My Thoughts on Alcohol: For Real, For Real

Oh, the ever-pressing question of ALCOHOL! What’s a health blogger to do when she doesn’t really love putting alcoholic beverages in her body & she reallllly doesn’t love being hungover, but she still enjoys getting buzzed with her friends every once in a while?

She works her magic of ●● m o d e r a t i o n ●●.

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You see, I’m allowed to talk about drinking in moderation without sounding like a total annoying doofus because I have very much spent time on both ends of the spectrum. I have been super wild partier Jordan who set a personal record of going out & drinking (read: getting hammered) for two weeks straight without a single night off, and I have been majorly anti-alcohol late-night-fearing Jordan who has steered clear from having a drop on her tongue for months at a time (I was orthorexic… hello!).

drunk See? I told you I was a train wreck.

I’m not saying I regret my wild child years, because they helped me grow and learn what works best for me and what doesn’t. Miraculously, when I was 18, 19 and 20 (don’t tell the police) I was able to drink excessively at night and go to class and the library all day and do really well in school. Now if I were to go out partying until 4 a.m. I would be a zombie to the world the next day and all productivity would fly out the window.

When I hang out with people I haven’t seen in a while who knew me at that time in my life, they are always shocked to see how mellow I have become. I go out, but I like to be home on the early side. I drink, but I keep it to one or two drinks (instead of my previous seven). beyou

And why am I writing about it today? Because finding a balance has been TRICKY for me & it’s something I am still working to figure out.

In New York, it was easy to keep my drinking to a bare minimum. That was probably because with the exception of some of my closest friends that I moved to the city with, mostly everyone I hung out in New York didn’t know me before I mellowed out. They know me as the balanced healthy yogi writer work-addict that I have turned into… that I love being! And yes, I won’t deny that I went overboard with the no drinking thing for a while, but it certainly made it easier to stick to my guns when people were used to my non-drinking ways.

Now I am surrounded by more people that I have known for a long time, which on the one hand is a beautiful thing! I am also living in a city where I was once a total party animal. It’s hard to figure out exactly how often I want to drink, go out, balance my work, staying in, relaxing, going out and not drinking, having my nights where I stay out late, nights where I go out but come home early, etc.

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Being the extreme girl that I am, I am frequently tempted to either:

  1. Proclaim that I don’t drink at ALL, and easily avoid alcohol by declaring to the world that I’ve given up drinking as a whole.
  2. Say screw it and force myself to unwind from my fears and hesitations and drink whenever I am in a drinking type of situation

Well, every day I have to remind myself that neither of those things are necessary. I don’t need to slap a label on myself by saying that I do not EVER drink and will not ever drink again. Alternately, I don’t need to believe that drinking in general means drinking allll the time or needs to mean that I can’t go out and turn down a drink.

I can find my happy medium! I can drink when I feel like it and turn it down when I don’t feel like it. If I end up not drinking 90% of the times that I go out, that’s cool with me. If I end up drinking more than I expect to, that’s cool too.

All I want to do is follow my heart, feel amazing, let go of restrictions and just be. If that eventually leads me to an alcohol-free lifestyle, I wouldn’t be shocked. But even then, if I want to sip on some cocktails a few times a year I’m not going to sue myself.

10172627_10104512696990903_7157259099542832848_n Here I am enjoying a drink in moderation with my NYC BFF Paul over brunch in April. (Okay, I actually got really drunk that day but you get the idea. Then I went to yoga. It was hysterical.)

Sometimes I do love drinking for the social aspect, and sometimes it’s just one of those nights where it sounds like a great idea. And sometimes there’s a situation or a party or a bar environment where I know it would be a whole lot more fun to loosen up and have a few drinks. And in those cases, you’ll sure as heck find me with a drink in my hand.

Constantly on my quest for balance, and I am getting there. One day at a time. The good thing is, I am WAY more comfortable going out & turning down drinks than I used to be. I don’t want to let my general dislike of drinking get in the way of my social life, and that’s what most important to me right now. Finding a balance of maintaining my social life without feeling the need to drink when everyone else is.balance

Sounds doable, right?

What are your thoughts on alcohol? Do you feel the same way I do, or are you still in the “it’s 5 o clock somewhere” stage?! I am open to all opinions– we are all different for a reason, and those differences are what make us beautiful!

A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That

Good moooorning from Sacramento! I’ve been home in my lovely little Nor Cal pocket of love for a little more than a week now. Remember how I drove home to surprise my dad for his birthday? Well, after that I decided to stick around for a while, spend time with my family & get a whole lotta work done.Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 9.52.49 AM

There’s nothing quite like being home… and I feel so lucky that home is such a positive and happy place for me. In fact, in college I struggled because I had such a rounded, full life in LA and such a rounded, full live in Sacramento and I felt very torn between the two. (It might sound silly to struggle about being torn between two awesome places, but it was a lack of that “settled” feeling and caused a lot of anxiety.) Now I have a third place to add to that list (NYC!!), and though it certainly has its hard days to have my heart in three places, I can now appreciate how wonderful that is, too.

Having my heart in three cities means having people I love, favorite restaurants and smoothie spots to hit up, yoga studios, gyms, and those tiny little comforts you can only know when you’ve truly lived in a place with your whole heart.

homeiswheretheheartis So even though it kills me to see photos and hear about the awesome times my friends are having in the cities where I am not, it makes me happy to know that I can go back to each place and feel that hominess and that love in all three.

And being “unsettled” (as much as I’ve tried to fight it!!!) is A) just a product of being in your early twenties, and B) a side effect of the career path that I chose. This career makes me happier & more whole than anything else I can imagine, and to work for no one but yourself means you are free to live anywhere. Without a job or school tying me to any city, it’s easy to feel a bit all over the place.

(PS… Have you SEEN this amazing creation I tried yesterday from The Parlor in Sac!??!?!)▼ ▽ ▾ ▿

Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 9.30.43 AM Today I am headed back to LA (6 hour drive, anyone?!) and I am excited to get there, dive into work, have some kickass meetings with kickass people, and be surrounded by many of my lovely best friends. (Although I am very sad to leave my family… I can’t get used to the fact that we’re not across the country from each other anymore – so goodbyes don’t mean as much!)

I just wanted to pop in & say hello before I went on my merry way on my drive across California, and I also want to tell you about some fun things to expect on TBB this week (and next… too many exciting things coming up!)…

Coming Up:

1. Organic Gemini raw, organic TigerNut review & GIVEAWAY! Yippee!

2. Q&A with Miss Kayla Itsines, fitness and nutritionista sensation. I started her Bikini Body Guide yesterday, and boy am I sore!!! The best kind of sore, though. ;)

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3. Things I’m Loving Lately post—only my favorite kind of post!

4. Recovery Series #2… can ya guess who it’s going to be?!

5. My Thoughts on Alcohol… For Real, Real

6. Mushroom Matrix review & giveaway (smoothie powders… mmm!)

7. “OMG, you ATE that????” ◀ ◁ ◂ ◃ ◄ people’s reactions to my dietary changes

8. How to STYLE TBV Apparel tees, whoop whoop!

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Lastly, I’ll leave you with this yummy oatmeal JOY recipe…

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Peachy Berry Cinnamon Flaxy Oats

Ingredients:

½ cup gluten-free steel cut oats

1 cup water

¼ cup almond milk

1 tbsp flaxseed meal

½ peach or nectarine

¼ cup blueberries

2-3 sliced strawberries

a few heavy shakes of cinnamon (I use an ungodly amount, but use as much or as little as you’d like!)

Directions:

1. Boil oats in water over medium-high heat until the water is fully soaked into the oats.

2. While the oats are boiling, slice the peach and strawberries.

3. Once your oats are boiled, stir in cinnamon and flax.

4. Pour into a jar or bowl, top with berries & enjoy!

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How were everyone’s weekends?! Anything exciting going on this week?

Recovery Series #1 // Kim Cortes

Hello, hello babes! It’s been a * R E A L * exciting week over here on TBB. I launched my new site yesterday (thoughts?!?!), and today I am starting my Recovery Series that will run on the bloggy every Friday from now forward.

Recovery Series #1 // ▶ ▷ ▸ ▹ ►

The inspiration behind the Recovery Series comes from all of *you*– the tremendous amount of support I have gotten throughout my recovery process & the willingness all of my readers, friends & fellow bloggers to open up about their own stories has been touching, eye opening & extremely helpful.

The Recovery Series is a space for all of us to connect, learn and grow. Recovery certainly isn’t easy, but it helps a lot to know that we are not alone. The series won’t stick *only* to eating disorders (don’t worry, my super on-track “I am sooo far from having an ED” readers), but eating disorders will be a common theme since the stress of • f o o d • & learning to find balance is relevant to all of us.

Other themes = depression, anxiety, food-induced stress or extremes of any kind, the list goes on. We are not alone, & we ALL have the power to find balance and fall in love with ourselves.

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The beautiful Kim of Busy Bod (and @busybodyogi on IG!) holds a very special place in my heart. When I started connecting with other health bloggers back in late winter/early spring, Kim’s was one of the first blogs that totally drew me in. Her honesty, her down to earth mentality and her penchant for BALANCE really struck me. Also, it didn’t hurt that Kim and I became quick friends.

When I came forward about my eating disorder in June, Kim was one of the first to reach out. She told me that she had been reading between the lines for quite some time, and that she was letting me come to the realization that I needed help on my own. Her words meant the world to me, especially because I was surrounded by many people in my personal life who cared deeply but didn’t quite understand. It’s hard to have a true and deep understanding of an eating disorder unless you’ve been there.

