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.


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.

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.

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.

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


Simple Recipe for Authentic Mexican Guacamole

Super Bowl, gatherings, birthdays, you name it... sometimes we just need a quick and easy dish that will satisfy. Growing up, my mother made homemade guacamole very often and boy we did not complain. We ate guacamole with tortilla chips or as a topping and it was simple yet delicious. Since we are in the party season, I wanted to share my mom's Simple Recipe for Authentic Mexican Guacamole.  You can make this simple guacamole recipe as fancy or casual as you like for guests, yourself or just to experiment.

See how I saved the avocado shells and used them as serving trays below.

Styled in Avocado Shells

 

Ingredients

  • 3 Hass Avocados (Medium to large)
  • 1/2 White Onion (Diced)
  • Dash of Himalayan Salt or Sea Salt
  • 1-2 Tomatoes (Seeded and Diced)
  • 2-3 Limes (Juiced)
  • 1 Jalapeño (optional)
  • Cilantro (optional)

Directions

Cut avocado in half, place the scooped avocado in a bowl and discard the seed. You may use the avocado shell as a serving dish or discard along with the seed. Using a fork or potato masher, mash the avocados. As you mash, add lime juice (1 lime) to prevent browning. Continue mashing the avocados until desired consistency is met. You may either create a chunky or smooth dish depending on your preference. Add the rest of your ingredients to your bowl and slowly stir.

Finally, when all ingredients are mixed add additional lime juice, salt, and jalapeño to taste. Using your saved shells, place guacamole mixture in empty shells. You may top with cilantro, tomatoes, onion or jalapeño for decoration. If you do not have your shells, place mixture in a serving bowl. You may serve immediately or place in the fridge to chill.  Use your favorite tortilla chips to finish up your dish and you are ready to go!

Find some of my favorite tortilla chips that I use with my Simple Authentic Mexican Guacamole below...

Late July, Clãsico Tortilla Chips Jalapeño Lime

Late July, Organic Chia and Quinoa Restaurant Style Tortilla Chips 

Beanfields, Jalapeño Nacho Bean and Rice Chips 

Eat Balanced. Eat Great.

Jessica Salazar


My First Marathon... As a Vegan, For Animal and Women's Welfare

Mile 3... mile 6... mile 13, my mind was counting down the miles. It was happening, I was on the verge of completing my very first marathon. As a vegan, I did it for the animals and women's welfare. Completing my first half marathon in 2014, I thought it would be a great idea to have the "full" under my belt. From half crazy to full crazy in just 8 months, registered in June, the race was in January. Previously active, this would be enough time to prep my mind and body for 26.2 miles. Not only was I about to embark on an unknown path but my mom agreed to complete her first half marathon too.

So there we were, together as newbies, some may even say a little crazy too. So how did I finish my first marathon? 13.1 was the longest distance I had ever completed. Well, it is very possible and you can do it too with practice, advice, patience, research, focus, and commitment. Below you will find a few tips and thoughts that I gathered from trainers, athletes, research and my own trial and error.

 

 

1. Give yourself time to prepare mentally and physically 

Asking your body to run/walk 26.2 miles is something. At times I like to be spontaneous and just go with it but this is not the time for that. Depending on your current activity level you need months, possibly even the entire year to start slow then develop your routine. As you practice you will then learn your mind and body and what it does and does not do. You will see when positive/negative thoughts start to creep into your mind or what mile you are strongest at.

2. It's not all about running

Your body needs cross-training and the right fuel in order to perform. It helped me to do a combination of workouts while I was running. Yoga, Orange Theory, stretching and foam rolling. With a combination of light and long run days, you need to feel strong mentally and physically. Plus the Trainers at OTF really kicked my butt and helped me properly prepare.

3. What you wear on a run matters 

I needed to be comfortable for my first marathon. When I ran the half a few years back the zipper on my sports bra cut into my chest and created unnecessary pain throughout the run. So I needed smooth clothes that would not create chafing or pain. I also personally like long workout tights, a long sleeve top, and hat to protect my skin from the sun. Everyone prefers a different outfit so my suggestion is to practice with your race day look prior to the run. Are you comfortable with a fanny pack, which trainers fit you best, will you run with sunglasses? These questions may seem irrelevant but will make a difference.

