Enji - Changing The Way You Look At Recycled Jewelry With 12 Ways To Style Your Rings This Summer

100% Handmade and Committed to Sustainability and Ethical Practices. - Enji Studio Jewelry

I have been fortunate enough to get to know Enji Studio Jewelry not only as an ethical brand but as a light in the industry making moves. Once I laid eyes on Niki's creations, the creator and owner of Enji, I absolutely fell in love. The fact that these pieces are made ethically from recycled material and give back really was the game changer for me. From bold to minimalist pieces I truly believe there is a gem for everyone here. I took these rings everywhere, honestly, I wanted to live in them and I did. They saw and felt love, joy, heartbreak and all the in-betweens.

Looking down at my hands though, the rings not only told my story of how I expressed myself through fashion but Enji's story, Niki's story and all the energy from where these recycled materials have been. To think that these rings had all that life before this point, was a unique feeling. Wearing these rings for me represented a belief that fashion is not only what you see in front of you but what could be when you create ethically.

Recycled fashion and jewelry is such a meaningful act. It's using what you have, what already exists and giving it another chance. If you’re looking for inspiration, check out a few of our Summer looks with secondhand items along with local brands.

Using the Sybil Sapphire Ring, Ora Ring, Hera Ring, and the Fatima Ring.

Fields Of Green

Niki's pieces are created by using only recycled gold and silver, ethically sourced and stones, chains, and findings that are made in the USA and Italy, and packaging and marketing materials are made using recycled paper. - Enji Studio Jewelry

The Bryan House

As a member of Ethical Metalsmiths, we hope to be among the first movers bringing transparency and sustainable practices into the luxury fashion jewelry world. - Enji Studio Jewelry

Summer Feeling

The Neutral

Secondhand Casual

Citrus Walks

The Plant Lady

On The Clear Path

Seeing Red

Modern 70's

The Streets

Modern, minimal design that is made ethically and sustainably and gives back to the community. - Enji Studio Jewelry

In The Flowers

Enji donates a portion of each sale to organizations that help empower women locally and globally and work to end domestic violence and human trafficking

Here are some of the organizations Enji works with:
The Alliance for HOPE
Women's Resource Center
Mercury Free Mining Project

To learn more about Enji Studio Jewelry click here.

Live Balanced. Live Great.

All There August

*In essence, I only partner with brands I truly believe in and all opinions stated above are mine.


8 Ways To Use Your Hip Purse And Backpack This Winter Season

The infamous hip purse and backpacks, some people love them (like me) and others are not fans. That's perfectly fine but no matter what side of the spectrum you're on, sometimes you need inspiration. As Winter is upon us, I put together a Vegan Bag Style Guide where I share 8 looks using these two vegan handbags from White Rhino.

But First, Let's Find The Right Bag...

Whether you want a bag to travel in or for everyday use, it's important to stay true to your style. After living in my White Rhino bags, I recognized what's important to me… lots of pockets. Aside from being your one stop shop for cruelty-free, vegan leather bags and accessories. These vegan handbags provide just the right storage space while also remaining compact.

Do you tend to dress more athletic, casual or glam? Is color the most important feature for you or is it size and fit? Hip purses and backpacks are versatile. Once you determine what features are right for your style, mixing these bags in your wardrobe will soon come naturally.

Monday: All Black

Black is my classic go-to when I want a traditional bold look. Try pairing a neutral color together for this outfit. Whether it be all black, all red or picking two colors, the 'Allie Hip Purse will be a solid addition.

Tuesday: Twice Unique

Why not couple two unique looks, a hip purse, and overalls. Another side to fashion is to be a bit daring. I mean why not? Honestly, you never know what outfit you will enjoy until you try it on. So exercise your right to experiment.

Wednesday: Your Favorite Combo

My favorite colors, red and black are two striking shades to wear. Here I used the hip purse as a belt to create a silhouette with an oversized blazer. Essentially you can replace any belt with this bag.

Thursday: The Suit

Another way to wear your hip purse is as a cross body bag. Connect the bag at the last hole and test what side you feel comfortable with best.

Friday: Earthy Tone

The Dark Avocado Signature Backpack was unconventional for me. For these next two looks, I wanted an earthy lighter mood to complement the darkness of the backpack.

The Weekend: The Darker Shades

Following my roots, for this look, I paired the backpack with black. Whether it's an athleisure look or blacked out with a pop of color, the green stands strong.

Bags have more than one purpose. Yes, they are meant to carry valuables but they also give life to your look. As I wore my White Rhino bags not only did I feel at peace with the fact that they are cruelty-free but a sensation of ease fell over me. These very bags allowed me to tell my story. My story through what I represent as a cruelty-free activist and creator. What story are you telling with your fashion?

To learn more about White Rhino's cruelty-free, vegan bags and receive 25% off your order for the month of January use code JESS25 and click here.

Live Balanced. Live Great.

All There August

Jessica Salazar

*In essence, I only partner with brands I truly believe in and all opinions stated above are mine.


Winter Style Guide: A Week's Worth of Tips On How To Utilize Your Swimsuit All Year Round

Winter Swimsuit Style Guide

How many people store their swimsuits away after the Summer days have left us? I know I did. So when Alyned Together gave me the "Winter Swimsuit Style Guide Challenge" it was both exciting and experimental. Why? Well because for me and maybe a lot of people out there, I associate swimsuits with pools, beaches and pretty much little to no layering.

Considering my styling options for the week ahead, I discovered that using a swimsuit as a staple fashion item is pretty ingenious. As I went through my week, I found styling my one piece came naturally to me. In all honesty, I envisioned my suit as a onesie instead of a swimsuit and changed my perspective entirely. So for those of you who never see their swimsuits until those Summer days, it's time to change that outlook. It's possible to use your suit all year round and here are some tips to do so.

Monday, A Pop Of Color: I purchased this scarf a few years ago in Europe and its large enough to use it as a wrap. Here I thought of the suit as a fitted tank that I can layer with a jacket. I also like to throw in hints of color which is why I paired the black with a secondhand statement pant, purse and turquoise vintage rings that belonged to my grandma.

Tuesday, An Edgy Neutral: In this case, I wanted to pair the swimsuit with a fitted bottom. Experimenting with your swimsuit is key. Ask yourself what tops, sweaters or jackets need layering? If it's minimum, wear your favorite light jacket over your suit. Here I accessorized with a hat, vintage jewelry, and a hemp jacket.

Wednesday, A New Years Sparkle: I love matching a bold fashion piece with solid black. I found this secondhand vest at a local shop and paired it with the swimsuit. A solid black bottom along with the suit creates the illusion of a one-piece pantsuit.

Thursday, Sports Day: Sometimes casual attire is the best medicine. I matched this look with a DIY sweater I upcycled. Also, I love pins and express my creativity through them.

Friday, The Classic Black And White: Here's another secondhand sweater from my grandma. I love the bold black and white pattern combined with the cutout the swimsuit contains. Matching your suit with your vibrant outerwear is a great way to utilize pieces from your current wardrobe.

Saturday, Sheer Magic: I wanted to give you another look with the wide-legged pant. Alternatively, wearing your swimsuit underneath a sheer top is remarkably versatile. The sheer fades out any noticeable signs that you are wearing a swimsuit.

Sunday, The Bell Sleeve: I used the swimsuit as a base for most of the outfits but I wanted to switch it up and use the suit as the actual "layered" piece instead. This technique works best if the base top is a fitted one which will eliminate any material bulking.

An Extra Day In Grandmas Blazer: Both of my grandmas have been noticing how I've styled some of their pieces so this one came as a surprise. My grandma wore this blazer to my brother's wedding years ago. I paired it with an upcycled choker I created with a cat head that originally came from a ring. Furthermore, I matched the look with secondhand bracelets and locally purchased sunglasses.

From casual to contemporary it's time to think of your swimsuits lifecycle outside of those Summertime festivities. Swimsuits don't require Summer so challenge yourself. Start with styling one outfit or using your swimsuit underneath an oversized sweater, to get familiar with the idea. Utilizing your suits and items from your current wardrobe is an incredible way to live sustainably.

For more on Alyned Together and to get your suit today use code WINTERSTLYE15 for a 15% discount, click here. 

Live Balanced. Live Great.

All There August

Jessica Salazar

*In essence, I only partner with like-minded brands I truly believe in and all opinions stated above are mine.


Easy DIY Mother Nature Halloween Costume For World Vegan Day

Easy DIY Mother Nature Halloween Costume For World Vegan Day

It's that time of year again where we get to dress up in costumes and drift to another world as we fall into character. I personally love Halloween. It's one of my favorite Holidays but this year I wanted to challenge myself with time and money. Meaning, I wanted to show that I didn't need to spend money and I put together my costume in about an hour with items I already owned.

Mother Nature DIY

Mother Nature For World Vegan Day

I found myself sitting and scrolling through google searching the following... DIY scary, nature, plant, and vegan costumes. Then I thought alright Jess, what really resembles who I am and hey it's World Vegan Day soon? Hello... Mother Nature. It was Halloween and I had about less than 2 hours to get ready for our party. Time was ticking.

What's In The Costume?

  • Cream 2 Piece Secondhand Dress
    • I had a dress from a thrift store that had a fitted bottom. What I did was put a flowy skirt that matched the top over the bottom half of the dress. This gave the illusion of a one-piece dress.
  • Forest Crown
    • So the funny thing about this is it's actually a door wreath. Yes, a wreath. I was able to find one I already owned that was slightly smaller and placed it on my head. Of course, it was a bit larger than my head and a tad heavier but, I made it work.
  • Forest Makeup
    • I love creating looks with makeup and if I get the chance to create a colorful look I'm going to take it. The style came from an accumulation of several photos but I used Laura Lee's, Party Animal vegan eyeshadow palette to create everything while mixing shadows together to achieve the various greens I had on.

