“Oh Kale Yes!” Sushi Roll Recipe

Hello, lovelies! How is everyone doin’ today? Are you l-o-v-i-n-g this cooled down weather like I am? If you’re not currently residing in So Cal you miiightt find it hard to envision that we had a heat wave of 95-102 degrees for about a week and a half straight. AND it’s supposed to be Fall, isn’t it?!

I’m talking heat to the point where I idiotically went on a run at 11 a.m., sweat like a monster, basked in a freezing cold shower and then starting sweating again for the next SEVERAL hours. Nottt cute. Not cool.

And we don’t have AC in our apartment. But that’s a story for another day.

#RollOutTheResearch Competition

TODAY I wanna tell you all about my partnership with Katsuya + Keep A Breast Foundation for the #RollOutTheResearch campaign. I know I have mentioned it once or twice but this cause really rocks and this competition is really fun (and the fact that you can vote every day is addicting – you know I have issues with that…), so it deserves its own full on post. 

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How many of us know someone who has been affected by breast cancer? Unfortunately, I can’t really think of a soul who would say, “not me!” But if you did, then yay. That’s amazing and I wish we could all say the same.

I have seen loved ones, friends’ loved ones and incredibly kind, talented, undeserving people suffer from breast cancer and it’s painstaking to watch. It makes the fact that I was complaining about the heat wave a few seconds ago sound completely ridiculous and ignorant.

That’s why when Katsuya asked me to participate in their #RollOutTheResearch campaign I just about flipped. Not only do I get to help raise awareness for an amazing cause, but I also got to create my own roll and get a hands-on sushi-making lesson from one of Katsuya’s incredible sushi chefs. Is that awesome or is that awesome? Katsuya4

I decided I wanted to pack my roll full of cancer-fighting ingredients, because I don’t mess around when it comes to the green stuff (and the delicious stuff). The ingredients I chose were…

◆Spicy Tuna

◆ Kale

◆ Cabbage (so crunchy and delicious in there!)

◆ Avocado

◆ Chia Seeds

◆ Rice, because what’s a sushi roll without rice…

Katsuya12Boom. As you can see, he was very hesitant to let me go rogue with the knife, and I don’t blame him because I think my persona radiates klutziness. But after some careful instruction and a few rounds of practice, I felt like a pro.

I mean… as pro as you can get on your first try.

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The winning roll will get featured on Katsuya’s menu for the month of October, and 50% of its proceeds will go toward funding breast cancer research. I will love you forever if you vote for me (I’m competitive, hehe) but either way get your booty over and vote because it’s an amazing cause. Here is the link! (Mine’s fourth one down on the righthand side in case you don’t recognize it!)

Oh, and it’s named the “Oh Kale Yes!” roll. After a certain t-shirt I happen to know and love.

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What up in your Monday?! Anything wild & crazy go down over the weekend? Would you try my sushi roll if it wins?!

Recovery Series #5 // Madelyn Moon

Happy Friday, my loves! Time for another super inspiring Recovery Series post today. This week’s interview was a bit spontaneous — the lovely Miss Madelyn Moon was interviewing me for her Mind Body Musings podcast and we got to talking about her own recovery journey. While we were chatting not only did I learn that Madelyn is another 23-year-old blonde recovering chica (there are so many of us), but I was blown away by her insight, knowledge, and articulate way of expressing herself.

Right then & there I knew she had to be our fifth Recovery Series participant. Madelyn’s story is fascinating to me because her eating spiraled downward while she was a fitness competitor. When you think of the body building industry and women, what do you think of?

I think of super toned, 0% body fat and very clean eating — something that once would have whisked me away at the very thought. Now I think twice. I’m not saying that this lifestyle isn’t maintainable for anyone, but for those of us with extra extreme personalities (like Madelyn and myself!), spending so much time focusing on a body-image related goal and a very rigid meal plan is a recipe for disaster.

Time to let Madelyn take the stage. I am so thrilled she could share her story with us today.

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Recovery Series #5 // ▶ ▷ ▸ ▹ ►

Q: Name, age, current location.

A: Madelyn Moon, 23, Boulder, Colorado

Q: Madelyn! Your story is similar to mine in the sense that we both got very attached to dietary labels that eventually let to our disordered eating “downfall.” Can you tell us a bit about your experiences with vegetarianism and paleo? 

A: Yes, of course! When I was in high school, my closest friend was a vegan and she introduced me to a few documentaries that really opened up my eyes to the cruelty of the slaughterhouse industry. I immediately dedicated myself to vegetarianism for these ethical reasons, but soon, after a year or so, avoiding meat became a weight control mechanism. Not being able to eat meat gave me these boundaries to live safely inside of. When my life became stressful, I clung to my dietary beliefs because I knew at least those would never change. Those rules would always be there, and therefore my weight and size would always be manageable.

Along with this diet came really obsessive “fitness” behaviors. I ran around 7 miles per day on a treadmill so that I could see how many calories I burned and then I would proceed with my day making sure that I consumed less calories than I burned during that run. It was nuts.

After a few years of doing this, I found myself a “little” consumed with the bodybuilding industry. Those bodies were so beautiful and I just HAD to find out how they did it! Well, according to all the blogs and magazines, I needed a lot more protein that I was currently consuming. I also needed more structure (6 meals a day, every 3 hours, protein at every meal, etc).

I quickly became obsessed with these bodies and decided to give this new diet a go. I’d just call it a bodybuilding diet. Fast-forward a year or two after stuffing my face day after day with the same foods, and I found that my body became very sensitive to eating so much of the same bland stuff (think oatmeal and chicken) that I had a hard time digesting them. Literally, I was always gassy. Sexy, right?

Basically, I was eating “so clean” that I couldn’t digest anything else that wasn’t on my daily meal plan. After a year or so of dealing with this, I discovered paleo. Honestly, this was more than just a diet, it was a community. Finding paleo was amazing, and I really love the idea of just eating a whole foods-based diet without worrying about the details such as macros, lea timing and calories…but yet, with my perverse nature, I used it against myself. Instead of using paleo as a template to make me feel better, I used it as a control mechanism. I could no longer eat most of my favourite foods even though I could digest them perfectly fine but the truth is, I wanted so badly to “be a part” of this group, that I decided to go strict paleo and ignore all of my body’s desires and cues for it’s favourite foods, like my beloved peanut butter.

I quickly became obsessed, just like I was with being a vegetarian and with being a fitness competitor. I was trying to stuff sweet potatoes down my throat so that I could still make gains in the gym, and for some reason I thought that was OK, just as long as it wasn’t a grain or a molecule of gluten. Heaven forbid.

So at the root of it, these diets were definitely coping mechanisms for me. Instead of facing the stressful things going on in my life, I focused my attention on food and creating the “perfect” body. I wanted so badly to find which diet would give me lean abs, a tight butt and rounded shoulders. It’s funny because even though I did find myself with that body at one point, I had absolutely no one to share it with because I was so negative, obsessed and over-consumed. RecoverySeriesMadelyn2

Q: You also have a unique viewpoint because you were a fitness physique competitor– where what your body LOOKS like is the main goal that is worked toward. How did that affect your relationship with food, mind and body?

Oh man, it affected me negatively in so many ways. I no longer saw a meal. Instead I saw 433 calories. I no longer saw a tasty sandwich. Instead I saw 43 grams of carbohydrates and 25 grams of protein. Food was no longer food; it was just fuel. It was science. I was so accustomed to eating protein at every meal that I almost couldn’t eat something unless there was protein alongside it. I was so used to counting calories that I could basically count up everything in my head on the spot. I couldn’t go longer than 3 hours without eating because if I did, I thought my body would probably stop metabolizing the food and then I’d automatically gain weight.

That’s all of the mental side towards food. My thoughts towards my body were a completely different monster. To be completely honest, I couldn’t stand my body. Even when I was 7% body fat, I spend so much time worried about gaining the weight back, I couldn’t enjoy the physique I had worked so hard for. I was so consumed with my stomach and abs that the stress often made me bloat. I was bloated all the freaking time from my massive protein consumption on top of stress I was experiencing, so naturally I was always uncomfortable. I was so self-conscious and self-consumed that I pretty much blocked everyone out of my life. It was terrible, and I wouldn’t wish it on anybody.

