Best Vegan Restaurants in LA

Get in

my belly

1. Cafe Gratitude

What a great way to start off the day! This place is trendy and delicious. Cafe Gratitude has six locations in Southern California- L.A, Venice, Newport and San Diego. Their menu offers groovy cocktails, colorful salads and bowls, hardy entrees and mouth-watering brunch options- which is what I experienced. The second my eyes saw “cinnamon bun” I knew it was going to be a good day. I immediately ordered it. And then inhaled it. It wasn’t too sweet or too messy, but man, did it hit the spot. I also got the Chilaquiles which were smothered in avocado. Can you say YUM? And my friend couldn’t resist the acai bowl; it was the perfect mixture between creamy and sorbet. Obviously my spoon made its way over. So you get it- the food was, but what really won me over was my drink. I wish I could tell you the name of it..but it wasn’t even on the current menu. I showed my waitress a picture I had seen on yelp, and next thing I knew, I had this electric blue drink in my hand. Hands down best drink I’ve ever had at brunch. Thanks for a chic ambiance & an event better meal!

2.  The Green Table Cafe

Is it weird if I’ve only been here once, and I’m already obsessed with it? Don’t judge me. The Green Table Cafe is an Italian-inspired cafe started by Led and Britney, husband and wife. How cute is that? You can tell their items are hand-picked (or hand-made I should say) and so is there staff. Every person made me feel welcomed. Now even though this is your average size cafe, I somehow still felt overwhelmed. So many drinks- so many bowls- so little time. From elixir shots, espresso drinks, organic smoothies, superfood bowls, to a full lunch menu AND vegan desserts.. I didn’t know where to begin. My rosy cheeks must have hinted at my anxiety. Thankfully, the barista chimed in to help me make a decision. I went with The Field of Flowers: Banana, Tocos protein, almond butter, maple syrup & hemp milk blended together and topped with fresh banana, almond butter, hemp seeds & maple syrup. The bowl was a little sweet for me; I should’ve have had it as a dessert or asked for more almond butter to bring out the savory taste. It reminded me of banana fosters. As for my drink- I wish I could order that every day. I ordered a Turmeric Latte, and it was so refreshing as well as energizing! The baristas also mentioned that this latte was the best for a Instagram pic! Bloggers love this spot for a reason. I highly recommend this place if you’re looking for a cute cafe to get some work done and if you’re a coffee/smoothie lover!

3. Gracias Madre 

This restaurant is right in Weho near Santa Monica Blvd, and it might be the epitome of doing (vegan) brunch in LA. Atmosphere, food, and service were on point. First of all, I love Mexican food, I mean who doesn’t? So I had high expectations as soon as I walked in. The restaurant is absolutely gorgeous and had a modern, upscale, and Latin feel to it. I wish I took pictures of the decor, but I was too focused on how amazing my food was. I ordered the Guacamole Con Tortillas which I drooled over. For my entree I had the Tacos which consisted of barbecue jackfruit carnitas, cashew crema, pickled cabbage, crispy onion, and black beans. So how did I wash down all this amazing Mexican food? With their snow cone drink, La Quinceañera- tequila blanco, kiwi, mint, lime bitters, hielo raspado. Not only was this drink colorful and fun, it paired so well with my meal. The subtle hints of tequila mixed with the shaved ice made for refreshingly tasty drink. Good thing we were on a time-limit. Otherwise I would have ordered four more. Gracias, Gracias Madre for the upbeat ambiance & divine Mexican food. This place will definitely be seeing my face again.

P.S. Gracias Madre and Cafe Gratitude are sister restaurants. No wonder they’re both on my list.

Be good to

your taste buds

4. Crossroads

Can you feel the love tonight? Romance is definitely in the air at Crossroads on Melrose. Whether your parents are in town or you’re having a date night, Crossroads is my number one recommendation. This classy restaurant puts a twist on your typical Seafood and Italian dish. I ordered vegan scallops referred to as the Grilled Maitake Mushrooms- baby artichokes / celery root and potato purée / white wine caper butter sauce. The culinary skills are impressive here. The mushrooms had the same texture as scallops. I was shocked. It’s no secret this is an upscale restaurant. Our waiter was extremely knowledgeable and friendly too. He recommended the “scallops” as well as my main course- Tagliatelle Bolognese. This was the best thing I had eaten all day. I also just love Italian food. This dish was creamy and tasteful and best of all- it was vegan, so I never felt sluggish afterwards. My taste buds were in heaven at this place.

