Favorite Trends for Spring

It’s been raining in Chicago for the past week. And by raining, I mean down-pouring for the entire day. I’m not kidding when I say that there was a 2-foot-deep moat around my office making it quite difficult to get into the building. It’s safe to say that the last thing I wanted to do given the horrendous weather was put on anything remotely spring-inspired—dresses, skirts, etc. Basically, I wanted to live in my baggy leggings and oversized tee shirts. But nonetheless, I had to #adult and put on real clothes. But The Weather Channel has put me in good spirits as it has forecasted warm weather in the very near future, which means that I will be breaking out my favorite pieces for this new season!

When people think of a new season, they often assume they have to buy new clothes in order to keep up with the trends—I definitely used to be one of those people. But recently, I’ve been trying to revisit some of my “older pieces” in an effort to not only save some money, but also reduce my clothing consumption (did you know how harmful it is to continuously throw out old clothes and buy new clothes? If not, check out this super informative articles here). I have found that a lot of the pieces I bought the past few years, are also trendy for this upcoming season—MAJOR win in my opinion. From ruffled dresses to stylish athleisure, spring is right around the corner and here are the trends you need to get in on.


mini dresses

I am such a fan of mini dresses. And my mini, I don’t mean “so-short-that-you-have-to-kneel-instead-of-bending-over,” but more like, “right-above-the-knee-so-you’re-showing-an-appropriate-amount-of-skin-without-having-to-wear-spanx” (sorry not sorry if you’re offended by that). A mini dress is the perfect piece to wear when you don’t know what to wear. A lot of people hate wearing dresses, but honestly, they’re a one-and-done look—you don’t have to figure out what top to match with what bottom, it’s already done for you!

I have found that dresses hardly go out of style. Sure, the lengths of dresses fluctuate depending on trends, but to be quite honest, a maxi, mini, or midi dress will never go out of style. While I do love buying a new dress every now and then, I continue to fall in love with the ones that I already own. My favorites? A neutral-colored printed mini dress with a keyhole detail on the neckline, ruffles on the shoulders and waist, and relaxed, oversized sleeves from Chelsea28 that I received for Christmas 2-years-ago; A mauve pink off-the-shoulder mini dress with lace detailing and ruching at the neckline from Anthropologie that I bought 3-years-ago; A baby blue floral printed mini dress with a peasant style v-neckline and tapered sleeves from Anthropologie that I also purchased 3-years-ago.

Regardless of the style of dress, one that hits right above the knee is always a good idea. If you’re running low on mini dresses in your closet, here are a few of my favorites:


athleisure

I have a confession to make: I’m obsessed with Outdoor Voices. Did I jump on the bandwagon when OV became popular? Sure. But have I fallen in love with their pieces on my own, regardless of what any influencer says? Definitely. I knew as soon as I saw Outdoor Voices being worn by all of my favorite wellness Instagrammers, that I would have to check out the brand for myself. And since visiting their flagship boutique in Austin, TX earlier this year and purchasing a pair of their seasonal Springs Leggings, I have invested in a few other staples from the #DoingThings brand. Along with their pieces being stylish and having the ability to be worn in many occasions, they’re also sustainably and ethically made (which makes me feel better about dropping a hundred bucks on one piece).

Recently, I have been (over)wearing my Outdoor Voices Court Skort and Exercise Dress. Let me tell you, when OV released their Exercise Dress, I knew it was meant to be. The Exercise Dress is a mini dress with a full, fitted, biker short bodysuit underneath and crafted with a pocket big enough to fit your phone and a few important cards—there’s nothing I love more than not having to bring a purse with me! Since I love being active and love wearing dresses, the OV Exercise Dress was truly a dream come true. Now, I’m able to wear a dress when I go on walks, hikes, and bike rides without feeling dumb or like I’m going to flash everyone in sight. On the other hand, the Exercise Dress is perfect for wearing on more casual days. I love tossing a cropped sweater overtop with sneakers, or pairing it with an oversized cardigan. Either way, I’m always comfortable and worry-free of a breeze that may or may not cause my dress to fly up in the air.

