WaterThruSkin Sustainable Home Design

This is a post I’m very excited to share with you. Not only because I finally have my own place after being a homeless nomad for almost a year, but also because I’ve decorated it in the most sustainable and ethical way I could…at a really low budget! Please do have in mind that there are some eco-friendly home items that are either extremely difficult to find, or mind-blowingly expensive. Hence, on those cases, I chose products from companies that have very transparent and philanthropic values. (Don't forget that it’s all about the balance and baby steps!) With that being said, let’s jump straight into the topic because this post might be a long one!

As you may already know, I am a full-time conscious lifestyle and travel blogger, which means that I travel almost every month to review different hotels and brands for my blog. For that reason, and because I’ve finally discovered the powerful value of simplicity, I chose to turn a studio into my new home. And, in this 630sf space, I managed to create different environments: a boho living room, a wanderluster bedroom, a relaxing reading station, a yogi corner, a mandala breakfast area, a welcoming hallway, a balcony with a tiny orchard, and my bathroom and closet.

BEDROOM: 

This area is one of the most important ones in your home. This is where you’ll get to rest and recharge and dream about all the things you want to achieve in life, so make sure you design it in a way that collides with your personality. Since I love to travel, I glued an entire worldmap on my wall (8.3ft wide x 12ft tall) and used pins to mark the places I’ve visited since I started WaterThruSkin 3 years ago. After doing some research and lots of brand comparisons, I chose to purchase the map from Gilt because it came with eco-friendly and non-toxic glue while the other brands didn’t. The map came with 8 different pieces and it took me about 5 hours to measure, glue, and cover the entire wall with the map. It’s not an easy task but very much worth it.

WTS tips: I first laid the map on the floor to make sure I was placing the countries correctly (you can never be too sure!). I then pinned them to the wall, got the glue ready, and added glue to the borders of the map only. Be careful with the bubbles. They were really hard for me to avoid! I also used Onyx & Green’s natural stick glue for some tricky places.

Lastly, I placed LED lights around the map. They are energy efficient and can light up an entire room, thus, I chose to use LED instead of a night lamp. Plus, it looks cooler too! You can get them on Amazon for $9-$12. They come in strips with a tape on the back, and are super easy to stick to the wall. I used two strips/rolls. Don't forget to buy the power source too. ($9)

Bed pillows and bedsheets: can you say BAMBOO? Yes! I have bamboo bedsheets, a bamboo comforter, and pillows made of bamboo and other natural materials! They are not only beautiful, sustainable and hypoallergenic, but also incredibly comfortable! The brands I recommend are these:

-Pillows: Essence of Bamboo, and Savvy are two sustainable pillow brands. 

-Bedsheets: Cozy Earth has some 100% eco options, but you can also get them at Overstock. Cheaper prices.

-Comforter: Cozy Earth, or you can get it at Joss&Main for more affordable options. 

-Mattress: Here's a really good article I found about he best sustainable mattresses. It all depends on your budget and vision. 

Instead of using a bed base, I decided to make one myself with recycled wood crates I purchased at a wine store. Besides being planet-friendly, they were half the price of the ones people normally get at Arts & Crafts stores. I purchased eight crates for $4.99 each at Total Wine & More, placed them next to my mattress in a line that surrounded the bed, and filled them with books, succulents, crystals and more. (Note: you will have to go to the store to purchase the crates. I don't think they sell them online)

READING STATION:

 I’ve dreamed about having a hanging chair at home for years but never found one that was affordable and ethical enough to purchase, until this one came along! I bought it from Jet after going over their company’s values on Jet's website. They revolve around transparency, ethics, and giving back. They’ve even set up a charity to provide the living essentials to families in need, and match every dollar we donate to this cause. The chair (with the stand, cushion and shipping cost) was $289. I added two handmade bohemian pillows I purchased at Anthropology to give color to the chair. In case you don’t know, Anthropology is part of URBN, and they take global community initiatives and sustainability very seriously. They also support arts and education programs through different non-profits, focus on handmade products and carry vegan leather options! These pillows were on sale. Approx $35 each (with insert).

Next to the chair, I hanged a Dieffenbachia (oxygen cleaning plant) using a beautiful macramé planter that was handmade with recycled cotton by Yerbamala Design.

YOGI CORNER:

This is my spiritual corner. I designed it with items I’ve collected throughout these years. Some of them were gifts, others I made myself, and some I purchased. I won’t go into specific detail, but here are some WTS tips:

1) This is the corner that reminds you about your essence. Your spirit. The religion or philosophy of life you connect to the most. Your temple.

2) Some products I recommend: Himalayan salt lamp, aromatherapy room freshener or oils, plants, recycled wood crate for your spiritual books, a mala, a dream-catcher, and a Buddha statue.

WaterThruSkinValeriaHinojosaMiamiConsciousLifestyleBlogPhotographyFashionBloggerPhotographer-56.jpg

LIVING ROOM:

I chose to go crazy with colors here! No boundaries, no design pattern.

1) SUP paddleboard: I purchased this baby about 5 years ago. It was designed by my brother and, instead of storing it, I decided to transform it into boho home décor. I wrapped LED lights around it to add eye-catching spiciness to it.

2) Pink chair: It’s ethically made, in the US, with car seat belts by Harveys.

3) Yellow Owl Planter and White Vase: They are handmade and hand-painted by women in Colombia. Fair-trade and packaged/shipped using the cutest eco-friendly boxes by HabibiLiving. You get to choose the plants on their website. Prices range between $16-$85.

4) White-Silver boxes: I bought these in Bali.

5) Gold bottles: A wine bottle and a VOSS water bottle I painted myself using gold non-toxic and water-based paint from Martha Stewart, and White Chalk non-toxic eco-friendly paint by Renaissance

6) Yoga mats and wheel: All three are eco-friendly but made with different materials. The beige ones, and the wheel, are made with renewable cork and recycled tire rubber by Yoloha and ILoveGurus. The pink one is made from natural tree rubber by Jade, and they plant a tree for each mat sold.

7) Rug: Fair-trade and handmade, empowering artisans in India by Guadalupe Design.

8) TV-stand: made from recycled wood by my handyman. Cheaper, faster and more sustainable than buying a TV-stand at a store. $150 with installation.

9) Sofa and floor Pillows: WestElm. Another favorite store of mine. Their products are not only fair-trade, but they also support local artisans, artists and charities. The prices of these ranged between $28-$45 (with inserts).

10) Plants: Midtown Garden Center in Miami is my place to go for plants. Nature, vegan food trucks, recycled wood furniture, and little lights everywhere

11) Soy candles: better for your health and the environment! I have Anthropologie ones around my home, and also Thx Co's (fair-trade, philanthropic, and eco). 

MANDALA BREAKFAST AREA:

I purchased the table and the stools at IKEA. One of the reasons why I love visiting and supporting IKEA is because they take sustainability and ethics to the next label by sourcing their wood sustainably, switching to energy-efficient LED lighting, and even installing solar-panels in their stores. Approx $290 for the table and three stools.

I then painted mandalas with eco water-based chalk markers on the stools, and coated them with clear paint.

Aromatherapy Diffuser: This product changed my life! All you need to do is fill it with water and your favorite aromatherapy oils.

KITCHEN TIPS:

-Use laundry (wood) clips rather than plastic clips

-Use mason jars as glasses, and also to store your superfoods

-Use planetfriendly cleaning products. My favorite brands are: Mrs Meyers and Seventh Generation

-Get a water filtering pitcher. I use SOMA. Their filters are made with 60% recycled and plantbased materials, and their handles with sustainable oak. Plus, their designs are flawless!

BALCONY TIPS:

-Use recycled wine crates as décor

-Use recycled glass water bottles, paper coffee cups, coffee mugs as planters. 