That’s why I am thrilled and honored that Kim’s recovery story will be the first in the Recovery Series. I am thrilled & honored to kick this series off with a Q&A with Kim herself!

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Kim Cortes // Busy Bod // Q&A ▶ ▷ ▸ ▹ ►

Q: Name, age, current location.

A: Kim, 29, recently relocated to Boston for the foreseeable future. 

Q: How old were you when you started developing your eating disorder? Was there something going on in your life that triggered it for you?

A: I think I’m like many women in that my disordered approach to food and eating developed as I did during puberty. All of a sudden in seventh grade I became obsessed with my weight, my shape, and my eating. It consumed my thoughts, and every bite I took left me feeling guilty and miserable. I don’t think that there was a specific trigger at the time, other than possibly going from being a very small and lanky girl’s body to a woman’s body. It was also a very stressful time for me in my family life. This is relevant because since then, the severity of my disordered eating has risen and fallen in connection with times of high stress. I’ve learned that as much as my disorder is about weight and insecurity, it’s even more about control. The more out of control something in my life feels (be it relationships, school, career, family, etc), the stronger the ED voices start shouting.

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Q: How long did you suffer from your ED before you realized it was time to get help?

A: This is a hard question for me, because the truth is that I never did. If you read a lot of ED recovery material you’ll see that it is extremely difficult to recover without professional help (and if you are suffering, don’t try it, get help). I was never officially diagnosed with an eating disorder because I never sought help. I denied that I had a problem because I wasn’t “sick enough” in my own (unqualified) opinion. I think partly because of that, my recovery has been very slow and very bumpy. It’s been about 6 years since I was at my sickest – eating next to nothing, underweight, collapsing at my waitressing job because of it, etc. – and while the good days far far far outnumber the bad, I still have bad days. Sometimes I think working with a professional would more fully help me recover, and it’s something I would really like to do.

I was a part of the recovery community. Even though there were years, especially right after college, when I was clearly very sick, without a diagnosis, I didn’t feel like I belonged. When I started blogging and discovered some ED recovery blogs, I never felt like I belonged. When I finally opened up completely about my historywith disordered eating, the reception from others in recovery was incredible, and it helped me see my disorder as just that, a disorder, although I still hedge by referring to it as disordered eating instead of an eating disorder. If you’ve ever felt like you don’t belong in the recovery community, I encourage you to check out the comments on that post.

To get back to the question, I got “better” (as in improved, not recovered) as my life got better. I was happier, I felt more in control, and I was able to let go of ED tendencies a little, at least the ones that put me at greatest risk. Thoughts and fears of food still consumed an extraordinary part of my day, but I was eating and exercising somewhat normally. I used to always talk about the times in my early 20s as “when I was skinny.” One of the biggest shifts for me in my attitude towards my disorder came when I started saying “when I was sick.” It happened organically as my recovery progressed, and it was the first time I faced the fact that something was fundamentally wrong.

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Q: Tell us what a day in the life of meals looked like during your ED versus what it looks like now.

A: I don’t want to get into what my diet looked like then and now because it can be very triggering for people at-risk, suffering, or in recovery. That’s part of why I don’t participate in WIAW (What I Ate Wednesday) anymore, it became triggering for me. But I will say this: Pre-recovery phase, and on my bad days now, I thought about food and calories and exercise from the moment I woke up until the moment I went to bed. It may have moved to the back of my mind if I was working on something for school or work, but it was always there, along with the voice telling me everything that was terrible about the way I looked and wrong with who I was. Along with the belief that losing just a little more would make things better, and the reality that rigidly controlling my food did make me feel better.

The irony about restrictive, control-based disorders is that you think you’re controlling your food when in reality, your food is controlling you. I’m happy to say that food doesn’t control me anymore. For the most part, I eat when I’m hungry and I eat what I want. I don’t believe in “guilt-free” or “indulgences” or “rewards” or any of the other words used to keep us in fear of certain foods, so I don’t view them that way.

 Q: How did friends and family react when they found out you had been suffering?

A: Without a diagnosis, I don’t really know, and I’m not sure they know. It’s something we’ve always danced around in conversation. I think it would be easier if a doctor had said to me “you have anorexia” or you have an “other specified feeding or eating disorder (OSFED).” Instead, there’s just a general knowledge that I had issues with food and with eating. I know when things were at their worst, a lot of people were genuinely very concerned for my health, but I don’t think anyone knew what to do or say or how to help.

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Q: How do you find a balance on your blog, Busy Bod, to ensure that blogging about your eats and workouts don’t trigger old habits?

A: This has been such a struggle for me since I joined the blogging community. One of the things that has helped the most is just taking a step back. I dove head first into blogging and the community and I drank it up when I first started. Now, I blog less often and consciously resist getting too immersed in the culture. I love my blog friends, but my health comes first (obviously).

In addition to stepping back, I think it’s important to know yourself and your triggers. This takes time and strength, but when I see a blog or a post that stirs those old thoughts, I learn a little more about what to avoid. Now, if it’s a new blog I just won’t read it, and if it’s a friend’s blog, I’ll skim the post so I can still comment on another aspect of it, or if it’s really bad, I’ll skip it altogether.

Q: On the subject of balance… how do you maintain balance in your life when you have a history of extremes? (That makes two of us, btw.)

A: Extremes is right. My college friends used to joke that every day simultaneously was the best day of my life and the worst day of my life. I’ve always been volatile in that way, but I’m not anymore. They say admitting you have a problem is the first step, and I think that’s true in this case. Knowing I tend towards the extreme helps me check it before it gets out control, and helps me see situations as potentially bringing that out in me so I can avoid them. It has been many long years of learning the hard way, but I’ve seen how much healthier and happier I am when I’m balanced – in all aspects of my life – so that keeps me working hard at it.

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Q: Can you share with us a few of your “fear foods” from your ED, and tips for overcoming those?

A: Sadly I have no tips. But I will say that fried foods was a huge one for me and I gleefully demanded we have fried pickles when it was on the menu last weekend, so I can tell you there’s hope! :)

Q: Favorite indulgence!

A: Nothing is an indulgence! Eat what you love! :) I know what you mean though, so ice cream, it always has been and always will be my favorite food.

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Q: I know your stance on cleanses (you don’t believe in them), and that a few months ago you decided to develop your own “cleanse” and tailor it to your body and what works for you. Can you tell us a bit about how you were able to know yourself well enough to make that work?

A: The biggest thing for me was making sure it wasn’t about restriction, it was about proactively choosing to eat healthier food for a few days. I emphasize few, because keeping it short was also important for me, I did three days, and even that was enough that by the end I knew that another day could put me on a bad path. Lastly and long the lines of no restriction, I made sure that it was about what I was eating, not how much. So it was almost all fruits and veggies but it was a LOT of fruits and veggies. I kept it flexible so that if I was craving a banana and PB instead of a smoothie, I just ate that instead.

Q: Favorite quote.

A: This one, hands down:

unnamed-4 Q: Any tips for dealing with a particularly hard day in recovery?

A: Focus on small victories. I actually got this one from Amy in a comment on a post of mine. Maybe that’s choosing to stop your workout or choosing to eat anything. Just focus on that moment, because in that moment, it’s a victory. If it’s possible, dealing with the underlying issue is obviously a big help. Finally, any distraction or redirection helps. For me this is yoga or finding a project or something to focus on.

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Q: Anything else you’d like to add?

A: Just that if you are suffering, recovery is hard but it’s worth it. You deserve it.

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Site Redesign(!!!) + Chili Lime Grilled Salmon Recipe

Well, today’s the day. The site has been reborn. I am officially THE BALANCED BLONDE on all forms of social media & I couldn’t be happier about it. Thank you all for being patient throughout my lifestyle changes, my rebranding, my ups & downs and everything in between. I am one grateful, relieved, beyond ecstatic girl right now.  ☮

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(( P.S. Are you as in love with my site redesign as I am? Email me your thoughts, & everyone who puts in their two cents will receive their own special TBV Apparel discount code for the week! And, if ya love it, check out miss J. Hannah (@jess_hannah on instagram), my beyond talented designer. She created this beauty of a website & she puts up with my ever-evolving visions & brings them to life. She rocks. Oh, and how fab is her jewelry… ▼ ▽ ▾ ▿ ))

Now, there’s no denying the fact that the last few months have been well, ummm, wild-rocky-WTF-is-going-on-my-life-(and-the-blog)-are-(and-is)-upside-down. Life duties, moving across the country, recovery, interviews and opportunities galore, and trying to rebuild my diet & my life kinda took me away from my regular posting schedule.

Now it’s time for me to settle back into my routine, bust out some new recipes, make some headway with the app, and get a MOVE ON with all the new exciting TBB series (as detailed in yesterday’s post)!

I thought it would be very fitting to post my very first non-vegan recipe on the bloggy today, since today is my first official day as The Balanced Blonde, and it includes something you have all been requesting up a storm… SALMON! Yes, yum, all about it.

Chili Lime Grilled Salmon

Who ever thought a mere few months ago you’d be reading a fish recipe on this blog? Shout out to Gigi, Lindsay & Tara… I knew you will all appreciate this!

