On Turning 30

Monday, March 18, 2019

Well, this is the last day of my 20s. (Meaning I turn 30 tomorrow, in case that wasn't apparent enough 😉) These past few weeks of my 20s have been so fun-filled (hence the lack of LunaVida posts 😳). Two of my best friends since grade school flew to San Diego to celebrate us all entering a new decade together. Then my mom visited from Ohio right after, and we went up to LA for a tour de vegan food. This past weekend, Matt and I took a road trip with the dogs up to a cabin in Big Bear for my birthday. And today, on the final day of my 29th year, I began a brand new job. Today is the last day of my 20s but the first day of working for my dream organization (!!!).

People have been asking me in the months leading up to March 19th, "Aren't you scared to be turning 30?" Honestly, I'm not nervous at all. Oddly enough, this lack of negative emotions has shocked me for the past few weeks leading up to today, because all your life you grow up with people telling you how terrifying the "Dirty Thirty" bday is. I just haven't experienced that anxiety of aging at all yet though. (Minus the wrinkles and white hairs that have popped up. Those? Those have been a bummer.).

I just feel lucky. Really, really, really lucky to be right where I am. Living in San Diego in a teensy tiny house by the beach with Matt and our four [nonhuman] babies. Working from home for one of my very favorite animal protection organizations, The Humane League. Being able to do the exact work I've dreamt of doing since I was a kid, which has always been to work for animals. Planning a trip to Europe this summer to see two of our best friends get married in Santorini. Having healthy and loving relationships with friends and family (and, as of last month, a brand new niece too!). Simply getting the opportunity to do all of these things so early on in life. The very things that I grew up fantasizing about one day happening, but never being quite sure of the path it'd take to get there.

If I am being 100% truthful though, it was far from an easy journey the past decade. That said, however, I'm fortunate enough to finally be exactly where I imagined I'd be at 30. Reaching this place took a lot of risks and years of hard work. I say this not to be boastful, but because as I've become an adult I've realized it is okay to be proud of your accomplishments. We all work so hard to get where we want to be and, just like we'd congratulate our friends' on their successes, we should be proud of our own too!

It takes a lot of dedication and some real fearlessness to get what we really want out of our lives. And at times, for me personally at least, this meant I even had to accept that by defying people's [outdated] expectations of a "typical" 30-year-old (ya know the one - married, with a mortgage for a house in the suburbs that has 2+ guest bedrooms, and pregnant with my second child), some people just simply will never understand the choices we make. Again, that is okay. Just like the whole "white-picket-fence-American-Dream" lifestyle that many grow up hearing about is a great goal to have in life, so is the flip side.

(Side note: If you didn't already know, Matt and I met when we were 18. Over the past 11+ years together, I can't even begin to count the number of times people have told Matt and me how we have chosen to live our lives together isn't acceptable/appropriate/sustainable. Just because we don't have a "traditional" lifestyle or plan to have a wedding ceremony doesn't mean we aren't in a deeply loving, committed, supportive, lifelong partnership. Throughout all of our years together, we have never let public opinion sway us. And for that, I am so grateful. I never forget how fortunate I am to have a strong partner in Matt who is always on the same page at the end of the day, despite what some may say about relationships like ours. And while many people may judge our choices, we also have many family members and friends who are very understanding of Matt and I deciding not to get married and have kids. We do, however, know lots of other couples and single people who are also constantly plagued by the same extremely personal questions about marriage and having kids -- and that sh*t really needs to stop. It's time we let people make their own life decisions without always feeling the need to include our input. End of rant. Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk 😜)

Whew. I seemingly got way off topic there! But it all comes back to this one vital theme I've learned throughout my 20s: It is okay not to want the same things that "everyone else" seems to wantBecause truth be told, the most important expectations we need to live up to are our own -- not the standards set by our friends, partners, moms, dads, grandparents, in-laws, neighbors, etc. After all, when we are on our death beds do we really want to look back and regret never having made our own decisions because we were too afraid of what others may have said? No thanks. I want to go out knowing that even though I fell (and will most certainly continue to fall) on my face hundreds of times trying, at least I didn't give up on the life I always dreamed of.

