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.

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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

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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?!

If You Aren’t Totally & Ridiculously In Love With Your Life…

Change it.

Sounds crazy and kinda scary and perhaps unrealistic and like something you’ll consider doing tomorrow or next year or in five years or your next lifetime?

Yep. Know the feeling.

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Believe it or not, even though I am super spontaneous in many ways and I have made some huge, life-altering decisions that have lead me to writing The Balanced Blonde full-time and building a business & brand out of the bloggy; I am also the queen of ROUTINE. Not routine in the sense that I like to follow a specific schedule, because anyone who knows me knows that that is absolutely false, but routine in the sense that any form of huge change terrifies the living daylights out of me.

When I was young and one of my parents would get a new car, or god forbid they would redo our kitchen and then our entire house (happened so many times!!!), I would get extreme anxiety and wish endlessly for everything to go back to how it had once been.

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Maybe this has something to do with the fact that I went to the same school with the same people for fourteen years straight, but the thought of big changes in any way, shape or form totally terrified me. If they even got rid of a painting in our house I demanded to sit and talk to it and let it know that it wasn’t ugly… it was just moving on to its next adventure. (Okay, maybe I was a little crazy.)

This penchant for sameness followed me into college when I missed home desperately and always felt a lot more comfortable in the comfort of my hometown than I did at my university. Don’t get me wrong, I loved college, made tons of friends and thrived in the social and academic atmosphere, but if I had the luxury of picking and choosing I would have chosen home over school any day of the year.

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In the years since then, I have learned so much about myself. So much in fact that sometimes I look back and think what the hecckkk, I can’t believe I used to do so many things I didn’t like and hang out with so many people who didn’t 100% fulfill me or lift me up. But that’s what growing up is for (excuse the cliché there, but it’s true)… it’s for learning what works for you and what doesn’t work for you, what you love and what you don’t love, what makes you ridiculously happy and what makes you feel kind of “eh.”

And now here I am, looking back on the last year of my life and realizing I have made some HUGE changes in favor of living my happiest life and being as comfortable and content in my own skin (and career) as I can possibly be. I left grad school, I transitioned out of my vegan diet, I moved from NYC back to LA, I distanced myself from a few people I needed to distance from, got closer to others, enrolled in a health coaching program, and even started turning down certain opportunities in favor of having more time to pursue what I DO love. And those are just a few big things… I have done plenty on a smaller scale too.

images As far as small scale goes, the biggest change I have made in the past few years is how much time I spend alone. When I was in college, I spent about zero minutes of the day being alone. If I was alone for a full hour at a time I freaked out and immediately made up for it by filling the rest of my week with back-to-back plans and commitments. Now I spend a TON of time alone (or at least try to whenever I can swing it!) and I absolutely adore it.

I take time out of my day to meditate, exercise alone (usually), listen to music, read, go on walks, breathe, take baths, write for pleasure vs. for work, stretch, relax and most of all to THINK. And usually what I find myself thinking about is how freaking happy I am with the way things have been going.

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Sometimes making changes in your life requires doing things that other people in your life simply don’t understand. For instance, I drove home to Sacramento this weekend (6 hours from where I live in LA) because I felt like it and because I felt like it would be a smart choice so I could work on the book all week. Virtually no one completely understood why I would do that so impulsively, but I knew how right it felt so I was able to feel super good about it.

If you feel like you want to make a change in your life…. From something as serious as starting to get over an eating disorder or change your career path, or something as small as spending five minutes each day alone with your own thoughts or adding a new workout class into your routine, DO IT.

You have the power to make a change in your life. You are in control, and you deserve to be ridiculously and utterly happy every single day. I know it’s scary and it might require some extra work in other areas (picking up a side job, doing the dirty work of ending a relationship that is no longer serving you, making the plans to make a big move happen) but it is SO worth it.

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Basically I started eliminating the time that I spent dreading doing things that felt like either social or work obligations… and started filling that time with things that totally served me. And this morning, even though I was a little stressed about the amount of work I have ahead of me this week and a little annoyed at myself for leaving a bunch of things I need in LA, it hit me that those things are tiny and trivial and when I stop and think about my life and my week overall… I am freakishly happy.

Everyone deserves that happiness. All the time. Let’s do it.

Also…. This is what my book, Breaking Vegan, is all about. It is coming out next October and I am so excited it’s almost ridiculous. I will be working on it all week… wish me luck, and feel free to send encouraging emails. They help more than you know!

SO much love to all of you!

life111 Have you ever felt like you wanted to make a huge change but didn’t know where to begin?!

