and keeps me going!

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How do you get through the midday rut? Please share your tips, too!

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