I’m About to Run My First Marathon, And…

AHHHH, YOU GUYS, I am about to run my very first marathon. And I’d be lying if I said that emotions weren’t running high. They’re running REAL high.

In case you haven’t read my previous marathon posts, let me catch you up to speed: I’ve been training for the LA Marathon with Team NutriBullet since September, and the race is THIS SUNDAY. I have always wanted to tackle a full marathon, but the main thing holding me back from committing to one was purely just fear. I was terribly afraid that I wouldn’t train hard enough which would result in me either getting hurt while running it or having to bow out of running it entirely. I was also afraid that I didn’t have enough time to train the right way, or that it wasn’t the right time. AND I was afraid that because of my extreme past, that I would take the training too far and overexert myself (i.e. get hurt) or have time for nothing in my life other than running. (Kinda like when I had time for nothing in my life other than veganism because of how extreme I was about it.)

What I felt more comfortable doing was signing up for a half marathon and proving to myself that I could fully commit to the training process, so that’s what I *originally* set out to do. The reason for that is that I have run three half marathons in the last few years, and every single time I fell off the training wagon sometime several weeks before the race. Because of who I am and because I always push myself to my limits when it really comes down to it — I ended up running all three races even though I wasn’t prepared. The most I’d ever run in the training process for each of the three was 6 or 7 miles at a time. So the full 13.1 was always a doozy — BUT it was doable, considering how active I am to begin with. I just have never been much of an outdoor runner, so the word “sore” would be a vast understatement for a week or two after all three races…

When word got around that I wanted to run a half marathon (I blog for a living, so my words tend to “get around” pretty quickly), one of my fellow OrangeTheory Fitness Ambassadors (whom I had yet to meet at the time) asked me whether I’d be interested in training for a full marathon. My first response? HELL NO.

Enter Jimmy Dean Freeman. He is one persistent dude, and I mean that in the best way possible. He told me about the NutriBullet training program he was coaching, and assured me that there would be many, many other first-time marathoners on the team. He also told me there would be five coaches & a bunch of mentors who had participated on the team in previous seasons. Oh, and an added bonus, I would get the half marathon I was looking for, because there was a 5k, 10k and half marathon scheduled into the training program.

I told him that all sounded awesome, and deep down I knew it was exactly what I needed if I was ever going to tackle a full marathon, but I was still scared.

“But… I have a book coming out in November!!” I told him.

“So? We only train on the weekends and Wednesday nights.”

“I know, but I’m going to be traveling a lot when it comes out, so I don’t know…”

“Why don’t you work your schedule around it? Travel during the weekdays and come back on the weekends. It’s worth it.”

Hmmmm. Well that all seemed true. And I did just get a kitten so I knew I wasn’t going to be traveling as often as I was used to. But still! The fear. My one last-ditch attempt at letting my fear take over was telling him that while it all sounded GREAT, I would prefer to participate up until the half marathon in January and that would be enough for me. Then I’d be done.

His response? “That’s not an option.”

And after a little more back and forth (all over a few juices at Juice Crafters with his adorable baby girl Bardot hangin’ in her baby carrier), he convinced me. That was that. I committed to applying.

Then I applied to the program, got accepted, and the rest was history. We began training 6 months ago (SO HARD TO BELIEVE), and I walked in to the team of 100+ people knowing only two of them, not counting Jimmy. It was a little intimidating to say the least… Especially because the one person I knew really well wasn’t at our first couple of practices. Plus, for all I knew, everyone else ran alllll the time and I’d be the slowest person out there.

But that totally didn’t happen. On our first run, it was clear to me that while there were super experienced runners on our team, there were also runners of all levels, and everyone seemed really friendly and open. There’s something about running alongside someone for 1, 2, 3, 4+ hours that makes it easy to be vulnerable with them and start to share things about yourself that you might not even know until you find yourself saying aloud.

And that bond only intensifies when you train alongside a group of people for 6 full months, all with one crazy big goal at the end of the journey to look forward to and to keep at the forefront of your mind. It’s an amazing feeling to know that there are so many other people in your life who are feeling A LOT of the emotions that you’re going through… the anxieties, the fears, the doubts, the excitement, all the ups & downs.

Speaking of– on a more personal level, the rapidly approaching marathon has brought up some serious emotions for me. A lot of the emotions I’m experiencing aren’t even in relation to the marathon itself, but rather about other aspects of my life that I’m starting to view differently under the lens of this one huge, intense goal approaching.

This isn’t particularly shocking, because I tend to react strongly to all sorts of big things in my life. When one huge event is about to happen, it kickstarts something inside of me that makes all the “maybe I’d change that” parts of my life seem way, way, way more important than ever before and as if they need to be acted upon right then and there.

I try to look at all of them pragmatically — but in all honesty, I usually just feel like an anxious mess until I work out each issue individually. Maybe that means I shove a lot of things under the rug until I can’t hide from them anymore? Yeah, probably.