Recovery Series #7 // Jessica Sepel

Hello, Happy Friday & Happy Halloween (or Happy Happy-ween as we say in my family ever since a super adorable voicemail from my nephew almost 15 years ago)! Hoooww is everyone today?! Getting ready for a spooky & fun-filled evening, I hope. I am dressing as a flapper tonight… get ready for photos galore next week.

I am unbelievably honored & excited to announce that today’s recovery series post features the amazing Miss Jessica Sepel. Jess is one of Australia’s leading health bloggers, nutritionists and wellness coaches. I had the awesome opportunity to hang out with Jess earlier this week when she was in LA, and we hit it off as if we had known each other for years. Kindred spirits do that, ya know… And I feel SO lucky to be able to call her a fast friend.

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I am inspired by Jessica in the sense that she knew food and negative body image were controlling every aspect of her life, so she committed herself to understanding nutrition so she could make a change and help people develop body-peace once and for all.

Ready? I will let Jess take it away!

Recovery Series #7 // ▶ ▷ ▸ ▹ ►

Full name: Jessica Sepel

Age: 25

Current Location: Sydney, Australia

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Q: Jessica, thanks so much for joining us today for TBB Recovery Series. It means a lot to me (and all of us!) that you are here and willing to open up about your struggles. Can you tell us a bit about your journey with food and eventual descent into the tricky waters of ED territory?

A: Like so many young women, I spent my teenage years and early 20s struggling with negative body image. I tortured myself to the point that food was the enemy. Hating my body was impacting every aspect of my life.

Q: Did your eating struggles with food stem from somewhere… i.e. body image issues, a traumatic event, a desire to look a different way, a need for control, all of the above?!

A: Yes, my eating struggles stemmed from this desire to be and look perfect. I never felt good enough or thin enough or accomplished enough. I felt constant pressure. I compared myself to my friends. I probably also used food as a way to control some emptiness in my life after my immigration.

Q: When you were in the midst of your ED, what did your obsession and a typical day in the life of Jessica look like?

A: I was sleep deprived and crippled by anxiety, gulping down four “calorie-free” black coffees a day. I was eating low-fat everything, calorie counting and fad dieting, and depriving myself from foods – which meant I ended up bingeing. I was also exercising intensely twice a day, but actually gaining weight! The scary thing is, I thought my lifestyle was normal. Healthy, even.

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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. No zest for life. I felt consumed by it. It was just EXHAUSTING. My poor body was under so much stress. I suffered from hormonal havoc. I was listless and miserable; completely and utterly out of touch with my own body. I try to look back at that time with love, because I was trying to find my way.

Q: Do you see a correlation between a specific personality type (extreme, all or nothing personalities, etc.) and falling into the difficulty of eating disorders?

A: Definitely – I think a lot of it has to do with control. A lack of it, or simply needing to feel more of it. Food and exercise are things we can control, at least in a relative sense. It gives a sense of security, but it quickly controls us instead. And the desire for perfection can easily be taken too far, especially when we’re comparing ourselves to others. It’s the perfect storm. IMG_9653.JPG

^ Jess playing around with The Balanced Blonde App!

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: I started seeing a good psychologist who helped me tap into the root of my pain and learn to manage stress. This also helped my build up my self-esteem and my relationship with food. I cut out toxic food, scenes, and relationships that didn’t serve me and embraced whole foods, self respect and love. I also made sleep a priority – I now believe rest is the true key to recovery and healthy living.

Q: How did friends and family react to the change? Were they relieved when you realized and acknowledged that you needed help?

A: Yes, my mother was so relieved. No one really knew how bad it was though. I felt talking about it made me feel worse.

Q: What has the best aspect of recovery been? 

A: When I realized that I had the ability to change my life through proper nutrition and self-care, I began to feel myself come alive! Through my self-healing, I began telling myself I was worth it; I was capable of helping other people on their own journey to health. I realized I could have a career where I would wake up each day and feel excited about what I was doing. Through my work with clients and now with the release of my book, my dreams are truly manifesting into reality!

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Q: What are some tips you’ve found that help in the difficult moments for maintaining balance, health and loving your bod?

  • I believe in the power of positive affirmations and try to start my day with them in mind.
  • I go into the Stress Free Zone. I commit 20 or 30 minutes a day away from technology and other distractions and use it to center myself.
  • I write in my gratitude journal. As corny as it might sound, it keeps me grounded and stress-free. You can’t feel stressed when you feel grateful.
  • I switch off from social media. I try to put my phone away starting at 8:00pm, and also try to spend a full day, typically Sundays, unplugged. (TBB Sidenote: THIS IDEA ROCKS)
  • I don’t deprive myself! I truly believe that indulging on occasion is good for you.