-Plant your favorite herbs, spices, veggies, and fruits. I have basil, mint, lavender, rosemary, mint, cilantro, tomatoes, lettuce, pineapple, and succulents everywhere.

BATHROOM TIPS:

-Recycle your wine and glass water bottles, paint them and transform them into decorative pieces. For eco-friendly and non-toxic paint brands, scroll up to LIVING ROOM. 

-Add some plants (The elephant planter is from HabibiLiving as well. Fair-trade and handmade)

-Get soy candles. Mrs Meyers is a great option. The scents I like are Lavender and Basil.

-Paint a mason jar and use it to store your toothbrush and toothpaste.

-Use fairtrade and handmade bath rugs. Mine is by Guadalupe Design and empowers artisans in India.

HALLWAY TIPS:

-Use your cotton shopping bags as décor. I insterted some dried lavender in mine and hung it on the wall.

-Add a vase with water and crystals next to entrance to your apartment/home. This will absorb people’s negative energy when they enter your home. Once they leave, pour the water down the drain, clean your crystals, fill with fresh water, and repeat as needed.

CLOSET TIPS:

-Use newspaper to give a twist to your mirror. I glued mine with Onyx+Green natural glue.

-Hang toquilla hats around the mirror.

LIFESTYLE TIPS:

This is for everyone who is on their phone and computer 24/7. Get a radiation protective case from SafeSleeve. I have both the laptop and iPhone ones and use them every single day. Radiations are extremely harmful to our health and have been proven to cause cancer. Safesleeve’s cases protect you against 99% of all three types of harmful EMF radiation. They have vegan leather cases available too! :)

And lastly, for all dog-lovers, GoFullCircle is a great option for when that painful moment comes and we have to say goodbye. GoFullCircle gives you the option of giving life to a tree from your dog's ashes. You will receive a beautiful container made from bamboo with fertilizer, soil and wood chips inside. All you have to do is combine your baby's ashes with the fertilizer, soil and wood chips. GoFullCircle also gives you the option of choosing which tree you want. It's a wonderful way to honor your dog and create life from life. Once you plant the tree, you can recycle and use the bamboo container to store things or memories. Use code WTSFIVE for discount. 

 

 

 

 

 

Planet-saving Holiday Gift Guide!

THE HOLIDAYS ARE HERE!!! That time of the year again. The time for strong hugs with the ones we love and also, sadly, lots and lots of shopping! Christmas is one of the busiest seasons for all stores, which means most of us will spend hundreds or thousands of dollars taking advantage of sales and purchasing products that will potentially end up in landfills in a few months, or might support practices that are devastating for our planet and people. So... how about we choose which stores and brands to support wisely?! How about we buy less crap and more things we will use for years to come? How about we say no to fast fashion products and buy more eco-friendly clothing pieces we can reuse in a dozen different ways? How about we give the gift of consciousness this year?! Giving unique and lovely gifts that will raise an interesting conversation with those we love? How about we use the money we worked so hard for this year to make sure we have a planet to call our home in the future? What do you guys say?! Ready to become an agent of change this Holiday season?! If so, here are a few brands you might want to check out. Eco-friendly, vegan, fair-trade, charity-oriented. Nothing like conscious shopping!

I’ve separated them in categories, so you can find whatever you are looking for to gift this year.

For those not familiar with the language, these are the meanings of each label…
•    Vegan: no animal byproducts or animal ingredients
•    Cruelty-free: not tested on animals (applies mostly to beauty products)
•    Fair-trade: artisans are paid a fair wage for their work
•    Handprinted/ Block-printed: artisans design textiles by hand with different techniques. All stamped by hand (hand-carved wood stamp) and with natural colors.
•    Non-toxic: lacks the main harmful chemicals most brands put in their products (applies to beauty products, especially nail polishes)

CLOTHING:

The Onikas: Fair-trade and handprinted clothing with non-toxic colors by artisans in India and Ecuador. 

Osom: Socks made from recycled textiles

Miakoda NY: fair-trade clothing made with biodegradable fibers such as bamboo and organic cotton. (softest fabrics ever!!!)

Melissa Shoes: Shoes made from recycled plastic reusing 99% of waste, water and unsold stock.

THX: Everyday products that suport everyday causes. You choose the nonprofit and the amount whenever you shop a THX product.

Symbology: fair-trade and handprinted clothing. Beautiful dresses! Use CODE: WTSXSYMBOLOGY for 10% off.

Nomad Tribe: fashion + social impact. Anything you need! Eco-friendly, vegan, and charity-oriented options. Use CODE: NTVH

 

LINGERIE & SWIM:

NAJA: fair-trade and sustainable lingerie. Every product you buy helps women rise above poverty. Naja provides fair wages and health care to each artisan.

EcoPeace: eco-friendly swim wear made with recycled and natural fibers and non-toxic dyes

Lume: fair-trade and eco-friendly swim wear supporting different artists and charities.

 

SHOES:

Beyond Skin: vegan and fair-trade shoe brand made with vegetable coating.

By Blanch: vegan and fair-trade shoe brand from Spain

VEJA: eco-friendly shoe brand with some vegan options. Use CODE: NTVH for discount.

Turquise: vegan and charity-oriented shoe brand. Use CODE: NTVH for discount.

Cult of Coquette: vegan leather high heels!!!! 

 

BAGS:

Big Bubble Bags: really cool bags made from recycled bubble wrap. Use CODE: BUBBLEGIFT for 15% off

Matt and Nat: fair-trade and vegan bags made with natural materials and recycled plastic bottle interior lining.

Remember Me Green: Bags made from recycled NYC billboards.

Up Fuse: Fair-trade and eco-friendly bags made from recycled plastic bags. Use CODE: KINDCHRISTMAS for discount.

Stella McCartney: vegan luxury bags (a little pricey for those looking for high end options)

Angela Roi: beautiful and classic vegan bags in earthy colors. 

 

JEWELRY:


WTS Malas: fair-trade, handmade and blessed by priests in Bali

The Fifth Element: handmade and spiritual jewelry. Her mandala rings are my favorite.

Simbi: handmade and fairtrade bracelets made from natural clay by artisans in Haiti. Each purchase provides clean water to Haiti. Use CODE: WATERTHRUSKIN for 15% off.

Alex and Ani: jewelry made from recycled materials that benefits different charities.

Kathe Cuervo: handmade jewelry made from recycled materials


BEAUTY:

Bite: vegan, cruelty-free, non-toxic and EDIBLE. Yes! Made with natural and fine ingredients! My favorite is the Agave lip mask!

Tarte: vegan, cruelty-free, non-toxic makeup. My faves are the lip colors, mascara and cheeky blush.

OneLoveOrganics: organic, vegan, cruelty-free, natural spa products and body lotions. My favorite is the Vitamin C Body Oil.

Sparitual: vegan, cruelty-free, non-toxic Nail polishes and spa products. Love their nail polishes!

Baiser Beauty: artisanal, vegan, organic, handmade beauty products. My favorite is their anti-aging oil.
 

AROMATHERAPY & PERFUMES:

Wholistic: organic and natural aromatherapy oils with crystals charged by the moon.

THX Co: perfumes and soy candles made with natural, fair-trade, and sustainable ingredients. THX lets you choose which nonprofit to donate to. 

 

YOGA & FITNESS:

Global Groove Life: fair-trade products made by artisans in Asia. I have their yoga ball.

Portdebras: Fair-trade yoga clothing made with natural biodegradable fibers.

Waterlust: yoga pants made from recycled plastic bottles and supports different Marine Research nonprofits.

InnerFire: yoga clothes made from natural fibers and recycled plastic bottles

YolohaYoga: yoga props and products made from natural cork and recycled tire rubber

I love Gurus: yogi sandals and wear made from natural eco-friendly products. For each purchase, they plant a tree.

