Coffee facts TO KNOW & a green brand reshaping it all! WICKED JOE.

Today’s topic is coffee. Why?  For three very good reasons. 1) I haven’t met one soul on this lovely planet that doesn’t like coffee. 2) I’m fascinated by it. From the aroma it releases when I prepare it in the morning, to its health benefits (despite all the controversial research articles out there, coffee does have a few health benefits. Click here to read about them.) which put a cute smile on my face every single time! There’s something about coffee that makes us all drool over it, but here’s an eye-opening detail you might have not heard of, since the companies of this second most traded commodity (after oil) do not put in on their products’ labels. Coffee production has a devastating effect on the planet and some of its most delicate eco-systems, and this devastation is increasing by the second. Just imagine this: 400 billion cups of coffee are consumed by us every year for which roughly 200,000 acres of rainforests are being burned on a daily basis. Let me rephrase this.. I wrote DAILY! What does this all mean though? Well, it basically means that this "massive deforestation is one of the leading causes of air and water pollution, soil erosion, the release of carbon dioxide, the loss of biodiversity through mass extinction of plants and animals. Fewer rainforests also mean less rain, less oxygen for us to breathe, and an increased threat from global warming.” (by: Going Green Today) That brings me to the third good reason of today’s topic: 3) There are ways to prevent these harmful impacts of coffee production without having to reduce your consumption entirely! We just need to look for the green options. Companies that are producing organic, fair-trade and rainforest alliance certified coffee. Wicked Joe is a brand that fits all those categories, and many more! Wicked Joe is officially taking ethical and sustainable coffee to the next level! They are a B-Corp (certification based on a company's practices and missions taking nature and people into consideration and showing transparency in all) and focus on producing and selling coffee that protects rainforests, birds, the hands that harvest the beans, the local communities, and soil. They have composting systems in place, work with different non-profits to improve the livelihoods of the children living in coffee-growing communities, and so SO much more! They make coffee that is both good for your health (organic and free of harmful pesticides) and kind to our planet. One you can enjoy every morning guilt-free. 

PS: in case you didn't know, coffee has been proven to be one of the most chemically-treated crops in the world. Solution? GO ORGANIC. Always!

Conscious Holiday Shopping Guide

The Holidays are here. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas discounts, etc. Sales and low prices meant to catch our attention and push us to shop more than our wallets, home space, and planet can handle. So, this Holiday season, choose to shop wisely. Consciously. Being aware of every dollar you are spending and every brand you are choosing to support. How do you do this? Easy. Ask yourself the following questions before swiping that card or emptying your wallet:

1.     Do I really need it?

2.     Could I do something better with that money? How about adding it to my travel fund?

3.     If I really need it, will I use it more than once?

4.     If not, is it biodegradable? (whatever we throw in the trash- be it clothing or toys- will sit in there for years! If it’s plastic 400+ years, if it’s textiles 30+ years)

5.     Is it ethical? Does the brand or product have our planet and people in mind? Look for labels such as: fair-trade, eco-friendly, sustainable, biodegradable.

6.     Is it vegan? Yes, this word applies to more than food. Clothing, makeup, inks, can also carry animal bi-products as ingredients. Reading labels is always a must!

7.     (The last one and my favorite one!) What’s the story behind it? How does it give back? Will I enjoy sharing its story? Or, will the person I gift it to enjoy it too?

Simple questions that can reshape our mindsets a little and have a positive impact on our planet. With that being said, here are some brands you might want to check out! I also included discount codes for you. :)  You’re welcome! And Happy Conscious Holidays!

All of these brands carry products that are fair-trade, eco-friendly, vegan and fashionable!

YOGA

For my yogis, these are my favorite brands:

1. Satva Living: each piece is fair-trade (meaning that the hands that made them were paid a fair wage and provided with humane working conditions) and made with organic cotton, recycled plastic, plantbased dyes. Use code "WTS30" for 30% off!