The same goes for Outdoor Voices’ Court Skort. This piece is a mini skirt with fitted biker shorts underneath. The piece is made from a thick sweat-resistant material that is comfortable and practical for all of the athletic activities (and more!) listed above. Plus, you can easily dress this skirt up by throwing on a sweater or tucking in a blouse. Similarly to the Exercise Dress, the Court Skort also has a hidden pocket that’s great for when you don’t want to carry your phone or any other important items.

For actually fitness—like weight lifting, running, stair master, etc.—I’ve been living in my Outdoor Voices’ TechSweat biker shorts. This section of the post is probably sounding like a sponsored ad, and I can assure you that it’s not, but OV’s products are truthfully the best…but I digress. The TechSweat biker shorts are some of the most comfortable bottoms I’ve worn to the gym. Honestly, they feel like you’re wearing nothing which, in my opinion, is a heck of a lot better than suffocating in too tight leggings. There’s nothing worse than being on a run and having to keep pulling up your pants because they’re slipping down, and with the TechSweat shorts this problem never happens. While I have personally never dabbled in the biker shorts + a noodie trend, I know that’s something the kids are wearing nowadays. If this is a look that you’re into, then I would suggest investing in Outdoor Voices’ biker shorts: they’ll last long, they’re trendy (but won’t go out of style), and they’re made with sustainable materials.


scrunchies

Okay, okay, this isn’t a clothing trend. But I learned in school (and I’m a fashion major, so I’m credible!) that beauty and hair is also included in the fashion realm. And lately, I’ve been obsessed with wearing scrunchies. Not only are they better for your hair (less pulling which equals less breakage), but they’re an easy way to add a little something-something to a typically boring high ponytail or simple low bun/top knot.

Last summer, I purchased metallic scrunchies from Anthropologie. They are my go-to when I’m wearing a simple outfit and want a bit of color and texture to spice up my look. Just recently, however, I was getting sick of only having a metallic blue and metallic lavender scrunchie to wear, so I stopped at Target to purchase big, fluffy, black scrunchies. If you’re feeling a little more “extra,” they also sell scrunchies with bows and long ribbons at the end. While I’ve personally never worn one of these types of scrunchies, they’re a huge trend that makes for a more dressed-up pony.

Ever since buying and wearing them, I’ve felt like my ponytails have looked better and have been more voluminous than they usually are. Plus, by the end of the day I no longer have a headache—such a win-win.


What’s your favorite trend for the spring and summer? Let me know in the comments below so I can decide whether or not to hop on the trend, too!

Easy Ways to be Sustainable | Earth Week 2019

Woohoo! Happy Earth Week, friends! I can honestly say that I’ve never been as excited for an Earth Week as I am this year. In the past year or so, I’ve tried to make all aspects of my life more Earth-friendly. Since doing so, I feel like I’ve nailed down a few (super simple) ways to be sustainable along with a few inexpensive products that I’ve been using on a daily basis.


grocery store plastic bags

Nothing—and I mean nothing—irritates me more at a grocery store than when the baggers put one item per plastic bag. What a waste! When I was living downtown Chicago, I was super good about bringing my own reusable bags from home with me whenever I went shopping—they’re easier to carry than plastic bags, the City of Chicago charges a “bag tax”, and it’s more sustainable. However, once I moved back home where “bag tax” is no longer a thing and I have a car to take me to-and-from the store, I suddenly stopped using my reusable bags.

Was I proud of myself. Definitely not. So, I decided that I would put a few reusable canvas bags into my car so that I wouldn’t have an excuse of why I wasn’t using one! Since then, I’ve been bringing my bags with me whenever I go to the store. I can honestly say that I’ve probably saved around 30 bags in that timeframe.