The hardest part was probably coming off of competition prep, and watching my body put back on a little bit of weight. I was still underweight, but in my head I was fat. Truly, truly fat. I could no longer see my body as human flesh. Once I had been as lean as I was, I had a new standard for my figure (regardless of how unhealthy it was) and once the weight started to creep back on, I felt like a failure.

It’s taken a long time to start seeing my body in a different light, but I really do now and I love myself so much more than I did when I was a fitness model. Plus, I feel a ton sexier.

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Q: What did it take to realize that your restriction was headed down a bad path? Did you have a tipping point or a moment where you felt like, “this is it, I need to change something”?

A: Goodness, yes, I had many moments. I have specific memories of crying on the floor wishing my fat would go away. I have moments bawling in the car. I remember crying on the phone with my mom at Whole Foods because I felt like I “ate too much” and everybody else was eating less than me. Though, I think the biggest moment was the night of my second fitness competition. I was lying in my hotel bed reflecting on the day and how I had given up the previous 4 months for that competition and it wasn’t worth it whatsoever. That was really eye-opening. For 4 months I followed a strict diet, worried endlessly about my body, missed out on all my friend’s social events, and found myself literally starving on several occasions. Instead of lying there upset and sad, I should have been happy! I should have been so proud of my accomplishment, but yet I was disappointed with my ranking and frustrated about how I was feeling. I knew something wasn’t right.

At one point in my life, I wanted to be fit for the sake of health, but somewhere along the way, that passion became intensely contorted and lost. I told myself that night that I needed to remember this feeling. I felt so awful about the competition and so angry about feeling awful that I knew something wasn’t right in my mind. I knew I didn’t deserve to disrespect myself like that. I was seeking a subjective desire that would never be found, and because of this, I was loathing the only body I have to live in.

Something needed to change, and I needed to find the courage to see it through.

Q: Do you think there are any personality traits that you be tied to restrictive eating and exercise? For example, I am very extreme and have an all or nothing type of personality, and I think that definitely contributed to my disordered eating habits. Do you struggle with extremes?

A: Absolutely! I had some obsessive tendencies as a child, and I think that transferred over as a young adult. That stuff doesn’t just go away unless you are really proactive about it. I am also pretty competitive and self-disciplined. Being able to discipline myself has always been a big strength of mine, but unsurprisingly, it’s also a weakness. I tend to think in black and white, and I often have the desire to be “different” or stand out because of my Leo nature. All of these qualities combined lead to a very stubborn obsessed extremist!

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6. You mention on your blog that you were on the EXACT same meal plan for 4 months, to a tee (I totally get that…), what did that meal plan look like? Did you have cravings?! Did it lead to any post-diet binging?

It makes me cringe to think about it. My meals where as followed (and PLEASE nobody get any ideas!):

Meal 1- 4 egg whites, oats, 1 T peanut butter

Meal 2- Chicken and brown rice

Meal 3- Chicken and brown rice

Meal 4- Oatmeal and protein powder

Meal 5- Chicken and green beans

Meal 6- Casein powder (basically protein powder)

Okay so when I say that I followed the exact same meal plan for four months, I mean that literally. Not a blueberry more. Not a bell pepper less. No oil on my chicken, No salt. No sugar. I think I had a banana on a couple “high carb” days, but that’s the only time I had something different. And I ate every 3 hours, NO exceptions. Cause ya know…I’d probably lose all my muscle if I were a minute late. Keep in mind that I was in college at the time too, so I was taking my chicken and rice to class with me often and eating it cold. I can’t tell you how many times I ate in the car. Oh and I ate in a bathroom on a date too.

Q: You started your blog with the intention of speaking about body confidence and the correlation between mind and body. Do you think that being so open on the blog has helped your recovery process, and if so, how?

A: Oh most definitely! I actually started my website in 2012 before I had even done a fitness competition. So my website has been with me through the entire process, including my two fitness competitions. It’s helped me get through so much. My podcast Mind Body Musings has helped me the most because of two reasons. First, I can talk to inspiring people that have similar experiences and can share how they found body peace. Secondly, I confess to what I’m struggling with and I receive emails from people going through the same. It’s so beautiful to be able to share experiences with thousands of people I don’t know, knowing that it’s actually helping them in some way. I firmly believe that if we just talk about this more, so many more people would feel less alone.

Q: What is your take on restrictive diets like veganism, paleo, raw vegan, gluten-free, etc. and the growing correlation between those and disordered eating habits?

A: You know, these days I really have a firm grasp on the fact that everything works for at least one person. I am no longer trying to find a perfect diet for myself, so it’s easy for me to sit back and listen to people talk about their favourite diet.

With that said, I do believe that there is a growing correlation between the two. I consider myself fortunate to no longer have that mentality considering our culture is trying to create food-fearing individuals. We are taught to label foods as “good” or “bad” and we have created these “off-limit” foods for ourselves. We use words like “indulge” and phrases like “cheat meals.” There’s something really twisted about these phrases alone. On top of that, all of these diets with conflicting information almost force us to pick a side. And if we don’t pick a side, we’re bombarded with people trying to sell us on what works for them.

I think it really depends on the individual. If you have an allergy to dairy, gluten and legumes, paleo might be perfect for you. If you have no allergies but you just want to feel optimal, then by all means, experiment and find out what makes you feel best. I think the problem is when we cling to food when something happens in our lives we are uncomfortable with. There’s a problem when we see a smidge of cellulite and cut out all carbs. It’s an issue when we’re in a fight with our boyfriend and we binge. There’s something wrong when you are trying a new diet every single day and hating the whole process.

Simply put, it’s best to just eat what aligns with what both your mind and body want. That’s real satiation.

Q: Favorite quote:

A: Peace within makes beauty without.

Q: Give us a glimpse into a day in the life of Madelyn’s workouts and recovery foods. Because food is fuel, right?!

A: Heck yeah! I go through phases where I want to eat a lot of the same stuff over and over again. This could be a part of my obsessive nature, but honestly I think it’s because everything I’m eating is making me feel so dang good! I usually start my day with a Greek yogurt bowl with berries, sunflower seed butter and something crunchy like granola or organic cereal. Lunch is usually white or brown rice with beef or ground turkey and something green, like Brussels! Dinner is always different. I love making spaghetti squash, sweet potato fries, and healthy meatloaf. I’ve always been pretty obsessed with meatloaf. No joke.

In regards to workouts, I try to have a very sane approach to it. I realize if I get rigid with scheduling workouts, my mindset gets rigid too, and I become too critical. I try to mix it up now by combining rock climbing with hiking, biking, occasional sprints, gymnastics and strength training sessions! Oh and I’ve recently joined CrossFit, which is definitely humbling to me. I’m not very good at it and I love having a new challenge.

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Q: How do you maintain your passion for exercise without letting it go overboard and affect your life the way it once did?

A: This is a tricky one to answer. I’ve noticed it’s extremely easy for me to fall back into old habits. About 3 months ago, I took a full month off from going to the gym and that helped tremendously. After I started going again, I experienced negative body image talk in my head. It happened so quickly, as if I never even took that break. I very quickly decided I needed something new to do. I needed a challenge that was focused on performance, not aesthetics. That’s why I’m really focusing on things like rock climbing, gymnastics and CrossFit because none of those things require mirrors and isolation movements. Instead, they focus on strength. Real strength. And after every class, I feel proud of my accomplishments and myself. It had been so long since I left a workout feeling accomplished that now, I only want to engage in activities I know will leave me feeling happier afterwards.

Physical activity is supposed to be fun. Period.

Q: Tell us about the “reverse diet” you put yourself on to gain weight after you realize you needed help.

A: Well the reverse diet was really supposed to be a sane way to come out of a competition diet safely, without ruining your “hard earned work” and putting on an uncomfortable amount of weight too fast. I did this after my two competitions, and they definitely helped me to increase my calorie “tolerance” but what I did after I realized I needed help was pretty different. I actually stopped following all diets altogether. I mean, subconsciously, I was still counting calories in my head and following certain macro “rules” but after awhile, I waned off and tried intuitive eating. I ate foods I hadn’t eaten in forever and thoroughly enjoyed them. I ate meals without protein. I ate at a restaurant more than once a week. I forced myself to delete my calorie counting app and eat meals that I didn’t know the macro breakdown for.

