Monday, March 26, 2018

How to Survive Being Vegan While Traveling

Thrifted White Tee // Thrifted Pants //

My recent trip to Italy was the first time I traveled internationally being 100% vegan. Cheers to that! During my year abroad, I was still transitioning to veganism (read more about why I transitioned and how to transition to veganism). I would say that I was vegan for a majority of my time in Milan except when I went out to eat and when I traveled to other countries as it was difficult for me to find vegan options. However, I was determined this time around to do my best to be fully vegan! 

Before I get into the details about how I was able to be vegan, let's be real...I probably did end up eating some form of dairy unknowingly (i.e.: in fresh pasta) and am still convinced one of my dinners had anchovies in the sauce (my body told me so too). I want to be real with you all because when you travel, you can't control everything no matter how much you want to. All you can do is try your best. One of my favorite eco-bloggers, The Girl Gone Green, spoke to this point recently too!  

That being said, I want to share some tips that helped me stay vegan: 
  • Be prepared! I brought a jar of trail mix with me as well as some energy bars (I brought the wrappers back with me to recycle at Mom's Organic Market). These snacks came in handy while I was waiting in the airport and on the plane. I probably would've brought more with me, but I didn't have room in my backpack.
  • Look up farmer's markets in your destination. I already knew where the farmer's market was in Milan, but I looked one up as soon as I got to Cagliari. I stocked up on tons of fruits to munch on there. It's also really cool to go to farmer's markets because they're mostly visited by locals so you get a more in depth look at the culture and the produce is often very cheap!
  • Go to the grocery store. If you can't find a farmer's market or didn't pack snacks, find the nearest grocery store and stock up. Often when we travel, I think we forget that we can go grocery shopping and don't have to eat every meal out. Going to the grocery store is a perfectly viable option! I went to the grocery store in Milan the second day I was there for snacks and both days in Cagliari because I had difficulty finding vegan lunches and wanted to restock on snacks for the long plane ride home.
  • Translate "I'm vegan and can't eat meat, fish, eggs, or dairy" in the local language. I didn't do this because I speak a little bit of Italian so I could explain to waiters that I was vegan. However, if you don't know the language, it is helpful to keep a translation on your phone and show the waiters so they understand. 
  • Use Happy Cow to find vegan restaurants. This website is life-saving for anyone who is vegan or vegetarian! You can look up vegan or vegetarian options in almost all major cities. 
  • Accept that you may unintentionally eat something non-vegan. As I said previously, I did my absolute best to eat fully vegan, however I'm pretty sure there was probably some egg in my pasta or anchovies in my sauce. At the end of the day, you ultimately have to eat and nourish your body. Just do your best! 
I hope these tips were helpful! Even if you're not vegan, you can still use these tips to stay healthy while you travel! 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

A Newer Kat in MILAN (as a tourist this time!)

Previously Owned Jeans // Thrifted Sweatshirt 
Hat from Swap // 

It's been quite some time since I did one of these posts! Even though I studied abroad in Milan for a year, I went back this time as a tourist and I figured I'd create a guide of where I stayed, where I ate, and what I did. I already wrote a very general post about my favorite things to do in Milan and could write another super long post about Milan, but I'll try to limit it to what I specifically did on this trip and must-see places! Be sure to also check out my Milan vlog!

Where I Stayed:
As always, I stayed in a hostel. I always opt for a hostel when I'm traveling solo because it's a great place to meet other solo travelers who are doing the same thing as you. There are a ton of misconceptions about hostels and I think people often fear them which shouldn't be the case. I'll do a video soon about why I love them! For this particular trip, I stayed in Ostello Bello right in the heart of Milan. I loved my stay because it was only a 10 minute walk from the Duomo, it offered free breakfast and dinner, had a garden on the roof, and it was a really social environment with a lot of activities (some hostels don't offer any activities like tours, etc.). The only downside is that it was a bit expensive at $50 a night for a bed in an 8 bed female dorm. Of all the cities and countries I've visited, this the MOST I've ever paid for a hostel. However, I think the amenities were well worth the cost! Lastly, I would recommend booking on Hostelworld which is where I always book my hostels!

Where I Ate:
Eating was a little different for me this time around because this was the first time I'd traveled internationally being 100% vegan. While I was living in Milan last year, I was still transitioning to veganism so I usually cheated when I went out to eat. That being said, I had to make more of an effort this trip to find vegan food.

Restaurants and cafes:
  • Macha Cafe - the cutest little cafe with vegan options
  • Fancy Toast - delicious avocado toast and beet hummus 
  • Fruteiro do Brasil - yummy acai bowls and smoothies 
  • Temakihno - literally the BEST sushi ever and I crave it all the time 
  • Flower Burger - vegan burgers
  • Pizzaria Sibilla - one of my favorite local restaurants for Italian food 
  • Riva Reno - vegan gelato
I also recommend checking Happy Cow for all vegan/vegetarian listings when you travel!

What I Did:
I didn't do as many touristy things in Milan since I had previously done those things. Instead, I spent some time walking around my favorite spots in the city including the Castle, Duomo, Brera, and Navigli.

If it's your first time in Milan I recommend seeing: 

1. Duomo (inside and the top + Mass if you can!)

2. Galleria (enjoy a coffee and people watch!)

3. Navigli Canals

4. Armani Museum 

5. 10 Corso Como 

6. Streets of Brera 

7. Sforza Castle 

8. Arco della Pace 

9. UniCredit Building (I'm at a viewpoint on top of a building close by the Unicredit Building in this photo)

What to Be Prepared For:
Milan is a very diverse, metropolitan city so most people speak English. However, it would be culturally thoughtful to learn a few basic Italian phrases. As always, be careful of pickpocketers! 

