Eco-Friendly Gift Guide

Happy December!
With Christmas only a few weeks away, many of us are scrambling to purchase those last minute gifts for friends and family. I’m suggesting we do things a little different this holiday season. Since you will be spending the money anyways, why not vote with your dollar and purchase ethical, eco-friendly, sustainable and cruelty free (duh) gifts this year.

Ethically made means that the company you are purchasing from provides fair wages and a safe working environment, and not in an awful factory made by children.

Eco-friendly means that the company you are purchasing from produces products that are not harmful to our environment.

Sustainable means that the company you are purchasing from produces products that do not deplete natural resources, thus leaving our environment unharmed.

Cruelty-free means that the company you are purchasing your products from does not test on animals in.

Eve (@eve.cork) – 100% vegan, PETA approved line of sustainable, eco-friendly cork handbags and fashion accessories, handmade with love in Portugal. (Use “HOLIDAY2016” for 20% off)

Maika Goods (@maikagoods) – A line of beautiful home and travel goods made from recycled canvas and eco-friendly pigmented inks.

Sienna Moon (@siennamoonla) – An LA-based clothing company that produces earth friendly and ethically made products. The company donates proceeds from each sale to support women and babies around the world. How sweet is that?

BEETxBEET (@beetxbeet) – 100% vegan apparel company that is dedicated to spreading awareness about living a healthier lifestyle and the environmental issues we face as a society. Sweatshop free products, mostly made in the US and sewn in Los Angeles. They offer a few 100% organic t-shirts (like my “Monsanto Kills” tee) and are working towards fulfilling their goal of offering all organic and eco-friendly clothing.

Pela (@pelacase) – Meet the phone case that is completely plant based and is 100% biodegradable! Pela is an amazing eco friendly company that strives to reduce plastic waste, alleviate our dependency on non-renewable resources and educate people about plant based, sustainable alternatives. They are also proud members of 1% for the Planet. When you order your Pela Case, you receive a special referral link to share with your friends and family. When someone buys directly from your link, Pela donates $3 of that sale to one of the charities that is partnered with their referral program. (Here is my referral link: http://pelacase.refr.cc/laurenr)

Jewels by SJB (jewelsbysjb) – Minimalistic, classic pieces handmade, with love. Jewels by SJB uses the highest quality products, incuding genuine gemstones, .925 sterling silver and 14k gold fill metal. Each piece of jewelry is also 100% cruelty free (vegan) and ethically crafted.

Balanced Guru (@balancedguru) – Founded with a conscious and passionate dedication and commitment to promoting the well-being of their customers as well as the planet. They proudly craft products that are certified organic, cruelty free and sustainable. Their commitment to sustainability is impressive, to say the least. Their jars and bottles are made with 100% recycled and recyclable post-consumer resin. Their packaging, marketing and shipping materials are also made with 100% recycled and recyclable paper. All labels and formulations are completely biodegradable, free of harmful toxins or chemicals.

doTERRA (@doterra) – doTERRA, a latin derivative meaning “Gift of the Earth”, was founded on the mission of sharing therapeutic grade essential oils with the world. The founders are extremely committed to providing only the highest quality and purest essential oils, to ensure that people know with certainty that they are using the best oils to promote health and wellnessdoTERRA essential oils are Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade essential oils, free from fillers, artificial ingredients, contaminants, pesticides or chemical residues. They are sourced by a global network of leading essential oil chemists and growers, who ensure that the raw plant materials are carefully harvested at the right time. (If you’re interested in ordering from doTERRA, you can visit http://mydoterra.com/blondeveganhippie)

* Honourable mention *
Winners (Marshalls, TJ Maxx) – Although this is technically a department store, these stores offer a wide range of product, from clothing to home goods. I have found many ethically made products while browsing through the various aisles. In fact, it is how I discovered Balanced Guru and Maika Goods. Whether it is clothing that is made in Canada or the US, recycled canvas make-up bags, Mat & Nat vegan purses and wallets, sustainable products like stainless steel water bottles or an array of bamboo products made in Southeast Asia, there really is something for everyone.

Vote with your dollar this holiday season, and support companies that are committed to the well-being of our planet. We’ve only got one and we sure as hell need to take care of it.

Love and Light,

blondeveganhippie

Our Road Trip to British Columbia

Hello earthlings!
I have been out of touch on the blogosphere for the past month because I have been travelling and camping a bunch, making the  most of my summer before having to go back to work in a few weeks. Today, I am back to share with my BC road trip with all of you!