Chili Lime Grilled Salmon over Fruit, Veg & Grain Salad ▶ ▷ ▸ ▹

Serves 2

Ingredients:

Salmon ▶ ▷ ▸ ▹ ►

½ teaspoon coconut palm sugar

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

3 teaspoons line juice

2 salmon filets (6 oz each)

4 lime wedges

Salad ▶ ▷ ▸ ▹ ►

½ cup kale

½ cup mixed greens

½ cup sliced strawberries

2 large carrots chopped

½ cup quinoa

Dressing:

1-2 lime wedges

2 teaspoons balsamic

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Directions:

Salmon ▶ ▷ ▸ ▹ ►

1. Heat gas or charcoal grill. In a bowl, mix all ingredients for salmon dish minus the salmon and lime wedges. Spread mixture over flesh-side of salmon.

2. Once grill is heated, place salmon skin side down on gas grill over medium heat or charcoal grill under medium coals. Cover grill. Cook 15-20 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

3. Serve salmon with lime wedges.

Salad ▶ ▷ ▸ ▹ ►

1. Boil ½ cup quinoa in 1 cup water (I actually like to use 1.5 cups water to ensure that my quinoa gets super fluffy, but to each their own) over medium high heat until water is fully soaked in. Depending on your stovetop, this should take between 15 and 20 minutes.

2. Thinly strawberries and carrots while you wait for quinoa to boil.

3. In a bowl, mix greens, strawberries and carrots. Add in quinoa once boiled. Squeeze lime wedges and balsamic (or another dressing of choice).

4. Place salmon on top of the salad, or serve on the side.

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Voila! You have your grain, your protein and your veggies. If you’d like to add a fat to the meal to ensure the most balanced meal possible, feel free to add some sliced avocado or walnuts to the salad, or even some tahini to your dressing or your glaze. Delicious!

So… let’s hear it! Thoughts on the new design? Is it w-e-i-r-d to know that the former TBV is now eating fish (among a variety of other things)?! Is this how you envisioned the new site? Is it going to take you a while to get used to? I know change is strange, but once we get used to it change is so worth it and so healthy.

A New Look + New Beginnings

All right, it’s no secret that the blog, and my life, have been through some serious changes lately. It’s only fitting that the blog starts reflecting those changes so that this lovely space can express my philosophy + creations + lifestyle + all things TBB in the best way possible.

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I have been working for the past few months to create a clear vision of The Balanced Blonde & everything I want this space, and this brand, to embody. A few of the first things that come to mind are: zen, passion, inspiration (in terms of recovery & leading a healthy life in general), balance, minimalist aesthetic, personality, style (TBV Apparel), yoga & most of all, * c o n n e c t i o n * with all of you in a down to earth & aesthetically pleasing way.

Now, is that so much to ask?

(( Correct answer: “No, it’s not too much to ask at all, Jordan”!!! ))

So, in addition to switching up the layout of TBB (NEW SITE WILL BE UP TONIGHT– I’M DYING), I will be adding some new weekly series to spiff it up & keep things on a bit more of a schedule… but not TOO much of a schedule, because y’all know I roll on my own alternative wavelength:

● n e w ● s t u f f  ● ▶ ▷ ▸

A) Recovery Series: This is something I am ALL too excited about. I will be writing a weekly “Recovery Series” that spotlights recovery stories from people who span from popular bloggers to my amazing readers. This series is all about connecting and inspiring in a safe & open place. There is no hiding behind closed doors or feeling alone here. This is a place to connect! Some of my favorite people are lined up to kick off the recovery series, including Kim of Busy Bod, Gena of Choosing Raw, Katie of Chocolate Covered Katie, Hayley of Healthy Hayls, and more.

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B) Things I’m Loving Lately: I have been very into my “TILL” posts lately, and it’s something I want to make a weekly tradition on TBB! This will be a spot for all of my favs around the internet, the blog world & the real life person-to-person world in LA & NYC. It will spotlight events, cool articles, new gadgets, fun findings, cool restaurants & whatever random tidbits of awesomeness I find along the way. Feel free to send me relevant content, and this is just another fun way for us all to connect & be one in this space. 

C) Video Series: This is in the very early stages so it will be a few months before it’s up and running on a regular basis, but doing all the press about orthorexia & my lifestyle switch got me thinking that I like connecting in a face-to-face kinda way whenever possible, and it makes it easier for me to answer your questions and connect in a widespread manner. There will be some cool videos coming your way from yoga to cooking vids to mini-docs. I can’t wait.

D) TBV Apparel + TBV Cleanses: Now all of my merchandise will be available on my site versus through Gumroad and Shopify. It will simplify everything, which is great. Plus, each week I will be highlighting #tbvapparelallovertheworld photos to show off what readers are up to in their TBV Apparel!

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E) “Ask Jordan”: This is another series I have been playing around with adding to the bloggy for a while. I spend hours & hours a day answering emails and questions from everything about my lifestyle, to blogging, to orthorexia, to healthy cooking, to yoga, to finding balance, etc— I want to be able to answer questions in an open space because I think the answers are helpful to many readers & also they are fun for me to write!

F) Events: Now that I am settling back into LA, the first thing I want to do is start planning some fun events where we can all meet, hang out & do healthy stuff together! Stay tuned for a whole lotta news on that front. This is something I am particularly thrilled about.

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Also… I have been having lots of breakthroughs in my yoga classes lately when it comes to brainstorming for TBB. One of the things I have been thinking about a LOT lately is the concept of balance (surprise, surprise) and how I leapt from veganism to orthorexia without giving myself much of a chance to just BE, or to just trust myself around food or in life in general.

The Recovery Series will discuss all of that & more, and I am uber duber excited about everything that is in store.

THANK YOU ALL for being in on this wild ride, for reading, for connecting, for sharing & for being amazing in every which way possible. You all rock & I love you all very much.

PS… Obvi there will still be lots of FOOD & recipe posts. Liiike my delectable breakfast by the fountain this morning…

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The most love in the world,

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How is everyone’s week going?! Did ya see the discount code for this month’s Happiness + Wellbeing Mag with me on the cover?! It’s “Balanced”. ALSO… here are the discount URLs for the two cleanses this week: Summer Cleanse + Original Cleanse

A Weekend Surprise + TBV Cleanse Discount

Happy Monday morning, my lovelies. Remember how I said I had a surprise planned over the weekend? Well, it happened, and it was super duper successful and wonderful. On Saturday I drove from LA to Sacramento (6 hours, yayyyeerr) to surprise my dad for his 68th birthday.

Surprises

Before I tell you the story (and announce the TBV Cleanse sales for the week), let me tell you how difficult it is to surprise a man like my dad. First of all, it’s been a rough year for our family, so he wasn’t in the best of moods come birthdaytime. He didn’t want to do much, and kept telling my mom he didn’t want to go out and celebrate and they should just hang out at home.

Secondly, he is perpetually and freakishly early everywhere. They had a 6:30 reservation, so I knew I had to be there at 5:45 if I wanted ample time to chill at the bar without worrying they were going to walk in right behind me.

And lastly… he’s your typical selfless dad who doesn’t like to do anything for himself, so instead the fun surprises and celebrations are usually reserved for the girls in the family.

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Well… not this time! I was determined to make this surprise work, and timing-wise it was kinda perfect since I have been wanting an excuse to spend some time in Sac for the last several weeks.

On Saturday morning I woke up at the crack of dawn because I was so excited (after a night out, yeah I was feelin’ wild, jumped into my car to make the drive, and stopped to get an almond milk latte because coffee is my new thing. Seriously, can you believe it? I’d gone almost 24 years without having a sip of coffee, and now all of the sudden I’m weirdly in love with it.

Post-coffee, I hopped back into my car and set out on the cross-state trek. I had about 5 weeks worth of IIN health coaching classes to catch up on, so that’s how I occupied myself on the drive. Thank god for that, because anyone who has ever made that drive from So Cal to Nor Cal knows that the beautiful views (a.k.a cow pastures) get a wee bit old after a while.

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 ^ This is Sacramento by the way. It’s beautiful.

Driving into Sacramento was lovely and grounding as it always is. Approaching your hometown after having been gone for any amount of time is always a beautiful feeling. I feel so lucky that home embodies so many good memories and such warmth and beauty in my mind. Plus, Sacramento is “the city of trees,” so it’s always gorgeous (even when it’s 95 degrees out…yikes).

I went to my best friend’s house when I arrived to get ready for the surprise, and after much internal debate decided to drive to the restaurant where I was meeting my fam almost an hour early for fear that they would be extremely early. Which they were, because they always are.

My parents are regulars at the restaurant and everyone was shocked I had beat my family there. I got them all in on the surprise so no one told them, “Oh, your daughter’s sitting over there!” My mom texted me when they are valeting the car, so I made sure to angle myself away from the door and focus on intently pretending to read the menu.

I felt them walking up behind me so I turned around in my chair and said, “HI!!” (I couldn’t help myself.)

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My dad jumped back and had such a genuine look of surprise on his face I almost started wondering whether he even recognized me. “What are you doing here?!?!?!” he asked.

He was absolutely shocked. And after the shock wore off, he was totally thrilled. He hadn’t been having the best day, but the surprise was just what he needed to shake himself out of it. We had the best night catching up, eating yummy food (in your face, eating disorder) and enjoying each other’s company.

Being able to BE there, fully in the moment, without worrying about work or food or outside crap whatsoever, was so, so unbelievably wonderful. It reminded me how amazing it feels to just breathe and enjoy the beauty of each and every moment. And how important it is to connect with your loved ones, obviously.

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So… why did I tell this long-winded story in the first place? A couple of reasons:

A)   To remind you all, my beautiful readers, that no matter what kind of unfortunate shit is going on in your life or the lives of people you love, you can turn someone’s entire week around by doing something unexpected that you know will make them smile.

