Tuesday, November 20, 2018

How to Change Your Perspective on Thrifting + Fall Thrifting Inspiration

Over the last few weeks, I've heard a lot of comments about thrifting.

"It's not for me."

"I can't find clothing that is fashionable."

"It takes too much time to sort through all of the clothing."

I understand because I used to say the exact same phrases. It wasn't until I lived in Milan and started embracing a sustainable lifestyle that I began looking at thrifting in a different perspective. I saw clothing in thrift stores as something that was fashionable and fun, something that just needed a little inspiration and effort behind it. I looked beyond the smell of old clothes, the disorganization, and the judgment associated with wearing secondhand clothing. Instead, I looked for one-of-a-kind items, high quality pieces, and clothing that actually represented who I am. I built a secondhand, fashionable wardrobe wardrobe that inspires me everyday and I'm proud of it.

Aside from being motivated to thrift for sustainability reasons, the major thing that changed my perspective on thrifting was inspiration. I studied abroad in the fashion capital of the world for a year and was constantly inspired by high-end designs, styles I saw on the streets, and clothing in window displays and advertisements. I was inspired, but I didn't know where to find these items on a budget. I went to my first flea market and I was hooked. My inspiration met reality and it's continued since then.

Maybe you already have inspiration from your favorite fashion bloggers. Maybe you don't. If you don't, I recommend skimming through fashion magazines and clipping out your favorite outfits or colors or browsing Pinterest and making a mood board. For me, I find that I'm able to visual my style and solidify my inspiration when I do these things. Once you have inspiration...let's say you want to get a plaid blazer...all you have to do if find your nearest thrift store, head straight to the blazer section, and I can guarantee that you will find something similar. This eliminates the feeling of having to look through everything, being overwhelmed, and leaving disappointed. I've attached a few of my favorite fall thrifting inspiration and pieces I was able to find at a thrift store below. Stay tuned for a thrift haul video and head to my Instagram Shop to purchase some pieces!

Thrifted Blazer & Vintage Jeans //

Thrifted Sweater, Hat, & Vintage Jeans // 

Thrifted Tee, Sock Booties, and Vintage Jeans // 

Secondhand Jean Jacket (gifted) and Keds from Poshmark // Thrifted Dress //

If you have a little inspiration, then thrifting can be for you, it can be fashionable, and it doesn't have to take too much time. Be sure to tag me on Instagram with your latest thrift finds!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The Sustainable Brand Creating Change: EVERLANE

As part of this sustainable lifestyle, I am always on the search for eco-friendly and ethical fashion brands that are positively disrupting the fashion industry. One brand that has been on my radar for the last few months is Everlane.
Everlane is radical, it's transparent, and it's making a difference in the way consumers think about their clothing in relationship to our Earth's resources. The company produces minimal, yet fashionable pieces for everyday wear which can be dressed up or down. For the quality, the prices are fairly affordable which is rare in the sustainable fashion industry. 

I'm wearing the Everlane Straight Cheeky Jeans in the photo above. I would personally size up on the jeans because they were a little snug on the waist causing them to ruch in front. However, I love the cut!
Secondhand Everlane Knit (similar here and here) //
Everlane Boxy Turtleneck Tee (similar here and here) //

I'm wearing a a secondhand Knit Sweater (similar styles here and here) and the Boxy Turtleneck Tee (similar styles here and here) in the photos above. The sweater and turtleneck are perfect fall statements. Wear them separately or layer under a blazer! 

While I love the staples above, what makes Everlane an inspiring brand is their recent collection called "ReNew". The collection is raising awareness about plastic pollution and doing something about it! All of the products in the collection are made from recycled plastic water bottles. On top of that, Everlane is also making a pledge to have no new plastic in its supply chain by 2021. Cheers to Everlane fighting fast fashion and plastic pollution! 


Thursday, November 1, 2018

A Newer Kat in Ukraine: Is It Possible to Be Vegan in Ukraine?

In honor of World Vegan Day, I wanted to write a post about my experience being vegan in Ukraine. Prior to leaving to teach English in Ukraine, I successfully remained vegan everywhere I traveled including my recent trip to Italy. What allowed me to stay vegan on my previous trips were the following: 
  • Bringing snacks 
  • Shopping at a local grocery store upon arrival 
  • Doing research on local vegan restaurants 

I left for Europe on June 17th, determined that this trip would be no different: I would stay vegan no matter what. In order to prepare for what I would experience in Ukraine, I spoke to a friend who did the program a few years prior. He told me that meals were eaten in family style and provided at the camp and I would likely be eating a lot of buckwheat (he was right lol). I was nervous, but figured it would be fine....until my first night. I arrived at the camp and sat down for my first meal. I tried to explain that I was vegan, but due to the language barrier, I was unable to communicate effectively (next time, I am going to learn some basic phrases in advance). This resulted in me having a plate of chicken, sour cream, and buckwheat. I ate the buckwheat and thought, "This is going to be a lot harder than I anticipated". 

Unfortunately, since I was going to be away for six weeks and only brought a carry-on suitcase, I couldn't bring enough snacks to last for the duration of the program. I texted my brother, who hadn't left for Ukraine yet, to bring me a large jar of peanut butter. The next day, I explored Lviv (about 20 minutes from where I was teaching) and made it a priority to find nuts, dates, and bananas to hold me over throughout the program. 

