One Thing EVERY Blogger Should Know…

Sooo this is a followup post to my Top 5 Ways to Monetize Your Blog post, because while monetizing your blog is great and all, there is a VERYYYY key factor that has to happen before/during/after you start blogging as a biz. It’s innate, and it’s either there or it’s not.

A blog, like anything, has to start somewhere… And that’s with passion. Without passion, you’ve got nothin’. Who wants to read a blog that lacks passion and screams “I don’t even know why I’m doing this in the first place!” ??

No one. That’s the right answer. Zero humans. Nada. Ding ding ding.

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This photo was from an epic sunset shoot with my intern the other evening… Something we did purely for FUN because snapping photos for the blog is something I love more than life. This photo is me in a nutshell — no frills, no fakeness, no nothing except me being me. That’s why I do what I do. Because I love blogging, creating content, and bc sharing with you guys makes my heart go boom boom.

I didn’t start my blog with the intentions of turning it into a full-fledged business — heck, I didn’t even start with the intentions of making money! If I had, I probably would have gotten frustrated and walked away, because I wouldn’t have been in it for the right reasons.

Wanna know why I really started my blog?

Because I absolutely love to write, I have a crazy huge passion for photographing my food/lifestyle/trips/workouts/friends/family (I literally have been doing it since the Myspace and Buddy Profile days —  I was that girl who changed her Myspace profile picture every single day and wrote a “bulletin” about why each new pic was important to me),

I am obsessed with health and wellness and I have a strong need (not desire; need) to share that with others, connecting on social media is something I understand well and thoroughly enjoy, I am “highly sensitive” & express myself best through writing, and because I have something I like to call “creativity ADHD,” and the blogging space seemed like the perfect place to dump it all out… For lack of a better term. 😉

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That’s why my most loyal and longterm readers tell me that they love my “brain dump” posts the most — because I come to this blog, and dump the inner workings of my brain. Luckily that often consists of health and wellness related stuff (gotta have a niche, ya know), but it also consists of a lot of other things… From celebrating my best friends’ birthdays to breaking down why I will never have a 9-5 job, I write ALL different types of posts on this blog.

Sometimes I feel like writing lists upon lists, and other times my blog writing journeys with me through marathon trainings, apartment makeovers, my book launch, and whatever I’m currently up to / obsessing over.

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That’s why I’d probably go as far to say that what makes a great influencer is someone who lets you into their life, and allows their blog to ebb and flow with their life.

Of course there are different types of bloggers & influencers, and I’m not going to sit here and say that a fashion blogger or a home decor blogger’s job is to tell you about her/his deepest thoughts and musings.

But those of us who fall into the lifestyle category, I believe we have a duty. And that duty is to share our lives authentically, vulnerably, and openly with all of our readers.

If I were just halfway-authentic and held back when life got rough, or if I were ALL about the sponsored posts and making money, would you read my blog?

No.

I mean, if you would, then you rock because you would be dedicated AF and I can appreciate that. But I certainly wouldn’t read someone’s blog who wasn’t letting their authenticity and passion shine through.

Sometimes I create full food photo shoots in my living room for no reason other than the fact that it calms me down and makes me happy

Sometimes I create full food photo shoots in my living room for no reason other than the fact that it calms me down and makes me happy, and then I stay up all night editing them for the same reason.

That’s why it *kills* me inside when I get an email or a message from a reader telling me that they think I’m doing too many sponsored posts, or that a specific ad didn’t resonate with them.

It kills me because each and every time it happens, I feel misunderstood. Of course everyone is entitled to their own opinions and I would never invalidate someone else’s viewpoint — but each time I hear “You’re doing too many ads,” or “You’ve lost the core of what you’re doing,” I want to say back, “…You’re wrong,” or “I don’t think you fully understand this industry.”

Because I know that my passion is alive and thriving. It’s not going to resonate with every single human out there, and that’s okay. But I wake up every morning with an excitement to work, to create and to share. I have to actively try not to post 29839283 photos a day, because ALL I want to do is share and connect.

I don’t want to focus on the negativity too much because I think most of the criticism comes from people who aren’t following me as a whole… Or else they’d see through my Instagram, Snapchat, and this blog that all I do is share, share, share my life!

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I feel that I passionately choose each & every partnership that I do for very specific reasons — so that’s that. And a lot of what I do is not partnership-based; it’s SUUUPER in the moment spontaneity.

I post a sh*t ton of spontaneous stuff, to the point where I often feel like my management team and agent think, “Oh god, she’s doing it again… She’s being candid as f, and totally spilling her guts out on the Internet…”

But that’s what you get with me. I wouldn’t have it any other way. It might not be the “give them less, and they’ll want more” or “just act cool & let the photos speak for themselves,” mentality I feel like a lot of bloggers & Instagrammers apply, but that’s not who I am. You probably know that by now. 😉

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When you follow a blog, you have to understand what’s going on behind the screen: we create content, we attend events to share with our readers, we sometimes stay up at all hours of the night to bring big projects to life, we drop bank on certain areas of our business to make sure it’s all as up to date and user-friendly as possible; and we do it because we want to share with YOU!

So yeah, we do some sponsored posts once in a while. We choose them mindfully, and we curate them so that they fit right in with WHY we started our blogs in the first place… To share our lives, and to share what we authentically love, do, make, eat, and breathe.

My blog evolves with me every day, month and year. I started as a VEGAN FOOD BLOGGER, which I obviously am not anymore, and now I feel a serious pull to share yoga videos + photos, my beachy lifestyle, and long captions + posts that “dump my brain.”

Can you roll with it?

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Passion!! This was sponsored, and it was also one of the most fun days I’ve had all year, because I was on the beach with my best friends drinking something I would drink/photograph regardless of the sponsorship. Boom. That’s what makes life good.

I just had to say it, and I had to follow up because even though I want to help you guys create blogs (if you want to), and make thriving businesses out of them, blogging is SO MUCH MORE THAN sponsored posts, hosting events, and paid advertisements.

Blogging is about sharing your soul. It’s about igniting a spark and a connection with your readers, about putting stuff you care about into the universe, expressing yourself to live life to the fullest and heal past wounds through self-expression & connection, and about spreading good vibes to make the WORLD a better place.

That. Is. What. It’s. About.

Not about making money.

Money is an added bonus, because then you can actually live and sustain your life WHILE doing what you love. But there’s nothing wrong with in-between jobs or blogging on the side — nothing at all. Because if monetizing your blog is going to mess with your passion & reasons for starting it, then you don’t want to do it in the first place.

Blog because it makes you happy. Because you love it. Because your readers are into it. And if they’re not, hook them back in by actually being yourself.

K? K!!!!

LOVE YA.

The Healthiest Pasta There Is… ZOODLES!

You guys, I have been all about cooking at home lately. I know, I know — I go in waves. I cook at home every night for weeks on end, and then I eat out every night for weeks on end.

(Remember my New Years’ Resolution, anyone? I ate at home every single night in January! #boom.)

ZOODLES!

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What can I say? I’m trying to find my #BALANCE in this crazy cooking (and schedule-juggling) world! But one thing we know stays the same no matter where I choose to eat… It’s gotta be healthy.

Part of this is due to the fact that I enjoy healthy food and put a huge emphasis on organic/local/non-GMO/from the earth/all that jazz, and the other part of it is due to the fact that I can’t eat crap because it makes me feel terrible.

And not in the normal, “Oh, I feel terrible when I eat a greasy plate of fries too!!!” kind of way… but more in a food intolerance, IBS, hiatal hernia, acid reflux, bloating, very poor digestion kind of way.

I have to be real careful if I want to maintain feeling my best. And feeling my best is my numero uno priority in life. You guys know this!

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But that doesn’t mean I can’t also have fun with food and enjoy what I’m eating. I’ve learned over the years that for me it’s all about enjoyment. Food is fuel, but it’s also a course of CONNECTION, creativity, and deliciousness.