2. PortdeBras: each set is made with natural fibers and empowers women in Venezuela.

YOGA MATS & PROPS

3. I love Gurus: mats and shoes made with cork (renewable resource) and natural tree rubber. They plant trees for each purchase

4. Jade Yoga: made from natural tree rubber (renewable resource) and plants trees for each purchase.

5. Yoloha Yoga: made from cork and recycled tires. They also have yoga props, water bottles and yoga wheels with gorgeous designs!

CLOTHING

6. XCVI: each piece is fair-trade (WRAP certified) and the dyes used do not contain harmful chemicals (RoHS compliant). Use codewaterthruskin” for discount.

7. VeganResortWear: each piece is fair-trade and made with natural fibers and vegan materials! Beautiful tops, skirts and jumpsuits for all beach and wanderluster babes! Use code "waterthruskin" for 25% off. 

8. Ni Beach Wear: each piece is handmade, handpainted and supports dog shelters and Puerto Rico. Use codewaterthruskin10” for 10% discount.

9. Miakoda NYC: each piece is fair-trade, made in the US with natural fibers (bamboo, soy, organic cotton) and extremely comfortable!

10. Les Sublimes: each piece is fair-trade, made with natural fibers that produce less water, air, and soil pollution, GOTS certified cotton, and provide a month of feminine products and reproductive education to girls in Africa. Deliveries are also CO2 neutral using Colissimo and also by bicycle in Paris.  Use codewaterthruskin10” for 10Euros off your first purchase.

11. StormieDreams: each piece is made from reclaimed fabrics gathered from large companies that would have discarded them. Also, all designs that don't sell get cut into children's clothing and donated to nonprofits Stormie Dream works with! Use code "wtrthrskn20" for discount.

10. The Onikas: each piece is fair-trade, handmade and blockprinted (antique technique in India where artisans use wood block stamps to print on fabrics) empowering artisans in India and Ecuador.

INTIMATES

11. Chakra Intimates: Have you been looking for ethical and sexy lingerie? Well, look no further! These bras and panties are fair-trade, and made with natural and sustainable fabrics and ethically-sourced crystals meant to transfer the earth’s energy to us when in touch with our skins, helping keep our chakras in balance! Use code "VALE" for a 10% discount!

SWIMWEAR

12. EcoPeace Swim: each swim piece is fair-trade, made in the US, eco-friendly and beautiful! They use natural and recycled fabrics and non-toxic dyes.

ACCESSORIES

13. WaterThruskin Tote: My favorite ever! I use it every day. It is made from old billboards and non-toxic ink. Each bag comes with a palo santo and green aventurine crystal, and gives back to different non-profits. Use code "WTSTRIBE"for discount!

14. Big Bubble Bags: each piece is fair-trade and made with recycled bubble wrap!

15. Matt&Nat: vegan leather bags made with recycled plastic interior lining!

16. Harveys: fair-trade bags and totes made from car seatbelts and recycled plastic interior lining!

JEWELRY

17. 31 Bits: each piece is made with recycled paper and vegetable dyes and glue, and empowers women in Uganda!

18. The Fifth Element: each piece is handmade and sustainable. I adore the mandala rings and the animal spirit cards handpaited by Sarah, the Founder!

19. Lian & Mez: If you are tired of the leather strap watches, these will be your new buddies! Luxury watches made with pineapple leather straps! Fair-trade, sustainable, and beyond gorgeous!

20. Krystle Knight: crystals crystals crystals. The only language I know J This brand is fair-trade and handmade with ethically sourced crystals. Rings, earrings, necklaces. You name it!

21. 4Ocean: made of recycled plastic bottles taken out of the ocean. Your purchase supports ocean clean-ups. 200,000+ pounds of trash taken out already! 

HOME & SUBSCRIPTION BOXES

22. Globe In: monthly subscription boxes and products that share a story. Each product is handmade, fair-trade, ecofriendly and empowers artisans worldwide! Use code "Waterthru" for $10 off your first order. 

23. Live Vessel: For my coffee/tea lovers, I discovered the eco and fair-trade coffee mug of my dreams!!! It's handmade from ceramic (cadmium and lead free) and is enriched with white tourmaline (Brazilian crystal) that releases beneficial infrared rays and negative ions when subject to heat. This purifies and alkalinizes the drink in your mug! Thus, higher pH! Their designs are beautiful too! Go check them out and use code "waterthruskin15" for a discount!