Full Dress

Door Wreath

It's possible to create costumes from clothes and items you own. For me, that was the challenge. I personally didn't want to spend money on something I was going to use for 1 night. The great thing is this very look transitions to World Vegan Day, yay. This year I chose to coincide with a lifestyle I am so very proud of and to celebrate our Mother Nature.

Live Balanced. Live Great.

All There August

Jessica Salazar


A Reflection on 30: The Ugly, The Beauty And The Strange Trails Between

A Reflection on 30: The Ugly, The Beauty And The Strange Trails Between

I can't believe its here, 30. As I sit here thinking about my last 10 years of life I remember the very day I was 19. The thought of man, I'm turning 20, how crazy is that! Furthermore, there's a memory I have of taking a picture to mark that very day hoping I would remember and... I did. There I stood in my dorm at Texas State University, happy about what this new chapter would bring. Now, I sit here at 29 reflecting on all the things I did and the moments that passed in my 20's. Generally speaking, every birthday is important and if you know me birthdays are my jam, I live for them. This one though, 30, it seems weird, different, strange and joyous all at the same time for me. I have some feelings about 30, there's a lot I love and yet it's uncharted territory. Having time for reflection yet happily present brings feelings of the ugly, the beauty and the strange trails that fall between the cracks of it all. I think no matter what age you are we have all gone through things that are relatable, so, here are mine.

The Struggle

It's quite weird to think I started this piece at 29 and ended it at 30. To some people birthdays are insignificant but it's not that way for me. I feel things quite deeply and in the beginning, the thought of 30 was really off-putting for some reason. I was in my 20's for so long and now what? What am I supposed to do with a 3 in front of my age now? Yes, I embrace 30 (I embrace things in general) and I am so happy and lucky to have lived all these years but to be honest, it's scary. I have the right to say it, 30 is a different feeling. At this moment all the thoughts of, am I too old for this, how will I feel physically, I needed to have accomplished this by now... all the above (negative) thoughts and more start to creep in. It's the truth. Ultimately, as positive as I am it's natural to struggle with negative thoughts. This is a different struggle, the struggle with reality and age may seem minute but it's still significant in some form.

Wearing secondhand and local at Bouldin Creek Cafe in Austin, TX.

The Reflection

My 20's have passed and since I loved them so very much I was still holding on. I was holding on to a number that I thought would change it all. Now I am 30. It doesn't mean my entire life changes because of a number. It doesn't mean I should act this way, dress that way or fit in any "box" a 30-year-old should fit in, no. Uniquely, as I allow myself to feel these feelings and have this reflection, I am also allowing myself to let them go. I can't turn back time, I can't turn 20 again nor do I want to.

As strange as it is to be 30 (and I am sure you have felt it too) its life and it's natural. What I'm doing is continuing to love who I am, where I am in life and yes, the beauty and strangeness that comes with it. I'm 30, heck yes! I struggle, succeed and I am going to make the best of this day and these moments. No, I'm not perfect, no one is. With every minute I will get older and you will too, it's reality. Every day though I am realizing that age is in fact just a number. It's never too late to do something or try something and you can succeed at it. I don't care if you are 20 or 70 you can change your mind, you can make things better and you can follow your magic. Please...follow your magic, it's all we have.

The Mantra

So yes, today will be different but today is also hauntingly beautiful. It's all the emotions and ghosts from the past meeting my present thoughts. I have been through heartache, people have let me down, I've felt the loss in various forms and I have struggled. Some you have seen others have been private. On the other hand, I have also felt the love from family, friends, and in animals and strangers. I've received degrees, lived and traveled abroad and I have stepped into the light of finding out who I am and what I am meant to do in life. Life is ugly and sometimes we can't change that, but life is also ironically very marvelous.

Surrounded by the people I love and receiving warming messaged from around the world, today I feel love. So to all the people out there struggling with negativity for any given reason, you are not alone. This is your show, this is your life let's live for the magic that's within us. That magic doesn't have an age and it's waiting for you always. I believe every single person has their own gifts to share with the world so believe in the light you give. Age, the actual number is quite trivial against your energy and your actions. Allow yourself to live your true path, choose that always.

Live Balanced. Live Great.
All There August

Jessica Salazar


Dog Birthday Party Ideas: A Quick Guide to Throwing a Cute Party For Your Pet

Yes, We Said A Dog Birthday Party!

A dog birthday party. Sit on that for a second. Some may think it's ridiculous and crazy to throw a birthday party for a dog, or any animal for that matter. Others, well, others know exactly how kind the sentiment is and fully believe every dog (or all animals actually) should have a birthday party.

I consider my dog part of the family. Putter (my rescue pup) has been with me for 10 years now and that means he has seen and felt heartache, loss, happy moments, travel and all the in-betweens with me. He has been there and I love him for that. Of course, Putter is not perfect. My dog is probably the sweetest, evil pup you will ever meet. That's just his nature but with me... I feel his love, see his love and know his love. Putter may not comprehend what a birthday is but throwing a party for him is my thank you. It's a gesture saying Putty, Putt, Snuggle Bug, Buddy you are my dog and I am your human. So excuse me if this does not make sense to you but it does to me. As a paw mom, these pets are our children and I will be darned to take that lightly. I'm here to say it's ok to celebrate your pet. You should.

As a result, if you're thinking hey, I've always wanted to throw a party for my pet but don't know where to begin. Or, you want an insight on what I did for Putter's Day, I put together a list of things to consider and how I celebrated my pets life.

Let's Get This PAW-ty Started!

A Perfect Location Will Set The Mood

I always start his day by taking him to the park. That's his favorite thing to do so we do that. I've also hosted Putter's birthday party at my house, grandmas house, my brother's house and this year we took it to a local dog-friendly coffee shop called Coffee With Companions. It was his 10th birthday so I wanted something different for him and for everyone joining us.

Coffee With Companions

When thinking of a location first ask yourself what your goal is for the gathering? Then, what mood do you want for your party? Is it a small backyard Vegan BBQ with the family and pets or do you want to share the moment with your community? Listen to your fur baby, you know your pet best and also know what they are comfortable with.

Secondhand And Upcycled Decoration... All The Small Details Matter

True Story, I was driving by a yard sale and saw a piñata for sale. Yes, I bought it. I mean think about it... a secondhand piñata in perfect condition for our guests and pets to enjoy, heck yes! I added my touch to it and used construction paper I already owned to spruce it up a bit.

Putter posing for the camera in front of his party decor

Putter's actual invitation I created

I'm also going to be upfront with you from the start. I created birthday invitations for Putter's Party! A party needs PAW-ty invites.

Here, think about the things that make you and your pet happy. For me, it's taking pictures, pet goodie bags, dog toys, a piñata with human and dog treats, party hats, props you name it.

A Dog Inspired Vegan Birthday Cake

Finding a local female owned business to create our vegan cake was important to me. I collaborated with 4 Little Pies and asked Vivian to surprise me and create her magic. Here's his birthday cake. Yes, we humans ate it but I did make Putter a cake too. Plus, we had vegan-friendly hot dogs to set the mood.

4 Little Pies Lemon Flavored Vegan Cake

Putter's Homemade 3 Ingredient Cake (Peanut butter, oats and organic pumpkin all mixed)

Vegan Hot Dogs from Lightlife

Whether it's a cake you purchase, one you make or vegan hot dogs it's wonderful to incorporate both human and dog foods. Let's face it, we all eat cake at the end of it all!

Send Guests Home With A Gift

In the hope that I was going to use them for something later, I upcycled brown paper bags I had from a past event for goodie bags. I took the time to paint pet names on each bag. Yes, this took a moment but I found it to be relaxing and fun.

Dog Goodie Bags, the cats received bags too

Additionally, I placed dog treats in each bag. In previous years I passed out toys but I wanted to focus my energy on making homemade vegan dog treats this year. Three ingredients (peanut butter, oat, pumpkin) and really easy to make. These treats are also a great way to incorporate kids. My nieces joined and they loved making treats and feeling involved.

In essence, think about what thoughtful gift you want your guests to leave with. I enjoy creating dog goodie bags every year for the pups, that's my happy place. Furthermore, it's a great way to keep pets entertained during and after the party.

Live In The Moment

At the end of it remember the reason you are gathering. It's to celebrate life and be with the humans and pets you love. I tend to get caught up with "everything needs to be perfect." I'm learning it's vital to breath have a "moment" and enjoy yourself. No matter what anyone else thinks or says it's a special unique time you created. Even though your pet may not understand or be able to speak to you, they know and feel your love. So have a drink, eat some cake and play.

Putter at the end of his day

Live Balanced. Live Great.
All There August

Jessica Salazar

P.S. We made sure to recycle all the decor and waste we produced to continue our eco-friendly efforts

Wheatgrass and Matcha: Wonderful Things To Know About These Two Green Powders

The Wonderful Things... Wheatgrass, Matcha, And A Glass Shaker? The New Normal.

It seems with every magazine article released there's a new health product on the market. A product for hair, skin, your immune system, and weight but are they good for you, ethical or plastic-free? As Plastic-free July falls upon us today, I've found myself more aware of what my part in this world is and in what ways I can do good. I then realized that no matter where I start it all begins with me, my body and the capability of my body performing that task or even just the simple act of thinking clearly. Doing good requires my whole being. Which is why I single-heartedly consume two simple yet powerful powders... wheatgrass, and matcha.

Wheatgrass & Matcha

When you search health and fitness items what site do you normally go to? Are they mainstream brands, do you know all the ingredients that your supplements contain or where your fitness products come from? At Wonderful Things, a place with beautiful products and lifestyle tips to make our world a little more wonderful. All the items are curated, sustainable, ethical, or American made, and the content they promote inspires good living. Here, my friends is the unique space where sustainability, ethical living and health meet. From clothing and accessories to my very favorite wheatgrass, matcha and a glass shaker bottle Wonderful Things is the good place where I found what I needed and didn't have to question my buying choices.