Fun fact: Almost every grocery store nowadays sells reusable bags for purchase for no more than 99 cents a bag—what a steal! Plus, if you ever go to any sort of event chances are you have a few reusable bags laying around your house (my family has TONS!).


grocery store produce bags

At this point, I think it’s safe to say that we can blame grocery stores for all of our plastic problems. Just kidding, but like, not really. Another grocery store pet peeve of mine are those ridiculous produce bags. If you’re like most people in the world, then you probably wash the produce before you eat it. Which is why using plastic produce bags makes absolutely no sense to me. If you’re someone who washes your fruits/vegetables before you use them, then there should be no fear of the items being dirty by just tossing them into your shopping cart/basket if you’re going to wash them anyways.

I know that there are companies out there that sell reusable produce bags like Ever Eco, Flip & Tumble, and Purifyou. While I personally have not used these before, they’re a great option if you’re someone who is still fearful of just putting your produce (naked) in the cart.

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STASHER BAGS

Yes, I jumped on the Stasher Bag bandwagon. Ever since @shutthekaleup on Instagram featured Stasher’s on her feed, I had been wanting to purchase some. However, at $12/bag I couldn’t justify spending that much as someone who, in college, rarely packed a lunch (since I had time to fix meals at my apartment). But since graduating and now working a full-time job, I pack my lunch and snacks everyday. I knew that I would be wanting to bring fruit, chopped veggies, trail mix, etc. with me to work and I didn’t want to have to use plastic baggies. So instead of being unsustainable, I decided to take out my wallet and invest in a Stasher Bag. I have to say, it was one of the best sustainable decisions I have ever made! I use my Stasher Bag daily to hold my snacks and other food items. Not only do they minimize my use of plastic, but they’re super easy to clean as they’re machine washable and easy to get inside of with a washcloth or a bottle brush.

Stasher Bag Hack: Stand your bag up inside of your car’s cupholder, stick a fork in it, and you’ve got yourself a super clever—if I do say so myself—snacking opportunity!

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you can buy stasher bag here, here, and here


bee’s wrap

When my sister gifted me with Bee’s Wrap for Christmas 2-years-ago, I truthfully didn’t know when I was going to use it. But a day later, I had used all 4 sheets! Bee’s Wrap is another great way to decrease your plastic usage—cling wrap, cellophane wrap, I’m looking at you! Bee’s Wrap is a waste-free alternative to food storage. I’ve used it to cover half-eaten apples, yogurt containers, leftovers, and even to hold celery sticks for snacks on-the-go.

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you can buy bee’s wrap here, here, and here


What ways do you try to live more sustainably? Any product recommendations? Let me know in the comments below!

Texas Vegan Guide

Yeehaw! It might come as a shock (it certainly was to me) that Texas has an abundance of HEALTHY VEGAN food in the state that is known for BBQ and Tex-Mex. However, after visiting a few times I was thrilled to find that Texas not only has a lot of solely vegan eateries, but also restaurants that have both vegan and non-vegan options. Since my boyfriend (who lives in Texas) isn’t a vegan—or a vegetarian—it was important to me that there were places to eat at that he would enjoy along with myself. Thankfully, there were a lot of places to choose from that didn’t just offer “vegan junk food,” but actually had delicious and healthy dishes.

hg suply co, fort worth

HG SUPLY CO is hands-down my favorite restaurant to dine at in the Dallas/Forth Worth area. For starters, the location of this fine, fine, fine establishment is right along the Clear Fork Trinity River allowing for the best views and most serene atmosphere. HG SUPLY CO has a gorgeous back patio with string lights and wooden picnic-style tables with umbrellas that allow for an unforgettable outdoor dining experience—and no, I’m not being dramatic. While HG SUPLY hit the nail on the head with ambience, their food offerings are also delicious.

I think I’ve tried almost every vegan option that’s on the menu. Starting with appetizers, their vegan queso is delicious. While it’s not necessarily a health food, we subbed half of the tortilla chips for fresh vegetables to make the dish a bit more nutritious. And if you’re a vegan, I’m sure you’ve been disappointed by fake cheeses a plethora of times (I know I’ve been), but HG does fake cheese RIGHT. Their queso is creamy, tasty, and doesn’t leave you with an unbearable stomachache afterwards.

