Larabar Giveaway + Health Tips for the Dudes in Our Lives

TBB has never been a strictly female blog or a strictly male blog, but being a health and fitness lifestyle blog written by a woman, my female readership tends to, errr, dominate. But today we’re switching things up, because A) I have some really amazing male readers who deserve a little love, and B) Behind every rockin’ female reader is a slew of male friends, dads, brothers and boyfriends who are maybe or maybe not in need of some balancing tips around the holidays.

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So today’s post is a double whammy. It’s a shoutout to my male readers aannnddd a Thanksgiving inspired giveaway of one of my favorite things on earth: Larabars. And we’re not just giving away Larabars, we are giving away an awesome Larabar tote filled with bars, granola and a t-shirt to FOUR awesome readers. All you have to do to enter is comment on this post saying what you are thankful for this Thanksgiving, and (if you’re a dude) how you will incorporate one of these health tips into your life and (if you’re a gal) how you will gently guide one of the guys in your life with one of these health tips.

Ready?! Let’s go.

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5 Health Tips for My Second Favorite Gender (Hehe, Just Kidding… Maybe), G U Y S !

1. Just because you’re a guy doesn’t mean that you aren’t allowed to have concerns about weight, body image or issues with food. So very often I come across incredible guys who are suffering from issues with body image and even eating disorders, and I can only imagine how misunderstood they feel. As a female recovering from a nasty eating disorder, I felt alone enough as it was and there are tons of women who are open about their eating disorder struggles and recovery journeys. And it doesn’t have to go as deep as an eating disorder– it’s okay to admit to wanting to work on your body or better your health. It doesn’t make you any less macho. It actually makes you more relatable and sensitive, and girls really dig that (I know I do at least.) And if you’re looking for a healthy snack to fuel you pre or post-workout (or even just mid-work day), Larabar is a great option. So many different yummy flavors.

2. Skipping Meals Doesn’t Make You Cool. You do not want to know how many men I have talked to who pride themselves on “Just not needing to eat breakfast,” or skipping lunch or dinner in favor of working crazy long hours. “I didn’t even have a snack today, dude, and then I ran like six miles… and now I’m going to bed.” Not cool. In fact, eating more fiber throughout the day keeps your metabolism running strong and your blood sugar levels in check. It all catches up with us in the end. (Those weekend middle of the night McDonalds binges? You can say goodbye if you’re maintaining a regular meal schedule.) And snack, snack, snack! Don’t be afraid of snacking!

3. Laugh It Off! Laughing really is the best stress reliever. I don’t mean to be sexist when I say that a lot of guys I know get extra wound up when they are stressed, but they do. For some reason it seems that more women understand the importance of winding down and treating themselves to some relaxation and a girls’ night (or some alone time). Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is step away from whatever it is that’s stressing you out, and let loose with some friends or the girl that makes you smile. I promise it will be worth it in the end, and it makes for a happier and healthier you in the long run. (That’s what life is all about anyway, right?)

4. Yoga is not to be feared. Please, for the love of God, don’t be one of those guys who loudly and idiotically declares that yoga is not a workout. “I mean, I would do that, but I like to actually sweat when I work out.” Have you ever set foot in a power vinyasa hot yoga class? Think again. And the stress and tension-relieving benefits of stretching and breath work are not to be glossed over, either. A real (healthy, balanced) man isn’t afraid of the yoga studio. It also lowers blood sugar, slows heart rates and increases flexibility. Yoga isn’t all about girls in spandex twisting themselves into pretzels. And if you want some recommendations for some awesome (even bro-ish, if you’re into that) teachers, holler at yo girl.

5. Fad Diets are Not Your Friend. “No, really, Paleo REALLY, REALLY works for me,” says my male friend who drinks heavily on the weekend and then gorges on fast food. If you find something that works for you, be my guest. But just because Mark’s Daily Apple or Jared Leto is doing it doesn’t mean it’s going to be the cure all to your probs. Life is all about balance, and learning to live a lifestyle in moderation is where it’s really at. I promise. Cut back on gluten if you so desire, and sugar isn’t really going to make you feel awesome either, but making those cutbacks so you can enjoy what you love in healthy amounts is what it’s all about.

And who’s ready to win a Larabar tote with lots of goodies inside?!

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Just comment on this post about your takeaways on TBB’s quick guide to men’s health and balance, and tell me what YOU are thankful for this year. I am thankful for: my loving family, my best friends and getting to do this job that I am absolutely in love with every day.

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Happy early Thanksgiving to all of you amazing souls! I am so grateful to have you all in my life. :)

10 Signs That Your Best Friend is Your Soul Mate

Happy Tuesday, everybody! And for the purpose of this post… Happy November 25th! What’s so special about November 25th, you ask? Well, it’s my best friend in the world’s birthday. And you don’t have to be a seasoned TBB reader to know that, in my life, my close friends are my everything. I am a huge believer in people being the most important part of our lives… Check out my Disease of Being Busy post to read more about my thoughts on that.

I have been reeeal lucky in this life to be blessed with the greatest friends on the face of the earth. I actually believe that. To me, it’s never been about the quantity of friends but rather about the quality… and somehow along the way I have been amazingly lucky to be surrounded with a high quantity of incredibly quality human beings.

And that’s not just a coincidence! You get what you give, and I try to give a whole lot of love and energy to my people because… without them, I’d be nothin’.

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And as far as people go, my sweet Katie not only tops the charts but skyrockets them. I am so lucky we met as five year old blondies in the sandbox, because she set the bar real high as far as friendships go. When we were little we were adventure buddies, putting on old boots and stomping through muddy backyards (that did not belong to us), and that sense of adventure extended all the way into our college years when we lived in Italy for the semester (two diff cities, but two amazing cities nonetheless) and then when we moved to NYC together when we graduated.

Katesy Kate, thanks for inspiring this post. It’s easy to talk about quality of friendship, but when you have someone who truly embodies that it makes life that much more wonderful.

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10 Signs That Your Best Friend Is Your Soul Mate

1. You can go weeks and even months without seeing them face to face or catching each other on the phone (especially if you have an annoying time difference), but the moment you are together again it feels as if no time at all has passed. And catching up with them is wayyy more fun than simply chit chatting about work, life, relationships with pretty much anyone else.

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2. They know you so well that even if you try to keep something from them, they guess it anyway. And then you end up spilling your guts to them without even realizing that there was something you were that upset about in the first place.

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3. You do goofy things together in public without giving it a fleeting thought… and even goofier things when no one else is around. Plus, you’ve developed a bit of your own language together so sentences are cut down to fractions of their original meanings and you always totally get it.

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4. They are part of your family, and you are part of theirs. People have been mistaking the two of your as sisters for years, and your parents find it odd when they aren’t with you on the holidays.