So you may be asking what in the world is wheatgrass and matcha and... aren't shakers plastic, why do I want a glass one? If you are not familiar don't be alarmed a lot of people out there don't know what they are either, much less the benefits of consuming these two powders or using glass instead of plastic. So in order for you to reap the benefits and learn a little more about my eating habits and lifestyle. I invite you this month to ponder on this thought... let's be conscious of our mind and body above all else. Starting with what we eat and how we eat it.

Wheatgrass and Matcha, What Is It?

Why do I consume wheatgrass and matcha? What are they? Where can I get them and how do you eat or drink these powders plastic-free?

Yes, I do love to try new things but at the same token I am also curious and question ingredients or where items actually come from. Supplements have come and gone in my life but there are two little green powders with a huge impact that I've kept in my daily routine for a reason. Wheatgrass and matcha, some may love, hate or not have a clue what they are but let me tell you they are here and making a statement. So I begin here if you see these two powders side by side it's a bit difficult to tell them apart. Both green, yes, but they equally both have a different impact on your body and here's how.

Matcha (left) Wheatgrass (right)

Wheatgrass

You may look at wheatgrass in its natural state and think to yourself, this looks like my lawn outside. Believe me, it's not. Wheatgrass is young grass usually crushed and squeezed to make juice.

  • Low in calories, yet it contains over 70 minerals and vitamins, hundreds of live enzymes, amino acids and antioxidants
  • Used to help cleanse toxins from the body and generate healthy energy
  • USDA Organic, Kosher, Non-GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms), Vegan and Gluten-Free

Matcha

Matcha (green tea) undergoes a different farming process. Instead of a loose leaf, like a traditional green tea. Matcha comes in a powder thus making it more concentrated and potent. So essentially, it’s the unicorn version of your green tea.

  • 100% Organic Culinary Grade Matcha Powder
  • Supports balance, cellular renewal, energy and vitality
  • Certified USDA Organic, Non-GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms), Vegan and Gluten-Free

Glass Bottle Shaker

Shake It Like A Glass Shaker

To be honest, there are plenty of ways to incorporate these powders into your diet. I personally put them in smoothies or I will take a straight shot of them every morning. As a matter of fact, I recently discovered that taking them straight has been easier and faster with this one little device. The Glass Shaker Bottle, but first, I'll be honest. I've never purchased a shaker before. I didn't own one. For the reason being, I couldn't find an ethical device, that wasn't plastic. Also, I truthfully thought... they didn't work so for me it was a hard pass, all the time.

When I tried the Wonderful Things, Glass Shaker Bottle, of course, I was a little hesitant and skeptical. I thought the wheatgrass or matcha wouldn't mix fully but it did. Entirely. In addition, you could hardly even hear the shaker, well, shake. Then comes the plastic versus glass. Plastic is cheap and incredibly versatile which is why you see it everywhere but because of their properties, it is also an environmental hazard. Plastic is responsible for 80% of all waste that accumulates in the oceans. Which means our marine life is directly consuming it and we indirectly consume it if eaten through the food chain. It's also important to point out that China is no longer accepting our recycling products so now more than ever is the time to make a change.

Pollution Seen In Our Oceans

Wonderful Things made me a believer and I love the glass shaker, here's what you get...

  • All parts Certified BPA free
  • Odor-free, stain-free, clean-tasting glass bottle that won't stink
  • Leak-proof lid designed for carefree transport
  • Extra thick silicone sleeve protects and provides a No-Slip Grip
  • Silicone shaker ball minimizes noise when shaking

How Do I Eat Or Drink Them?

Need some recipe inspiration? Here's how I've shaken it up with my glass shaker and green powders.

Wheatgrass and Matcha Recipes

The Clean Drink

  • 8 oz. cold water
  • Matcha or Wheatgrass
  • If you are feeling really "green" mix both powders

The Zesty Green

  • 8 oz. cold water
  • Matcha or Wheatgrass
  • Add lemon as desired

The Healthy Beach

  • 8 oz. cold coconut water
  • Matcha or Wheatgrass
  • Add lemon as desired

The Sweet Earth

  • 8 oz. cold coconut water
  • Matcha or Wheatgrass
  • Add agave as desired

Today think about shifting to plastic-free options and leading your health and fitness life ethically. Together with online spaces like Wonderful Things and our intent to be conscious of our mind and body above all else we can make a difference. It all starts with us.

To shop and learn more about ethical health products at Wonderful Things click here.

Live Balanced. Live Great.
All There August

Jessica Salazar

Disclaimer* We love recommending health products to you but remember, we are not Nutritionists and the content provided is just advice.
*Wonderful Things provided product so that I may create an accurate review. In essence, I only partner with like-minded brands I truly believe in and all opinions stated above are mine.

Why Alley Cat Allies Is The Global Engine Of Change For Cats

Alley Cat Allies, The Force We Need

I've been an animal lover for as long as I can remember. Feeding community cats and helping stray dogs I see on the streets. It's always been in my heart to save animals in need. In fact, it's often difficult to explain to people. I'll cry if an animal suffers in a movie or show. Similarly, my mind also ponders and my heart is saddened to think about the neglect and cruelty that happens to any animal. Yes, I am vegan. Now. There was a time I wasn't though. I ate animal products, would wear them, I even remember hunting. Once but I did it. At that moment my mind was transformed permanently. Frankly, the sum of everything did on its own terms. I knew back then and know more than ever now, spreading harm to any animal is just not for me. No matter what the case or level.

The past several years I've changed. I have dedicated time to volunteering at local shelters and transitioned my entire lifestyle.  From spreading the word about adoptable pets to hosting local dog yoga and thrift events, all in order to raise money and awareness for animals in need. Our smallest and largest efforts make a difference for these animals but the fight is not over.  An estimated 70% of all cats who enter shelters nationwide don't leave the shelter alive. For feral cats who are not socialized, well, that number is often 100%. This is an alarming statistic. Let's face it, community cats are everywhere, they are multiplying and Alley Cat Allies is the driving force making an impact on feral cats.

Cats and The Law

Alley Cat Allies Taking Action

The first U.S. nonprofit to have guidelines for TNR and earning the 2018 Platinum Seal of Transparency on GuideStar, Alley Cat Allies delivers everything you need to know about feral cat care.  What do they do? Alley Cat Allies works in communities to urge low-cost spay and neuter policies and programs, as well as lifesaving Trap-Neuter-Return. Before it became mainstream to keep cats indoors (with help of the little invention called kitty litter in 1947) cats lived outdoors. Actually for thousands of years. Now, I'm not saying kick your cat out or never bring it inside again, no. What history tells us is that it's natural for cats to thrive outdoors.  From ancient Egypt where cats were worshiped to cats boarding ships to the Americas. Seeing feral felines in your community is actually a normal thing.

What's not healthy is for years animal control policy has put millions of dollars into catching and killing outdoor cats. Furthermore, the highest documented cause of death for cats in the United States is being killed in shelters. For the thousands of cats that go into the shelters a very small percentage are actually adopted out. Research also shows that 7 out of 10 cats who enter the system are killed. This means what we are currently doing in regards to animal control is not working, ethical or sustainable.

How Trap-Neuter-Return Works

When mountain lions are removed from their habitat, other mountain lions move in.

This then creates what's called the vacuum effect. In other words, American shelters and animal control systems have been relying on catching and killing outdoor cats to control population for years now. Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) is a program where community cats are humanely trapped, spayed or neutered, vaccinated, ear-tipped (a universal sign that a feral cat has been neutered and vaccinated) and in conclusion, returned to the outdoors.

TNR reduces and stabilizes the feral cat population while improving the co-existence between outdoor cats and humans in our shared environment. Set side by side, for me, it makes sense to control the current population versus continuing our present policies. There are thousands of cats around us, I mean go outside, I'm sure you will spot one. So caring for felines that are here now, meaning implementing a TNR program also means feral cats are healthy and have a lower chance of overpopulating a community.

Not to mention, once cats are spayed or neutered it has been shown that they are less aggressive, roaming minimizes and they won't have the urge to mark areas. Not everything will be perfect, and developing a program will not fix all our problems but it will help. It's a positive step though and also a better solution than euthanizing cats just because we don't have a better way.

Ways to Give

What Can We Do?

So, what can we do? Well... educate yourself, that's the first thing. Once you do that you have the power to spread that light to others. For instance, read about the history and behavior of community cats. Additionally, Alley Cat Allies resources are endless. I've been reading through their tabs, from community change to disaster response they provide links and news to help you understand and care for felines.

Another way is to familiarize yourself with local laws and create a movement. Reaching out to elected officials for face-to-face meetings, speak at a public hearing or create a community organization. Decide to grow the movement. In my case, I know that I will push forward and be the voice. We need a better way. If we do the same things, we will get the same results. It's time to shift our views on feral felines and see what we can do as a community to share the world with the beautiful creatures around us.

To see other charities and nonprofits fellow Ethical Writers & Creatives support, catch the links below:

EcoCult, Why Environmentalists Should Donate to Women's and Family-Planned Organizations

Model4greenliving, The Best Environmental Charities To Give To Now

Honestly Modern, Conscious Living Beyond Personal Consumption Habits

To learn more about Alley Cat Allies and how to alter views as well as promote policy change click here.

Live Balanced. Live Great.
All There August

Jessica Salazar


I Tried Who Gives A Crap Toilet Paper And Here's Why You Should Wipe With A Purpose

I Tried Who Gives A Crap Toilet Paper And Here's Why You Should Flush With A Purpose

What’s one of the first things you do once you get up in the morning? Yes, let’s get comfortable with each other fast because you guessed it… you go to the bathroom and use toilet paper. Just like the royals, celebrities, and teachers, we all go to the bathroom. Hence, it’s a normal daily activity that we should not be afraid (or embarrassed) by talking about.