I think we can have it ALL (health, connection and flavor) — it just takes putting in a little bit of work to find the best dishes that work for everyone — and not only us health nuts of the world, so that we can share with the people we love!

Luckily I do a lot of that work for you (hehe), by testing and re-testing recipes until they taste perfecto and insanely delish!

This one is actually pretty simple… ZOODLES! Zucchini noodles. The shockingly easy and healthy pasta alternative that will make you go, “Woah, is this REALLY a veggie noodle?”

Yes, yes it is. :)

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I am so stoked to have partnered with Best Foods for their new line of Carefully Crafted organic mayos for this recipe! The beauty of being label-free in my diet now is that I can try all sorts of things when brands I’ve known about forever release organic, non-GMO, cholesterol-free, artificial color free, egg-free, etc. products.

The verdict? I’m obsessed. The Spicy Chipotle flavor is most definitely my fav (such a good zing), but in this recipe I used the Roasted Garlic flavor! They also have Original, and I vote they come out with more because I want to use them with absolutely every healthy sauce I make now!

Ready for this recipe? Let’s do it!

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Pesto Zoodles w/ Walnuts & Cherry Tomatoes

Ingredients:

3 zucchinis

1 handful cherry tomatoes

1/2 cup walnuts

2 cups fresh basil leaves

1 clove garlic

1/4 cup pine nuts

2/3 cup Best Foods Carefully Crafted Roasted Garlic mayo

1/2 cup freshly grated cheese of your choice (I went cheese-less, but I know a lot of you will want cheese!)

Method:

Spiralize your zucchini (this site gives a great how-to if you wanna learn how & aren’t sure where to start!) so that you have thin little noodles to work with to slop the saucy sauce onto!

To make your pesto, you’re simply going to put the basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts, mayo, and optional cheese into a blender or high speed food processor. If you need to add a little bit of water or extra virgin olive oil, do so. But the mayo should make it blend-able enough!

In a large mixing bowl, stir the pesto in with your zoodles until all is mixed well and evenly.

Once the recipe is plated, add your chopped tomatoes and walnuts to taste.

Voila! Enjoy.

And it’s EASY PEASY — right?! And so yummy!!!

I can’t tell you how thrilled I am that Best Foods has this organic, non-GMO, free from artificial colors / eggs / cholesterol spread now! This is just one of the yummy things you can make with it.

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Thoughts?! Who’s tried zoodles?! Who wants to try?!

*This post was created in partnership with Best Foods and FeedFeed – all opinions expressed are my own, as always. :)

Lovely Beach Days + a KOMBUCHA Giveaway!

Yesterday I told you all about my perfect weekend — favorite humans, beach, farmer’s market, lovely weather, acro yoga, OrangeTheory, long walks, sushi, catch up seshes, Rawvolution smoothies, Kippy’s ice cream, and the photo shoot of my dreams with my #TBBsquad.

(If you follow on Snapchat @jojoyounger, then you probably got just as much of a kick out of the photo shoot happenings as I did. Let’s just say a certain someone did a hilarious takeover right in the middle of the shoot & is in the market for a TBB-reader girlfriend. Get on it, ladies!)

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Basically, the reason why the weekend was so perfect to me is because it was the best balance of productivity and play. I took time away from the computer and being indoors, but I also got sh*t done. I got all of my favs at the farmer’s market (BONE BROTH and organic fermented Korean tempeh, anyone?!), spent time with my #1 peeps, and also got a ton of stuff photographed that I needed to for the blog.

It was a WIN WIN.

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And while I was on the beach I sipped on one of my favorite kombucha brands between yoga poses — Clearly KombuchaI think you guys know how much I love them because I have written about them before, but right now I am doubly excited about them for two reasons:

1) They just came out with a new line of fermented botanicals, C Botanicals, based on ginger root, holy basil, lemongrass, milk thistle, and turmeric cardamom. A.k.a, a deeply healing and energizing list of ingredients that has me way too excited for words.

2) I am hosting a GIVEAWAY for YOUUUU lover loves, because I want you to try C Botanicals too! All you need to do is COMMENT on my Instagram by tagging a friend, and follow @cbotanicals & @clearlykombucha. I will choose a winner by this Friday at 7 p.m. PST! If you don’t have an IG, comment here and I will make sure you still get entered!

Let’s talk about why kombucha is awesome.

Kombucha is a fermented tea that tastes AWESOME and that is also full of healthy bacteria that we need in order to thrive. CK puts it into a delicious, organic, fruity, low-glycemic beverage for us to sip on and enjoy.

(Check out this post where I interviewed the owners of the company not too long ago!)

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Why do we need good bacteria? Because life is stressful. We get overworked and fatigued, we may have trouble sleeping (if you’re anything like me), or we may have a vodka soda too many on the weekend… So you need GOOD bacteria in your tummy to help you feel your best.

This type of beneficial bacteria lives in your gut and keeps your system in fighting form. Without it, the bad bacteria takes over, and you feel bloated, fuzzy-minded and overall pretty “bleh.”

Probiotics power up our digestive systems by adding that good bacteria back into our tum tums. That also means helping with the absorption of nutrients and vitamins.

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I have a serious absorption issue due to my food allergies and my eating disorder past, so this improved absorption from probiotics helps me get more nutritional value out of my food and helps to regulate my digestive system. It also gives me more energy— but without the caffeine crash! 70% of our immunity lives in our stomachs… Did you know that?!

And let’s take it to the next level, and talk about BOTANICALS.

C Botanicals is America’s first fermented, probiotic botanical beverage. The line is made from fermenting herbs & plants… So basically it’s the coolest thing ever. They are super light and the perfect amount of fizzy, and each ingredient has a specific natural healing power. (For instance, ginger is good for digestion and reducing inflammation!)

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And to get into a little more detail for ya, a botanical is a plant-derived ingredient, such as a herb, root, or spice. C Botanicals intentionally selected certain botanicals to ferment, based on their functionality. For example, milk thistle has been found to detoxify the liver.

After trying each flavor I am more or less obsessed with this new beverage on the market. Hence why I want to share it with you. Hence why I want to do a GIVEAWAY for you.

#BeveragesOnBeverages, anyone?!

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What are your thoughts?! Do you want to try this?! You sooooo do. Check out their site, show them some love (they are my Nor Cal homies!!), and enter on INSTAGRAM for the giveaway!

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Weekend Love + Taking Time OFF

Hi boo loves! This weekend was so lovely that it inspired me to pop down and write an in-the-moment bloggy about how important it is to give ourselves a BREAK every once in a while.

Let’s talk about the fact that I went into the weekend with the mentality, “I’m going to be working all weekend, so I really shouldn’t make any plans because I have way, way, way too much to do.”

But on Friday afternoon I was feeling so exhausted and burnt out from a long week (not in a bad way since I do happen to love what I do, but in a very TIRED kind of way that made working more sound awful) that I decided I was going to take a little me-time to recoup.

My weekend started with a lovely dinner at Au Fudge with my dear friend Megan (yes, my roomie from my Mexico retreat!). We laughed hysterically at the fact that we were basically at a children’s restaurant and had virtually no idea that it was until we sat down and noticed we were the only people sans young children in the entire establishment.

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BUT, the food was delicious and the atmosphere was adorable. The restaurant was very “photo-worthy,” and the kids running around made it a super casual and comfy vibe. We brought our computers and Megan taught me a thing or two about budgeting (something she is VERY good at, and something I can use a little help with — haha).

Overall it was so nice catching up with her, and then on my way home I ended up meeting a friend for some drinks (sparkling water for me… what can I say?) and snuggling up with Huddy by midnight.

Speaking of Huddy… LOOK at this angel. I had a lot of good snuggle time with him this weekend… Just what the doctor ordered! :)

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Saturday was an absolute blast. I slept in until about 9:30 (very late for me — latest in months and months), read in bed for a while and then made a delish cacao oatmeal bowl for breakfast. I would show you pics… but it’s probably the least photogenic breakfast I have ever made, haha.