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5. It gives you anxiety to think about living far away from her when you’re older for fear that she won’t be your neighbor and your kids won’t be BFFs, so you resign yourself to the fact that wherever she goes, you’ll probably end up too.

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6. Every time there is a set of best friends in a movie, you automatically assign each of you a role. There is a Blair and a Serena, a Walt and a Jesse, a Nemo and a Dory, a Romy and a Michelle and obvi a Regina and a Gretchen (depending on the day).

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7. When you start dating someone, you know it’s only a matter of time before they meet your BFF so they can get the official stamp of approval. When one of you is dating someone, it’s pretty much the both of you sooo if your BFF doesn’t like him, adios. But good thing you two are similar enough that if  one of you likes someone, the other is sure to like him as well (for her).

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8. You know that no matter what, if you are excited about something your best friend will be happy for you. There is no jealousy, no competition and no weird underlying issues. They love you like family, and they always want the best for you.

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9. Being reunited after being away from each other for any duration of time is probably the most glorious feeling in the world. Annndd you never have to worry about getting sick of each other, because you already know each other way too well for that to ever happen.

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10. Even if you’re super upset and overwhelmed, or if you have a falling out with another friend/boyfriend/family member, or if you’re totally down in the dumps about pretty much anything… you know everything will be okay in the end because you have a bestie who totally gets you, so all the trivial things don’t really matter.

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Aren’t best friends glorious?! Who feels the same about their besties? The awesome thing about this list– it doesn’t have to be limited to one person. Katie is my person, my sissy, my everything, and I also have a big handful of incredible close friends who fit this mold. Tell me your thoughts on the peeps in your own life! 

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Who Loves Workout Gear?!

Calling all workout gear lovers! Those of you who know me know that I am certifiably obsessed with comfy, stretchy, exercise-friendly clothing. Anything I can rock with my tennis shoes and my hair in a pony, and extra points if it doubles as an outfit I can lounge around in, run around town in AND exercise/do yoga in. (Major bonus points if I can also sleep in it, but then I just sound lazy for not taking the time to change into real PJs. Which I also love, but that’s a whole different story.)

When I started this bloggy I made a vow to introduce you to everything I am super interested in and use in my daily life, and workout gear is no exception. You can even “Shop the Post” at the bottom of this post, because that’s how confident I am that you will looove what I’m about to share with you.

FTC Disclosure: Although I was compensated by Maurices to write this post, all opinions are my own.

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But real quick, I want to mention something else (relevant yes, because she took these rockin’ photos). Last week, I did a glorious “Into the Woods” photo shoot with the incredible Katie Shuler. I had seen some photos that Katie took of my bestie Sophie and immediately felt in love. If there is anything I love as much as all things health, fitness and exercise it’s working with other creative people to create something awesome. Seeing people in their creative element making magic happen is SO inspiring to me.

I knew Katie and I were going to hit it off and make some magic right when she sent me her inspiration Pinterest board for the shoot. It was everything I had been dreaming of and more, and from the shots I have seen so far we brought them to life and I couldn’t be more thrilled about it.

We snapped some shots at the end of the shoot for this post, and through them you can get a little glimpse into how brilliant Katie is at her craft.

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So… back to workout clothes. My latest find & obsession is Maurices active wear. The clothes hit all of my active wear requirements: comfy, stylish, fun and actually durable/comfortable DURING workouts. There is nothing worse than a workout outfit that doesn’t hold up while you’re actually getting your sweat on… *ahem, the neon lightning bolt capris I fell in love with and fell directly out of love with the moment I started sweating in yoga and they became extremely itchy and encased my legs in rising heat*

Needless to say, since I am sharing it with all of you, Maurices not only held up but I was able to stay out post-workout and run a bunch of errands without needing to change, and that is a major score in my book.

Plus, look how adorable their designs are!! And compared to some other tried & true brands we all know I am a fan of, Maurices is super affordable, which means you can add not one or two but a whole collection of these beauts to your closet. ;) IMG_3459

 

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If you’re looking for some good workout clothes and/or a good holiday gift for a friend or family member, Maurices is your dude. And to directly shop the post, see below!


What is your favorite activewear brand?! What is everyone up to this week? It’s almost Thanksgiving… the most wonderful time of the year has officially arrived!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Banana Split Shake

Heck yes, you read the title of this post correctly. TBB is doing a recipe post. For the first time in… probably about four months. Why is that? For a few reasons…

A) In recovering from my eating disorder, I have found it incredibly liberating to eat whatever the heck I please without trying to make it pretty for a legit photo shoot and/or be concerned about planning it out in advance and giving food so much extra thought, and B) I wrote 75+ recipes for The Balanced Blonde App and am in the midst of writing 25 recipes for Breaking Vegan, so a lot of my new and fun recipes are going toward those awesome projects. Oh, and C) Now that I’m no longer vegan, I am only just beginning to get the hang of making non-vegan things and I wouldn’t want to lead you all astray with my sometimes very subpar creations.

But, alas, I am still a smoothie addict and I still like to create yummy concoctions in my VitaMix just about every day. With Thanksgiving coming up it only seemed right to post a yummy pumpkin recipe to add to your healthy holiday repertoire. One of my FAV things to do is blend pumpkin with cacao, banana, almond milk and oats to make one delicious nutritionally dense and well-rounded meal.

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As far as pre-workout fuel, it tops the charts. Buttt if you’re going to do a kickass class like Orange Theory and/or any type of intense cardio, you might want to hold off on having this smoothie after your workout. Trust me, after a few bouts with nearly throwing up this morning while sprinting at a 9.0 incline, I kinda wished I had done that.

ALSO… I wanna make a quick note about something. My posting schedule. When I have my druthers (I’ve always wanted to say that), I like to post 5-6 days out of the week on TBB. Typically Monday-Friday, sometimes with a Saturday or Sunday thrown in there if I’m feeling extra inspired. Lately, with working on the book and busting out some new projects in the fitness world… my posting schedule has been more like 3 times per week.

Mainly, I don’t want to let you guys down. Your readership allows me to do what I do, and I shudder to think of being one of those unpredictable blogs where you never know what you’re going to get. Consistency is suuuuper important to me, so for the time being (while finishing the book) I might cut down to a 3-4 times per week schedule. How would you all feel about that?

I just want to be consistent. And bring y’all the best content I can possibly bring.

Things I want to write about that happened this week: An AMAZING dinner hosted by the sensational Tess Masters, Whitney Lauritsen and Jason Wrobel at SunCafe Organic in Studio City, a freakishly magical and ethereal “Into the Woods” photo shoot with the fab Miss Katie Shuler, my newfound obsession with Orange Theory Fitness, my new writing gig with Livestrong, and my musings on the importance of connecting with our community in this rockin’ health + fitness world.

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But, for now, PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP BANANA SPLIT SHAKE. And, because Arman & I hate when people title their recipes something totally inauthentic, I can single-handedly promise you that this shake actually tastes like a pumpkin chocolate chip banana split… vegan (because I know you’ll ask) + healthified, of course.