I'm thankful I found these staples because a typical meal for me consisted of the following: 
  • Breakfast: cauliflower or cucumbers & tomatoes with bread (occasionally I also got cereal with hot water instead of milk)
  • Lunch: vegetable soup, grains or pasta, potatoes, and vegetables with bread
  • Dinner: grains, potatoes, and vegetables with bread 

While I was very grateful that the camp was accommodating, despite lacking protein and being very minimal, eating out was a whole different battle. There were three or four vegan restaurants in Lviv which were SO good, but none in the village where I was teaching. Aside from that, even when I was in Lviv, most of the other teachers did not want vegan food (understandable) so I would often end up either eating at a vegan place beforehand or ordering something like this.

A typical meal out (not at a vegan restaurant) consisted of: 
  • Potatoes
  • Marinated or grilled vegetables 
  • Cabbage 

As you can imagine, there wasn't much protein in these options so I found myself having to eat a large quantity of vegetables to feel full. Due to this, I was constantly tempted to give up and eat vegetarian. However, I stayed strong! Here's a picture with some friends eating out in the mountains on one of our last days. I'm eating potatoes and grilled veggies...surprise, surprise! 

So is it possible to be vegan in Ukraine? The short answer is yes. However, in order to stay healthy, I would pack a ton of high protein snacks including protein powder and nuts, book your accommodation near a grocery store (although options will be limited), and do research on local vegan restaurants. It is important to note, that there will be times that you think something is vegan or are told it is vegan, when in reality, it isn't. This happened to me a few times: I ate a veggie sandwich with mayo, ate potatoes with butter, and loads of bread with milk and or butter. Keep an open mind and just do your best! 

In the future when I go back to Ukraine (hint, hint), I will bring the following to make being vegan easier and healthier: 
  • Powdered almond milk (for my coffee and cereal) 
  • Trail mix 
  • Protein powder 
  • Almond butter 
  • Oats 
  • Chia seeds 
  • Nutritional yeast 
  • Energy bars 


Thursday, October 18, 2018

Zero Waste Alternative to Paper Towels

Now that I'm on the mend from the health problems that I've been experiencing since Ukraine (more in this life update video), I want to focus on sharing lifestyle and fashion habits that allow me to create less waste in my day-to-day life. These small changes have a big impact on our environment and the way we interact with the world with which God has blessed us.

Today, I wanted to share what I use as an alternative to paper towels: OLD T-SHIRTS! We all have that shelf or drawer in our room that is filled with old t-shirts from high school, college, and freebies from events. Yes, you can wear these to sleep in, but there are only so many pajama shirts that you can wear. About a year ago, I was in this exact dilemma. I wanted to get rid of those old t-shirts that were taking up space, but I didn't want to just throw them away. Around the same time, I started reducing my waste in other areas, but hadn't stopped using paper towels. I realized that my old t-shirts could be the perfect swap for paper towels. Problem solved!

By switching from paper towels to old t-shirts, you are:
  • Utilizing existing resources that otherwise would have been thrown out 
  • Reducing the amount of single-use products in your life 
  • Voting for the type of world you want to live in - when you don't spend money on paper towels, you are reducing the demand of paper towel supply and saving the Earth's resources 
  • Being an example for others to choose eco-friendly alternatives 
  • Saving money - think about how much money you spend on single-use products 
Personally, I use these alternatives for spills and cleaning. After, I place the dirty ones in a jar before washing them in the washing machine. For more info on how to make your own, watch the video below and don't forget to tag me on Instagram if you make these!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Strength in the Face of Adversity

In the face of adversity, there is beauty and there is strength.

These words have never rang more clearly to me than in these last eight weeks. On July 31st, I arrived home from my two-month journey traveling and teaching English in Europe. My best friend was arriving in just a few short days and we were to embark on a three-week road trip up the East Coast into Canada. She arrived, and before I knew it, I was on the road once again...a place where I felt free, where I felt comfortable, where my heart was happy. In the midst of traveling, I started having stomach pains. I dismissed them thinking that they were related to traveling and would go away once I got back to a "normal routine" (whatever that is when you're drawn to living on the road).

Three weeks passed, and the pains persisted. Two months later, after visiting different doctors, I stand in my childhood home in New Jersey awaiting an answer. Did I eat or drink something contaminated? Did I catch a virus from traveling? Did I have this illness before I left? Amidst these questions, I was also faced with the uncertainty of figuring out the next chapter of my life. Where was I going to live? What job was I going to do? Was I going to leave everything behind and pursue the dreams I had dreamt throughout college?

I don't need to know the answers to all of these questions right now. I don't need to know what the future holds because I trust in God and that in due time, all will heal and be revealed to me. I will do what I'm supposed to be doing and the experiences I'm having now will shape where I'll be in the future. Where there is adversity and uncertainty, there will always be beauty and strength, and I know I will take that beauty and strength with me wherever I may go. 

Written by my dear friend with words that inspired this post, "Know that in the cracks, the brokenness, and the uncertainty of your heart, life is growing and a garden is forming." You are beautiful and you are strong. Keep going.