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Prior to leaving for British Columbia, I spent 2 weeks in Rhode Island visiting my best friend Jen. We originally planned to leave at midnight, a few hours after I landed back in Toronto. Unfortunately, my flight out was cancelled! My original flight was 7:30pm on a Monday but because of cancellations, I couldn’t fly out until 9:30am the next morning. This delay threw our timing off and had us feeling like we were playing catch up for most of the drive across the United States. Eventually, we threw our hands up and surrendered and just allowed ourselves to enjoy the journey and not focus too long on the destination, because we knew we would eventually get where we needed to go.

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We decided to stop at Greens Organic Cafe in Sarnia, Ontario before crossing the border into Michigan. This place was amazing! I enjoyed a delicious turmeric latte and a coconut bacon, lettuce and avocado sandwich, while Josiah had these amazing tempeh tacos.

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Our route to British Columbia started in Ontario, crossing the US border in Michigan, driving through Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho and Washington. Josiah did most of the driving (bless his soul) and drove straight through the night our first day on the road. We were in Minnesota by morning, where we stopped at Truce Juice Bar in Minneapolis for a breakfast smoothie.

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One of our biggest complaints would be not enough vegan options. By this, we mean that all the vegan spots were out of the way and would eat our a good chunk of our time just to get there, eat and then get back on the highway. If we didn’t have to meet my sister in Vancouver on a specific date, we would have definitely taken our time on this trip and wouldn’t have had an issue jumping on and off the highway to hit up vegan restaurants. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case and a few days we had to bite the bullet and eat fries at Wendy’s and hash browns at Burger King. I have not eaten anything from a popular fast food chain since going vegan and I definitely did not enjoy it. The fries and hash browns made me feel gross and heavy. After our road trip, we decided that next time we would rather stop at grocery stores along the way and pull off at rest stops to cook yummy and nutritious meals on our camping grill. Lesson learned!

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The drive through Montana was breathtaking. So prehistoric looking! It truly looked as though dinosaurs still roamed the earth today. We were in awe the entire drive through and loved all the landscapes that we got to witness.

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Our original plan was to camp along our road trip out to British Columbia, but due to setbacks we had to scrap that idea because we wanted to get to BC as quickly as possible. This means driving through the night or until very late at night, when it was too dark to set up our tent. We ended up staying in some sketchy motels, the first one being in Laurel, Montana. I was honestly terrified that my car was going to get broken into. I stood in front of my car putting an invisible protection bubble around it and repeating I AM PROTECTED. I AM SAFE. in my head until I felt good about leaving my car overnight. You might be laughing at me right now or think I am ridiculous but my car did not get broken into, and that is really counts 😉

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Next, we drove from Montana to Washington. I cannot for the life of me remember if this was in Idaho or Washington, but either way, it was a beautiful lookout spot off the highway. We pulled over to snap some photos and take a break from driving, but ended up spending half an hour walking around and taking in all the beauty.

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We got to Spokane, WA and immediately searched up juice and smoothie bars in the general area. The first 2 we went to ended up being closed, but 3rd times a charm 😉 I found Method Juice Cafe, an organic and vegan juice bar. I was so hungry and so happy that I finally had access to real food that I ordered a few items. I thought I had taken photos but turns out I was too hungry and forgot (oops). I ordered their pink dragon smoothie bowl, a decadent cacao smoothie and a cold pressed juice. Such a great spot with the best customer service!

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It was getting so late by the time we got to Seattle, WA that we decided we needed to eat and find somewhere to crash for the night. We found this sweet little Thai spot that was opened really late, which made our night because it was after 11pm and everything else with veggie options seemed to be closed for the night. We filled our bellies with spring rolls, pad thai and panang curry and it truly hit the spot! The name is blanking me and once again, my hunger took control and I forgot to take photos. Oops.

IMG_4103Once we got to Vancouver and met up with my sister, we headed to The Wallflower for brunch and it was out of this world!! We got the tostados, mac n cheese and polenta omelette, and none of them disappointed. Each meal was so flavourful and hearty. I wish we had one of these in Toronto!
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We got stuck in some traffic trying to get to the ferry terminal on a Friday and then spent at least 3 hours waiting to board our ferry from Vancouver to Victoria. Luckily, the ferry terminal had a little market place with some shops and a food court. I found JUSU, an organic juice bar and ordered yet another pitaya smoothie bowl. After we got some food in us, we headed outside and set up our hammock between 2 trees. We had hours to kill so why not do it comfortably? We were originally told we would possibly be getting on the ferry for 7pm, but more likely 8pm, so we were thrilled when we actually got on at 6pm.

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We ended up getting to Salt Spring Island around 9 or 9:30pm that night, after 2 ferry rides (Vancouver to Victoria and Victoria to Salt Spring). We spent a few days with one of my closest friends Alex, who is interning on an organic farm on the Island. It was so amazing getting to reunite with her after 3 months and get to see the new place she calls home.