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Banana Split Shake

Serves 1-2 Ingredients: 1 overripe banana (overripeness is important for digestion/nutritional value + for sweetness) 1/4 cup organic pumpkin puree 1.5 tablespoons cacao powder 1/4 cup gluten-free oats (uncooked) 1/2 cup almond milk 1/2 cup water 1/2 cup ice *Optional: 1 scoop chocolate protein powder (I like Vega One) Toppings: 1 tablespoon cacao nibs; additional handful of raw gluten-free oats Method: Combine all ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend thoroughly. Top with cacao nibs and a sprinkle of oats, and you’re golden! Enjoy! Sip, sip, sip away! ChocShake

Any other Thanksgiving recipes you’d like to see on the bloggy next week?! Share away! Happy Friday, lovelies!

I Have a Disease…

Yep, I have a disease.

It’s called being busy. The dis-ease of being busy. When we are never at ease. *Insert emoji with no mouth.*

But what does being busy really mean, anyway? Isn’t it like the most annoying thing ever to turn down something you really want to do because you’re “busy” doing something else? In the past month I have found myself “too busy,” and frankly, too exhausted from being busy, to do a lot of things I’ve wanted to do… including, but not limited to: going out with my friends on the weekends, catching up with my best friend on the phone (because she is a busy mofo too), writing a New Years cleanse program, working out every day, writing my book (whoops, working on it, I know), cleaning out my closet, and… the worst one yet… really, truly engaging with the people I’m with.

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Gasp. I know. I mean I’m there but I’m not sure how THERE I really am. I try my best to abide by the “put your phone away when you’re with people” rule from the social handbook of not being a douchebag, but try as I might to put work out of my mind when I am supposed to be relaxing, it doesn’t always happen. (Okay, it almost never happens.)

Plus, sometimes I feel like being busy and having a workaholic mentality is what leads to success, and then I’m like hellll no am I giving that up for anything. Plans can wait. Relaxing can wait. Friends can wait. Breathing can wait. Wait, what?

At the end of the day, what matters is C O N N E C T I O N. Connection with ourselves, connection with the ones we love, and connection with the universe. Forgive me if I sound a little hippie dippie in saying so, but if you lose your connection with the universe then you’ve got nothing. You’re kind of just floating in space and gravity probably resents how much it works to keep you on your feet.

There are a few things that made me realize that I had developed a bit of the busy-ness disease. ONE was this magnificent quote that was pinned by my sweet photographer for this week’s blog shoot, Katie Shuler:

4095 TWO was this ridiculously interesting article titled The Disease of Being Busy. (Yeah, sorry I didn’t come up with the diagnosis but I still agree with it wholeheartedly.) This quote from the article about asking “How are you?” REALLY stuck out to me:

“I am not asking how many items are on your to-do list, nor asking how many items are in your inbox. I want to know how your heart is doing, at this very moment. Tell me. Tell me your heart is joyous, tell me your heart is aching, tell me your heart is sad, tell me your heart craves a human touch. Examine your own heart, explore your soul, and then tell me something about your heart and your soul.”

Then I realized something that kinda sorta freaked me out. I think (sometimes) being “busy” is my defense mechanism for being afraid of what happens if I’m NOT busy. If I don’t say yes to every project, if I don’t surround myself with six million things to do at once to expand the blog and to continue making it interesting and exciting and putting new content out there in the most exciting of ways… then what if, one day, it all goes away?

And then there’s the funny catch 22 that I’ve learned to watch out for in being such an extreme personality – maybe I like being busy. And maybe that’s okay. Maybe it’s not necessarily being busy at all, but rather filling my time with things that fulfill me and lift me up and just keep my day really, really full.

OR MAYBE THERE’S A BALANCE BETWEEN THE TWO.

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The important things for me to remember are to never get too busy to spend time with my loved ones and with myself. Connecting with them, and connecting with myself through yoga, meditation, reading, sleep, alone time, etc. are both so, so important. I never want to be that girl who just ups and leaves an important event because she’s too “busy,” or someone who misses out on a real and true moment with a friend or loved one because I was busy thinking about work.

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If you’re too busy for your LIFE, then what do you have?

It’s okay to be busy, but only to a point at which you are busy because you enjoy it and/or because it is leading you down a path of enjoyment in the near future. Let’s be busy because we’re human, not busy because we’re trying to be superhuman.

Ya feel me? We’re all cool enough as it is.

And because I am so grateful for the awesome people in my life, here are a few of them (I like to make collages like this in procrastination of writing my book):

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Thoughts on the disease of being busy? Has anyone ever experienced busy-ness being destructive to their happiness and wellbeing? How do you find a balance?!

The Balanced Blonde App Launch Party RECAP!

Hello, beautiful people! I am still buzzing from the incredible energy of The Balanced Blonde App Launch Party, #thebalancedsoiree, last Thursday night… and today’s post is all about recapping the vibe and the dirty deets so that each and every one of you can experience a bit of the magic that was the celebration! Obviously if I could have had all of my readers there from across the globe then my life would have been complete, but since many of us are international and cross-country peeps around here, we are going to have to settle for a cyber recap.

I promise I’ll do my best. ;)

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Cyrus & I getting our par-tay on! And our sorority squat ;)

Let’s start with recreating the ambiance of the night, shall we? The party was held in the Equinox West LA lounge, complete with beautiful modern art and photography, a charming fireplace and grey marble seating area, comfy tables and chairs, and of course the wide open space of the restaurant, bar and nearby café.

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Bon Affair Champagne + NOLA Granola Bars from Raffle #4!

My awesome team (including my mom, my fab manager Miss Ali Grant, the incredible Equinox team, the food and drink sponsors, my app developer Cyrus, incredible photographer and videographer Andy Waldman from Focus TV, the red carpet host of the night Miss Sophie Jaffe, and my Alpha Phi power team of helpers) got to work setting up the Step & Repeat, the life size iPhone cardboard cutout, the bar, the raffle table, the smoothie bar, the App Walk Through table, the TBV Apparel table and the delicious Katsuya sushi bar and Bon Affair champagne and wine table.

Can you say whirlwind?! With the ever-abundant traffic in LA (yes, I had a full blown panic attack en route to the event, ask my poor mom who was there to witness my slow and steady demise) we arrived with barely more than an hour to set up EVERYTHING. I was having a total fit and a half, and started envisioning us setting up the party as frantic messes while the party guests were arriving.

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The veer bar getting all set up and adorable before the party!

Thankfully, everyone behind the scenes hustled their booties and we got everything set up in record time. Even the awesome bartender from Veev vodka graciously forgave me after I violently ripped into his box of cocktail mixers thinking that it was the box of ViX swimwear I had brought for the raffle. #psycho

Our girls workin' the raffle table!