 

TRAVEL:

Matt and Nat: fair-trade and vegan bags made with natural materials and recycled plastic bottle interior lining.

WTS Kits: vegan, eco-friendly, natural and organic travel kits with everything you need for your trips. 

WTS Hotels: what about gifting a vacation at an eco-friendly hotel? Get inspired by all the trips I’ve taken.

LSTN Headphones: Headphones that give back! With each purchase LSTN provides hearing aid to people in need.

To look at last year's WTS holiday gift guide inspiration, click here!

Natural Beauty Tips & Brands

In response to some of your questions, I'm sharing a few of these conscious tips and brands that are not only good to your skin and health but also kind to our planet! It is all about the baby steps! No getting frustrated! Start with baby steps and you'll notice the huge difference in your lifestyle. I hope you enjoy this video. ps: excuse my Spanglish! I tend to make up, or eat, words when I'm nervous. No script here, just me talking to you guys! xo

Brands: Wholistic Face Sprits, Baiser Beauty, Josie Maran, Tarte, Antonym. Get October's beauty box with these and more!

I'll be a speaker at SEED Summit! Come see me!

Good morning, world!! We are starting this week with some exciting news! It turns out, I'll be one of the guest speakers at this year's SEED Food & Wine Summit!  In case you haven't heard of SEED, it's pretty much the best plantbased food and wine festival in the country! Yes! A 6-day event where passionate people committed to our planet get together to elevate the conversation about sustainability, plantbased food, conscious living, and the welfare of animals. From inspiring guest speakers, to a veggie burger battle, to yoga and meditation, to dinners and cocktails with the best vegan Chefs, and so much more! The first time I attended this event was two years ago when I was a 5-month blogger newbie writing about a conscious lifestyle. Fast forward two years and a half and I'm now a speaker at this year's summit. Life will honestly surprise you in more ways than you can imagine! In a beautiful way, that is. Always! 

For all of those souls that have emailed me with questions about becoming a conscious blogger and living life in sustainable ways, you might want to attend this event. It's worth it! We'll be covering many topics you will want to be part of, and I will be focusing my side of the conversation on answering questions about conscious blogging and a planet-loving lifestyle (diet, fashion, travel!). I hope to see you babes there!!

If you need to get your tickets, click here. Make sure you get tickets for the Summit, as well. Use Code JOINME20 for a 20% discount or click this link: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/seed-plant-based-food-and-wine-festival-2016-tickets-26740431350?discount=SFLBLOG75

If you need help getting your tickets, let me know.

My bio for SEED, click here

xo

Time to come together. Let's help Haiti & Hurricane Matthew Victims.

No matter where in this beautiful planet of ours you are right now, I’m sure you all have heard or seen the results of hurricane Matthew. Some of you might be even going online 24/7 to look for ways to help the victims (over 800 dead in Haiti and 80% of homes damaged… and counting) so I decided to focus today’s post on providing links and info I found while searching for volunteering opportunities. For those that wish to travel to Haiti to help, I haven’t been able to find anything online. I would like to go too! If you have information, please share the name of the nonprofits or links by commenting below. For everyone else who wishes to help but can’t make it over there, here are all the ways in which we can help. This is the third time that a natural disaster hits Haiti in 6 years. (2010 7.0-magnitude earthquake, 2012 Sandy, 2016 Matthew). They need our help more than ever!

1) DONATE ITEMS: Haiti is in urgent need of medical supplies, non-perishable food, toiletries, feminine hygiene products, blankets, aqua tabs for water purification, clothes, and construction items (such as: nails, sheet metal, and tools). There are several locations throughout the US gathering all the donations in shipping containers to be immediately shipped out to Haiti. Click on your location below for details.

-New York (Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island): Call the consulate or click below to find exact locations provided by this NY Daily News article.  Consulate: (212) 697-9767.

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/caribbeat-rush-battered-haiti-article-1.2822899

-Florida (Orlando): donate items and volunteer preparing everything to be shipped out to Haiti. Monday through Friday.  

https://cleantheworld.org/get-involved/become-a-volunteer/

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/weather/hurricane/os-hurricane-matthew-orlando-clean-the-world-helps-haiti-20161008-story.html

-Florida (Miami and everyone else): donate cash or volunteer at locations.

 http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/haiti/article106211427.html

2) DONATE CASH: this Huffington Post article provides more than nine organizations that are raising funds to send medical aid and food to Haiti. There’s even one, Save The Children, that is creating “children play zones” in Haiti to protect and entertain kids amidst the chaos.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/how-to-help-haiti-hurricane-matthew_us_57f7a14be4b0b6a4303177ca

http://www.savethechildren.org/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=8rKLIXMGIpI4E&b=9357115&ct=14926365&notoc=1

3) HELP ANIMALS: And last but not least, here’s an article with tips on how to help animals hurt by Hurricane Matthew, and below another link to ASPCA’s fundraiser page for the animals they are rescuing from the affected areas.

https://www.bustle.com/articles/187865-11-ways-to-help-stray-cats-dogs-other-animals-during-hurricane-matthew

https://secure.aspca.org/donate/201610fir-web-T1-P1?ms=wb_hom_position1-oct-fir-hurricane-matthew-20161007&initialms=wb_hom_position1-oct-fir-hurricane-matthew-20161007&pcode=WEB1HOM&lpcode=WEB2HOM

This is all I have for now, guys. If I find more nonprofits or ways in which we can all help, I'll update this post and let you know. Please comment or email me with info you wish to share with the world.

It's time for us to come together and create a massive wave of healing and positive change. 

xo

 

Plantbased Superfood Drinks On The Go!

Let’s talk superfoods and plant-based protein, shall we? Two words that are essential to a healthy diet. Be it vegan or not, we all need to make sure we are getting enough nutrients, minerals, vitamins and protein in order to thrive. Here’s the thing though. If sticking to a plant-based diet seems hard to some of us, sticking to it while traveling or during those on-the-go moments can seem extremely difficult! One of my tricks is to carry an organic protein drink or bar in my bag. ALWAYS! Why? Well, first of all to make sure I’m constantly nourishing my body and, secondly, to eliminate my cravings in between meals and avoid stuffing my face with the wrong foods. A brand that has made my lifestyle easier is REBBL and its name says it all: Roots, Extracts, Berries, Barks, Leaves. REBBL produces plant-based drinks made with organic superfoods (turmeric, maca, cacao, matcha, reishi, ashwagandha, spirulina), coconut milk, stevia, pink salt and more. As if that were not enough, here are a few other points worth mentioning about REBBL:

1)   REBBL focuses all its practices on promoting sustainability and social impact. They source all ingredients ethically (and provide an interactive traceable sourcing map) making sure the suppliers have local communities in mind and provide them with health care, housing and clean water projects.

2)   Every single one of REBBL’s products is Certified Organic. By refusing to work with GMOs and Pesticides, they are protecting not only our health but also Mother Nature.

3)   REBBL donates 2.5% of its revenues to Not For Sale, an organization dedicated to putting an end to human exploitation and trafficking worldwide.

With 6 different Elixir flavors, and 2 protein blends, REBBL has me head over heels! Literally! I’ve tried them all! And each one is as good, or better, as the last. The ones I carry with me while traveling are the protein blends: Dark Chocolate or Vanilla Spice.  16grs of protein made from peas, pumpkins and sunflowers! Imagine that purity combined with fair-trade certified cacao powder, reishi, ashwagandha, vanilla, stevia and more mouthwatering superfoods!!