5. Sage Plant Based Bistro

Sage might be the most well-known out of the five restaurants. Think of the Cheesecake Factory- but VEGAN. Sage has a colossal menu- from brunch, to a extensive lunch and dinner menu, and (thankfully) an entire dessert list. They offer shakes, home-made goods such as warm bread pudding, brownies, muffins, ice cream and cakes (yes, even cheesecake). So why did I go with ice cream instead of gooey brownies or thick cheesecake? Because. I have a problem. I ordered Strawberry Ice-Cream which I instantly regretted. I was just too full from eating (for practically a small village) all day. I will 100% be returning to give a proper review because obviously ice cream is hard to mess up. It was delicious, and how could it not be? Coconut milk makes everything rich in flavor. Good news is Sage isn’t going anywhere any time soon so I can redeem myself. They have three restaurants, one food truck, and they even happen to be at Coachella this year! Cheers to seeing Sage (& other vegan restaurants) at more festivals & street food fairs!

After venturing around LA all day, I can now say- my belly (and heart) is full. I hope you enjoyed my vegan food tasting day in this magical city!

Been to any of these restaurants? I’d love to hear your experience! Have other recommendations? What restaurants turn your taste buds on? Comment below!

Top Five Podcasts

There’s nothing better than starting your day off with a cup of coffee.. or a podcast. You know the saying, “two birds, one stone.” That’s how I feel every time I listen to a podcast. I’m constantly learning, laughing and growing from tuning into my favorite shows.

It’s weird to think there was a time when I didn’t listen to podcasts. Is it embarrassing if I admit I didn’t even know what they were? Once I realized how easy it is to find podcasts, I quickly developed, “podcast fever.” I became addicted, and my Pinterest board can prove it.

Not only does tuning in to your favorite episodes make the time go by faster when you’re cooking or driving home from work but you’re constantly absorbing information and expanding your horizons. One of my favorite things to do on a Monday morning- is have my tea and tune into a podcast. Another favorite time to binge listen is when I’m roadtrippin’. Podcasts can be listened to almost anywhere at any time. I’ll even reward myself for going to the gym by tuning in to an episode I’ve been dying to hear- and yes I have nearly fallen off the treadmill from laughter.

So how many podcasts have I listened to? Let’s just say, if I had more fingers (and toes) then I could count. So below are my all-time favorite podcasts. I highly recommend each and every one for different reasons. See what calls your name and give it a shot!




I am not exaggerating when I say I have almost peed myself while listening to this podcast. Guys We’ve F*cked is run by Corrine Fisher and Krystyna Hutchinson. And let me tell you, I have never felt like more of a fan girl. I secretly wish they would be my friend- or adopt me. Whatever.

First of all, these badasses are from the East Coast- so you know they keep it one-hundred. They continue to have open, honest and non-judgmental conversations throughout their show. Whether they look into sexual taboos, give advice, share their personal stories, or invite guest speakers on, each episode is empowering, captivating and hilarious. However, this podcast is not for those of you who have sensitive ears.. These NYC based babes love to drop F-bombs. Can you tell?

If you can get passed the profound language, then you’re in for the best “anti-slut shamming” podcast you’ve ever heard. I even called my mom after listening to a two hour episode and told her I felt like I had just watched a movie. You bet I made her download it! I’d recommend this podcast if you need a good laugh- some advice in the bedroom- or a self-esteem booster. 


I’ve always wanted an older sister- and when I met Jenna (well sort of), I felt like I finally got one. Jenna Kutcher is the host of Goal Digger- a podcast that offers inspiration and motivation and not in the intimidating way.

Maybe some of you know her as the girl who took a $300 craigslist camera and turned it into a 7 figure empire- or the girl who’s from Wisconsin and loves Mac N cheese. Either way, her advice and insight is powerful. 

Jenna keeps it honest and real, and the best part is that she shows up as herself. She’s never pretending to be something she’s not and to me that is the coolest thing anyone could do. Jenna is constantly giving out free workshops and hacks to the social media and marketing world. 