Then I got tea at Alfred and went for a walk with my BFF Alexi. We strolled down to the Brentwood Country Mart, and I was minorly disappointed because all of my favorite soup flavors from Soupure were gone and I wanted to stock up for the weekend! But I did get their yummy miso-free bone broth which pretty much made up for it. 😉

Lex got tacos, and we strolled for a little while longer and then I headed home to get to an OrangeTheory event in West Hollywood by 2!

The event was a “netWORKOUT,” a.k.a a networking event annndddd the best workout in town. But let’s stop right here for a sec, because this wasn’t a regular networking event. Usually I hear that term and I run the other way. This was more of a connection of like-minded souls put together by the FAB Jonathan Albrecht of OTF.

Say hey hey to the crew. 😉 Oh and we are all wearing good hYOUman, so be sure to check them out!! Cutest stuff.

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Basically — it was a bunch of Jonathan’s BFF’s, fitness influencers and people who have made an impact in the wellness industry in LA. And it was WAY too much fun. Technically the event was from 2-4, but I stayed until past 6. That’s when you know TBB is having a good time. I even had a few glasses of champagne!

Plus, we were doing acro yoga with the killer Modern Tarzan… And now I love it so much that all I wanna do is acro, all the time.

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The rest of Sunday was lovely too. I got to see the OTHER Jordan to my Jordan, a.k.a Jordan Dorso, my longtime super close friend. We were conjoined at the hip for many, many years, and the last couple of years have taken us in slightly different directions. Finding time to spend together hasn’t been our strongest suit lately, but seeing him for a few on Saturday evening made my heart happy. And it will always, always be one of those friendships where no matter what it feels like we saw each other yesterday.

Then I went to sushi back in Brentwood at my faaaav sushi place Takao with someone kinda cool — and I ate TUNA for the first time in months (sorry Dr. Lekkos — I’ve been so good about the mercury thing for so long I had to have a little!!!).

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And then YESTERDAY was fabulous. It was the perfect combo of productive and entirely fun as f. Went to the farmer’s market in Brentwood with my favorite little crew (all on my Snapchat story — you’ll wanna check it out!! Golden retrievers, bone broth, #foodporn worthy brunch food, lots of funny selfies, and more. Username @jojoyounger).

And thennnnn I was reunited with my girl DANIKA and her amazing brother Kyle, and we took a bunch of photos and videos for the blog. Kyle did the most hilarious Snapchat takeover on my Snap… You must see it. You will die. And hit him up if you wanna date him. (You should get on it, ladies!!). 😉

Also, Danika makes freaking magic happen behind the camera. MAGIC.

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Alexi and I have been having so much fun trying out partner yoga poses (and a little bit of acro), because I got CRAZY inspired by The Southern Yogi & Jessica Olie!!!

Yoga poses on camera are such a wonderful form of self expression for people who love yoga because it’s a visual representation of the physical work we do in order to tap into our mental, emotional and spiritual work. And to have the ability to do those poses with a friend is even cooler, because each partner pose captures the essence of something so pure and vulnerable.

You have the TRUST the person you’re in the pose with, and that’s probably the coolest feeling of all. Lex and I had a ball taking these! So many more pics to come!

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The four of us ended up photographing until well into the evening, and then Alexi and I had Cafe Gratitude for dinner (THE BEST!!!) and popped by Katie Dalebout‘s book signing at Ashland Hill!

And then we went to Kippy’s for coconut ice cream because WHY NOT!

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I got the double chocolate flavor with the coco magic shell and cacao nectar crumbles. YUM. To be honest my stomach has been kind of a mess this morning but I don’t think it’s specifically from this… Maybe just a little because it’s all raw!

Then I got home, snuggled with Hud, and had so much trouble falling asleep because I couldn’t stop reminiscing about what a WONDERFUL, relaxing, enjoyable and truly So Cal summer-y weekend it was.

MORAL OF THE STORY: I am so glad I took some time off! I could have been indoors working for the majority of the weekend, but instead I was outside, with people I love, relaxed and now totally recharged to take on the week. Plus, it was still productive but in the most fun and weekendish kind of way.

Love my peeps. Love spending time with them. Love making them number one priority in my life. Wouldn’t have it any other way.

How was everyone else’s weekend!?! Hope you loved as much as I did. XO 

Top 5 Ways to Monetize Your Blog

How do you monetize your blog?

I get asked this question a lot, and for good reason. Blogging as a business has only been around for a few years, and blogging as a full-time business has  been around for even fewer.

When I started blogging full-time almost two years ago, I was just beginning to get the hang of the way things worked in this industry.

For me it was more about the way the timing working out, and the fact that I was leaving grad school to pursue the blog full-time meant that it was more about pouring my ENERGY into it, and having a gut feeling that making a living would come from the huge (huge, huge, huge) amount of effort & time I was pouring in.

So basically what I’m saying is that I didn’t start blogging full-time because I was rolling in the dough. Totally the contrary. I started to see that brands were shifting in the direction of wanting more lucrative, longer term partnerships with bloggers, and I also started to see that there were lots of other ways to monetize my platforms other than simply working with brands. I knew if I gave blogging my full attention, time and effort, then I’d at least have a shot at making it work.

Luckily, I was right. Brands have started paying more and more attention to what bloggers can do for their businesses, and the blogging industry as a whole has grown a LOT in the last couple of years.

So, today I am going to break it down & tell you the top 5 ways I make a living as a blogger.

This post could technically be an entire novel because there is so much to say, but I will at least broach the subject here to get the convo movin’! If you’re interested in more… the good news is, I am working on an EBOOK about all of this — and let’s hope it doesn’t take me a decade to finish so you guys can get your hands on it soon. :) (Email me to get on the pre-sale list for it, btw.)

(ALSO, let me know if you want me to do a “Monthly Income Breakdown” post — I see a lot of other bloggers doing it and it could be super fascinating. I feel weird putting my exact income out there unless you guys want to see and feel that you could benefit from the breakdown… So let me know in the comments below if you do!)

TOP 5 WAYS TO MONETIZE BLOGGING: 

1. Working with brands: This is the #1 way I am able to monetize my blog and earn a living by blogging. Technically this has a million sub-categories under it, but I will keep it short and sweet (ish) for today.

As a wellness and lifestyle blogger, there are a wide range of types of brands that I work with. I work with activewear companies, healthy food brands, clothing lines that align with my style (bohemian, beachy, active), healthy restaurants, healthy supplement companies (like probiotics, hydration powders, protein powders), fitness studios and gyms, wellness authors, and more.

When I was strictly a “food blogger,” back before I transitioned my blog to a lot more lifestyle content… I was pretty limited to working with food brands, restaurants, and the occasional cleanse program. I like being in the lifestyle genre because I have more options… but it’s also a bit more difficult to choose because you don’t want to be that person who is doing EVERYTHING. You have to stick to a niche, and know what your audience wants/likes.

I went through a phrase where I worked with a million brands. I said yes to everyone and very much had the mentality “I can make this work! This sounds slightly up my alley…” kind of thing. I am a businesswoman at heart, ya know, so I wanted to be smart & make things fit — especially because the more partnerships I do, the more leisurely + from the heart posts I can do because I will have the security and time to do that.

Now I am phasing out of that “yes man” mentality — way out of it. I now realize that I would rather work with far fewer brands, and stick to a few core values and specifics of what I really want to share. Activewear, healthy food, any wellness brand that aligns with what I am doing, clothes I legitimately love, etc. I could go on and on, but I am much, much pickier now. I would rather make a living working with brands that I actually USE every day — like blenders, almond butters, produce, activewear, etc — because then it’s seamless. And then I feel good about sharing it because I totally would anyway.