4. Eat for performance

Mom and I were on eating plans a week prior and really focused on proper fuel the last 3 days. We were eating to give our bodies energy and stamina and every meal counts for runners. Don't try anything new on race day, don't be tempted.

 

 

What I ate...

48 Hours Until Race Day

  • Oatmeal and Toast
  • Pasta with Marinara
  • Rice with Vegetables
  • Veggie Pizza with Marinara

24 Hours Until Race Day 

  • Normal balanced meals
  • Hydrated with electrolytes
  • Energy Bars
  • Bread
  • Cereal

Race Day Breakfast

  • Oatmeal with Banana
  • Hydrated with electrolytes

5. Run for something 

Mile 17 and 18 were the miles I thought to myself, wow Jess, this is kind of long. Oh, I feel my body hurting now! I was still very aware of my body and I did not want to hurt myself but at that point, you determine what will hurt you and what will push you. So after a quick body scan, I knew that it was only mental for me at this point. I had my family in mind, my parents waiting for me at the finish line, and the cause I was running for.

 

 

Race Day 

We woke up early ate our breakfast and started hydrating in order to digest properly. The race started at 7:00 AM and we arrived at 5:30 AM. We did this to find parking, be at ease, stretch, warm up and complete any final touches. My mom and I stretched and saw everyone arrive. My dad found his paparazzi location. Giving each other positive mantras then BOOM, the race began. We started jogging then my mom yelled go, Jess, you need to go. Knowing my run/walk routine I ran beside her, hugged her and said... YOU GOT THIS MOM! So there we were, my mom was in her zone and I began mine.

My routine was run for a mile or 5 minutes then a brisk walk for 30 seconds to a minute, my watch was set to alert me. I did this for the first 13 miles then I felt my body tired, so I would adjust the time. I would walk 2 minutes or run 3 minutes. Constantly scanning my mind and body when the time was up, asking myself, can I run more or do I need a few more moments to walk?

The cheer stations helped, I remember the kindness of strangers yelling. You got this Jessica! I love your shirt! I love your ears! You are doing great! You are looking good, you are looking good girl! The DJ's, all the energy was contagious and it helped me move forward. I knew it was helping my mom too so that gave me peace. I drank at every station and every 30 minutes ate something. Mile 20 came along, wow, I was almost done.  Our last turn arrived and I could see the finish line. So I ran the final mile, gave it my all and everything I had left. Heard my mom cheering, saw my dad taking pictures (Jess you are almost there) and I was. Passing the finish line was surreal, I completed my first marathon. I kept walking to bring my heart rate down but then I felt everything.

Drank pickle juice, ate, stretched and we were done. We made it! At this point, I was a bit delusional but I heard my name, Jessica Salazar 2nd place! Wait, what? How many Jessica's ran? What's the bib number? It was me, and everything became beautiful again. Running my first marathon, I placed 2nd in my age/gender division. I did it for the animals, my family, and all the females out there.

Believe in Your Ability. Trust your hustle. 

 

 

Instagram Diaries 

You asked, I answered. My First Marathon, top questions on my Instagram Stories:

  • Did you use Uber?
    • No, but that may have been a lot easier though, I'll check into that! HAHA! 
  • Can you even run a mile?
    • Yes, actually, I can run 26.2 to be exact. I really love to workout and stay active don't let the fashion fool you. 
  • What did I eat during the run?
    • Vega Sports Endurance Gel, LÄRABAR, Garden of Life Sports Organic Plant-based Energy + Focus, Bananas, Nuun, water, salt packet
  • How did your body feel during the run and how did you go on?
    • I was really nervous, I won't lie about that and my body did feel tired at the end. I knew though, I had prepared for the run and I was capable. You must get out of your own head.
  • Tell me about your recovery and would you run another marathon?
    • It took about a week for my body to fully recover. I still feel foot pain but it's getting better. Yes, definitely would run another marathon. I know how my body will react now so I may better prepare for it.
Live Balanced. Live Great.