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Our time on the Island was a breath of fresh air, and looking back, we wish we had spent way more time there. We got to experience market day, ate at the only vegan restaurant on the Island, checked out the new zero waste store, hit up all the shops in town and stood on top of the highest mountain on Salt Spring. The weekend literally flew by and before we knew it, we were back on the road.

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My heart was so full getting to reunite and spend time with this beautiful soul. Prior to her leaving for BC, we spent every weekend together going to wellness expos and ecstatic dance parties. The day she left is the same day that I met Josiah (talk about divine timing)

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Thank you Alex for an amazing weekend in your new home! We loved every second of it and cannot wait to get back to the Island. You were such a kind and generous host. We love you!

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We left Salt Spring Island and headed for Tofino. This meant getting on another ferry and driving for about 4 hours. The drive up to Tofino is straight up terrifying. The windy, narrow mountain roads gave me so much anxiety. Our day ended up being a total bust. The town and beaches were so spread out, the last surfing lesson was at 3:30pm and we missed that. The food options were slim. The vegan restaurant and organic market were closed because it was Monday. We decided to find a campsite, set up and then hit up the beach and enjoy what was left of our day. The campground was too hard for us to get our stakes in the ground, so we got a refund and decided to just drive another 4 hours and get on a ferry back to Vancouver. So we did just that. We got to the ferry terminal with over an hour to spare so we found a Thai restaurant and grabbed dinner while we waited.

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We got back to Vancouver late at night and had to find somewhere relatively cheap to spend the night. It ended up being another sketchy motel, so sketchy that the man working the front desk actually told us not to have anything visible at all in our vehicle because it would get broken into. So, I definitely did my little protection ritual once again because I did not trust the area or parking lot whatsoever. I didn’t even sleep that night because I was so uneasy with the area we were in and kept worrying about my poor car. Luckily, the car was fine and we got our asses out of their as fast as we could the next morning.

We headed to Eternal Abundance for breakfast before making our way to Squamish. Such a quaint little organic vegan market and cafe. I didn’t love the smoothie or waffles I ordered, they were good but not great. You win some, you lose some.

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Oh Squamish, I love and miss you every damn day. I did not know what to expect when we arrived in Squamish but it was breathtaking and hands down, one of my favourite places in British Columbia. We ended up at Alice Lake, where we rented stand up paddle boards and cruised around the lake. The next day, we went into town and checked out the shops. We found a vegan friendly cafe, where I had an amazing rice bowl with peanut sauce! Winning.

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Next stop: Whistler! I am not sure if it was the time of year we visited but it was way too touristy for me. I much prefer small towns and nature, and Whistler was just a little too busy for me. We did enjoy some time by the lake, walked around the farmers market and ate some yummy food. Next time around I would have made sure to get out and do some hiking, but since we were only there for a day and spent it with Josiah’s friends, we didn’t get to do much nature exploring.

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En route to Banff but had to stop at Joffre Lake because look how beautiful it is! We originally planned to drive straight from Whistler to Banff but we would have spend the entire day in the car. We decided to split up the drive and drive about 4 hours one day and the remaining 4 hours the following day. We ended up at a campground called Noah’s Ark just outside of Revelstoke, BC. I am so glad we did because it ended up being our last time camping on this trip since every single site in Banff was booked up for the long weekend (oops)

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Down the street from our campground was the Enchanted Mountain. It is this amazing fairy tale wonderland that makes your inner child so happy. I am so glad Josiah and I got up early to go check this place out.

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So grateful that we got to spend the day with Josiah’s cousin, exploring Lake Louise and Banff. We had dinner at Nourish Bistro, hit up all the tourist shops and ended our night at the hot springs. We crammed it quite a bit for the short amount of time we had there. As I previously mentioned, it was extremely busy and all the campsites had been booked for the long weekend. We got on the road just before midnight and started our journey home.

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The drive back home to Ontario felt like it lasted forever. The Prairies are flat as flat can be, quite the drastic change in landscape compared to the beautiful mountains we grew to love. Once you get to Northern Ontario, the night drives are pitch black and slightly terrifying. We even had a family of moose cross in front of our car in the middle of the night! Thank god for high beams.

Looking back, there are some things we would have done differently. In regards to the road trip part, we would not bring any fresh produce with us because it goes back quickly. Instead, we would stop at organic or natural grocery stores along the way, buy groceries and then find a rest stop where we could make our meals instead of having to hunt down somewhere to eat. We would pack less items as there were several things we brought that never got used and just took up space. We would also give ourselves more time and not put ourselves on such a strict schedule. This way we could plan to stop and camp in certain places, do some hikes and explore the different states or provinces. I would also set a budget next time, in order to refrain from frivolous spending. A larger vehicle would have also been a game changer for us because we were cooped up in a small Honda Civic the entire trip. Even with the few things I would tweak next time, I still loved every second of this trip. It was an experience of a lifetime. I have been wanting to see British Columbia for quite some time now and I am grateful that I got to experience that with my boyfriend and my sister.