It was so challenging, but once I learned how to let go, so much changed. I was so used to being in control of every morsel that went into my body, I had to quite literally force myself to stop. It also forced me to keep myself preoccupied with other things so that I didn’t have time to focus on food. Instead, I went out with friends and went on more dates! Once I learned to let go over my desire to control, I gained so much in return.

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Q: What advice would you give to girls suffering with body image issues? We all want to fall in love with ourselves, and I think you are a fabulous example of someone who was suffering from control issues and you were able to let go and find your way to health. 

A: First of all, thank you for saying that. It means a lot. Second of all, I think I have to give a couple pieces of advice here.

1. Get off of social media. Or at least unfollow accounts that make you wish you were any different than you currently are.

2. Stop your food rules if they are no longer serving the same purpose they did when you started them. If you’re allergic, that’s one thing. If you’re scared, that’s another.

3. Pick up a new non-food and non-fitness related hobby. Learn an instrument, a language, pick up a fiction book, volunteer, or do what I did and get a dog.

4. Listen to more podcasts. There are so many podcasts out there that can help you along with your body acceptance journey. Don’t fill your queue with diet theory podcasts, as tempting as that may be. Try to stick with shows that promote mind and body satiation, as well as bio-individuality.

 

Q: Three things you’re most passionate about… go!

A: 1. My dog, Ninabelle. She’s most literally the most amazing thing in my life and I owe so much to her. She’s helped me through a lot and there’s really nothing that can compare to the feeling of her snuggling up to me every night.

2. My faith. Knowing something bigger than me is out there watching over me has helped me tremendously. It’s made my worries and struggles seem so small and petty compared to my life’s purpose. I know I was created for a reason and it wasn’t to have an eating disorder. My experiences might have launched me into my purpose though, so for that, I wouldn’t change anything.

3. My podcast. Though it may seem small in the grand scheme of things, my show has helped me and helped others, but even more than that, it’s a blast. I know one day it might not be as purposeful as it is now, and I’m okay with that. But until the day comes (if ever), I’m going to continue to treat my show like my baby. It’s introduced me to so many inspirational people, like yourself, and for that I consider myself very fortunate.

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Q: Anything else you’d like to add?

A: There was something I once heard that’s stuck with me for months now and I doubt I’ll ever forget it. It goes like this. There will ALWAYS be somebody that is better than you at something. There will always be somebody that’s deemed prettier than you by society’s standards. There will always be someone more athletic. There will always be somebody better at science. There will always be somebody funnier than you. These are just facts. But there will never, ever, EVER be somebody better at being…you. With all of that said, why in the world would you ever want to pretend to be somebody else, when you’re already one of a kind?

Thanks so much for having me, Jordan!

HUGE thanks to Madelyn for sharing her story with us today. Be sure to check out her website & the amazing podcast series she created! How inspiring is she?! What is everyone up to this weekend?!

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Interview with Kayla Itsines, THE Fitness Guru

Soo I have mentioned a few times that I have been very interested in starting the lovely Miss Kayla Itsines‘ Bikini Body Guide workout program. But let me stop you before you get any notions in your head… “Bikini Body Guide” sounds like something a littttle body image driven for a girl in recovery from an eating disorder, right?

Not exactly. After chatting with Kayla and doing some research on her credentials, not only has she impressed me with her philosophy but she has blown me out of the water with her knowledge and her outlook on fitness, food, balance and living an overall health-minded lifestyle.

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The reason I love Kayla’s plan is because I am a die-hard yogi (as you all know) and a three-ish times per week runner… so any time I get the opportunity to switch up my workout with a legitimate conditioning sesh, I am all in. The only reasons I haven’t gotten further into Kayla’s 12 week program are A) because the first week of it totally and utterly kicked my butt, and B) because I have been so busy with the book, app, apparel, blog and LIFE (oh yeah, that…) that I have had to be choosy with my workouts, and umm, yoga always wins.

Plus, even before I interviewed her I already knew I loved Kayla because I follow her on Instagram (where she is a massive sensation, BTW… 1.2 million followers!) where she posts daily inspiration, tips & nearly unbelievable (I’m serious) transformational photos of girls who have done her BBG workout plan. What I love about her goes beyond all of that– she is HONEST and totally has her head on straight when it comes to balance and living a healthy life, not a body-driven life.

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Her big thing is that results do not happen overnight, and there is no “magic pill” (as much as we would all love that…) that will give you your dream body. You have to work hard for your goals and be consistent. And even though I am coming from the mentality that life is about FEELING good as opposed to LOOKING good, I feel my best when I am physically fit.

That doesn’t mean perfect shape. It means fit enough to do everything you love to do, to eat the foods you love and to feel great in your own skin. For that reason I can’t wait to get more into Kayla’s guide once I have a little more time in my life. (Cue December book deadline!)

Now, without further ado… Kayla, take it away!

Q&A With Fitness Guru Kayla Itsines

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Q: Kayla! So amazing to have you here on TBB today. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your fitness philosophy?

Hi! I’m Kayla Itsines. I am a 23-year-old personal trainer from Adelaide, South Australia. I have specialize in training women as I have a passion for helping them achieve their goals whether they are appearance, health or confidence based. I love to spend time with my partner Tobi, especially at the beach, as I absolutely love summer. I have a Siberian Husky puppy called Ace who keeps me very busy! I hope I continue to grow as a person and expand my knowledge to be able to bring more information to women all around the world.

Where did your passion for fitness originate?

Once I graduated high school, I actually started studying beauty therapy. However, my love of sport and basketball lead to me to Personal Training, and that’s when I discovered how much I loved helping people to become healthier and happier! I have never looked back since, for me it was a great life changing decision. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

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Although your body is out of this world, even fitness idols have their own fitness idols, right?! Who would you say yours is?

This is so true, I idolise Iza Goulart like there is no tomorrow. I also love Candice Swanepoel AND she followed me on Instagram a while back. Possibly one of the best days of my life!

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What’s a day of eats like in Kayla’s world? 

I generally change things up a bit because I believe variety is really important in your diet. But for example an average day of mine would look like this:

Breakfast: Toast with poached eggs, “lemony” avocado, tomato and spinach, plus a cup of herbal tea.

After morning snack: One piece of fruit.

Lunch: Chicken yiros (a wrap) with homemade tzatziki, lettuce, tomato and onion.

Afternoon snack: Tuna, corn and & a piece of fruit.

Dinner: Avgolemono (fluffy lemon & rice soup, my absolute favourite) with chicken

Evening: I always have a peppermint or chamomile tea in the evening.

Best tip for finding consistency with workouts?

Listen to your body! Find a regime that you can maintain and that works for you. Always remember to rest when you need to! A lot of the time girls burn themselves out by going too hard, too fast which only leads to prevention of weight loss. So be consistent, work hard but listen to your body. 

You know I am a huge green smoothie addict… What is your favorite smoothie recipe? 

My new favourite would be my Goodness-Me green smoothie! A combination of ripe fruit and leafy greens! The full recipe and method can be found here on my blog!

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What does “balance” mean to you?

Balance to me is so important as I believe that it’s unhealthy to have too much or too little of something in your life. One of my main tips to keep a healthy balance is to create a daily to-do list and plan your day in advance. That way you can aim to make sure that you are fitting in all of those things that are most important to you, such as exercise, work, family and friends. Mine would of course involve spending time with my baby puppy Ace :)

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Because we are alll about balance over here, what is your favorite indulgence?

Dried mango! I LOVE it, but is so high in sugar I try only have it once every so often!!

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Alright babes, there you have it! Fitness advice from the ultimate fitness guru. I adore Kayla because she knows that fitness is not just about the body, it’s about health and feeling great overall.

PS… before I go, I would love your support in Katsuya + Keep A Breast’s #RollOutTheResearch campaign. Vote for my sushi roll & it will be featured on their menu for the month of October if I win! 50% of the roll’s proceeds will go toward funding breast cancer research. My roll is the fourth one in the righthand column. (The “Oh Kale Yes!” roll!). Oh, and you can vote once a day until the 29th!

Thoughts on Kayla’s fitness philosophy? Is her bod banging, or what? Who’s gonna go make that heavenly smoothie recipe?!

