Recovery Series #6 // Chocolate Covered Katie

“Chocolate Covered Katie Anorexic” is the second thing that comes up when you Google search healthy dessert blogging extraordinaire CCK on the internet. Right below her Black Bean Brownies and right before her Cookie Dough Dip (my personal fav), is something extremely personal and quite ridiculous. Needless to say, this girl is no newbie to the land of internet trolls.

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When I decided to come forward about transitioning away from veganism, it was Katie who I spoke to on the phone in the wee hours of the morning while pacing frantically around my NYC apartment. “I’m going to press publish, I just have to do it,” I said, feeling like a maniac but knowing she totally understood the pressure that comes along with blogging about a specific healthy lifestyle… And her words of support and encouragement coupled with her realistic, “You know you’re probably going to get death threats, right?” prepared me for the worst (which certainly came) and also gave me the strength to go through with posting the article.

Katie’s blog has always been a very favorite of mine because her food photos are sensational (serious food porn), her writing voice is the perfect amount of to the point recipe details with little glimpses into her head and everyday life. The fact that people on the internet choose to judge and attack her for her weight – on both ends of the spectrum, is beyond me.

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She gave me the awesome opportunity to chat with her about her recovery journey… not about the “anorexia” rumors floating around the web, but of an intense exercise addiction that started to effect her life in quite negative ways. Without further ado… CCK, take it away!

Recovery Series #6 // ▶ ▷ ▸ ▹ ►


 

Q: Full name, Age, Current Location:

A: Katie Higgins… or Chocolate-Covered Katie! 28 years old. Washington, D.C.

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Q: Over-exercising is something I can totally identify with, as it is a way us extreme & super-driven people can control our lives in a way that at first is seemingly so healthy. Do you recall when your running took a turn for the obsessive & unhealthy?

A: I think it was around 4 or 5 years into it. When I’d started running in college, I could not wait to get out there every day and run. I was one of those people no one believes because they insist they really do love running. But, as the years went by, that passion slowly transformed into a feeling of obligation. The first time I forced myself out the door when I didn’t really want to go, that’s when I think it became unhealthy.

Q: At the peak of your obsession, how often were you running and what were your usual distances?

A: I ran 8 to 10 miles at least every other day for over five years, without taking a single break no matter the weather. It might not be too much for someone else, but for me it was too much.

Q: What was it about running that became addicting for you — the “runner’s high,” the controlling aspect of seeing results in your body, burning calories, the attachment to the practice itself, feeling strong, etc.?

A: After a while, it became part of my identity. Even when I knew I wasn’t enjoying it anymore, I was afraid to give it up because I identified as a “runner.” I had such a long streak going of never skipping a run that I was scared to take that initial step and just not go out one day. I was afraid of change, I guess.

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Q: What kind of changes did you see and feel in your body and mental state at the peak of your obsession?

A: I was tired ALL the time. When friends would invite me out at night, I often declined invites because I knew I had to run the next morning and therefore didn’t want to be up late. Energy for all non-running activities was low… And I didn’t even realize how low my energy was because this had been “normal” for me. It was only when I gave up running and suddenly felt like I could accomplish a million things at once and take on the world that I knew I’d been in a state of low energy for years before. The funny thing is that now I feel like I could run a marathon!

Physically, yes I was at a low weight and looked a bit drawn. However, my body still functioned normally and I never had an eating disorder to go along with the running obsession.  I attributed the low weight to genetics and a fast metabolism, but this turned out to be only part of the issue. The real issue was that even though I was always eating I just could not take in enough food to make up for all the energy my body burned from the stress of the high-impact running.

Q: You’ve been given a lot of crap in the media & the online blogosphere for being “too thin,” and then “too fat” (laughable), and you’ve been been called a “fat slug” *(WTF)! How did it make you feel to be attacked by people who don’t even know you and who have never even seen you in person? Did the criticism fuel your obsession, help you come to terms with it, or neither?

A: The eating disorder comments hurt. Here I was stuffing my face on a 3000+ calorie diet because I WANTED curves, and people were attacking me for the very things about which I was insecure in the first place (my toothpick arms, childlike body, etc.). They also accused my blog of promoting eating disorders simply because of how I looked (not reading the message my blog sent out).

The fat slug comments…  I almost screamed with joy when I got that first “fat” comment because I knew I had made it; I knew people no longer saw me as anorexic, and this thrilled me.

When I stopped running, my body basically transformed almost overnight into the exact body I’d always wished to have! It was fantastic! So although I still get both “too thin” and “too fat” comments, neither really has an effect on me anymore.

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Q: Okay, enough of the difficult stuff. Tell us what RECOVERY looked like for you! How did you begin the recovery process, and what did “getting help” look like?

A: In late 2012, I got the idea in my head to just stop running one day. Just like that. But I kept delaying it, saying, “One more run. Just one more. Then I’ll quit.”

Finally in the summer of 2013, I forced myself to just do it; to just not run one day. On that morning, I walked instead. And with every stride, I contemplated picking up the pace to a run. But once I took the initial step, it was a lot easier than I’d thought it would be. I was shocked to find I didn’t miss running at all. And with the renewed energy I had for other activities, I began rediscovering forgotten parts of my identity.

It was like waking up every morning high on caffeine, without ever taking a sip of coffee.

Q: How did friends and family react to the change? Were they relieved when you started cutting back on exercising?

A: I had to work on friendships I’d neglected due to lack of energy in the past. I began saying “yes” to every single opportunity; every single concert, party, dinner, night out on the town… And my friendships became much stronger; my social life MUCH more vibrant.

Q: What has the best aspect of recovery been? 

A: EVERYTHING.

All the energy! And the new curves don’t suck :)

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Q: Do you ever feel an itch to revert back to those old habits? (I know I do.) If so, what are some tips for overcoming the challenges?

A: Never. I know what my life was like then, and I know what my life is like now. I have no fear of ever going back.