Do you have any tips or tricks for road trips or travelling as a vegan?
I would love to hear what you have to say!

Love and Light,

blondeveagnhippie

My Spiritual Journey

Never in a million years did I think I would be the person I am today

I can’t stress enough how different I am today vs the person I was up until 3 and a half years ago. It still shocks me to this day just how much I have changed, how much I have grown and how much I have evolved in a few short years.

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I used to fill my body with junk food and booze, stay up all night partying with my friends, take hours upon hours to get my hair and makeup just right, and spend all my money on material items like shoes, purses and more clothes than I could ever possibly wear. I was as shallow and superficial as they come and cared more about how I looked to the outside world than I’d like to admit. I sought out validation wherever I could find that, whether that was in material objects or a relationship. I was so unhappy with who I was, so I was constantly trying to alter my physical appearance because I thought if I could fit into society’s standards of beauty, I would be happier with myself. I was that girl who wore the skin tight dress, a face full of caked on makeup and heels that felt like my own personal hell.

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I drank every weekend for as long as I could remember. Never for the taste, always for the buzz. I was a different person when I drank. All of a sudden, all my reservations disappeared and sometimes even my morals left too. It was easier to just be myself when I was drunk, because I was so uncomfortable with who I was when I was sober. I wasn’t proud of the person I was, I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin.

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I would lose myself in the guys that I dated, often compromising my own integrity. I would become this small, voiceless creature who allowed my boyfriends to yell at me, make me cry, call me horrible names and made me feel smaller than small. I would always tell myself things would get better or they would change. They didn’t. I was afraid to let go because I didn’t want to be alone. Even when I realized I deserved better, it was still hard for me to accept that I would find another person who would know me as well as my current boyfriend did. At the end of the day, I think I held on to our friendships more than I did our actual relationships. Either way, I hurt myself just as much as they did. I hurt myself by not valuing my self worth, by not standing up for myself and for being a doormat for so many years. This all circles back to the fact that I was looking for validation in all the wrong places. Who was then is not who I am today, and for that, I am grateful.

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I wasn’t religious even though I spent 14 years in Catholic schools. My mom came from a very religious Portuguese household and my dad was a self-proclaimed agnostic. Religion was not prominent in our household. We never went to church on Sundays, we didn’t pray before our meals and I don’t even think we owned a Bible. Coming from a home where religion wasn’t really a thing yet going to Catholic school for so many years was a strange existence. I don’t know when I stopped believing in God, probably when I hit 12 years old, but eventually after so many years of having one religion shoved down my throat, it left a sour taste in my mouth. At school, we recited countless prayers throughout the day, attended masses at the local church, had to occasionally confess our sins to a priest, participated in giving up something (i.e., soda, chocolate, television) for 40 days during Lent and took regular religion classes.

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It wasn’t until I went vegan that everything in my life shifted, as I previously mentioned here. I felt a shift in my soul when I decided to no longer participate in the harming of animals. I always knew it was wrong, on an ethical level, but my actions never aligned with my soul beliefs. The floodgates opened and all sorts of changes started manifesting in my life. I felt lighter and my soul finally felt at peace. I embraced an organic, cruelty free, non toxic lifestyle and it paved the way for my own spiritual practice. I don’t even know how it really, truly started. I remember suddenly understanding that we are all One and that the Universe is always looking out for us. I began to appreciate Mother Nature and all that she had to offer. I watched The Secret and learned about abundance and the power of manifestation and visualization. I went and saw different psychic mediums and allowed Spirit to convey messages. I started reading about the healing powers of crystals and began my own crystal collection. I researched earth-based religions and learned about their belief system. I paid for a subscription from Gaia, which houses endless documentaries related to health, longevity, science, spirituality and more. I started practicing yoga and mindfulness.

