Falling for Fall

Ahhhh – fall! This is literally my favorite time of year! (Yes, I am aware that fall doesn’t officially begin for another couple of weeks – DO NOT KILL MY VIBE) The last few days have been cloudy skies and 65-70 degrees, and you can bet your thigh-high boots that I’ve worn cardigans and fall colors <and black> every single day. I don’t know what it is about this season that gets me right in my feelings, but something always does! The crisp air and the smelly-good candles and the coziness – mmmm, I cannot get enough!

I think one of my favorite things about this season is CHANGE. If you’ve been following me for very long at all, you probably know that I am a sucker for change, in a good way. I’m always changing my hair color or my cover photo on Facebook, or something. It still takes me a minute to adapt to huge life changes, but the I absolutely thrive with smaller changes. In the fall, the temperature drops and the leaves on the trees change their colors from bright green to beautiful copper-oranges and deep reds. I make a point to change my bed sheets to flannels as soon as I get the chance, because who doesn’t love cozy flannel sheets? And the clothes, oh god… The selection of apparel that becomes available in the fall seriously GIVES ME LIFE. I am a fashion-whore – if you don’t believe me, peep the number of #OOTD posts on my Instagram. Boots and plaids and layers are everything.

Another relevant change that occurs during the fall is my perspective – I seem to have a change in mindset every year during this time. I go from looking forward to the adventures of the coming year to reflecting on good memories and lessons learned during the course of the year that has passed. Often times, I feel like I’m hardly staying above water, but when I really take the opportunity to look back at the things I’ve accomplished during the year, I usually can’t help feeling a little proud – not in the way of “pride,” but more so in the way of gratefulness for the experiences I’ve had and the things I’ve taken from them.

I’ve had the opportunity to meet some truly amazing people this year and make a few genuinely incredible friendships. In the same hand, I’ve burned a few bridges and used the fire as a light to further my journey. I’ve been on some great adventures, from Eureka Springs with a girl I hardly knew (who just so happened to end up as one of my soul sisters) to Florida with my family – I can’t say I enjoyed every minute of it all, but I’m thankful for the precious time spent with precious people. I also made some very serious life changes, like going vegan and coming completely out of the broom closet (#wakethewitches) We’re nine months into 2018, and I have no regrets just yet.

I still don’t have it all figured out – what I want to do with my life or who I want to be – but I’m getting there. We all are. No matter how far along any of us are on our own unique journeys, we still have things to learn and room to grow. That’s the beauty of it though, ya know?

Thanks so much, y’all, for your support and love and for following me along this crazy, beautiful journey. I love you all.

XO

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Sunday Evening Tarot

Hello friends, and Happy Sunday evening to you! Today has been so rainy and dreary…the perfect day to STAY IN BED, and that’s what I did for the majority of my day. I did get out to pick up my sister-wife (inside joke) from work. We stopped by a local organic – Asian food market on the way home, and I picked up a few things including some delicious coconut juice. I learned about this creation from said sister-wife, and I was like huh? Coconut juice? So like…..coconut water? No? Okay, so like…..coconut milk? Yeah, not that either. It’s literally roasted coconut juice, water, pulp, and sugar, and it is the freaking most incredible creation that’s met my taste buds since coffee. Basically I’m an addict now, so if you haven’t tried it, I’ll link it below.

Anyway, so I’ve been wanting to post a “blog” for quite awhile now, but I’ve been sort of lost, I guess? I’ve been active on social media, and I’ve posted a few things about fashion and food on the website, but nothing super heart-felt.  I’ve been disconnected for quite some time, like spiritually. I haven’t been active in my craft. I haven’t celebrated the last two lunar cycles, and I basically completely overlooked Lammas, even though fall is my FAVORITE season. I’ve done a little decorating for fall & Halloween, but that’s about it. I guess my plate has been a little full lately <My sister-wife and her sweet son moved in with us recently, so there’s been double the child-noise, on-the-go, cooking, cleaning, etc.> but I realize the importance of taking time for self and for Spirit. That’s why I’ll be unwinding with a bath after this post 🙂

Over the past few days, I’ve felt like my soul has been reaching out and trying to get my attention – like I needed to do something or know something or feel something that I had just been ignoring. Finally today, while relaxing in bed and spending some “me-time,” I decided that I would do a few breathing exercises and pull tarot tonight, in hopes of receiving a little guidance and grounding. After dinner, Cyan bathed and decompressed with his favorite show, and I did some breathing and pulled three cards from my Rider-Waite deck – in this order: Page of Pentacles, Eight of Wands, Five of Cups.