The 6 Elixirs are to die for too! Matcha Latte, Turmeric Golden Milk (YES!), Maca Cold Brew (Double YES!!), Maca Mocha, Reishi Chocolate, Ashwagandha Chai. I have to admit, there were a few superfoods I had never heard of but was incredibly happy to add to my diet. Ashwagandha was one of them. It is a powerful super-herb that is used in Ayurveda to support physical health, cognitive function, recovery and relaxation!

You guys can use REBBL’s interactive map to find stores near you and stock your fridge with these holistic drinks!! I honestly can’t wait to keep promoting this brand and other plant-based ones with you to make our conscious lifestyles easier!  xo

Should my dog go vegan too?

I've been wanting to talk about this topic for a while now. As you know, I've been vegan for over 2 years (vegetarian 3 years prior to that) and attached to that diet change came a lifestyle shift as well. The decisions I now make as a consumer are full of conscience; always trying to find ethical, cruelty-free and eco-friendly brands to use and promote. Something that makes my mind spin are the billions of dollars we as consumers spend on our furry best friends. The dog and cat food industry alone made $21Billion in 2014. And, obviously, those numbers raised a big question in my mind: Why, if I'm trying to limit my footprint on this planet, am I feeding my dog, Coco, meat-full food?. I also wondered if the food I was giving her was as good as the box and the brand said. So, of course, I did a little research and found out that most commercial dog foods are made not only of animal parts (such as beaks, brain, spinal cord tissue, bones, lungs, intestinal tracts) but also of animals that fit the category of the 4 D's: dead, dying, diseased, or disabled. That right there said it all! If you guys have taken a meditation or a very spiritual yoga class, your teacher might have covered a few of the reasons why we yogis choose a vegan diet. Number one being to avoid ingesting suffering and pain. If you think about it, that's exactly what animals experience before they become human (or in this case, dog) food: stress, pain and suffering. Dogs are animals of loyalty and compassion, naturally! So why would we want to change that?! For this reason and the fact that animal agriculture is responsible for 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions,  34-76 trillion gallons of annual water consumption, and is the leading cause of species extinction, dead-zones and habitat loss, it seems natural to me to feed my furry baby food that is eco, natural, healthier, compassionate and plant-based. Don't you think? You might be wondering if dogs can survive and thrive on a plant-based diet, well... they can! Here's a link to an interesting article you might want to read to help you make a decision. For those ready to make the shift, V-dog is the brand to choose! From vegan dog food that contains 24% of plant-based protein, minerals and vitamins to doggie breath-bones to cool doggie bandanas. They have it all! Use code: WTSjuly for a little discount for first time customers!! <3 

Morning, and everyday, natural rituals!

Have you guys ever taken 5 minutes of your busy schedule to sit down and analyze what you are doing to your body? How you're nurturing it? How you're feeding your cells? Or even how you're slowly poisoning them? As you guys might've seen on snapchat, I attended a documentary screening at Dr Smood in Miami last night. This was yet another reminder of the importance of a natural, organic and at least 51% raw diet in our lives. And above all, about performing our research. Food can seriously be our medicine or slowest form of suicide! And this applies to a vegan or vegetarian diet as well! I know a lot of people who went vegan and thought they could survive just on eating pasta and bread and processed vegan junk food (yes, we have that too!) but later found themselves borderline heart-attack in their late 20s and 30s. Going vegetarian and later vegan was a decision I made years ago based on my values and compassion but has now transformed into the best decision I could've made for my health. I've stopped consuming toxic pills and have even been able to balance my Thyroid disease with my diet choices and overloads of superfoods. I honestly can't remember when was the last time I had a headache or took a pill for it! Superfoods like Turmeric, hemp oil, diatomaceous earth, Moringa and many others have become rulers of my kingdom now. BUT, I wouldn't have been able to achieve any of this if I hadn't read as many books as I could and watched as many documentaries out there on how to eat healthy and feed my body with the right nutrients, vitamins and protein from plants! I also changed my entire lifestyle. From the products I put on my skin, to the clothes I use and brands I choose to support. Everything is connected guys! It's a way of living! A conscious way of living! And, to make it easier for you, I've added a search box on the blog at the bottom of the home page where if you type "documentaries" or "natural beauty" or whatever it is your looking for, you'll find articles I've written with helpful tips and summaries on how to live your best life! Are you ready to make the change? The most amazing part about life is that everyday is our new change to start living better, wiser and healthier, and we've been blessed with bodies that have the power of gettting rid of all our toxins if we provide them with the right nutrition. 

Below is a link to a few of the stories I've written about the powerful documentaries that changed my life. One I wish to add to that list is "FoodMatters". It will open your eyes to the magical and miraculous wonders of food as your medicine! From curing cancer and depression to living a longer and happier life. xx

Documentaries: http://www.waterthruskin.com/blog/2015/10/22/must-see-movies-that-will-change-your-life?rq=documentaries

Natural Beauty Tips: http://www.waterthruskin.com/blog/2016/3/23/natural-organic-beauty-rituals?rq=natural%20beauty

Superfoods: http://www.waterthruskin.com/blog/2016/1/25/yummy-vegan-superfood-smoothie-tutorial?rq=superfood

 

Happy Reality-Check World Oceans Day!

Did you guys know the oceans contain 99% of the living space in the planet and over 200,000 identified species? Or that they absorb about 30% of carbon dioxide produced by us reducing the impacts of global warming? Yeah, neither did I. Besides my love and admiration of nature, I also keep learning new things every day. I try to research as much as I can, especially when it comes the impact of our steps on this planet. From brands that are natural, ocean-safe, and cruelty-free, to products that are sustainable, to hotels that are eco-friendly. There's honestly so much we can do and learn from each other during this chosen conscious journey. All we have to do is spend less time analyzing the meaning of life, and more time recognizing it when it stands right before us. Like the ocean. It beholds the secret to life and instead of protecting it, we are poisoning it with products we buy out of habit with zero clue that they may end up in our waters. Plastic bottles, plastic bags, plastic straws, plastic caps. Plastic! It's been said that enough plastic has been thrown away by us to circle the earth 4 times!!! That is plastic that takes up to 1000 years to degrade! And plastic that ends up floating in our oceans and killing thousands of species per year. Plastic bags, facial scrubs (YES! Those micro-beads are non-biodegradable!), shoes, plastic bottles and dishes, etc. Our trash is the leading cause of "44 percent of all seabird species, 22 percent of cetaceans, all sea turtle species and a growing list of fish species" being documented with plastic in or around their bodies. Luckily, like everything in life, there's a solution. We CAN put a stop to this and it all starts with our daily actions. Nope, you don't need to be a millionaire to make a difference in our world! Together, with baby steps, we can help heal and preserve our planet for our future generations. With that being said, here are some suggestions for you guys. I apply them to my day-to-day and they are easier than they seem. Trust me! Happy #WorldsOceanDay!

1) Ditch the plastic bottles and cups! I know it's hard. Specially when you're on the run. I've reduced my consumption of plastic bottles and cups significantly by taking my glass water bottle or flask with me everywhere.  Here are two eco-friendly options that will make your life so much easier.

2) Say no to plastic straws. This is a huge issue, guys! I've seen heartbreaking videos of rescuers taking plastic straws out of the nose of sea turtles! Please order paper straws or no straw at all whenever you get a drink. A friend of mine started a movement in Ecuador called #sinsorbeteporfavor (no straw please). Let's start something like that everywhere. What do you say?

3) Use beauty products labeled as ocean-safe. Specially sun-block! If not, the chemicals of whatever you put on your skin will end up in our waters and poison sea earthlings and reefs. Here are my favorite brands:

  • Baiser Beauty (natural, eco, vegan and cruelty-free beauty products)
  • Raw Elements (ocean-safe, natural and organic sunblock. Tinted one is the best one!)
  • SpaRitual (best scrubs! No micro-beads but tons of brown sugar!!)