Everything started to fall into place

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I was uncovering so much about the person I was becoming. I was developing my own belief system, finding what worked best for me. The problem was, no one in my circle was really going through the same thing. Yes, they were vegan, not religious but spiritual and believed in the Universe, but we weren’t on the same level. I was focused on going deeper and deeper, learning as much as I can and applying what was relevant to my daily life. Then I met Jen. We met via Instagram because we were both vegan, but after we started talking we realized just how similar we were as individuals and how much we had in common, besides veganism. I finally had someone I could talk to about all things spiritual, someone who completely understood where I was coming from and never once thought what I was saying was ridiculous. Jen has been a huge factor in my spiritual journey. She was always quick to recommend books, documentaries or products she thought I might like. She always had the answer to any spiritual question I could come up with. I’ve learned and continue to learn so much from her, every time I speak to or visit her. She is an overflowing wealth of knowledge and I am quick to soak up all that she has to offer. It has been so rewarding having Jen as a best friend and soul sister; someone who understands me on my soul level, someone who shares the sames value and beliefs, someone who I can talk to openly without any judgement, someone who always reminds me to let go of what is no longer serving me and to trust in the divine power of the Universe, someone who is pure magic in her own soul. I am blessed that our paths crossed. So much of who I’ve become is because of who she is and the friend she has been over the past 2 years.

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Today, I am deeply rooted in who I am, what I believe in and how I choose to live my life. I choose to live my life as purely and simply as I can. I’ve learned to trust in the Universe, and what I put out is what I shall receive. I’ve learned to be careful with who I invest my energy into because not everyone is good for my soul. I’ve learned that every person comes into your life to teach you great lessons. I’ve learned that detaching from societal norms and standards is so incredibly freeing. I’ve learned that eating a high vibrational diet makes you feel lighter, happier, healthier and more in tune with the Universe. I’ve learned that the phases of the moon and alignment of the planets play a role in our behaviours. I’ve learned the importance of getting outside, unplugging and spending time in nature. I’ve learned that experiences are much more gratifying than material possessions. I’ve learned to turn off the television because it is filled with mind numbing programs. I’ve learned that the Universe always gives you what you need, not necessarily what you want.

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I believe in the power of the Universe. I believe in the power of thought. I believe in the healing powers of crystals and reiki. I believe in honouring the cycles of our Mother. I believe in synchronicity. I believe in smudging as a form to release negative energies. I believe in the sacred power of sisterhood. I believe in yoga and meditation. I believe in cleansing old and stagnant energies. I believe in plant medicine. I believe in aromatherapy. I believe in guidance from the angels. I believe in oracle cards. I believe in the philosophy behind earth-based religions. I believe in protecting yourself against EMFs. I believe in an organic diet. I believe in extra-terrestrial beings. I believe that magic is alive and well. I believe in reincarnation. I believe in naturally honouring your body during your moon cycle. I believe in fate. I believe in soulmates. I believe that Love is the answer. I believe in Oneness. I believe that everything happens for a reason, whether you understand the reasoning or not. I believe that God, Source Energy, the Universe, whatever you want to call it, is not a man in the sky, but instead, everything around and within us.

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So there you have it
The story of how I came to be the person I am today

Love and Light,
blondeveganhippie

Let That Shit Go

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I feel like I’ve been struggling with friendships ever since I was a teenager. I seem always find myself in a place where I am dumbfounded with how a certain friendship unfolded, because they always started out so great. When I was in high school, I struggled a lot with friends. I kept finding that people didn’t seem to value our friendships in the same way I did. I have found that girls are very quick to act one way to your face and another behind your back, and that never sat well with me. If you aren’t going to be loyal, you might as well be honest.

It seems like every year, when I feel confident in my circle of friends, something happens and the Universe starts to weed out the ones who are no longer serving my higher purpose. It used to really upset me when a friendship would end because suddenly all of the time and energy put into that friendship feels as though it was a waste. It’s never a waste though. Everything happens for a reason and there is a lesson to be learned from every difficult situation. The deeper I get into my spiritual practice, the more I surrender to the Universe and trust that everything I go through will only make me that much wiser, teaching me powerful life lessons.

Friends come and go

This year has been eye opening in more ways than I can count. I have learned many life lessons from the people who have come and gone from my life. I have learned that every ending is really just a new beginning. Once we accept the ebb and flow of life, it is easier to understand that the Universe always has a plan for us, whether we like what is going on or not. I’ve lost friends I never thought. Friends I thought I would grow old with. Shit happens. It’s all how we deal with it, learn from it and grow from it that really matters.

Even though I’ve had friends I absolutely adored walk out of my life, it didn’t deter me from opening up to new people and making room for those who are in alignment with who I am. I pride myself on being a friendly person, someone who always goes out of her way for others. For some reason, that makes some people uncomfortable but hey, that’s their problem not mine 😉 Not everyone is going to appreciate what you have to offer and that’s okay.

You keep shining your light baby girl. Don’t let anyone dull your sparkle.

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I’m grateful for all the friends who have come and gone, because they taught me a lot about myself and friendships. I’ve learned a lot about the type of people I want to associate myself with, and the type of people I don’t. I’ve learned that opening up to people gives them the opportunity to hurt you and sometimes they will. Forgive those people. Appreciate what they gave you and move on.