Q: Your blog pretty much sticks to food– there isn’t a whole lot of “This is how I feel today…” which is great, because it characterizes the consistent and upbeat tone of your massively successful web presence (and keeps the focus on your delectable dishes). Here is your chance to express some things you’d like to say on your blog that you know aren’t “CCK appropriate.” Let’s hear ‘em! Top 3 things you’d like your readers to know that you haven’t written about:

A: The “blog Katie” is only a small part of me; one-dimensional. There are so many things unrelated to food that I feel I can’t talk about on the blog. Relationships, friendships, etc. The blog is like a younger, politically-correct, dessert-obsessed version of Katie. It’s my true upbeat and passionate personality, but it doesn’t reflect all of who I am.

Q:  What is the BEST part about blogging? Has your blog helped you overcome the difficult times you went through with over-exercising, or is it ever a trigger for you? I know many bloggers (including myself) find the act of blogging itself occasionally triggering — especially surrounded by food, health, wellness and fitness questions all day long!

A: Everything is the best part about blogging, from experimenting in the kitchen to photographing the recipes to putting it all together into a blog post. No wait; when someone writes in and says he or she made one of my recipes… THAT is the best part about blogging. :)

A huge THANK YOU to Katie for being here today and sharing her story! Be sure to check her out over at Chocolate Covered Katie, on CCK Instagram & Facebook pages!

Anyone else out there suffer/suffered from an exercise addiction? I know I can relate… and Katie gives the best advice when she says that recovery helped her discover a new part of her identity. SO worth the work. 

Loving Lately 10.16.14

Hello, hello! I know that I promised a TBB Guide to NYC yesterday, but A) I got so flippin’ writing-happy while I was making it that I decided to cut it into several sections… starting with the best part, of course: FOOD. Then I decided I was still so riled up about my “Open Letter to the Food Police” that I didn’t want another new post to distract from it, so I’m saving the guide for next week. And I can’t wait to share.

But today is Thursday, and you know what that means around here. Loving Lately! And after last week’s vacation hiatus, there are a LOT of things I am loving lately. Also, a lot of you asked me to share more info on my memoir Breaking Vegan that is coming out next October, so I’ve included some deets about it on the list. I am SO THRILLED to share the book with all of you. Some days I just wanna curl up and write on it and say bye bye to blogosphere until the book is donezo, but I could/would never do that. Interacting and connecting with all of you rockin’ readers is what inspires me to write and share the story in the first place, so I’m not going anywhere. :)

Now…

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1. Magazine features  ▶ ▷ ▸ ▹ ► ▻ Something that has totally rocked that I continue to be so appreciative of is the media’s interest in my recovery journey. Harper’s Bazaar Australia wrote this incredible article titled “Diary of an Orthorexic,” that, while it sounds like it was written by me, was formulated by one brilliant journalist after doing an extensive interview with me about my recovery. After the article came out in their November issue they released it online, and I have gotten such a warm response from beautiful readers and new friends. We are all in this together, and being open to the world by sharing directly through our hearts not only heals us, but brings hope to others… I know you’ve all given me so much hope and inspiration. Thank you, and thanks to Harpers!!

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2. Stripes  ▶ ▷ ▸ ▹ ► ▻ Umm, am I the only one who is obsessed with stripes this season? And it certainly helps that Shopbop is having a 25% off sale this week! Use the code “FAMILY25″ at checkout. And which of these stripes do you love the most?! Also threw in the men’s tee because if I have a guy wearing it I would totally be like yo, let’s meet…

3. This awesome “I do” wedding band  ▶ ▷ ▸ ▹ ► ▻ This amazing Brooklyn-based Japanese designer Sakurako Shimizu has been creating custom wedding bands engraved with each partner’s sound wave of saying “I do.” How COOL is that? My future hubby, wherever he is, should certainly keep these rings in mind. I love the idea of having such a special and unique band that not only looks beautiful, but has a piece of your partner in it wherever you go. I’m a sucker for extra-personal things when it comes to romance, and these just raised the bar wayyy high.

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4. Breaking Vegan  ▶ ▷ ▸ ▹ ► ▻ Well, I did promise I would share more info! Breaking Vegan is the title of the book I’m working on that will be released in October 2015. It’s partial memoir and partial lifestyle guide with action tips toward overcoming orthorexia, “breaking vegan” or breaking any dietary label or mold you have gotten stuck in, and toward living a life where you are completely in love with yourself and your bod. The backbone of the novel? BALANCE. Coming from one of the most unbalanced chicks on the face of the earth… the steps I have taken to gain balance in my life have been extremely helpful and the only thing in the world I want to do is share them with all of you. The book will go into the nitty gritty details of my eating disorder, and shares background information that I have never shared on the blog.

Essentially, it’s a memoir/lifestyle guide about my eating disorder journey and recovery process. Yes, I have an agent and a publishing company and they are both absolutely fantastic. Yes, it is my dream come true because all I’ve ever wanted to do is write a novel. Yes, I am totally stressed and feeling haywire because my deadline is rapidly approaching and I am trying to juggle the blog + the app + TBV Apparel + travels + friends + life + workouts + yoga + sleep (very occasionally), but the BOOOOK is always, always, always on my mind. Happy to answer any and all questions you may have about it. I am freakishly thrilled!

5. Eat Q (a.k.a the eating version of IQ)  ▶ ▷ ▸ ▹ ► ▻ Speaking of books, one of my health and wellness idols just came out with a book called Eat Q, which is basically a three-step program for conquering the difficulties of emotional eating. I don’t know about you, but that’s something I can use some definite help with. It’s not just a personal account or a scientific overload, it’s about developing a true Emotional Intelligence with your body that will help you get over your hump and find your healthiest true. #breakingvegan #makingmagic, am I right?!? Check it out. You’ll love.