I understand that we’ve all gotta start somewhere, and it’s only in the most ideal world where you can only, only say “YES” to brands that you would use whether or not they paid you — because you love them that much. Unless you have a side job, sometimes you do have to make things work. It’s all about finding that delicate balance… I personally would rather have less $ and be ridiculously proud of every partnership that I do. But we also have to make ends meet, and make enough $ to keep pursuing our dreams, building our businesses and expanding. It’s a DANCE — a balance, and I am still working to find that perfect balance.

Personal story time for a sec…

A couple of days ago someone wrote on my Instagram, “So many ads!” And that really stung. The photo was of me at CycleHouse, a place where I had legitimately worked out that morning, organically integrating a skincare product that I do use on a daily basis. I felt like I was being so authentic and so true to myself with that photo, and even had a blast taking it because I climbed on the CycleHouse desk, was head to toe in un-sponsored clothes that I adore, and had a genuine smile on my face because I was having a genuinely great time.

I know I shouldn’t let that Internet judgment get to me, but I am also one to listen to my followers and really value their (your) input. Immediately I scrolled through my feed: “Am I doing too many ads?! What am I doing wrong? OMG are people going to dislike what I’m doing? Am I not being genuine?”

I promptly deleted the comment out of instinct, but I still felt so hurt — I work so hard to organically integrate the brands that I work with, and I am super picky about which brands I say yes to. But I suppose at the end of the day you can’t please everyone, and not everyone will understand my reasons for working with brands. In an IDEAL universe — maybe I would work with no brands at all, but in that case I also wouldn’t be able to blog full-time. I may not even be able to blog at all if that were the case!

So yes, it’s a give and take, and of course when you are a newer blogger then you start small by promoting products for free (but you should still get them for free!), and then as you grow, your rates will grow as well. YOU are worth your time — you are valuable. Never forget that.

And also as you grow, you can be pickier and picker. I am getting there — and I feel good about it! I am at least at the point where I really like every brand that I work with, and I truly believe that my followers and audience can benefit from learning about each of those products!! If that answer is no, then I don’t work with the brand.

Never alienate your audience by posting about too many brands that don’t fit with their interests — you have to respect the people who follow you and give you the reason to start monetizing your platform in the first place!

2. Developing a product: So this one is a little more tricky, I realize, because you have to have a legit idea and also a bit of savings and cash flow in order to develop a product and get it off the ground. But if you do blog then you have a built-in audience, and you probably have a general idea of what they like and what they would want to see from you and/or purchase from you.

For me, I knew my audience was into health and fitness, and I knew they would love some good health puns on t-shirts. That’s where the initial  idea for my clothing line TBV Apparel came from. As time went on I paid attention to what people seemed to like and want, so expanded upon it and made the line all about good vibes and balance on top of health & wellness — and I have been lucky to have the raddest business partners to build that with.

(*That reminds me — if developing a product seems daunting or impossible, find someone who’s visions and interests align with yours that you can partner with, collaborate with, hire, or get advice from them. There are always people who can help you bring your vision to life! Don’t try to do it all alone… That will never work — your attention is needed in too many places!)

I also see tons of bloggers creating eBooks, fitness guides, etc. and that is awesome because there is little to no cost involved. When I developed my cleanse programs, I invested only about $300.00 total and ended up seeing massive returns. You don’t HAVE to spend $ to develop something… In fact, sometimes starting small is much better so you can test and see what people like!

3. Affiliate marketing: This is a big one, and perhaps the easiest to get into. I am a part of all sorts of affiliate networks. I do rewardStyle (the best by far in my opinion — and no, it’s not only for fashion bloggers!) where you use an affiliate link for products you use / clothes you wear, and you get a commission whenever someone buys that product or clothing item from one of your links.

I’ve had people to say to me before, “Isn’t that weird, trying to get your followers to buy something?” And for me, the answer is no. People online shop on the Internet all day long — and by using a bloggers’ affiliate link, you’re just supporting a small business when you make a purchase, and you are spending the exact same dollar amount you would be regardless. Just because it comes from an affiliate link doesn’t mean the customer is paying more… Ever!! So it’s a win-win. I love to support fellow bloggers/fellow small businesses in that way!

There are a lot of other affiliate programs, but I don’t spend a lot of my time using them. Find what works for you, and run with it. I have a few ads on my site that I get a few bucks for every several months (lol), and it’s truly not worth my time — maybe if I spent more time trying to drive people to those ads, it would be better, but I have found other ways to monetize that work far better for me!

I have noticed that a lot of other bloggers make BANK from affiliate marketing… So I am actually going to do my research and incorporate some new options onto my site!

4. Hosting events: As I mentioned above, your time is valuable. Never underestimate how much you are worth, and never let anyone shortchange you or make you feel like you AREN’T worth that value.

When I host events, I charge for my time. I think anyone who has an established following (no matter how big or small) has the right to do the same. Of course it depends on the event, and I do a lot of non-profit events, collaborations, and super mutually beneficial events that I don’t charge for.

BUT, for the most part, if I am hosting an event that will bring promotion and awareness to a particular company, event space, restaurant, etc., then I do charge for my time. I used to feel bad doing this (“What if they think I’m a diva?!”) but over time I’ve grown comfortable with the fact that my time is valuable. If I’m not hosting an event, I can be working on my blog, clothing line, exercising, spending time with friends… etc. Time is valuable, peeps!

If someone isn’t comfortable paying you to host an event and you want to do it anyway, then by all means — do it anyway!! This can also be a fun way to interact with people, develop good relationships with brands, meet your readers, represent causes you believe in — it doesn’t always have to be a paid situation.

But, if you are looking to monetize your biz, then yes — this is a legit way to make $! I charge an hourly rate, and sometimes when I am offered far less I know that the event simply won’t be worth my time. Sometimes it’s totally still worth my time… Some things are simply soul-filling and that’s what they are made for. It depends on the sitch!

5. Using your talent/interest to do something similar: This could be a whole variety of things. I wrote a book, because I love to write and the story that I wanted to share simply became way too long and involved to only share on my blog. But not everyone is interested in writing a book!

If you are into wellness, you can also get certified as a health coach (I did that too!) so you can open a coaching business along with your blog, you can get a yoga teaching certification or a personal training certification; you can start a podcast and use that as a form of advertising / cross-promotion; you can lead weekly workshop groups for writing, digital marketing, content creation; etc.

The list is ENDLESS. Use that same passion that drove you toward creating your blog, and develop something to do alongside of the blog that can help earn you a living!

This list literally only grazes the surface… But I hope it helps steer you in some sort of starting direction! I know it can be intimating to try something new, especially when you have no idea where to start — but don’t ever let that deter you from starting. You must start somewhere, and if you are doing what you love, then the rest WILL fall into place in due time.

PS email me (jordan@truthbalancevirtue.com) if you want to get on pre-sale list for my upcoming eBook all about the business of blogging!!

XO

Chickpea Superfood Cookie Dough Balls

YEP. Chickpea superfood cookie dough balls.

HEAVEN ON FREAKING EARTH. And I don’t say that lightly.

These babies are gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, vegan, low glycemic, and chock full of nutrient-dense and protein-rich superfoods.

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I have been having so much fun playing around with using pulses in my cooking & baking lately, thanks to my partnership with USA Pulses as an International Year of Pulses Ambassador.

FYI: Pulses are all types of dry peas, lentils, chickpeas, and beans. Who knew? They are some of the easiest, most affordable and most commonplace ingredients to work with — and they make a delicious gluten-free flour alternative as well as a plant-based protein alternative.

I legit cannot get enough of using chickpeas in my baking. I like to ground them in a food processor or blend them in a blender (a big one like a VitaMix or heavy duty NutriBullet) and then use them as a flour substitute and binding agent.

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They are the PERFECT addition to the “nutty banana cookies” I have been making for years (you can find that recipe in my book), and they can even replace the banana as a low-glycemic and protein-packed substitute.