Our girls workin’ the raffle table!

We had the pleasure of mixing our delish organic vodka with Paleta Potables drink mixers (remember my post featuring Paleta back in May?!) and Drink Bai (featured in last week’s Loving Lately!), and I am beyond positive that I got more compliments on those drinks than I did on nearly anything else from the party! It was a blessing in disguise that I only made my way to the bar one time because I couldn’t walk two feet without saying hello to someone (the sign of a seriously awesome night), because we all know I have been in ulcer recovery mode, and the amount of drinks I planned on downing that night wouldn’t have been very ulcer-friendly…

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My sweet Isabella and Katie sipping on their Bai cocktails!

On top of the cocktails, we were serving chilled Bon Affair champagne and wine spritzers – organic wine with electrolytes! Can you say awesome and delish? I know all of my hard alcohol adverse friends enjoyed sipping on the wine, and I especially know that because the many, many bottles somehow disappeared quite quickly.

My lovely Bianka (rocking her TBV Apparel tee!) and Alyson manning the Bon Affair table!

My lovelies Bianka (rocking her TBV Apparel tee!) and Alyson manning the Bon Affair table!

But something that went even quicker than the wine was the SUSHI! Katsuya was kind enough to provide three huge party platters of delicious sushi, and it was a huge hit with all of the guests. Even though I didn’t make my way to the sushi table in time (like I said, making a move all the way across the room wasn’t really in the cards for me that night) I can vouch for the amazingness of it because I eat at Katsuya at least two nights a week and nothing beats the freshness and yumminess of it. Which is why I had to have them involved – duh!

Thank you Katsuya for being amazing!

Thank you Katsuya for being amazing!

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Jonathon from Orange Theory and the ladies!

Next to the alcohol and sushi bars was the RAFFLE table, which ended up being a huge hit! We had incredible prizes going down including a 3-month membership to Equinox West LA (aka my office, my gym, my life), a NutriBullet Rx blender, a month’s supply of Suja juice, three Lulu Lemon pants, TBV Apparel tees, a Graced by Grit yoga outfit, NOLA granola bars,  31 Bits necklace, ViX swimwear and cover up, two signed copies of The Skinny Confidential book, two bottles of Bon Affair Champagne, and more!

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Red carpet posin’ with some of my very best girls!

Congrats to the raffle winners: Jillian Jaime, Greg Avallon, Chloe Dove, Katherine Douthit, Alexi Brzezniak and Alex Spector. You guys will all love your prizes… I hope you’re as stoked about them as I am.

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TBV Apparel always gets it’s own set up at events! Heck yeah!

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Sophie doin’ her thang, and me trying to steal the microphone!

Meanwhile… we had the FABULOUS Sophie Jaffe of Philosophie, a.k.a one of my darling best friends and partners in crime, hosting on the red carpet for Focus TV. She interviewed everyone from party goers and friends to health and wellness influencers to my dear six year old niece Olivia! Everyone killed it in their interviews and the photos and video content speak for themselves.

Sophie & Miss Whitney from To Live & Diet in LA

Sophie & Miss Whitney from To Live & Diet in LA

And, most importantly, THE PEOPLE! The people in the room absolutely made every ounce of the event. Friends, family, fellow bloggers and wellness influencers and advocates, people I have looked up to for years, all of my A Phi girls who made the event run so seamlessly, my sweet sidekick Isabella (my 11 year old niece!) and everyone who brought their awesome energy… THANK YOU!

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Laughing away with my sweet Jenni Victor! Finally reunited!

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Two of my favs :)

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Posing in the iPhone with my girl Alix of Fit Candy Health!

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Cousinly love :)

My bro & my main boo, Olivia!

My bro & my main boo, Olivia!

Every time I looked around the party my heart bursted with so much happiness. Cyrus and I couldn’t have been more thankful and excited to hang and party with everyone who came out to celebrate all of our hard work.

And now that I have officially painted a picture of the evening for you… Here is some footage from the night! Andy from Focus did a KILLER job of capturing the essence of the evening, I am so grateful to him and his team for being so supportive of this awesome venture and making everything so easy for me on Thursday. Check out the incredible video!

And you can check out more event footage here… thanks again to everyone who helped make this night a complete and utter blast. Best night I have had in a LONG TIME, slash probably ever!!! Love you all.

And if you haven’t yet downloaded the app that this event was all about… type in ‘The Balanced Blonde’ to the App Store or Google Play Store or go HERE and check it out!!

Behind the Scenes: The Balanced Blonde Team

Of all of the questions I get asked on the bloggy blog, one of the questions I get asked the most is, “Do you do this all alone?!” The answer is no. I write the blog, I manage most of my emails, I’m writing my book, I created the cleanse programs, the recipes and guides for the app, and came up with the concept for the clothing line… but I have a ridiculously awesome team of peeps who make this all possible and help me bring a lot of my ideas to life.

TBBTeam

There are almost no words I can use to describe how grateful I am for my rocking TBB team. Without them, I would A) be in WAY over my head, B) not be able to accomplish half of the things I have taken on, and C) (If you’re Morgan or Jess) I wouldn’t even have a website!

The coolest thing about my team? They are all my friends. In Tynan, Morgan and Jessica’s cases I was friends with them before we started working together on TBB-ness. And in Ali, Sarah and Cyrus’s cases we have become good friends through working together – I would go so far as to say really good friends! I am kind of in contact with these people all day every day, which for a people person like me makes my job exponentially more fun and exciting.

The friendship aspect is hugely important to me, because where there is friendship there is trust. In this crazy blogging world there is a lot of password sharing, late night phone calls, manic text messages / emails / last minute crises, new wacky ideas that sometimes come WAY out of left field, opportunities that come and go in the blink of an eye if you don’t jump on them, the pressure of being in the public sphere and a whole lot of creative energy and juices flowing.

Me and the lovely miss Ali Grant ♡♡

Me and the lovely miss Ali Grant ♡♡

With that said, there needs to be a strong backbone between you as a blogger and the people that you work with. If you want your site and your brand to be the best it can be, you have to find the areas where it is most important to focus your time.

Would I like to manage all of my brand partnerships and negotiate all of my deals? Chya, if I had 48 hours in the day. Would I like to be printing t-shirts and sending them out and designing the new ideas? I mean yeah, if that’s something I was good at (but it’s not). Would I like to code my own website and draw up my own logo? HELL YEAH but that’s not in the cards for me. I’m a creative soul, what can I say?!

And here, my loves, is where my amazing team comes in. When I started sending them these questions and got their responses back it seemed clear to me that I need to split this post in half or else it would be a mile long, so today we will be highlighting my manager Ali Grant, my TBV Apparel Coordinator and photographer Tynan Daniels, and my app developer turned killer graphic designer Cyrus Kiani.