In reality, let's ponder for a minute, how often do you use toilet paper or how many times do you come across it in a day? It’s crazy to imagine in the U.S. alone we consume large amounts of these tiny little squares without a second thought. I know, unfortunately, I do it too and that’s because I consider myself pretty “green.” Looking at my habits though, I honestly knew this needed to change. Therefore, how could I use toilet paper wisely? Was there an eco-friendly option out there? I mean I needed something but what?

I’ve had these burning questions for a good while now but I was not about to raise my white flag and say Who Gives A Crap? Then poof! That very thing came true.

Who Gives A Crap

Who Gives A Crap? I Give A Crap!

Most of us have the privilege of using toilet paper every day so why not flush with a purpose? Who Gives A Crap is a toilet paper brand you can feel good about. Not just because they love kitties and have funny toilet humor but because they are really making a difference in the world.

Here’s how…

Who Gives A Crap, Wrapping With A Cause

Who Is Who Gives A Crap And How Are They Doing Good With Your “Crap”

Fun, Funky and Making a Positive Impact

So who is Who Gives A Crap? Probably the coolest toilet paper since… well, possibly the coolest toilet paper that has ever existed! As a matter of fact, Who Gives A Crap donates 50% of their profits to non-profit organizations working to improve access to hygiene, water and basic sanitation in developing countries is something to talk about. As a result, they have donated almost a million to date. So what’s up with the other 50%? Well, they circle it back around and use the remaining profits to continue growing their company.

Wiping Away Poverty

What They Offer Us

100% Recycled Toilet Paper

  • Made from 100% recycled paper
  • 400 sheets per roll
  • No inks, dyes or scents
  • 3-ply which means it’s as soft as a bunny and as strong as a warrior mermaid

Forest Friendly Tissues

  • Made with 100% bamboo
  • 3-ply tissue that means it acts like your own personal army

Forest Friendly Paper Towels

  • 2-ply made to clean up all your kitchen masterpieces
  • Made from a bamboo blend
  • No inks, dyes or scents

Did you know?

2.3 billion people across the world don't have access to a toilet. That's roughly 40% of the global population and means that around 289,000 children under five die every year from diarrheal diseases caused by poor water and sanitation. That's almost 800 children per day, or one child every two minutes. - Who Gives A Crap

With some creativity and a desire for changeWho Gives A Crap threw some hard facts at me fast. First of all, I don’t want to be part of something that’s harming our planet and people. Toilet paper is difficult to point out though. Second, a lot of people don’t like talking about it and third, you flush it away so you literally forget about it too.

I wanted to be part of this movement so you all know what I did… I tried it out myself. I mean how could this magical roll of goodness be so good for the planet and work, right?

I Tried Who Gives A Crap And Here’s What Happened…

The Rolls

My Truth About Who Gives A Crap

Who Gives A Crap At My Door

Oh, my!!! So, receiving the box is a pretty amazing experience. Of course, it’s a cardboard box but what’s unique about this box is the printed facts and logos on it. For me, I was excited just to open it. I had that “let’s open the Christmas presents” feeling. I mean I knew what was inside but the aura of goodness definitely overwhelmed me.

Who Gives A Crap At My Door

Wrappers That Give

Yes, it’s toilet paper but at the same time, it’s way cooler than any toilet paper I’ve ever had. The fun prints on the wrappers make them anything but basic. I personally want to hide or put my toilet paper away. It’s different here though. I want to show it off, create conversations around it, laugh about it and celebrate it. We all need to “go” I don’t care who you are, again, going to the “bathroom” and taking care of business is a natural thing. Who Gives A Crap is just making it interesting and fun to talk about. So why not show it off?

Also, I mean if I could use the wrapping as wallpaper I just might do that. Naturally, I displayed Who Gives A Crap anywhere I could show it off. I usually store my toilet paper in the cabinets or laundry room. Not these! This roll deserves to be seen.

These Wrappers Need To Be Seen

Taking Care of Business

Finally, let’s get down to the dirty talk. Aside from the rolls looking nice, do they really work? Consequently, everyone has his or her toilet paper preference, strong, soft, thin, thick or right in the middle. So what’s it like to use Who Give A Crap you ask?

For me, it falls right in the middle. Not too hard, not too soft, not too thin, not too thick. It really is a perfect combination. Basically, the entire roll hits the sweet spot of being the best of all worlds. If you currently use 2-ply toilet paper start with using a smaller amount than what you are used to. Who Gives A Crap is a quality over quantity toilet paper, so using less goes a long way. Here are a few photos to give you an idea of what the roll looks like in real life.

Who Gives A Crap, I Do!

Money Talk With Who Gives A Crap

I did some research with toilet paper brands at various supermarkets online to give you a price comparison.

What you get with Who Gives a Crap:

  • 100% Recycled Toilet Paper, you can purchase 24 rolls for $30 or 48 rolls for $48.

What you get with the other guys:

  • The average cost for similar household toilet paper brands at your local supermarket:

48 Double Rolls, for $29.99
36 Rolls, 1-Ply for $35.99
27 Rolls, 1-Ply $16.97
24 Rolls, 1-Ply for $15.59
18 Mega Plus Rolls, for $19.39

*Prices vary depending on the day and location.

My Friends and Family Gave A Crap

Everyone who stopped by “my thrown” loved the rolls. I made sure to keep a roll out with packaging where people could see it while they were sitting. Furthermore, I even gave a roll to family members to try. As a result, here are a few comments I received from them…

“Oh man, these are too cool”

“What the heck…I didn’t know toilet paper could be eco-friendly”

“I’m really picky about my toilet paper but I liked this one”

“It’s not too thick or thin, rough or soft… it falls right in the middle and I like it”

“The packaging… so cool”

“I didn’t know a toilet paper company could do good in this way. I love them for that”

Who Gives A Crap, We Do!

Why You Should Give A Crap

To those who are curious or want to take it a step further with their eco-friendly lifestyle, I really enjoy what Who Gives A Crap is doing. I didn’t think about how my toilet paper could have the capacity to be eco-friendly, fun and give back all in one. I had always wanted to make the change towards an ethical toilet paper but never felt right about it. Who Gives A Crap helped me make this transition and it was easy because the brand fits an exciting environment while doing good.

What I’m doing with the Packaging Now

In conclusion, my mind started pondering, how I could reuse the packaging. What could I use them for and how could I prolong the lifespan? So, with a bit of brainstorming here’s what I came up with…

Who Gives A Crap, cardboard box turns into gift tags for that special occasion.

Who Gives A Crap, toilet paper roll turns into a bird feeder.

Cat wanted the last word!

Want to learn more and try Who Gives A Crap? Use discount code AUGUST at checkout and click here to get $10 off your first purchase.

Live Balanced. Live Great.
All There August

Jessica Salazar

*Who Gives A Crap provided toilet paper so that I may review their product. In essence, I only partner with like-minded brands I truly believe in and all opinions stated above are mine.

Before I Say I Do, Life Lessons From A Single Girl On Marriage And Why A Secondhand Ring Is A Thing

If you hit a "particular" age group, tell me what your social media feed looks like? For me, I've recently been scrolling through marriage proposals, wedding pictures and soon to be parents. A time where friends are transitioning to another moment in life and that's a beautiful thing but not my thing. Everyone's path in life is different and I've discovered that fast. As a kid a would predict at what age I would accomplish a certain " life goal." My thoughts would go wild... at this age this, at that age that and so on.

No, I've never been married, yes, I've been in love (many times) before. Yes, I've been with the wrong and right guys and yes, I am single. Hence, I've gone through heartache, happy times, good dates, dumped, and all the dating scene in-betweens. I can tell you, I'm pretty sure I've experienced a lot of the good and bad in the dating world. If I haven't, my girlfriends definitely have. With that, there are lessons I've cultivated along the way and I've come out the other end stronger and more confident in my path.

So before I Say I Do (if that should ever happen, it may not) I've discovered a few life lessons that may shed some light on my life and possibly others in the same boat.

Marriage And The Single Girl

Live Happily Ever...Single

I've been asked all the above and more...will you get married? Are you dating? Do you want kids? Let me be clear to the outside looking in, ladies and gents... I am perfectly fine being single and you should be too. I do enjoy "love" and if you find someone you feel you are meant to be with that's awesome. On the other hand, I firmly believe marriage is not for everyone. I don't know if I will get married, to be honest, I'm not 100% sure I even want to. Beyond that, the idea of kids is far off my radar that I also don't know if that's in the cards for me.

I know what you're thinking or at least what you've been told if you can relate. Oh, it's because you're young you will change your mind later. No, you don't know that. If my mind does change cool, it means I'm moving to a different moment in life but what if it doesn't?

I've lived and traveled enough to know that I love to date. Furthermore, I also love being single, with people, free and sharing my love. I've told myself (and others) that I'm living life, taking care of what I need, exploring, creating a life I am happy of and doing me. Now if I find "Mr. Right" along the way cool but if he's stuck in that tree everyone jokes about well, then sorry, I don't have time for that either. Find your happiness alone, in your heart and soul. It's ok to be single, some people who get married really shouldn't. Don't feel pressured by any means to be with someone or have a family because you think it's "the next step."

Stay True To Your Path

That leads me to the second lesson, it's perfectly fine not to know if you want marriage and a family. In retrospect, it's also wonderful if you feel it's your time.  There's no timeframe. You are not broken or wrong if you desire something different than what your family, friends or society is doing. At the end of the day, it's you. Your heart, your soul, your being and you must stay true to whatever that path may be. Someone's not less or more of a feminist if they want or do not want to be married and have kids. I'm also not less of a woman if I decide to never have children either.

I've had people tell me you don't know what real love is until you have kids. Again, no one can measure that. How do you know I don't treat my dog better or have more love for him than some parents have for their child? Staying true to your path is the most important thing you can give yourself. It will allow you to feel full in your mind body and soul. Believe me, I'm still working on my path but I know that it's truly mine. Whatever may come or not in my life I know that it's meant to. So, if you want to be single do it. If you want to have a family then go out there but do things on your terms.