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for my posts about Cagliari! <3 

Monday, March 19, 2018

Where to Buy Thrifted Clothing Online Featuring

Thrifted Jacket from Swap // Thrifted Sincerely Jules Tee // 

I can't believe it's only been a week since I arrived back home from my trip to Milan and Cagliari. I feel like I've been back home forever. I'm already counting down the days until I'll be back (hopefully this summer)! For my trip, I packed almost all thrifted clothing which you see in this packing video. The main reason that I packed thrifted clothing is because I stopped shopping at fast fashion stores like H&M and Zara about 8 months ago due to the immense pollution they produce, the poor quality of their items which contribute to our "throwaway culture", and the troubling and unsafe working conditions they allow. If you're interested in learning more, check out this blog post where I talk about a must-see documentary revealing the truth of the fast fashion industry. 

That being said, I've had my fair share of thrifting the last few months. I usually go to Goodwill, but sometimes I honestly don't have the energy to sort through all the clothing there! That's where Swap comes in! Swap is the largest online consignment and thrift store and has TONS of options for every occasion. I love the ease of thrifting on Swap because I can easily sort by whatever I'm looking for in my size, something you obviously can't do at brick-and-mortar thrift shops. I also really like Swap because you can make returns for store credit which you usually can't do on other online platforms like Depop and Poshmark (I also shop on these platforms for thrifted clothing). If you are shopping at Swap, I recommend having something in mind, otherwise it can be a bit overwhelming with so many options! While I really like the platform, I will say that my one compliant would be the packaging which is not eco-friendly and can easily be improved. Anyway, aside from the jacket I'm wearing above, I just bought an entire spring haul on Swap today which I can't wait to show you guys! Happy shopping and let me know if you find any hidden gems! 

*Thank you to Swap for sponsoring this post!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

What's in My Zero Waste, Minimal Travel Backpack?

In a few hours, I'll be heading to the airport for my flight to Italy! I am SO excited!! My trip starts off in Milan where I'll be staying for 3 days. I studied abroad there for a year and can't wait to surprise my professors, get dinner with friends, and re-explore the city. After spending a few days in Milan, I'll be heading to Cagliari for the next 3 days to do some solo adventuring. In previous years when I went on a trip like this, I would've packed and checked an entire suitcase full of clothing that I wouldn't end up actually wearing, but felt the need to bring "just in case". Those days are LONG gone. Now, I'm more than happy to pack all of my essentials, toiletries, and clothing in just one backpack and purse. It's so much easier to carry especially since I'll be traveling alone. Another perk is that I don't have to pay for extra baggage fees to check a bag. If you're interested in seeing exactly what's in my zero waste, minimal backpack, watch the video above! If you don't have time to watch it, here's a breakdown of what I'm bringing: 

  • Almost all thrifted 
  • For more thrifted inspiration, check out my Etsy Shop 

 Ciao for now, and I'll catch ya in Italy! <3 

Friday, March 2, 2018

How I Became a Morning Person + Checklist for a Successful Morning

Old Sweatshirt // Thrifted Levi's Jeans, similar here and here // 
Hand-stitched Notebook (made of recycled fabric and paper) // 
Office: Desk Chair // Pink Faux Fur Rug // 

Over the last few weeks, I've been experimenting with a new morning routine in an attempt to achieve my New Year's resolutions of becoming a morning person and increasing my productivity as much as I can each day. 

First things first, I am NOT and never have been a morning person. I used to cringe at the thought of waking up earlier than 8 AM. Even the thought of waking up that early made me nauseous! I hated it so much that I would literally snooze my alarm for my 8:30 AM classes until the point where I would have to jump out of bed, throw some clothes on, and run to class. Aside from waking up for those early classes, I also dreaded waking up for 6 AM flights during my time abroad. Don't get me wrong, I was more than grateful to have the opportunity to travel, but I felt sick to my stomach having to wake up at 5 AM or earlier. 

Through this and other examples, I noticed that I could only wake up early when I was being motivated by an external force (work, travel, etc). So last semester, I did what any crazy person would do and I willingly accepted a babysitting job at 7:30 AM, Monday-Friday. I did this because I knew it was the only way that I would get out of bed earlier than I needed to for class. By taking this job, I started waking up at 7 AM every day, however I did so begrudgingly. 

I was determined to change this attitude starting in 2018 so again I did what any crazy person would do and I began setting my alarm for 6 AM, an hour earlier than I needed to get up for babysitting.I also started putting my phone on the other side of my bedroom so I had to physically get out to bed to turn off my alarm. I wasn't happy waking up even earlier than I needed to, but I pretended like I was until I slowly began to actually enjoy waking up that early. Yes, I can't even believe those words just came out of my mouth...I enjoy waking up at 6 AM. It's like that saying, you have to fake it until you make it. I faked it, and I made it. 

Aside from taking a job that required me to wake up early, I also started doing other things made waking up at 6 AM more enjoyable and allowed me to have a successful and more productive morning. These included the following: 

In conclusion, I am more than happy to call myself a morning person. I love getting up early because it allows me to start my day with a smile on my face and I now have so much extra time to do the things I love doing like writing, reading, and accomplishing my other New Year's resolutions. Do you like waking up early? If so, what are some things that have helped you wake up early and have a successful morning?

*Thank you to Visible Clothing for sponsoring this post!