Here's to the best that's still to come.

[These photos were taken off the side of a highway in the middle of nowhere during our road trip from Denver last summer. Matt and I simply couldn't drive safely while simultaneously trying to enjoy the view of this post-storm sunset. Sometimes ya just have to pull over and get out of the car on the side of a desolate road.]

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Thanks for reading and supporting this little blog o' mine. On to the next ten years 😊

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Polka [Dot] Dance | Cardigan + Top + Skinny Jeans + Ankle Boots

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Hello! I am currently writing this cuddled up on our couch in a blanket, with Dakota at my feet, in front of our big living room window with the best early 2000s playlist on in the background. Doesn't get better than that, does it? Oh, but wait. It does get better. It's also currently RAINING. I know, I know. A lot of people hate rain but between living in Arizona and now Southern California for the past few years of my life storms have been a scarcity in my life. I have always loved the sound of rain so this is heaven on earth to me right now 😊

Oversized black cardigan: Target
^ I recommend sizing down. I didn't but wish I had!

Black and white polka dot gathered top: Target
[similar - on sale for under $13!]

Raw hem high-waisted skinny jeans (also seen here, here, and here): J.Crew
[similar - currently super on sale!]

Blowfish black ankle boots with buckle detail: Amazon

"Ruby" black oversized sunglasses (also seen here, here & here): DIFF Eyewear

Gold hoop stud earrings (also seen here, here, and here): c/o Happiness Boutique

Gold bracelets (also seen here, here, and here): J.Crew Factory & Madewell via Shopbop

Splendid LA black vegan leather crossbody tote bag (also seen here): Shopbop

So this is totally off topic, but even though I've been blond-er since December, I still get taken aback whenever I see photos of myself with light hair! Does the shock ever wear off? Also, if you know of any great cruelty-free products to help with the extreme dryness, please let me know! I have never before needed hydration in my hair so badly. 

And continuing on with the theme of not staying on topic even a bit but needing recommendations: Next weekend I am headed on a road trip up to Oxnard for work. I've never been up there before. I hear it's gorgeous, and I am very excited! I will be super busy during the days but if you have any evening spots we must see/do - especially vegan-friendly spots - please share those too! Thank you!!

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Gift Guide | Last Minute Vegan Valentine's Day Ideas

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Happy almost Valentine's Day!

Did you forget Valentine's is just a matter of days away? Me too, me too... Thankfully though, if you have access to an Amazon Prime account you can have vegan and cruelty-free presents delivered and ready to go in time for your significant other, family member, friend, or any loved one on your list! All of the below gift ideas are via Amazon, and many are eligible for free two-day shipping!

* You can order directly by clicking on the photo of each item. *

🍫 Put together a vegan-friendly candy basket

Pretty cute and festive, eh? Some of my personal favorites are included. (Side note: Putting this together felt like torture to myself since Matt and I are still doing our plant-based Whole30.)


🛀 Create a vegan and cruelty-free self-care set

Or you can always purchase a pre-made one. Either way, it's perfect for the homebody love of your life!


👕 Try something more traditional

Think along the lines of cozy clothing items, cookbooks to try the recipes out together, etc.


🐖 Make a donation in their name to an animal protection nonprofit

This is my personal favorite option, and it's great for those who don't want/need any material goods. Some of the top-rated animal charities are The Humane League, Animal Equality, Animal Place, Mercy For Animals, and Farm Sanctuary. You can also consider making a donation to a favorite animal rescue near their city. (Personally, my favorite local to San Diego sanctuary is Farm Animal Refuge in Campo, California!)

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If you need more ideas, check out past LunaVida cruelty-free and vegan gift guides here. If you are more the type to celebrate by spending quality time rather than exchanging presents (which is 100% Matt and me seeing as gift giving is the last Love Language for both of us), check out some inexpensive and free date ideas here!

Do you celebrate V-Day or do you prefer to skip right over it each year?

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