Delgatto, I Do Now I Don't

A Secondhand Ring Is A Thing

As I've explored and lived my cruelty-free life I've discovered that being ethical falls on all parts of my everyday choices. From being happily single to staying true to my path in life. I see friends beginning to get married and I've thought about sustainable ways to make a wedding more intimate and unique. No, it's not against the law to think, hey that may be a cool idea to incorporate into a wedding IF I do get married. Continuing to stay true to myself, you all know I have the love for secondhand but have you heard of a secondhand wedding ring?

No worries if you haven't, I really didn't either much less think of incorporating it into a marriage. Delgatto, I Do Now I Don't is the leading buyer of diamonds, jewelry, and watches from the public. This means sustainable jewelry in your hands without the guilt. Personally, I think this is beautiful. If you do decide to say "I Do"there are environmental consequences of diamonds and precious metal mining.  Did you know over 150 million carats of diamonds are extracted from the earth each year?

Also, it requires one ton of earth to be moved to source the equivalent of every one carat stone. This massive environmental disruption causes soil erosion, deforestation, and ultimately the collapse of entire ecosystems. - Delgatto, I Do Now I Don't

Some people may think a secondhand diamond is not romantic. Well, for me, whats not romantic is that fact that people, animals, and the environment suffer in some shape or form for a new ring.

I Do Now I Don't... And That's Ok

Whether you are single, a paw mom, married or have kids it's important to stay true to what feels right. Not everyone was made to be single just like not everyone was made to have a family. Also, the way you decide to live your life should be with love. Love for yourself and then spreading that love to whatever you touch. For me, that is nurturing my calling to live a cruelty-free life and yes, supporting sustainable secondhand jewelry like Delgatto, I Do Now I Don't fall into that aspect. Hey, who says you can't buy a ring for your single self, right? I do it!

Now, no matter where my life ends up, I know I will be great. You know why because what matters to me is using my talents and abilities to lead a life full of love towards animals, humans and the environment. Be proud of what you ARE and what you are NOT, it's what makes the world a colorful place.

To learn more about secondhand diamonds and jewelry from Delgatto, I Do Now I Don't click here.

Live Balanced. Live Great.
All There August

Jessica Salazar


Recycled, Functional and Cool, 3 Reasons grünBAG Matters to the Eco-friendly Traveler

Recycled, Functional and Cool, 3 Reasons grünBAG Matters to the Eco-friendly Traveler

I love to travel. Whether it’s to a town that is 30 minutes away or a different country, I enjoy experiencing a new place in all its glory. I don’t know if it’s the traveling soul in me but my “being” always needs to just... go. As a result, with my travels, I’ve come to really know myself. Therefore, I’ve felt deep emotions and collected memories alone and with others. I’ve also exposed some habits while traveling. One of those being overpacking! Well, let’s just say, I'm working on that one. As I navigate through my eco-friendly travels and continue to incorporate reusable bags I’ve also tapped into the sustainable bag world.

I’ve used my old backpack for years but recently I’ve noticed it wearing away. Seams are starting to rip, possibly due to my overpacking. Consequently, you can just tell I love and use my backpack. So, I'm proud of that but I also knew my next bag needed to withstand time and travel.

grünBAG Backpack Red

grünBAG, The Eco-friendly Way

What were my new backpack goals you ask? Well, I was in search of a bag that was eco-friendly, functional, cool and my personal one... that could fit my necessities without overdoing it. On the prowl, and with some research and a lot of curiosity, I found the perfect bag to test out.

Proposing a unique substitute, grünBAG repurposes industrial materials that were destined for the trash, to offer a colorful collection of conscious bags. Exploring the Danish designed collection, the bags are made from highly durable materials. Hence, these materials are constructed to endure industrial wear and tear, so I knew they were right up my alley.

We want to rethink the usability of the things we throw out, and we work for a greener future with more thoughtfulness and recycling. – grünBAG

My Travels With grünBAG Backpack Red

3 Reasons grünBAG Matters to the Eco-friendly Traveler

At this point, grünBAG was looking really great. So once I received my grünBAG, the only way to test it out was to go. I packed my backpack with necessities (remember I'm getting better) grabbed Putter (my pup) and went on an adventure. The bag survived my little nieces, outside, inside, water, mud a lot of events. It was then that I realized this bag was made to be lived in. As I “lived” in my bag for a bit I recognized 3 reasons why grünBAG matters to the eco-friendly traveler.

grünBAG Backpack Red

#1 Reusable, Recycled and Vegan Materials

Eco-friendly materials, count me in! I searched their website to list the fascinating materials for you here.

Truck Tarpaulins

Offcuts, marked as waste, are not possible to use for the trucks any longer. This “waste” is taken to the sewing room, where they are repurposed into bags.

Big-bag

Sometimes holding up a ton and used to hold large quantities of heavy materials. From bakery to your hands, here, grünBAG cleans and recycles big-bags specifically used for salt in a big Danish bakery.

Seat Belts

Collecting seatbelts from old cars ready for the scrapyard, grünBAG gives them a second life. Now, these seatbelts turn into reliable shoulder straps and belts on bags. Washed and sewn by hand, they are then checked to ensure quality.

Commercial Banners

Gathering used commercial banners and posters from different companies, these banners then become unique bags. With a quirky twist or humorous illustration, this line is entirely exclusive.

Recycled Nylon

In 2015, grünBAG applied for and received a subsidy to produce customized clasps in recycled hard plastic, also known as nylon, from the Danish Business Authority. Here grünBAG has replaced imported clasps made of new plastic.

From Soda Bottles to Fabric

100% recycled PET (polyester) fabric, a fabric made of recycled plastic soda bottles. In this method, recycled soda bottles are cleaned, sorted and processed in order to create sustainable fabrics in various colors.

Viking Lifebag

VIKING liferafts are used on board on some of the world’s largest and advanced vessels, where travelers and crewmembers rely on them to save lives. Once retired, grünBAG receives the liferafts to transform them into orange LifeBags.

grünBAG Backpack Red

#2 Traveling With A Purpose Matters

I felt good about wearing this bag. Packing my necessities and not worrying about spills, tears, and style was effortless. Now, I’ve noticed I pack with a purpose. Everything in the bag (for me) has a purpose. Here’s a look inside the bag and an idea of what may fit in it.

Here to the purposeful and cool…

Inside My grünBAG, cat not included: Chargers, handmade makeup bag, wallet, laptop

#3 Functionality And Style At Its Finest

Backpacks, shoulder bags, sports bags, accessories, and special collections there’s a bag and color for everyone. Personally, my favorite part of the bag is the functionality of it. I can take this bag anywhere and feel confident that it will survive the occasion. As much as I loved my previous backpack I know my new grünBAG has my back now. Literally!

Below you will find my top 3 favorite bags from grünBAG

To learn more about grünBAG click here

Use Coupon Code allthere2018 for your eco-friendly bag today

Live Balanced. Live Great.
All There August

Jessica Salazar

*grüBAG provided a backpack so that I may review their product. In essence, I only partner with like-minded brands I truly believe in. Note, some bags contain leather straps but the brand is working towards becoming fully vegan-friendly.

I Used Yes To Vegan Beauty Products For 30 Days And This is What Happened

30 Days With YES TO Vegan Beauty!

Yes To, The Challenge!

I used Yes To vegan beauty products for 30 days and this is what happened...

First, I am low key so happy to have tried and completed my Yes To Vegan Beauty Challenge. It was so amazing to have dedicated my beauty regime to Yes To that it almost felt like a mini-relationship. I learned a few things about my likes, dislikes and some of my own assumptions were proven wrong. So, let's get down to the dirty and talk about skin problems.

The Skin Problem Overview

I care for my skin in my own particular way. Ask my friends you will find me at the beach under an umbrella with 1,000 SPF. My trust is in sunblock, moisturizers, cleansers you name it. A tricky part for me is finding vegan beauty products that truly work. The evolution of my skin is... sensitivity, I have freckles, I burn quite easily and I deal with random breakouts from time to time. I am sure everyone has had their moments with their own skin and you know your skin best. I also know it's not easy to talk about it. Who is excited to say, hey! Man, I'm loving life, my pets are doing great, career is on point and oh, this breakout on my face is the BOMB! Yeah...no!

So, here's my invitation to start talking about it. I believe if you are comfortable talking about your skin issues there's then a way to possibly solve them. If you have these problems chances are, someone else is going through the same thing too. So uniting and being open about your skin is vital.

The Experiment

Yes To has a new 100% vegan line. In the same fashion, with the exception of beeswax and honey as an ingredient in a few of their products, most of the Yes To beauty line is vegan. So, we picked the top vegan products as well as their full 100% vegan line for me to try for a month.

Here's the product list below...

My 30 Day Yes To Vegan Beauty Product List

  1. Yes To Carrots Vitamin-Enriched Kale DIY Powerd-To-Clay Mask,  Mud Mask,  Paper Mask, and Facial Wipes
  2. Yes To Tomatoes Detoxifying Charcoal 2-In-1 Scrub and Cleanser Stick
  3. Yes To Vitamin-Enriched Kale, Tomatoes Detoxifying CharcoalTomatoes Blemish Clearing, Grapefruit Brightening, Cucumbers, and Coconut Facial Wipes

Thoughts + Breakdown

Yes To 100% Vegan Line

How did it work on me?

I LOVE EVERYTHING HERE!! Ok, not just because it's vegan but because of how fresh it made my skin feel. The Yes To Carrots Vitamin-Enriched Kale DIY Powerd-To-Clay Mask is one of my favorites because you have the ability to adjust the mask and add your own ingredients. You can add avocado, lemon or a combination of your own ingredients to the powder which is pretty awesome if you're into DIY Beauty.

