green crush: meet zahra of soulful seeds

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meet zahra | soulful seeds

location | nashville, tennessee

eco voyage's green crush series showcases green living advocates who are committed to mindful lifestyles and dedicated to protecting both the environment + all those who inhabit planet earth. today we meet zahra, the ebullient wellness blogger behind soulful seeds blog + founder of women ministries online with a passion for growing spiritually + living healthfully. zahra is an ardent mental health advocate + a savvy slow fashion enthusiast who shares her tips for living that mindful lifestyle through faith, fitness, self love + vegan eats.

live

ev: what is one small action you might encourage others to take to live a more compassionate, cruelty-free lifestyle?

zahra: Choose to be aware! Many people are scared to know the implications of their current lifestyle on the planet, animals, and their own health. Instead of turning away information, try to absorb all the information you can; this will inevitably lead you to pursue a more aware and conscious lifestyle! Books to read include: How Not to Die: Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reserve Disease and Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life.

love

ev: tell us three personal qualities about yourself that you would never change?

zahra: Probably my compassion, work ethic and sensitivity! [Self love is an ongoing practice and Zahra offers insightful posts via her Mindful Lifestyle, Faith + Mental Health categories. She’ll help you continue to show yourself patience + compassion while striving for emotional, psychological + physical balance in your life via her thoughtful posts including 7 Prompts to Affirm Positive Thoughts and Overcoming Negative Thought Patterns.]

learn

ev: how and why did you decide to go vegan and to pursue a green lifestyle? are there books/movies which you might recommend to others who are interested in learning more about the issues of animal rights and sustainability?

zahra: I love this question! I primarily sought out veganism because of the health benefits but was ultimately compelled to go vegan and spread my love for the lifestyle because of the environmental aspects of it. I actually have a whole article with ALL my favorite vegan resources I recommend to others interested in learning about the lifestyle!

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work it 

ev: you create weekly content for your website and for social media; it takes a lot of time + dedication to sustain your own blog. what motivates you to do so? 

zahra: Amen to that! I stay motivated because I absolutely love the entire process from content creating to interacting with readers! It warms my heart to hear feedback from people reading my content and learning new things from it!

wear it

ev: describe your favorite outfit from head to toe including any favorite vegan fashion brands.

zahra: A jumpsuit from ASOS (thrifted from Thred Up - my favorite way to shop thrifted and second hand), paired with some vegan Birkenstocks, and some bracelets from Pura Vida!

into the calm

ev: what do you do to decompress when you're feeling a little stressed?

zahra: I go to a yoga class and workout! One of my favorite, soul-feeding things to do is look through my prayer journal for verses I highlight and delve into. This practice brings me closer to the Holy Word, and enhances my understanding of the Text in the context of my own life. Truthfully, when I am anxious or worried about something, the first place I go to is usually not God. I usually try to find hope from the encouragement of a friend or loved one, and though that is helpful, it truly isn’t sustainable. When I do eventually realize that and turn to GOD, I get an unparalleled source of hope. God has the answers. He might not reveal them all to us, but He has them in His hands, and this, my friends, is the ultimate source of hope.

get happy

God is infinitely more powerful than our fears and worries. He is always with us- you just need to let Him in to tap into the vast love, safety, and trust He provides.

ev: share four things that make you really happy.

zahra: The color yellow, sunflowers, the [show] The Office and my friends+ family. Volunteering and participating in community service allows you to connect with your environment and use your unique skills to help those around you. As an added benefit, engaging in service has been proven to be a wonderful way to boost emotional well being and professional skills! There are some great databases and resources for volunteer opportunities. Use these sites to find volunteer opportunities near you:

it's a bird, it's a plane, it's a superhero

ev: if you could invite three people to a private dinner party, who would they be?

zahra: Pauli Murray [the American civil rights activist + lawyer, a women's rights activist, Episcopal priest, and author], Mother Teresa [the indefatigable Roman Catholic nun + Nobel laureate for her lifelong missionary work with sick children], and Miley Cyrus [singer, actress + animal rights activist]. [Editor’s note: now that’s one eclectic and fabulous mix of women! Count me in!]