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5. Raw Vegan Peanut Butter Cups  ▶ ▷ ▸ ▹ ► ▻ Ahhh, old news for some of you I know, but these lil’ bites of heaven have been an absolute staple in my house again lately. When you need something sweet to munch on but you don’t want to compromise your hard workouts by indulging in refined sugar (nothing wrong with doing that once in a while too, btw… I definitely do. A lot!) these are so perfect. They are still super sweet and decadent and in my opinion I think they are WAY better than original processed peanut butter cups anyway. You’ll thank me the moment you try them!

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6. These adorable & nutritious bars  ▶ ▷ ▸ ▹ ► ▻ Ok, real talk here. These bars, NOLA bars, are almost too good to be true. They are grain-free, refined sugar-free, handcrafted in San Francisco (you know I LOVE a good Nor Cal based company), and so, so good for you. Oh, and they taste amazing. They also don’t believe in putting their bars in grocery stores because they believe a shelf life is no life at all. Their bars are individually made to order. AND the owner of the company is named Jordan (I’m not biased at all), and she discovered a grain-free, sugar-free diet after years of dealing with severe digestive issues. Sound familiar? It’s not me, I swear.

Well I’m in love with these bars and I want you to try them, too, so… we have set up a 25% off promo code for my readers to run for the next month. Boxes are usually $34 plus shipping, so I hope the code helps you support an amazing company + fall in love with their deliciousness. Discount Code is “TBB”!!! (Plus, Jordan and her husband are so cute and sweet and you must stalk them on their website.)

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7. This freakishly & painfully cute video ▶ ▷ ▸ ▹ ► ▻ So, this video went viral a couple of weeks ago and I can’t stop quoting it and/or watching it for the life of me. These two little kids are arguing about whether it’s raining outside or sprinkling… a.k.a “rainin’” or “thpwinklin’” and um, the little boy gets his heart poked at the end and you just might die and melt and crack up and want to cuddle all at once. Watch it!!!

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8. People who follow their hearts & bring their passions to life ▶ ▷ ▸ ▹ ► ▻ This is something I think about often, but lately I can’t even get it out of my head for a split second. It inspires me SO much to see people pursuing what they love and kicking butt doing it. And, for the record, kicking butt doesn’t have to mean making money or even finding quick success, all it means is that you are doing something that makes you ridiculously happy. I wrote about it on Instagram on Tuesday (follow @tbvapparel, btw!), along with a quote I love dearly, “Be Who You Are, Not Who the World Wants You to Be,” and started feeling really emotional and proud of everyone I know who has taken a leap into the unknown to pursue what they love. I left graduate school to pursue health blogging for goodness sakes, and it was the BEST DECISION I have ever made. Co-creator of Suja, Annie Lawless, has a fantastic article on her blog about this very topic… I highly suggest you check it out.

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9. BIRTHDAYS! ▶ ▷ ▸ ▹ ► ▻ I celebrated my 24th birthday this past weekend… to many of you that probably sounds very young and to some of you it probably sounds way old (shout out to my sweetie high school readers), and to me it sounds mind blowing. First of all, at this strange mid-twenty age of mine I forget my age daily. Am I 18? Am I 30? It is so hard to feel grounded in your age when you’re completely in between being totally taken care of by your parents and being completely self-sufficient. Like, excuse me, which category there do I fall into? I have an old soul but also act like a total little kid most of the time. My birthday was a BLAST, and it is always such an amazing reminder of all of the fantastic people I am surrounded by. I celebrated with amazing friends, incredible family, LOOTTSS of drinks and lots of great food.

Here are some of them…

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Annddd here are a few more… (Can you tell that my people are my life?)

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9. More Fall Amazingness… ▶ ▷ ▸ ▹ ► ▻ I simply can’t stop myself from wanting all of it. Especially the vest & the denim tee & the ROMPERS!

10. EQUINOX ▶ ▷ ▸ ▹ ► ▻ So, I’m going to be writing a post in the coming weeks called, “Dude, Where’s My Gym?” about the fact that I moved to LA three months ago and have gone the ENTIRE time (until Monday) without having a gym membership. My Yogaworks membership, my hikes and running outside served me wonderfully until I started feeling, well, a little sluggy. If I don’t get in some good cardio conditioning and weight training, I don’t exactly feel my best. It can be hard because I love yoga so much that I am pretty content with doing it 7 days a week and not switching it up… but variety is huge and this I know, and I want to feel my best always. So, I joined Equinox, and I’m freaking LOVING it. The West LA location is everything a girl could dream of and more. I will be doing a full posty post on it soon and I can’t wait to share. Snapped this photo yesterday after my workout… Unreal, right?

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11. W A T E R ▶ ▷ ▸ ▹ ► ▻ Staying hydrated is KEY when it comes to coming into your happiest & healthiest self. Check out this infographic… it’ll blow your mind. Chug up!

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11. Well + Good Fitness Mash-Up Event in LA ! ! ! ▶ ▷ ▸ ▹ ► ▻ Eeek, I am SO excited about this event! It’s going to be a SUPER cool combo of workouts with top studios in Santa Monica, followed by a healthy after-party at the Athleta store on Third Street Promenade. I will be attending the burn-and-balance session (90 minutes of Maha Burn + 30 minutes of Unplug meditation + healthy after-party), and I can’t wait. It would be so cool to meet any/all of you there if you’re local, so grab a ticket before they all go. They are flying out the door! You can find full info on the Bicoastal Biathlon here. Come, come, come!

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What are YOU loving lately?!? How are all of my favorite peeps doing? 

Super Simple Green Breakfast Smoothie + Wherever You Go, There You Are

Ah, home sweet California. For the first time in the past several months I am in LA to stay (for a while, that is!). My home in Brentwood hardly even feels like a home yet because I haven’t been here for longer than a week or two straight since I moved here in July. Between then and now I’ve been in Italy, the south of France, New York, SF and on lots and lots of trips to good old Sactown.

WorldMap It has been an unbelievable few months, and a whirlwind! I was SO looking forward to my NYC trip for so long, and now I can quite confidently say that I am happy to be chillin’ in LA, getting back on the Yogaworks train, re-starting my Equinox membership, working on the book in a consistent manner, and getting ready for the release of TBB APP in (hopefully) one short week!