While focusing on my breathing, I put some thought into my current place in life and where I see myself (or would like to see myself) in the near future. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job. I love my residents and <most of> my coworkers, I love being able to help people, I love having the opportunity to love on those who may be feeling lonely–I love being a part of something so much bigger and so much more important than me. My passion expands far beyond the walls of my facility, though, and I know that I will either continue filling my current plate, or I will get a new plate in time. I’ve recently been more consistent in modeling, which I love, and it would make me SO HAPPY to do more of that. I’ve also been in contact with a few brands about products to review, so that’s exciting, too! Really though, I just want my blog to take off and eventually I can use any extra income to fund my dreams of opening an animal sanctuary and rescue. I literally see animals in need of help and love and a home every single day, and my heart is soooo big enough, but my home is not. That breaks me – I want to love the animals and clean the planet and save the world, and I wish I could do everything at once. I’m reminded, though, that I’m only human and that good things take time.

Back to my card pull –

So I’m using Danielle Noel’s book, The Book of Tarot – A Guide For Modern Mystics, as a guidebook for this reading. After I pulled my three cards, I flipped to the pages that coordinated with the cards I pulled, and I have to say that I was relatively pleased with what my cards had to say.

1 – Page of Pentacles : Danielle’s book refers to this card as the Page of Crystals, which I thought was pretty cool and interesting. The message says, “Your ideas and plans are headed in the right direction, so it’s important to maintain a focus on your goals and aspirations. Now is the time to make concrete plans and to take action. The transition phase between dreams and reality. Expansion. Good news.”

Reading this, after all the thought I’ve been putting into about my future, was honestly so relieving. Obviously I’m still going to keep obsessing, but it’s nice to know that I’m on the right track. I know that making these dreams come true will not happen without work – that means <lucky for y’all!> being way more consistent with my blog posts! 😉

2 – Eight of Wands : Danielle’s message in relation to this card said, “The Eight of Wands is a card of swift action, transition, and positive news. Here is a creative force that requires your personal resolve and attention, perhaps with regard to new opportunities that are coming your way. This is the kind of energy that lights a fire beneath you, forcing you to get up and make things happen!”

Talk about additional reassurance + a swift kick to the pants! This message brought to me a more positive outlook beyond the overwhelming thoughts and emotions I’ve been experiencing lately, and it reminded me to FOCUS on the things that are truly important and will lead to success in my future ventures.

3. Five of Cups : Noel’s book had this to say about this card – “The Five of Cups reflects the deep energies of change that emerge through instability or loss and may indicate a time of grief or stress as you struggle to see a way forward. Perhaps you are unable to identify the potential opportunities or support systems that surround you at this time, which in turn may trigger negativity as you lose sight of the positive blessings in your life. This may also have to do with unresolved issues from your past that may be affecting your emotional and spiritual health. Know that a positive resolution is highly possible, but it will depend on you focus your energy and thoughts.”

Like, HELLO?! This was my literal feeling when I sat down to pull cards in the first place – emotionally unstable, overwhelmed, etc. The Five of Cups just assured me that my feelings are valid and reassured that the path I’m walking is not the end of the road, if I focus my sights on doing what’s right and good for others, for myself, and for future me. I feel like that can be true for all of us though – we are all going through something. For some of you, it may be starting back to school, or sending kiddo to school for the first time. You may be struggling with depression or unhappiness in a current relationship. Whatever the bridge you’re crossing, remember to keep your focus and your faith, because there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Thank you guys so much for taking time to read my post! I’ve linked this delicious coconut juice right here –> FOCO Roasted Coconut Juice I hope you have a chance to try it, and if you do, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

Love & light!

XO

Simple Southern Quinoa – VEGAN

If you’re a new vegan (or looking to become vegan) it can be a little overwhelming! I get messages ALL THE TIME from friends looking for advice and ideas on how to start their vegan journey. When I first decided to take the leap, I was concerned about convenience (or lack there of) because I don’t love cooking all the time. Thankfully though, I’ve had an opportunity to try out quite a few easy vegan recipes, and I wanted to share one of my favorites with y’all!

Mexican dishes are an all time favorite of mine, so anything vegan w Mexican flavor is right up my alley!

Ingredients

  • Quinoa (and water to cook)
  • Canned corn, drained
  • Tomatoes – fresh or diced in can
  • Black beans
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Lime or lime juice
  • Jalapenos (or not, if you don’t enjoy spicy!)
  • Spices – Chili powder, black pepper, salt, garlic powder, cayenne pepper
  • Avocado

Instructions

  1. In a saucepan, add water, quinoa, and tomatoes. When liquid starts boiling, reduce heat to simmer until quinoa is done.
  2. Stir in corn, black beans, lime juice, spices, and fresh cilantro.
  3. Serve with sliced avocado & enjoy 🙂

If you make a large batch, you can stick it in the fridge for 3-4 days and serve either warm or cold!

I hope y’all enjoy this super easy + super delicious recipe like I do!

XO

 

 

 

Animal Testing – it will never be worth it to me.