Her love and support feels unconditional. Jenna genuinely routes for us- no matter how big or small our dreams are. She says right on her website, “ If I can be that permission granter in your life that whispers: “you really can do this” while the rest of the world is provoking doubt… then I’ll consider my job done.” 

Thanks for the workshops, inspiration, tips and tricks, funny stories, and helping us pursue our passions. No wonder if you look up “favorite podcasts” on any platform- I guarantee this will be on the list.



I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve already heard of Amanda Seales. She’s an artist, comedian, actress, musician and straight up hustla’. Amanda has done it all, which makes her extremely credible when it comes to giving advice. She constantly makes us think, which hopefully, leads to change. 

Each episode she brings powerful insight and shares her personal experiences. Her topics surround issues most of us are familiar with. She takes serious matters and uses humor to impact people- without lecturing them. And that my friends, is a true skill. Amanda is known for keeping it real,which in turn can feel like tough-love. Tough-love can be hard to hear, but the best thing about it is that the person giving it, usually cares.. a lot.

Everyone needs an Amanda in their life- someone that has your back but never hides from the truth. I wish I had known about this podcast while I was in college. I think it would’ve guided me along the way. Maybe the titles can show you what I’m referring to: “Side Effects of Fuckboys,” “Side Effects of Being Broke,” “Side Effects of Insecurity,” and “Side of Effects of Toxic Relationships.” 


I have never binge listened to a podcast- I didn’t even think that was a thing?  From the first episode, I was hooked. Talk about love-at-first-podcast.

Up and Vanished is created by Payne Lindsey, a 30-year old documentary film-maker who lives in Georgia. He aims to tell real life stories – and his podcast does the same. 

Up and Vanished revolves around a real-life missing person’s case- Tara Grinstead. Payne explains, “What started as an experiment to explore a story turned into a mission for the truth.” I’ll be the first to tell you, nail-biting and spine-chilling don’t even begin to describe it. The way he told the story, the way it unfolded- I felt like I was watching a true-crime Netflix series. This podcast had me on the edge of my seat the entire time.

Payne is extremely talented, and it’s amazing that he’s not an investigator in real life. If you’re into thrillers or true-crime stories, this is one’s for you. This podcast also makes for the perfect road-trip. Happy Binging!


What comes to mind when I listen to Real Talk Radio by Nicole Antionette? Think Humans of New York — takes on a podcast. But better. One question Nicole asks is, “What does it look like to choose courage over comfort?” Nicole focuses on social justice issues and takes on stereotypes by interviewing a variety of people. “Each season, I sit down with eight refreshingly imperfect people to have unfiltered conversations about what’s really going on in our lives.” 

I haven’t found a podcast quite like this one before; it’s like a breath of fresh air. Nicole makes it very clear that she’s not here to lecture us or tell us how to jump-start our career. She’s simply here to share stories, have honest conversations and embrace this crazy thing called life. She’s not afraid of imperfection and admires people who aren’t afraid to be themselves. To each their own, Nicole! 

This is the perfect podcast if you need a reminder that it’s ok to be different! Listen to any episode, and it will show you how much good there is in the world.




I hope you find these recommendations helpful. There were several podcasts that didn’t make my top five but are still undeniably good.  Something You Should Know by Mike Carruthers, Still Processing by Wesley Morris and Jenna Wortham, and I Don’t Get It by Ashley and Lauren Iaconetti are a few more. Trust me the list goes on..

Now it’s your turn! Comment below and share your all-time favorite podcasts! I look forward to tuning into some killer content.

Xoxo KayMeetsWest

Cruelty-Free Makeup Brands

What do you mean companies are still testing their products on animals? Shouldn’t we know by now what works and what doesn’t? How are we still performing this cruel type of behavior?

Believe it or not, some countries require testing on animals in order to sell there. That’s right, even if a company states they do not test their products on animals, in the small print it could say except where testing is required. Companies will use these tactics to hide the fact that they’re still performing this inhumane act. 

So how do you know if your products are cruelty-free?

Knowing what to look for helps- pay attention to how the description is worded and flag the ones that sound suspicious. Websites like cruelty-free kitty and ethical elephant are great resources as well! For the mean time, check the list I’ve compiled of my favorite CF cosmetic brands!