Dealing with Loss

Hello, hello my loves.

This weekend was eventful, rejuvenating and reflective in many ways. I spent the weekend with family in the valley, and my mom came up to celebrate our cousin’s 80th birthday (so amazing!) and we all had a blast. Sunday night I ended up going on an impromptu bar crawl with a friend and stayed up until 3 a.m. (I’m a crazy person, I know). We even decided it would be a great idea to watch The Little Mermaid. Cue “Under the Sea” & lots of cute little fishies.

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It was reflective and difficult in the sense that we had to say goodbye to my grandpa this weekend. He would have been 93 this week, and he lived a long, full, beautiful life. He was one of the most content men I’ve ever known and the glass was always half full in his eyes. He grew up in Arkansas and nothing made him happier than playing cards with his fellow veterans in his boots and cowboy hat.

The last year of his life was tough for him and he was in a lot of pain. His memory was slipping, he was falling all the time and had zero appetite. For those reasons I thought I would feel more at peace with seeing him go, but there is still something so heart wrenching about losing someone who was such a huge part of your life. He was my last living grandparent and we are going to miss his smiling face and sweet demeanor very much.

Papa Losing him got me thinking about how I deal with loss in all areas of my life… and it’s certainly not pretty. I’ve never been one to say goodbye very easily and will actually avoid doing so at all costs. My high school boyfriend and I have been off and on since we were 15, and regardless of whether we are together or not he will always be one of my closest friends. I have only let go of one or two friends in my life and those were for very necessary circumstances… and it was still very difficult. I’m the girl who forgives people for just about anything (don’t get any ideas!) because I can’t bear to be on bad terms with someone I care about.

I also hate saying goodbye to people even if I am going to see them the next day! It’s never just an “okay, bye,” it’s a “so, I’ll call you in the morning…” kinda thing with me. And even moving beyond people, there are my obvious food anxieties, my total yoga addiction, my all-or-nothing writing/working/drinking/everything mentality, and my neurotic ability to keep in touch with just about anyone and everyone I’ve ever cared about. (That last one is really a good thing, except when it gets in the way of me getting things done throughout the day because I have so many conversations going on!)

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Loss is hard, and I’m not sure I totally allow myself to deal with it. Do any of us, really? I get close to the point of dealing with it and then I leap backward and panic about going through the painful emotions of truly letting go. And I believe that’s also how I am dealing with my eating disorder recovery.

I accepted the eating disorder, I began working through it and I made strides, and then I kind of wanted to be done with it. I’ve tried extremely hard to convince myself that I am well enough to stay out of therapy, to build my own meal plans instead of relying in a nutritionist, and to jump back into my very busy day to day life without a ton of reflection.

Accepting how sad I am about losing my grandpa has prompted me to realize there are a lot of things in life I need to more than just accept. I need to allow them to happen… I need to allow the emotion to run through me so I can deal with the pain and let go of it. Instead, I let little things build and build on top of each other and then I bury them somewhere, somehow.

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So, here’s to challenging ourselves to actually DEAL with our shit. I know I’m not the only one who puts it off. And in true Byron Younger fashion (my gpa), I will celebrate his life and be happy that I got to spend nearly 24 years around him. And I will also celebrate my own life, every day, because that’s the way it should be and I think sometimes we forget to do that.

Things I need to / want to deal with head on? Recovering from my eating disorder, the craaayzay anxiety I get on a daily basis about pretty much everything, procrastinating the inevitable amount of work I still have to do on the book (even though I love writing it), and some other more personal things I probably shouldn’t flood the blog with.

So, somehow, this post is meant to be a happy one. We all deserve to celebrate our lives, and we all deserve to be ridiculously happy as much as humanly possible.

Excitement of the Moment:

In other news, go check out the Katsuya #RollOutTheResearch contest and vote for your girl TBB so my roll can get featured on their menu for the month of October! It’s a wonderful competition raising awareness and money for breast cancer research. 50% of the proceeds from the roll will go toward funding research all month long. Mine is the fourth one down on the right! Yahoo!Katsuya10

And secondly… I am doing a super fun TBV Apprel Trunk Show at Gingersnap’s Organic when I go to NYC next month! The trunk show is on October 6th, and it includes delicious raw vegan food and drink (and the best raw donut holes you’ve ever had), great company & fun mingling! Buy your ticket now if you’re interested because space is limited! I am so excited!

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What do you need to deal with in your life in order to move past it and be able to be your happiest self? How do you deal with loss? Thoughts on the competition & upcoming event?!

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Recovery Series #4 // Emily von Euw

Hi loves! Last week’s Recovery Series post was more introspective than usual, and I really enjoyed writing it. It felt like such a release to put my words and thoughts on recovery/life/being alive out there into the universe. Thank you for your positive responses. I appreciate every single one of them!

RecoverySeries4Today the lovely miss Emily von Euw from This Rawsome Vegan Life is stopping by to tell us her recovery story. She suffered from disordered eating at the beginning of her raw vegan journey when she was around the age of 17. Now it’s been a few years, and she has figured out how to eat a healthy plant-based diet AND be good to her body. She inspires me so very much, and I have had a blast following her blog for the past several years. You rock, Emily!

PS, before we get to it, prepare yourselves to do some voting (cough cough…for me! Hehe, JK, kinda) from September 15th – 29th on Katsuya’s Facebook page. It’s part of their #RollOutTheResearch campaign for breast cancer awareness, and the winner of the contest gets their roll featured on Katsuya’s menu for the month of October. (For all of you non-Californian readers, which is many of you, Katsuya is a super trendy and delicious sushi place in LA!). Would so appreciate your support! Had a blast getting a sushi lesson from the chef yesterday. ;)

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Doing a whole post on the contest next week– but today is about EMILY!

Recovery Series #3 // Emily von Euw ▶ ▷ ▸ ▹ ►

Q: Name, age, current location.

A: Emily von Euw, 20, Vancouver

Q: You’re very open on your blog about developing disordered eating habits around the age of 17 when you transitioned from vegan to raw vegan. Can you tell us a little bit about that experience?
A: I became vegan because it made sense to me; if you care about others, yourself and the environment, you should eat a plant-based diet. Soon after becoming vegan I learned about the raw food diet and lifestyle, and the logic behind it also resonated with me. That is, the idea that raw foods are the healthiest foods on the planet because they are the least processed, their enzymes are still intact, and all other animal species eat only raw food… so it must be the most natural, and therefore healthy, diet! That was my thinking at the time anyways. In turning to the raw food diet, I made several mistakes. Firstly, after researching the lifestyle online and in books, I convinced myself that I should strive to eat 100% raw if I want to be truly healthy. Of course, I have learned this is not true. Humans have been eating cooked food since approximately 250,000 years ago and our bodies have evolved to handle it. The strongest civilizations throughout history have based their diets on cooked grains and vegetables. Secondly, I learned to see all cooked food as poisonous and bad for me and I felt guilty whenever I wanted to eat – and did eat – cooked food, even if it was just steamed broccoli or brown rice. This was not healthy because guilt and self-loathing are never healthy, but it was also unhealthy because I have since discovered I do best with cooked food in my diet, and if I eat all raw for too long I begin to feel weak. And finally, I did not eat enough. I think some folks can probably live on an all raw diet long term, but the amounts of food you need to eat are enormous (2,000-4,000 calories a day). I only ate a few pieces of fruit a day, and I was always craving other food I felt guilty about eating. It was a nasty cycle.

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Q: When did you realize you had gone too far with your raw vegan diet? Losing your period for 8 months was certainly one wake up call, but were there others?

A: After trying to eat all raw for several months I began to feel weak, light-headed, and tired all the time. I was exercising a lot, but after an hour of cardio I’d only have a plate of fruit and thought that should be enough. I dropped to about 100 pounds, and technically I was underweight. My parents were concerned and told me I should gain weight, but in my head I was proud of my unusually low BMI and wanted to lose even more pounds.

Q: You mention that your family was stressed and worried when you were getting thin and obsessing over being 100% raw. Did you simply feel misunderstood (“You guys don’t even understand the benefits of raw veganism!!!” kinda thing) or did you know deep down that their concerns were valid?