But instead of viewing that side of me in a negative light, I actually see a lot of positives in my inability to be content when I know that certain things in my life aren’t going well. It enables me to be in touch with my spiritual side, because when I find myself tangled in anxiety and fear, I need the guidance of a stronger presence to help me reflect. It draws me to yoga, meditation, journaling and most recently to an INSANELY awesome conversation with an animal communicator. I’ll go into more depth about that soon if anyone is interested… but it was one of the most therapeutic and cathartic experiences I’ve gone through in a long time.

That hyper-anxious side of me also brings me closer to those around me, because I veryyyy much value the guidance and advice of my close friends and family. It allows me to open up to them in a way that I simply don’t let myself when I am “pretending” like everything is going well (even when I don’t mean to pretend).

And ultimately — it helps me make decisions that enrich my life in the best ways possible in the end. Even if it means letting go of someone who’s been important to me, letting go of a commitment that I previously thought was necessary and important to my life, or making path-altering decisions when it comes to my business and brand. I know it can be shocking to some people, especially those close to me, that I can just let go of something immediately once I know I’m done with it. My parents even laugh about it (all the time)… but the truth is — I think I hold onto some things for SO LONG that by the time I realize they no longer serve a purpose in my life I need to get rid of them simultaneously.

I have also been doing a TON of reflection about where I am in life and where I want to go. As a full-time blogger, I have the ability to focus and hone in on any particular area that interests me the most… And I am currently figuring out what that will look like over the next few years. It could even mean going back to school to get a Masters degree (and finish it this time — lol), spending an extended period of time in another country, starting to teach yoga again, or all of the above.

Beyond where I’m going, I am really trying to focus on where I am right now, in this moment. I am taking control of my health in a way that I really haven’t over the last year and a half and trying to get my post-veganism hormone problems under control — and focusing on ME in the context of my own body rather than in the context of my brand/business all the time. Gotta take care of myself first!

I try to remember that all of this is exciting even though it can also feel overwhelming. And I want to give an immense thank you to Team NutriBullet, Jimmy Dean, and everyone I’ve grown close to on this team & from running in general for helping me reach not only the approaching marathon, but all of these reflections about my personal life that have given so much more clarity.

This whole experience has taught me SO MUCH, but I think my main takeaways are as follows…

  • Let go of fear and anxiety when it’s holding me back from committing to a big goal, because I am stronger than the fear and there are way more scary things in the world than my goals.
  • Be open to change and fluctuations in the daily routine of life, so that everything that bothers me doesn’t pile up when I just can’t hide from it anymore.
  • Try new things more often because they are the best way to really, really challenge myself and come out on the other side with an entirely new perspective.

What do you guys think?! Can you relate to parts of what I’m feeling (or maybe all of it)? What about you marathon runners out there… What should I expect come Sunday?!

Balance in Every Form

Happy Wednesday! I have been spending a lot of time lately creating space for there to be balance, organization & calm in every aspect of my life. I will get more into the space creating details later this week, because it’s something I’ve been working on big-time and I can’t wait to tell you ALL… but today I am going to share a few tips that I’ve learned when it comes to incorporating balance into my daily life.

I think a lot of people get intimidated by the idea of “balance” because they believe that achieving that state would have to mean finding their innermost zen, relaxation and contentment annddd maintaining it. Well, I’m here to tell you something: that is impossible. Since we’re all pretty darn hard on ourselves, there really is no perfect state of balance.

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Perfection is unattainable, even when it comes to finding a state of balance in your life. Ultimately, balance (to me at least) is just another word for happiness. When you’re balancing your life in the way that works best for you, then you will be the happiest version of yourself.

That is the GOOD NEWS, my loves, because that means that if we work on creating balance in our daily routine then that’s all it takes to start living a balanced life. It’s ALL ABOUT switching up that routine and starting to incorporate the things that we always say we’re going to… And it’s time to DO IT. :)

This stuff is my jam, and not because I have found a perfectly balanced state of mind. Quite the contrary. I am always searching for balance — it keeps me grounded and helps me learn new things about myself on the daily. Here are some of my best tips for finding that balance in your life…

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TBB TIPS:

  • Clean out your space & PURGE the things you do not need and/or love. This goes back to the whole idea of creating space so that you can make room for your creativity to flow. Without allowing that side of yourself to have a valid place in your life, you will remain SUPER far away from a balanced state. It’s just the truth. I am a firm believer in the idea that you must find what you absolutely love to do, creatively, and practice it. Some people are more creative and some people are more analytical, so your list may be long or short. Even if it’s just going on a long run to clear your head or writing a note to someone you love to get your feelings out — DO IT. But, you can’t really do any of that in the soul-cleansing way I mean it in unless you first create space to do it. Get rid of the stuff you don’t need… It will change your life. (I just purged 25+ bags of stuff from my apartment, but that’s a story for another blog post!)
  • Use only products that you can stand behind & that make you feel your absolute best. This one is HUGE. Especially for someone like me who ends up getting sent lots and lots of product that I don’t end up using because it either fills up my space as clutter, or I use it once and don’t really love it. I try to use natural products that are derived from as close to the earth as possible. They are better for your hair, skin, body & overall life. I am going to break this one down into a few different bullet points because it’s important…
  • HAIR products- This post, incidentally, is sponsored by Aveeno’s balancing Pure Renewal shampoo. It’s infused with the power of earthy wonderfulness ACTIVE NATURALS®Seaweed Extract and naturally derived cleansers. Speaking of… It’s National Seaweed Day, so today would be the best time to use it, duh. It is made with a sulfate-free NATRASURF™ technology that works to lift away impurities without overstripping, helping to rebalance hair’s optimal moisture levels, leaving it shiny, healthier looking, and full of life. And for blondies like me, it helps restore color levels and keep it nice and bright. Basically… I am obsessed with this shampoo, and I do believe that finding a shampoo & conditioner that you truly love (and love the SMELL OF, because you will be smelling that scent all day!) is all part of the balancing act.
  • Everything else– I like to use natural, from the earth products whenever possible, but if you find what you like & what works for you — you will feel more balanced and centered already, because you’ll be listening to yourself.
  • Eat foods that make you feel your best, and have a handful of go-to healthy recipes that you know you love so you can meal prep & be prepared for the week. IT SAVES SO MUCH TIME, and so much money. I spent all of last year eating OUT for basically every meal because I “did not have time” to cook while I was writing my book. Honestly, that was just a handy excuse for for making the time to cook or find recipes that would make it easy to buy the right foods for. I was grocery shopping all the time, but only for essentials and not really enough to make a full-blown meal. Cooking at home more has worked wonders on my mind, body, bank account & it makes me feel so much better about what I am eating. A.k.a I know where it all comes from / what is used in it!
  • Find a workout routine that you absolutely love so that you can be consistent with it & enjoy yourself while you are doing it. This is another huge point. In order to stay active, you’ve gotta do the work to find the type of workout routine you love. For me, that’s a combo of yoga, running, HIIT & hiking. I can rotate that sched and be perfectly happy with it. Try everything you can, and don’t short yourself in this arena because if you’re not living an active lifestyle you won’t be able to get anywhere near your balanced state of mind… UNLESS you’ve been an over-exerciser and you need to cool it for a while, then I’d say the opposite.
  • Carve out more time for yourself. Read more, take bubble baths, go on walks or runs alone to clear your head. A lot of people are afraid of being alone, and I’ve found that having alone time with myself is really the best way to maintain balance and happiness. When you’re alone you can REFLECT, so do what you like to do when you are alone in order to make that happen! For me, it’s writing, reading, cuddling with Hudson my kitty, watching TV (silly I know, but it’s sort of a new thing for me and really helps me relax), journaling, running, yoga-ing, stretching, etc.
  • Surround yourself with people who lift you up and make you SO HAPPY and content. It’s okay to begin to let go of the people who don’t. That has actually made all the difference for me in living a truly balanced life. I allowed myself to let go of the people and things that were no longer serving me without feeling guilty about it. For us people pleasers, this one can be tough… But oh so worth it.
  • Empower yourself by learning more about the things that will help you grow. I think once we finish school a lot of us get stunted in the education department. Never stop reading, researching & learning about the things that interest you. I am fascinated by nutrition, business, history, people’s personal memoirs, and SO MUCH MORE and if I wasn’t constantly reading about it and learning about it I would be missing a key quality to my life that I love so much — plus, it will give you confidence in social situations because you’ll have so much to discuss!
  • Do the things you love & don’t feel guilty about it. YEP. Huge.
  • Take care of yourself, and pamper yourself! And again, don’t feel guilty about it.
  • More advice in my book. :)

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So, there you have it! I am so grateful to Aveeno for sponsoring this post & for creating a BALANCED shampoo and conditioner that keeps it natural, smells amazing and keeps my blonde bright & in tact. Highly recommended by this Balanced Blondie over here! Use the store locator on their site to find out where you can buy Aveeno in your area, or purchase on Amazon!

Do you guys have any balance tips, tricks or favorites that I missed? If so, would love for you to share them below! Have a FAB Saturday, and can’t wait to share this whole creating space thing with you… Xx

What Does Your Perfect Day Look Like?

It might sound like a cliche question, but I’m honestly wondering. What is your perfect day? Because if you know the answer to that question, then you basically have all the tools you need in order to feel your very best at any given moment. Bear with me here- I will explain in a sec.

Before I get into the whole perfect day thing, I want to tell you about the sponsor of this post — the fab MZ Wallace. The backpack & purse I am rocking in this post, from my perfect Malibu day, are both MZ Wallace. They are an NY-based accessory brand that combines functional luxury with distinctive design for women who lead a dynamic lifestyle. Hellloooo, who does that sound like?! Moi. And probably you too! Dynamic lifestyle all the way– if you’re not leading one, you better start.