After learning what products are cruelty-free, I now only support those companies. Not only are those brands extremely credible, but they’ve chosen not to test on animals. I choose to stand behind those companies because testing on animals is unnecessary, cruel and inhumane. Join the movement and say yes to cruelty-free makeup!

Wondering what cosmetic brands still test on animals? Check the following list and get ready to say goodbye to some of your favorite brands! Perhaps these companies don’t test on animals in the United States, but if they sell in China they automatically test on animals there! Not everyone has the time to do research – so I hope this list assures you what brands support animals and what brands don’t.












This article was written in April of 2018, and I will try to keep update it as policies continue to change. I hope with having this knowledge, you’ll decide which brands to love, share and support. Please visit the following website to learn more about CF and Vegan brands:

30-Day Vegan Challenge

Ever thought about saving the world one meal at a time? Well read my journey to get a sneak peek into the life of an up-and-coming vegan.


Why would anyone want to go vegan?

Let’s start with the selfish reasons:

Jump starts your immune and digestive system.

 Increases your energy.

Slims you down.

 Fights disease.


Now let’s think bigger than ourselves.


The Humane Reason:

Saves animals.

Conserves water.

Combats world hunger.

Reduces your carbon footprint.

My heart knew going vegan was the right thing to do, but I didn’t want to fail. I didn’t want to crack and break the diet, and I didn’t want to binge on carbs all day either.  I wanted to find a balance and experience what a vegan lifestyle had to offer. So I embarked upon on a 30-day vegan challenge.

So did I survive?


Well I’m writing this, so I guess I already gave it away.

The following is a diary series from the 30-Day Challenge:

Day one

Make meal plan – get grocery list- go shopping- stalk up.

Goal: don’t starve to death or pass out.

Day five

Saying  “oh is that vegan?” actually makes me feel good. It automatically tells people I care enough about animals and the environment to sacrifice my lifestyle and eating habits. I did have trouble finding something I could eat at Starbucks the other day.. which was sad. Looks like I need to stalk menus before I grab dinner with my friends or swing by to grab food somewhere to make sure I can modify my options, making them vegan friendly. It’s worth it though! Definitely feels good to say I’m trying a 30-day vegan challenge!

Side note: I am deeply craving chocolate. It’s fine. I’m fine. I’m not crying. You’re crying.

Day ten

Is going vegan similar to a placebo effect? I feel like I have more energy… but do I really? Well one thing’s for sure, I don’t feel sluggish after I eat anymore. I don’t want to crawl in bed or lay on the couch. I want to go for a walk or play with my dog, and that alone makes me feel great.

Goodbye bloating, hello veganism.

Day fifteen

I am obsessed with cooking vegan meals and baking vegan desserts. It’s challenging and rewarding, for two reasons. 1. I feel proud of myself for making these beautiful colorful meals and baking delicious vegan treats. 2. My mind and body are in sync. Both feel amazing after I consume anything I cook.

The downside of cooking vegan meals:

Dinners have been taking up to 2 hours.. This could be due to bad planning on my part. Perhaps I should start meal prepping? Or picking recipes that don’t take as long? I need to come up with a solution because it’s taking away from me pretending I have a life.


Save the world

one meal at a time

Day twenty

I am sincerely impressed with how well the restaurant industry has kept up with veganism. Today I wanted to explore the best vegan restaurants in Los Angeles. This might of put a hole in my wallet but oh well. YOLO right? You only letgoofmeatanddairy once.

Day twenty five

Still in a food-coma from LA. I’ll get back to you.

Day thirty.

30-DAYS IS COMPLETE. I feel so many emotions right now.

Proud, happy, excited, energized, motivated, the list goes on.

I cannot believe I thought this was “too hard” to try. Don’t get me wrong there were times when I wanted pizza but I can honestly say those carvings went away after the first week. I am ecstatic that I completed my 30-day vegan challenge.

So now what?

You got it. I’m extending my challenge. Let’s see if I can complete another 30-days. I want to see more results and connect with more people who are part of the Vegan community! And to all those thinking about trying a 30-Day Challenge..let me be your motivation- you got this!

Like 4 Like? Why Social Media Can Be Toxic

What is about social media that draws us in? Why is it so addicting?

I think we can all agree that there definitely are some perks. It’s motivating, inspiring and makes us feel a little bit cooler than we are.