“You know what strength is?
Forgiving a person who wasn’t even sorry”

Even though I’ve had my fair share of friendships blow up in my face, I’ve also been fortunate enough to experience great sisterhood. Like I said, every ending is simply a new beginning. When one friendship ends, it makes room for one even greater. I am eternally grateful for all the magical women who make up my girl gang. They feed my soul on such a deep level. They inspire me, support me, lift me up and keep me grounded. They are radiant beams of light and I am lucky to know, grow and evolve with them. Never take for granted the people who show up for you every damn day and love you unconditionally, despite your flaws. Those are the people worth having around. They are your soul family.
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Choose them wisely

Cut cords of friendships that are no longer serving you
Don’t force something that is no longer there

LET THAT SHIT GO!

Love and Light,
blondeveganhippie

How I Manifested My Soulmate

“When it is time for two souls to meet
There is nothing on earth that can prevent them from meeting
No matter where each may be located”

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On April 23rd, 2016 the Universe gifted me the man of my dreams

Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamed about my future husband, our wedding and the tribe of children we would have together. I am a sucker for love. I think it’s why I stayed longer than I should have with my exes, because I so badly wanted my childhood visions to pan out. I was trying to make my prior relationships fit where they were not meant to fit.

Both my prior relationships became toxic, in different ways, still I stayed and tried to make things work. I was afraid of being alone and afraid that if we broke up, I would never meet someone who understood me the way they did. Sad, but true. I believed this even though I knew these relationships had become unhealthy and that I would not be happy had we made it to the alter.

It wasn’t until a week before my last relationship ended that I told myself enough is enough. I was tired of constantly fighting, being put down, and being made to feel that I wasn’t enough. I finally accepted the fact that what I was doing was self sabotage. I was never going to get what I knew I deserved by staying in relationships that had clearly run their course. This is when I decided to create my Soulmate Checklist.

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I took out my notebook and started making lists. I made lists about how I wanted to feel in a relationship (i.e., loved, appreciated), the qualities I wanted in a future partner (i.e., down to earth, honest) and who this person would be (i.e., long hair, beard, tattoos, practices yoga). I made these lists as detailed as I possibly could, because I knew once I put it out into the Universe, this person would find their way into my life when we were both ready. A week later, my current boyfriend and I broke up.

I didn’t know when my soulmate would show up but I trusted in the power of the Universe and the synchronicity of life. I began talking about my soulmate as though he already existed (he did, I just didn’t know exactly who he was). I would describe what he looked like; he was taller than me, with dark long hair, a beard and tattoos. I would talk about the kind of person he was; a down to earth free spirited yogi with a big heart. I knew in my soul that he would be older than me and that he would have a J name. Every night when I got into bed, I would visualize what it would be like to be in a relationship with this person. I would feel what it felt like being with him. I saw us going on road trips, making meals together and dancing around the house. I believed with every fiber of my being that this human was out there and it knew it would be the greatest love I’ve ever experienced. IMG_2232

I had a few friends suggest that I download Tinder but I had strong reservations. This was my first time being single in 7 years! Which meant it was also my first time being single as an adult. It was scary and intimidating. But I sucked it up and made an account anyways. I figured it would be a good way to get out there and meet new people, and get comfortable with dating in today’s day and age. I decided to just go with the flow and made no expectations about the outcome.

I believe I had been on the dating app for less than 48 hours when I came across Josiah’s profile. He had long hair, a beard a photo of him doing yoga and his bio said “Adventure and vibe?” with a bunch of emojis. I immediately swiped right. Once we had been matched, I decided to shoot him a message. I’m almost positive I said something along the lines of “Always down for adventures and good vibes” or something lame like that 😉 He didn’t respond until the next day. I couldn’t even tell you what he said back to me, all I remember is how effortlessly our first conversation went. We connected right away, as if we had known each other before. After some back and forth chatting on the app, we exchanged phone numbers and upgraded to texting. I have so many screen shots from that conversation because I couldn’t believe a man like him existed. I couldn’t believe everything I had been manifesting was coming to light! During our conversation, we realized how similar we were and how many coincidences existed between us. We learned that we had a mutal friend in common, grew up 5 minutes apart from each other, he went to the high school down the street from where I used to live and we both studied Early Childhood Education. All things little coincidences were blowing my mind. Synchronicity at its finest.

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“I just want to come give you a hug and say thanks for existing”

We texted back and forth for 4 hours before Josiah asked me if I was free to hang out later that same day. Turns out, it was my first free day in over a month. I had been filling up my weekends with expos and events, leaving no wiggle room, yet this exact day I had no plans except to sit on my couch in sweats.