A: I definitely felt like they – and everyone else – didn’t get it. My parents and school teachers warned me I should be eating more and that I should have cooked food in my diet. My parents sometimes told me I should eat animal products again. I was always fairy dismissive about their concerns and comments. I thought: “This IS the best diet in the world! They don’t understand. I must be doing something wrong!” Looking back, I think I was deeply in denial, because I really believed what I thought, although I certainly had moments where I noticed someone very healthy who ate cooked food – duh – and I thought “How can they be healthy and fit if they eat salmon and eggs and bread?” I tried to convince myself they must feel sick all the time or that they’d develop some illness because they ate cooked food. Wow… typing that out seriously makes me realize how totally nuts my reasoning was. Yikes! collage 2 - Copy

Q: Your post from 2012 titled “bad girl” about eating a sandwich about trying to reason with yourself that it wasn’t “that bad”… How does it make you feel re-reading that now?

A: Haha, it’s awful. I cringe and laugh at the same time. I remember writing that post – and making that sandwich – like it was last week. The whole reason I posted that was because I thought I’d feel less guilty if I didn’t hide it. It kind of helped because it was out there in the open and I got a lot of comments saying they understood and I shouldn’t feel bad, but that was just a dark time so it didn’t definitively solve anything. Reflecting on it now, it’s utterly ridiculous. I let my convictions – that weren’t based on anything but opinion and ideology – get in the way of logic, scientific evidence and my health.

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Q: From what I gather from your blog & Instagram, you pretty much follow the 80/10/10 diet (correct me if I’m wrong!!). Has that lifestyle been triggering at all for you, and if so, how do you work through those triggers to avoid getting too obsessive?

A: Honestly I have never really followed one diet very precisely, I don’t think that’s a good idea for most people (more on this below). Once I let myself stop feeling bad about eating cooked foods – this took a long time and was not easy – I naturally came to a diet that was similar to 80/10/10. I ate as much fruit and veggies as I wanted, I drank huge smoothies all day and then had a dinner of rice and veggies, most days. But because I make so many raw vegan dessert recipes for my blog, I was also eating a lot of fat in the form of nuts and coconut oil. For the first two years of being vegan, I always felt great eating that much fat, but gradually I noticed if I had too many nuts in a day I’d feel bloated and groggy. I started cutting down a bit, and then I discovered 80/10/10! Well, actually I had read the book “80/10/10″ when I first got into raw food, but I mostly just took away from it the fact that you should eat all fruit, and that played a role in my disordered eating for awhile. But now when I think of the term 80/10/10 I think of Raw Til 4. So I discovered Raw Til 4 and thought “Hey! This is pretty much what I am doing, but these people basically eat no fat and they eat more fruit and veg than I currently am. Let’s try this out!” It worked for a few months and I felt really good, but it was exhausting eating so MUCH all the time. I still eat a diet that is close to 80/10/10 or Raw Til 4, but on my own terms: fruit smoothies all day, then rice and veg for dinner. But I am not afraid to use coconut oil in stir-frys, or nuts in my raw vegan recipes! I love avocado, coconut, and all nuts and seeds! I feel great when I have small amounts of them in my diet. I think the only issues I might have with 80/10/10 or Raw Til 4 is that they could possibly create a fear of fat for some people, and in a broader way: it is a diet that tells you that there is something you shouldn’t eat. The problem with that is it can make you feel guilty for craving or eating that food, it doesn’t matter what it is. My motto is: do what works for you. Eat what makes you feel your best, and be conscious of the effects that your food has on everyone involved. I felt this way before I tried doing Raw Til 4, but I guess I kinda forgot it, and now I am back on track. Just do what works for you! Every body is different, just like every personality.

 Q: I LOVE your philosophy that food is fuel and our bodies are beautiful and that we should treat them with kindness. Say I was asking you for a quote to put above my bed that embodied this sentiment… know of any great ones?!

A: Any of these:

“Your body is as beautiful and unique as yourself. Love your body. Love yourself.”

“Every body is different, just like every personality. Celebrate you.”

“It doesn’t matter what you look like; it’s about how you FEEL and what you can DO with your body.”

“Ability is beauty.”

“You are special. No one has a body quite like yours, so cherish it.”

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Q: Top 3 tips for people in recovery from eating disorders?

A: 1) Delete or ignore all the ads, websites, blogs, tumblrs, instagrams, and any other sources that promote only one body type. Some people are skinny, some people are are not. Some people have red hair, some people have blonde hair. Some people like brussel sprouts, some people don’t. We need to stop idolizing one body type and start celebrating the amazing diversity our biology provides. Think of your body as a functional tool, it doesn’t matter what you look like. It’s about how you FEEL and what you can DO with your body.

2) The society we live in is controlled by companies that benefit from you being unhappy. Give them the finger and give yourself a hug, because you’re gorgeous the way you are. Check out paintings, magazines, art, movies and photographs that celebrate curvy women and men that aren’t ridiculously ripped. These can be found from pretty much any time period until after the 60′s. If you are a girl and think you aren’t thin enough, consider the fact that Marilyn Monroe – the epitome of sexiness and beauty in the 50′s – would be a plus size model now. If you are a guy and think you aren’t muscular enough, check out mens bodies in films from decades past, and notice their natural lack of bulging biceps.

3) Go to nude beaches and look at all the glorious cellulite, curves, muscles, bulges, shapes, skin colours and facial features around you. Then look at yourself. You are beautiful. You are special. No one has a body quite like yours, so cherish it.

4) I know you just said 3 but this one is the most important: GET EDUCATED about body image and idolization in history, culture and society. If you are in high school, ask your teacher to cover the subject. If you are in university, take courses on sexuality, gender, and history. You will learn that the reasons for idolizing one body type have always been associated with the culture of the time. In the past when food was usually scarce, we admired curvy, pasty, light-skinned bodies because it meant those people were rich and had access too fine foods like sugar and white bread, and they didn’t have to work outside. Now we have been brainwashed into thinking ultra skinny girls and ultra muscular men are the only really beautiful bodies. This is because in “developed countries”, we have too MUCH access to rich foods (fast food and all processed food) so the majority of the population is overweight. Obesity is correlated with low-income. So again, we idolize thin and fit people because it implies they are wealthy. My point is: there is nothing intrinsically beautiful about any one body type. We only idolize certain body types throughout history and in culture because whatever body you have implies your social level. It’s not about JUST the body type, it’s really about affluence.

Q: I don’t know how familiar you are with my story, but I had to transition away from veganism because the restriction and idealism of the lifestyle (the way I was living it, at least) triggered my eating disorder. I have found mental clarity through introducing more foods into my diet… but of course I still have my original values in tact & eat as many plants as possible! Have you ever felt tied to veganism because of your blog? (I ask because I very much did.)

A: Yes, I have been hearing and seeing a lot about your decision and how you are doing now. I am very happy you have found a happy balance for yourself. I do feel tied to staying vegan because my blog depends on it, in a way. Having said that, although the pressure is there, it makes no practical difference since I have never thought about re-introducing animal products in my diet. I don’t want to die in order for someone to eat me for lunch, so it would be unfair for me to expect that of someone else.

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Q: Tell us what a day in the life (and the eats!!) of Emily looks like versus what it did in the midst of your eating disorder.

A: In the worst period of my disordered eating, I would wake up, drink water, then go to school and not eat until lunch. I would have a sliced mango and some berries, or something similar. I’d come home, exercise for an hour, then have a plate of fruit. I don’t really remember what I did for dinner, but I often was so hungry that I’d eat whatever cooked vegan meal my mom made – she has always been very accommodating and now my parents eat mostly vegan all week – but then end up feeling guilty about it. I recall trying to throw up sometimes, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Now I wake up, dance, workout, make a huge smoothie (often 5+ bananas with berries, nut milk and other yummy stuff), work on my blog (I spend many hours every day responding to emails, comments, questions, etc. – as a fellow blogger, you know what I mean!), then 4 days a week I go to school, although right now I am enjoying the last days of summer. 2-3 days per week days I will create, photograph and publish a recipe for my blog. I continue with my giant fruit smoothies all day, until dinner. Dinner is regularly a large bowl of grains and veggies. Often I eat raw or dark chocolate afterwards, or a raw dessert I have made. In general: I eat whatever I want. I don’t restrict anything, although I do moderate my fat intake because I honestly do feel best with just a little, most days. I listen to my body. On my last period, coconut butter tasted SO good one day, so I ate quite a lot. The next day, it wasn’t very appealing. I also sometimes get cravings for meat or eggs and in those cases I just eat extra iron, protein or B vitamins. No problem. Sometimes I want bread, so sometimes I eat bread, and so on and so on. I got my blood checked a few months ago and all was good. When I am not working on my blog, at university, exercising or making food; you can find me listening to records, dancing all night with my ladies, hugging my cat, hiking in the woods and mountains, writing in my journal, reading the classics, watching documentaries, enjoying bubble baths, trying to remember to live in the moment, and generally feeling wonderfully overwhelmed at the elegance of life. (But sometimes that wonderfulness backfires I need to be alone for awhile.) Oh, and I spend a lot of time with this amazing human being called Jack. We love each other a lot.