The line was founded by Monica Zwirner and Lucy Wallace Eustice, both of whom were born & raised in Manhattan (my DREAM). Both ladies worked in fashion for several years before linking up to create MZ Wallace, because they both saw a certain functionality factor missing from the accessory world.

They also just launched MZW Fitness, which I obviously am a h-u-g-e fan of. (Read about why co-founder Monica loves yoga here; I LOVE THIS… Especially because I also practiced at Jivamukti when I lived in NYC!). They have everything from the Metro Yoga bag to a custom barre3 tote (you KNOW how I feel about barre3!) & their bags promote functionality on top of how cute they are.

* We are doing a GIVEAWAY at the bottom of the post. Just comment telling us what your perfect day looks like AND follow @mzwallacenyc on insta, and I will choose one winner to receive a free MZ Wallace bag of their choice! X

Below, I am wearing the Metro Backpack & gazing out over my favorite pier… Malibu Pier baby.

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Okay, so now let’s talk about why it’s important to be able to envision our perfect day.

Take it from me… I think I have got to be the most anxious, OCD person in the entire world. When something I’m stressed about starts to take over my mind, it feels like there is NO going back from there. Ask anybody who knows me! My friends & family can definitely tell you that if I get something in my mind that “NEEDS” to be done, I will completely re-navigate my day (or life) in order to make it happen.

Same goes with making things NOT happen — if I decide I need to get something out of my life & make a change… I take that very seriously. If I feel like I need to clean out my closet, I will cast aside all other responsibilities and purge my entire closet of things I don’t need until I feel better.

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Or if I need to tell someone something that’s on my mind, I simply cannot, cannot wait. It can be bad sometimes because often that very moment is not the time to get into a full-blown serious convo about something bad OR good… So it’s something I’ve had to work on quite a bit over the years.

It’s WEIRD, I know. I’m not telling you that it’s normal! But if it happens to be something you can relate to, then this is your post.

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What is your PERFECT day?

If you can close your eyes & envision an absolutely ideal day, then you’re already in a great position. Part of being able to calm yourself down in a stressful situation means being able to visualize the types of places, sensations & thoughts that make you calm. It’s very similar to what I tell people about creating a life/career path that you love– if you know what you love to do, then all you have to do is make it happen. A lot of people who through life without ever fully realizing what it is that makes them happiest.

So basically, knowing what your perfect day looks like gives you a leg up.

My perfect day looks a little something like this…

Wake up and cuddle with Huddy in bed for a nice long while before I have to get out of bed to do anything. Hudson’s silky fur and motorboat purrs (literally, he has the loudest purr EVER for such a tiny kitty) make me feel so calm and grounded and I love to soak in that morning time with him. Then I’d have a glass of warm water with lemon, listen to some good yogi music and get ready for the day. Then I’d meet a friend for coffee at Alfred’s Coffee down the street from me, and we would sip on our almond milk lattes or matcha teas and chat. Afterward I would go to an OrangeTheory HIIT class or a yoga class, and then head home to shower. After showering and having a protein-packed green smoothie, I would most definitely 100% go to the beach with my dear friend & photographer Danika in tow. We both love Malibu… So Malibu would be the beach of choice, for sure.

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While we were there we’d take tons of photos. The photo aspect fits into my perfect day because not only do I love to capture the moment, but it also makes the day productive because the photos would knock out a bunch of content for the blog. That productivity factor is huuuuge in my vision of a perfect day, because being productive is one of my favorite feelings in the world. Especially when that productivity aligns with already having a great time doing something I organically love to do.

To keep the perfect day going, Danika & I would meet friends at Malibu Farm for an early dinner and watch the sun set. Then I would head back home to Brentwood to snuggle with someone I love on the couch and watch a good movie! There might also be a pretty hike in there somewhere earlier in the day, but you get the gist.

THAT is the definition of my perfect day.

And THAT is the day that alllll of the photos from this blog post captured. :)

Below I am wearing the Medium Metro Tote in Black Paint Colorblock while shopping for some produce — it doubles as a great grocery bag! 😉 

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Since I am so clear on what my perfect day looks like, I am able to close my eyes & channel that happy and calm energy whenever I’m feeling stressed. Sometimes it works better than others (let’s just say I had a bit of a mental breakdown on Friday — will write about it if you guys are interested), but most of the time the technique works wonders.

So… tell me your thoughts! What does your perfect day look like? I will be reading through ALL of your answers, and I will be choosing a winner to receive a FREE MZ Wallace bag of your choice! Do tell. Also follow @mzwallacenyc on IG to win. Your perfect day?

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Decoding Yogurt Labels

Hi guys! Let’s talk about yogurt. I get all sorts of questions from you about yogurt, and up until recently I had all sorts of my own questions about it too. (Ask my nutritionist, I would send her photos from Whole Foods of all the different variations and be like: “HELP ME.”)