B)   Even though I was kinda freaking out about the food situation that night, I put my freak out aside and was able to totally enjoy myself in the moment.

C)   In honor of my dad’s birthday, I am selling TBV Cleanse Programs at a 10% discount this week. Both the summer cleanse & the original cleanse. DISCOUNT CODE = “birthday surprises.” My dad is my hero and the first person who believed in TBB fully and 100%. He helped me get the blog going with his love and support, and when I decided to leave grad school last spring he stood behind me and agreed with my choices even though the unknown was super scary.

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TBV Cleanse is discounted this week on ooonnnee condition: do something special for someone you love. Surprising them is optional, but doing something special that will totally make them smile and lift their spirits is mandatory. They will love it and you will feel all warm and tingly and wonderful inside. 

How was everyone else’s weekend?! Xox

Oh, Lady Cakes Q&A!

Guess what?! My site redesign is officially happening in FOUR days. Count ‘em… Four! Think it’s about time? I mean, I did switch over to @thebalancedblonde on Instagram nearly two months ago, so it’s only been a matter of time until the bloggy would take over as TBB, too.

I. CAN’T. WAIT. TO SHOW YOU THE NEW LOGO! It’s completely perfect. I mean p-e-r-f-e-c-t. This site is about to have a super fancy beautiful makeover and it’s also about to reflect my blogging love and more minimalist style with much more clarity. SO SOON!

Me getting super excited about the fooouuurrr day mark (in my TBV Apparel tee & my bedhead):

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It’s not that I’ve been putting off the redesign. (Well, maybe a little bit in the beginning… I had a diehard attachment to TBV!) Lately, the only thing holding the redesign back from happening right this very second is that we are making it as perfect & aesthetically gorg as humanly possible before slapping it up on the website.

Will www.theblondevegan.com still link to my site? Of course. I can’t have thousands of confused readers wandering around cyberspace like chickens with their heads cut off searching for TBB! The old URL will link to the new site, and so will the new URL… www.thebalancedblonde, yay.

[ PS... Have you seen my Studio 10 Aussie news segment?!?! Check it outtt, yo. I didn't realize until the morning of that it was a LIVE interview, so I frantically messaged all of my Australian peeps-- Arman, BelleRoma, Jackie... hi! ]

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Anyyyway, in my quest for the perfect new bloggy layout, I have been looking to other blogs that I love and admire for inspiration. At the very top of my inspiration list? Miss Ashlae Warner of Oh, Lady Cakes.

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I basically started stalking this lovely gal’s blog a couple of years ago for her freakishly beautiful food photos, her super clean site design, and her I-feel-like-we’ve-been-friends-forever down to earth writing style.

I had the opportunity to interview Miss Ashlae about all things foodie and blog-land related, and I think it’s about time I share with all of you!

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^ Like, really?

Q&A with Ashlae of Oh, Lady Cakes:

Full name, age, current location: Ashlae Warner, 26, Denver, CO

Q: Are you fully vegan? What is your food philosophy?

A: I followed a strict vegan diet for a few years, and then got sick and it was recommended I start consuming animal protein again. I eat eggs a few times a month, but other than that I’d say my diet is at least 95% vegan. I subscribe to the same food policy as Michael Pollan – Eat food, not too much, mostly plants. I’m a big fan of anything that comes from the soil of our generous planet (even mushrooms, although I find their texture repulsive), and avoid eating foods that are genetically modified or overly processed (faux meat, frankencheese, etc.).

Q: Were you always interested in baking and cooking, or did going vegan (or mostly vegan) inspire you to get more into it? 

A: I was moderately interested in baking as a child but kind of lost my way with it as a teenager. When I met Thom (now my fiancé) seven years ago, I noticed he had a deep love and appreciation for homemade sweets. So I basically taught myself how to bake everything from scratch. When I went vegan, so did my baking. And although I’ve incorporated eggs back into my diet, you won’t find them in my baked goods.

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Q: Tell us about a day in the life of Ashlae.

A: I usually roll out of bed around 5AM, make myself a cup of pour over coffee (because my fancy coffee machine broke and I was too cheap to buy a new one) (I take a few tablespoons of non-dairy cream in mine, in case you were wondering), and head to the couch to catch up on Grist and NPR Environment. It’s become a sort of ritual for me, one that I very much look forward to each night before I go to bed. It’s my time to sit and stew; to learn and challenge myself; to think free of the clutter and chaos that comes with a new day. Around 7AM I’ll go for a long run and usually come back home to lift. My brother works in the strength training equipment industry (geesh, that’s a mouthful) so I’m fortunate enough to have all the fixings for a home gym. After that? Well, it depends on what I have going for the day. I’ll either work on my blog and the work that I am very, very, very thankful that has come along with it, or I’m sitting in class from 10-6, learning about economic theory and orbital mechanics and atmospheric stability.

Q: Your best “strange but good” food combo (either in baking or just in eating, in general)

A: I recently rediscovered canned refried beans and have been enjoying them straight from the can with a bit of salt and lime juice on each bite. Thom finds it appalling – and I’m sure most other people do, too – but oh man, it is so insanely satisfying.

Q: Your fav must-read blogs. (You know you’re one of mine!)

A: My Darling Lemon Thyme, A Couple Cooks, House of HLondon BakesTheFirstMess, The Vanilla Bean Blog, Darjeeling Dreams, Flourishing Foodie, Green Kitchen Stories, and a slew of others you can see here. (Aaaaand, I just realized all but one of these is a food blog. Prepare to be hungry, folks.)

[ Sidenote from TBB: These are a bunch of my favs, too! ]

Q: If you could share a meal with one person, living or dead, who would it be?

A: I don’t have a religious bone in my body, but I would love to share a meal with Papa Francesco. His commitment to bettering the lives of the sick/needy easily makes him one of the most admirable human beings, in my eyes. But if we’re going out for street tacos, taking shots of tequila, and not paying mind to how many f-bombs get dropped, I’d probably say Anthony Bourdain.

Q: Fav meal on earth.

A: I love a good sandwich. But there are two requirements: it must be toasted and it has to be loaded with good-quality condiments (hummus, spicy mustard, avocado spread, etc.).

Q: You’re a rockin’ photographer. Tell us a little bit about your photography journey & how you got so dang good! 

A: This is a weird question for me because I don’t really feel like I’ve earned the right to call myself a photographer. My photography took a turn for the better when I invested in a DSLR and started practicing a reasonable amount. Practice aside, it’s not difficult to take a good photo when you’ve got a device in your hands that costs a few thousand dollars. But I would say I have a style – very minimal and bright. I’ve tried to go the food styling route but I just can’t get into it. It feels forced and fake; completely unnatural. That, and I’m – admittedly – too lazy to do too much styling.

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[ ^ Stop this madness OMG so good. ]

Q: How did you come up with the name “Oh, Ladycakes”?! I love it, btw. 

A: Thanks! Thom gave me the name ladycakes back when we first started dating, but it had nothing to do with the fact that I was baking cakes. Or baking anything, for that matter. When I started the blog I knew I wanted to incorporate the name, somehow – and since ladycakes.com was taken, I threw an ‘oh’ out front.

Q: Quote to live by.

A: Eat well, travel often.

Huge thanks to Ashlae for stopping by TBB! Make sure to head over to her fantastically awesome blog ohladycakes.com for some mouth-watering food porn and photography eye candy.

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What’s everyone up to this weekend?! I have a surprise up my sleeve… but I can’t tell you what it is justttt yet… or else it wouldn’t be a surprise. ;)

What I Ate Wednesday: Recovery Style

Eek, it’s my first time participating in “What I Ate Wednesday” as a non-vegan. I used to be ALL about this thang when I was eating a plant-based diet. Big changes goin’ on over here! There’s a few reasons I haven’t participated in the last few months:

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A) I was still getting used to my new diet and wasn’t super comfortable posting photos of non-vegan foods in fear of (more) backlash from the vegan community and also because this was a vegan food blog to begin with so initially I wasn’t sure how to build upon that.

B) In my recovery process I find myself taking fewer photos of my meals! I still photograph most of my good looking meals, which happen to be a ton of them, but I used to photograph from every angle, have friends shine lights on the food, etc. and now I kind of just go with the flow more. At the end of the week, I have a heck of a lot fewer photos to work with than I used to!

C) Paying distinct attention to everything I eat in a day isn’t exactly the healthiest way to recover from an eating disorder. I now feel much stronger than I did a couple of months ago when food gave me raging anxiety, and thinking about my next meal could have sent me into a serious panic attack. Now I am learning to let go and enjoy food a lot more, and also do a LOT less planning when it comes to what I eat in general. After a fun weekend eating out with my mom in town, I feel like it’s about time to hop back on the “WIAW” train and give you all a glimpse into my non-vegan recovering food life.

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It feels good to be back on the WIAW wagon. Big thanks to Jenn for hosting! Ready? Here we go…!

What I Ate Wednesday: Recovery Style

My mom came to visit me in LA this weekend, which meant lots of eating out at yummy spots, lots of furniture shopping (furnishing the new apartment, woo!!) and laughing hysterically all weekend because that’s what we do together.

Breakfast:

Before I picked her up from the airport on Friday morning I ate this super delicious superfood oatmeal. The recipe is in my post from Friday. It’s definitely a new breakfast staple. So many nutrients packed into one filling little bowl!

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Lunch:

After I picked her up we headed to the Brentwood Country Mart and shared a lovely lunch spread from the Farm Shop. We had organic free-range chicken breast, a corn and nectarine salad (YUM!), mushrooms and Brussels sprouts. Lots of plant-based goodness balanced out with some protein, and everything was local and bursting with flavor. Farm Shop is fabulous and it was so fun to show my mama one of my new neighborhood spots!