This recipe kind of came together on a whim. I wanted to make chickpea chocolate chip cookies, but I was out of chocolate chips and didn’t feel like going to the store to buy eggs.

Once I realized I was egg-less and chocolate-chip-less, I noticed that every single thing I had on hand was a superfood — so why not make the cookies jam packed with superfoods and taste bud bursting low-glycemic sweetness + flavor?

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BTW, just so we are all clear, a “superfood” is classified as a food that is bursting with nutrients, vitamins & minerals and will give you the fuel and energy you need to live your best life. When you hear the term “food is fuel,” people are usually referring to superfoods. 😉

Basically, it’s the anti-junk food. If you work on incorporating more and more superfoods into your life, you’ll probably find that you have a lot more energy, feel better overall, and glow from the inside out.

Over the years I’ve noticed that I pretty much ONLY eat superfoods, because that’s what my body gravitates to. I CHOOSE superfoods because they make me feel good after I eat, versus feeling bogged down or heavy from food.

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Now, let’s do the damn thing! Recipe time. You will devour these — fair warning. They are SO GOOD. And let them set for a few hours or better yet, a few days — because while they are delish after you first make them, they’re EVEN BETTER when the flavor soaks in & they have some time to take their shape!

In other words — eat some now, eat some later. Best of both worlds.

CHICKPEA SUPERFOOD COOKIE DOUGH BALLS!

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked chickpeas

1/2 cup vanilla plant-based protein powder

1/2 cup cacao nibs (or dairy-free choc chips)

1/2 cup coconut flakes

1/2 cup rolled gluten-free oats

1/3 cup almond butter

1/3 cup goji berries

1/4 cup maple syrup or agave

1 tsp vanilla (I like to use vanilla stevia, to keep it even lower on the glycemic index)

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Method:

Blend or process chickpeas in a blender or food processor until they are silky smooth, and then transfer to a large bowl.

Add all of the dry ingredients: protein powder, oats, cacao nibs, and coconut flakes.

Mix well and then add the wet ingredients: almond butter, maple syrup, and vanilla.

Mix well to combine all ingredients, and then roll into balls using about 2 tablespoons of the mixture for each ball (about the size of your palm).

Refrigerate to set them, and then plate to serve! They are a delish, nutrient-dense, on-the-go snacky snack!

*They last for about a WEEK & A HALF in the fridge, yee baby. And they get crunchier as the days go on… which I happen to love.

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There you have it. Heaven on earth. On the go, protein packed, nutrient dense, pre workout, post workout, dessert or breaky or both, pulse-happy, plant-based, low sugar, win win WINNNN.

Try these and let me know what you think! What do y’all think of the whole pulses thing? Isn’t it awesome how versatile they can be? And who knew what pulses were — bonus points if you knew before January of this year… Because that will mean you knew about it before I did!! XO 

PS — all of my go-to brands for this recipe are below! Knock yourselves out on the superfood train!

 

Wanderlust San Diego Recap

Hi lover loves! If you follow me on Instagram, you probably noticed that I headed South to San Diego two weekends ago to attend Wanderlust 108 with the Cottonelle® crew!

Any Wanderlust event is pretty much my idea of heaven in a nutshell… This one had a scenic 5k run, a sun-soaked yoga class with 500-ish yogis on the lawn led by MC Yogi (my longtime yogi dude crush!), and a calming guided meditation lead by Noah Levine of Dharma Punx.

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A fun fact about WANDERLUST is that I actually attended the first ever Wanderlust Festival held in Squaw Valley, Tahoe in 2009. I went with my sister and a crew from our Sactown yoga studio, and it was the first time I’d ever practiced with any of the world renowned yoga teachers outside of my little Sacramento bubble.

I was 18 years old at that first Wanderlust festival, and let’s just say I was just as stoked on staying up all night long dancing to Girl Talk (the mash up DJ that is the best everrrr) and about the super delicious granola in our hotel lobby as I was to do all the yoga.

That was also the first time in my life that I did yoga back to back all day long for three days in a row! It was the first time I got a taste of how euphoric my body could feel from MOVING that much, doing so many stretches and heart opening poses, and really being one with my body and breath.

At my first ever Wanderlust festival… Rocking my Do You ZUDA tee and rocking out to Girl Talk with my high school homies! 2009 throwback baby… The best kind of photo.

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It made me appreciate the restorative classes… The deep twists, the yin elements, and the meditation — because for the first time in my life, I was moving for a purpose other than exercise.

Then I went again in 2010, and already the festival had gotten a million times more popular and crowded than it was the first year. There was an eco lecture given by ADRIAN GRENIER *swoon*, and the chair lifts up to the mountains for the more popular classes/teachers were PACKED like nobody’s business.

Crazy enough, I haven’t been back since then. I cannot even believe that it’s about to have been 6 years since I’ve attended Wanderlust in Squaw Valley! Tahoe is my ultimate happy place… I grew up going there in the summers and water skiing + wake boarding on the lake. And it’s so close to home for me it’s thrilling to know that such a huge yoga festival goes on there every year now.

Wanderlust 108 is like the half day mini version of a Wanderlust festival, all packed into a morning / afternoon! It’s such an awesome idea for anyone who wants to have a fun yogi afternoon on a Sunday but doesn’t necessarily want to travel all the way across the state to go to a weekend long festival.

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I was so stoked to go there with the Cottonelle® team to help support their #GoCottonelle campaign this year. I think they knew that this event was RIGHT up my alley, and never mind the fact that I had just returned from Mexico not even 24 hours prior… I was in, and I was super happy to be there.

Even better, I got to spend time with my fellow wellness blogger babe Remi all day who was also there with Cottonelle®. We hung out in the cool activation booths that the team had set up, complete with a hashtag photo booth station and a super nice portable bathroom — trust me, the clean bathroom with inspirational #CleanConfession quotes was probably the BEST part of Wanderlust considering the only other option there was port-a-potties!

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That’s another thing I love about partnering with Cottonelle® — their #CleanConfession initiative. I could have thought of probably 12948398 confessions on the spot to share with the team while I was there, because I feel like all I do is weird stuff that can only be perfectly summed up as a confession…

For example… The Clean Confession I shared on Instagram was that I own more yoga clothes than regular clothes. And by “more,” I mean a LOT more. Another Clean Confession… I started going commando in my workouts when I was in Mexico because we were working out 3x a day and even though I brought what felt like 35 pairs of underwear, I refuse to wear a pair twice on vaycay. (I mean come on.)

Cottonelle®’s CleanRipple Texture gives me the confidence to go commando because it gives me that ultimate clean feeling, ya know? You NEED that if you’re going to actually go commando.

More Clean Confessions by TBB (God, I should make this a new thing, haha): The drive back to LA from San Diego took three and a HALF hours that day because of Mother’s Day traffic, so I wound up talking to my BFF Danielle on the phone for at least an hour and a half. I was telling her such intimate & personal things about my life that by the time my driver dropped me off in Brentwood and I said goodbye to him, Danielle was like, “Wait… There was someone in the car with you that WHOLE time?! You said all of that stuff in front of someone else?!”

Yes. No Shame.

Clean Confession #4: Last week I rocked the messy top knot hairstyle from Monday – Thursday because I couldn’t be bothered to wash my hair after yoga or OrangeTheory… I’m a force to be reckoned with.

ALSO… Speaking of how awesome Wanderlust is, Cottonelle® is holding a sweepstakes for Wanderlust MIAMI!! Get on it here. Florida baybayyyy. :)

Do you guys have any Clean Confessions to share with me?! This is fun! ANNDDD do any of you go commando in your workouts? Anyone been to Wanderlust before?! Tell me all!! XO 

A bonus pic from my first ever Wanderlust in 2009 — say hi to my sister Lisa & 18 year old TBB! I hadn’t even started college yet… C R A Z A Y .

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Napa Valley Vine Body Sole Half Marathon!