 

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!

Live TV Interview About a Conscious Lifestyle! (SPANISH)

(En Español abajo)

So this happened. First LIVE TV interview ever but SO MUCH FUN! I blushed, I laughed, I talked nonstop, I didn't know which camera to look at, I talked in Spanglish, and I probably got off topic many times but I also shared what I know about following a conscious lifestyle and being a blogger. My experience, how to make a difference in the world with daily baby steps (from fashion purchases to a plant-based diet to my daily thoughts) and how chasing my dreams has opened new doors for me. What a beautiful experience guys! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. The interview was broadcasted in my home country, Bolivia, which means it's in Spanish. Thus, this one is for all my Spanish-speaking soulmates out there! Let me know your thoughts. :)  ps: wearing recycled plastic peep-toe booties by Melissa Shoes and a recycled paper necklace empowering women in Uganda by 31Bits.

Primera vez que escribo en español por aquí. Creo que ya ameritaba siendo que, por más que vivo en Miami hace 10 años, soy Boliviana y llevo mis raíces muy marcadas adentro y ahora estoy en la cuidad que me vió crecer: Santa Cruz. Más hermoso que eso, hace dos días tuve la oportunidad de hablar sobre un estilo de vida consciente en el show de TV "Palabra de Mujer" de PAT en Bolivia. Desde los pasos chicos diarios que podemos tomar para proteger nuestra salud y medio ambiente hasta mi experiencia como bloggera. Cubrimos temas sobre la moda que ayuda al medio ambiente (ej. Plástico reciclado), una dieta vegana sana, viajes ecológicos y también como la práctica de yoga y una mente positiva nos mantienen sanos espiritualmente. Que orgullo ver como este movimiento consciente esta creciendo en mi país! Aquí se vienen muchos proyectos más! Espero que disfruten esta entrevista tanto como yo lo hice, incluyendo mi Spanglish!! Pd: para la entreviste usé botines de plástico reciclado de Melissa Shoes (tienda en Santa Cruz IC Norte) y un collar de papel reciclado que ayuda a mujeres en Africa por 31Bits.

In a world of copycats, be original. Be YOU!

This post might come as a shock to you guys. I know I always try to focus my stories on words of positivism and encouragement but today I experienced something I never thought possible. That's the reason why I was so quiet on social media. I needed to think and process what was going on. And write. As much as I could. To let all my words and feelings out. Today, I experienced one of those reality checks everyone warns you about and you try not to pay too much attention to. Those advices you hear about not trusting people, about protecting yourself and your work, about not being too kind, too loving, too naive. You think they are just words until they become your lessons. You see, just like I can spend hours talking and writing about all the things in this world that make me smile and every little earthling on this planet we should protect, I also tend to make the mistake of believing everyone around me is genuinely kind, honest, real and unique. Sadly, that is not the truth. There will be people in your life that will find it easier to criticize you and talk behind your back while they copy every single step you take, instead of being themselves and finding their own voice and creativity. Yes, my blog has been plagiarized by someone who was very dear to me. Even though friends and family had warned me already, I chose to play blind until today that I read it with my own eyes. Even my bio was copied! Is that a lack of creativity or identity? Is there a difference? A part of me is devastated. I've spent countless hours and long nights of zero sleep in these past 2 years writing for you guys and then a "friend" decides to jump on my back in the sneakiest of ways to fly along and enjoy the ride?! Of course I'm hurt and frustrated and want to scream from the top of my lungs! I could scream so many nasty words at her right now but there's also a wiser and calmer part of mine that tells me to breathe. To relax. To know that I've been thankfully blessed with humans that believed in my blog so much, they've protected it legally. That screaming wont do any good. And that, if she lacks the creativity to write in her own words, that's her issue. You see, being original is everything guys! Copying has a short lifespam. The minute your "muse" stops writing and creating, you'll run out of things to replicate. You'll be lost. Without a voice. Without ideas. Being creative, transparent and yourself is key to your survival. That's your essence. That's your soul. So that's what I'll keep doing. I'll keep being very much ME and will use this lesson to become stronger and wiser. For me, my family (everything I fight for is for them), my dreams, and for you guys! Your constant support and words of encouragement keep me dreaming and aiming higher every day. I truly hope you find some inspiration in my story and that it pushes you to realize how wonderful and unique and magnificent it is to be YOU. Nobody can take that away from you. And PLEASE always remember that kindness is about MORE than claiming to be kind. It's the entire lifestyle. What you think, what you talk, how you act towards others, what you eat, breath, and inspire. Being kind is about much more than just a word. 