You know from my LA vs. NYC post that I have been pretty torn about which city makes me happiest. And I think I finally have some clarity there… there is no “better” city or even a city that suits me more than the other right now. They are so different they are incomparable, and both places have people in them who I love dearly and that’s what’s most important. You know the phrase, “Wherever you go, there you are”? Well, that couldn’t hold more truth for me right now.

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NYC? There I was. LA? Here I am. Sacramento? There I am. I can’t get away from myself, my problems, my successes, strengths, weaknesses or anything in between – no matter where I go. I am stuck with myself! And I am kinda pretty darn happy about it to tell you the truth. It feels good to be one with yourself and to continue strengthening the mind body connection that makes us who we are.

When I first started working on my book a few months ago, I kept thinking I would get more work done when I was home in Sacramento with zero distractions. Then I felt like I would get the best work done in New York where I am super duper inspired and the city is buzzing with energy. And sometimes I have felt like I could get awesome work done in LA by the beach with the waves as my inspiration and my calm. (And the sand to play with… duh.)

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And… guess what? Wherever I went, THERE I WAS. There was no “better” work going down in any place in particular. I mean, I guess I concentrate best in Sactown because I can clear my schedule of meetings, workout classes, social events, etc. and really get down to business, but still, I can do that anywhere if I really want to.

And in all of those places, over all of these months, I have grown into someone I am pretty proud to be. I am eating foods that I had terrible anxieties over just a few months ago, and I am working hard on things I absolutely love. I am surrounded by ROCKINNN people who make me super happy, and I am taking the time to breathe, relax and center myself whenever I remember how important it is (hehe).

AND, after pretty much taking a week off to enjoy the beauty of the city I missed ever so much, I am back with a full schedule of blog posts this week. Yesterday I posted my Open Letter to the Food Police (after getting harassed in public about eating meat), which I highly recommend you read if you haven’t yet. For anyone who judges, has been judged, or fears being judged by your food choices… check it out. You’re not alone.

main-qimg-4b618862c96c1a5635ef3aec88ac710fTomorrow is a TBB Guide to NYC post, which I am SO excited about. Thursday is a super fun-filled and jam-packed Loving Lately post full of a ton of things I’ve been loving lately because of my little hiatus, and Friday will be Recovery Series #6 with the superbly inspirational Chocolate Covered Katie discussing her recovery story.

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Get excited. I know I am.

OH, and today, you ask? SUPER SIMPLE GREEN BREAKFAST SMOOTHIE recipe time. Recipes… it’s been too long. But you’ll see why when TBB Recipe App comes out next week! 70+ recipes… can I get a kale yeah?!

Super Simple Green Breakfast Smoothie 

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Ingredients:

1 large frozen banana

1 cup spinach

1 cup kale

½ cup blueberries

1 tablespoon almond butter

½ cup almond milk

½ cup water

½ cup ice cubes

OPTIONAL: 1 tablespoon cacao powder, 1 tablespoon spirulina (or any yummy superfoods of your choice)

Directions:

Blend thoroughly and enjoy! Top with optional toppings if you so desire. I love topping mine with bee pollen, coconut shreds and a bit of raw, local honey!

How is everyone else’s week going?! Off to a good start? Thoughts on “Food Police” bullies? Gonna try this green smoothie?!

An Open Letter to the “Food Police”…

Sooo, this post has been on my mind for a while, and it’s about time I share.

It is one thing to be judged on the internet for my dietary choices. I am used to it, and I can handle it. I receive anywhere from 10-30 negative emails a day from plant-based former readers who still can’t believe I have switched over to a diet that includes meat, poultry and dairy. I understand the confusion and I have been happy and willing to answer questions from the get-go, but the straight up hate mail and hateful comments are seriously getting old and at this point hardly even make sense anymore.
And then there are the people who have the nerve to come up to me, my family and my friends in public and speak their mind. The internet is one thing — I understand that my blog and Instagram presence was largely rooted in veganism at one point, so I will take those blows as they come. To approach me (and my friends when I am not even THERE) in public and tell me I am a bad person based on my dietary choices (for god’s sake) is not cool and I will not tolerate it.
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This post was spurred by someone, who I sincerely hope is reading this, as I told her to when I spoke with her today, who came up to me when I was eating a burger for lunch today. My first burger since I was FOURTEEN years old and it kinda sorta should have been a special and exciting experience and instead it was pretty tainted by one quite negative and unhappy chick.
I ate the burger. It was delicious. I am trying my best not to view it as a freaking cow because no one likes to think about their food that way but I am listening to my body, I am eating humanely raised and humanely killed hormone-free meat, and I am doing my best over here to be cool with it. I am proud of myself and I recognize how far I have come.

After being a strict vegan for two years and a flip flop vegetarian / pescetarian since the age of 14… It’s not exactly in my comfort zone to eat meat, poultry and dairy, yet alone post photos of them for the world to see!

But I do it anyway, and I do it for a few reasons. A) I’m not ashamed. I am proud of my recent lifestyle changes and I enjoy documenting them and sharing them with my readers and followers. Many of you know that a few months back, I was terrified of a single over easy egg on my plate and more often than not I opted to throw it away in favor of a green juice because it didn’t fall into my longtime dietary label of veganism. The fact that I am now eating fish, eggs and poultry on a regular basis still blows my mind, and my body thanks me for it every day with more energy, clear skin, a functioning digestive system, a more relaxed mind, a recovering eating disorder mentality and a boosted metabolism.

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B) I want to show you all that there is a light at the end of the orthorexic tunnel. Not even just at the end of it– but also in the middle of it! I am nowhere near fully recovered. I struggle every day. I obsess a ton and I still have food anxieties. I go days without eating enough at all and have days where I eat way more to make up for it and then feel extremely uncomfortable. I am searching for my balance and there is no reason I should hide that from the world. I want to inspire others who have and DO struggle from similar issues. I want to continue connecting … And I can’t do that properly if I hide what I’m eating.

