Thursday, March 31, 2016

A Big Change

Today, everything changes, and I couldn't be happier.

When I went vegetarian nearly two years ago, I didn't really have a plausible reason.  I stopped eating meat for Lent one year and it simply felt right, so I stayed on the lifestyle.  Slowly, over the past two years, I have become educated in the ethical side of things: how animals are really treated in not only the meat industry, but the dairy, egg, and clothing industry as well.  It's not green pastures and whistling farmers, as much as I would love to think that.  I've watched documentaries, Youtube videos, and I've read books.  I learned about veganism.  For those of you who don't know, vegans are people who abstain not only from meat, but from dairy, eggs, and other animal products as well.

Veganism was something that genuinely interested me, and as I learned more about the planetary impacts and health benefits, I felt more of a connection to it.  It made sense: I was already a vegetarian. I was lactose intolerant, meaning that when I did have dairy, I'd have to pop a lactaid pill.  I steered clear of eggs because I'd had a past with high cholesterol, and I simply didn't like the taste of them.  However, I never made the transition!  I lacked the motivation, I always had an excuse, I was scared of people judging me.  And, yes, while I had learned more about the ethics, I still was blind to what was in front of me.

The big connection came when I watched a speech on Youtube that changed my life.  I'll link that below for anyone interested  I spent more than half of it with my hand over my mouth, in tears. They say that seeing is believing, and that couldn't be more true.  The things that animals go through, captured on video, made me sick to my stomach.  I didn't even want to think that this was happening everywhere, everyday, but I now knew that that was true.  The grave realization came to me that maybe my vegetarian lifestyle wasn't as "harmless" as I'd thought it to be.

That speech also helped me make the connection to what I was wearing.  My closet was full of leather shoes, bags, and belts, silk scarves, angora sweaters.  I wore them on the daily, and I wore them constantly on my blog.  I have been criticized before for the designer items I wear in my posts, been accused of having a label addiction or being a "trust funder", charging it all to my parents' credit cards. (not true, I pay for all my own clothes, but that's beside the point.)  Somehow I never made that connection in my mind.  If I wouldn't put it in my body, why was I willing to shell out $250 for it and carry it on my shoulder?  The blinders were off, and my mind was racing with a million different emotions at once.  However, in that whirlwind of thought, one things was clear to me- the next step to take.

I am extremely proud to say that I am going vegan.  This is something that I've wanted to do for such a long time, and now I finally have the ethical connection and motivation to do so.  My goal is to leave my mark on this planet by treading lightly.  I am a friend to all beings, and I know this is a decision that I won't regret.  I'm starting a new journey in life, on a new lifestyle, and I couldn't be happier.

From this point on, Little Miss Haute Couture will become a vegan fashion blog.  I will not be wearing animal products on my blog anymore!  I started to clear out all my silk, angora, and leather last month, and haven't worn them since.  I'm selling my animal products in my Poshmark closet.  I do have a few pieces of wool in my closet, which I haven't gotten rid of since they are not necessarily products of slaughter, but I'm probably going to be parting with those too. (UPDATE  5/29/16 - I am now also getting rid of my wool products in my closet.)  Anyways, even though this blog with be hugely different, it will still be- in a sense- the same.  Same style, just new values.  I'll be highlighting cruelty-free pieces from brands that I already know and love, and amazing vegan lines as well!  And there are so many options.

Stella McCartney.  Matt & Nat.  Free People, Anthropologie, and H&M have a ton of great options as well.  Even J. Crew and J. Crew Factory have some great vegan pieces.  Kate Spade occasionally makes vegan bags from PVC, Tory Burch has vegan flip flops, clothes, and even some nylon bags. ASOS, Ted Baker, Zara, the list goes on and on.  There's options everywhere, and they tend to be less expensive as well.  I used to equate manmade materials with something cheap and fake, but in this day and age, quality and cruelty free can be hand in hand and are readily available allover.  All you have to do is read the tag!  The beautiful realization came to me that veganism doesn't mean giving up anything.