He picked me up an hour later, in the exact same car I drive. A black Honda Civic. What are the odds!? Synchronicity. He had a bunch of stickers on his sunroof; one of a VW van that said “Pura Vida” and another that said “Om Shanti, Shanti Om” by Spiritual Gangster, to name a few. He also had wooden beads hanging from his rear view mirror. That’s when I realized, he was me, but in a male form. I remember half way through our first “date”, looking at him while we were in the middle of talking about documentaries and conspiracies, and thinking “He is the one. I am going to marry this guy.” We spent a few hours together before he dropped me back off at home, where we continued texting until 2 in the morning. We were so blown away by how natural and easy it was hanging out for the first time and how much we shared in common.

IMG_1115After dating for a few weeks, I mentioned that I had a Soulmate Checklist and that I had recently gone over it since we met, and started checking things off the list. I explained to him that I was blown away by just how many things I was able to check off. He asked to see the list and was convinced I had written it after we started dating, because every single quality, attribute or interest that I had written down, he possessed. I distinctly remember him turning to me after reading the list and saying, “Wow. You really did ask the Universe for me.” Divine timing.

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.

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ASK
BELIEVE
RECEIVE

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“Guys like you only existed in my imagination,
I’ve been working hard to manifest one into physical existence,
And here you are”

On April 23rd, 2016 the Universe gifted me the man of my dreams

He loves me exactly how I deserve to be loved, and I do the same.
He treats me like a Queen, and I treat him like a King.
He calls me out on my shit and I call him out on his.
He is everything I have ever wanted
He is everything I asked the Universe for, and more
He is the mate my soul has been longing for

Love and Light,
blondeveganhippie

Why Vegan?

For the animals
For the people
For the planet

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Once you recognize that all animals are sentient beings and have their own personalities, it’s hard to turn a blind eye to the suffering we as humans inflict on them for our own personal use. We exploit, torture and murder countless animals every year for food, clothing, entertainment and experimentation purposes. It breaks my heart to see how strong the cognitive dissonance is in our society and how easily we can put blinders up because we don’t want to be faced with the ugly reality of our choices and lifestyles.

ANIMAL CRUELTY

Did you know…
– More than 9 billion LAND animals die each year, in the United States alone, in order to produce the meat, dairy and eggs we consume
– Globally, more than 6 billion animals die each hour
– Over 20,000 chickens are cramped in warehouse like buildings
– 260 million male chicks are killed (ground alive or suffocated in plastic bags) each year upon hatching because they will never lay eggs
– Majority of egg-laying hens will spend their lives in battery cages
– Between the ages of 6 and 12 months, cattle are moved to feedlots where they are fattened up prior to  being slaughtered
– Over 24 million pounds of antibiotics are administered to livestock each year (this means that every time you consume an animal you are also consuming all the antibiotics injected in them)
– In the dairy industry, cows are continuously impregnated via artificial insemination in order to maintain their milk production
– Newborns calves are immediately removed from their mothers to prevent a drop in milk production in their mother
– Male calves are raised and slaughtered for beef
– Some of the male calves are chained up in wooden crates for 16 weeks and slaughtered for veal
– Pigs are kept in cramped gestation crates, which does not allow them to turn around
– After approximately 3 or 4 years, these pigs are sold for slaughter
– Commercial fisheries kill hundreds of billions aquatic animals every single year
– 90% of our large fish populations have been exterminated due to over-fishing
– Over 30% of the fish and other various aquatic animals that are consumed each year are being raised in “aquafarms” aka fish slaughter plants
– Fish are fully conscious and begin suffocating as they enter the slaughter assembly line

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Did you know…
– Over 400 different types of gasses are generated by factory farm livestock
– Animal agriculture is responsible for 18% of the greenhouse gas emissions (that is more than all the exhaust combined from all modes of transportation)
– Emissions from agriculture are expected to reach 80% by 2050
– Cows produce 150 billion gallons of methane PER DAY!
– Animal agriculture water consumption is between 35-75 trillion annually
– Animal agriculture is responsible for 80-90% of water consumption in the U.S. alone
– 2500 gallons of water is required to produce 1 pound of beef
– 477 gallons of water is required to produce 1 lb of eggs
– Almost 900 gallons of water is required to produce 1 lb of cheese
– 1000 gallons of water is required to produce 1 gallon of milk
– Animal agriculture is responsible for 20-30% of all fresh water consumption in the world
– Livestock covers 45% of the earth’s total land
– Animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, water pollution, ocean dead zones and habitat destruction
– Each cow require 2-5 acres of land
– A farm with 2500 cows produces the exact same amount of waste as a city of 410,000 people
– 3/4 of the world’s fisheries have been exploited or depleted
– It is extremely possible to see fish-less oceans by 2048
– For every 1 pound of fish caught, 5 pounds of unintended marine species are caught and then discarded as by-kill
– Animal agriculture is responsible for over 90% of amazon destruction
– 26 million of rain forest acres have been cleared for the production of palm oil
– We are currently growing enough food to feed 10 billion people, yet those crops are being fed to animals that are then slaughtered
– 1.5 acres of land can produce 37,000 pounds of plant-based food
– 1.5 acres of land only produces 375 pounds of meat!