Lastly, I am sick and tired of the haters. The “Jordan you are a weak idiot and I hate you” comments. Someone literally posted that one this morning. In a way it’s comical because the negative people are so far away from reaching their truest selves and I feel sorry for them… But in a way it’s downright rude and ridiculous and I am not going to pretend it’s all butterflies and rainbows every time I get a negative comment about my food choices.

Why the hell are people so inclined to judge other people’s choices?! It’s hurtful and silly and really does some damage to the soul and psyche. I don’t let the negativity effect me the same way I did when I initially made my switch, but the fact that the hate still occurs daily is pretty shocking to me. It’s been five months. People are relentless.

This post is meant to do a couple things. If you are someone who finds yourself judging other people’s food choices (and I will flat out admit that I was once one of those people… Even if I wasn’t super verbal about it because I’m not a mean psycho), I encourage you to give it a rest. Keep in mind that everyone’s bodies and personalities are so extremely different, and we all function best on different types of diets. In order to perform, function and be our best selves as friends, professionals, family members and people in this world we’ve gotta fuel ourselves properly and that does NOT include getting stuck in dietary labels if they don’t work for us. If they do, sweet. If they don’t, cool. It shouldn’t even be a focus.

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Secondly, if you are on the other end of the spectrum and find yourself getting judged for your food choices, know that you are not alone. You are doing what’s best for your body, and for that you should reach your arms around your bod and give yourself a huge hug. You are brave and inspiring and you will find others who support you, even if people you hoped would understand are not there at all right now.

And last, and perhaps most importantly, if you are someone who is wanting to make a change and is afraid to because of the “food police” aka dietary label nazis aka judgmental and unhappy souls who don’t understand nutrition or simple human social skills — don’t be afraid to take the leap. There is hope, and as scary as it is to make a change and face the judgment, there is vast relief in listening to your body and making a choice that enhances your happiness, your soul and your beautiful individuality.

Cheers to evolving and finding ways to love our bodies however we can. I remember someone telling me a long time ago that it can be SO hard to find happiness in this world, and we are doing ourselves a huge disservice by conforming to another person’s definition of what is right… Do YOU and only good things will come.

You will see me using the hashtags #breakingvegan and #makingmagic on all of my food pics from now on. Breaking Vegan is the title of my book that will be out in October 2015– and I couldn’t be more proud and excited to share it with all of you amazing beings.

Here’s to breaking vegan and making magic. And being the BALANCED individuals that we are – plant-based, carnivorous, entirely unlabeled and everything in between.

Love to all and especially love to the haters… You need it more than the happy, supportive folk.

TBB out– happy Monday!!! I am happy… I swear. I had the best birthday weekend and I will be back tomorrow to talk about that and other positive things. This just had to be said.

(Balanced) Thoughts From the Sky

Ever have those moments where you feel overcome with the innate need to do something drastic like get a tattoo, hop on a random flight to Arkansas or adopt a dog? That’s how my entire week has been… Made a tattoo appointment, considered flying to Arkansas (that one is still up for debate in my mind) & filled out several doggy rescue apps. 

Yes mom, I certainly did. 

Perhaps my feelings are due to the fact that being back in New York for the first time after impulsively moving back to California a few months ago was rather shocking to my entire being.

Screen Shot 2014-10-10 at 8.31.03 PMAnyone who has been following along with my NY-obsessed Instas (like the above) + unusually consistent snap chats + (if you know me well) spastic text messages about feeling alive in the city has an inkling of a hinty hint that I. Loved. Being. Back.

But you know what the real trip is? Hereeee it comes… I also freaking love living in Los Angeles.

For the first time in my life, I’ve been faced with two perfectly wonderful options to live where not only does each city rock and provide endless things to do, but I also have dear, dear friends and boundless work opportunities in both places. Essentially, I could live in either place. New York is far from most of my family but my lifelong BFF and many family-like friends are there… And LA is closer to family but has never reeallly given me the same cozy content sense of home that NYC gave me almost instantly.

Screen Shot 2014-10-10 at 8.32.51 PMKeep in mind when I got off the plane from LA to NYC I was coming down from a maniacal work-induced high. I had just submitted the first sixth of my manuscript to my publishers, driven from nor cal to so cal and back again in less than a week, wrapped up every last detail of the app and whipped out some crazy preparation for the TBV Apparel event in NY.

When I landed in En Why See (told you I was in a weird mood. Where the f did that spelling come from?) I was caught somewhere between major workaholic mode and a wave of total paralyzation and yearning for relaxation. I spent the majority of the week strolling the city, spending inordinate amounts of time with my most favorite of beautiful souls, jotting down notes in my new Brooklyn (soy paper…hell yeah) notebook and eating yummalicious food.

Yes, that meant stepping away from the bloggy for a few days. Did it kill me a little? Yeah. Was it necessary? Yeah. Am I ready to come back at ya with a boat load of fun posts, reviews, interviews, projects and ideas? KALE yeah.

In a short, New York taught me something extremely important this week. When you feel pulled toward something/someone/somewhere, even if it seems that there is no good reason for it, GO FOR IT. Listen, act and react. I spent about three days straight in a super duper wacky mood because A) I hit my head extremely hard on a shelf in Katie’s apartment, B) I was doing some necessary decompressing from the craziness of the month and C) I am a pretty weird chick, and I didn’t try to shove the odd feelings aside in order to work or even create… I just did the damn thing (life) and let myself be!!

And that was the greatest gift I could have ever given myself. In an interesting way I feel closer to my truth and my purpose than I ever have before in my entire life. I feel whole and open to what the universe has to offer. I feel very content with who I am and what I feel that I’m meant to do.

What is that, you ask? Too abstract to put into exact words but I will try: I want to continue creating and pursuing things that set my soul on fire. Those things include writing, helping others connect to their truest/healthiest selves, sharing healthy food and workouts and yoga with you awesome peeps, exploring new places, more alone time than I was ever comfortable having in previous years, and spending LOTS of time with people who lift me up.

