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!

My Favorite Products for Dry Skin | Winter Edition

For as long as I’ve been alive, so it seems, I’ve had oily skin. Regardless of the time of year—winter or summer—my face would shine with the sheen of oiliness, and it wasn’t very cute to say the least. But this winter, things have took a turn and my face is no longer oily but rather incredibly dry. Honestly, I blame the Chicago air. Not only is the air disgustingly polluted (I’m pretty sure I get cigarette fumes blown into my face at least twice a week), but the air during the winter is very dry. So, I guess it was about time that my skin got plagued with dryness.

I have tried so many things to help combat my dry skin, and to be perfectly honest, my skin is still dry. However, the products I’ve using as of late have helped with the pain and flakiness that comes with having dry skin. Today, I thought I’d share with you all my favorite products that I’ve been using and how I’ve been using them on a daily basis. As always, these products are 100% vegan and cruelty-free. Enjoy!


FACE OIL: you & oil

I received this face oil from my Love Goodly box a few months ago. But, I just started using this product recently as the oil was a bit too much for my skin during the summer. Thank goodness I remembered this product because it has honestly been a lifesaver for my skin.

I apply this face oil every morning after I wash my face and after I wash my face post-working out. I always make sure to apply it immediately after cleansing my skin in order to prevent my face from drying out from the water.

For this product, a little bit definitely goes a long way. For application, I put a dime-sized drop of the oil into the palm of my hand and using my fingertips I massage the product into my skin.

shop vegan face oils:

Kopari Beauty | Pacifica Beauty | Tarte Cosmetics

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hyaluronic acid: pacifica beauty

If you know me, then you know that I adore all of Pacifica Beauty’s products. They’re all 100% vegan and all-natural, and I haven’t met of product of theirs that I haven’t enjoyed. While I use the face oil (mentioned above) primarily for nighttime, I use Pacifica’s face serum during the day.

Infused with hyaluronic acid, this serum is the ultimate moisturizer for days where the temperatures are below 30-degrees and it’s as dry as the Sahara Desert. Hyaluronic acid is a powerful serum that binds moisture into the skin. Regardless of its harsh (and TBH, kind of scary) name, the “acid” helps keep the skin hydrated for a longer period of time than run-of-the-mill moisturizers do.

shop vegan hyaluronic acids:

Pacifica Beauty | Osea | Tarte Cosmetics


face powder: tarte cosmetics

I’m not going to lie, my heart broke a bit when I found out that Tarte discontinued their Confidence Creamy Powder Foundation—it was my absolute favorite. Even though I used to do the whole shabang on my face and used an exuberant amount of liquid concealer and foundation, I have since moved away from caking my face with cosmetics and have instead opted for more lightweight options that make my skin look great in less than half the time.

Tarte’s powder foundation is a holy grail of mine and works wonders as a full coverage, yet creamy option for everyday. However, since Tarte discontinued this product, I have been using It Cosmetics’ Celebration Foundation which is equally as fantastic, but a little bit more pricey. But, I’ve always been a firm believe in spending more money for quality products that are cruelty-free and created without animal byproducts.

I use this product every morning when I feel like I need to wear just a bit of makeup to even out any discoloration or hide any “imperfections.” Instead of looking like I caked on a few layers of makeup, these powder foundations blend seamlessly into the skin and trick everyone to think that you’re actually not wearing any makeup. Plus, unlike liquid foundations, powder foundations don’t dry out your skin which is amazing for the wintertime.

 
 
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shop vegan powder foundations:

Tarte Cosmetics | It Cosmetics | bareMinerals


Even though I haven’t mastered the art of skin care quite yet, I feel like I’m getting closer to achieving a complexion that can strut its stuff without wearing any sort of makeup. Do you feel like you’ve mastered your skin care routine? If so, what are your go-to products?