Loveliest lovers! I just got back from the most glorious weekend in Napa Valley for ASICS‘ Vine Body Sole weekend + half marathon!

It was the most incredibly enjoyable weekend, especially considering I had just been gone for 6 nights in Mexico and am not usually all about traveling back to back. (So hard for me to leave the Hudster… #catmama to the 9849th degree.)

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But heading home to Nor Cal always has the most calming effect on my mind, body and soul. It’s crazy how even just flying into the Sacramento airport can make me feel instantly calmer and more clear-minded.

(Never mind the fact that Alexi & I missed our first flight from LAX to Sac… Totes my fault, with a little help from LAX being packed and shuttles being slower than life. But hey, at least I got to eat a bomb macro meal from Real Food Daily & do some airport yoga while we waited an additional 3 hrs…!)

Once we flew into Sac, we hopped in our rental car and headed straight to our hotel in St. Helena to unpack and change so we could meet the ASICS team at Beringer’s Hudson House for our welcome dinner.

We stayed at the Harvest Inn, which was the cutest hotel in such an adorable area. I have always been in love with St. Helena, ever since my trips there in high school to mosey around the shops, chocolate / olive oil specialty stores, and amazing restaurants. Call me a 67 year old, but cozy cuddly Napa is my kinda place.

We met the crew for dinner at the CUTEST part of Beringer winery — and you KNOW that I loved the name Hudson House. 😉

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At dinner we met the other bloggers + influencers that we spent the weekend with — Christine Bibbo Herr of NYC Pretty, Lauren Kay Sims of Lauren Kay Sims & Anna Kaiser of AKT InMotion! We also met Christine & Lauren’s fab husbands who hung with us all weekend and snaps lots of great photos! (I guess that made Alexi my hubby for the weekend?! Lol!).

After dinner we were more or less exhausted from our travel day and a crazy week leading up to the trip… So we went back to our hotel & passed out! COZIEST beds in the rooms, btw. And huge bath tubs… Always a plus in my book.

The next day was full of lots of great workouts, exploring Napa (Indian food in St. Helena, anyone?) and an EPIC sunset yoga class that was so beyond necessary after the travel & the morning Anna Kaiser cardio dance class.

Plus, there is something so fun about doing yoga and watching yourself on the big screen in front of you — those ASICS videographers had us on our toes with that all weekend! Loved it. (Alexi told me I looked like a pro on the camera… Big compliment because I almost never look like a pro doing ANYTHING, lol. Can’t wait to see dat professional footage!)

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Say hi to MIA from the ASICS team in the photo above, with me and Lex! She is my new favorite human. Such a gem — along with the rest of their team. They were all so fun which made the entire weekend even more pleasant than it already was.

That night Alexi & I had dinner at the Harvest Table — the super cute farm to table restaurant at our hotel. We shared the scallops, halibut, roasted carrots (with GRANOLA and curry — most interesting + delish / innovative presentation), and a shaved veggie salad! Perfect pre-race meal… Plus a few bites of banana & PB afterward (my ultimate fav late night snackity snack before a race).

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We got back to our hotel room about 9:30pm and I started with my pre-race routine of natural supplement sleeping meds to ensure a deep & legit night of sleep (we know how my insomnia gets), set my alarm for 5:15am, laid out my clothes, race bib & flip belt, and miraculously fell asleep sort of quickly!!

I woke up a few times as I usually do, checking my alarm like a psycho and envisioning the horror of sleeping through it, but for the most part got a pretty restful night of sleep until that pre-dawn wake up call!

THE RACE!

Thennnn came race day! The morning was extremely low key compared to getting ready for a few of my bigger races like the LA Marathon or the Hollywood 10k, considering all we had to do to get ready was put our clothes on, have our breakfast and hop on a shuttle at our hotel to take us to Beringer winery down the road.

We had an awesome VIP lounge set up in the Hudson House with breakfast, water, and more tea (I downed a ton of green tea in our hotel room before we left, too, AND spilled it all over myself chasing the shuttle down bc it almost left without us). I drank so much the that I later started realizing A) I was going to have to pee during the race, and B) I would not be as hydrated as normal because I was drinking tea instead of water!

Let’s just say I am still getting used to being a tea person versus a coffee person. Regardless, the tea was delish and I actually didn’t have to stop once during the race to use the bathroom. Had it been a full marathon or even a few miles longer, that would have been another story.

When it was about 10 minutes to 7, we headed to the start line to get ready to run. I was astounded by the calmness I felt with the fewer number of people around as opposed to the thousands at bigger races. I think I can definitely get on board with this smaller race kinda thang — especially when it’s in wine country!

I was a little nervous, mainly because I didn’t train with the same intensity that I did for the marathon and I wasn’t sure what that was going to mean for me… But I also had a really good feeling about it. Running has been such a therapeutic thing in my life lately and I knew I wasn’t going to be competing with myself for a really fast time.

also knew that because I ran my last half marathon at a really leisurely pace because I was chatting with a friend the whole time, that I would likely PR (get a personal record) without having to try too hard!

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THE RUN ITSELF…

We took off right at 7, and I ran the first mile or two alongside the lovely Rebecca Sinn from SELF mag. We met back when I was doing my SELF shoot in November, and we have kept in touch ever since. She is such a gem and it was so fun catching up with her while we ran through the gorg vineyards. We chatted and chatted until I realized she was running an 8:30 min/mile pace and I usually keep my pace closer to 9:45 min/mile.

Hey Rebecca & Lex — twinning in da neon. 😉 

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It was awesome to notice that I had been keeping up with her pace no problem, but I also knew that I had to pace myself for the miles ahead of us, so after a few miles together she ran ahead and I clocked into my steady pace of about 9:15 min/mile.

Even that is on the faster side for me… Especially because my last big race was a full marathon so I was training for distance versus time. I was stoked to see how seamless the speed came for me, and how much my body was enjoying running faster! I could feel it everywhere from my legs to my abs, in a GOOD way, like my whole body was working.

I was also super pleased to see that there were water stations every 2 miles or so, and the CUTEST signs made by the ASICS team that said adorable Napa-esque things like, “If You’re Tired… Call a Cab-ernet,” “99% Chance of Wine at the Finish Line,” and “Sip, Sip, Hooray!”

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Those little signs made me way too happy while I was running, AND taking a look around at the vineyards and rolling hills we were running through was legitimately breathtaking. I even snapped a ton of selfies DURING the race itself, which is the tell-tale sign that I was having a ball and wasn’t struggling or too tired to be my goofball self. 😉

The weather was also AWESOME which helped a lot. It was cool and overcast, but not too cold at all. When I was about 5 miles away from the finish line I realized that if I kept up my pace I would finish the race somewhere between 2 hours 5 mins and 2 hours 10 minutes… My exact goal!!

I played around with speeding up in certain areas, but there were a few hills at the end that brought my pace down again. Regardless, the miles I ran with Rebecca at the very beginning worked in my favor, and by the time I rounded into the final mile at Charles Krug winery, I knew I would make my goal of under 2 hours, 10 mins.

Running to the finish line was an epic feeling — it was calm and serene compared to the highly emotional and chaotic finish line of the LA Marathon, and there was something super tranquil about coasting right through, smiling for John’s camera (Christine’s husband!), and strolling off to find Alexi and the ASICS team at at the after party.

I felt like I was on top of the world, and I had finished in 2 hours, 6 mins! Total PR by 14 mins, which was amazing considering I didn’t train a whole lot this time around.

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NOWWWW I officially have my running bug back, and all I want to do is find another HALF to train for in the next few months!! New goals are a’ brewing in my head… Ideas?! Suggestions!? Tell me!

PS, Alexi crushed the race in an hour 52. She is a beast.

PLUS I am so stoked to train in my brand new ASICS this time around. I fell in love with their team, and their shoes are top notch. I want to partner with them again and again!