It’s more of a feeling thing than a thing thing. And I am feeling luckier than EVER that this blog is my job and that my passions are in alignment with what I get to do right now.

And I even feel weirdly lucky to be flying over Kansas right now because for some reason it just feels right.

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So… How about that dog & tattoo & trip to the wild west?

(PS… I turn 24 tomorrow. SAY WHAT?)

Hello from NYC: Story in Photos

Hello, hello from NYC! Currently dying in every amazing way possible because New York City is magic to me + it sets my soul on fire in the most incredibly inspiring & enlivening way… it’s sensational.

Can you tell at allll by my rambling sentences and lack of posting that I have been having a G L O R I O U S time?! And no, I’m not an NYC newbie… this is my old hooommmee and that’s why it makes it extra wonderfully amazingly cool to be here. I am getting to see the loves of my life, do work on projects that I adore and am thrilled about, AND getting to chill and frolic in my favorite city in existence.

I don’t have a WHOLE heck of a lot of time because today I am workin’ on the book, doing last minute app developments (when I say last minute I mean three days later than I should be, whoopsie daisy), running errands for tonight’s TBV Apparel event at Gingersnap’s Organic, and oh, ya know… exploring the west village because it’s my most favorite thing to do under the sun.

However, I wanted to pop in and say HI and WHAT THE HECK IS UP? I haven’t posted since last Tuesday and I have been having some separation anxiety and slight anxiety from not sharing and chatting and connecting and writing and loving on my favorite reader peeps.

(I’m on a bit of a coffee high.)

(Yeah, I drink coffee now.)

(Yeah, Juice Press was out of Black Label Latte this morning so I had a reg coffee and now I’m bouncing off the walls.)

Anywho, I wanted to share some pics & loveliness from the trip thus far. You’ll be getting an official update from me tomorrow. And, if you’re NYC local, COME SAY HI at the event tonight and/or at Modo Yoga throughout the week and/or in the village coffee shops where I will be hanging and working.

THIS is how I feel about being in NYC…

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And being reunited with these people makes my world go round…

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My love Clare is High on Good Vibes (TBV Apparel) at the Jeff Koons exhibition at the Whitney on Saturday.

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And I was high on Scotch vibes (actually, this reminded me of someone I like a whole lot, & made me wish he was here to have a post-museum glass on the rocks with a twist)…

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We take selfies in reflections of metal balloon sculptures, because we freaky like dat.

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Because Warhol is life.

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And Central Park afternoons are magic.

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Cousins who match…

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CANDLE 79. Life is made.

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East village morning romps.

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The happiness oozing out of this photo speaks for itself.

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Chicken salads at Serafina :)

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Almond. Milk. Latte.

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Sis is a goddess.

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OATMEAL BAR.

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( A lot) More to come. How is everyone’s week going thus far?!

 

Fatigue-Buster Green Smoothie + Health Benefits of Medicinal MUSHROOMS

Hey babes! Let’s talk about something I’ve been obsessed with lately.

Actually, let’s back up for a sec. You know me, and you know what qualifies as an “obsession” around this blog. It’s gotta be healthy, it’s gotta be yummy, and it usually has to have some sort of superfood qualities, since nutritional value is huge, huge in my book when it comes to any kind of food-related obsession.

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And I use the word obsession LOOSELY, peeps, because I’m actually really extreme and we all know this. I’m not about to get super obsessed with anything unless its directly beneficial to my health.

So, now that we have that out of the way, I’ll tell you what I am currently obsessed with:

Medicinal. Mushrooms. And specifically, Mushroom Matrix medicinal mushrooms. It’s sooo freaking awesome because they come in these cute little packets in powder form and you can add them into pretty much anything you’d like. Smoothies? Yes. Oatmeal? Yes. Pre-workout / post-workout juices? Yes.

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My favorite way to have them is (surprise, surprise) mixed into a green smoothie. And depending on what kind of mood you’re in and what you feel you want supplemented, you can choose between the several great rejuvenating options. ( My favorites are Beauty, Immune & Reishi. )

Who knows about Reishi, BTW? It’s a superfood to the utmost extreme– used to boost the immune system, fight against viral infections, lung conditions, chronic fatigue and ( my personal fav ) to help with INSOMNIA. Is this my perfect ‘shroom or what? It is also used to reduce stress and protect against diseases. Boo yeah.

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I have been making myself a yummy little sleepy-time drink with the Reishi powder. Almond milk + water + Reishi + ¼ banana + 1 tablespoon cacao. Umm, excuse me but bedtime chocolate milk just got a whole lot better ( and loads more effective. )

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Another thing I love about Mushroom Matrix is that they are grown and produced solely in Southern California, so these babies are local to moi and 100% organic. Mushrooms have been revered and used as natural remedies in Eastern Culture for thousands of years, so it’s about time we hop on the bandwagon.

I probably wouldn’t have come across these lovely specimens had I not been offered the opportunity to try them, so naturally I want to offer you all the same opportunity. I am giving away one pouch of Fit, one pouch of Beauty, and a 10 pack of NRG Sticks. ( The NRG Sticks are for energy, muscle recovery & immune support. )

Here’s my Fatigue-Buster Green Smoothie Recipe:

Ingredients:

1 teapsoon Cordyceps Mushroom ( for stamina + endurance )

½ frozen banana

½ cup blueberries

1 tablespoon almond butter

1 cup kale

½ cup almond milk

½ cup water

½ cup ice

Directions:

Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.

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P.S. If you want to learn more about this awesome company, check out their website here or find them on Instagram @mushroommatrix, Facebook at NRG Matrix, or Twitter @mushroom_matrix.

Have you ever tried medicinal mushrooms? What are your thoughts? If you haven’t you really should. Fabulous immune booster. 

It’s Almost October?! + TBV Apparel Photo Shoot

Can someone please tell me how/why/when each and every day in September passed by? Wednesday officially marks the beginning of October, and that blows my balanced blonde freaking mind.