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Snack:

While we were driving to Target (which ended up being a “City Target” a.k.a not even a full-sized version of Target which was so disappointing… who even knew those existed?) we passed a Penguins frozen yogurt shop. Penguins brings back so many memories for both of us – there was one right next to LMU where I went to college so I used to go all the time with my friends, and there was also one in my hometown that my mom used to go to longgg before I was even born. We decided it sounded delish and we were going to get some.

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This might sound like not such a big deal to you at all. Because it really isn’t. But for me, this was kinda huge. I can’t even remember the last time I had an impromptu dessert (non-vegan, to boot!) in the middle of the day for fun. And it was so good! Worth every bite. Indulging is fab every once in a while and I am learning that more and more in my recovery process.

And now we made new fun memories there! That’s what food is all about afterall, isn’t it? Enjoying it with the people you love.

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Dinner:

Okay, so dinner was a little trickier. I have gotten some feedback from readers lately that I may or may not tend to make recovery sound like it’s all sunshine and rainbows and a beautiful excuse for self-discovery. There is definitely that positive aspect to it, but most of the time it’s just hard and psychologically taxing. Dinner on Friday night was one of those experiences.

We met my aunt for dinner at Katsuya, a cute and super trendy sushi restaurant a few blocks from my apartment. After all the indulging from earlier in the day I was a little freaked about eating a regular meal, and to top it off I wasn’t even really hungry. (One of my biggest fears is eating when I’m not hungry and then throwing myself all out of whack.)

My aunt suggested that we all split a few dishes, but I quickly responded that I don’t do tempura dishes (fried food) and that the two of them should split and I would order my own thing. I ordered a kale and salmon sashimi salad that was a special on the menu, thinking it sounded great and balanced and nice and light.

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Well, it came to the table, and the kale was fried in oil!! It was basically a plate of kale chips (super oily kale chips) with a little bit of salmon sashimi. I was horrified. But for some reason I wasn’t in the mood to send it back and I made up my mind I was going to eat it and deal with it. I suppose as far as recovery goes that was a good thing and I am proud of myself, but as far as my BODY goes… and I know my body and what works and doesn’t work… my stomach was writhing in pain for 48 hours after eating it.

Fried. In. Oil. Does not work for me.

But instead of obsessing and letting it ruin my weekend, I woke up the next morning and had another bowl of oatmeal. I was tempted to just juice or not eat anything until well into the day like I would normally do when feeling super gross after a meal… but I didn’t! And there’s where the growth came in.

PS… We’re goobers.

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OtherMeals

Superfood Oatmeal for Two (Yum!):

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Quinoa Chicken Salad at Wood Ranch:

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Iced Almond Milk Mocha at Axe:

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Dungeness Crab Salad with Chili Lime Dressing at Axe:

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Steel Cut Oats with honey & berries at The Coral Tree:

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Strawberry Fields at the Brentwood Farmer’s Market:

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The M Chopped Salad at M Café (Okay usually I love this place but this salad kind of tasted three days old…ew?):

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What did your eats look like today / this weekend?! Any fun new indulgences or is that just me? ;)

So… What Do You Eat Now?

So, here’s a question I get asked more frequently than you can imagine. “You were vegan, now you’re not, so… What do you eat now?”

Or, actually people tend to ask, “What category does your diet fall into now?” Since I called myself “vegan” for so long, people in my life – both blog life and personal life – have been very used to associating me with a very certain type of diet.

VeganWhatAreYouEven I was very used to it! It certainly makes things easy at restaurants. “I’m vegan, so I can’t have any animal products or any animal byproducts.” That was always one of my favorite parts about being vegan. I liked the fact that the label made everything easy. Instead of my previous, “Oh, oil bothers my stomach…. And so does dairy, wheat, caffeine, and refined sugar… and I also don’t eat red meat, but occasionally I will eat some poultry,” etc. I was finally able to drop one word and people suddenly respected my eating choices more than ever before.

They may not have understood them, but they did respect them. People tend to associate vegans with having legit reasons behind their veganism, so they don’t mess with their food or try to get them to try things that don’t fall under the vegan label.

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Disassociating from that vegan label was hardest for that reason… immediately I felt like, “What am I if I’m not vegan?” I was tempted to say I was “vegan plus fish and eggs” for a while, and then “vegan plus fish, eggs and chicken,” and thennn I tried to drop the V-word as a whole but adopted dairy-free, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, oil-free, etc. in its place.

Then I read a really frickin’ amazing article by Kelsey Miller of the Anti-Diet Project. Kelsey wrote about eating disorder language and how prevalent labels are in eating disorders and in recovery. She mentioned me in her story, and the fact that I had to adopt one label (orthorexic) to get rid of the other (veganism), and how at the beginning stages of my recovery that orthorexic label was (and still is) extremely important.

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(Photo Credit: Reinfery29.)

Well, Kelsey’s article got me thinking. We sure like to hold onto labels. They make us feel nice. They wrap our feelings up into a cozy little box and allow them to sit there untainted from the world. The nicest thing about labels? You don’t really have to do any work when you’re in a box, and you certainly never have to even thiiiink about change.

At that point I tried to drop any and all labels and restrictions that I had around eating. And let me tell you, that process certainly didn’t happen overnight. It’s something I had a very strong grip on for quite some time, so naturally I am still struggling with it every day and am trying to ease that grip little by little.

So now when people ask me: “What category does your diet fall into?” I say (longwindedly, but still): “NONE!”

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Then I go on to explain how putting myself into a box by labeling my diet has not been good for my psyche, and how I don’t believe labels are good for anyone’s psyche. Especially those who are susceptible to eating disorders.

If you let yourself live your life, eat the foods you crave and the foods that you know make you feel good, you are doing something very, veryyyy special that I wasn’t allowing myself to do for a long time. You know what that is? TRUSTING YOURSELF. You are allowing yourself to have the freedom and power to make your own decisions, and you’re not letting some silly rulebook do the thinking for you.

There are no off-limits foods to me anymore. That is a huge, huge deal, because for many moons I had a MUCH higher percentage of off-limit foods than foods that were “okay.” It is still a trip to wrap my head around it… looking a menu and being like, “Holy cow! I can eat just about anything I frickin’ want on here,” feels so out of my comfort zone it’s insane.

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I still eat a very healthy diet. I’m not saying I’ve gone hog wild eating pizza, chips, ice cream, and cookies every day, but if I wanted to, I WOULD. Because I know if I was truly, truly trusting myself, I would probably only do that for a day or so and then even it out with healthy eating the next day. Our bodies don’t crave crap, it’s not real food, they crave good food from the earth that fuels us and makes us feel GOOD.

What I’m doing now is refusing to deprive myself. It’s liberating, it’s fun, and it feels amazing. I feel like a brand new person. This weekend I had frozen yogurt (!!!) for the first time in two years, and I tried my hardest not to stress while eating out all weekend because my mom was in town. Like I said, it’s not an overnight transformation, but I am getting there.

I ate this super delicious quinoa salad with chicken from Wood Ranch at The Grove on Saturday… a restaurant I would have gotten serious anxiety about going to a few months ago.

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And… this is me sipping on an iced almond milk mocha with dinner on Saturday night. ALMOND MILK MOCHA?!?! Who, me? Yes! Another thing I never, everrrr thought I would have again. And it was so satisfying and totally hit the spot.

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So now I eat whatever the heck I want, but in moderation. I don’t go near processed foods because I don’t even like them and I never want them. I don’t eat red meat or pork because I don’t enjoy it and it doesn’t make me feel good. Everything else is fair game, and I am trusting my body to continue allowing myself to play around with this fun new lifestyle.

Thoughts on a label-free lifestyle?! How you DO eat that makes you feel best?

Things I’m Loving Lately

Happppy Friday! It’s been a while since I’ve done a Things I’m Loving Lately post. It’s about time to hop back on that train because A) it’s fun to talk about lovable things, and B) there are a LOT of awesome happenings going on / things I’ve noticed that I want to share.

Before I get into it, I want to announce the winner of the Clearly Kombucha giveaway… Miss Hailey Karlovich!!! I will be emailing you for your deets so we can send you your prize! Thank you so much for all the incredible, heartfelt and fun entries. I wanted to pick each and every one of you as always.

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Now, let’s get onto it. What am I loving lately?

What I’m loving lately…

#1:

SUPERFOOD OATS!

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I am totally gaga over this oatmeal recipe right now. It’s super simple, bursting with nutrients from the oats and superfoods, and it keeps me full for hours. I’ve made it twice this week… and considering it’s been one of the busiest weeks of my life (a.k.a not much time to wait for steel cut oats to boil on the stove), that’s a pretty big deal.

Ingredients: ½ cup steel cut oats + 1 cup water. Fruit: ½ sliced banana, 1 small handful berries of choice. Today I added a sliced fresh fig! Superfoods: Whatever you have in your kitchen! I’ve been adding bee pollen, Himalayan golden raisins, walnuts (or peanut butter!!!), and sometimes I even add cacao. The fun of this dish is mixing it up and making it your own! Don’t get too stuck on exact ingredients.

Method: Boil the oats over a medium-high heat until the water is fully soaked in. Top with superfoods, and voila! Just don’t burn your mouth off like I’ve done a few too many times… patience is a virtue. (Even though it’s non-existent around food.

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#2:

Being back in LA!