Every day, a person who follows a vegan diet will save 1100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30 square feet of forested land, 20 square feet of CO2 equivalent, and 1 animal’s life

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HEALTH BENEFITS

Eating a healthy vegan diet has been shown to prevent a number of diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, various cancers (such as colon, prostate and breast), arthritis and osteoporosis. By eliminating animal products from your diet, you also eliminate all dietary cholesterol from your diet. This is something your heart and health will thank you for!

Did you know that approximately 75% of the world’s population is lactose intolerant!? People often suffer from undiagnosed milk allergies or sensitivities because of the high consumption of dairy products in today’s society. Cutting out dairy all together will greatly improve your overall health and well-being.

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There are also many amazing physical benefits associated with eating a healthful vegan diet as well, such as weight loss, increase in energy, longer lifespan, healthier skin (veganism cleared up my acne), alleviation of allergy problems, stronger nails and hair and less intense PMS symptoms.

I was surprised by how positively my body reacted when I decided to go vegan. Within a week of cutting out all animal/animal by-products my skin instantly cleared up. All my pimples disappeared and I no longer felt the need to hide my skin under layers of makeup. My body felt lighter, my mind felt clearer and my energy levels definitely peaked. I can’t tell you how many times people would tell me that I was glowing or how great my skin looked. That was life changing for me because no one ever complimented me on my skin prior to going vegan.

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SO…WHY VEGAN?

For my overall health, wellness and vibrancy
For all the sentient beings that are slaughtered every single minute
For the well-being of this beautiful planet

 Love and Light,
blondeveganhippie

Organic Gardening

I never used to think of myself as the type of girl who would be willing to get dirty and plant her own garden, yet here I am, the girl who gets excited to wake up each morning and check on her plants to see how they are growing.

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My boyfriend and I often talk about getting back to basics. By this, we mean going off-grid, growing and harvesting our own food, making things (food items and products alike) from scratch, etc. Our first step in this process was learning how to garden. So this Spring we decided to clear out the untamed garden in his backyard and plant our very first organic garden! It took a lot more work than I anticipated to clear out the pre-existing garden but it was definitely worth it. After yanking out all the overgrown plants and weeds, we turned the soil that was already there prior to laying out brand new organic triple mix.

BEFORE

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Once the garden had been tamed, we sat down and made a list of all the herbs, veggies and fruits we wanted to grow this year. Through our research we learned about square foot gardening and companion planting. This is where the fun (and not so fun) began. We calculated how many square feet our garden would and how many of one plant could be grown in each square foot. I was in charge of figuring out what plants grew well together and which ones didn’t. It was a little overwhelming at first but once I got the hang of it, it was a breeze. After all the information was compiled, my amazing boyfriend put all of our information into an extremely detailed spreadsheet that outlined each garden bed, where each plant was going to be planted and how many seeds or plants were required per square foot.

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I told you he was amazing! Colour coded and everything.

After all the planning and organizing, we were finally ready to get our plants and seeds in the ground! I distinctly remember how happy and proud I was after planting our very first plant. We dedicated two different plots to our vegetables and greens, one to fruit, another for our herbs, a fairy garden and one for flowers (which sadly we did not end up doing, but hey, there’s always next year!) It was such an amazing feeling to see all of our hard work come to life, right in front of our eyes.

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It’s been about a month and a half since we planted our garden and it is amazing to see how quickly the plants have been growing! We harvested some kale and lettuce the other day and made a giant salad, which was extremely rewarding. Sometimes I am in disbelief that we actually managed to grow and maintain a garden, and other days it feels like the most natural thing on this planet.

AFTER

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WHY ORGANIC?

If you know me, you know how important an organic diet and lifestyle is to me. I don’t agree with all the chemicals that are sprayed on and injected into conventional crops because I believe all those toxins are extremely harmful to both our bodies and our environment. I don’t view myself or my body as a science experiment, which is why I refuse to consume genetically modified foods. The decision to grow an organic garden was a no brainier for us. We wanted to grow chemical free food that did not have its genetic make up unnaturally altered. After all, you are what you eat.

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~ I promise you, we are wearing clothes even though this photo is deceiving 😉 ~

Stayed tuned for updated garden posts to see how our plant babies are doing!

Love and Light,
blondeveganhippie