That afternoon I got the best surprise by my BFF’s Katie & Danielle (I know you recognize their names from my book!!) at the after party, and then Alexi and I had a super nice early dinner with my parents in St. Helena.

How ridic cute are my parents?!

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St. Helena Soaps = Artwork.

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TBB being TBB… In the most TBB way ever.

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Don’t you love when your dad turns into a full blown photographer?

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I run for fudge campfire pie…. LITERALLY, this time around. #BALANCE

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The fab girls who won my TBB Instagram Giveaway to Run the Half!!! Shoutout to Lindsay & her crew — you gals are awesome. I want to be friends. unnamed

We even got to go to Sactown on Sunday morning for some much needed relaxation and a delish brunch before we headed back to the airport to fly to LA.

CONCLUSIONS: I love traveling with my best friends, I love seeing my family when I am on a semi-work trip, I love running half marathons, I love ASICS, Napa makes me happy, I freaking love yoga and moving my body, I love eating yummy food, I love exploring cute lil’ towns, I looooooove Sacramento, I need to get to the airport earlier in general, and I love that I am finally old enough to drive a rental car. (LOL.)

Can you tell I’m on another level today? Like lists on lists on lists kinda level? Back to the grind, baby!! XO

Loving Lately // 5.12.16

Hi beauties! Today I am off to Napa to run the Vine Body Sole Half Marathon with ASICS… And I am so exciiiiited. Since Napa is only a hop, skip & a jump from Sactown (my hometown), I will get to see my parents & my BFF’s that live in the bay while I am up there!

I will also be with my other BFF Alexi — you’ve surely seen her all over my Instagram & in any post-race picture, since we have been running all sorts of 10k’s together this year.  And here is a fun THROWBACKKKK from the first half marathon either of us ever ran… in 2012 in Long Beach! We were highly unprepared and had no idea what we were doing — LOL.

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Pretttty awesome. And I am stoked to run the half, especially because the last one I ran was a training race for the marathon and that was in January… So my bod is ready for another half. :) It’s probably my favorite race distance, since it feels like a massive accomplishment but you can still walk the next day, as opposed to a whole marathon. Lol, but #truth.

Anyway, today I am here to share my latest LOVING LATELYYYY’s with you. I used to do these posts every single Thursday, but now they’re more of a treat because of all the other posts I try to juggle every week. Ready? Let’s go.

LOVING LATELY!

↠ ↠ Digital Detoxing Before Bed — I’ll admit it, I was never a fan of the phrase “digital detox” (as I mentioned in this article on MyDomaine), because I felt like it sounded like it was trying too hard. For those of us who use social media for work purposes, completely going off the grid just isn’t an option like it may be in other people’s lives. It’s all relative, so going phone-less during meals, when I am with people, and while I exercise/do yoga/meditate, etc. always seemed like enough to me, relatively.

But lately I have been feeling extra tied to my phone. Like obsessed with scrolling through Instagram, checking people’s Snapchat stories, updating my Twitter, texting people back right away, calling long distance friends, etc. And last Saturday when I had the WHOLE evening to myself for the first time in months… What did I do? I was ON MY PHONE for a huge frickin’ portion of it. And I didn’t like that. At the end of the night I looked back and thought… what the heck have I been doing for the last 6 hours?

There is a time and a place for our phones, and I embrace everything they do for our communication and our self expression through social media. BUT, there is a lot more to life. Like reading, writing, BEING with people, thinking + tapping into our creativity, cuddling with animals, cooking, even watching TV phone-less.

So my new thing is that I am “digital detoxing” from 9pm – 9 am every day. That gives me plenty of time before I go to bed and plenty of time after I wake up to do whatever the heck I want to do… so I have been reading a lot, and Huddy and I have gotten a lot more time to cuddle in the mornings without my leaping directly onto my phone. Some nights I am out past 9 so it doesn’t work, or I have to be somewhere before 9am, but that’s okay. It’s a baseline, and so far I am loving loving this new routine. TRY IT WITH ME?! 

↠ ↠ CHIA SEED PUDDING — When I was in Mexico on my yoga retreat, we ate chia pudding for breakfast every morning. You guys know me and my sensitive stomach, and when I find something that works for me for breakfast (i.e: something that satiates me and gives me energy but doesn’t also bog me down and make me feel bloated, nauseous, acid-refluxy), I get really excited. Chia pudding tastes phenomenal and it’s full of plant-based protein and fiber, health fats (omega-3’s, baby!), calcium, manganese and magnesium. On our retreat I think it was made with soy milk which made it taste heavenly, but back at home I have been using almond milk. Do you guys want a chia seed recipe?! If so, I’ll post about it next week — I’ve legit been having it for breakfast every single morning! I am obsessed!

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↠ ↠ Engaging w/ People on Instagram — This is a funny one, especially coming after the digital detox! But I have been going back to my roots lately on Instagram and really engaging with other users. When I first started my account (3 years ago, wow) I used to comment and engage with tons of other wellness Instagrammers to show my support and connect. As my brand has grown, I started doing that less and less just because I spent less time scrolling through the platform in general. I always engaged with people who commented on my stuff and asked questions, but I wasn’t doing a ton of outreach on other people’s pages except for friends & people I follow closely.

Lately I have been searching hashtags and really taking a look at what the people I follow post so that I can support them, comment, engage and show them love. I think that the more we can bring our real-life personalities into social media and form bonds and friendships and even support-from-afar type of scenarios, then we can turn this whole “technology disconnect” thing into less of an issue. I treat my Instagram friends like I would treat my real friends — I show them my genuine self, support what they are doing, and get to know them through their imagery and captions. (Granted, I only follow people who give enough substance through social media in order for me to feel like I get to know them — that’s important to me, so the blogging world continues to feel real and not stale.)

↠ ↠  YOGA — This will not come as a shock after my big news the other day and after everything I have shared on Instagram lately, but yoga has found its way back into my life with a vengeance. It makes everything better — my sleep has been deeper, my other workouts (OrangeTheory & running!) have been more enjoyable to get through because my body is OPEN, my mind is so much calmer, and I feel really clear and at peace. It’s crazy. Even when I locked myself out of my building this week (twice, actually) and when I have been running to and fro to get everything done in the short span I was in LA this week, I have felt strangely calm and at ease. For me, that’s big. Thanks yoga for proving yourself so powerful in my life yet again. <3

↠ ↠ The Women’s Health Body Clock Diet, a fab book by Certified Eating Disorder Registered Dietitian Laura Cipullo! This book is amazing and I couldn’t put it down (thanks to my nightly digital detox I’ve had so much more time to read lately). Basically it’s all about how it’s likely our bodies are out of whack if we are eating well, exercising, being kind to our bods, and we still aren’t seeing any results. When our natural body clock is out of whack, it causes hormone disturbances that pack on fat and leave us feeling yucky.

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In this book, Laura is able to tap into her knowledge & the latest scientific research to help women adjust their body clocks and other internal timekeepers for optimum health and fat-burning capacity. It’s basically a #LIFEHACK extraordinaire, but with so much research behind if you’ll be like OMG why did I not know/learn all of this years earlier?!

The book has a plan to follow that will help reset your body clock back into proper rhythm in less than 2 weeks, a meal plan and an hour-by-hour daily action plan to take advantage of our bod’s atural hormone “bursts” to burn more calories, reduce sugar cravings, and optimize sleep. PRETTY AWESOME! You guys must read!

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There you have it my boos! A few things that I am LOVING LATELY. What you are loving lately? Do tell!! I will share so many pics + fun stuff from Napa this weekend… Get ready!! MUAH! XO 

Health Journey Update + My Take on Functional Medicine

Guys! This is a post I’ve been dying to write/share for a while. You’ve probably noticed me dropping hints about it again and again for the past couple of months… My health journey, my hormone imbalances, my functional medicine doctor, the supplements I’ve been taking, and my road to finding complete balance again.