It can be bit of a controversial topic in the health world unless you know what to look for on the nutrition label. I want to give you the down low on what to look for so that you don’t have to panic in the grocery store or avoid yogurt all together. There are actually wonderful options that will leave you feeling fueled & energized instead of bogged down and brain-fogged from the added sugar.

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For those of us who watch our sugar intake, yogurt can be one of those tricky snacks. It is either packed full of calories to the point where I would personally rather be eating a full blown meal, or its low-cal and loaded with sugar. The sugar option is worse in my opinion health-wise, because then your blood sugar spikes and you are left with more sugar cravings and hunger shortly thereafter when you should have been satiated by your well-intentioned snack!

I should add that I’m not a calorie counter and I like to eat based off of how I feel rather than off of how many calories are in my food. If you’re really listening to your body, calories don’t matter because you wont over eat or under eat when you give the bod what it wants and needs! BUT I like to include low-cal options on this bloggy because I know a lot of you are trying to reach a healthier lifestyle and/or maintain your healthy lifestyle, and I respect that so very much.

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Plus, who doesn’t like to read about light, healthy, natural, non-GMO snacks?

So! In my research about healthy low-cal yogurt options that are NOT filled to the brim with fake sugar and artificial grossness, I came upon Chobani’s brand new Simply 100 option. It’s a little yogurt cup with all natural & non-GMO yogurt and crunchy mini-snacks to mix in! I am ALL about that crunch, as you guys know, so it sort of thrills me that this yogurt has a fun little twist to it.

I have partnered with Chobani to bring you this post, but that doesn’t mean I don’t 100% believe in what I’m sharing with you. If I didn’t…. I wouldn’t be writing about it. I am so stoked to arm you with this knowledge so you can feel your best from the inside out!

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Simply 100 is crafted with delicious real fruit and it’s packed with protein, fiber and calcium. Believe it or not it is the ONLY 100-calorie yogurt on the market that is made with all natural ingredients and isn’t pumped with sugar. It has 75% less sugar than other “light” yogurts of its kind… And for that reason alone it has me hooked!

YOGURT DO’S & DON’TS (to look for on the nutrition label): 

DO:

  • stevia (in abundance), monk fruit (in abundance), and small amounts of evaporated cane juice are okay (less than about 8g)
  • 10g+ of protein, 3g+ of fiber (roughly)
  • All natural
  • Non-GMO
  • “No Artificial Sweeteners” label
  • Real, wholesome fruit inside
  • Kosher, Added Probiotics & Gluten-free are all pluses, but it’s up to you
  • Live & Active Cultures — good for the tummy!

DON’T:

  • don’t buy into the “non-fat” or “low-cal” labels on their own, because that usually means its loaded with sugar
  • large amounts of evaporated cane juice (more than 8g) and/or double digits of grams in the sugar department
  • low amounts of fiber and protein, because then it won’t keep you full!
  • Gelatin (fakeness alert)
  • Milk Protein Concentrates (please watch out for these — MPCs are more or less a cheaper, foreign alternative to non-fat dry milk)
  • “Natural flavors” — unless the flavors are disclosed and detailed in the ingredients section, this leaves the door open for anything that originated in nature before it was processed in a laboratory. No bueno

Overall, Simply 100 fits the bill. Overall, 99% of other “low-cal” yogurt brands do not.

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I am so appreciative of companies like Chobani who recognize the importance of offering healthy, natural options for the snacks we all grew up on that we know and love. I don’t know about you, but when I was little I had a yogurt in my lunchbox EVERY single day. And I had no idea (and I’m sure my parents didn’t either) that all the yogurt brands on the market back then were packed full of sugar and artificial ingredients. I may as well have been downing ice cream with my lunch every day.

Chobani is in alignment with the balanced healthy lifestyle that I bring to YOU guys each and every day on this bloggy, and for that I am so grateful. I have great memories of walking past the Chobani store in SoHo when I lived in New York and seeing lines and lines of people wrapped around the corner to get their Greek yogurt with fresh toppings. It’s a heck of a lot better than the local fro yo option, that’s for sure! It makes my inner wellness freak smile from ear to ear. :)

So, to celebrate their new Simply 100 option and to spread the word to all of you guys who I love to keep in the know about the healthy new products out there, I have created this beyond delicious smoothie recipe with the yogurt. I hope you enjoy!

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Low-Glycemic Berry Green smoothie 

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup spinach

1/4 cup raspberries

1/4 cup gluten-free oats

1 tablespoon almond butter

1 cup Chobani Simply 100 blueberry flavor

1/2 cup almond milk

1/2 cup ice

METHOD:

Blend in a high-speed blender or food processor, and top with raspberries and/or coconut shreds to taste.