ev: if you had one superpower, what would it be?

zahra: The ability to fly!

a beautiful mind

ev: how do you define beauty? 

zahra: Beauty is inherent in us ALL! The process of uncovering it and recognizing it is essential to everyone's self development!

say anything

ev: do you have a favorite quote or motto that inspires you?

zahra: Mine is "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle".

images c/o soulful seeds blog

find zahra here: website | instagram | facebook | twitter

{eco beauty} super natural: a green + cruelty-free morning routine

50 natural, vegan + cruelty-free beauty products

one of my fave fashion icons is diane keaton; i love her la-di-da, screwball persona clad in relaxed chinos, patterned neckties + bowler hats {diane later shared in her autobiography that her wardrobe choices were inspired by real life exploits + the street style of new york: she pieced together her off-beat + brilliant boy-meets-girl ensembles herself that were used in movies she starred in}.

diane keaton is my girl crush. probably because she represents the ultimate form of beauty to me: she exudes joy. i believe her most beautiful physical asset is her joyfulness, her positive energy + her smile {and that laugh!}.

and honestly, i love what she has had to say about beauty + acceptance of self over the years: 

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in a 2014 interview with vogue u/s diane was asked, "do you think there's an age at which you learn to accept the way you look?" her candid response was, "i don't think so. i think the more distracted you are, the better you're off in terms of looking at yourself."

see, self-acceptance, well, there's a secret to it all. and this is what i know about it.

i've been a busy gal for most of my life {with the biggest portion of my life devoted to volunteering + working in the field of education with inner city youth}, and with that, i've often felt that i haven't had time to dwell on any possible physical flaws that might exist. and to be honest, i don't subscribe to the idea of flaws: i believe we're all born innately beautiful, exactly the way we were supposed to come together. because god doesn't make mistakes.

i came to understand long ago that confidence can be equated with beauty. and when we compare ourselves to others, we forget to focus on our own light + innumerable strengths, and all of the beauty we each possess.

in truth, i feel most confident when i'm healthy + happy. and i'm usually feeling most joyous when i'm contributing to the happiness + well-being of those around me. as for my health, this starts from the inside out, and is reflected in my skin. as a plant advocate, i like to eat the plants, and i like to wear the plants.

i love to use products that promote clear + dewy skin. our skin is host to myriad species including bacteria, yeast + fungi. good bacteria informs our skin cells to create our own antibiotics that kill off harmful bacteria, however an imbalance in our skin's microbiome, due to harsh chemicals found in commercial products or an overly sanitized way of life, can disrupt our bodies natural acid mantle + lead to break outs, acne, ecsema or rosacea.

my morning routine consists of the bare minimum: toner {does everyone know about the magic of toners?}, lip balm, plant oils as moisturizers + a little mascara. 

voilà! 

if i'm feeling fancy, i'll put a little bronzer + eyeliner on. for me, confidence comes from feeling good about the way i'm presenting myself to me. i've put together this list of fave products that support your natural beauty + long-term health. i've test driven some great, plant-based brands. each product listed here is made sans fillers, additives, petrochemicals + preservatives, instead each is made with love from active ingredients including fruits, nuts, vegetables, seeds, flowers + berries.

without further ado, these are my top natural beauty brands {50 distinct eco brands in all} + my fave vegan products from each cruelty-free company: 

{soap bars} s/he studio // scratch goods // dr. bronner's // osmia organics

{facial cleansers + exfoliators} root science // precious skin elixirs // shamanuti // aster + bay

{toner} poppy + someday // herbivore botanicals // french girl organics // kani

{facial oils + moisturizers} kahina // pelle beauty // my skin + bones // mun // poetic blend

{mascara} pacifica // w3ll people // lily lolo // jane iredale 

{eyeliner} w3ll people // bwc 

{blush + bronzer} antonym // devita 

{lip gloss} juice beauty // 100% pure // emani

{lip balm} unearth malee // ellovi // hurraw // mi me

{body moisturizers} forager + this list of 4 fab lotions will keep your skin super nourished + moisturized.