The reason it’s taken me several months to sit down and write this post is because I wanted to try my new routine out for long enough before I declared any changes or gave you any super concrete details… Health is such an ever-evolving process, and even though I work with a lot of rockstar health professionals, I can only speak from MY experience and I never want to give you info that isn’t 110% thought out and from the heart.

(A.k.a: I’m never going to be one of those Internet people that claims to know everything about everything. I can be interested and share my experience, but I need my experiences to fully happen before I can fully share!! Ya feel me?)

So — here it goes…

My Health Journey & My Take on Functional Medicine

Let’s begin where it all started — about a year ago, I was pretty unhappy with my health. I had “broken vegan” nearly a year prior, and was eating all sorts of foods I hadn’t touched in years. Red meat, sugar, poultry, eggs, you name it. I was still health conscious and very careful about organic/local/healthy compared to the average person, but for me I had strayed a little far from what I know I need to do/eat in order to feel my best.

I didn’t FEEL like myself. My stomach hurt terribly, I was bloated, I had gained some weight, my skin was a wreck, and no matter what I tried, I felt like my hormones or SOMETHING inside of me were preventing me from getting back to the balanced, happy, content state that I so craved and had found in the past with ease.

30 Days of “Clean”

I tried a 30-day “Clean” cleanse by Dr. Alejandro Junger, and after 30 days of two smoothies a day and a salad with lean meat and veggies… Literally not one thing about me had changed. My bloating, my weight, my skin, my general feeling of non-lightness and not-my-usual energy… It was all the same, and I wasn’t feelin’ too hot.

The moment my holistic nutritionist, Kelly Leveque, heard that nothing had changed whatsoever after I did the Clean cleanse, she told me I needed to see someone to figure out what might be wrong. My body just wasn’t functioning properly. So she referred me to her functional medicine doctorDr. Lekkos.

Trying Functional Medicine

At the time I remember feeling hopeful-ish but also kind of at a loss. I had seen tons of doctors by that point… gastroenterologists, acupuncturists, general physicians, nutritionists, colonic hydrotherapists, Eastern healers, on and on — no one had been able to solve my issues and I really wasn’t sure that anyone would be able to at that point.

This is also after YEARS / a lifetime’s worth of stomach issues, food allergies/intolerances, and general discomfort that had forever gone undiagnosed. I wasn’t too hopeful that anyone would have the magic answers for me.

Then in came Dr. Lekkos — after my first meeting with him I could tell that he was going to go above and beyond to try to help me. Our first consultation was nearly 3 hours long, and I wound up not only telling him about my current health issues and my life history of food issues, but also about the anxieties in my life that were driving me nuts and causing the problems to be even worse.

He listened and assured me that he could help, and after he explained everything he was going to do, even I was hopeful that we would find something. He ordered extensive rounds of blood work, a cortisol saliva test, a stool test to look into gut bacteria, and a SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) test to cover all of the bases.

Functional medicine is a totally different approach than anything else I’d ever tried. It’s an individualized, “inside out” approach that focuses on the PERSON rather than the symptom. Dr. Lekkos’s goal is to balance the complex interplay of our bodies’ internal physiology.  It’s about the longterm, not the short term.

I LIKE IT.

Taking the Tests (Or not…) LOL.

In typical Jordan fashion it took me WAY too long to get the tests done… I’m talking 6 months long, but in my defense it’s also during the time that my book came out. 😉

Plus, I think a part of me was still holding onto a shred of hope that I could solve my problems on my own or that they would just disappear. That didn’t happen… but it was a nice thought for a while there, hehe.

Right after I ran the LA Marathon I knew it was time to finish the last of the tests and find out what was going on with me. I still felt so off, and while I didn’t feel quite as foggy and gross as I did initially (due to a few diet changes), I still knew I needed guidance and some serious answers. So I sucked it up, finished the tests, sent them in, and waited (sort of patiently, but not really) for the results to come in.

Then I started getting super excited about what the results might hold… And before I knew it, it felt like I was preparing for something far more exciting than a doctors’ visit. I knew I was about to get answers about my health and my body that I had been trying to get to the bottom of for 15+ years.

Getting My Results!

When I went in for my results, Dr. Lekkos couldn’t have been nicer about how long it took me to get the tests done. We joked about it, and then we dove into the mountain of paperwork that held my answers. I knew it was all important, but I also knew that some parts were going to be super pertinent to changes I needed to make, and others would be a litttttle over my head. I’m telling you — the blood work was super extensive, in a good way.

The MAIN things I found:

There were a couple of massive things I learned from my test results. One of those was that I had a PARASITE in my stomach, and who knows how long it had been there. It was likely causing/worsening a lot of the issues I was having, including the bloating, pain, indigestion, acid reflux, food intolerances, etc.

So I immediately got on an antibiotic for that, and just recently completed another round! Knowing that I am parasite-free is such a huge relief, especially knowing that I would have never even known about the issue without the tests that we ran. I probably developed it from food or water contamination… Which freaks me out, considering I still don’t know where I got it or how long it was inside of me. Eek.

A few other big things I found out were that my hormones were indeed out of whack. My estrogen was high, my progesterone was low, pregnenolone was low, and my cortisol (stress hormone) was off-the-charts high in the mornings and then dipped down in the early afternoon.

Talk about all over the place!

So he started me on a bunch of natural supplements to remedy the hormone imbalances, and I have been feeling a lot more leveled out lately. I also stopped drinking coffee, which I think has helped massively as well!! Going coffee-free keeps me more grounded and even-keeled throughout the day… it’s been a real game changer.

Another big finding was the food stuff. I didn’t have nearly as many allergies or intolerances as I’d thought… But the ones I did have were the ones I had known all along but had never had the REAL answers to. Now I know for sure that I am intolerant to gluten and dairy (of course — they both make me crazy nauseous/bloated), and there were also some surprising ones in there like eggs, mushrooms, cranberries and chicken.

Cutting eggs out of my life has helped a ton, and now weirdly I can’t even look at them without feeling weird (lol) — but knowing that my body was having a bad reaction to them is the knowledge I needed in order to take control and take care of myself properly.

That’s the thing. Knowledge about our bodies is power, and without that knowledge we are kind of helpless. We have to take the initiative to get the help we need — whatever that might look like — and once we do, we are much better off and equipped with the tools to be KIND to our bodies and help ourselves achieve balance again.

My main priority in life is to feel healthy, balanced and whole in my body… Because when I feel that way, I am able to be fully present, enjoy life to the fullest, be the most passionate about my work and relationships, be active with ease, and so much more.

It’s so WORTH IT and so important.

SEE A FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE DOCTOR!

If you live in the LA area and struggle with stomach, hormone, or general issues I would highly recommend seeing Dr. Lekkos in Santa Monica. He is a LIFESAVER, and I have referred so many people that I care about to him because he truly works in an innovative and incredible way… He is the first doctor who has ever TRUSTED that I feel as crappy as I do, and has ordered the tests and done the work to bring me the answers that I’ve needed.

The big update now, is that I feel great. 

I feel BALANCED and whole, and closest to that wonderful balanced state that I have desired and missed for so long when I didn’t feel well. I want that for ALL of you, and for me I know it will require continuing to be diligent and stay on top of it.

I also work closely with an Ayurvedic practitioner to help keep my stress levels down and make sure I am in a balanced dosha state with food + lifestyle, and I see a therapist regularly to also keep my anxiety down — it takes a village, I’m telling you, but it is so worth it.

So worth it.

YOU are worth it.

I hope this helped you if you have ever experience any of the issues I have… Especially post-eating disorder I know it can be so hard finding balance again, and I am always here if you have any questions. Love you guys, and cheers to #BALANCE and health and happiness. :)

MUAH!

P.S. I am happy to write a post about the exact supplements I’ve been taking and the roles that they each play if anyone would be interested. Let me know below if so, and I will work on that! XO