•PRO TIP: up the fiber content with 1 tablespoon or flax and/or chia seeds! I’ve been doing that with everything lately and loving it. :)

I have been going fiber-loco lately because with all of the switches in my diet (and my elimination of unnatural sugars) I need it to keep my blood sugar stable and of course to keep me regular if ya know what I mean. The fiber content in Simply 100 is good, and with the added flax or chia seeds in this smoothie you’ll be feeling fab and will have a nice, stabilized baseline after having this for breakfast or for a late afternoon snack!

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PLUS, it’s low-glycemic! That’s why I’ve used raspberries instead of a higher glycemic fruit, and why I’ve kept it to 1/4 cup instead of more. If you don’t watch your sugar intake like I do, please feel free to go ahead and add more berries. Berries are full of antioxidants and will replenish you after a good workout.

And, just to make it clear, I am not on this low-glycemic train because I’m trying to deprive myself. Actually, quite the contrary. All I want is to feel my absolute best in my skin and to have a great relationship with food, and the elimination (at least mostly) of sugar really helps me achieve that goal. It keeps my hormones and my blood sugar stable, and it leaves me craving healthier foods AND with more energy to be as active as possible. It’s a win win for me, but everyone has their own relationship with sugar and by no means should you cut it out just because I have.

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Overall, Simply 100 is a winner in my book! They’ve got it goin’ on and they are LEGIT natural and non-GMO, and the low-cal thing is actually just true because it comes in a smaller portion, so my fab readers looking to keep weight off are in luck. :)

Thoughts?! Who’s tried it? Who has been sucked into other types of low-cal yogurts that fall under my “DON’T” list?! I think we’ve all been there…

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The Importance of Rest Days (Even for Fitness Addicts)

To follow up from my post about Why Being a Fitness Addict is the Best Thing That’s Ever Happened to Me, I thought I would bring a little bit of balance into play by talking about something that is equally important in the life of an exercise fiend… rest.

I promise this isn’t going to be a cliche “rest day” post. Consider it real life advice from someone who overexerts herself for a LIVING (or at least it feels that way a lot of the time) and constantly, every single day, needs to remind herself to slow down.

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I am at the point where the people who know me the best and/or see me the most take one look at me at the end of any given day and say, “REST.” All I have to do is open my mouth and inevitably my to-do list of photo shoots, work trips, blog partnerships, book signings, meetings & exercise commitments come rattling out. And I’m totally not saying this to try to make it sound like I am busier than anyone else — I just overcommit myself which is hugely different. ( It’s my #1 issue in life, which you’ve probably heard me say before. )

REST (also, sleep) is such an important quality and so often overlooked. Especially by those of us who can be pretty extreme and try to fit 3483984 things into our day. Until recently, my idea of a rest day was a light yoga class, a long walk around the neighborhood, and running around town doing errand after errand. Now, with my long runs every weekend while training for the marathon, having at least one true rest day per week is not only important but also NECESSARY.

And on top of those rest days, I try to go to bed early and sleep well so that I can take every day by storm.

But here’s the issue…

Since marathon training isn’t my only form of exercise, I have to be very, very careful with not overbooking myself in terms of my workouts every week. A huge part of my job entails trying out new studios around LA either to write about them, host events, meet friends there to catch up or meet the owners for potential collabs. Aside from the biz side of it, I am also a diehard OrangeTheory junkie (HIIT) & a major YogaWorks fan. Those two things paired with running outside 4x a week or more leaves litttttle to no room for physical rest days.

Oh, and last week I tried a boxing gym and another HIIT studio in my area — and even though this is the kind of stuff I absolutely love, I would be lying if I told you I wasn’t slightly overwhelmed by my workout sched last week in particular. I knew all week that I had a 2 hour taper run with my marathon team on Saturday, and I also knew I was overexerting myself a little bit more than I should have been leading up to it.

(Not exactly sure why my photos are loading small today, but I’m rolling with it. Sweatshirt x TBV Apparel)

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Lesson learned:

I was super, ridiculously, over the moon exhausted at my running practice. The 2 hour run was actually significantly harder than my 3.5 hour run the weekend before, for one reason only: I did NOT get enough rest throughout the week. Needless to say… I was pretty frustrated with myself because I knew what needed to be done, but because I can be a little an overcommitment psycho and too headstrong to make adjustments to my ever-mounting schedule, I didn’t totally listen to my bod the way I should have.

Even though I could view the whole overexertion ordeal as something negative, since my run on Saturday pretty much wiped me out for the rest of the weekend, I am taking it as a major positive. It was a wakeup call to something very important: rest is as important as exercise itself when it comes to training for a marathon and also to living and maintaining an active, healthy lifestyle.

Clearly, I know this. Does that mean that I don’t slip up from time to time and overexert because it’s my natural inclination to do so? No! Slip ups happen, and when they do — instead of beating yourself up about it, reevaluate the deets of your life and figure out how you can make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Another Rest Benefit…

I will also add that due to a super hectic work schedule last Weds (that was my glorious Malibu day — work is fun, hehe) I didn’t make it to my OrangeTheory class as planned. I also didn’t make it my Weds night running practice. I was pretty annoyed about missing both at the time, but then something miraculous happened. At OrangeTheory on Thursday morning, I HAD SO MUCH ENERGY.