I've also thrown out my makeup products from brands that still test on animals, like Maybelline, Aveeno, Covergirl, and MAC in favor of cruelty-free makeup like Pacifica or Urban Decay.  I'll be honest, getting rid of some of the things in my closet was hard at first, especially on the first day when I decided to get rid of it all.  Sentimentality is strong in my closet, but the ethical side of my heart won over, and once I was done clearing it all out, I felt unbelievably good.  Cleaning it all out gave me a chance to start fresh, redefine what I love, and fill it back up with compassionate fashion.

Just a few of my new vegan additons!
BP Wedges // Anthropologie Bag // Smith's Rose Lip Balm // CaseApp iPod Case c/o
I also want to add something about affiliate links.  If you've ever clicked on a product link on my blog you might notice that it sometimes directs you through a site called Shopstyle to the retailer's website.  That's called an affiliate link, which means when someone clicks on a product I've linked through Shopstyle and/or makes a purchase, I receive a tiny commission to support my blog.  I always try to be transparent about that type of thing.  I won't be linking to and profiting from animal products anymore using these links.  Also, I'll be using the little bit of money generated from my affiliate links to help build up a new vegan closet, so if you choose to support that, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I can't wait to start this new journey, this new life.  I love ALL beings: animals, plants, and humans.  I love people regardless of what they eat and what they believe.  I was the only vegetarian and am now the only vegan in my family.  Yet my family is amazing, accepting, and have offered me more support that I was expecting to receive.  I try to keep an open heart and open mind, so I practice loving all people.  And I love the friends that have stuck with me throughout my blogging journey.  I hope you'll continue to stick with me!  I know this was a long ramble, but thank you if you read it all.  Your love keeps me going.

Thank you for your support, and I am so excited to start this new journey.  

For people interested in learning about veganism, the following resources are a great place to learn more.

Speech by Gary Yourofsky
This was an eye opener, and the main thing that helped me make the ethical connection that pushed me to go vegan.  (I talked about it above)  You can read a transcript of his speech here if you don't want to watch the video, since it is long and there is some graphic content.

My Youtube videos
I put together these short videos on the Dairy and Egg industries.  The video content is not necessarily graphic, but may be hard to watch for some.  However, these are only about 1 minute and a half long.

The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone, and The Kind Life
This is the first thing I read to learn about veganism, and it still remains a favorite book.  Alicia Silverstone is a passionate vegan and has two wonderful books and a website.

Kathy Patalsky
Not only is Kathy one of the kindest bloggers out there, but she is a passionate vegan and an influential voice in the vegan blogosphere.  Her blog was my favorite place to learn about veganism and the vegan lifestyle early on when I first started getting interested.  Also, her cookbooks are amazing!

PETA (People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals)
I recently signed my Peta pledge to go vegan.  Visit their website to learn more about what goes on in the animal industry, what you can do, and the multitude of benefits from veganism.

Freelee the Banana Girl
I'll admit, I used to disagree with everything she said.  She's one of the more controversial activists for veganism, in that she is very bold with her videos.  That being said, they have helped educate me on what really goes on in the meat, dairy, egg, and clothing industries.

Finding Vegan
This is where a ton of vegan food bloggers submit their recipe creations.  It's so easy to find amazing vegan foods, from delicious plant dishes to veganized versions of non-vegan foods.  It was also created by Kathy Patalsky (see above), so it's really my go-to.

More Favorites:
That Vegan Couple
The Vegan Jetsetter
One Green Planet
Mercy For Animals
The Concious Cook by Tal Ronnen
The Scarecrow

Thank you to everyone for your support.  It really means the world.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Bohemian Flow

Kimono: Vintage (similar)  Jeans: 7 For All Mankind   Bag: 3.1 Phillip Lim x Target   Shoes: BP    Sunglasses: Polette  (similar)  Hat: Farmer's market find (similar)

Let me start off with this statement- this look is not something I would normally wear.  The boho look is super fun, and I love the breezy feel of it, but it's definitely outside of how I usually dress.  I found this kimono in my sister's closet, and something compelled me to borrow it.  Styling it with a fun floppy hat, wedges, and an edgier bag was kind of like stepping into a new persona.  While I don't think I'll be transitioning my style to bohemian any time soon, it was a kind of fun experiment, and made me feel really good.  Try something new!  