I really miss NYC… I mean like a lot, a lot. That’s why it’s comforting to be settling back into LA and making a home for myself here again. Moving across the country isn’t easy, even when it involves moving home and being surrounded by people you know and love. If you’ve made a home elsewhere that you’ve also fallen in love with, it’s hard to detach from that and move forward without some major nostalgia and difficulty. I made the conscious choice to move back to LA, and each day here reminds me more and more why my heart lead me back here. And being close to family doesn’t hurt. (Hi, Jeffy!)

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LA is gorgeous and is also the home of many great TV studios, magazine headquarters and of course the whole entertainment world. I’ve been enjoying jumping right in and doing interviews and appearances. Check out where I was yesterday…!

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#3:

Research for the book! Things are moving along with the book quite quickly (YAY!!). We even 100% decided on a name. We being me and my agent, and my BFF Clare because she was the one who thought of the name a few months back. It rocks. In doing some background research for the book I had the wonderful opportunity to speak with Dr. Steven Bratman, who coined the term “orthorexia.” We discussed the condition at length, and I can’t tell you how UNDERSTOOD I felt & how inspired I was after speaking with him.

I am going to do a whole post on him in the next few weeks, but for now I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes of his from our convo: “Being fully human is messy and uncomfortable, but its actually a lot more rewarding than being pure. Orthorexia is a deprival of the heart and soul, because you have an obsession about the body. That is only 1/3 of who you are, so essentially you are depriving yourself of being fully human.”

 

#4:

Awesome blog posts!!! Here are some posts I’ve been loving over the past few weeks:

  • 5 Steps to Stop Craving Sugar by Michele of Paleo Running Mama (so relevant to my life right now & great tips)
  • One Year Does a Difference by Jacqui of Baby Boy Bakery (tear jerker. So much of my heart is with he.)
  • Ethereal Vegan Mousse by Allison of Clean Wellness (yumtown and amazing photos, as always with this lady)
  • A Cake for Two by Molly of My Name is Yeh (because the food photography is perfection)
  • Cookie Dough Recipes by Katie of Chocolate Covered Katie (if you don’t stalk her page already, here is a great comprehensive list of some of her very best)

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#5:

Connecting with all of YOU! I posted on Instagram yesterday afternoon asking readers to share their orthorexia stories with me in hopes of finding someone to appear alongside me in an upcoming TV interview. I got so many great responses from open, willing, amazing people who have been so kind to share their stories with me. I am still reading through the emails, so feel free to send one my way if you feel like you fit the bill.

 

#6:

Speaking of TV… it’s been really fun being in front of the camera again! It’s hilarious to me that some people out there (read: the psychos who have been picking me apart all along) are saying that I came out about my eating disorder struggles because I wanted media attention. It’s funny because that is the LAST thing on earth I thought would happen.

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I have been lucky enough to have the opportunity to raise awareness about orthorexia and to share my personal story in hopes of inspiring others to realize that they too needed help. That is my only agenda. Sure, it helps my recovery process to have so much amazing support and feedback from my fab readers (a.k.a…YOU!), and is that a crime? I would certainly hope not. And being on camera is a lot of fun – it was a hobby and passion of mine before I changed paths to become a fulltime writer. If you haven’t seen my TakePartLive segment, check it out HERE!

Plus… they do my make up! Which rocks, because I am notorious for NOT doing my make up, so it’s fun to switch it up.

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#7:

Reading!!! After an embarrassingly long hiatus from reading (when I get extremely busy I don’t stop working from 8am-midnight… it’s bad!!!), I have dove back into the world of fiction and memoir reading again and I have been all about it. Currently I am reading Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, and I just received Lauryn Evarts’ TSC book in the mail, so I started it last night and it rocks.

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#8:

My mama is coming into town this weekend… YAY x 9348398! I am so close with my family, which was one of the main reasons I moved from NYC back to LA. I have a lot of family in LA, and my parents are in Northern California so it’s quite easy to get back and forth. Not exactly the same as that 6-hour plane ride from the east coast. We are going to go furniture shopping & hang out in our favorite Santa Monica, Brentwood & Venice Beach spots. Thrilled to have her here.

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#9:

My niece, because… she’s perfect. Right?

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#10:

Moving along with TBB app. I work on it between the book, the apparel, interviews, the bloggy, health coaching, yoga & focusing on re-designing the website, so whenever I get some good, solid work done on it I am really excited. Look at this deliciously awesome Detox Lemonade…!! I am stoked!

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#11

TBV Apparel sale…. DUHHH!! It’s been 10% for the past few days, and it was supposed to end today, BUT I am going to extend the sale through the weekend because there’s been such amazing engagement and I want to keep spreading the love. Use the code “tbbturnsone” at checkout to get your discount. AND, my girl Rachel Brathen of “Yoga Girl” wearing her Yoga Junkie shirt… how cool!?!?!?

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So, let me ask… What are YOU loving lately?!?!

TV Appearances + Kombucha Giveaway!!!

Good morning, and happy Wednesday! This has been one wildly fun week. Last night I was on Take Part Live being interviewed by Meghan McCain, Jacob Soboroff & Jack Osbourne about all things TBB & orthorexia, and I had a blast. They were so supportive and it was great to get the opportunity to spread the word of orthorexia alongside some very esteemed faces in television! We also talked “thinspiration,” & my view on the role social media plays in the health world.

Here is the link to watch!!! (You’ll find the video on the page).

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There have also been some fun magazine interviews and a another SUUUPPPEEERR exciting TV interview tomorrow, but I have clear instructions not to give it away so I’ll keep my mouth shut (for now). Oh, and the book proposal is basically done-zo as of yesterday so glory, hallelujah! I officially have a few minutes of free time (wait, no I don’t) to spend catching up on some IIN classes and getting some fun content up on the bloggy. Oh, and the app. Making some YUMMMM-O recipes for the app.

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Can you tell I’m in a caps lock kinda mood today? I’ll spare you the full effect and stick to normal lettering for now. And speaking of something else I’m currently in the mood for, a.k.a always in the mood for… Kombucha! Specifically… Clearly Kombucha. Only the coolest San Fran based kombucha company around.

I’ve had a lot of people ask me lately, “What brand of kombucha do you recommend?” Well, my friends, this is me telling you. I like local, I like delicious, I like light and refreshing and all-natural and low sugar. And it’s totally organic and non-GMO, because you knooow that’s how I roll. (Wow, I have a lot of stipulations, don’t I?)

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Anyway, the reason I like kombucha is because it tastes delish and it’s also good for my tummy. I hate soda and basically any beverage other than water and all-natural Arnold Palmers (I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again… I’m a five-year-old), so me discovering kombucha a few years back and totally loving it was a pretty big fete.

Clearly Kombucha is super original flavors like Chai Cola & Black Currant. I’ve gotta say, bein the chai fan that I am…. That Chai Cola was totally up my alley and definitely wins as my #1 fav.

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Giveaway!!!

Andddd because I love you all lots, we are doing a giveaway! One lucky winner (within the US, sorry my international loves) will receive a case of kombucha– just COMMENT on this post answering the questions I’ve asked below & telling me why you’d like to win this yummy kombucha!!!

Because things like this fascinate me (and because I love to hang with my fellow Nor Cal natives), I caught up with Clearly Kombucha’s Ali & Caleb to hear more about the company.

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Interview!!!

TBB: How did you come up with the idea to create an organic kombucha company?

A & C: We were both avid kombucha drinkers and felt the health benefits but we wanted to experiment with making our own. We felt like we could make a better tasting one and we wanted to pick out top quality ingredients. Having organic and non-gmo ingredients is very important to us.

TBB: What are your favorite flavors?

Ali: It depends on my mood but my summer go to is Strawberry Hibiscus.

Caleb: Raspberry Ginger.

3. What are your most popular flavors?

A & C: We spent over two years developing each of our flavors. The 7 flavors that are on grocery store shelves right now have undergone lots of refining to get them just right. In the winter months Raspberry Ginger tends to be a favorite due to its warming ginger zest.  In the summer months our light and refreshing flavors tend to be favorites, like Strawberry Hibiscus and Tangerine.

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4. What are the best foods to pair kombucha with?

Ali: I like to use our kombucha as the liquid base in my green smoothies [GREAT IDEA!!]

Caleb: I enjoy our kombucha with kale chips and avocado because it is a great afternoon pick me up.

5. The best health benefits of kombucha?

Ali & Caleb: Kombucha has probiotics and antioxidants from the tea and is a great healthy alternative to soda or an alcoholic beverage.

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There you have it, my dearies. What a delicious treat and especially amazing for the end of summer while it’s still hot and you are looking for a refreshing beverage… and if you’re like me and you really don’t enjoy sipping on anything alcoholic, kombucha is also a really fun party drink.

Also… don’t forget there is a 10% off sale going on right now over at TBV Apparel!!! Use the discount code ‘tbbturnsone’ at checkout to get your goods!

What flavor would you like to try best? What did you think of the Take Part Live Interview?!Anything else exciting going on in your Wednesdays?!

The Balanced Blonde Turns One!!! (+ TBV Apparel Discount Code)

It’s a birthday celebration! TBV (now slowly but surely making the transition to TBB) officially turned one on August 1st. Rewind to one year ago on that day and I had just moved to NYC, launched the blog and was about to start my grad school creative writing program. If you had told me on that day that in one year I would be back in LA working on the blog full-time and taking a break from grad school… I would have laughed in your face.

Isn’t it funny the way things work out?