Jessica Salazar

 

 


A Very Vegan Christmas with Skull & Cakebones

It's Monday (I know time is flying) and I can't believe Christmas is exactly one week away. You know what that means right? Yes, Santa is about to arrive and we must get our bake on... but what if we don't have time? If you are looking for some cruelty-free eats, want to try something new or you simply don't have the time to be in the kitchen (which will be most of us) this Holiday Season Skull & Cakebones is a vegan craft bakery that will surely please the family.

 

 

I've been following Skull & Cakebones for a (long) minute now. I first tried their Mocha Marmalade Trifle at the Blue Cat Cafe in Austin, Texas and I fell in love at first bite. My second love encounter with them was at Austin City Limits (ACL) where I literally tried everything on their menu. Ice Cream Cakewich, Mac N Cheese, Avocado Toast and Cookie Dough, I mean ACL is for eating right?!

 

 

So I thought to myself ok, I need to go to their bakery and see for myself where food heaven was. Not to my surprise, I found more food items that were AMAZING and that was the moment I fully become a tried-and-true fan.

Here's what I ate below

Cinnamon Roll, Sausage Roll, and Blueberry Lemon Pastry

 

 

Breakfast Bowl

 

 

From vegan bread, pies, and cookies to a full vegan Brunch Menu Skull & Cakebones will not only help you fill some hungry guests for the Holidays but they source their ingredients locally. This means you are supporting local brands while feeding your body "good" stuff. Visit their shop in the Hill Country and enjoy your time away from the city hustle for a bit. While you're out there don't forget to bring back some Holiday goodies for all those foodies in your family.

To learn more visit Skull & Cakebones and see how they are creating yummy food while staying cruelty-free.

Visit the Bakery

3991 E HWY 290
UNIT A
DRIPPING SPRINGS, TX 78620

Eat Cruelty-free! Live Balanced. Live Great.

Jessica Salazar


What Is Palm Oil and Why Should You Care About It?

What in the world is palm oil? It's a question that has been floating around and now it's your turn to learn a little bit more about it.

I did this fun collaboration with The Animal Edit, where we discuss the basics of palm oil and why you should start caring about this ingredient that is almost in everything. Here, I go over palm oil 101, as well as give you resources and information on brands that provide lists of products you can buy that are P.O. Free. This article will put your mind at ease a bit, so let me know what you think, enjoy!

http://theanimaledit.com/2017/10/01/palm-oil-care/

Live Balanced. Live Great.

Jessica Salazar


SMTX Vegan Food Truck Domination

Let's start with... I love (love, love, love) food trucks! So, I must share that I found this new vegan food truck called Binge Kitchen. It's 100% plant-based and locally owned in San Marcos, Texas. Binge Kitchen has a variety of pancakes, themed tacos, burgers and weekly dinner specials. Being San Marcos's first fully vegan food truck, there's been quite the buzz around town so you better believe I had to find out for myself!

Binge Kitchen Vegan Food Truck

The Menu

Black Lemonade

I was fortunate enough to meet the owners and had them choose what my food fate would be. I was open to try any meal so I simply said: "I'll take your favorite/most popular" and (drum roll) that was their Barbecue Burger. It was perfect (and no, not just because I am a foodie) this burger is now really one of my top favorite vegan burgers of all time.

A relaxed environment, super friendly staff and owners with amazing food, you must stop by and try their food. Here's a look at Binge Kitchen and what I had below.

Barbecue Burger

Visit Binge Kitchen and see what they have to offer at:

Binge Kitchen

Live Balanced. Live Great.