Q: Does blogging about food / exercise ever become triggering for you? If so, how do you maintain your balance and keep at it?

A: Not really, if anything, it keeps me even more honest and healthy. I strive to be transparent on my blog because it is a therapeutic and reflective tool for myself and I know it can help a lot of people out there who may be going through the same experiences as a vegan, female, or human in this crazy 21st century world. If I have issues, I talk about them. I love myself for what and who I am, and that person as well as that reasoning are reflected in my blog. People seem to really appreciate that so it becomes this positive cycle of me sharing myself, my readers supporting that, and then everyone just gets more enthused, excited and productive!

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Q: Anything you’d like to add?

A: Thanks for this interview; it is helping me grow and learn about myself when I write this all out.

Thanks so much for stopping by TBB, Emily. I am honored to add your story to the Recovery series. Thoughts on Emily’s story? She rocks, right?! What is everyone up to this weekend?

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Things I’m Loving Lately // 9.11.14

Time for a new Loving Lately roundup! Speaking of things I am loving… I am really enjoying this new posting schedule I’ve adopted. Mondays-Wednesdays are kind of free for alls with weekend recaps, recipes, giveaways, musings, photos, announcements, TBV Apparel launches (hell yes!!!), reviews, and whatever the heck else fits my mood. Thursdays are “Loving Lately” posts, and Fridays are “Recovery Series” posts.

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Weekends are for catching up on other bloggies, getting outside in the sun, working on the book, having fun with friends and fam, etc. Look at me, with an actual SCHEDULE! Ok, ok, I know it’s not a really strict schedule or anything but hey I try and it’s giving TBB (ahem, moi) some newfound structure, which is always fabulous.

Now that I’ve told you one thing I am loving lately, we may as well continue down that road…

 Things I’m Loving Lately // 9.11.14

1. Striped Button-downs ▶▷▸▹►

I actually fell in love with this look because my roomie is a fashionista and she has the cutest striped blouse that she throws on with just about everything from white denim shorts to jeans to leggings. I have always loved the stripe look (I get it from my mama) and am also super-duper in love with thin vertical stripe button-down dresses… I want them all! It’s problematic.

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2. PLAID ▶▷▸▹►

While on the subject of button-downs, I also want this shirt. In every color.

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3. Suja Macachino ▶▷▸▹►

I’ve mentioned before that I recently started drinking coffee for the first time in my life. I avoided it in the past because of my super sensitive stomach and also because I didn’t enjoy the taste. Once I realized I liked it, I drank it religiously for a few weeks (because I’m extreme like that) and then my pesky acidic stomach problems started to creep back up on me. I ditched coffee as a whole again for a few weeks, and then I discovered this fab Suja alternative. It’s all natural, and because it’s mixed with coconut water, cacao, vanilla bean, almonds and black sesame, the coffee taste is a lot more mild. And it doesn’t hurt my stomach! (This isn’t an endorsement BTW… I thought I should share for my fellow sensitive-stomach peeps.)

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 4.45.06 PM 4. Beverly Hills ▶▷▸▹►

Beverly Hills has always been a happy place of mine… it’s like an adult Disneyland! It’s CLEAN, the sun is always shining (okay not always but when it is, it’s beautiful), and people who work there and hang out in the area are professional, well put together and interesting to observe. As a foodie, professional people-watcher, and lover of the finer things in life, I’ve always found a lot of comfort in hanging out in the BH. (No one calls it the BH. I just made that up.)

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I spent the day there on Tuesday and felt extra motivated by the unique Beverly Hills buzz of energy. Plus, an old friend who I hadn’t seen in five years (woah!) met me for a catch up sesh at Starbucks and that also added to my happiness level.

5. New TBV Apparel designs ▶▷▸▹►

We released three new t-shirt designs yesterday, which I am endlessly thrilled about. They promote my blog’s message of balance. I think we learned a lot from the first go-round about what works and what doesn’t work, and I think they represent the brand in the exact way I want them to. Check the shirts out, tell me your thoughts, & send me pictures of you rocking them!

TBV- New Designs-36. Nice People ▶▷▸▹►

I’ve been working at cafes a lot lately, 1) because I love exploring my new neighborhood and 2) because working from home every day can get pretty damn repetitive. Working at cafes means a lot of, “Will you watch my laptop while I run to the bathroom / to refill my water / to take this phone call?” which also means gauging whether or not a person is actually trustworthy-looking enough to do so.

I am really trusting by nature (it’s gotten me into trouble before… like getting all of my college graduation money stolen by an old “friend” who I left alone in my house), and generally I don’t have to worry too much in Brentwood to begin with. I almost asked a homeless man who was hanging out in Starbucks yesterday to watch my laptop for a minute, and I really, really wanted to do it and let him prove that he was trustworthy, but naturally my saner side decided against it.

trustAnyway, I love when people are super nice and not only agree to watch my stuff for a minute but agree with a smile on their face, and then ask me to do the same whenever they need to get up for a few. The world should be a more trusting place… but since that can’t always be the case, it should at least always be a friendly place.

7. This Hairstyle ▶▷▸▹►

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I don’t want to cut my hair (let’s be real, it took me three years to grow it to this length), but if I did, this is the style I would go for. And the ombre is perfection. I tried ombre last winter, and it didn’t totally work for me. With my fair skin tone I need to be a lighter blonde. But in case anyone forgot, this was me as an ombre chick (comparing myself to an Olsen because I’m obsessed):

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 4.59.04 PM8. Speaking of MK&A… ▶▷▸▹►

They are always fabulous. I saw this picture while browsing Pinterest the other day, and I couldn’t not put it on the list. They are goddesses. It actually really bothers me when people criticize them and talk down on them for not having any talent, because they are brilliant businesswomen and have built an entire empire for themselves – never mind the fact that they didn’t even need to, after their childhood of hit TV shows, movies and products. But they keep working because they love to create, and they are making an impact in the world of fashion. They always impress and inspire me. (And I kinda wanna be them.)

bb621eec65af71162723220376d3486e9. NutriBulletRx Event ▶▷▸▹►

On Tuesday I attended a NutriBullet event at The Peninsula in Beverly Hills (now you see where #4 spurred from!) to celebrate the release of their new NutriBullet Rx. It was a super fun afternoon at a gorgeous venue. When we arrived we filled out a questionnaire about our lifestyle and they had their nutrition experts make custom smoothies for us. I got anti-aging (haha) and it was a delicious blend of kale, microgreens, pineapple, coconut water and one of their superfood powders.

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And I ran into some old friends at the event, which was fun! I was sent home with some great goodies like the new NutriBullet Rx and all of their superfood powders. I can’t even wait to give it a whirl once this crazy week dies down!

10. “I’m not usually an internet bully, but…” ▶▷▸▹►

Okay, this would go in a “Things I’m Not Loving Lately” section if I had one, but since I don’t, it’s going here. You all know I get a lot of internet bullies, and I don’t think they even deserve to be discussed on the blog but I do find it kind of comical that people think it excuses their rudeness if they start their comment by saying, “I’m not usually an internet bully, but…” and then they proceed to be an internet bully. You’re probably not usually an Internet bully, but now you are.