Hope you all had a happy Easter!  I had a really nice relaxing day with some family, and a lovely day before with my best friend.  There's nothing like spending time with people you love to make a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Lemon Orchard in Spring

Bag: Anthropologie    Top: H&M (similar)    Jacket: Old Navy    Shoes: BP     Skirt: Loft (similar)
I love fruit-picking during spring, and I was so delighted to find this gorgeous lemon orchard filled with vibrant and ripe lemons.  Naturally grown, these lemons are pesticide and GMO free, so while they might have some speckles and imperfections on the outside, they are so worth it.  They noticeably taste much more fresh, juicy, and natural.
These BP wedges are incredibly comfortable and the cork shade goes with all the things.  I love nude high shoes to help elongate the legs and keep a natural feel to the look.  I wrote about this Anthro bag in my last outfit post.  It has really proven to me that blush pink goes with nearly everything, since I've worn it 4 times in the past week with different outfits.  It was also the perfect size for toting a few fresh lemons as I picked!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Blush & Bougainvillea

 Top:  J. Crew (old)   Skirt: J. Crew     Bag:  Anthropologie     Shoes: J. Crew Factory    Belt: H&M   

I wore this vegan outfit for a day out of shopping and a quick run to Whole Foods.  This bag is my new favorite- I actually spotted it while I was leaving Anthropologie.  I was putting back a dress that I'd tried on (loved the mango yellow color but the neckline didn't work out for me) and this eyelet mini tote happened to be on the shelf behind it.  I was more than overjoyed to find out that it was 100% vegan and came in the perfect blush pink!  Needless to say, I made a mad dash to the cashier counter.  Miss Albright is a great brand from Anthro, and this bag was a steal at $58!

Remember these shoes from my wishlist?  I decided to order them after admiring them online for a while, and I am happy to say that they are just as gorgeous in person as they are on the J. Crew Factory website.  The manmade patent is smooth and shiny, and they are much more comfortable than I was expecting, which is always a plus.  

Hope you've all been having a lovely week so far!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Favorite Rain Boots + Hunter Boots Regular vs. Kids

Sperry Hingham Quilted Rain Boots 

Rain boots are not something I get to use very often.  Especially right now, since California is in the middle of a drought, we don't get a ton of rain.  Still, I love taking advantage of the few rainy weeks we have in the winter and beginning of spring, and wear my favorite boots around.

Hunter Boots are a classic- the black/navy ones go with nearly anything and are wicked good at keeping your feet dry.  They don't keep your feet warm though, so don't wear them in the snow, and make sure to wear socks of some kind.  I own both the original and kid's sizes, which I'll be comparing below!

Sperry's Hingham boots are lined with a faux-fleece material, so they are perfect for keeping your feet toasty.  The vegan leather is also okay to get wet, so these are awesome for wading and jumping in puddles.  These come in earth tones, so they are super versatile.  I was quite lucky to snag a pair of these, since they are rarely available.

My two other favorite rain boot brands are Burberry and Joules.  I have one pair from Burberry (these ones), which I don't wear very often so I didn't photograph them.  I have yet to get a pair by Joules, though!

Hunter Boots:  Regular vs. Kids Size

First of all, let's talk about price.  The women's Original Tall Rain Boots are $150, while the Original Kid's Rain Boots are $80.  They are the same price whether you get them in the regular or gloss finish- my women's are regular finish, while my kid's are gloss finish.  The kid's boots are great for people with smaller feet.  They go up to a size 5, which is equivalent to a women's 7.   I attached a size chart below with Women's Equivalent sizes.