The Mud Mask and Paper Mask also both made my face feel clean. The feeling of  "I just cleaned my face and washed all the dirt away" clean. The main difference here is your preference. Do you like a paper mask you just put on or do you enjoy manually placing the "mud" on your face? The mud mask will naturally dry but definitely does not feel uncomfortable. What's cool about the paper mask is that it won't dry at all. Once you take it off, the mask itself is still moist. So I wiped it on my neck and chest area just to get the maximum use of it. As for the Vitamin-Enriched Kale Facial Wipes, they are also one of my favorites. The wipes felt as if they were doing their job while still being sensitive towards my skin.

Yes To Tomatoes Detoxifying Charcoal 2-In-1 Scrub and Cleanser Stick

Cleanser Stick

How did it work on me...

This is a totally different take on a scrub. For the people out there who love convenience then this is definitely for you. No mess, glide on and wash, it's as simple as that. If you are on the go and want a scrub that gives you a gentle yet effective clean feel then this stick is your effortless pick. This made a difference in my skins overall appearance and my face felt "spa" like everytime I put it on. Plus, I had a lot of fun using it.

Top 3 Favorites

Facial Wipes

How did it work on me?

There's one major idea I had to be open to... using face wipes to remove makeup. I have friends that solely use wipes to wash their face and nothing else. For me, that was something I was not used to. I embraced this fact though and found out that wipes are really convenient. My top 3 favorites were Vitamin-Enriched Kale, Tomatoes Detoxifying Charcoal, and Tomatoes Blemish Clearing. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the others but if you asked me to name my top 3 those would be it.

I used the wipes when I was traveling, used them as I was literally in the car and tired of wearing makeup, before bed and in the morning. They each have a unique smell to them and some are slightly colored with the charcoal wipes being fully black which I thought was pretty interesting. In all, I definitely realized I will use wipes more often especially when I'm traveling.

Yes To Tomatoes Detoxifying Charcoal 2-In-1 Scrub and Cleanser Stick

Final Thoughts

I truly believe in Yes To, their mission, their vibe and yes, their products are worth trying out. I did have my top favorites but in all their vegan products are pretty solid. The smell of each product is unique and quite pleasant. Cucumber smells like cucumber and charcoal wipes are black so the brand delivers. My personal favorite is the "100% Vegan" label which makes it easy to identify if you are searching for cruelty-free products. Obviously, everyone will have their own opinion and fall in love with various products but Yes To is definitely worth your money, time and trust.

To learn more about Yes To click here.
Live Balanced. Live Great.
All There August

Jessica Salazar

*Yes To provided products so that I could better review their vegan beauty. In essence, I only partner with brands I truly believe in.

5 Thrift Store Tips and Tricks That Will Help You Shop Like A Pro

Let's be upfront with each other, walking into a sea of thrift store goods is a beautiful and scary thing. Whether you are a pro thrifter or new to the game we have all had our moments. Moments of feeling overwhelmed or at peace as we walk into the shop. As for me, over the years in the thrift world, I've seen neatly placed items to piles of clothes on the floor. I learned how to navigate my way through clothes and figured out what really matters when deciding to buy. So I decided to share my 5 Thrift Store Tips and Tricks That Will Help You Shop Like A Pro.

Threads Road View

A Thrift Stop

One of my favorite shops is Threads in Corpus Christi, Texas. The store is clean and always stocked with the latest trends. We recently hosted a "Thrift Stop" there to feature the latest as well as show you around the place. Of course, my team and I used these tricks to help navigate and find the items that truly fit me in every way. So let's get down to business...

Threads Inside

Styled Threads

The 5 Tips and Tricks

#1. Be True to Your Style

There is absolutely no use in buying something (even if it's a $1) if you are never going to wear it. First, you're cheating someone out of an item they may really love. Second, it's really important to shop consciously even if you are thrifting. It comes with time (and some experimenting) to learn what you love and hate wearing. So, if you know you will never wear it just pass on it and shop the room. Now, by the end of your shopping routine if you are still thinking about that particular item then maybe try it on and ponder on it a bit. If your curiosity gets the best of you, buy it. The rule for this tip, if you don't wear it within a month (depending on the weather) then give it to someone who will or repurpose the material.

Styled Threads

#2. Scan The Room

This comes with practice. I will walk through a rack of clothes and scan all the material first. That's how I judge if it's worth taking off the rack or seeing a bit closer. If the material from the start does not "move" me then I move on! If it does, then grab it and look at the style. You may enjoy the material and not the style once you actually examine it.

Styled Threads

#3. Be Patient

This is HUGE as most of us get anxious with finding sizes or the perfect style. Since there is usually only one of a kind pieces you must learn to let things go if you can't find something in your size. Also, if there are piles of clothes to look through it is your choice to browse through the treasures. I usually go for it! I've found some of my favorites pieces that way but it takes time. Breath and give yourself a few hours to really give the thrifting experience a shot. Know that it will take time. Sometimes you can walk into a thrift store and find your favorite items in 10 minutes and other times it will take an hour, two or even longer to find your piece.

Styled Threads

#4. Fall in Love With The Hunt

As mentioned before thrift stores will usually only have 1 style, in 1 size and it may be your perfect match and other times it won't. That's the beauty of it though. There are times where I have spent the entire day thrifting and came home with nothing to show for it. That's what thrifting is all about, the element of surprise and mystery. I like to think of it as a treasure hunt... I mean why not?!

Styled Threads

#5. Ask Yourself These Questions...

  • How many times will I wear this? It should be often unless it's a "special occasion" piece.
  • Can I wear it with other things in my closet or will this bring a fresh look to my wardrobe? Look for items you can match or unique items that will uplift your closet.
  • Does it fit me properly? Ask a friend or an employee there, I do this often.
  • DO I LOVE THIS? If you don't, chances are you won't wear it often, if at all.
  • How do I feel when I wear this? You better say awesome to this question!
  • Is the item in good condition, if not, can I fix it on my own? A button is missing or it needs to be stitched in one area, no problem.

It's quality over quantity here. Going over these questions will help you evaluate your decision. Is it a compulsive buy or is it really practical? Remember that thrifting is a fun and unique experience. You will find shops you love and visit often while others you don't and that's perfectly fine too.

Styled Threads

Keep an open mind, enjoy the hunt.

All looks were styled by my team using fashion items from Threads. To learn more about the shop click here.

Live Balanced. Live Great.
All There August

Jessica Salazar


4 DIY Vegan Beauty Products and Recipes You Know You Need

It seems as if new beauty products hit the market daily. Don't be fooled most people are not mad about it but... sometimes a girl just wants to Do-It-Yourself! I personally love a DIY especially when you may already have the ingredients in your kitchen. Most importantly, these ingredients are natural and vegan, yay!

So my team experimented to bring you 4 DIY Vegan Beauty Products and Recipes You Know You Need. Jacky Q took the guesswork out of the dirty work for us and here's her DIY tell-all...

4 DIY Vegan Beauty Products and Recipes You Know You Need

With summer just around the corner who doesn’t want flawless skin and healthy hair?! Nowadays it is all about the “no-makeup” makeup look, and hair that can look great without having to apply any heat to it. Sadly, we don’t all have time or patience to do an intense skincare routine every night. Also, we want to achieve the “I just got a haircut, look at how healthy my hair looks” look without having to take scissors to our hair so much. So, let us talk about these few simple, easy, cheap, DIY skin and hair care products we can create to achieve the perfect natural Summer look.

1. “Let me know if you need anything, I’m here for you” - LEMON-aid

I don’t know about you but, like most people, I have the horrible tendency to pick at my face and then BOOM, I am left with a dark acne scar that makes me feel less confident and makes me stress out even more.

Let’s talk about the old tale, I’m sure we have all heard of using but never actually tried... LEMONS! I have always heard from family, friends, and neighbors to try out lemons for dark spots on the body, but I wondered if it would work for dark spots on my face. Well, let me tell you, it worked wonders on mine!

Time to Exfoliate!

Don’t worry, no need to make a late-night Target run, all the ingredients you will need for this scrub can be found in your kitchen!

Ingredients

  • LEMON JUICE ½ TEASPOON
  • SEA SALT 1 TABLESPOON (I USED SUPER FINE SALT, SO IT WOULD NOT BE SO ROUGH ON MY FACE)
  • WATER ½ TEASPOON

DIY Directions

Mix all ingredients together, grab the product little by little and gently rub it on your face. Use slow circular motions focusing on the most problematic areas. Leave the product on your face for 2-5 minutes, rinse, and done!

Salt can be a little rough on the face, so this is something that should only be done once or twice a week. I felt a slight tingle on my face, but it wasn’t something I felt I should be concerned about. Right after I washed it off, I could already see a difference. I really noticed the change when I woke up the next morning. Seriously, I could not believe I went so long with acne scars and after just one use, the homemade exfoliator solved all my problems. I am so mad at myself for not trying it sooner.

Now that we’ve exfoliated, let’s wake up our skin!

2. Berry Great Face Mask

Berry Great Mask

I am a huge fan of face masks but sometimes we have to leave them on for so long in order to take action. You also cannot laugh and talk or else the mask will start to crumble right off. I needed something that felt light and refreshing on my skin, and I found the perfect thing!

Ingredients

  • CRUSHED BLUEBERRIES 1 TABLESPOON
  • LEMON JUICE 1 TABLESPOON
  • CUCUMBER JUICE 1 TABLESPOON ( I RECOMMEND USING A THICK CUCUMBER JUICE TO HELP WITH CONSISTENCY)
  • BAKING SODA 2 TABLESPOONS

DIY Directions

I recommend using a brush and dabbing the mixture onto your face because it can be runny. Slow and steady dabs onto the face with a brush will do the trick! Once your whole face is covered with it you can let it sit for 15-20 minutes and feel free to watch funny videos online and laugh without having your face start to crumble. My face felt alive and looked much brighter with this mask.