4) Recycle! Take your own bags when you go shopping and say no to plastic bags. 500 billion plastic bags are used annually worldwide. Time to put a stop to that!

5) Don't throw away things from your closet. They will end up in landfills. Donate them to people in need or give them a fashion makeover and keep using them. I've done that with most of my jeans (I have jeans from 6 years ago!), tees and even shoes! Grab some scissors, eco paint and go crazy!

6) Buy consciously! Choose brands that have nature and the community in mind. Brands that are using materials no one ever thought possible and are going beyond their ways to make a powerful statement. Brands that come up with products such as recycled plastic shoes or bags made from recycled plastic bottles or cork yoga mats. They exist! Here are some of the ones I adore, but you can also find more under the "Green Blog" tab or under "Kind Fashion".

  • Melissa Shoes: beautiful and comfortable shoes made from recycled plastic. Company also reuses 99% of waste and unsold shoes from previous collections.
  • Harveys: amazing bags made from car seat belts and recycled plastic bottle interior lining. Use code waterthruskin10 for discount
  • Yoloha Yoga: yoga mats made from cork, which is a renewable source. No plastic!
  • Inner Fire: yoga pants made from recycled plastic bottles
  • Matt & Nat: bags made from vegan leather and recycled plastic bottle lining
  • G-star Raw: jeans and clothing made from recycled plastic taken out of the oceans. LOVE this brand so much!!

7) Reduce your consumption of seafood. If you're not vegan yet, try to reduce it to 1-2 per week and see how you feel. That's how I started. It's hard, because most of us were probably raised eating meat and seafood on a daily basis, but it's worth it. By reducing our seafood consumption, we reduce the by-catch (whales, dolphins, seals and other animals that get caught in fish nets by mistake and are killed in the process) and the chance of depleting and killing our oceans. 

8) Say no to aquariums and zoos and support animal-freedom activities when you travel. Go snorkeling in the ocean and interact with Nemo. Those memories are priceless! Read about my adventures with the wild here

9) Keep your home eco-friendly. Click here to read the tips I recommend. 

10) Spread the word!! Let's inspire each other and create a massive wave of awareness. 

** Numbers and research gathered from: 

http://ecowatch.com/2014/04/07/22-facts-plastic-pollution-10-things-can-do-about-it/

http://www.ipsnews.net/2016/06/world-oceans-day-a-death-sea-called-mediterranean/

Stop Yulin 2016! Dog-eating Festival in China.

It's the second year I write about this issue since I started the blog, and covering it hasn't gotten any easier. My heart still aches every time I think about this Chinese festival, the thousands of dogs stolen from happy homes, their horrific fate, and the families left devastated without their furry friends. In case you haven't heard of the Yulin Festival, it's festival in China where thousands of dogs are boiled alive and eaten in the hopes of bringing "good luck" to the people of China. Last year, 10,000 dogs suffered this fate. Fortunately, there are a few of us with a drop of compassion who can help put an end to this barbaric torture. All you have to do is get informed, sign the petitions below (won't take more than 3 minutes), repost this everywhere and help spread the word. The festival starts June 22 and is held EVERY YEAR! Let's be the voice, guys!

Please watch the video below, read the article and sign the petitions. For everyone else looking to join the movement, take a picture of yourself with your furry friend and write “Stop Yulin 2016” on the palm of your hand. Time to create a massive wave of awareness!! #stopyulin2016

Love you guys.

V.

China's Dog Eating Festival: 

http://www.dogingtonpost.com/10000-dogs-tortured-annual-yulin-dog-eating-festival/

http://stopyulinforever.org/

Petition: 

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/885/632/989/#sign

https://www.change.org/p/stop-the-yulin-dog-meat-eating-festival

 Camera shy!

Camera shy!

Go Vegan for Earth Day?...Tips, Videos and More.

Earth Day is coming up and our planet is probably one of the main reasons why most of us go vegan. Some do it for the animals, others to reduce soil and water depletion, others to help stop climate change, and then there are others who also do it for health issues. Whatever the reason behind it, there’s honestly no excuse not to go vegan or at least try it for 21 days and see how it feels. (I recommend 21 because, as research says, that’s the number of days it takes for something to become a habit/routine).  For me, it was mother earth: Animals and nature. I’ve been a big fan of them since I was little. Saving cats, mice, lizards, frogs and whatever other lonely earthlings I found in my way. I also remember talking to trees when I was little, specially the Weeping Willow trees. I somehow felt protected by their size and the way their leafs hung all the way from top to bottom as if they were trying to cover whomever sat next to their trunk from the world. So of course, going vegan was a no-brainer the minute a friend of mine sent me the link to Paul McCartney’s PETA documentary revealing the cruelty behind the meat industry. I have to be honest though. Back then it was not as easy and simple as it today. , Today, the vegan industry has grown so big worldwide, we have hundreds of healthy alternatives to animal products compared to 5 years ago! Today, the US alone has 13million vegans and 25million vegetarians and growing! Can you believe that? Those numbers put a huge smile on my face. Seriously!

With that being said, I want to challenge you guys a little (or maybe a lot. Depends on how you see it! :p) Yes, I want you to go vegan! For Earth Day, April 22. If you don’t want to do the full 21 days, try it for 3 days or even 1 day! Every action counts and each person who switches to a vegan diet can save 1,100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30 sq ft of forested land, 20 lbs CO2 equivalent per day, and dozens of animals’ lives. Incredible, right? How the power to help heal our world and solve every human-inflicted issue is in the palm of our hands? Think about it, babes!

For more info about how a vegan diet impacts our planet as a whole, please watch “Cowspiracy”. Another documentary that gave me a different perspective of life.  

PS: I leave you guys with this yummy 100% vegan, healthy and organic smoothie bowl recipe. Besides the regular ingredients I use on my morning smoothies, this time I also used Pure Potions superfood box. Inside of it came the prettiest glass jars and tiny bottles (Beauty, Longevity & Brilliance) with different superfood powders, dates, coconut oil and hemp seeds. Talk about happiness in a box! I put a little of each and Voilá! Vitamin, vegan protein, minerals, omegas, antioxidants and everything I need to become the best and purest version of myself all in one smoothie bowl serving. <3

Natural & Organic Beauty Rituals!

You must be wondering what's up with all the fuzz about natural skin care. Every day more consumers are talking about it and more companies are coming up with products to match that demand. Here's the deal and it's very simple. There are 3 main topics you should consider when shopping for beauty products:

1) Health reasons: Everything you put on your skin goes directly into your blood stream. If you use beauty products with chemicals and toxic ingredients, odds are those ingredients will end up in your blood and might cause health issues in the long run. There is nothing healthier and kinder to yourself than natural and ORGANIC (please!) beauty products. 

2) Animal testing: Unfortunately, we live in a world where most beauty and cleaning products are tested on animals before they can hit shops' shelves. As if testing on animals were not horrible enough, the practices companies use take cruelty to a different level and most animals (monkeys, bunnies, dogs, cats, mice...) become blind, sick, incapacitated or even die. Luckily, there are brands that have become the voice for the voiceless and have made it their mission to avoid animal testing. Tip: ALWAYS read labels and look for words like cruelty-free, no animal testing, not tested on animals, Peta certified, vegan. Most of these products also show the pink bunny (represents vegan and cruelty-free product) on their packaging. 

3) Planet as a whole: Natural and organic products are not only kind to your skin and animals but also to the planet as a whole. Most natural and organic beauty products are handmade, fair-trade, sustainable, and eco-friendly and come in recycled packaging. Nonetheless, please, always read labels and perform your research. You will not regret it, guys! In the end, every dollar we spend is our vote on how we want our world to be. Think about it. 

