Thursday, November 16, 2017

World Pancreatic Cancer Day - My "Why"


On November 16, 2014, I found out that my beloved brother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I knew from that day forward, my life would never be the same. I had just moved into college and was struggling with the adjustment. My brother would always call or text me asking, "Are you okay?". Little did I know this would become the most important question I would ask him over the course of the next 21 months as he bravely fought for his life. During these grueling months, my eyes were opened to what I pray no one will ever have to experience. I saw my brother suffer more than anyone should have to suffer. I sat by his side as he cringed in pain from simple movements that I took for granted. I watched his poor body change as the cancer inside him took over. I held his fragile, yet strong hand as he breathed his last breath on July 27, 2016. 

In those 21 months, my brother taught me the very meaning of, "We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play them". Boy, did my brother play them. Shortly before his passing, he told one of my family members that the past few months were the best months of his life. They were the best because he didn't let pancreatic cancer win. Instead, he lived life the best he could each and every day. He gained a new sense of gratitude for every person in his life. He saw beauty in the little things in life, in the sunrises and the sunsets. He was happy.

I hate this cancer, I hate what it did to my brother, and I hate that it took him away from me. But, I love that my beautiful brother is at peace, watching over me each and ever day. I love that he allowed me to grow into the person I am today. I love the community that he allowed me to be a part of at Project Purple. I love that I now have a promise to fight for a cure and keep my brother's memory alive as long as I live. Most importantly. I love that I will life this life to the best I can possibly live it, just as my brother did. To my angel in heaven, I love you forever. 

In Loving Memory of the "Best Guy Ever" 
1954-2016

Monday, November 13, 2017

What I'm Doing With the $30 I Used to Spend Weekly on Coffee (pt. 1)

100% Thrifted Outfit (minus Converse) 

As the holidays are approaching, I can't help but reflect on how grateful I am for all I've experienced the last two years...I've had the opportunity to live in 4 countries, and travel to 20 others. Through these experiences, I have learned valuable lessons that ignited me to change my lifestyle to veganism, minimalism, and conscious consumerism. That being said, the holidays will be very different for me this year. I want to give back in ways I haven't made an effort to in previous years. Now that I don't spend $30 a week on coffee at Dunkin' Donuts or Starbucks, I have an extra $30 in my wallet. This week, that $30 went to purchasing 30 cans of organic, vegan food for a Thanksgiving Food Drive at Villanova University. That's right...ORGANIC and VEGAN. I believe that the people who will be eating this food deserve the same quality of food that I personally believe is best for my own health. So yes, these cans cost slightly more. However, I bought extra cans to make up for the cost difference. That's equality my friends, and that's what I believe is right.

I challenge and encourage each of my readers to do the same: give up buying coffee this week and donate food to a local Thanksgiving Food Drive. That $30 you usually spend on coffee can buy about 30 cans of food for some of the 45 million Americans who will go hungry this Thanksgiving.

Join me and let's do good this holiday season.

SHOP THE SUSTAINABLE POST: 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

My Sustainability Journey: Veganism, Slow Fashion, and Zero Waste

Thrifted Sweatshirt // Old Jeans // 

If you've been following me for a while, you know that there have been some major changes in my life over the last six months which include switching to a vegan lifestyle, only buying sustainable clothing, and becoming zero waste. What motivated me to make these changes? 

Veganism: 
I transitioned to veganism during my second semester abroad in Milan. I had previously been vegetarian for about 5 years, and had taken a break from vegetarianism whiling studying abroad in China, and then Milan first semester in 2016. However, I absolutely hated how I felt during these months; I was bloated and even gained about 10 pounds. I knew I had to make a change so I dedicated one of my 2017 New Year's Resolutions to becoming vegan. Aside from health reasons, I was also motivated to make this change due to my passions for animals rights and sustainability. In summary, this transition took me about five months to complete, and was eased by the abundance of fresh food and produce available at farmers' markets in Milan. I will dedicate an entire post to transitioning to a vegan diet soon! 

Slow Fashion: 
I was motivated to become an advocate for slow fashion after continuing to cultivate my passion for sustainability while interning at S'well Bottle this summer. As an online sales intern, I was required to research sustainable online brands and pitch S'well to them. Through this research, I began to realize that there were many other sustainable options for clothing, and my eyes were opened to the horrors of the fast fashion industry. I haven't looked back since and don't plan to shop at fast fashion stores ever again. Now, I buy almost all of my clothing used from Goodwill which saves my wallet and the environment! 

Zero Waste: 
This is the most recent lifestyle transition I have made in my life. While studying abroad in Milan, I became adjusted to a lifestyle that produced very little waste. In our apartment (consisting of seven girls), we were required to have five separate trash cans: trash, plastic, glass, paper, and compost. Through this, we only produced about one garbage bag of trash per week! I knew I wanted to continue this lifestyle when I returned back to the States, so it only made sense for me to officially become trash-free. Besides a few additional changes since then, like shopping in bulk and making my own beauty products, this lifestyle is no different than the lifestyle I lived in Milan!

In conclusion, the goal of each of these transitions is to become more sustainable, reduce my carbon footprint, inspire others, and ultimately to continue to experience all the beauty that the world has to offer for many years to come!