Ty Guy rocks + deals with all of my late night TBV Apparel craziness

Ty Guy rocks + deals with all of my late night TBV Apparel craziness

(Next TBB Team post will feature my literary agent Sarah Passick and my awesome web designers Morgan Oliver-Allen and Jessica Revesz).

Ready?! Let’s get to know TBB Team! (And their thoughts on working with my crazy self.)

Behind the Scenes // TBB Team

Ali Grant; TBB Manager

Be Social PR; @besocialpr

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1. Ali! You rock. Tell us how you got started managing bloggers + helping brands be social at Be Social PR. 

Oh, J! You’re the cutest. To answer your question…on the brand side, we (Be Social PR) help businesses with securing press placements, planning and executing launches and events, managing social media marketing, and developing blogger and influencer relationships. As a full-service PR firm, we are consistently matching influencers with our clients and we continue to see the growing impact on these collaborations for brands and businesses. During our time sourcing these relationships and connecting influencers with brands, we saw a gap in the market…developing the spark to launch our boutique-style influencer division where we manage influencers, such as bloggers, YouTubers and social media stars.

2. What’s a typical day in the life of Ali Grant look like?

Hectic, but in a good way. I usually wake up and TRY to get to the gym or go for a run. I just do better if I sweat before heading to the office. I will head over to the office and grab coffee almost immediately. I have about 3 cups a day…yikes! Throughout the day it usually consists of checking emails, posting on Instagram, conference calls, in-person meetings, replying to media requests, handling client inquiries — basically a bunch of busy (BUT exciting) work in front of my computer! I think I send about 1,000 emails a day…easy, probably more. That makes me sound really boring, but realistically I am doing a lot of different things and I love every minute of it, so it works for me. After work I usually will go to dinner with my boyfriend and watch SNL. Am I the only person who still watches SNL religiously? I’m obsessed because it’s so mindless and makes it easy to unwind to. And then I usually will log on to my email for a bit…and go to bed. Wow…I wish I could say I live this totally glamorous life of red carpet events every Thursday night and midday facials….yeah, but I don’t. You said “typical” day! Weekends are a different story…

3. How did you get involved working with TBB + what is your fav thing about working with TBB?!

I started following TBB a while back. I was reminded of TBB’s growing brand when I saw my girl, Lauryn, of The Skinny Confidential post a q&a on YOU! I saw so much potential in your blog, app, upcoming book, and overall brand, that I reached out. The rest is history! I’d have to say my favorite part of working with TBB is your bright and bubbly personality…you’re a genuinely kind, caring person and that is reflected through all forms of communication — via emails to brands, text messages, and in-person meetings. It’s rare these days — seriously, people can be RUDE! I also like your determination — I see a lot of growth in your near future, and your dedication behind your brand and your loyalty and commitment to your readers is very valuable and unique. Are you crying??? I am!!!! AliGrant

4. How do you stay balanced?

Such a good question. I lost my balance a year or so ago, and the past year has been a rebirth of so MUCH balance in so many different ways — from my outlook on life, work and life balance, building healthy habits and relationships with friends and family. The hardest part for me, is balance between work and out-of-work life. What has helped me the most is learning how to say “no” when it’s just not meant to be — especially when it comes to work projects.

5. Any funny behind the scenes TBB stories you can share?

Probably our relentless pursuit to capture the perfect Instagram photo! Last time we gathered a crowd, asked multiple strangers for help, and stopped traffic trying to get that Instagram-worthy photo. We didn’t even use any of those photos I just realized…

Here's one! Showing off the brand new TBB App that had launched that week!

Here’s one! Showing off the brand new TBB App that had launched that week!

Tynan Daniels; Photographer + TBV Apparel Coordinator

@tynandaniels unnamed-1

1. Ty! You’re the best. Tell us how you got started making tees + taking the killer photos you have now built your business around. 

Travel was actually the first thing that got me in to photography. I was in 7th grade and I took a trip to Costa Rica with my family that really ignited an interest in wanting a way to savor my experiences. Then in high school, I loved photographing my friends and found a passion in trying to capture and share the moments that I spent with them.

I got in to printing when I started a clothing company that was featuring my photographs on shirts. While I was doing that I was also slowly building my graphic design and printing business.

2. What does a typical day in the life of Tynan Daniels look like?

Hmmm I really don’t have a typical day haha! However it almost always starts with a bowl of oatmeal and a large cup of coffee. After that I’ll go and check on what orders have come in for TBV Apparel and I’ll pack up shirts and send them out. If I’m not working on TBV Apparel, I’m editing and taking photos or trying to grow my printing business by reaching out to possible clients.

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3. How did you get involved working with TBB + what is your fav thing about working with TBB?!

Jordan and I met 4 years ago in Public Speaking at LMU and have been friends ever since. One day Jordan asked me if I would take photos for her blog that she was starting… 6 months later she asked if I would be willing to help make her idea of TBV Apparel a reality. So we made some shirts… photographed them and here we are today. Haha! Maybe not quite that simple but really, it all happened so fast that it sort of feels that way. Working with Jordan is awesome, when you meet her you realize that her spontaneity and her charisma are infectious. But my favorite thing about working with Jordan is that her ambition and work ethic is a constant reminder to me that if you want something, go work your ass off and go get it, because nothing can stop you… Not even an extremist vegan cult. [TBB sidenote: LOL]

4. How do you stay balanced?

I live a pretty hectic and scattered lifestyle so staying balanced is something that I am always trying to work on. Eating healthy and getting exercise are definite musts but I think the biggest thing for me is keeping things in perspective, whenever I think I am having a stressful or crazy day, I find its always nice to take some time to reflect to remind myself that life is great. Spending time with friends and family is always a good reminder.

5. Any funny behind the scenes TBB stories you can share?

Haha I would have to say the one that sticks out the most was behind the scenes of the TBB shoot in New York. Here we are trying to get some photos in Central Park and next thing I know these two guys are trying to do pushups with their shirts off to try and impress Jordan and the rest of the models, needless to say their tactic didn’t go over super well. I was actually pretty pissed about it when it was happening but looking back I realize how absurd it was.

Ty & I circa 2011 at a "Hunt or Be Hunted" party... oh the good old days. You know I love incriminating myself...

Ty & I circa 2011 at a “Hunt or Be Hunted” party… oh the good old days.

Cyrus Kiani; TBB App Developer

TouchZen Media; @thepersianvegan

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1. Cyrus! Tell us how you got started developing apps for influencers in the health and wellness world. 

My influences for becoming an app developer started right after I finished my Computing Arts degree at UC San Diego. Literally the day after I received my degree I started working at a software company called Oceanhouse Media which produced over 300 apps with brands like Dr. Seuss, The Berenstain Bears, and Hay House. I started to get a feel for the process of creating an app, all the way from the initial design phase up to the point where the product was launched. I wanted to dive deeper in the programming side, so I started teaching myself how to code in Objective C (language used to program iOS apps). This was a challenge for me because I barely passed my computer science classes in college. When it came to programming I was one of the worst students in the class. If you were to tell the professor that I would of been a future app developer, they would probably have laughed.