I ran 2.0 miles faster than I normally do during our running blocks, and I left with a spring in my step and a massive dose of adrenaline to take on the day.

All because of the physical rest my body soaked in on Wednesday. My friend Laura even noticed and was like ummmm woah girl you were on fire today. It felt so much better to do the one workout full-out rather than cramming in two back to back and being only halfway into it the second time around.

So after my run killed me on Saturday… I started thinking. Rest, rest, rest, how can I rest a TON this weekend? I cancelled my plans for Saturday night and booked a 90-minute full body massage instead (#treatyoself — I use the app ZEEL! ), I shoveled recovery fuel into my body like Liquid I.V. in my h2o, a Tera’s Whey chocolate protein shake, my Nutty Banana Protein Cookies (recipe in my book), lots of nut butters (Nuttzo 7 Seed Nut Butter is my favorite right now) and farm fresh eggs with spinach for din din. And loads and loads of purified & electrolyte-infused water — of course.

Three years ago I would have NEVER cancelled plans on a Saturday night for a massage. I probably would have wanted to, but the voice in the back of my head would have told me, “No! You made a commitment to someone, so you’re going to go out and have fun and you can rest tomorrow… Or the next day, or the next day.”

But this time around I knew what I needed to do and it was glorious. Especially because I have had back to back video & photo shoots yesterday and today, so I knew I needed to wind down while I could.

So I got a massage, put on my cozy sweats, put on a face mask, sipped on some tea, cuddled my kitty & ZENNED OUT!

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That’s the art of balancing your life. Rev up when you need to, wind down when you need to, and take care of yourself above all else.

My FAV REST & RECOVERY Essentials:

I have included some of my very FAVORITE “rest enhancers,” if you will, below! Everything from a foam roller (#MUST!) to my favorite natural sleep supplements to recovery food & a few good books to read when you’re down & out:

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Dessert Hummus

Happy Sunday my angels! I am so freaking excited to share this recipe with you it’s not even funny. You may have noticed that more and more recipes are popping up on the blog again, and that’s because I am finally (after a year and a half ish hiatus) getting back into cooking! And when I get into something, I get very into it — as you well know.

It was important for me to step out of the kitchen for a while when I was recovering from orthorexia, and also when I was writing my book because I had so much going on at that point that developing recipes for the blog seemed to trigger some probs for me.

Now, I have found my groove in the kitchen again. I have been meal prepping every Sunday, and cooking nearly every single meal for the week at home. Ive been cooking for friends & family, and making healthy modifications of all sorts of my fav recipes. On another note, because of my kitchen hiatus, I love what this blog has evolved into. I now have the option to write about everything from lifestyle to outfits to ED recovery to travel, fitness (duh), meditation, pursuing your passions and FOOD. How fun is that? (Yeah, I scored in the career department.)

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This post I am particularly excited about because I have partnered with the IYP to become an International Year of Pulses Ambassador. Not sure what pulses are? Let me tell you — if you’re anything like me, you’ll be surprised that ya didn’t know. Dry peas, lentils, chickpeas, and beans all fall into the category of pulses. Otherwise known as some of the easiest and most commonplace ingredients to work with! All year long I’ll be bringing you fun, simple, healthy recipes utilizing them.

If you think about it, you’ll realize a few things about pulses right off the bat. They are super healthy because they come straight from the earth, which also means that they are packed full of nutrients, protein, fiber and all sorts of essential vitamins and minerals that help our systems work the way they’re supposed to. They are also affordable, versatile and sustainable for the earth — meaning they help support organic farming and make the whole trendy farm-to-table fad easier than you could imagine.

If you are interested in the whole sustainable farming thing like I am… Check out the book Lentil Underground by a protege of Michael Pollan. (Just a tip because I told  you I was going to share more of my book recs with you!) It’s all about a group of renegade farmers who defied the corporate agricultural standards by launching a unique sustainable farm-to-table food movement. COOL, right? The coolest. Aka, #bedifferent, and don’t be afraid to defy societal norms.

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K! So now that you know it’s the International Year of Pulses, I am going to share this wickedly delicious Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Dessert Hummus with you (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!). It’s so good it requires like 948935489 more exclamation points than that, but this will do for now. :)

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Dessert Hummus: 

Ingredients:

1 cup uncooked chickpeas

2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk

2/3 cup peanut butter (Earth Balance is a great organic & non-GMO brand)

3 tb honey

1/2 teapsoon vanilla (or stevia)

1 cup cacao nibs or choc chips (Lily’s stevia-sweetened choc chips are my fav)

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Method & Prep:

1. The night before making it, soak the chickpeas in 2 cups of water in a large bowl. The next day, drain and rinse the chickpeas. Fill a pot with 4 cups water and bring to a boil. Add the chickpeas and boil for one hour or until the chickpeas are soft to the touch. Drain and set aside to cool. OR use canned chickpeas — just make sure you’re not getting hit with tons of added sodium. If you’re using canned, Libby’s Organic is a great brand.