Jessica Salazar


SixChel, The “Capsule” of True Fashion & Sustainability

Some of us know the value of sustainability in fashion while others may be new to the game (don’t worry it’s a simple/complex world) but you are all welcome to explore here. You see, “ethical brands” value different aspects of sustainability. This means some brands may use only organic (new) fabrics while others upcycle (used fabrics) or give proceeds to charity. So, it’s important for the consumer to be aware of “brand beliefs" and how they (as a company) personally partake in the Eco Fashion Revolution. So today, my focus is specifically on a brand I’ve been fortunate enough to discover, SixChel.

SixChel encourages female empowerment and believes that by supporting the diversity amongst women, they will create a positive and acceptable environment for all women who seek comfort in sustainable and stylish clothes. SixChel also focuses on slow-fashion principles as well as using the finest sustainable fabrics.

Here’s a look at the Capsule Collection

The Demi Halter Crop Top

The Elizabeth Dress

The Gia Halter Wrap Top & The Katherine Crop Pants

So what did I do? SixChel hosted several Pop-Up Shops in Austin, Texas and you better believe I stopped by to see this capsule collection in person. It was amazing to understand (in real life) how versatile these pieces were, lightweight, cruelty-free and sustainable…I was in heaven. I was also able to meet with the Boss herself Dina Chavez, who is absolutely a doll in person.

As seen in the photos above, you can easily pair each piece with items in your own wardrobe. My top pick is...the dress! It has a minimalist feel yet the simple touch of the added bow in the back will turn heads. In all, the show was intimate and welcoming where you could feel the vibe of women supporting women businesses. It was a one stop shop with mini-vegan makeovers, food, drinks, clothes and jewelry.

Pop-Up Showtime...

Final thoughts…it’s important to understand where your clothes are coming from and to realize that brands have their own way of expressing and “being” sustainable. For Dina, it’s about embracing sisterhood, using eco fabrics and creating a capsule collection that doesn’t run out of style. It’s slow, but this is the good kind of slow. SixChel doesn’t fall under the retail chain of fast fashion. Instead, each piece is made like a piece of art just as it should be.

Not only was it amazing to see the capsule collection (IRL) but also in collaboration with SixChel I was able to experience these pretty amazing Wow-men below:

To learn more about SixChel visit:

https://sixchelbydinachavez.com/

Jen Hearts Art

Talk about the ultimate Art Babe! We talked vegan cosmetics, life and a bit of business with a side of taking over the world! From MU Artist to Body Art, she's doing it right.

https://www.jenheartsart.com/

Perky Perky Coffee

Had an amazing "cup of jo" while I was at the show. I take my coffee black and loved it. Also, the fact she's a Female Boss...winning!

https://www.perkyperky.com/

Lisa Crowder Jewelry

The location is everything. Within Canopy, you will find this contemporary boutique filled with work from Metalsmith Lisa Crowder. Jewelry inspired by form, color, line and balance was the perfect touch to pull the entire show together.

http://lisacrowder.com/about/

Live Balanced. Live Great.

Jessica Salazar

 


Snacking with Ozery

So you all know I discovered Ozery Bakery and I have eaten my way through their bread. Now, it's time for their "Snacking Rounds" Edition. Who loves snacking? I know snacking is one of my favorite things to do throughout my day.

I put together ideas for bite-sized vegan snacks using Ozery Bakery, Snacking Rounds and here's what I came up with. Remember, when you create your own snacks you can swap any items to your likely.

What I used:

Ozery Bakery Snacking Rounds

From top to bottom:

Cranberry Orange

Muesli

Apple Cinnamon

The Fruit

Mango

Pineapple

Blueberries

Banana

Toppings

Natural Blueberry Jam

Locally made, Jalapeño Jelly

Natural Peanut Butter

Natural Almond Butter

Organic Chia Seeds

Organic Flax Seeds

Cinnamon

Vegan Chocolate Chips

Vegan Chocolate (drizzled over the plate)

While making these I noticed that they are not only great for snacking but for brunch as well. Another key detail to notice is you can make them savory as well for an evening snack or appetizer. After going through the products Ozery Bakery has to offer I have grown a fond respect and love for their work. Ozery has options for vegans and people conscience about what they put into their body. They also offer a variety which is important when you want to experiment with new flavors.