Now, if you had told me back then that in a year I would no longer be vegan, not only would I not have believed you but I would have also been seriously insulted. People tried to have those conversations with me, “you know it’s OKAY if you ever change your mind about veganism…”, “have you ever considered reintroducing eggs?” etc. and I wouldn’t have any of it. In my mind, those were people who didn’t understand my lifestyle choice or my dedication to it.

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Then, of course, little by little, things started to change. Isn’t that how it always goes? Sometimes the changes are small, but there is no denying that things are always changing. And learning to embrace that change is what makes us well-rounded individuals who are able to move forward and accept whatever comes our way.

Let’s continue this game because it’s fun.

In the last year I would have never believed that…

-       My holiday recipes were featured on WorldLifestyle, and I have had smoothie recipes featured on Fitness Magazine and Well + Good NYC.

-       I was named one of Teen Vogue’s ‘8 Fitness & Health Bloggers You Need to Follow’ and Into the Gloss’s ‘Who to Follow on Instagram: The Health Food-tographers

-       I created two cleanse programs that have helped transition people into healthier lifestyles and give their bodies a break from their every day diets, and one of them was featured on Elite Daily‘s ’5 Simple Ways to Cleanse Without Making Yourself Crazy’!

-       I have been written about on blogs I LOVE and admire like The Raw Food Sisters, The Ink & Code, The Skinny Confidential, and Fit for Broadway.

-       I appeared on Good Morning America and Nightline (the Nightline segment airs this week!!!) to discuss my transition from veganism and my descent into orthorexia.

-       I have been featured on Women’s Health, People.com, NY Mag, the New York Daily News, Refinery29 (the Anti-Diet Project… such an honor), Hello Giggles, Well + Good NYC, WorldLifestyle, the Daily Mail, Racked and more discussing my transition from veganism.

-       I made my radio debut on NPR and Toronto’s CBC Radio.

-       I created TBV Apparel clothing line to promote health and wellness in a fun and trendy way – total dream come true.

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-       I hosted two super fun events in NYC before I moved – one at Juice Press and one at Gingersnap’s Organic.

-       A TBB App is in the works right now and will be available this Fall for purchase… eek!!!

-       I am working on a BOOK about my journey and experiences — the ultimate, ultimate dream come true.

This week I am appearing on two talk shows, Radio NZ in New Zealand, and being interviewed for Harper’s Bazaar and Cosmopolitan in Australia. Not to mention I am going to be interviewed for one of my best friend’s YouTube channels (Philosophie Mama)… so thrilling!!!

When I started the blog I totally didn’t think it would turn into my entire life, my love child and basically my boyfriend, AND when I came out about my changes on the blog I certainly didn’t think it would end up being a good thing for my brand. You never know how the cookie is going to crumble. It’s been wild, and I wouldn’t change an ounce of this journey for anything in the world.

 Thank You!!!

To celebrate, I want to thank all of YOU!!!! My lovely, loyal, fantastic readers, many of whom I have been in contact with directly through email and I have even gotten the chance to meet some of you in person. To say thank you, I am discounting all TBV Apparel sales (shirts and tote bags!) at 10% off for the next 3 days – just type in the discount code “tbbturnsone” at checkout.

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And to keep the celebrations going, here are some favorites from the last year in blogging:

Favorites!!!

Recipes:

- Raw Vegan Peanut Butter Cups (HEAVEN ON EARTH!)

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- Pumpkin Almond Butter Oat Bars

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- Southwestern Baked Sweet Potato

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- Gettin’ Figgy With it Baked Oatmeal

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- The Blonde Vegan Smoothie

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Lifestyle:

- Fall in Love with Yourself

- You Know You Have an Extreme Personality When…

- Why I’m Transitioning Away from Veganism

- A Year in Photos

 

What is your favorite post? My all-time fav recipe is the PB Cups, and my all-time fav lifestyle post is A Year in Photos. What should I make this week (recipe-wise) to celebrate?!?!

What I Ate in Italia & France

So my last recap post of my trip to Italy & France was great and all, but I know what you’ve all been thinking. Where’s the food? What did the “diehard vegan until one month ago and now very public orthorexic who is trying to reincorporate balance into her life” eat on her Mediterranean travels? Well, that’s what this post is all about!

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It’s very true that those of us who suffer from orthorexia, or any eating disorder for that matter, have a pretty tough time traveling and finding food to eat. We have our places that we are extremely comfortable with, we like to know that our kitchen is but a comfortable distance away, and we like to have a full pantry/fridge stocked with our healthy, organic, clean foods.

I know it sounds a little kookoo. That’s why I am working to get past it. I don’t want to be that way, and I don’t find very much enjoyment in being completely obsessed over what I’m going to eat for my next meal and how perfectly clean it’s going to be – that’s why I’ve been working my butt off to ditch the labels and go completely restriction-free for the last several weeks.

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I lived in Italy for four months when I was in college (Florence to be exact – the most gorgeous city in the universe!) and I was vegetarian before I went. When I was there, I ate chicken and fish because I lived with an Italian family that cooked every meal for us and it would have been extremely difficult to be fully vegetarian. At that time in my life I also ate a lot of pasta and bread, so I was basically set when it came to living in Italy and finding food to eat. Oh, and I had no qualms with having gelato every day… and sometimes several times per day. When in Italy…

Anyway, I have been dying to go back to Europe ever since I lived there three years ago, but I have also been silently panicked about what I was going to eat while I was there. In the years since I’ve lived there, I have cut out gluten, dairy, chicken, fish, eggs, oil, sugar and more or less anything that was not a veggie, a fruit or a grain.

It was a huge blessing that I ended up realizing that I was suffering from orthorexia and started reincorporating some of those foods back into my diet before I went on my trip… or else I would have been totally screwed while I was there! And my family most certainly would have wanted to kill me.

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It’s hard to describe what the food experience was like for me on my trip because it felt like it was changing every thirty seconds… which is pretty much how my recovery process has been going so far. One moment I was totally fine with trying a bite of anything and feeling really confident about it, and the next moment I was completely panicked that the food I was eating was going to send me into gastrointestinal disaster and that my stomach would be in pain for the rest of my trip.

All in all, I would say my positive thoughts won out over the negative. I faced a ton of foods that I never thought I would allow myself to eat again as long as I lived… including dairy (gelato!!!! And a bit of cheese… yum!), chicken, certain desserts with refined sugar (they’re fine in moderation), and a few bites of pasta and pizza here and there. It may not sound like a huge fete to you totally normal eaters out there, but for me this was HUGE. If I had a dollar for the amount of times I said to my mom, “I can’t believe I just ate cheese and I feel totally fine” on our trip, I would be exceptionally rich.

I definitely had my down moments – like when I woke up each morning feeling a little queasy because of all the new foods I was trying and because I was eating much later and larger quantities than usual, and when I started envisioning myself gaining a million pounds because of said new foods… but I kept telling myself that there was no reason to panic. I was living in each moment, breathing, and allowing myself to indulge in the delicious cuisine of Italy and France without totally panicking. This was a win for me.

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( Bag from TBV Apparel. )

Shall we recap a few especially memorable meals? Yes, yes we shall! I’ve also added in a few things that I admired from afar but didn’t eat—you haven’t fully experienced Europe if you haven’t ogled the shit out of their food!

What I Ate in Italia:

Sorrento:

Sorrento is the town of limoncello! They are known for their extraordinarily large lemons, fresh fruit and of course mixing said lemons and fruit with alcohol.. Look at these babies!!!

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This. Pastry.

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Capri:

One thing I didn’t get so comfortable with on the trip was drinking very much alcohol, but I’m realizing that is becoming more of a personal preference than an orthorexic tendency. So, whenever we stopped for a drink, I had some sparkling water with lime or a fresh Arnold Palmer. Yeah, I’m a five year old. So what? Yummy sparkling water with lemon overlooking the gorgeous Capri.

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I had the most amazingly delicious chicken salad in Capri. One thing I noticed in Italy is that the food is so unbelievably fresh that it is much less likely to bother my stomach than our pesky processed American food. The salad was extremely fresh and had a yummy and light citrus dressing. Barely even visible – my favorite kind! And the chicken was tender and not dry at all. One of my favorite meals on the trip, actually! I like to keep it simple.

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Positano:

Does gelato need an explanation?

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Our Ship:

We were on a fabulous cruise ship that had pretty delicious food. The breakfasts were all heavenly (can you say oatmeal + dried fruit + fresh fruit + eggs?!?! I was on cloud nine), and the dinners were pretty good. Lots of salmon and chicken for me, and a couple of outrageously good desserts.

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And when I say outrageously good desserts, I mean an abundance of decadent chocolate cake.

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The ship also had FRESH JUICES! This was a carrot, ginger, watermelon, pineapple, apple creation. A little fruity for my taste… but anything ginger and I’m in.

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Sardinia:

Should I channel my inner Italian and call it Sardegna? Say that phonetically and you might just l-o-l. Or maybe that’s just my jet lag speaking. More gelato…. Mmmm. We had a beach day here, and it was glorious!

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Firenze:

Yes!!! I was waiting for the food in Florence. Or really, you can say I’d been waiting for the last few years… Florence food is my everything. I was a little nervous to try a full on pasta (I still have an extremely sensitive stomach, after all!) so I ordered chicken with roasted potatoes. It also came with mashed potatoes, and I wasn’t complaining…

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My mom got this spaghetti carbonara and I had a few bites. REALLY good. Really rich. My tummy would have flipped over into a new universe if I had eaten very much of it.

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Gelato. We had to.