With that being said, here's my beauty ritual from morning till dawn! xx

BEFORE BEDTIME:

-Teeth whitening: take 1/2 TSP of banking soda with 1 TBSP lemon juice. Wash your teeth with the bubbles created by that combination. Repeat every night for 1 week and see the results. 

-Dark under-eye circles: mix 1/2 TSP turmeric powder with 1/2 TSP olive oil. Make a paste and place under your eyes for 10 minutes every night. BE CAREFUL because turmeric stains everything yellow so make sure you don't touch anything while applying the paste. 

-Face Cleaning, Hydrating & Anti-aging: I'm totally obsessed with Baiser Beauty. I've been using their natural and organic face cleansing oil, cucumber spritz and anti-aging serum before bedtime every night. 

 

MORNINGS:

-Face Hydration: I use Aveda's botanical skincare for my morning rituals. Aveda's mission is beautiful, guys. From not testing on animals, to taking mother earth into consideration, to creating products with only natural ingredients.

-Body Hydration:  Baiser Beauty Body Oil with 35+ SPF is THE product! Natural, organic, cruelty-free and yummy smelling. It will leave your skin soft and moist while protecting it from the sun. 

-Makeup/Blush: Another product of Basier Beauty I adore! Their natural and organic Cream Blush. It's made from beetroot powder... Do I need to say more?  

-Makeup/Bronzer: Who doesn't like a natural suntan? I highly recommend this Bronzer made from Cacao Powder and cinnamon!! 

-Makeup/Mascara: I've tried several natural mascaras but it wasn't until I discovered Tarte's Amazonian Clay Mascara that my lashes began to look beautiful naturally. Tarte does not test on animals and you can find its products at any Sephora store or online. 

-Makeup/Concealer: We've all dealt with dark circles under our eyes, haven't we? Well... Tarte's Concealer has become my soulmate! Creamy, natural, and cruelty-free. 

-Makeup/Lips: Love this brand and product. One of the only natural Lip Balms that leaves my lips smooth and moist without chapping them or becoming addictive. (Please note that this product has beeswax)

The perfect eco-friendly home....

You know how some people dream about the perfect wedding, the dress and the huge cake? Well, there are a few others like me that dream about the perfect eco-friendly home. One with open spaces, huge windows, solar energy panels, water reuse systems, plants and herbs everywhere, and rescued animals running around the house! That's what I envision almost on a daily basis! Honestly! So much, that I've created visualization boards on my phone and now on Pinterest to share those dreams with you and maybe inspire you to start your own eco practices at home. It doesn't have to be anything huge like solar panels (I mean if you can, please do so by all means) but you can start with the daily essentials like the cleaning products you use or planting herbs at home or switching plastic cups and bottles for glass ones. That's a big powerful start already! Everything makes a difference, guys! Give it a try!

Here are a few basic recommendations:

Cleaning products: In case you didn't know, most cleaning products have toxic ingredients (for you, your pets and our planet) and test on animals. A brand that I'm obsessed with is Mrs. Meyers.  These products are natural, do not test on animals and have aromatherapy oils as ingredients. I mean... It does not get better than this! Mrs Meyers' products will have your house smelling like paradise! My favorite scent is "Lavender".

Shower head filter: Whoever came up with this idea is a GENIUS! A shower head filter that illuminates and changes to different colors based on your water use. It turns green while you are using less than 10 liters of water, purple when you go over 10 liters, orange when you hit the 30 liter mark, and RED when you hit or pass the 50 liter mark. This will not only lower your utility bills but it also has a HUGE positive impact on our environment. Water is a FINITE source and each American household uses approximately 100 gallons of water per day at home. That amounts to a total of 355 Billion gallons of water per day (2010 stats). And that is the US ALONE! Add the rest of the world to that.....

Eco-friendly Paper Products: Just like water, same happens with paper use. We use SO MUCH OF IT! From paper towels, to toilette paper, to paper cups and printing paper. It's insane! Here's a great solution for you guys at home. There are many brands, including Walgreens affordable "Ology", that offer recycled paper products. Seventh Generation is another good eco brand. You can find it everywhere! Literally! Whole Foods, Walgreens and online. 

Now, let's get to work! A healthier, cleaner and better world awaits. <3


Valentine's Gift Ideas Full of Kindness!

Good morning, sunshines! With Valentine's Day around the corner, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite products that are not only fashionable, beautiful and cool but also really good to our planet! Feel free to go crazy guys. Buy it for your loved one or for yourself! This is the type of shopping you never regret! <3 Details below. Happy almost V-day, babes!!! Let's spread some conscious love around, ok? xx

Harveys Wallet: I love this brand so much not only because they were one of my first sponsors when I started the blog 1.5 years ago, but also because ALL of their products (bags, totes, wallets...) are made with car seatbelts and recycled plastic bottle interior lining. How incredible is that? Not to mention the unique, comfy and jaw-dropping designs they have. 

Wood watches: Who doesn't like these? Specially if they are made from recycled wood (Jord Watches) and also plant a tree for each one purchased (WeWood Watches). No-brainer here guys. I use big watches like the ones in this photo. Both designs are unisex but they also carry a line of smaller and more delicate ones. 

Yogi Jewelry by Bu Design: for all my yogi soulmates, this is THE line! Their products are made with eco-friendly materials and aimed at adding more spiritual sprinkles to your days. Malas, necklaces and Buddha keychains. Happy to announce you can now shop these on the blog with 10% of your purchase going to this quarter's WTS charities. 

Rudraksha Hand-mala: This bracelet is a WTS limited edition babes. Designed with fair-trade Rudraksha seed beads to represent compassion and strength. If worn close to the skin, they are believed to increase clarity, calm the mind and balance the chakras due to the amounts of oxygen, carbon, nitrogen and hydrogen they contain. Each bracelet also carries a Silver elephant to represent the WTS logo and 10% of the sale of each goes to this quarter's WTS charities. 

Handmade Beauty: THIS LINE!!!! All natural, organic, cruelty-free, handmade, yummy smelling, healing and eco-friendly products! I don't think I've ever seen beauty products more beautiful or kind to our health and planet as these. The ones you see on the picture are: Nail polishes (clear and red), cuticle oil, All In One balm (healing) & a Balancing Oil for those well-deserved bubble baths.  

Planet-loving GIVEAWAY!!!!

***The Winner of this Giveaway is: Jessica Tejera (The Walking Mermaid Blog)

It's that time of the year again guys... Giveaway time!! Over $200 of planet-loving gifts that will brighten up your days while helping heal our world. One product at a time! :)

For this giveaway, I don't want you to repost this picture but to upload a picture of yourself promoting a conscious lifestyle. Be it cooking vegan food, cleaning the beach, wearing a vegan outfit, recycling, volunteering at shelters, or even doing yoga. I  want you to post that activity that plays a big role in your life and is also mindful to our planet as whole, and describe why it is important to you and what a "conscious lifestyle" means to you. Who knows?...Maybe in this way, the movement will finally catch on. Nothing to lose and so much to gain!! Why not give it a try? <3

Ok, so...basics. These are the steps you will need to follow:

1) Make sure your Instagram account is public

2)Follow @waterthruskin @shopbubblebags @simplygum @consciouscoconut @rawelementsusa @agentnateur

3) Post a photo of yourself doing your favorite conscious activity & describe why it plays a big role in your life & what "Conscience" means to you.

4) Tag your friends and share the love!!! Use #wtsgiveaway #lifestylewithaconscience 

Winner will be announced on February 14th (happy v-day!). My international soulmates can participate too! Worldwide love and shipping, babes!!!