Sustainable + Vegan Holiday Gift Guide

It’s finally the holidays, and I’ve been burning my Trader Joe’s Gingerbread candle and jamming to Santa Tell Me by Ariana Grande for a week straight now—and I couldn’t be more excited. While I love spending time with family (and my cat “brother,” Oscar) and walking around Downtown Chicago and my hometown’s downtown area, there’s nothing better than giving the perfect gift to someone. In lieu of my love for a more sustainable lifestyle and my passion for veganism, I have decided to create a gift guide to serve as your one-stop-shop to the best sustainable and vegan holiday gifts.

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1 // stasher bag:

Stasher Bags are the coolest things since plastic baggies. Sure, everyone and their mom was amazed when they had something besides paper towels to wrap their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in. But, we all know how bad throwing away plastic is for the environment, which is why Stasher Bag nails it with their product. Made from BPA, lead, latex, and phthalate-free silicone, Stasher Bags make packing lunches, snacks, and even reheating food safe and sustainable.

You can purchase Stasher Bags here, here, and here!

2 // bee’s wrap:

I fell in love with Bee’s Wrap’s products after my sister gifted me them last Christmas. Instead of using plastic wrap (or cling wrap or whatever the kids are calling it nowadays), Bee’s Wrap can be used over-and-over again to keep food safe for travel or preserve leftovers inside of your fridge. I find myself wrapping apples or celery in them to bring with me to school, sometimes I cover the tops of Tupperware containers or half-eaten coconut yogurt containers with them, as well. These genius wraps are made from certified organic cotton and jojoba oil, sustainably sourced beeswax, and tree resin.

You can purchase Bee’s Wrap here!

3 // pela phone case:

Everyone needs a phone case, and someone who thinks otherwise is either wrong or delusional because a phone without a case is risky business. Pela makes it easy to protect your phone with style while still helping the planet. Pela phone cases are made from their signature “Flaxstic” which is starch and other natural fibers that are compostable and don’t include BPA or lead—that’s right, you can compost your Pela phone case when you no longer want it. Additionally, Pela has partnered with three different causes to make your phone case purchases even more worth it.

You can purchase Pela cases here!

4 // SPROUT PENCILS:

When I was in Texas a few months ago, I stumbled upon these amazing pencils inside of a gift shop in Dallas. Pencils, in-and-of-themselves, are practical. But, when filled with seeds to be planted after the pencil is too short to be used is brilliant and even more practical. Sprout Pencils are 100 percent sustainable and non-toxic (made from Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood), and the little capsule that holds the plant seeds are made with natural clay.

You can purchase Sprout Pencils here, here, and here!

5 // hu chocolate

Would this gift guide really be complete without my favorite chocolate of all time? Obviously not. Hu Kitchen’s chocolate has been a long-time favorite of mine ever since I took a bite of their glorious hazelnut-filled bar 2-years-ago. Since then, I’ve tried almost all of their flavors with the cashew butter-filled bar being my favorite. While their bars not only taste delicious, they’re made out of organic cacao and are gluten-free, paleo, and vegan—what a win. Plus, all of their chocolate bars (and other new chocolatey treats) are made without dairy, GMOs, soy, refined sugars, and sugar alcohols. Bottom line: Hu Chocolate makes great-tasting desserts that are a healthy alternative to run-of-the-mill chocolate bars.

You can purchase Hu Kitchen Chocolate here, here, and here!

6 // homesick candles

I can honestly say I have never met a person who doesn’t like candles. And when the candle is scented after their hometown/college town/or favorite place, chances are they will love the candle even more. Homesick Candles are the perfect gift for out-of-town friends and relatives, recently graduated students, or anyone who loves vacationing. Homesick candles are scented after different places in the world, and the brand’s “Chicago” candle is scented to smell like the Windy City by capturing the “complex scent of rich chocolate carried by bursts of Great Lake air.” Sounds delicious, right? The best part of these candles is that they’re made from natural soy wax and high-quality cotton wicks that are free from lead and plastic. Plus, they’re made paragon, petroleum, and phthalate-free, and their jars can be washed and reused even after the candle is done burning.

You can purchase Homesick Candles here, here, and here!


Let me know which sustainable + vegan gift you would like to give and receive from my list above. Have a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and happy whatever-holiday-you-celebrate!

with love & light, Amanda