 Love you, guys. 

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!

Closing 2015 with a lovely feature on Cosmo Latinas!!!

No words to describe my excitement right now guys! Not only do I feel incredibly honored to have been contacted for this piece and to represent the country that saw me grow, Bolivia, but I also find it truly inspiring that Cosmo agreed to feature the conscious brands I promote on a daily basis. From head to toe, once again, dress in planet-friendly LOVE! What an amazing way to close 2015, babes! This Cosmo issue was published in November 2015 but it wasn't until yesterday that a friend of mine called me to share the exciting news. The issue will be on newsstands until 2/16/16. Can't wait to keep spreading consciousness in 2016! Anything is possible. Never forget that! And stay kind. Always! xx

-Kimono by BohoHunter. Made by artisans in Colombia. You can find it at one of my favorite stores in Miami. This store promotes handmade, fair trade and charity-oriented fashion garments. Shop it online too!

-Flower carved boots by Melissa. Recycled plastic. The Brazilian brand “Melissa” focuses on designing shoes that have the environment in mind by reducing water and waste pollution, using recycled plastic, and reusing unsold shoes from previous collections. 

-Boho necklace by Yvera. Handmade in Bolivia. 

-Jeans by Gap. In case you haven't heard, Gap is taking new initiatives to reduce water use and pollution and is part of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition where companies are evaluated on material types, products, facilities and processes based on a range of environmental and product design choices. Retailers also plan to add measures for labor and social standards. Read more here.

Photography by Bea Pernia for Cosmo Latina

What if you fly?

As I promised all the free spirits that asked me, today's post will be dedicated to telling you guys how I went from being a private banker to starting this blog and leaving everything to follow my passions.

Where to begin? There's so much I want to tell you guys but I don't want to make this post so long that you read only half way through. Therefore, I will try to focus on the most important details and those that will hopefully inspire you to follow your dreams. Now, let’s get to the point! <3