PRODUCT INFO: 

-BBB Bubble Clutch: This clutch is made from recycled bubble wrap! Very fashionable, cool, big enough to carry all your daily essentials and EXTREMELY kind to our planet!! ($181)

-Conscious Coconut Oil: Ever wanted coconut oil that is travel-friendly? Well, this is it! Organic, cold pressed, travel sized,  AND provides a meal to a child in need in the US.($15)

-Simply Gum: Natural, vegan, and organic gum that has eco-friendly post chew papers in that cute and chic box. Winner will get 2 different flavors. ($6)

-Raw Elements: My favorite sunblock ever! Natural, organic and ocean-safe (does not harm our ocean or its animals). It comes as a stick which makes it so much easier to apply to your face and neck. ($15)

-Agent Nateur: The only deodorant I use. Vegetarian (has honey as ingredient), organic and natural. Made from avocado, coconut oil, raw honey, lavender & eucalyptus. ($19)

Yummy Vegan Superfood Smoothie Tutorial

Ok guy so here’s the story. After all the emails I’ve received with questions about my vegan diet and exercise routine (yoga), I’ve decided to start posting video tutorials about both on the blog. Something you might not know about me is that it wasn’t until 5 years ago that I began eating healthier, following a vegetarian and later vegan diet, and dedicating myself fully to learning yoga and meditation. You see, during my teenage years I went through what 30 million of girls, boys, women and men are going through in the US today: eating disorders. Or what I like to call billboard and media brainwash syndrome. At age 16 I moved to Germany for 6 months as an exchange student and, due to the change in my diet, I gained 20 lbs. Those 20lbs came with insecurity, anxiety, depression and lots of other mental issues I lived with for over 6 years. I remember staring at the models on billboards and on the pages of magazines for hours questioning why on earth I couldn’t be like them. That’s when bulimia knocked my door. I don’t even remember how it started. I just remember thinking that was my way out of the 20lbs. I would weight myself at least 3 times a day after eating meals, exercising, or else…. A year after bulimia took over, my family found out and took me to a psychologist. They were all so worried for my life. The psychologist helped and I was able to calm my anxiety but then I went to college and found myself alone. That’s when anorexia decided to rule my kingdom. I would eat an apple and a tiny salad with a can of tuna per day from Monday to Friday and then stuff my face with all the junk food I could find on Saturdays and Sundays. I had no clue of what I was doing to my body, soul and mind. A slow form of suicide. I dealt with bulimia and anorexia until I turned 22 and found yoga. It helped me quiet my mind and find a balanced connection with my soul. At age 23 I decided to become vegetarian because of my love towards animals, and for the first time in years I stuck to something GOOD. Something pure. Something healthy. It was through yoga and a vegetarian (and later vegan) diet that I learned to calm my cravings, quiet those insecure thoughts, eat food that actually nourishes my body (lots of it!), feel good after eating, and even learned to understand and love my body. Every inch of it. I’m not perfect. I don’t have the curves of a VS model but I am me. This body is mine. My temple. My treasure and I only have one of those. One body. One life. The last time I weighted myself(besides annual doctor visits) was exactly 6 years ago when I promised myself I would never have a scale at home again….and I never did. This is one of the reasons why I believe so powerfully in the wonders of a yogi, plantbased and  balanced lifestyle guys. You might be wondering how I dare to share this phase of my life with you…total strangers. Let’s just say I also promised myself I would use the blog, my social media and my story for a greater purpose this year and every year after. Use it for something kind and life-changing…for those reading this and going through something similar (There’s always a way out, loves. Always!), and for me as well. Life should be about inspiring and being inspired, babes. Every day!

With that being said, here’s the first video tutorial of one of the things I drink every morning for breakfast (combined with Ezekiel toasts or an oatmeal or something similar) or have as an afternoon snack. Yummy, kind, vegan and filling protein smoothie FULL of superfoods. :)

Quote of the day: “Food can be your medicine or your slowest form of poison.”

What you'll need the following organic ingredients:

-Maca

-Camu Camu

-Hemp Oil

-Diatomaceous Earth

-VEGA protein (Vanilla)

-Plantbased milk (Almond, Soy, Coconut or Cashew Milk)

-Frozen Berry Mix

-Frozen Mango Mix

-Banana

-Raw Agave Honey

-Toasted Coconut Chips

Not your ordinary Holiday gift inspiration!

It's that time of the year again guys!!! Lights everywhere, people singing, stores getting crowded, and money "mysteriously" flying out of our wallets like free birds. And don't even get me started on the post-Holiday remorse we get once the credit card bill hits home! But what if we could give all that shopping a meaning other than showing affection towards our loved ones? What if we could help our planet with every dollar? And no, I don't mean making a donation on someone else's behalf (even though I love that type of gift, most people don't appreciate it!). This type of giving involves your loved ones getting their awesome gifts while your Benjamin Franklins make a difference in our planet. Yeap! All that is very much possible! I’ve been doing it for 2 years now, not only for the Holidays but every day, by looking for and shopping eco-friendly and charity-loving brands. To save you guys the hours of research, here are some of the gifts I have in mind this year. I hope you like them as much as I do! <3

 

Sunnies: ever thought about buying cool shades that give eye-care to people in need? Well, these are it! For women and men. TOMS is revolutionizing they way we shop completely!

Bags: Let’s be honest ladies…we can never have enough bags in our closet. Something that makes me truly happy though, is receiving a vegan and eco-friendly bag that looks like actual leather but is made from recycled plastic bottles and other cruelty-free materials. Here are some great options. For women and men (briefcases).

Scarves: Now this brand has me completely head over heels! Scarves that are not only fashionable but are blessed with 4 knots in each corner representing Love, Adventure, Happiness and Mystery AND also give back big time! For each one you purchase, the owner (Matt) designs a blessed blankie for homeless children and doggie beds for homeless dogs.

Winter Booties: This topic is HUGE!!! I’m sure you’ve all heard of UGGS but did you know there’s an overload of cruelty behind them? Even though they are made from wool and companies have painted and sold us this peaceful and beautiful picture of men and sheep hugging while they are being shed, reality is…THAT IS NOT THE CASE! Sheep get tortured and suffer tremendously with some of them bleeding to death because of the brusque treatment. Click here to read more. Fortunately, Pammies have come to the rescue! These incredibly soft and comfy booties are made from recycled polyester, TV screens and other vegan and eco-friendly materials!!

Cruelty-free & Natural Makeup: In case you babes didn’t know, most beauty products are not only toxic but also tested on animals in horrendous ways. Therefore, I’m always looking for natural and kinder alternatives and Tarte fits this concept completely. Most of my makeup is by Tarte. Plus, their packaging designs are flawless!

Clothing with a heart: This brand does not only have fabulous day-to-day essentials with cool designs but they are all fairtrade and provide school uniforms to girls in Nepal for each clothing piece sold! This tee is by far my fave! It helps victims of Nepal’s earthquake too.

Eco Yoga mats: For all yoga and planet-lovers, this is a must! JadeYoga produces yoga mats entirely made from renewable tree rubber with amazing colors AND plant a tree for every mat purchased!

Eco Skateboard: Now this is what I like to call “flying through the streets without leaving a trace”! These skateboards are made from ocean waste (recycled fishing net), vegetable oil and more.

Diamonds: Who doesn’t like jewelry? Specially when it’s the type of design that involves ethical diamonds and charities that educate and empower women! Unleashed diamonds is reshaping the diamond industry BIG time! (PS: Santa.. I want this necklace please!!! ;) )

Reclaimed Wood Clock that plants trees: This entire store has incredible products made from recycled materials and plants trees for each one bought.

Eco coffee mug: I have this one at home and LOVE it! It is made from bamboo and keeps the temperature of your tea or coffee hot for hours!!

Make it yourself: In my opinion, there’s nothing that shows more dedication and love than a gift that is actually made by the person who gives it to you. I saw this little baby and thought it was a cute and delicate gift idea or even home décor. All you need is a mason jar, gold paint, and a plant.