Ozery I am a fan! To discover what Ozery Bakery has to offer, visit them at:

http://ozerybakery.com/

Enjoy!

Live Balanced. Live Great.

Jessica Salazar


My Evening With Ozery Bakery

As we all settle into the New Year, we have our New Year's Resolutions in mind. Some of us have set diet goals, fitness goals or to be genuinely happier in life. Thinking of my resolution (or a better word for it, goal) is to continue to seek and discover vegan food as well as enjoying my journey through life. I have a deep passion for animal welfare (as you may know) and expressing that through my diet is what makes me “genuinely” happy. In my previous post I took you through possible breakfast options fit for every athlete and as promised I continued to explore Ozery Bakery’s lunch and dinner options. Now you (yes, you) are an athlete so transitioning from a healthy breakfast to lunch and dinner…well, now what do I eat next you may ask? Luckily, Ozery provides a variety of breads that not only fit breakfast taste buds but lunch and dinner too.

So lets get down to business...

I put together ideas for vegan lunch and dinner options, remember when you create your own you can swap any veggies or food items. Now is the time to explore and discover new vegetables so I urge you to be creative.

1. Not So Sloppy Joe

What I used:

Original One Bun Multi Grain, Thin Sandwich Buns

Grilled Carrots

Fresh Butternut Spirals

Spinach

Meatless Ground Beef

2. Grilled Tofu Avocado Sandwich

What I used:

One Bun Spelt Organic, Pre-Sliced Sandwich Buns

Grilled Tofu

Avocado

Garlic Hummus

Grilled Veggies

Cherry Tomatoes

Fresh Butternut Spirals

3. Veggie Plate

What I used:

100 Cal One Bun Whole Wheat, Thin Sandwich Buns

Fresh Butternut Spirals

Avocado

Cherry Tomatoes

Grilled Veggies

Grilled Carrots

Spinach

Asparagus

Chopped Tofu

4. Vegan Sliders

What I used:

Just Minis One Bun Multi Grain, Pre-Sliced Multi Grain Sliders

Chopped Tofu

Spinach

Asparagus

Fresh Butternut Spirals

Avocado

Broccoli

Meatless Chicken Strips

Garlic Hummus

Brussels Sprouts

Final Look

Stay tuned as I eat my way through Ozery Bakery's Snacking Rounds and discover what vegan snack options I can create fit for every athlete. For more information on Ozery or if you want to follow along with my "Eating Journey"  visit their website below.

Enjoy!

http://ozerybakery.com/

Live Balance. Live Great.

Jessica Salazar

Edited by: Angela Salazar


Morning Rounds Fit For Every Athlete

So it’s about that time of year again Holidays are approaching, school is out and you will find food everywhere you go. Cookies, pies…anything and everything, you can and (believe me) you will find it. Knowing this, how can you set yourself up to maintain a healthy diet during the Holidays?

Well, if you love food the way I love food (and that’s with great passion) creating a healthy, fulfilling breakfast is vital in setting the mood for your day. Searching for satisfying breakfast staples though can at times be a challenge. Let's not even bring up the fact after you discover these awesome foods you must find different and exciting ways to cook with these staple items. So take a deep breath and remember, you don’t have to be Julia Child in the kitchen you also don’t have to be vegan or an athlete either but fueling your body with the right food is fundamental for all. For me, I feel everyone is an “athlete” in his or her own way. In my eyes, your body is your machine and whatever profession you may have you use your body and mind to accomplish that. So you are an athlete and your machine needs fuel!

When thinking about this don’t fear you are not alone let me assure you, even the greatest foodies and athletes need some time to find their staple breakfast items. You hear it everywhere; breakfast is so important if not the most important meal of your day. So I thought about it and I was on a mission (yes, another mission) I wanted to find breakfast items that would satisfy my cravings, fuel my body and do it without hurting any animal. So for my athletes out there (and yes, I am talking to everyone) I found the gold at the end of the rainbow and it starts with an "O" because oh…these rounds are worth it!