In July of 2013 I met up with my friend Yovana Mendoza (aka Rawvana), and I decided to take on the challenge of creating my first app. After hours of learning on Youtube, in April of 2014 I finally launched my first app, which was one of the most exciting days of my life. The amount positive feedback from this app inspired me to work on more projects. I soon had way too much work that I could handle, so I decided it was time to move on from Oceanhouse Media. Realizing the growing interest in mobile applications, I founded TouchZen Media, in July of 2014, to synergize my love of art, technology, and innovation. The goal of TouchZen Media is to work with popular and inspiring social media figures and to bring their content to the mobile device. So far starting my own business has been a dream come true.

  1. What does a typical day in the life of Cyrus Kiani look like?

I wake up around 9-10am. I make a huge smoothie in my Vitamix that almost always has bananas, chia seeds, flax seeds, and some pumpkin seed powder. I start the day off roaming around the App store to see what new apps are out, and what is trending in the App store. After that I respond to client emails, and eventually get to work on the next TouchZen Media app.

3. How did you get involved working with TBB + what is your fav thing about working with TBB?!

After the release of my first app, I searched around Instagram to see who were popular and growing individuals in the health movement. A few friends suggested I check out the Blonde Vegan account, and I was really glad I did. I felt like people really connected with your authenticity, and honesty, not to mention you have some pretty amazing recipes. My favorite part about working with your brand is that you took your time making each recipe and you didn’t rush any part of the process. It was really convenient that you were local as well as because I got to actually meet and show you a demo of the app in person. I also love how many other blogs you connected with and they in turn shared and reviewed the app. I think you did a fantastic job getting the word out, and that type of passion is any developers dream to work with.

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4. How do you stay balanced?

I have lots of hobbies that take me away from the computer which I believe give me a good balance. Every Monday and Wednesday I play in an adult basketball league. Every Tuesday I take a parkour class at Tempest Academy in Chatsworth. I occasionally go Contra dancing in Pasadena. Starting in January I will be coaching a girls club volleyball team.

5. Any funny behind the scenes TBB stories you can share?

I think the funniest part was a few days after we launched TBB app, I went to a Fruitluck (potluck with fruit) in Santa Monica where I ran into my friend Robby Barbaro who works for Forks Over Knives. Their app had been number 1 in the Food and Drink Category for the past month, and TBB took over the top spot during its first week of launch. I gave him a little smile when I saw him, and he knew he exactly what that meant. He promised me his app would be back on top shortly. [TBB sidenote: the REAL funniest part was when I was caught red-handed giving our app rate reviews on iTunes because I thought it would be anonymous…]

There you have it, loves! Three out of the six (ish) amazing individuals behind The Balanced Blonde. I am so lucky to have them and couldn’t imagine my work without them. Plus, it makes it pretty fun to have awesome people to chit chat with all day.

Other bloggers… your thoughts?! Have you expanded into working with a team or do you prefer to have sole control?! 

 

Restrictive Diet vs. Limited Diet

Hi loves! I’ve had an interesting week with this ulcer recovery business, and developing this massive tummy issue has forced me to cut down to the basics. A.k.a yogurt, eggs, oats, chicken, avocado, cottage cheese, nuts and a little bit of fruit.

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Naturally, it’s tricky waters when someone recovering from an eating disorder is forced to limit their diet from a sky’s the limit mentality to, uhh, let’s avoid anything remotely acidic, spicy, saucy, rich, etc.

But here’s the thing… I feel better than I’ve felt in months. And let me tell you why. I have an extremely and notoriously sensitive stomach. Anyone who knows me knows that food + me don’t agree with each other 95% of the time so I have to be very careful about what I eat. I was good about being careful for years until I got TOO good at being careful and stopped eating enough in general… hence the eating disorder.

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Being careful about what I eat is ingrained in me, and somewhere along the way in this recovery process I have tried to ignore that as much as possible in favor of doing what I felt was mentally best for me while recovering.

But the problem is what is mentally best and physically best aren’t always in sync… and then I kinda developed an issue of going way overboard with eating whatever the heck I wanted after being so, so restrictive for so long.

Shall we recap about what I ate for two years straight – or rather, what I didn’t eat? I didn’t eat animal products or animal byproducts of any kind (yes, that includes dairy, eggs, and of course fish, poultry, and meat), wheat, refined sugar, flour, and in my restrictive heyday I didn’t even eat grains, legumes or cooked food. My diet consisted of veggies, fruit and, if I was feeling generous (read: hungry), nuts.

When I had my first bite of salmon this past June, which was my first non-vegan food venture in two years and non-vegetarian bite in years and years, I had this strange feeling come over me of, “THAT’S it?” As in, what the eff have I been restricting myself for for so long… this is my body and my body has been craving goddamn protein and I avoided it for so long because of some strict dietary label I’d attached to yada yada…

From there I started eating more non-vegan foods quicker than most people would have assumed. I moved into eating cage-free eggs and then after a few weeks I started eating chicken. I kept it at that for quite a while, but hey, that’s a LOT for someone who had been so restricted for so long. And then I loved the feeling of having less restrictions and I started believing they were super detrimental (which I still believe) and decided to drop them entirely.

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I have had beef here and there, which I hadn’t had in TEN YEARS (I’m only 24, so that’s a long ass time for me), and was something I didn’t think I would ever, ever touch again. Same with dairy. For the past few months I have been eating frozen yogurt and other previously off-limits sugary treats like they were going out of style. Dessert with lunch? Why not. A piece of toast with breakfast even though I am severely gluten intolerant? Bring it on.

It has felt extremely good to stick it in my eating disorder’s face and show myself that I love my body enough to challenge myself every day to eat foods that I had been restricting from for years. But in the back of my mind, and here’s where the denial was coming in, I haven’t felt GOOD in months. And when I say “good” I mean balanced, totally in tune with my body, and in control of my eating.

So naturally it felt good to NOT be careful for months on end. And then I developed an ulcer last week (totally unrelated to this food business) and had to cut my diet way, way down to the basics. And now that I am eating basic foods and being super careful about what I put into my body, I FEEL FREAKING AWESOME AGAIN. I mean, my ulcer is killing me and my stomach is so full of acid I feel 9 months pregnant, but eating basic foods is absolutely the way to go for my stomach and body composition and that’s something I’ve known all along.

There are foods that simply do not work for me. I won’t get into them right now because I don’t want to trigger anyone else’s eating disorder habits because we are all so, so different, but there are foods I should seriously avoid. It scares me a bit to do that because I hate to feel restrictive and feel like I’m falling back into that… but then again there is a HUGE difference between being limited and being restricted.