Good day, y’all, and Happy Thursday! (Obv it’s Sunday, but I started this post on Thursday and just never finished it, so….it counts.) This post has been on my heart all week– honestly, even longer than that. Many of you know that I recently became vegan, not for my own motives, but because of the love I have for animals. I couldn’t be passionate about beautiful creatures, then justify consuming or using products made of them any longer. Lately, I’ve had a focus on cruelty-free & vegan skin care and cosmetic products. I recently purchased a few products that fit the description (find out more about them here!) and also had my eyes opened to many companies that I thought were cruelty free, but really are not. I feel almost obligated to share this information, as it has potential to make you think twice about the companies you’re supporting and the cruelty that goes on behind closed doors.

Here is a short list of companies that surprised me – they may be cruelty-free on American soil, but these companies PAY for testing on animals, just so they can sell their products in the China market. Money over morals? The following are brands that I refuse to support any longer –

Estee Lauder
AVON 
Clinique
Maybelline
Mary Kay
NARS
OPI
Boscia
Bobbi Brown
La Mer
Victoria’s Secret
GLAM GLOW 
Clarins
Origins
Make Up Forever
Elizabeth Arden
Benefit
Algenist
Almay / Revlon
Burberry
Aussie
Axe
Caudelie
Dr. Brandt
Dr. Jart
Dior
Dolce and Gabbana
Coppertone
Clarisonic

Y’all, this doesn’t even make a dent in the list.. I am ashamed and disgusted that I have worn a cloak over my eyes for so long, buying “popular” products that could make my skin look beautiful and what have you. How can something be so great for me but cause harm to the creatures I love? The answer – IT CANNOT. If it harms the animals, it is not for me. Knowledge is power, right? Empower yourself by looking over the full list of companies that are pro-animal testing here. 

I never intended to become one of those veggie-thumping, preachy vegans, but I truly believe that if people were more aware of the processes and the harm that is caused to make products that we use every single day without a second thought, maybe they would be more accountable for their actions – their waste – their footprints – our future. The choice is yours ❤

Follow me on social media!
Instagram – @calynb_xo

XO

Avocado Pudding

Okay, so avocado and pudding are not two words I would have put together until recently. This vegan adventure has been exactly that – an adventure! I love trying new things, so I’m having lots of fun with new vegan recipes and creations in the kitchen! This one is so simple, having only THREE ingredients, and absolutely delicious!

Ingredients

Avocado (2, ripe)
2 cups of coconut milk
4 tsp of Agave nectar

Instructions

Peel avocado and remove seed from center – place in blender.

Measure 2 cups of coconut milk and pour into blender.

Add 4 tsp of Agave nectar to blender & blend — I literally just pushed all the buttons because I don’t know how to properly use a blender, lolol

Empty portions into dish & place in fridge to chill.

After chilled, remove from fridge and add desired toppings.

Fall in love with this delicious, healthy snack! ❤

I added spirulina & flax seed to mine in the photo above! You can also add cacao nibs or coconut shavings for added sweetness!

If you decide to try this super simple & super yummy creation, please let me know what you think!

XO

Simple Vegan Beauty

Hi, friends! If you’ve been following me on social media (IG – @calynb_xo) then you probably already know that recently I adopted a vegan diet! That’s right, I gave up eggs and dairy products, along with the fish/shellfish that I had been consuming over the last few months as a pescatarian. Can I tell you that minus my body’s detox, I feel amazing? I have so much more energy and it’s easier for me to wake up in the morning. I’m feeling a little thinner, too, which is exciting! Anyway, I’ve always been vigilant about purchasing cruelty-free beauty and skin care products, but I’m taking it a step further and looking for vegan, cruelty-free products! After all, what I put on my skin is just as important as what I put in my body, right? Ulta just so happens to be on my way home, so I stopped in yesterday and picked up a few new products that fit the description. Let me just tell you – I am not disappointed with my choices, friends!

 

Too Faced Hangover Face Primer – bareMinerals Original Foundation Powder
bareMinerals Gen Nude Copper Eyeshadow Palette – Pacifica Dream Big Volumizing Mascara

After my moisturizer, (I’m currently using Boscia Cactus Water Moisturizer) the first thing applied was the Too Faced Hangover Primer! Infused with coconut water, it left my skin smelling incredible, feeling hydrated, and ready for foundation!

Now, I have never thought of myself to have “great skin.” I have uneven tone and texture, freckles on my cheeks and around my eyes, and the occasional blemish that I can’t keep my hands off of. Needless to say, liquid foundation followed by setting powder has been my go-to for a great while. I wasn’t super confident that bareMinerals powder foundation would provide the coverage I wanted, but I decided to give it a try. Y’all…..I freaking love it. I am a believer in this stuff now! My skin looked even and smooth, but still natural. Does that make sense? It wasn’t dry or cakey, but it covered up the imperfections while allowing my skin to breathe. Obviously I’m late to hop on the bandwagon, but I officially love bareMinerals powder.