But I started to notice there was a direct correlation between how much time I was spending on my aps and how I was feeling internally. 

This got me thinking… am I the only one who feels this way? Am I the only one who feels worse about themselves after spending hours scrolling through Instagram? My self-confidence is at an all time high one minute, and the next, it’s completely gone.

Maybe it’s just me. I started doing some research on how social media, particularly Instagram, affects us. My initially reaction to my findings: maybe it’s not just me.. 

The three D's

                                                                   1. Distracting

Why is it so hard to be in the present moment?

We’re so afraid of what we’ll miss out on if we don’t check our aps.. And believe me. I am queen of FOMO. I’m constantly stressing out about what I could be missing if I don’t go on social media. It got to the point where I automatically would open Instagram and Snapchat as soon as I woke up. It becomes a bad habit, and it’s hard to break it.


2. It’s Disorienting:

Raise your hand if you’ve been personally victimized by social media.

Ok. so all of us.

Raise your hand if you’ve deleted a photo on IG because it didn’t get enough likes.

Ok. so all of us.

What does it mean if you don’t get enough likes? Does your value go down?  We’ve become so disoriented. Most of us measure our self-worth and success based on numbers and popularity these days. On how many followers you have.. How many likes you have… how many people watch your snap story etc.

Let’s face it, most of us aren’t as cool as we appear on social media. Most of the content we put out there is really just a highlight reel of our lives.


3. It’s Draining:

We’re living in a world where we feel a pressure to compete. Like Lauryn Evarts from the Skinny Confidential said, “It’s a comparison game.” Doesn’t that sound exhausting? We’re comparing our lives to other people’s highlight reels.. and what starts to happen is that we feel like we don’t measure up. We’re not good enough, or pretty enough or skinny enough or rich enough, and that feeling of envy and jealousy can destroy you. Sound familiar? It’s so hard to focus on being the best version of yourself when you keep giving social media the power to decide if you’re good enough.

The more ted talks I watched, and podcasts I listened to I realized this wasn’t just a “me” problem. This affects our entire generation. And how many of us really talk about it?

I’ve brainstormed a few ways to combat the 3 D’s.. with 3 more D’s.. because you can never how too much D.

(donuts. duh)

"Comparison is the thief of joy."

Number one: Detach.

Back the F up. Don’t post for a week. Maybe unfollow people who you’ve never met. Delete your apps for a few days. Whatever that looks like for you.

Try and survive without social media for a few days see how you feel. It might be refreshing to detach and realize there’s more to life than how many people follow you on Instagram.

Number two: Down-to-Earth

KEEP IT REAL. If you don’t know what I mean by that.. Just type in the hashtag #realstagram. Shout out to my Boss Bitch, Kaitlyn Bristowe.

Number three: Do you.

Instead of comparing ourselves, we should be embracing what makes us unique.

It’s hard to feel content when you’re looking for others to make you feel complete.

Figure out what’s missing from your life.. And how to get it.

Because some random instafamous girl isn’t gonna fill your soul.

Do what makes you truly happy and don’t worry about what other people doing. 

I too was entranced with what others were doing on social media. I needed to change the way I thought about social media.

One of my favorite quotes by Dave Willis is good reminder on how to view social media.

“Don’t use social media to impress people; use it to impact people.” Social media doesn’t have to consume all your time and energy. And it certainly does not have the right to judge or validate you as a person. 

I know social media can seem negative some times, but if you turn the lens and shift your focus, you might see it from a different perspective. Everyone has a highlight reel, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Don’t get caught up in the comparison game or FOMO. Focus on the now. I’m sure if you’re reading this you have a lot of things to be grateful for.. and they don’t have to do with social media. So don’t let social media bring you down or make you sad.

Here’s a little piece of inspiration from Sophia Amoruso, “The energy you’ll expend focusing on someone else’s life is better spent working on your own. Just be your own idol.”

He loves me, he loves me not (either way you’re gonna be ok) #selflove

You’re either stoked for this “holiday” or looking for the nearest rock to crawl under. I’ve been on both sides before. Freshman year of college, I got denied when I asked someone to be my Valentine. Guess what happened next? That’s right, I threw my phone against the wall.

Oh, how things changed.