I graduated from college in 2010 with a major in international business. To be honest, there hasn’t been one day since that I haven’t asked myself why I chose that major. I think the fact that I speak three languages (Spanish, English and German), love numbers and come from a family of business people had a lot to do with it. My senior year in college I felt completely lost. My family kept telling me to stick to my business major while in my free time I found myself wondering about photography, taking classes about Buddhism and Hinduism, doing arts & crafts and handmade jewelry, volunteering at dog shelters, acting in front of mirrors, and preaching about my humanitarian and vegetarian values (I became vegan later on). One semester before graduation, I realized I hadn't taken a single internship during my 3.5 years in school. Not knowing what I wanted to do with my life I once again let the ones who love me guide me. Everyone kept saying "finance", which made me think they knew better so I interviewed at an international bank in Miami. After 3 meetings with the bank, I had my first paid internship and found myself working from 9-5 while taking 18 credits at school every night. My days started at 6 am and ended around midnight, which was usually the time I got home after school. Weekends I spent at home writing 30-50 page essays for most of my classes. Did I enjoy it? Hell no! But I knew I wanted to make something of myself and challenge the "beauty and no brains" judgment everyone had of me when I was a teenager. I’m not going to lie, that last semester was an ugly pain! I was not only exhausting myself physically and mentally but I was also dealing with a broken four-year relationship with the guy I thought I would marry. Talk about the freaking cherry on top! I guess my ambition was a little stronger than my exhaustion and heartbreak because I graduated with a 3.8 GPA, honors and a job offer at the bank. And that's how it all started... What I thought to be the American dream! The day after graduation I was officially a full time employee at the bank earning 50k, attending fancy client events and living in a nice apartment with an ocean view. My excitement lasted for 3 years until I realized I had never felt emptier and more confused. I knew I needed to take some time off from banking to clear my head and figure things out. Something I’ve always been passionate about is yoga so becoming a yoga teacher felt like the right thing to do. I quit my banking job (first one) and took a 45-day yoga teacher training. A few weeks after I finished my training, I was already giving privates but that was not enough to pay the “banker lifestyle” bills that were piling up and I found myself struggling every day. I had student loans to pay, rent, car, credit cards and tons of other bills on hold. Going to my family for financial support was not an option since I’ve been taking care of myself since college. My ego was also too big for that (not saying it with pride. That is a weakness I’ve been fighting with for years now). Sadly, my parents didn’t give me any moral support either because they didn’t approve my decision to leave banking in the first place. I felt completely alone and more lost than I’ve ever felt! And that’s how I got myself back into banking for the second time. I got offered a better position at another bank with almost double my old salary and, at that precise moment, I felt I had no other choice. I have to admit though, the first 5 months were amazing. I felt I was learning a lot, had a great team to work with, was traveling back and forth to NYC, and going to tons of tennis and basketball games with clients. “The job everyone wanted”, as my friends said over and over again, but I kept feeling like something was missing. I felt imprisoned. Glued to a seat for hours while I looked at the green trees and sky outside my office window. I was the only vegan, hippie, yogi, charity-loving, full of tattoos banker in the office, which made me feel more like I didn’t belong there. I kept telling myself there had to be more to life, never imagining that sentence would be my fuel to start this blog. I wanted to be so close to myself, to my emotions, to my goals and passions and to my wild heart that I decided to detach myself from the things I no longer needed… the things that didn’t make my soul happy. I sold all the items in my closet with designer names I could barely pronounce, moved from a one bedroom apt to a beautiful little studio on the beach, went fully vegan (after 4 years as a vegetarian, I finally chose a vegan diet and lifestyle about a little more than a year ago) and began to volunteer again at the charities close to my heart. Yes, I was still in banking but this time I wanted to make sure it never got to my head again! And even though I had gone from The Devil Wears Prada type of lifestyle to a simpler one, I was so joyful! I felt as if I had taken a huge rock out of my back and could finally breathe! Once I had achieved this, the blog came alive. Friends of mine told me I should put my life and daily choices in writing because it’s not very often that you find a free spirited, vegan, charity-lover, tattooed yogi in an industry full of stress and materialism such as banking. So I did. And I wrote, and wrote, and wrote and with every key I pressed I felt closer to myself than ever! After 10 months of saving (something I didn’t do much the first time I left my 9-5) and dedicating my nights and weekends and every little free second I got off the banking world to the blog, I finally accepted that staying in banking would mean living someone else’s dream and that if I at least didn’t give my passions and life itself another try I would probably spend 5 more years looking out my office window wondering “what if”. There’s no greater enemy to one’s success and happiness than the “what if”. What if I had studied acting like I wanted when I was young? What if I take photography lessons? What if I quit banking again and travel the world? What if, what if, what if! Three weeks ago I waived that “what if” (and banking!) a final goodbye. I woke up one morning and realized I would rather fail 100 times pursuing what I love than succeed at something that is slowly vanishing my smile and taking my years away. There is so much I want to do in this life… From doing my best to leave my mark on this planet, to sipping my morning coffee stress-free under a tree, to taking acting lessons, to traveling and seeing every sunrise and sunset from every coast and taking mental and physical pictures of them! But none of this will ever be possible if I don't believe in it! If I don't visualize it! If I don't do something to make it happen! And the same applies to all of you guys! Nobody knows you better than you do so don’t waste your time living someone else’s dream. Follow your passions and give yourselves entirely to them because once you act in ways that make your heart smile, you’re surrounded by positive energy and this energy attracts amazing things and people to your life to point you in the right direction. Finding the path becomes so much easier when you are doing something you LOVE and above all something good for this world. So go out there fearlessly, take risks and LOVE! In the end, if you think about it, love is energy and energy is simply everything!

xoxo

Vale

“What if I fall?”

“Oh, my darling, but what if you fly?”