HG CHIPS & QUESO (Sub 1/2 Tortilla Chips for Vegetables): 10/10

The next appetizer that it’s amazing—and that I’ve actually ordered as my entree—is their carrot hummus (which has been recently updated on the menu to a ginger garlic hummus). Surrounded by fresh vegetables like purple cauliflower, heirloom tomatoes, cucumber, and carrots, the hummus is drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with crushed toasted almonds. I always ordered the hummus without the extra olive oil drizzle, and let me tell ya, it’s still super creamy and tasty. Unlike other restaurants that offer hummus, HG’s dish is homemade and doesn’t taste like paste. Instead, it’s flavorful, spicy, and the perfect appetizer or entree for anyone who is a big hummus fan, such as myself.

HUMMUS & FRESH VEGETABLES (No olive oil drizzle): 10/10

The next dish that I’ve tried at HG SUPLY CO is their quinoa “meatballs.” I’ve had this vegan dish as a side to complement the hummus, and I’ve also had them on top of the restaurant’s zucchini "pasta.” Made from quinoa and other nuts and spices, these vegan “meatballs” are so tasty and make the perfect vegan protein addition to any of the plant-based offerings that HG has!

QUINOA “MEATBALLS”: 10/10

The zucchini “pasta” was recently added to the HG SUPLY CO menu as of the last time I was in Texas. I’m a creature of habit, and normally I would have ordered the hummus with the quinoa meatballs out of uncertainty. However, I decided to give the zucchini “pasta” a try. On top of the bed of spiralized zucchini was blistered grape tomatoes, garlic, eggplant, rainbow chard, onions, and sweet peppers—a delectable combination. To be honest, this dish was one of the best I have ever tasted and was full of delicious and nutritious vegan-approved ingredients. For those of you who are pasta lovers, this dish won’t disappoint! It truly tasted like the real deal.

ZUCCHINI “PASTA”: 10/10


oh my juice, waco

Our pitstop at Oh My Juice in Waco was much needed as we were en route to Austin. On a hot day sitting in the car for several hours, there’s nothing more refreshing than a smoothie or a smoothie bowl. The location itself is a bit odd, as it’s housed with other small eateries and boutiques in a rest stop kind of atmosphere. However, unlike other rest areas, Oh My Juice is 100x better than any McDonalds or other fast food joint that you would normally run into along the highway.

The first time that we went there, my boyfriend ordered the Orange Ya Glad “Muscle” smoothie, which of course, I had to try. Oranges, bananas, cinnamon, vegan vanilla protein powder, and coconut milk are blended to create a thick, creamy, protein-packed smoothie. This menu offering is great if you’re looking for a meal replacement, rather than a snack as it’s full of 20 grams of plant protein!

ORANGE YA GLAD SMOOTHIE: 10/10

I have tried two different items at Oh My Juice. The first was the Green Morning smoothie that consisted of cucumber, pear, spinach, avocado, dates, lime, coconut water and vegan protein powder, which I subbed for goji berries. While this smoothie was not as sweet as the Orange Ya Glad shake, it was super delicious and immediately reenergized me.

GREEN MORNING SMOOTHIE: 8/10

The second time we stopped at Oh My Juice, I decided to give one of their smoothie bowls a try. For the base of the bowl I ordered the Under The Sea smoothie which was a blend of pineapple, grapes, blue majik (spirulina), and coconut water. For toppings, I chose fresh strawberries, raspberries, and goji berries. While the consistency of the bowl wasn’t as thick as I normally like, there’s just something so satisfying about eating a smoothie with a spoon—I think it’s because it makes the deliciousness last longer!

UNDER THE SEA SMOOTHIE BOWL: 9/10


mudhen meat & greens, dallas

When we visited downtown Dallas, we were in search of a restaurant that had both vegan and non-vegan options. To be quite honest, I’m not sure how exactly we stumbled upon Mudhen Meat & Greens, but I’m so glad that we did. Near the Dallas Farmer’s Market, Mudhen Meat & Greens resembles a large (very well decorated and aesthetically pleasing) warehouse. Inside, there are long wooden tables topped with glass bottles of water and flowers, and there are wooden benches for seating. The building itself is gorgeous and it was the first thing (besides the menu) that really caught my attention.