The next year I made a bouquet of chocolate covered strawberries hand dipped in pink rainbow sprinkles. I guess you could say I was struck with cupid’s bow and arrow. Valentine’s Day meant I could express my slushy feelings and have an excuse to wear red lipstick. It was a win, win.

I think most of us have a love-hate relationship with February 14th. And why wouldn’t we? There’s a lot of pressure that goes into V-Day. “Are we exchanging gifts this year?” “Where do we go to dinner?” “What’s the perfect present?” Valentine’s Day can be stressful. You’re either stalking Pinterest for hours on end, or wondering why you haven’t found “love” yet.

The other burden that comes with Valentine’s Day is that it forces you to reflect on your current “love-life” and suggests if you’re not in a relationship, you’re not allowed to celebrate love. It’s so exclusive that some of us don’t even acknowledge it anymore. Others, only celebrate Feb. 13th – “Galentine’s Day.” This up-and-coming craze is a day to celebrate “GALS” by embracing friendship and womanhood. Galentine’s Day proves that honoring love doesn’t mean you have to be in a romantic relationship.

Maybe, I want to buy myself bouquet of roses.

Instead of throwing my phone against that wall freshman year, I should’ve gone and brushed my shoulders off. So what if he doesn’t want to be my valentine? I’ll be my own damn valentine.

You got it.
I’m talking self-love.

There are many definitions to self-love, but the overall theme is to value your own self-worth and nurture your wellbeing. This Valentine’s Day, I challenge all of you to recognize your worthiness – whether you’re in a relationship or not. Throw in a deep-tissue massage while you’re at it. Inspirational author, Rupi Kaur suggests,

“You must
Want to spend
The rest of your life
With yourself

Kaur’s insight is especially powerful during this time of year. At the end of the day you have to remember to take care of yourself. Be your number one fan. You don’t need someone to validate how great you are.

And when you’re feeling down in the dumps, remember what the brilliant Carrie Bradshaw said “Don’t forget to fall in love with yourself first.” This statement is so relevant! Be comfortable being your own valentine this year and show yourself the love you deserve.

Instead of having a negative or stressful relationship with Valentine’s Day, you should be excited to reflect on how far you’ve come and enjoy pampering yourself. I hope everyone has a wonderful V-Day and receives the love they deserve.

Xoxo Gossip Girl

Jk it’s Kayla.

Remember that time you were perfect? Oh yeah, me either… Embrace those flaws!

Ever walk past a mirror and can’t help but stare? Ever try clothes on and have a nervous breakdown? Ever rewatch your Snap story ten times and think ‘creative genius’? Ever compare yourself to people you don’t even know and feel like you don’t measure up?

Most of us can agree that we have experienced a version of said thoughts. Some days you feel like Beyoncé, and other days you feel like you’d rather get punched in the face by Regina George than leave your house.

We all have insecurities, whether we like to admit them or not. Surprise! You’re a human being! All of us have flaws, and it’s okay to admit them! Be real and be human. [Fake news was so 2017]. If someone says, “I don’t have any flaws,” that should raise an eyebrow… they probably have more than they can count. #yikes.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with being confident or comfortable in your own skin, but being able to admit that you have flaws is empowering. Embracing your flaws shows how secure you truly are.

I challenge everyone reading this blog to recognize and embrace your insecurities.* Dr. Steve Marboli’s world renown book, Unapologetically You, argues that “there is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me, that is the true essence of beauty.” Marboli’s insight makes me think about imperfections in a different way. Although I’m still guilty of comparing myself to others or not wanting to wear certain things because I feel insecure, I am trying to accept myself the way I am. And since I’m trying to practice what I preach.. I figured I’d share one of my biggest insecurities with you all.

“How cute is my Psoriasis?” - Said no one ever..

Some days it’s hardly noticeable; other days I feel like a scaly boa constrictor. I’ve had ‘difficult’ skin for as long as I can remember.

When I was a kid, I had Eczema, and we all thought I was allergic to peanut butter..

Thank G that ended.

Next, was the aggressive chicken skin that showed up when I was a tween.

After that, I welcomed Psoriasis into my life when I went to college.

And to the weirdest skin disorder I’ve had.. A Fungal infection from the Sun. Tinea Versicolor affects the color of your skin.