I’m not complaining, though. October is my favorite month of the year. It is the beginning of the loveliest season of them all, and is followed by the two months with all of the best, coziest, most wonderful holidays. Plus, I’m a Libra, soooo… my birthday is right around the corner and I am going to be one year shy of a quarter of a century. Holy guacamole; that is crazy town! Autumn

Things have been busy in TBB Land, but this weekend in particular was a total whirlwind. I drove home from LA to Sactown on Wednesday for my grandfather’s funeral. Wednesday night I got to spend some quality time with my parents and work on my speech about my grandpa, and then Thursday the rest of my siblings and nieces came into town and we had a house full of rugrats for the rest of the weekend.

The service was nice, small and intimate. Exactly what my Papa would have wanted. Afterward we had a nice dinner with everyone and, well, lots of alcohol. In his honor, of course. He was the king of emptying any glass of whiskey, vodka, gin or wine in sight.

Papa The rest of the weekend was filled with family festivities and lots of yoga and walks on my beloved American River. And of course working on the book… my first deadline (two chapters + six recipes) is due on Wednesday (WTF) so I am freaking out. I may or may not have to down a handful of Adderall tomorrow and get to work. (I wish I could say I was joking.)

American River

Anyway, I am staying in good old Sac of Tomatoes (Sacramento, for all of you non-916 peeps!) until Wednesday so I can officially get my shit together and get down and dirty with the book.

Oh, and the app is JUST ABOUT DONEEEE so get ready for an official release date very soon! Way too exciting.

I will be writing my booty off for the next couple of days, so I wanted to leave y’all with a few good links, finds, and some of my favorite shots from TBV Apparel Photo Shoot last week with the master himself.

PS, feel free to text/call/email/message/visit me and distract me over the next few days. When I get stressed out about a big project I’m kind of like an anxious, unfocused, hyper child on crack. Even though it seems like most of my conversations these days are going a bit like this one…

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Lovely Links:

Inspirational Quotes that will make you love your bod via Hello Giggles

24 Reasons Why You Need a Mini Pig (a.k.a the anthem of my life) via Distractify

Apple Picking Party (because it’s so very Fall-tastic & her photos always totally rock) via My Name is Yeh

Clothes I Kinda Need:

TBV Apparel Favs:

(Click on each photo & it will take you directly to store site. PS more photos from the shoot to come! So many great ones.)

Balance Definition Tee:

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Balance2High On Good Vibes:

High On Good Vibes

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Loving Lately:

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How were everyone else’s weekends?! Which is your fav new TBV Apparel tee? Anndd how do you CONCENTRATE when you have a huge project on your plate? (Any advice would be appreciated times a million!) 

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Things I’m Loving Lately // 9.25.14

Hi everybody! I can’t tell you how nice it is to sit down and write this blog post, knowing that I am going to post it right after I finish writing it and checking for typos. The immediacy of blogging is one of the things I love the very most about it (I’m an impatient mofo!) and also the ability it gives me to connect with all of you who are reading in the process!

It has been a super duper busy week. My first book deadline is next week so I am in crunch time with that; we did an incredible TBV Apparel photo shoot in Santa Monica on Tuesday (photos below… duh!), we are wrapping up the last minute details of the app and getting ready to send it to Apple, I am planning my NYC event and getting geared up for my trip there next week, and today is my grandfather’s funeral so I drove home from LA yesterday (6 hours!!) to be here with my fam bam.

See… busy! But that is how I like to keep things and it’s also how I end up getting the most work done. When I only have one or two things going on and they aren’t pressing or exciting to me, I won’t even do them. I’m not even a procrastinator, I’m a get-out-of-just-about-anything-I-don’t-wanna-do kind of person which can be good and bad.

LovingLately Anyway, back to what we are here for today. Loving Lately!

Loving Lately // 9.25.14

1. Frozen Yogurt ▶▷▸▹►

This one might sound a little silly or a little generic to you, or perhaps a little like, “Seriously? Fro yo is soooo 2011… where the heck has this poor chick been?” Well, let me tell you! I didn’t eat frozen yogurt, or anything with refined sugar for that matter, for two years straight. Before that I didn’t eat dairy, so frozen yogurt was something I really hadn’t had since about my freshman year of college, give or take.

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Lately I have been challenging myself in the food department and trying to reincorporate things I know that I love in order to feel satisfied and balanced again. Umm, can we talk about the fact that frozen yogurt tastes like a little glob of heaven? Maybe it’s the serotonin surge from the sugar speaking, but holy crap do I love the taste of frozen yogurt (especially chocolate) with some yummy toppings on a warm day. And the sugar gives me a nice little energy boost – something I hadn’t experienced from food in a long, long time.

More than just the deliciousness of frozen yogurt, what I’m really saying here is that I am loving feeling SATISFIED and treating myself to something that I love! I am trying to live my life and ditch my food fears, and it feels pretty damn amazing when I am able to do that with no regrets and no urge to run to the gym for three hours to pretend like the indulgence never happened. (I am not recommending you do that – it leads to a very unbalanced and unhappy life.)

2. RewardStyle & LIKEtoKNOWit ▶▷▸▹►

I wrote all about this in Tuesday’s post so I won’t go into too much detail, but I am seriously loooving being a part of RewardStyle and getting to explore their website and all of the awesome stuff they have to offer for bloggers. In order to reap the benefits of LIKEtoKNOWit, sign up on their website so you can receive an email every time I (and/or your other fav bloggers) post a photo of an outfit, home décor item, kitchenware, etc. It ROCKS!

3. This super freaking awesome yoga mat ▶▷▸▹►

It’s no secret to all of you that I love the bohemian style/vibe more than anything, and being able to incorporate it with my YOGA MAT is just about the raddest thing I have heard of doing all month. Nowww to find yoga pants to match!