If you don’t want to be a bully, don’t be a bully! Keep your thoughts to yourself. Simple as that. Or better yet, focus on spreading positivity. :)

11. New TBV Apparel Logo ▶▷▸▹►

As many of you know, I kept the name “TBV Apparel” for the clothing line because I wanted it to symbolize and stand for “Truth, Balance Virtue” in place of “The Blonde Vegan.” With all of the other re-branding going on, re-branding the clothing logo got cast to the side. I finally created a new one… and it’s the first logo in all of TBV/TBB history that I have made myself, so I am pretty excited about it! (The sub brand mark at the bottom was made by the lovely Jessica - I’m not THAT good with Photoshop yet!)

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12. This article & this pumpkin cake pop recipe & the fact that it’s almost PERSIMMON SEASON! Yahoo! pumpkin-push-pops-7

What are YOU loving lately?! Have you had a chance to check out the new tees?!

New TBV Apparel Designs!

Annnd today is the day! We have released THREE new TBV Apparel designs, plus some of our original phrases in new styles. (Hint, hint: Yoga Junkie grey swoop neck tee? YES.)

NewTBVApparelDesignsWe launched TBV Apparel at the end of April, and since then it has been an absolute thrill to watch it grow and to see my wonderful readers, friends and family rocking the designs and the overall message of health, balance and staying active in the cute, fun and comfy way I love so much.

It has also been absolutely AWESOME to run into people on the street that are wearing TBV Apparel and/or people who recognize the line when I am wearing it. If you are a small business owner, you know the unbelievable joy of seeing people support and fall in love with your creations and message first hand. TBVApparel

Thank you to everyone who continues to support & rock the line. Seeing your photos & your awesome day-to-day adventures in the tees makes my heart burst with happiness. We have big plans for TBV Apparel, and each and every one of you are helping to make those plans a reality. I feel so lucky to have your support.

These three new designs are also very important to me because they represent my new message – balance. They are the first designs we’ve come out with since I changed my lifestyle, and after pouring my heart into recovery and learning to balance it feels good to have some designs available that support that message.

As usual, a HUGE thank you to my designer / photographer Tynan Daniels. I come up with the phrases, and he makes the magic happen. And big, big thanks to the stunning Ginny Gardner for modeling and making the shirts look flawless.

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So, let me introduce each new tee to you so you can officially say hello to our new babies! (Tip: you can click on each photo & it will take you straight to its spot on the store site!)

BALANCE Definition Tee:

This t-shirt epitomizes my lifestyle shift and the guidelines I try to follow to live my life. When my mind, body and spirit are in harmonious equilibrium I feel whole, serene, and charged with creative energy. I think balance is something we should all strive for, and I am thrilled to have a shirt that portrays that message.

TBV- New Designs-7 BALANCE Definition Tanks: TBVBalance

Loving Lately Tee:

Last month I did a little unofficial survey on Instagram and Facebook about people’s “loving lately” items and what they would like to rock on a t-shirt. These are certainly at the top of the chart when it comes to my favorite things, and I hope you agree! (Especially dreaming… and dark chocolate. And sandy toes. Ok, all of it. You caught me.)

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Loving Lately Tank:

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High On Good Vibes:

Sweet, simple, cool. I will rock this everywhere… All the time. I can already feel it. Sometimes all you need is a bit of simplicity in your closet. This with jeans and converse? Done. This with black leggings and booties? Done. This with boy shorts for pajamas? Done & done.

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Yoga Junkie Grey Swoop Neck:

Yoga Junkie has been a fan favorite from the start. People love the grey swoop neck tees (and for those of us with bigger boobs… this style seriously rocks)

TBV- New DesignsPop on over to our store site to purchase these bad boys! And don’t forget to hashtag #tbvapparel when ya do, so I can see your shining faces rocking them!

What do you think!?!?!

 

Weekend Recap + Sunology Giveaway

Hi babes! Sorry for my non-posting yesterday; my weekend was full to the brim with good stuff and by the time last night rolled around I decided to lay on the ground with my niece and catch up (and then pass out at 11) instead of pull together a posty post in advance.

And to make up for it, today I am coming at you with a triple whammy… a weekend recap, a thrilling announcement AND a Sunology giveaway! I suppose I should go in that order to keep things from getting confusing like they kinda can when I come at you with a major jumble of excitement.

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This weekend was great, and I would say it had the utmost balance because I got in some yoga and exercise, unwound with my friends (look at me drinking on the weekends…), relaxed at the beach, had some delicious meals, hit up the farmer’s market, checked out the Arts District in Downtown LA (I’m absolutely in love with it), got some writing done, and spent time with my family in the valley. Oh, and I had Pinkberry for the first time in about three years and it was glorious.

All in all, I’d have to say the number one highlight of the weekend was reuniting with my two favorite people on earth a.k.a my nieces Isabella and Olivia for the first time in WAY too many months. They are 11 and 6, and they are the brightest, funniest, most loving and adorable creatures I have ever known. One of the main reasons I moved back to California was because I missed them so much it made my heart hurt. Reuniting was amazing to say the least.

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Oh, and Olivia started a YouTube. You have to check it out. She’s going to be a famous producer someday because she has the mind of a creative genius… so you might want to hop on it so you can say you knew about her first. ;)

Exciting news… WE ARE RELEASING OUR NEW TBV APPAREL DESIGNS TOMORROW! That’s right. Three new designs PLUS our current phrases in new styles. I. Am. So. Excited. And cannot wait to share with you all! AND this weekend was TBV Apparel designer & photographer Tynan’s birthday, so send him some bday vibes because he is the best. ( Sneak peek… ▼ ▽ ▾ ▿ )

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And, to celebrate the new designs & say thank you to everyone who has shown me support since the launch of the line, I am hosting a giveaway between now & tomorrow– repost your favorite TBV Apparel photo on Instagram or Facebook, tag @tbvapparel & hashtag #tbvapparel, and you will be entered to win a free tee and/or tote!

Also, since I’m officially back in California to stay, I’ve had to think about certain things that I haven’t had to think about for the last year. Like, I don’t know, wearing clothes that aren’t covered by a floor-length puffy jacket and wearing sunscreen when I go outside.

I have been going to the beach a LOT lately (my happiest of all happy places), and being the fair-skinned chica that I am… I’ve been getting burned. Too much. I am normally really good about sunscreen but my pale NYC skin has been extra sensitive to the sun after being out of it for so long! (And after spending most of the summer indoors writing my guts out.) Sunology

Also, I’m really weird about sunscreen. I like using products that don’t contain chemical active ingredients or anything that will make my super sensitive skin inflame and turn into the color of a ripe tomato even without a sunburn.

If you want to learn more about why all NATURAL sunscreen is the way to go, check this out. It will open your eyes a little bittle.

Sunology is my sunscreen go-to. Plus, the founder has battled skin cancer and developed this all-natural sunscreen as a brand he could use and TRUST, so that is a huge win in my book. Their products provide SPF 50 and are made of zinc dioxide and titanium dioxide from all natural sources.

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For all my fellow fair-skinned lovers, I am doing a GIVEAWAY of Sunology products so you can check them out & see what the hype is all about. Just follow @Sunology on Instagram, comment on this blog post and say why you’d like to win. Pretty simple.

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Oh, and lastly… I met with my awesome app developer Cyrus yesterday, and we pretty much decided on a tentative launch date for the app. It should be out around October 10th (just in time for my birthday)… WAY too exciting. Details to come.

How was everyone else’s weekend?! Do you need some new sunscreen? Excited about the NEW TEES?!!

PS: You can check out Sunology on their website, or their social media channels. Don’t forget to follow them on Instagram for a chance to win the giveaway!

Recovery Series #3 // Outlook

Today’s Recovery Series post is going to be a little different. I have a lot of inspiring bloggers & readers lined up to share their stories of recovery, and I am so excited to get their voices on the blog. This week has been an intense period of reflection for me, and I wrote something the other night that I felt I wanted to share today. It reflects my recovery process and my journey toward my happiest, most whole self. It also reflects my life in general, and the way I want to live my life.

It’s more of a free flow than my usual posts. I hope you enjoy. Happy Friday, lovelies.