3. We Got a Hairy Situation On Our Hands

Tired of feeling like you need a haircut every week because you want the ends to look healthy? Personally, I don’t even apply that much heat to my hair but sometimes it seems to look dry. Finally, I found something that would bring my hair back to life! Again, all the ingredients needed for this are right in your kitchen!

Ingredients

  • BANANA 1
  • AVOCADO 1
  • COCONUT OIL (A LOT, REALLY DEPENDS ON HOW MUCH OIL YOUR HAIR PRODUCES)

DIY Directions

Mix all together and just dig in with your hands and start applying it to your hair avoiding the roots and really focusing on the ends. You may also use a shower cap for locked moisture, then, leave on for 15-20 minutes. Rinse off, shampoo and condition like normal.

Last but not least...

Jamming

4. The "I get 8 hours of sleep a night" look for your eyes!

What is one way we can get our eyes to not look so tired and dull when getting more sleep is not an option?

Try this DIY...

Apply a thick coat of cool organic vegan strawberry jam underneath your eyes with a brush or a q-tip and let it sit for 5-7 minutes then rinse off.

Goodbye designer bags under my eyes!

- Jacky Q
Catch more DIY ideas at allthereaugust.com and on Instagram @allthereaugust
Live Balanced. Live Great.
All There August

Jessica Salazar

Disclaimer* We love experimenting DIY routines for you but remember, we are not Dermatologists and the content provided is just advice.


I Said Yes To, YES TO Vegan Beauty Products For a Month and Here Are My Initial Thoughts

Yes to, YES TO Vegan Beauty!

The Skin Problem

I, like many out there, have skin problems. As a result, one day my skin is perfectly clear while the next day I wake up to find friends you know (the kind you want to unfriend) on my face. By the same token, my skin is sensitive, I have freckles and I burn quite easily. Ok, pause... after reading that my skin seems drastic, it isn't. This is simply the sum of my skins evolution through the years. So lets' face it (literally) and talk about it, we all have had good days coupled with not so good days in our skin. Under the circumstances, I  care for my skin and put my trust in sunblock, moisturizers, cleansers you name it. The tricky part for me is finding products that truly work and that those very beauty products are actually vegan too.

The Experiment in the Making

With some skin soul searching and research I, with the help of Yes To, discovered that Yes To has a new 100% vegan line. In the same fashion, with the exception of beeswax and honey as an ingredient in a few of their products, most of the Yes To beauty line is vegan. Not to mention, I have friends that really enjoy their products and use them faithfully. With this in mind, I wondered what it's like to try Yes To for 1 month, yes, an entire month! I mean what did I have to lose? Maybe the products would not work? No big deal! On the contrary, what if  Yes To did work for me and all my skin problems were solved just by saying...yes.

So, for this reason, we picked the top vegan products as well as their full 100% vegan line for me to try for a month. I'd like to think of this test as a mini-relationship trial. Will this be the love of my life vegan beauty line or not?

Yes To 100% Vegan Line

3 Fun Facts About Yes To You May Not Know

Researching the brand I discovered 3 key facts that were important to me...

  1. Products contain at least 95% natural ingredients, are free of parabens and made of recyclable materials.
  2. Yes To Happiness is not only their mantra but a cause. In addition, they help create communities of happy, healthy women free of all the nasties (fear, self-doubt, unhealthy habits, judgment) and filled with all the goodies (confidence, courage, creativity, curiosity, acceptance).
  3. They are against animal testing and ensure their manufacturers adhere to this same principle. YES, the products actually contain carrot juice, cucumber extract, and tomato extract among other vegetables and fruits.

 Vitamin-Enriched Kale Mud Mask

The List of Yes To Vegan Beauty Products I'm Testing For 1 Month

  1. Yes To Carrots Vitamin-Enriched Kale DIY Powerd-To-Clay Mask,  Mud Mask,  Paper Mask, and Facial Wipes
  2. Yes To Tomatoes Detoxifying Charcoal 2-In-1 Scrub and Cleanser Stick
  3. Yes To Vitamin-Enriched Kale, Tomatoes Detoxifying CharcoalTomatoes Blemish Clearing, Grapefruit Brightening, Cucumbers, and Coconut Facial Wipes

 The Test Products

My Initial Thoughts

It's true, I am a bit nervous, excited and anxious to try these products out. I am most excited about the part that all these beauty items are in fact vegan.  As I move forward with my journey, I have a few questions in mind... do the products help clear my skin, does my skin look brighter and did I see a noticeable difference with time?

Everyone has their own relationship with their skin and only YOU know your own skin the best. I hope to find the light at the end of this tunnel as I share my Yes To story with you. In short, there's a lot of emotion you show on your face, the good the bad and the funny. So here's to the start of a new adventure, after all, we need more good times and what better place to start than treating your skin right.

Follow my journey on Instagram @allthereaugust and here on the blog allthereaugust.com
Live Balanced. Live Great.
All There August

Jessica Salazar

*Yes To provided products so that I could better review their vegan beauty. In essence, I only partner with brands I truly believe in.

3 Stylish Ways to Wear a Scarf Making Your Wardrobe More Sustainable

Have you ever looked into your closet and can't find anything to wear? We have all done it, we stand there looking at our clothes wondering what to put together. Little do you know, of all the accessories we own, the scarf is the most versatile. With endless (in this case 3) possibilities you will never look at a scarf the same way again.

To bring you this How-to, I've collaborated with Arielle Toelke from Four Rabbit, an eco-fashion brand inspired by sustainability and lightweight travel for a Guest Post. Below Four Rabbit will show you how you can wear your scarf in 3 different ways creating a conscious wardrobe.

How to Wear a Scarf in 3 Stylish Ways With Four Rabbit

The Reality

We live in a consumer society where single-use plastic and fast fashion reigns. Social media has greatly influenced the need to keep up with new trends. Fast fashion stores make it easy and affordable to keep up with fashion forecasts by using unethical labor, and poor quality fabrics. The industry itself is shifting; we no longer have two collections a year but a new collection almost every two weeks. Clothing has become single-use, disposable, and unloved.

Landfills are piled high with clothes worn just a few times. Taking 200 or more years for a cotton t-shirt to biodegrade and this is just the textile waste from already constructed clothing. The energy and waste created while manufacturing clothing is devastating, adding to 20% of the world’s industrial pollution. About 12.8 million tons of pre-consumer textile waste is discarded every year. While chemical dyes used to color clothing are creating 2.5 billion tons of wastewater annually.

The textile industry is the second largest polluter in the world after big oil companies. Before buying the latest trend, think about the energy and pollution it took to get the "newest look" at the store. Buying less, and buying what we truly need and love lessens clothing waste in our daily lives. Purchasing from ethical and sustainable designers or secondhand is another option. Or... what if instead of buying, we look at what we already own and refashion or restyle existing pieces! Let's create our own trends, and create new styles — sustainably.

Styling Your Scarf

Using two items that are in almost every closet, a black dress, and a large scarf. We can create different styles and outfits, with scarves. The combinations are infinite.

What you need...

  • Black Dress
  • Large Scarf

A Scarf Top

Fold diagonally into a triangle, tie the two top points around your neck. Wrap the two bottom points around your back and then tie them.

A Kimono Top

Lay the scarf flat and tie the two points on the left side together. Then, tie the two points on the right side together, creating armholes.

A Belt

Fold the scarf into a triangle, roll (how wide or narrow the final belt made is up to you) then tie around the waist.

The same black shift dress is worn using additional scarves for an infinite variety...

Fashion used: Artists & Revolutionaries and large square scarf from LL Bean, Fahari Bazaar, and Four Rabbit, Arielle's personal collection.

 

Learn more about Arielle and her sustainable fashion brand at

Four Rabbit

Support Four Rabbit's Kickstarter Campaign here.

Post Resources

Mau, D. Fast Fashion is More Dangerous Than We Thought. Retrieved from Fashionista

Wallander, M. Why Textiles Should Be Banned From Landfill. Retrieved from TriplePundit

G. Textile Recycling Facts and Figures. Retrieved from The Balance

Breyer, M. 25 Shocking Fashion Industry Statistics. Retrieved from TreeHugger

Sweeny, G. Fast Fashion is the Second Dirtiest Industry in the World. Retrieved from EcoWatch

Live Balanced. Live Great.
All There August

Jessica Salazar


Why I Choose to Be Fur-Free and the Brand That's Pushing the Limit

It may seem simple... I'm vegan so I don't wear anything that comes from an animal, right?!

Well, what if you are new to this "veg" world or just beginning to explore the vegan lifestyle? Therefore, the thought of wearing fur-free (or faux leather) clothing may not seem as obvious to you.  As I began my vegan journey, I learned that living vegan goes far beyond the plate.

It's no secret, there are several luxury retailers announcing their fur-free initiatives. As well as many local brands and public figures coming out and stating they will have nothing to do with fur and some even transitioning towards a fully vegan lifestyle. Some animal welfare messages are subtle while others leave you with no guesswork. When you think of the word "vegan" some may automatically relate to food and half of that thought is true. Growing into my lifestyle though, I've discovered that for me, a vegan life means your beliefs reflect on the clothes you wear too.

Stay Aware

Do you think 4 little words have the power to make a difference or at the very least change someone's thought process. Fur Belongs to Animals...

Fur Belongs to Animals T-Shirt

"Charity and philanthropy are an important part of our brand & company. Together with our partners, we help to promote the relief message and help to raise the awareness." Filip Vuckovic - Co-founder of HIDE BEYOND

Fur Belongs to Animals Sweater

Why Hide Beyond is So Important in Today's Fashion Industry...

Hide Beyond is a PETA approved vegan clothing brand that (yes) does not leave you guessing whether or not they believe in animal welfare. Filled with fur-free and plant-powered quotes the message here is positive and the 4 little word statement you see above (Fur Belongs to Animals) is powerful. Hide Beyond not only partners with various charities but creates a conversation and raises awareness. Whether you believe in vegan fashion or not the messages plant a seed in your mind and gets you thinking, even if it is to say you don't agree.