I believe 100% in consuming items that are close to their natural state and made with minimal ingredients that I know and can pronounce. So exploring my local grocery store (on my mission) I was reading labels of different products and came across Ozery Bakery, Morning Rounds. After researching Ozery Bakery (yes, in the grocery isle) I discovered the company doesn't use artificial preservatives, no GMO’s and no mysterious ingredients you can’t pronounce. What are they? Morning Rounds, Snacking Rounds and lunch and dinner breads that come in different flavors and sizes which is a positive when you are thinking of variety in your meals.

So for your pleasure (ok, ok this was for my pleasure too) I experimented with a variety of breakfast options using their Morning Rounds and below you can explore my "Morning Eating Journey."

What I used:

Morning Rounds - Date and Chia

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What I created:

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For the athletes that want a fruity mix, I used a natural blueberry jam and topped the Morning Round with fresh fruit. The date and chia was a nice balance for this simple and classic dish.

What I used:

Morning Rounds - Muesli

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What I created:

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For the chocolate lover! I created a peanut butter, strawberry, banana and chocolate Morning Round. Simply spread the peanut butter on both halves. Top it with strawberry, dairy-free chocolate chips and add bananas on the side for taste. Then finish the dish with drizzled vegan dark chocolate.

What I used:

Morning Rounds – Apple Cinnamon

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What I created:

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For the breakfast go-to, I used the Apple Cinnamon Morning Round as a side dish to a classic homemade oatmeal. Served with fresh fruit and agave drizzled on top.

What I used:

Morning Rounds – Cranberry Orange

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What I created:

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The ultimate peanut butter and jelly fruit "Gordita." Inspired by the Mexican Gordita, this breakfast gordita is stuffed with peanut butter, natural blueberry jelly and fresh fruit with extra fruit on the side please!

Finished Products

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After eating my way through these rounds I wanted to share with “non” vegan athletes and…I DID! The feedback was positive they enjoyed the flavors, variety and that it was healthy fuel for your body. Ozery's products are evidence this company cares about what individuals put in their body and for me I stand by companies that care about my health just as I do.

So ladies and gents eat through the Holidays guilt-free with these breakfast options and feel free to sub out any item that best suits you. Share your meals with me and enjoy your breakfast fit for every athlete out there!

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Stay tuned as I explore and eat my way through lunch and dinner with Ozery Bakery. For more information on Ozery or if you want to follow along with my "Eating Journey"  visit their website below.

http://ozerybakery.com/

Live Balance. Live Great.

Jessica Salazar

Edited by: Angela Salazar

 


A “Sweet and Tasty” Birthday

What does a birthday mean? For some it’s just another day but for me it’s different. For me, it’s one of the best days and no not only because you get to celebrate how awesome you are and that you were born but rather it's because you lived. It means everything you have been through, everything you did and didn’t do, everything you loved (and yes, let’s say it) hated has brought you to this very point in your life…your birthday.

A birthday, the best day on earth no matter how old you are about to turn YOU MUST CELEBRATE IT! So this year I had planned to celebrate by traveling back home for both my birthday as well as my mom’s. I wanted to celebrate with family, friends and YES, a vegan cake.

Remember my family isn’t vegan so every chance I get to share my vegan treats with them I do it. So I planned a small BBQ (veggies for me, thank you dad) and I thought OK, the “cakes” need to be the main focus. I ordered my mom her favorite cake (job done) taken care of, check! Then it was my turn…what cake will I have? After some pondering I called this lovely cake shop called Sweet and Tasty in McAllen, Texas and asked…do you make vegan cakes? In my brain I was thinking OK I have a 50/50 chance for them to make my day and tell me yes. So I waited for what seemed (in my brain) to be a century for their response and yes, they said YES! Let me tell you, them telling me yes alone could have been my birthday present.