The Women's boot shaft height is 16", while the Kid's has an 11" shaft height.  On me, that means the Women's hit just below my knee, while the Kid's hit on the upper calf.  The calf part is pretty loose, so when I walk, it sometimes rubs against my jeans or leg in the middle of my calf, which can get a little uncomfortable after a few hours in thin pants without boot cuffs.  I don't have this problem with the women's since it hits higher on my leg.

The kid's boots also have reflector patches on the back, which some people love and some people find pesky.  Personally, I'm not a fan of these, and have tried to peel them off, but they're not removable.  

I wear a 6.5 and I have the size 5 in both women's and kid's.  The kid's ones fit me when I'm wearing very thick socks, like J. Crew camp socks or Hunter's boots socks.   The women's fit when I'm wearing regular thickness socks.

Overall, I prefer the regular women's boots, mostly because of the lack of reflectors.  I also like that they are a little taller, so I don't have to wear huge socks to avoid chafing.  However, the price difference is quite staggering- $70!  Luckily, I've found some great deals on Poshmark, where I got my black women's boots.  However, I think Hunter boots are well worth the price for the quality you get, especially if you'll be using them frequently in a rainy area.

Cleaning Your Hunter Boots

Hunter boots often develop white salt deposits when you wear them out in the rain.  Hunter does offer a cleaning liquid and maintenance tools, but they're pricey and there are much cheaper home remedies that work well.

The first method is to rub them down with a cooking oil.  I had to borrow some oil from my neighbor, and what he gave me was a bit too much.  What's pictured is probably double what you'll need.  Just a little bit on a paper towel should do the trick!  Rub off all the white salt deposits, then rinse it off with water and dry the boot's exterior with another clean paper towel.  The above photo is one boot after the full cleaning process and one boot with the white salt smudges. 

Dish soap and warm water should also work, but will probably take a little longer and require more effort.  Make sure your water is not too hot, as it could damage or even melt the rubber in prolonged exposure.  What you'd normally take a bath in is fine.

Hope this post and guide were helpful!  Let me know where your favorite boots are from.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Sailor Stitch Knit

 Sweater: Milly     Jeans: 7 For All Mankind (altered)    Bag: Vintage Ferragamo     Shoes: Ferragamo   Hair: Irresistible Me 

Milly Sailor Stitch Sweater in Navy + 7 For All mankind Skinny Jeans Dark Wash, altered + Vintage Ferragamo Bag + Ferragamo Vara Heels in Navy

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

My Current Wishlist ~ 5 Favorites

courtesy of Pink Peonies
J. Crew Factory Emery Flats - These bow flats are monochromatic, which makes them easy to pair with numerous outfits.  The pointed toe adds a dressier vibe to the flats.  I'm in love with the tan version.

Matt & Nat Blinkin Bag -  This gorgeous and minimalistic vegan bag is the perfect size for an everyday bag, and comes in multiple colors.  The white shade is my favorite!

Ann Taylor Lace Pleated Skirt - First off, I adore Joanne Froggatt (of Downton Abbey).  When I spotted this skirt in her Good Housekeeping spread, it immediately landed on my wishlist.  I love lace midis, and the pleated detail adds the perfect modern touch to this one.  It also comes in petite and tall.  

Paper Crown Bow-Back Pullover via. Anthropologie-  A lot of people don't know this, but Lauren Conrad is actually the designer behind Paper Crown, sold on Anthropologie.  And in true LC fashion, this simple white sweater has an open back with gorgeous striped bow details.

Chi Chi London High Neck Midi Dress via. ASOS - This is actually a prom dress, but it's so gorgeous for a bridesmaid, birthday, or just a ladylike cocktail dress!  I love the bow detail belt.  If blush pink isn't your thing, it comes in multiple colors as well.

Let me know what you think of the new LMHC logo!  I spent a few hours this weekend designing it, and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out!

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