Fur Belongs to Animals Pom Pom Knit Cap

Why I Choose to Be Fur-free

I always say, if I can't kill the animal with my own hands then I won't eat it. In this case, I won't wear it either. I understand everyone's point of view is different, I respect that. That fur coat may keep you warm or that genuine leather bag may look really pretty on your arm. I've heard it, I've thought it! For me though, I think about the animals. What the animal had to endure (I mean the entire lifecycle) for me to look nice in a pair of shoes for several... maybe even one occasion is not worth it to me.

Personally, it's about wearing something that I feel positive about. Something that came from love with animals and humans in mind, that's important to me. I can't wear leather or fur (or any animal product) happily because I know that an animal suffered (in some form) for me to wear it.

Avocado Will Brighten Your Day

"Philanthropy is part of who I am and giving back to the community is a way of life for me. There's no greater feeling than knowing you're making a difference. The best time to act is now." - Filip Vuckovic - Co-founder of HIDE BEYOND

Avocado Will Brighten Your Day

Hide Beyond is important because I hope by wearing their clothes someone will ask me, what does your shirt mean or I love avocado too where did you get that top? Hide Beyond may spark a conversation with someone who doesn't know what vegan fashion is. We choose to live life as we please vegan fashion or not but there is a movement going on that is bigger than just good fashion, so awareness is key. Even if you (or I) don't change anyone's mind on wearing fur directly. Maybe, just maybe, you made an impact on someone you didn't know by simply wearing a message. I'll take my chances on that.

 

 

Learn more about this PETA approved vegan fashion brand at

Hide Beyond

P.S. If you love the vegan threads make sure to use code JESSICA10 for 10% off your entire purchase.

Live Balanced. Live Great.
All There August

Jessica Salazar


The Orenda Tribe, Empowering Children and Breaking Barriers Through Art

The Orenda Tribe: Empowering Children, a Force to be Reckoned With 

Think about all the things you used to do as a child... your creativity, your imagination, your playtime. Now think about your lifestyle today, do you still practice those things? Are you free to live with the creativity you had as a child? When I think about my childhood, I remember making things, playing, creating and expressing that through art. My home was an outlet that nurtured the creative, artistic child I was. That was a huge part of my life. Consequently, not everyone has that opportunity to "be a child" and have a safe zone for creative thinking though. Therefore, if you had the chance to nurture your creative side as a child would you go back and do it again? Would you give a child that opportunity?

Orenda [oh-ren-duh] a mystical force present in all people that empowers them to affect the world, or to effect change in their own lives - The Orenda Tribe

There are many Ethical Fashion brands out there doing good (and I love them for that) but none quite like The Orenda Tribe. Empowering children in disadvantaged communities through art, The Orenda Tribe is a game changer.

100% Organic Cotton Purposeful T-shirt

Why The Orenda Tribe is Keeping Creativity Alive...

Think about it, there are several universal languages everyone can feel or speak. As a result, some may think differently but a few of my favorite ones are food, love, music and yes...art. So who is The Orenda Tribe?  A brand with 7 values: Empower, Inspire, Hope, Fun, Community, Revival, and Growth. Bridging the gap between communities, The Orenda Tribe started as an idea of a t-shirt brand and became a growing movement on a mission to empower children through art.

We are on a mission of empowering children & breaking barriers between communities through art - The Orenda Tribe

Mama Bee T-Shirt 

Taking Action

From 17 Giving Back Projects such as providing a safe haven for children by promoting education and art at the Za'atari Refugee Camp to hosting Art Workshops that encourage children to attend school. The Orenda Tribe has reached over 2,000 children in 6 different communities to date.  With a number of their workshops including art therapy, the designs on the t-shirts are children's artwork from communities where they give back. 

The Orends Tribe: What We Give Overview

The Orenda Tribe provides children with the opportunity to create and for me, that's one of the greatest gifts you can give someone. They provide a space where children are free to express their ideas, their passions and most importantly feel empowered doing so. There are many hobbies, passions, and gifts a person may possess, from math to physical labor. As we know, art is different in everyone's eyes. What's beautiful to me, may not make sense to you but that is the beauty of art. Art is always right and it comes from a sacred place within someone. Without art, I would not be the person I am today. Hence, I know in my heart these children feel the same. Being able to translate their ideas in their soul onto a tangible item like a shirt is a magical thing. How else can you explain it?

A child is unfiltered and raw. As a result, I asked my nieces what art meant to them: Art makes me feel happy because you can draw whatever comes to mind, animals or flags. It's exciting to paint and draw.

Buzzy Bees, The Orenda Tribe Elements, Mama Bee + T-Shirt

Empowering People

Pursuing a career in the creative field may scare some people. People may think you are a "dreamer" or there won't be a guaranteed job for you. You won't make money or it's the unsafe (risky) route to take. Believe me, creatives have heard it all. The Orenda Tribe has shown to prove that to be wrong in every way. In addition, art is so important to a lot of children and adults in this world. We at times, push that aside and don't listen (or follow) our natural passions. So, wearing The Orenda Tribe makes me feel as if I am a child again. It helps me believe in a future where art and creatives continue to thrive.

It's no coincidence that today is International Women's Day. Let's continue to support the young females and youth in our communities. It takes males, females of all ages and diverse backgrounds to inspire a good change.  The Orenda Tribe is encouraging education, creating lasting relationships within communities, empowering people to make positive changes and it's all through art. Art is the love language here and it's our job to keep that alive. No great thing ever really dies, it lives within us forever. Alive in us, alive in children and we should spread that love.

Sun: Empowerment, Inspiration + Hope | Tent: Community | Leaf: Revival + Growth 

Learn more about the designs inspired by children's artwork on 100% Organic Cotton Purposeful T-shirts + Recycled Material in Packaging and support their cause of empowering children through art at

The Orenda Tribe

Live Balanced. Live Great.

Jessica Salazar

Sponsored Post: This post was sponsored by The Orenda Tribe, a brand I personally fell in love with because of their genuine dedication to inspiring our youth. I only feature brands I truly support in order to spread a cruelty-free lifestyle.

My Truth About Using a Straw and What I'm Doing to Make it Better

Straws, love them or hate them. Restaurants usually (automatically) give them to you and you expect to get one with any drink (or smoothie) you purchase. The straw is everywhere and we can't get away from them but are they safe for the environment?

 

My Honest Truth About Using a Straw...

I must admit, I love using a straw. I think about germs on the cup and how it helps me when I'm on the road but I must also admit... it's not great for the environment. We throw away millions of straws each year and they end up in a landfill. Can you imagine how many straws you have come across in your lifetime? Now think about how everyone is in the same boat with you. We (unfortunately, I included) use up straws and throw them away without a second thought. It's horrible, I know but these little guys have become natural to use for most people.

So What am I Doing to Reduce My Straw Usage?

Well like anything, it takes practice. My main goal is to become more aware when I use a straw. So I'll ask myself do I really need to use a straw to drink water or my smoothie? When and if I can do without, I will.

Another thing that I will incorporate is recycling these straws. Most straws you can recycle, so rinse it out and do it. It's really easy and only takes a moment but I've noticed that it's becoming a new habit of mine. If you can recycle it...recycle it. It's not only great for the environment but I promise, it will make you feel better. Better about yourself, your actions and towards the future. So next time you come across a straw (today, I'm sure) ask yourself do I need it and can I recycle it? Small actions make a difference and it starts with you.

Live Balanced. Live Great.

Jessica Salazar


5 Unique Sustainable Valentine's Gift and Date Ideas

The universal "love" day is just around the corner. Valentine's Day, if you walk into any shop right now you will see flowers, chocolate, stuffed animals, and balloons. You won't miss it. The array of pink, red, and white colors just bursting from the seams and then, you can't help but fall in love. Or if you're like me, fall in love (for a moment in time) then snap yourself out of it... fast! So what's a "lover" to do when you want to be unique and not buy into Valentine's Day Specials? In order to help you out a bit, I thought of 5 Unique Sustainable Valentines's Gift and Date Ideas that will be special, affordable and most of all sustainable.

 

 

1. Write Your Own Love Note

Take it old school, get a pen and paper then pour your heart out. This note can be really romantic or funny depending on the person you give it to. Creating your own Valentine's Day card is meaningful and shows you put time and thought into a gift.

2. Let's Picnic Together

Yes, please! Cook your own meal, snacks and purchase a bottle of organic wine from your local supermarket, count me in! This is such a romantic gesture, you and your loved ones can enjoy being outside and soaking in the day. If the weather is not on your side, take the picnic indoors. I've done both and organizing a picnic is a simple way to actually "be" together.

3. Pick Your Own Flowers

Go on, you can do it. If you have access to a beautiful garden pick several and tie them together. You can add this to your love note or be really romantic and place them around the house. There are also local flower shops where you can pick your own flowers as well. The main idea here is to buy (or pick) local. Valentine's Day is the moment you can really showcase your cupid side. Happy picking!

4. Make Your Own Valentine's Gift Basket

Let's "real" talk right now. A stuffed animal will only last so long and serves a limited purpose. Unless you're my dog, he still plays with all his stuffed animals. For me, I've learned that creating a custom gift basket with goodies that specific person loves is a more sustainable gift idea. It can be their favorite, soaps, baked goods, a book or beauty products. Goodies the person actually needs (or wants) is a guaranteed win.

5. Gather Together

Instead of a party for 2, why don't you gather together as 1? This could be a Valentine's with all your pals, single, married or family members. You may gather together and craft Valentine's Day cards, cook together or buy a piñata (we did that one year) then celebrate the love together. Don't forget your fur babies too!

Remember Valentines's Day is about love. You don't have to buy diamond necklaces, spend $100 on flowers or get the latest gadgets. So let's drink (or eat) to these Unique Sustainable Valentine's Gift and Date Ideas where we honor the true meaning of love.

Live Balanced. Live Great.

Jessica Salazar