{make up brushes} eco tools // alima pure 

{dry shampoo} lulu organics is tops. here's a list of my 4 fave dry shampoos + how to apply so you don't look like someone threw a snowball at your head. i just tried this dry shampoo by mullein + sparrow from trunk collective; it has a dark hue for the brunettes of the world + is chocolate scented for the cocoa lovers of the world {comes in a teeny tiny container for travelers packing light}.

{wet shampoo + bar shampoo} here's a list of 6 amazing eco shampoos to keep your tresses shiny + strong. 

{leave-in conditioner + hair texturizer} yarok // acure // eco sevi // captain blankenship

{don't forget the tip} when it comes to choosing bath + beauty products that are made with pure, safe + organic ingredients, i turn to my favorite experts {these gals will never lead you astray, from lipstick to foundations, they're the real deal}: andrea at organic beauty lover yenny at eco chic beauty trish at ni hao new york

petit vour remains my numero uno for clean + cruelty-free beauty where you can find most of the goods listed here, yes, all in one place. hop to the right side bar here at finny + dill for a list of more eco apothecaries or scroll down if you're on your phone. and don't forget that knowledge is power, so get some of that good info + learn the truth about conventional beauty products by reading no more dirty looks or not just a pretty faceuntil next time, stay green dear hearts!

{header image + artwork by ev // made in the usa zip pouch by talented designer + artist

chotnelle}

{eco boutique} aujourd'hui demain: concept store vegane

unswerving eco entrepreneurs raphaël francisco + cheyma bourguima are here to bring all your cruelty-free + vegan dreams to fruition {mhm, that was a plant pun}. find out how you can be part of bringing to life the very first vegan concept store in paris. let your imagination soar, this is where all your eco + sustainable dreams come true, boys + girls.

veganism is described as the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products + a philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals. *

 veganism is also about embracing a lifestyle that extends our love + respect to all sentient beings + to all species, including factory farmed animals.

i am both an unabashed animal lover + an unapologetic plant enthusiast. veganism is really about compassion + nonviolence. i eat the plants, i wear the plants, and i celebrate the cruelty-free options here at eco voyage.

now you can get all of this goodness at one shop in the heart of paris {the healthy snacks, the eco apparel + footwear, the natural bath + beauty products, all in one place}. i am pleased to introduce to you raphaël + cheyma, two dynamite + determined voices in an ever-growing movement who are sharing their passion + creativity with the world.

from our friends at aujourd'hui demain:

veganism is a source of inspiration to rethink our relationship with the world and live in a moral coherence extended to all: human and non-human animals. every day we discover that we all have the power to change things. for greater social justice, for saving lives and making our world more benevolent.

put the solution within reach for all:

aujourd'hui demain {today tomorrow} finds artisans + creators combining ethics, an eco-responsible approach and innovation. the mission? to support those who seek gentle guidance in their transition to veganism, all with kindness and pleasure! we want to take you with us on this beautiful adventure, so don't waste another moment!

interested in joining the cruelty-free + compassionate living revolution? of course you are! well, get ready to take a walk on the tofu side. yep, i said it! support their crowdfunding campaign on kiss kiss bank bank {just ten days to go, my sweet, animal loving veg heads} + follow aujourd'hui demain on facebook.

{don't forget the tip} did you know that the demand for livestock pasture is a major driver of deforestation? the food + agriculture organization of the united nations has estimated that 70% of land formerly supporting amazon rainforests has been turned over for grazing. learn more about the meat + dairy industry and find out how animal agriculture contributes to habitat destruction, water + air pollution. healthy + compassionate choices are just a click away! learn more about veganism here or here. find delicious + nutritious alternative protein sources such as nut mylk + plant-based meats at whole foods market in america or naturalia in france.

until next time, stay green dear hearts!

{images via aujourd'hui demain}