So this is the key situation in the story and this is how I know everyone at Sweet and Tasty are ROCK STARS! On the phone and through email I said “this is what I am all about” ethical fashion, golf, veganism this is my brand. I also said you have the freedom to be creative. I want to be surprised and I want you to do what you do.

So I left my cake destiny in their hands. For me this was both easy and hard to do. I at times am free spirited and let the universe take care of things on its own time and other times…well, there’s a dire need for me to know exactly what is happening (it’s a balance) so I was fighting this. Yes, you may be thinking it’s just a cake but it was still in the back of my mind…

Hmm I wonder how my cake is looking?

It’s Party day! At this point everyone was starting to arrive, house is ready, food is ready and cake is about to arrive. My mom got off the car and I see her with the white box. Mind you my dad had already surprised her that day with flowers at work and picked up her cake so mine was the only one left. That white little box was tearing at my need to know and I wanted to drop everything I was doing to run and open it (who are we kidding)…I did just that. “You will love it, I started to cry when I saw it,” my mom tells my as I’m trying to rip the tape on the sides off and love it I did.

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As I opened the box I did feel a sense of love. The way Sweet and Tasty was able to portray my life through a cake, it was art, it was a piece of me and it was beautifully done. For me that was the “Sweet” part.

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Now for the “Tasty” part. I had been starring at my cake the entire evening and everyone was commenting how great it looked. After the singing and picture taking it was the moment of truth. I took my knife, sliced right into it and ate the first piece…SOLD! I was thinking wow, how is this vegan? Are you sure you’re not tricking me? How can this cake taste so great? It was magic! I had to refrain myself from eating the entire thing…so I shared. Everyone had both cakes the vegan and non-vegan one. Let me tell you they were shocked, they could not tell the difference in taste and that ladies and gentleman is what makes my heart happy. To share with the world (in this case my family) that a “vegan” cake has the ability to taste just as good as a cake made with dairy and eggs, now that’s pure happiness for me. Even my brother…aside from my dad (who now is more open to vegan items) loved it. Of course after a few vegan jokes (just as an awesome big brother should do) said I tried the cake…and it was good. Yes! I did an imaginary fist pump in my mind.

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So, Sweet and Tasty really made my birthday special and the fact as a company they created a vegan cake that depicted my life with just inspiration to go off of says a lot about them. The reason why I said I felt love when I opened the box is I knew that there was no harm done to any being in order to make this cake. I was consuming positive energy and thoughts and for me that’s what made this cake amazing. Sweet and Tasty you are the icing on my cake, literally! You created a stunning piece of work and my heart and taste buds will remember that always.

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For more information on these delicious vegan cakes visit:

   https://www.facebook.com/Sweet-Tasty-Bakery-I-II-121677577843097/

Live Balance. Live Great.

Jessica Salazar

Edited by: Angela Salazar


DIY Vegan Bowl

Vegan Bowl to your rescue! This is simple yet appetizing and well...let these pictures do the talking.

Ingredients:

Wild Rice

Beans

Potato

Mixed Veggies

Hummus

Nuts

Note: You can use any combo of these ingredients, sub or omit to your liking. Make it your own hence the "standard" list. I want this to be your own masterpiece (but I won't hate it if you create the same exact dish, in fact I want to see it.)

So it begins with the rice...

I used Wild Rice with added quinoa (cooked of course.)

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The Veggies...

I sautéed mixed veggies using coconut aminos and olive oil.

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The Potato!

You can cook these various ways but I baked them for about 20 minutes with added olive oil, sea salt, pepper and garlic. I have also made this with sweet potato as well, both equally amazing.

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Those Black Beans though...

I used black beans here but you can use a variety of beans (probably the easiest step.)

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And Voilà!

Your very own Vegan Bowl.

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So once you have all your ingredients ready you can keep them separate until you are ready to go. When it's time to chow down mix all the ingredients in a bowl, top them with mixed nuts, hummus and ladies and gentleman you are pretty set to go conquer life and ready to EAT (wait, this is actually the easiest step.)

Please enjoy for the both of us.

Live Balance. Live Great.

Jessica Salazar