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: OH YES! Blogging about my experience has healed me. It has been my therapy in so many ways. I feel so connected and supported by a community who has helped heal me. It’s so amazing to know we are not alone and we are all trying to figure it out together.

I definitely do get triggered by being in the industry, though. Recently I have been more in the spotlight on television, radio etc. and I find my old feelings of not being good enough pop up. But I have the tools now to re-center myself and tell myself that it’s my mean girl talking. Not all of our thoughts are real.

The JSHealth community is so inspiring. To have such a tribe of readers who are committed to a healthy life motivates me to wake up and do what I love to do. I am so grateful.

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Q: Favorite quote?!

A: A rested body is a healthy body. We need to rest more.We are nothing without our health. Healthy living itself keeps me motivated, energized, and gives me a feeling that I can do anything and everything.

Q: Anything you’d like to add?

It was an absolute pleasure to answer these questions. Thanks for inspiring us all.

Jess and I squinting in the Beverly Hills sun…!

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In a short, I am so grateful to know this beautiful and inspiring girl. What part of her recovery story really stuck with you?! I am quite struck by all of it. PS… What is everyone dressing up as for Halloween today?!

Loving Lately 10.30.14

Hi there babes! If you read my “Updates from Crazy Town” post on Monday, you’ll know why I have been a bit off the map this week. I promise it’s only because really exciting things are in store over here and also because TBB App is totally out there killing it in App Store land.

I have been planning the launch party anddd doing lots of dirty work on the book…. In the long run it’s only to share with all of you so I am really connecting (I swear!) even though I’ve been away from the blog for a few days.

I am headed to an amazing oasis called The Springs today in Downtown LA, and seriously can’t wait to share all of my fun findings there on the bloggy with you all next week. And tomorrow is miss Jessica Sepel’s Recovery Series post… yippee!

In the meantime it’s time to discuss some Loving Lately business. And there’s a whooole lot of wonderfulness I am loving lately. Here goes…!

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1. Connecting with other passionate souls in the wellness space

Well, you KNOW I simply adore hanging out with like-minded individuals who want to bring health, wellness, balance, nutrition and fitness advice to the world. I am so inspired by others who are out there spreading their message. That has probably been the best part about blogging so far… having the opportunity (and the excuse!) to hang out with so many awesome passionate people.

On Tuesday I got to hang with miss Jessica Sepel and her rockin’ manager Rachel. We chatted about our own recovery journeys, what we’re up to now and basically connected on every level imaginable. I will save the rest of the story for tomorrow’s recovery post, but I just had to mention it now because hanging out with Jess totally made my week. Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 9.17.14 AM

2. The Balanced Blonde App being #1

Can I just say that I had NO IDEA that the App would end up being so popular? It’s a place for healthy recipes, healthy living guides, shopping list, FAQ, favorites features, etc. to combine so you can have everything in one place… and lots of info that’s not on the bloggy… And I am freaking STOKED that it is doing so well. It warms my heart to know that the things I am spending time on and pouring love and effort into are being well received and have a place out there in the world. Yay for that.

TBBSplashScreen 3. The Balanced Blonde Tribe

So, I know I frequently mention a few of the people on my TBB team, but I have never exactly explained who is helping me with what and how ridiculously amazing and helpful they all are. It’s a small little team and more or less I am still VERY involved behind the scenes, but I have picked up a few wonderful movers and shakers along the way. I have decided that next week I am going to do a “Meet The TBB Tribe” post, and you will learn about all things Tynan, Cyrus, Ali, Jess, Morgan, etc. I can’t WAIT to introduce them to you! (PS, say hi to Ty Ty!)

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  1. Cate McNabb Lipstick!!!

First of all, those of you that know me know that I am a lipstick freak. I do not really wear makeup other than lipstick and lip gloss, but I love experimenting with fun colors and spicing up any outfit (yes, even my daily yoga clothes) with a little pop of color (usually a light pink) on my lip. I am always looking for natural, paraben-free and cruelty-free lipstick that actually has a deep and vibrant color (super hard to find combo), and I have been in LOVE with Cate McNabb Cosmetics lately for that reason.

CateMcNabb Their stuff is also ideal for sensitive skin, so basically it’s my lipstick form of a BFF. They have all sorts of cosmetics for skin, lips, eyes and brows that you should 100% check out here. You know I wouldn’t guide you in their direction if I didn’t absolutely love their stuff… so you can trust me on this one. I am totally obsessed with their lipstick…. Especially this color!