My skin and I have had a love-hate relationship for as long as I can remember. I didn’t really have acne growing up, and if I did I always said it was a bug bite. (no one ever believed me, of course). If I forget sunscreen, I won’t burn, so that’s nice. And when my skin isn’t having a temper tantrum, it feels as soft as a baby’s bottom. Some days I try to “love the skin I’m in”, and other days I’m a volcano waiting to erupt.

The one thing I can connect my currently-trending skin problem, psoriasis, is to stress. When I’m having a bad day, my skin will flare up. And I notice the more I think about how “ugly” my psoriasis is, the more stressed I feel..and the vicious cycle begins. Maybe if I just accept myself, and my skin for how it is, I won’t even notice it anymore.

I think a lot of times, we are so consumed by our flaws and begin to obsess over them, and convince ourselves that everyone notices them as much as we do. Is that actually true though? Do people walk around searching for other people’s flaws? I’d like to think no. Let’s accept ourselves and each other for who we are and how we’re designed. Embrace those flaws and support people for doing so! There’s nothing wrong with having flaws.. It’s human. And after all, your “flaw” could be what we find most beautiful on you.

* I never said it was easy

Me Too.

Just tell him you’re going to the bathroom. Or say you just got your period or something. No, he’ll think that’s gross. What if he tries to follow me to the bathroom? This is so awkward. How do I leave? At first I didn’t want to come off as rude.. But this is a little ridiculous.

First off, why did he take me into his small-ass college dorm room that has a bunk bed with no sheets. I’m not sure how ‘help me find my friends’ equates to ‘take me to your room.’ But here we are. Also. What’s that smell? Low-key scared to look in his hamper. Honestly, I might throw up. But maybe that’s because I slammed back 5 tequila shots in one hour. Now I actually have to go to the bathroom.

“Heyyy budddy. Uhm. Dónde está bañooo?


“Oh, ha, where’s the bathroom?”

“That closed door is the bathroom.”

Shut up. It’s in his room? Ok, maybe someone will answer from my group chat.

“Ok. Thanks. Be R beeeee”

* Walks in bathroom and shuts door *

Are you real? Are you reeaaalllll? How are you dead right now?!

* Throws iPhone across the floor *

“Hey, you all good in there?”

Before I have a chance to answer the door slams open.

“What are you doing? What was that noise?”

I want to ask for a charger.. but I also don’t want him to know my phone is dead.

“Oh, sorry. I found out I have an exam super early and need to leave.”

Well that was easy.

I walked out the door and left.

Can we all agree right now that that’s what should have happened? I should’ve been able to leave at my own free will. I shouldn’t have had to even come up with an excuse. I should’ve been able to say ‘I want to go home’ and just leave.

That’s not what happened though. I was told ‘it was fine.’ When it clearly was not fine. I had been uncomfortable from the moment we entered his room.

There’s no way this is happening. I pushed him off and ran down three flights of stairs. I made it to the bottom and violently threw up.

I feel like I should be sorry, like I did something wrong. Like I deserved what happened because I got separated from my friends. No one deserves that. No one deserves to be in that situation. And if you ever have, don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself or speak out. Chances are a lot of people will be on your side and, unfortunately, know exactly what you’re going through.

I wish I could say the story above wasn’t true, or I hadn’t heard it from a friend before. Unfortunately, these situations occur all the time. After seeing #MeToo appear on every social media platform, it became apparent that many women experience this.

The Hashtag

The hashtag #MeToo originated from Tarana Burke but just recently went viral. After the Harvey Weinstein ‘biggest kept secret of Hollywood’ came out, #MeToo resurfaced. One after another, women came forward revealing their own sexual harassment experiences. The response was overwhelming. People started supporting each other by using the hashtag and showing that they are not alone.

According to National Sexual Resource Center, “One in five women and one in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lives.” Think of your sibling, co-worker, childhood friend, ex-partner, even a random acquaintance being in the wrong place at ‘the wrong time.’ As the statistic shows, women have a higher chance of becoming victims. We live in a patriarchal society where women are often taken advantage of. Baby-Boomers and Millennials have teamed up together to start a movement however.