 

 

 

Graduated as a Raw Vegan Chef!!

I owed you guys this post! …My last week at Matthew Kenney Culinary in Venice, California. It took me so long to write it because that week I was honestly focused on studying for the written final and on preparing a 3-course raw vegan menu for the second part of the final!! My mind was solely thinking about that menu but turns out I did great! I aced both finals but more importantly, I had the BEST time of my life! Besides learning how to make eye-seductive and delicious recipes that are kind to our planet and humanity, I also got to meet the most incredible and inspiring souls during those 4 weeks. So, if you’re planning on taking this course, be prepared to have a blast creating healthy food-art while laughing at every joke your classmates or the Chefs throw at you. And, to make my last week even more memorable, Nov 19th not only marked Finals day but also my 28th birthday!!! Yeap! It’s that time of the year again. J Right after we finished presenting our dishes to the Chefs and our loved ones (you get to take your friends and family with you), I got surprised with a delicious Chlorella cake topped with chocolate and ice cream. All vegan, organic and made at the MK’s restaurant! No words to describe how good it was. All I can say is, some of us almost licked the plate clean!!

OK, now back to MCK. These are the recipes we made and the menu I prepared for my final. Each of us needed to write a 3-course menu but only execute and present 2 of those dishes. I made a spinach-carrot cream with avocados topped with a truffle oil foam and smoked paprika for the appetizer, and raw vegan Arroz con Leche topped with white chocolate for dessert. Thoughts? <3

PS: I'm officially a Raw Vegan Chef! How about that for my 28th birthday?!!

PS2: Don’t forget you guys can still sign up for MKC’s classes in LA, Miami, Thailand, Maine or even online! They have one every month! Use code “waterthruskin” for a 15% discount. Email admissions@matthewkenneycuisine.com

Raw vegan food....Is it the third week already?!

Wow guys. This Matthew Kenney Cuisine course is slowly coming to an end with a bittersweet taste. On one hand, I'm truly excited to graduate but on the other hand I'm not ready to let go of the amazing people I've met, our Chefs, or the kitchen where we made colorful magic happen. I'm honestly already meditating about taking Level 2 next year. How about you? Any of you interested in learning more about the healing power of raw vegan food or the infinite recipes that will change the way you view food? If so, I have some great news for you!!! If you reserve your spot for December or next year before the end of 2015, you can get 15% off your tuition with the code "WaterThruSkin". Just email admissions@matthewkenneycuisine.com with your information, the course you would like to take, and the discount code. You can take it at any of their locations (Miami, LA, Maine, Thailand!). Like Christmas in November! ;)

Now, back to cuisine this week we learned how to make raw vegan cheeses, water kefir, buckwheat granola, raw vegan chocolate, coconut yogurt, tiramisu, zucchini tartare and other yummy recipes! Let's start with the vegan cheeses. Who knew they could taste so good! We also learned how to create our own flavors by adding or replacing some ingredients from MKC's original cheese recipe. I made a shiitake & black pepper cheese and then a "brie" cheese topped with a raspberry & basil sauce. (If you decide to take the course, this is one of your exams. Cheese plating!)

Buckwheat granola. Even though this might sound common and simple, this granola is very different, starting with the buckwheat ingredient instead of oatmeal. Buckwheat has more protein and nutrients than oats. We also learned how to make coconut yogurt from scratch and I layered it with the granola, some raspberries, bananas, pomegranate and agave.

And one of my favorites: Zucchini Avocado Tartare. I don't know what it is about this recipe...maybe it's the colors and flavors, or the avocado or the fact that it's so easy to make, but I could honestly eat this every day! Avocado, Zucchini, lemon juice, olive oil and flowers. Simple yet refreshingly delicious!

Last but not least, we also visited the Farmers Market in Santa Monica as a class to get any extra ingredients we wanted for our cheese plate exam. The Farmers Market is a few blocks long and absolutely wonderful!! You'll get to see and taste exotic veggies, fruits and herbs you might have never seen or heard of before like Buddha's fingers or the light pink raspberries (combination of the orange and red ones). How about that!? <3

Stay tuned for the next post on Monday (and the final one since graduation is this Friday!!) about MKC.

To read about my Week 1 and 2 at MKC, click here.

To see some recipes, click here. I'll also be sharing some more in the next few days. xoxo

 

The Art of Raw Vegan Food

Hello from LA!!

As you guys might've already seen on my Instagram, I've relocated to LA to take my love towards animals and our earth to the next level by taking Matthew Kenney's Culinary 4-week raw vegan course. Week 1 is over and this has honestly been an eyeopening and wonderful experience already! Not only because I'm learning the powerful basics of a raw plant-based diet and the healing power of foods but also because throughout the past week I've discovered a side of me I didn't know existed. A creative side. After spending 5 years working in the Private Banking industry and 4 years studying International Business in college, I was taught to see (and was used to seeing) life in numbers. Everything was either black or white, even when it came to cooking. Until now! It's been only 7 days and I have learned to get out of my comfort zone and dare to play with ingredients and colors fearlessly. I've also discovered that plating is a big factor when it comes to serving food. Even if you're cooking and serving it for yourself. Believe it or not, besides food being our medicine (or slowest form of poison), the way we serve it can very much brighten up our day or sadden it. Since day 1 at MKC, we've learned to combine colorful raw ingredients like beets, carrots, cabbage, microgreens and beautiful flowers that have managed to open up my mind to a new blissful side of gastronomy. Not to mention the mouthwatering flavors of the recipes we've been preparing. I'm sharing a few pictures of the recipes I made during the past few days in the hopes that I get you a little excited about raw vegan food, but most of all, excited about getting out that comfort zone and trying new things. Specially, cooking consciously. For your health and the future of our planet. I'll also keep sharing more details of this course with you as the weeks go by but, in the meantime, you can find out more by visiting www.matthewkenneycuisine.com

PS: I've never EVER taken a cooking class and somehow managed to create the dishes below, so there's really no such excuse as "I could never do that". I'm literally starting from 0 here too and possibilities are endless. You just have to believe, let go and have fun! :)

*In case you guys don't know, raw cuisine is just like veganism- in the sense that no animal products of any kind are consumed- but goes a step further by not cooking anything above 118F to preserve the enzymes and nutrients of each ingredient. Like the name says it, everything is "Raw", unprocessed and made from scratch. 

    How we start every morning. Knife skills.&nbsp;Best part of it is that we juice every ingredient and enjoy fresh and organic veggie &amp; fruit juices every day! :)

 

How we start every morning. Knife skills. Best part of it is that we juice every ingredient and enjoy fresh and organic veggie & fruit juices every day! :)

    Raw vegan Zucchini Lasagna with Macadamia Ricotta,&nbsp;Red Pepper-Sundried Tomato Marinara, and Pistachio Pesto.&nbsp;

 

Raw vegan Zucchini Lasagna with Macadamia Ricotta, Red Pepper-Sundried Tomato Marinara, and Pistachio Pesto. 

    Veggie Hand Rolls with Spicy Mango Chutney.&nbsp;

 

Veggie Hand Rolls with Spicy Mango Chutney. 

    Red Beet Ravioli with Cashew Cheese, Pistachios &amp; Bell Pepper Puree.&nbsp;

 

Red Beet Ravioli with Cashew Cheese, Pistachios & Bell Pepper Puree. 

    Kale Cesar Salad with Sunflower Dressing &amp;&nbsp;Shiitake Anchovies.

 

Kale Cesar Salad with Sunflower Dressing & Shiitake Anchovies.

    Sushi roll with Jicama Rice, Shiitake Mushrooms &amp; Chipotle Mayo.&nbsp;

 

Sushi roll with Jicama Rice, Shiitake Mushrooms & Chipotle Mayo.