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5. Equinox

I know I’ve mentioned this a few times recently, but I am LOVING having an actual gym membership again versus just my yoga membership and running outside and doing home workouts. I put it off for as long as possible because I have been traveling so much and didn’t want to spend the extra $$ on another fitness membership, but who was I kidding? Working out is my lifeblood. It makes me happy, it makes my body and mind feel balanced and strong, and it’s the perfect way to wind down from the crazy work life that I’ve taken on. I am freakishly in love with Equinox West LA and am SO happy to be hosting my app launch party there in a few weeks!

6. Long Distance BFFs

After all the moving around I’ve done over the past few years, I now have super close friends on opposite coasts. I am used to being long-distance with certain friends, but that was usually just across the state of California (you know I hop back and forth between So Cal and Nor Cal like it’s my job). Now I have some of my closest friends in the universe living in NYC while I am out here in LA… and let me just say I am so unbelievably grateful for them and how easy it has been to stay in touch.

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 I had a phenomenal phone conversation with my sweet Clare (remember when Clare and I went to Woodstock together?) that really grounded me in a time of slight manicness. We connect in such a special way and have so much in common after our amazing experiences traveling together and sharing a room for many years.

There is also my best friend Katie in NYC who makes long distance friendships so easy it’s almost ridiculous. She is so supportive (just like Clare) and so open and whenever we talk it’s like zero seconds have passed. I just feel very thankful to have such unbelievable friends… especially with the craziness going on lately it is so comforting to know that my support system is beyond top notch. I love them! And I love my local friends. I love them all a whole lot.

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7. Multi-usage Objects

Don’t ask me what provoked me to use my VItaMix as a vase for my flowers from the Farmer’s Market this weekend… but correct me if I’m wrong when I say that it’s kinda perfect and weirdly trendy DIY? (Also what’s a girl to do when she has 4 great fully functioning blenders?)

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8. Alpha Phi

When I graduated college I was super ready to move on and do new things. I have trouble staying in one place for tooo long (you know this about me), and by Senior Year at LMU I was totally itching for a new adventure. I loved being in a sorority but sometimes I felt that enough was enough with all of the mandatory events, extremely packed social calendar, weekly meetings, the pretty time-consuming rolls I took on, etc.

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 9.27.07 AM WELL, I went into LMU Alpha Phi on Monday night to give a talk about entrepreneurship, following your heart, my ED recovery and to sell my t-shirts with Ty, and I was absolutely blown away at how much it felt like going HOME. Seeing the girls put me in such a WONDERFUL mood I have been on cloud nine for the rest of the week about it. It is so special to have such a loving and supportive group standing behind you, and it made me doubly grateful that I was a part of Alpha Phi and that I connected with so many incredible people through that organization. Seeing them ROCKED… the world better watch out because those girls are about to do huge things.

9. Inspiration Boards

Well, I have been SUPER into Pinterest lately, and I am gearing up to decorate the shit out of the really cute Inspiration cork board I just bought off of Etsy. Any ideas are much appreciated!

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10. This girl’s cover of T Swift’s new Blank Space

I admit I only came across this cover because all of the sudden the actual song was muted on YouTube and I was too lazy to buy it at the moment, but I had it on repeat ALL day yesterday. So impressed by this young lady. How adorable and amazing voice… again makes me wish I could sing. Sidenote: I can’t. At all. 

11. Amazing yoga teachers

I am doing a full post on this ASAP, but I have been going to a yoga teacher lately who has the expertise to tell you SO much about your body, your alignment, where you carry your stress, the mood you’re in, etc. by just LOOKING at you. Literally just by taking a glimpse. He has been spot on with me for weeks at this point. I can’t wait to elaborate, but basically the other day he told me, “You know you’re moving from one form of imbalance to another.” Which is one of my largest fears in life. And he totally called me out. More to come.

12. THIS amazing Gooey Pumpkin Spice Latte Chocolate Pudding Cake

Because Angela is just amazing. And because I kind of slacked on creating a new Halloween recipe. #whoops

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13. TBB in BuzzFeed.

#7. Life is made.

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 9.32.15 AM 14. This Pumpkin Carving Party

Because I desperately want to be friends with Molly Yeh.

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PS… Happy BIRTHDAY to my sweet love & sis Miss Laura. If you want to see a really incriminating photo that I probably should have had more self-restraint to NOT post… check this out, hehehe.

What are YOU loving lately?!?! What the heck is up?! Xox