And before I go any further, I need to clarify something. A Feminist is someone who believes in equal rights for both men and women and everything in-between. Put down your armor just because the word “fem” is in it. If we focus on the fact that we are all human beings, then we will continue to make progress. I hope to see men and women and everyone in between standing up against social injustices. My goal is for future generations to feel empowered to make a positive impact.

Hopefully this quote by Angela Davis can bring further inspiration, “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change, I am changing the things I cannot accept.” Let’s unite together and change the things that bring pain, heartache and humiliation.

Let's Talk Vibes: East vs. West

The word ‘vibe’ has become popularized through various sources of media over the last decade. Kendrick Lamar’s 2012 hit single “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe” is a prime example of Kendrick creating a connotation of the word. I didn’t initially realize how different the aura was in California compared to New England. After living bi-coastal for five years, however, it has become evident that each coast has its’ own vibe. In this blog I will expose the east and west coast cultural differences from my personal experiences, relationships and travels. The Venn diagram below breaks down my findings.

Growing up in Massachusetts, I became accustomed to the fast-paced lifestyle at a young age – how people walked, talked, drove and displayed their mannerisms seemed accelerated. People were walking with a purpose – as if they had somewhere they needed to be. I think that’s when I learned, ‘time is money.’ No one had time for slow drivers, slow conversations, or hesitation. It wasn’t until I came to the west coast that I experienced the contrast between the coasts. You truly need to be “fast on your feet” to survive the east coast mentality. If not, it can seem intimidating. People say what they mean and mean what they say. I was so entrenched in this idea. I never thought being straight-forward could be seen as negative, but I was in for a culture shock when I came to California.

When arriving in San Diego, I assumed it was normal to speak in a direct manner, use sarcasm to flirt, and walk (& talk) a mile a minute.

FLASHBACK to my first night out at San Diego State University where I met a guy who was basically Chad Michael Murray’s twin. I immediately poked fun at him all night and used my satirical jokes to impress him – showing I had some depth. The night’s coming to an end and just when I think he’s about to ask me out, he announces that he thought I was incredibly rude, and even worse, he didn’t think I was funny.

For the first few years, I felt a disconnect between me and my peers. I felt misunderstood. I had trouble making solid connections and relationships. I knew the importance of first impressions and started feeling uncomfortable when I heard people say, “Don’t mind her, she’s from the east coast.” Was I coming off as rude this whole time? Maybe I wasn’t meant for the west coast and the west coast wasn’t meant for me. 

I wanted to be surrounded by people who got where I was coming from; people who automatically understood my intentions; people who didn’t think I was born with a RBF.

I craved intimate conversations and searched for a code to crack the small talk. I immediately gravitated towards people from the east coast so it’s no surprise that my best friends in college were from there.

People would gawk at us as while we simultaneously held three different conversations going on. Three voices at the same time, and not one word was missed in the mix. Our brains were trained to speak and listen at the same time. It became apparent that people perceived us as obnoxious and over-the-top. “Can’t you guys just chill?”

I once felt the word ‘chill’ carried a negative connotation. I associated it with laziness, being unmotivated, lacking passion, and not caring for much of anything. It wasn’t until my junior year of college that I started understanding the word differently.

Chill meant you didn’t let the negative moments in life affect your entire day. Chill meant you were easy-going and had a calm temperament. Chill meant you enjoyed the simple things in life and always had a reason to smile. After that epiphany, I became more acclimated to the California lifestyle. I found myself becoming more polite, friendly and influenced by everyone’s positive energy- and some might even say, more chill.

“You’re a ‘cali girl’ now,” my friends from Massachusetts kept saying. I had learned how to control my energy and adjust to the atmosphere. I felt a wave of relief when I could finally start calling San Diego my new home. And I realized home isn’t as tangible as I once thought it was. Home isn’t a building with a brown door and welcome mat. Home is where the positive vibes run wild. Home is where your heart longs to be. Home is where the soul is.

The vibes in California are the perfect recipe for happiness; while the vibes on the east coast are the perfect recipe for determination. After five years on the west coast, I can finally say that those two concepts can coexist. Just because my mind feels connected to the east coast, doesn’t mean my heart can’t feel connected to the west. I strongly advise my east coast homies to make a trip out to the west coast and for my west coast fam to travel the beautiful east coast.

Check out this BuzzFeed quiz to find out if you’re more of an east coast or west coast peep! Not surprised, I still got East Coast <3