Life

Today I feel lucky. I feel lucky to have skin on my bones and to be present in this body and in this crazy, sweet, mystifying puzzle of life. I feel lucky to be rooted on this earth and to have the ability to walk, run, swim, bend and jump. I feel lucky to be surrounded by people who make my heart swell with love and who I can wrap my arms around and who make me smile until my face hurts. I feel lucky to have passions that ignite my soul and make me hustle through the day and make me ache for more. I feel lucky to wake up in the morning and fall asleep at night and dream about the wild and odd things that make my subconscious dance. I feel lucky to have fingers that can write and eyes that can see bright blades of grass and ears that can hear the rolling waves crashing into the shore. I feel lucky to have a drive that pushes me to seek newness and a heart that’s okay with the discomfort of the unknown. I feel lucky because sometimes I feel so full with love that my heart seeps happiness into my whole body, and even though life makes no sense I know in my soul that this universe is a beautiful place to exist.

I know I don’t always get it. I know I don’t always do things right. I panic over lost keys and I yell in traffic and I stress over things I can’t control. I get devastated about the evil things that go on in the world and I question what we are all really here for in the first place. I second guess myself and criticize and dwell on things I want to change. I don’t always choose the precious moments over the superficial ones, and sometimes I keep driving instead of deciding to hop out of my car at sunset to run onto the beach and take a dip in the waves.

But one thing I do know is that the more I let go of the questions and the unease and the fears and the striving for perfection and the preoccupation with things that are not in my control, I feel lucky. I feel calm. I let my heart make decisions that my mind is too programed into the specificities of humanness to make. When I let go I can just be and the world makes more sense and I am reminded that beauty in one single moment far outweighs sadness for any given stretch of time. My heart can buzz in tune with the earth and no matter what I am surrounded by I feel whole and complete.

I focus, I love, I receive, I listen to my heart and I reflect and I act on my impulses and I let the saltwater and the pen on the page heal me. I trust in myself and I believe that the universe holds a certain truth we may never know and may never need to know. To be happy; that is our purpose. And to love. To love a whole lot.

Today I feel lucky. Do you?

xx, Jordan

Things I’m Loving Lately // 9.4.14

Hi babes! It’s Thursday, & it’s time for a Things I’m Loving Lately post. From spontaneous beach nights to FLANNELS to my new bedtime habit… Laying it all on the table. Enjoy. :) Things I'm Loving Lately

1. Spontaneity ▶▷▸▹►

Now that I am back in LA for good and my hectic summer is coming to a close, I have more time to vary up my schedule and sneak things in that allow me to reflect in new ways. I have always been a person that tends to feel pretty stifled by an everyday routine, and even though my current routine is one that fluctuates daily and allows for a lot of wiggle room… I still crave a certain element of adventure and spontaneity to shake things up.

Two days ago I was driving to yoga for my fav 6pm class, and something came over me. My drive to yoga is pretty much a straight shot to the water; so the closer I got the closer I was getting to the ocean and the gorgeous light of the not-quite-setting-yet sun. Normally nothing deters me from yoga, but when I parked at the studio I left my mat and towel in the car and ran (yes, RAN!) right down to the ocean. It was a pull. My heart knew I needed it and it cleared my head in the best way possible.

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There was a small part of me that was panicked to stray from the “routine” of my very favorite yoga class… “What if I regret it? I’ve never regretted going to a yoga class…” so it felt even better to show myself that just because I do it all the time doesn’t mean I need to do it every day. My heart lead me to the ocean, and I felt instantly more calm and more in tune with myself and the universe. It was needed.

2. Top Buns ▶▷▸▹►

Y’all know I love a good top bun, and any variation of it. Anything that allows me to throw my hair up on top of my head and not have to worry about it getting in the way or getting tangled is pretty much my best friend. Lately I have been especially into the top bun, and it’s probably because my hair has gotten REALLY long. Like longer than it’s ever been I think. It’s definitely past my elbows. (Sidenote: It’s about time! I’ve only been growing it out since Fall 2011…!) TopKnots

Anyway, I’m so into the top bun right now that it’s even going to be on our new “Things I’m Loving Lately” TBV Apparel tee. That’s right, we have new designs coming out next week! Which brings me to #3.

3. New TBV Apparel Designs ▶▷▸▹►

Our new designs are coming out next week… hellll to the yes! We have been dying to get some new designs out for months now, and with my whole rebranding, name change, book & app, the designs were put on hold for the summer. Our newest tee is the “Healthy Checklist” tank, which I absolutely adore, but these new designs officially take the cake as my favorite tees to boot. Any guesses on the phrases we have up our sleeves?!

Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 2.03.09 PM 4. Collaborating with awesome people ▶▷▸▹►

My good friend Sophie & I are hosting at event with Racked Fitness at Equinox in West LA today at 3:00 p.m. There will be a rockin’ yoga class taught by Laura Conley, and afterward I will be selling TBV Apparel t-shirts at a 10% discount and Sophie will be selling her Philosophie superfood powders. Come hang out, sweat, sip on some smoothies & shop!

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5. Going to Bed EARLY! ▶▷▸▹►

I know, I know, right? Who am I? I’m the girl who once claimed she thrived off of staying up until 4:30 in the morning to write/read/party (whoops) and then sleep in until noon. I used to feel like my creative potential was somehow “unlocked” in the wee hours of the night when everyone else was asleep and there was nothing going on to get distracted by. There was also that minor problem of insomnia and extreme anxiety that kept me awake for hours on end…

Well, lately, I have been going to bed no later than 10:30 p.m. most nights and waking up (with no alarm clock!!!) by 7:30 a.m. This weekend I stayed out pretty late all three nights and my internal clock still woke me up by 8, so I think my body is officially getting used to the shift. I feel like so much more of an adult… and I feel way better rested overall. I’m pretty thrilled about it.

6. Finding new food photography locations ▶▷▸▹►

My new apartment has WAY more space than my NYC apartment (surprise, surprise), so being on the hunt for new places to set up food photo shoots has been kind of a blast. My latest discovery is our balcony. The lighting is gorgeous and it doesn’t take a whole lot to make the food look ridiculously appetizing. With the book & app deadlines on rapid approach, food lighting is on my mind quite a bit. Next thing I know I’m going to be in the middle of the street laying in the grass trying to snap the perfect photo… can’t say I haven’t done that before. ; ) AvocadoBreakfastPizza4

7. Loyal friends / followers / readers ▶▷▸▹►

Long story short, some crazy internet troll called me a “narcissistic c*nt” (among other things) on Instagram yesterday. At this point you’d think I would be used to it, but this time it wasn’t even about veganism. It was about my recipes being “too simple.” I made the mistake of responding, annnddd so the downward spiral began. So many amazing followers / friends / readers commented back defending me, and several people reported the idiot to Instagram, and also the Whole Foods because they were using Whole Foods’ logo as their profile photo. #karma (do these people not understand how idiotic & angry they sound?!)

Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 2.31.07 PM 8. FLANNELS! ▶▷▸▹►

I. Am. So. Obsessed. With. Flannels. Right. Now. I fell in love with this look on Lauryn’s blog a few weeks ago, and ever since I’ve been on the hunt for some perfect pieces to pair with a black maxi or my fav boyfriend jeans. So into it.

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9. Waxelene products ▶▷▸▹►

Ummm, Waxelene rocks. You know I am always on the hunt for all-natural, organic, eco-friendly products – especially products I use on my face! I am super picky about what I put on my skin… I don’t even wear makeup 95% of the time for that very reason. Waxelene products contain no petroleum and no hydrogenated oils, and they have a patented aeration process so your skin can breathe. They have a lip tube and a petroleum jelly alternative for your skin. Because I’m the queen of chapped lips, this lip tube has been my best friend as of late. (Tip: you can also use the petroleum jelly alternative to remove mascara! Helllooo Saturday night BFF.)

Waxelene You can find Waxelene products here, and also at Whole Foods, Bed Bath & Beyond, and CVS.

10. This article & this romper & this snackie ▶▷▸▹►

No, I didn’t write the article about yoga, but I might as well have. I agree with all 18 reasons on the list! Namaste to that. And this romper… to die. You’ll see me wearing it in the next week, because I definitely just bought it. And the snack… Seriously? Plus the food photos are amazing + I’m obsessed with Molly’s blog.

What are YOU loving lately? Any fun plans this weekend? Whooo’s ready to join me in a TBV Apparel #countdown?!