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4. Flat Tummy Teas ▶▷▸▹►

I am so into this tea right now. Don’t let the name “flat tummy” freak you out into thinking it’s some kind of diet tea because you know my stance on that kind of stuff. This is a totally natural 2-step detox (their Everyday tea for daytime and their Afresh tea for nighttime) that speeds up your metabolism in an all-natural way and detoxifies impurities to make your digestive system run smoother. Their 4 Week Fab is a great way to get started and is my personal current fav. It has a laxative effect, so for those of you who are addicted to coffee for that reason you might consider switching things up to a more natural regulating system!

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I love it because I love sipping on tea with lemon when I first wake up in the morning, and this tea charges up my energy levels because it is super antioxidant. The nighttime tea decreases unwanted water retention. Soak the tea leaves longer for a more “cleansing” effect (a.k.a laxative). Love, love this stuff. You can find it here, or find them on Instagram at @flattummytea.

5. TBV Apparel Photo Shoot ▶▷▸▹►

Heeeere’s a little sneak peek into what Tynan and I were up to on Tuesday…

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Balance Definition Tee

fw5wCFetlGWtbupORx9v1eT-abkjDfTioGZpdMhxzx8Loving Lately Tee 

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High On Good Vibes

More to come, but I wanted to share my favs for now!

6. TimeHop App ▶▷▸▹►

Okay I am actually dying over this app. It tells you exactly what you were doing one, two, three, four, five (and on) years ago on the day! Three years ago today I was in Venice, Italy with some of the greatest people around.

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Four years ago today I was being a total sorority girl at our Greek Week football game. Oh, the memories! I am a freakishly nostalgic person, so my friends have been receiving lots of texts and emails with photos from this app – and it’s not stopping anytime soon!

Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 9.07.12 AM 7. This Shirt ▶▷▸▹►

I have been a fiiiiend for plaid lately (you knew it was coming with Fall…) and this Sam Edelman Zip Shoulder Plaid Shirt is no exception. Want/need/buying.

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 8. Alcohol ▶▷▸▹►

Remember my views on alcohol? Well, I’ve been letting loose a little more often lately and it has been really fun. Last night I enjoyed some cocktails with my parents at Ella in Sacramento, and tonight we are all taking shots to celebrate the life of my grandpa because he loved alcohol more than most people I know. (Okay, maybe more than anyone.) I have been feeling a lot more like my old self… carefree & spontaneous versus rigid and controlled. It feels waayyy better in every way possible.

Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 9.14.59 AM 9. Lulu Lemon ▶▷▸▹►

This is what my clean laundry pile looks like. I need to start wearing more than just yoga clothes. But they’re so comfy and then I don’t have to change for yoga at the end of the day!

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10. TBV Apparel Custom Orders ▶▷▸▹►

But really… is whiskey vegan? Email me if you’d like a custom tee made, and we will hook you up.

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Especially #18, #23, and pretty much #1-#6.

What are YOU loving lately? Anything exciting going down this weekend?

Gingersnap’s Organic Event + RewardStyle

Oh, helllo there my lovies! Today I have a couple of real exciting things to chit chat with you about:

1. My Gingersnap’s Organic + TBV Apparel Event in NYC on October 6th!

2. RewardStyle + Like to Know It on the bloggy & insta

So, we’ll start with the event! Some of you may recall that last June my lovely friend Max Goldberg & I hosted an event at Gingersnap’s Organic in the east village in NYC. It was called “Eat Organic With Us,” and it was a super fun combo of amazing raw vegan food & inspiring, healthy, awesome people coming together to get to know each other.

DSC_0545-3-1024x678 I am headed back to NYC for a visit the first couple weeks of October and I seriously couldn’t be more excited. I miss the city a ton, but what I really, reallllyyy miss is the people. My best friend in the universe Katie, my healthy bloggin’ BFF Tara, my lifelong roomie and world travel partner Clare, and a whole lot of other amazing, inspirational people I was lucky enough to live near all of last year.

Another person I miss is the awesome & inspiring Jamie of Gingersnap’s Organic. Jamie and I hit it off and have a ton in common. I’m beyond lucky that she agreed to let me host another event at her incredible restaurant. Jamie and her team will be providing the food, and I will be hosting a TBV Apparel Trunk Show / meet & greet.DSC_0534-1024x678

Everyone who attends will get 10% off of TBV Apparel (bringing the shirts down to $30.00 a piece, and if you buy 3+ you’ll get 15% off!) and also 10% off of a Gingersnap’s Organic cleanse if you sign up the night of.

You will also get an array of some of the best raw vegan food in existence (okay, the best raw vegan food in existence). On the menu is a pour of their [GO] Kick green juice, Zaatar crackers & zucchini almond hummus, guac & chipotle crackers, ramen noodles (my personal fav…out of this world!), pour of [GO] Vanilla Superfood Milk & a donut hole.

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The event goes from 6:30-8:30pm on Monday, October 6th. I seriously cannot wait to be there, share the shirts with you (including the new designs!!), hang out and mingle over delicious healthy food, and chat with all of you!

The link to purchase tickets is here. All food & drink is included in this price! All you have to do is show up. : )

IMG_3791 Now… numero dos on my list of things I wanna share with you today is RewardStyle! RewardStyle is an invitation-only affiliate marketing program for style + lifestyle publishers across the web. There are so many awesome things I can do with it I can’t even wait to get started.

The reason I’m telling you all about it is because you should head over to LIKEtoKNOW.it and sign up, so that when you “like” a photo on Instagram that I post (or any of your favorite bloggers post), you will receive an email with direct links to what we are wearing, the kitchen tools/products/utensils we are using, the home décor in the background, etc.

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It’s awesome because it makes things easy for you, and we make a small commission if you choose to purchase any of the items. It’s no extra cost for you and it rocks for people like me who make a full-time living blogging.

For example… here are just a couple end of Summer / beginning of Fall favorites:

 

PS… My episode of CBS’ The Doctors aired yesterday! Catch it here!

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So… Gingersnap’s Event + RewardStyle… hooowww freaking cool are both?! Have you heard of LiketKit before? Ever tried Gingersnap’s?