Being limited, and then going overboard with limitations, is what lead me into being restrictive. Being restrictive lead me into being opposed to any limitations. Now, several months into this whole process, I can see that being limited and being restricted are two entirely different things.

Limited, for me, means focusing on foods that make me feel GREAT and limiting (or eliminating) foods that make me feel like shit. Even if we are recovering from restrictive habits, it doesn’t mean that we have to shove our faces with foods that don’t make our bodies feel their best.

I still thrive on healthy foods. Unprocessed, predominantly plant-based, gluten-free, oil-free, on the basic side and home cooked as often as possible. Does that mean I have an eating disorder? NO. And that’s been the hardest for me to accept.

So, here I am, realizing bit by bit that recovering and finding balance aren’t necessarily one in the same. I kind of feel better than I have in a LONG time, and I am so excited about it and so proud of myself for coming to this realization.

Has anyone else (in recovery or not) ever felt this way? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Loving Lately 11.6.14

Helllooo there, favorite people under the sun. You know what today is – Thursday! You know what that means – Loving Lately!

Ah, I have been home all week with the intentions of cranking out some major book pages… but, alas, I was hit with a weird combo of slight stomach flu + rampant acid reflux + TBB App Launch Party planning mania + a sudden immediate desire to respond to any/all emails that have been sitting in my inbox for more than a week. Can you tell I’m a good procrastinator? And being sick on top of it is just no fun.

But I’ll tell you what IS fun… This week’s Loving Lately roundup! I’ll get right to it.

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1. TBB App Launch Party Raffle Prizes ▶ ▷ ▸ ▹ ► Ahh, I am SO excited about all of the amazing brands we have on board to give away fun goodies at The Balanced Blonde App Launch Party at Equinox next Thursday night. As far as giveaways go… we’ll be giving away a Nutribullet Rx blender, Nutribullet superfood and protein powders, Philosophie superfood powders (on top of a Philosophie smoothie bar at the event! Eek, so thrilling!), TBV Apparel of course, a month’s supply of Suja juice (+ a case of 21 Suja juices in the smaller raffle), Vix Swimwear, a TSC book by the lovely Lauryn Evarts, Bon Affair organic champagne and wine and more! (BTW, that’s a $1,300 value right there… Holy smokes!! EXCITING-NESS.)

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2. Lonnggg Hippie Gypsy Flowing Braid-worthy Hair ▶ ▷ ▸ ▹ ► When I stopped being vegan and started incorporating more protein into my diet, my hair literally grew four inches overnight (okay, maybe not overnight, but in a matter of two ish months and that’s insane for me). Not only did it grow fast but it also got immeasurably thicker, glossier and healthier looking. I didn’t even realize that my previous diet had taken such a toll on my poor hair! It has been so much fun to have super long hair again… especially because it was only a couple years ago that I chopped it all off and had a chin-length bob that I desperately tried to like even though I really missed my long hair the whole time. Check it outttt, dudes. I am pretty darn stoked on it.

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 3.32.35 PMHaving long hair also makes me want to try fun hairstyles like this Celtic Knot… Thanks for the inspiration, Byrdie!

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3. Making My Own Magic ▶ ▷ ▸ ▹ ► Do I sound like a Harry Potter professor and/or a hippie love child and/or a broken record yet? I know I’ve talked a lot about this lately, but I have been feeling its importance so powerfully lately. I wrote this post on Monday about the beauty and importance of falling in love with our lives, our jobs, our bodies, ourselves, our day to day… everything. I find it SO unbelievably important, and I am continuously reminded of that in hearing all of your responses about the post. I feel super duper lucky to be making my own magic happen with the bloggy right now– but, as a wise friend and I recently discussed, luck doesn’t just HAPPEN. We create our own luck by how hard we work, how much passion and love we put into what we do, and having the confidence and consistency to bring our dreams to life. That’s what I hope for us all… and it’s a daily effort!

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4. Tattoo Ideas ▶ ▷ ▸ ▹ ► I have yet to share my current tattoo on the bloggy that I’ve had for the last three years. It is my zodiac symbol, meaning balance, and I got it in Florence in the Fall of 2011 when I was living and studying there. One of these days I will do a fun photo shoot revealing it so you can all see, but I have to find a way to make that possible without being super scandalous since it’s high on my rib cage and that would kind of require me to be topless. #scandal!! Anywho, my mom and I have been brainstorming ideas for our latest and greatest matching tattoo… it will be very small, simplistic, timeless and classy. No full length sleeves around here (even though I can certainly appreciate those on others!). Any ideas?!?! It’s been hard for us to agree on something. I like sentiments along the lines of breathing, living in the moment, making magic (duh), togetherness, yin + yang-ness (she is the yin to my yang), etc. She likes the idea of a small heart to symbolize our love. Ideeeaaass!? The below is cute but not totally me…

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5. Bai 5 ▶ ▷ ▸ ▹ ► I am always looking for healthy liquids to sip on during the day that aren’t full of sugar and that aren’t going to hurt my tummy. I’ve never been a soda person (thank god), and you know I already drink cold-pressed juice like its my job, and sometimes a girl needs something else to sip on. I have been super into this yummy Bai 5 naturally sweetened antioxidant infusion drink lately because of its delicious taste and fab nutritional properties. The peach flavor is by far my fav and it reminds me of my beloved Snapple from childhood that I later learned was full of fake crap and nasty additives. Bai 5 also makes a delicious cocktail/mocktail mixer… AND they will be on hand at The Balanced Blonde App Launch Party next week! Score! Ps… 5 calories + only 1 gram of sugar per serving (not that I’m a calorie counter, but you know what I mean). Not bad, eh?

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Ps… add in some lemon + fresh pomegranate seeds + sparkling water and have yourself a heavenly midday mocktail!

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6. Reflective Moments ▶ ▷ ▸ ▹ ► We all know what it’s like to lead a busy life jam-packed with work, social events, exercise, family, projects, and always being on the go. Seriously, who have you not met that doesn’t say, “I’ve just been SO BUSY lately I don’t even know what to do with myself!” It’s cool if you say that. I say that… all the time. But sometimes it is SO important to take a step back and reflect. Lately I have been having some really powerful reflective moments during my yoga classes and I am so grateful for them. Only when I step back am I really able to pay attention to important things in my mind that I sometimes miss when I’m amidst my usual routine. And it is super creatively stimulating to take a step back, reflect, meditate, breathe, etc. I had a particularly amazing night of reflection the other night that I am still buzzing from!

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6. Healthy Family Members ▶ ▷ ▸ ▹ ► I walked into the kitchen yesterday to find my dad making this delicious salad for himself to bring to work for lunch. Greens, berries and toasted almonds! So many delicious, nutrient-dense foods from the earth. My parents eat a very healthy diet, which I am so grateful for, but for some reason seeing him take the time and effort to make such a nutritious salad hours before he would even be eating it made me stop and think about how awesome it is to be surrounded by people who understand and appreciate the benefits of health and nutrition. Coming from someone who is determined for her loved ones to live forever… it was a pretty great way to start my day. 