Next, I created a simple eye look with the bareMinerals Gen Nude Copper eyeshadow palette. There are four palettes in the Gen Nude collection – Copper, Rose, Neutral, & Latte. I really liked all of them, but decided to go with the Copper because of the color Gypsy. I used Truth as my lid color today, while applying Wild Child on my upper and lower lash lines and dabbing Bonfire in the center of my lids for a pop of shimmer.

Finally, I applied the Pacifica Dream Big mascara to my upper and lower lashes. Something unique about this mascara is the adjustable wand! You turn the handle of the wand one direction to stretch out the bristles, allowing you to cover each lash, and then the other way to bunch the bristles out and create volume! My lashes looked great, if you ask me!

I am so happy with my mini-haul of vegan beauty finds! Do you have any favorite vegan beauty or skin care products I should try? Leave me a comment below & let me know!

XO

Life Update – June 24, 2018

Helloooo, friends ❤ I hope you all have had a fantastic, relaxing, and maybe productive weekend. I just finished some grocery shopping and made some homemade vegan salad dressing (recipe linked here!) I have to say, I’m not ready for Monday yet. I could use another couple of days to recoup. A few weekends ago, I found myself feeling sort of sickly on a Sunday, which lead into almost-death (okay, I’m exaggerating) come Monday. I don’t get sick often, y’all, but when I do, I get sick. I still don’t think I’ve fully recovered – I’ve continued to battle draining sinuses, late night coughing, and the occasional fever. I’m not sure if I just can’t kick a cold, or if it’s a side effect of my latest lifestyle change….

As y’all may know, I was a pescatarian for about four months. For those unfamiliar with pescatarianism, it means that my diet was meat-free with the exception of fish and shellfish. It was something that my moral compass lead me to do, because I can’t look into the eyes of a cow or a pig, and then feel right consuming one later. It made my heart hurt, so I made a lifestyle change. Recently, I started feeling like pescatarianism wasn’t exactly where I needed to be either. I justified it for awhile by convincing myself that fish weren’t aware of being sliced and diced, but were instead just happily confused and painlessly killed. Then I read an article that told me otherwise – that fish could feel pain. That made  me feel pain in my heart, knowing that I was making excuses to allow myself comfort. I decided enough was enough. I recognized my “why.” I felt it deep in my bones. Then, I decided on veganism.

Can I tell you that I’ve been eating strictly vegan for a week and I feel terrible? Only physically though – morally, mentally, I feel fantastic. I have no more guilt, but an abundance of love for all creatures. My body feels a little weak though, and I still feel like I’m battling a cold. From the research I’ve done, I’ve learned that these symptoms are pretty normal when cutting out dairy products after you’ve been used to them for so long. It will pass though, and I will be so glad when it does! I don’t feel tired at all, which is awesome. I just have some achy muscles, a stuffy nose, and a sore throat. I will gladly deal with these side effects that are only uncomfortable than contribute to inhumane treatment and slaughter of innocent animals. I’m a little passionate, if you can’t tell..

I just finished my first fully vegan shopping trip, and it was more exciting than I expected. LOL. I did most of my shopping at Aldi, and made it out with a cart full for $70! That included a few non-vegan items for John & Cy, too! I also picked up some vegan cheese at Natural Grocers, as well as some seaweed snacks at the request of Cyan. Apparently he’s had seaweed before and loves it! I almost didn’t believe him, as he doesn’t like mac n cheese every other day, along with many other things. We opened a package in the car though, and he was so happy with it. Kids are super weird, ya know? But I tried some, and surprisingly, it was delicious. I will definitely be purchasing again.

Besides a new diet/lifestyle, there’s not a whole lot that’s different in my neck of the woods. I still make wayyyy too many trips to TJ Maxx – no surprise there. OH – here’s something! I currently in the middle of my first foster placement! Last Sunday, I picked up a little Corgi-Australian Shepard mix, who I named Roscoe Dash! He and a few others had been dumped  near someone’s house, so when a friend of mine reached out looking for placement, I said yes. He is absolutely adorable. He gets along so well with the three other puppers AND the cat. I would love to keep him, but that’s just not an option. He will be going to a new home later this week, and while I will miss him soooo much, I am grateful for the time I got to spend with him. And his cuddles. And the white hair that is alllllll over my house, LOL. Must love dogs, right?

Anyway, I have tofu to prepare, so that’s all for now! 🙂 Do you have any tips or great recipes that are vegan? I love trying new things, obviously. Also – vegan skincare products! What are your favorites? If you’re interested in learning more about veganism, shoot me a DM on my Instagram – @calynb_xo and I will share the knowledge I’ve gained! Sending y’all light & love!

XO