Since we went on a Sunday, Mudhen unfortunately was only serving their brunch items. There were a lot more vegan offerings on their normal lunch/dinner menu, however, I still made it work. I ended up ordering their vegan Collard Spring Roll. Carrots, avocado, cabbage, and kelp noodles were stuffed inside of hearty pieces of collard and complemented by a sriracha vinaigrette. I’ve tasted plenty of vegan spring rolls/raw burritos during my time as a vegan, and these were hands down the best I have ever had!

COLLARD SPRING ROLLS: 10/10

Along with the spring rolls, we also ordered some of the restaurant’s kombucha on tap. While I’m a GT’s Kombucha fan girl through and through, I always love tasting local kombucha. The flavor that we ordered was floral (I don’t remember the exact flavor) with a hint of fruit. It was quite sweet and not carbonated enough for my liking, however, it was super refreshing and made for the perfect addition to my spring rolls!

KOMBUCHA ON TAP: 8/10

The next time that we go to Mudhen, I’m for sure going to try some of their other vegan options like their vegan Mushroom Bolognese Pasta (roasted tomato sauce with cremini mushrooms, quinoa, kelp noodles, and macadamia nut ricotta).


5 points local, san antonio

Out of all of the restaurants in Texas, 5 Point Local has to be my absolute favorite. Weirdly located in a neighborhood on the outskirts of downtown San Antonio, 5 Points Local truly is a hidden gem. We ate at this restaurant three times during our 2 day stay in San Antonio, and it was delicious every time. The first day, I ordered the vegan Baked Bowl which essential was a baked oatmeal made of warm grains and spices, dried fruit and nuts, topped with cashew cream and a grilled banana. Yes, it was just as delicious as it sounds. It was the perfect warming dish for an early dinner, and was super satisfying and kept me full for hours!

BAKED BOWL: 10/10

The next day, I ended up eating at 5 Points twice because the 5 Points Granola bowl was crazy good—yes, I had the same thing twice in the same day. The 5 Points Granola bowl is their homemade granola made from grains, dried fruit, coconut, and nuts and finished off with homemade coconut milk. On the side, I ordered both their fresh squeezed grapefruit juice and fresh squeezed orange juice. The granola bowl was so delicious and surprisingly filling that I knew I had to celebrate our last day in San Antonio by ordering it twice—it didn’t disappoint.

5 POINTS GRANOLA BOWL: 10/10


flower child, austin

To be quite honest, there wasn’t many places in Austin that appealed to me (perhaps I wasn’t looking at the right places, but there just wasn’t much I found—let me know in the comments below what your favorite vegan restaurants are in Austin!). However, I had heard so many great things about Flower Child from the bloggers that I follow who live in California. When I found out that there were locations in Texas, I knew I had to go. If you’re from Chicago, then you probably know of/have been to True Food Kitchen. The interior of Flower Child is very similar to True Food’s: open, airy, minimalistic, and full of hanging and standing plants. The concept, however, is different from True Food. At Flower Child, you order at the counter and then sit down and wait for your food to arrive—I got major Panera vibes.

Since we were only in Austin for a day, choosing what to order was difficult because I wanted to try all of the vegan offerings! After much deliberation, I decided on the Vegan Ingredient Salad with the lemon tahini vinaigrette on the side. This salad had a base of delicious greens and was topped with cauliflower, avocado, roasted corn, baby tomatoes, kalamata olives, and sunflower seeds. This salad may sound simple and boring, but the dressing really elevated the dish. My goal? An attempt to recreate the delicious tahini dressing!

VEGAN INGREDIENT SALAD: 10/10


Have you ever been to Texas? If so, what are you favorite vegan places to eat at? I’m looking for any and all recommendations!