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7. These Fall Fav Looks ▶ ▷ ▸ ▹ ► From one online shopaholic to another (I’m assuming…). PS, the kimono is a piece from my Halloween costume believe it or not, and the hat I have been pairing with every outfit I’ve been wearing this season. 

8. This powerful video ▶ ▷ ▸ ▹ ► 50 adults and 50 children are asked “What Would You Change About Your Body?” The adults each have a difficult time choosing just one thing to change, while the children all ask for superpowers like cheetah legs and wings to fly. It’s very moving… and will make you think about when the last time you were truly comfortable in your body was! Let’s all channel our inner little kid, yeah!?

8. This super informative article ▶ ▷ ▸ ▹ ► “Gluten-free” is such a buzz word these days… but what the heck does GLUTEN actually mean? People ask me this question almost 5 times daily, and for good reason. It is a frickin’ confusing subject! Many products that claim to be gluten-free are not, and many products sometimes are and sometimes aren’t (oats, flours, couscous, etc.). Here’s your new go-to guide!

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9. Using Suja juices in my smoothies ▶ ▷ ▸ ▹ ► Sometimes adding anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 of a green juice into a green smoothie along with your fresh greens, banana, berries, ice and perhaps plant-based protein powder of choice SERIOUSLY does the trick to adding some flavor, great consistency and nutrients. I have been pairing Suja with a bunch of my green smoothie and juice recipes lately from the app, and ummm, let me tell you, WINNING combo! There it is hangin’ with The Balanced Blonde App!

SujaTBBApp 10. This S’mores cake ▶ ▷ ▸ ▹ ► This chick’s blog is one of my absolute favorites, and even though I have been suffering from some unpleasant acid reflux and tummy probs this week, I have been drooling over this s’mores cake. It even prompted me to make a little s’mores-esque snack of my own with graham crackers, almond butter and chocolate chips! 

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Well, off I go to work on Breaking Vegan for the rest of the day! Sending you all so much love! PS… What are YOU loving lately?! I wanna hear!

The Springs LA: An Oasis of Amazingness

Hi all, and happy Wednesday! I am absolutely LOVING the wonderful comments and emails I’ve gotten regarding Monday’s post about taking steps to fall ridiculously in love with your life. We are ALL capable of manifesting our happiest selves, and everyone’s responses just reminded me times ten how excited I am to share my book with you all on this topic (among others!) when it comes out next year.

Two FABULOUS examples of people who have followed their hearts to make their dreams come true are the owners of The Springs LA, Kimberly Helms and Jared Stein. Where do I even start when it comes to The Springs? The best way I can put it is that it’s a wellness oasis smack dab in the middle of the Arts District in Downtown LA (which you know I have mentioned before is a neighborhood that I have recently fallen head over heels in love with). TheSprings13The Springs is more or less my dream come true. It is a raw vegan restaurant, juice and smoothie bar, a hub for creative beings to come + hang out + play music + host and attend events, a YOGA STUDIO, and wellness center with massage, an infrared sauna, colonics, the works. I have always envisioned one day opening a beautiful space that combines healthy, nutrient-dense and delicious food with the beauty and zen of yoga and wellness (my vision also included yoga therapy + healing center to recover from eating disorders and addictions)– but Kimberly and Jared beat me to it which is definitely a good thing because I think I should stick to the blogging world for now. ;)

TheSprings11I was lucky enough to get a personal tour of the space by Kimberly, Jared and their wonderful head of the Wellness Center, Joyce Rockwood– three amazing souls transplanted from NYC (woo!!) to manifest their dream and their vision for The Springs in Downtown LA. And to top it all off I then got to enjoy a delicious meal prepared by their incredible chef Michael Falso who used to work at Pure Food & Wine (my all time fav) in NYC and M.A.K.E in Santa Monica.

I loved hanging out with them and hearing all about how they brought The Springs to life. I think I told each of them at least ten times that I would be back ALL the time to eat, write, hang out, do yoga, indulge in wellness treatments, and show off the art of delicious raw food to my friends and family.

There are almost no words to describe how gorgeous The Springs is and how phenomenal their food, juices and smoothies taste, so I will have to let the photos speak for themselves. I also did a brief Q&A with Jared about the space, which I have interspersed among the photos below! LA peeps, this is a MUST!!!

I started my visit with an AMAZING green juice titled Evergreen, and snapped a photo of it next to these amazingly delish raw chocolate chip cookies.

TheSprings1TheSprings2Q: Jared! I know that The Springs was a vision and dream of yours for many years, so you took the steps to make it come to life. Any advice to aspiring entrepreneurs as far as making your dreams come true?

A: Well, it’s not easy! We’d say make a solid business plan, and put the plan into action. You will run into many road blocks and speed bumps along the way, but if the dream is worth pursuing, you have to press forward and do whatever it takes to make it a reality.

TheSprings3TheSprings4Q: Give us the down low on how you came up with the name The Springs for the space?

A: We took a while brainstorming names before we landed on The Springs.  We had our sites set on the Arts District as the location, and because this area is such an industrial/urban setting, we felt The Springs really evoked a sense of respite, life, and rejuvenation, in an otherwise health-desert.  The Springs is an urban oasis, and we think the name reflects that.

TheSprings5TheSprings6Above is the Matcha Milk (you know I am a matcha freak!!!) and my slowly dwindling Evergreen…

Q: How would you describe the aesthetic of the restaurant? It’s so wonderfully perfect I don’t want to butcher it by trying to put my own words to it.

A: It’s definitely hard to put a typical term on it.  We wanted to stay true to the industrial nature of the neighborhood, while adding in refreshing green space and making it feel warm.

TheSprings8TheSprings9Sooo this Caeser salad was the best salad I think I have ever tasted… raw vegan, not raw, not vegan, all of the above! The. Best. The flavors are unreal.

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TheSprings12Q: Your favorite menu items?

A: SO hard to pick favorites!  But, if we had to….We both LOVE the Caesar Salad. The Spaghetti Alla Carbonara has definitely been a crowd favorite, and ALL the desserts are absolutely ridiculous! 

TheSprings14This lemon bar to go was the best idea ever.

Q: Future plans for The Springs?

A: We hope to establish ourselves as a bit of a community center where the neighborhood feels comfortable gathering and hanging out. The food will be changing seasonally as produce availably shifts, and the chefs continue to explore. For the long term, we hope The Springs can find home(s) in other cities.  We feel everyone can benefit by having our offerings all in one place. Stay tuned!

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Do you have a restaurant in your city that you absolutely adore? Has anyone tried The Springs yet?! I hope to host some fun events there in the near future… book signing 2015, anyone?!