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Marseilles:

You can’t go to France and not have macaroons! I mean, that might actually be a sin. Another food I thought I’d never allow myself to eat again for many reasons. But they were sooo yummy. I was particularly proud of myself for trying these!

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Thank goodness for French Nicoise salads!

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Saint Tropez:

To be honest, I struggled a bit in St. Tropez. The rich foods were finally catching up to me and I wasn’t feeling my best. I was starting to panic a little about the nauseous feeling creeping up on me and also about coming back to the states and getting back into my routine. I tried a chicken crepe though, and even though it was super oily so I only ate a bit of it, I’m glad I tried it and I felt pretty decent afterward!

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And nowwww it’s back to the good ol’ U S of A to get back in the swing of my regular routine. Just moved into my La-La Land apartment and was lucky enough to receive a 5-day cleanse from my babe Sophie at Philosophie. I am not doing the cleanse full out… I have had enough cleanses this year to last me well into my nineties, but I am incorporating her juices, smoothies and soups into my daily meals and they are soooo delicious. I am feeling cleaner already.

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Thoughts on my Euro eats?! What are your favorite vacation indulgences?

I’m ba-aaaack!

Guess who’s back, back, back, back again-gain-gain… TBB is back, back, back, tell a friend, friend friend…

Sorry, I couldn’t resist. You know Slim Shady is my numba one man. ;)

TechBreak

Hi!!! I ended up taking the longest technology break that I have taken since I started the blog last August, and I am feeling SO REJUVENATED. (Sidenote: TBB’s blog-iversary is in TWO DAYS, shall we do something special to celebrate?!?!). As you all know from reading, I have an extremely hard time unplugging from my work, the blog, the Instagram, my emails, etc. It gives me raging anxiety to step away for hours at a time even on a weekend day! And I didn’t check in once over the course of the last 9 days. Wowee. I feel like a new woman.

I had an especially hard time unplugging after the whole “coming out as a non-vegan” period, because I didn’t want to turn down any press or opportunities that came my way. I was working 8am – midnight 7 days a week with no exceptions, and I wasn’t exactly getting burnt out but I was living in a very anxious universe that could only sustain me for so long.

I am working on creating more of a balance in all areas – balance with work, with food, with relationships, with exercise and most of all balance with myself in relation to taking on way too much at once… because I want to be able to give my WHOLE self to everything I can take on!

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Needless to say, I was ready for a little tech break. And I couldn’t have had a better excuse. I spent the last week traveling around Italy and the south of France! I was with 20 family members and I was sharing a room with my best friend (my mamacita), so I really didn’t have any time to get absorbed in my work bubble even if I had wanted to. And believe me, in the beginning I so wanted to! It was torture to pull myself away.

But you know what I did? I set an automatic response email, tried my best to not check my emails every day anyway, and I even let myself be okay with the fact that I didn’t have time to post a blog post about being gone and taking a tech break. And slowly but surely, each day that I was away, I let myself unwind.

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A few days into the trip I remembered how amazing it feels to sleep soundly without the anxiety of “what is on my morning checklist!??!” pumping through my veins. There is even a huge difference engaging in conversation with people when I don’t have work in the back of my mind. I was finally feeling 100% present and pretty darn carefree.

That realization brings me right back to my favorite quote in the world:

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How freaking true is that? I was on cloud nine before I left for my trip—feeling amazing about work, moving to LA, new opportunities with TBV Apparel, TBB App, my book deal, all of the great press surrounding my coming out experience… but the best way to celebrate ALL of that is with people. Connecting. And I am so lucky to have the best family around to connect with.

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We went from Rome to Sorrento and Capri, to Amalfi and Positano, to Sardinia, Florence, Marseilles, Saint Tropez and Monte Carlo. Whirlwind amazingness. So many breathtaking cities. And I can’t even describe how incredible it was to be reunited with my favorite city in the world – Florence. It was my first time being back since living there in 2011. It was a dream.

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The Food Situation:

I will be giving full details on the bloggy this week about the trip, where we stayed, and of course the food situation! As far as food went while traveling (I am recovering from an eating disorder after all… trust me I didn’t forget), it went much better than expected. There were certainly bumps in the road, but I faced SO MANY fear foods and did much, much better than I thought I would. I am going to do a whole post on my food situation in Italy and France this week and I can’t wait to share with all of you.

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What else is coming up on TBB? So many exciting things!!!

A)   A new logo. I don’t want to give away the exact date because we are going to work on it until it is perfect, but it will be up within the next few weeks for sure. I am so freakishly excited to have a new logo to match the new persona of the blog.

B)   A new layout!!! What is embodies a fresh start even more than a new logo? A fresh look. Can you say HELL YES? Hell yes. Our goal release date is August 22nd… mark it in your calendars! (Or just get excited. Either way. It’s going to be visually pleasing as f**k… you know my graphic designer is a boss!)

C)   Some new shirt styles and phrases for TBV Apparel – and, as requested, some of the shirts will be in color!!! Who can guess the colors? Anyone who guesses correctly will get 10% off of the new styles. Eek!

D)   Lots of fun interviews, videos & recipes.

E)   Now that I’m back in LA… LA restaurant reviews galore!

F)    TBV App will officially be released in Fall 2014. So soon, so soon!

G)   Info about the book deal to come. :)

H)   Obvi details about my travels.

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Now, it’s time for me to unpack, settle in, make this place my own, catch up on emails / TBV Apparel deets, and do some YOGA!!

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^ Saint Tropez beach day!!! My favorite place on earth.

How has everyone been?! What have I missed?!

Wild Watermelon Salad Recipe + Technology Addiction!

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by smartwater through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about smartwater, all opinions are my own.

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Hello, loves! I am so thrilled to share this post with you because it has to do with something I am extremely passionate about – looking up from our phones, our computers and any other type of ever-present technology we hang on to, and paying attention to what’s going on in the world around us.

And you all know I am traveling in Italy and France this week, which is prime time to take a technology BREAK (no matter how addicted I am!!!) and enjoy my time off with the people I love most.

What branch of technology are you most addicted to? My smartphone is the biggest one for me, and within that realm I think I’m torn between texting and Instagram. I text with my close friends and family all day long, and because of the nature of my business I scroll through Instagram all day every day like nobody’s business.

But you know what is super important to me and is something I have always prided myself on? When I am with other people, I put that crap away. You will never see me emailing, texting, Instagramming (okay, maybe Instagramming with other people… it’s a social mechanism these days, I swear!) or mindlessly scrolling through my phone when I’m actually surrounded with human beings who I love and care for. (Like these people!!! My sensational fam bam.)

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So you can imagine that when I got the opportunity to be a part of smartwater’s #lookupsweepstakes, I was ridiculously excited. Not only did I start immediately brainstorming ways to incorporate the campaign into my blog, but I also started practicing extra awareness about my own sense of “looking up,” stepping away from technology and immersing myself in the r-e-a-l world.

This campaign couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I just wrapped up my precious last few weeks living in my beloved New York City, and, just as it was when I first moved there, there was nothing more satisfying than strolling through the west village, jamming out to my tunes, and taking in the vibrancy and energy of the city.

I am so exceptionally grateful to have been reminded to take a serious technology break and look up. It’s the summer time, and it’s gorgeous out! And if you’ve been on the east coast at all this year… you know that it’s been a longgg winter. It’s about time we say hello to the sun, the blue skies and the fabulously summery recipes that we so missed out on during our hibernation period.

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Something I noticed when I took a technology break and looked up was the amazing sense of community and friendship bustling all around NYC. The restaurant patios are filled with groups of friends sipping on sangria and mimosas and indulging in delicious and elegant brunches, there are couples strolling along the highline and girlfriends catching up over walks on the Hudson. The connection between people is everywhere… something I’m afraid we take for granted when we are too attached to our phones and technology.

True connection with other beings is a beautiful thing. That’s what I noticed first and foremost when I started to spend more time looking up. And that’s all I can really ask for in this amazing life – connection with my peeps. My ever-growing circle of radiant beings. I want to thank them all for being so awesome every moment of every day, and I hate getting too caught up in technology sometimes to realize that. (We’re all guilty of it from time to time, let’s be honest.)

Someone who I got to spend plenty of time with during my look-up-from-technology break? My wonderful niece Kealey Jae. She just turned two, and she blows me away with her ridiculously cute personality. Her new favorite thing is saying, “TOTALLY!” because she hears her Auntie JoJo (a.k.a me) say it all the time (whoops). And, my fav, “Oh god, Kiki!” (Which she gets from her nana / my mama!)

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Inspired by this lovely “looking up” experience, I have created a delicious Wild Watermelon Salad to be shared over lunch with friends, a BBQ with family or a date night with a loved one.

I’m only giving you one rule… share this with a living, breathing, loving human. They rock. Promise.

And be sure to check out smartwater’s Instagram challenge and enter the #lookupsweepstakes for a chance to win and be featured. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a more inspiring challenge. Don’t forget to follow @smartwater on Instagram to participate.

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Wild Watermelon Salad

Serves 2-4

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Ingredients:

1 large watermelon

3 cups kale or mixed greens

1 cup sliced strawberries

1 cup blueberries

½ cup blackberries

1 avocado

1 lime

¼ cup walnuts

Directions:

  1. Cut watermelon in half, and scoop out center of one half using a knife or an ice cream scooper. Pat the inside dry with a towel or paper towel.
  2. Pour kale or mixed greens into the open watermelon “bowl,” and start tossing in the rest of the ingredients. Toss well.
  3. Squeeze lime on top of salad, and serve. Enjoy!

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