2. Place the almond milk, peanut butter, honey, vanilla and chickpeas into a blender or food processor. Blend until the mixture starts to take on the consistency of hummus, stirring with a spoon when necessary. When the mixture is smooth and creamy, transfer to a bowl and place in the refrigerator to chill for 15-20 minutes.

3. When the hummus is chilled, remove from the fridge and stir in the chocolate chips. I also sometimes like to add the chocolate chips before I blend, so the hummus turns into a CHOCOLATE PB dessert hummus! Then I add extra choc chips. :)

Note: Pull the skins off of the chickpeas for extra smoothness, unless you’re using canned!

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Basically, it’s borderline ridiculous how delicious this dessert hummus turned out. It’s great because you can put it in a tupperware and it stays fresh for about a week and a half + (maybe more… mine has never lasted that long because it’s too good not to eat!). It is a great protein snack, dessert AND I even like to add it to my oatmeal in the mornings! It adds so much flavor and packs in the fiber, protein and nutrients.

I love that 2016 is the Year of Pulses because I really do believe it’s time to get back to the basics with our cooking and focus on nutritious, sustainable, and affordable foods. People get so tripped out by healthy cooking because they think its going to cost them more, and honestly that is not always the case whatsoever. Head here to take the Pulse Pledge with me and try more of their suggested recipes!

I hope you LOVE this dessert hummus (YOU WILL), and if you take pics on social media, tag me and #PulsePledge, AND #tbbmademedoit because you know I love that.

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A Glorious Day in Malibu

It’s been a bit since I’ve had time to sit down and write a storytelling-esque post, which you know is my absolute favorite kind to share. Today is Saturday and it feels like a good day to sit back, relax, write from the heart & chat about some of my latest musings and favorite things with you. Yes? Yes. :)

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Before I get into the full on story, I will tell you a bit about where I got all of the clothes I’m wearing in this post. The site is called Modcloth, and you guys– I am obsessed. They have a ton of the indie & bohemian brands that I love to wear, and they also have a huge variety of athleisure and athletic clothing. (A.k.a everything I wear in a nut shell.) Of course I am decked out in their yoga clothes and the coziest sweats of all time in this post, but they have pretty much anything you’re looking for clothing & inspiration wise. Also, THIS JOURNAL is to die for and the perfect accessory for a day or night at the beach getting your zen on.

You’ll find links to everything I am wearing in this post, but before we dive in I’ll give you this yoga mat link louuuud & clear, because I must have gotten 2874384 questions about it on Snapchat & Insta while we were shooting! Glad to know you guys love it as much as I do. More about Modcloth throughout the post, but I have a story for ya too. Okay, shall we?

The Journal of My Dreams… “All Good Things Are Wild & Free” — YES & YES.

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A Glorious Day in Malibu w/ Modcloth + My Favorite Humans

If there is one thing you need to know about me and one thing only, it’s that I absolutely love being on the beach. It feeds my heart. Not just any beach though… the more touristy it is, the less pleasure I get from being there because what really resonates with me about the beach is the majestic tranquility it provides and the reminder that we as humans are really so, so small in this big huge universe of ours.

If you want me to get more specific, it’s the ocean that makes me feel that way. I am captivated by it. I think I get it from my dad — he taught me to be a fishy in the ocean when I was still too little to realize that a lot of people get creeped out by swimming down into the depths of the ocean floor. The ocean, along with yoga/running/writing, is one of the few things that brings me pure and utter peace. It silences my LOUD, anxious mind and allows me to just be. To just swim, or float, or surf, or watch in awe as the waves roll in and crash against the shore.

Living that Dreamy Mermaid Life w/ my Rise with the Asana mat, my Monday Mantra leggings, & my All in a Phase Work top. Sorry but how cute are the names of all of these items? I think they’re adorable and add to the charm… It makes me feel like I know the story behind my clothes better. Is that weird? Probably, but I’m weird so it works.

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And yes, that means I am that girl who, even though I’ve grown up being surrounded by it, goes to the beach and every single time says, “Look at the ocean! Look at the waves… OMG look at the way the sun is shining on the water and making it sparkle like that, look at the colors in the water!!!” Because it fascinates me and blows me away. I am captivated by it.

To have the opportunity to spend the full afternoon on the beach in Malibu in the middle of the week and watch the sun set while shooting with my girl Danika was truly soul cleansing. Life gets busy, man, especially when you are a hustler running a couple of businesses and maintaining a brand (among other things… like training for a marathon). So carving out the time to step back and do something that invigorates you, especially while being productive at the same time, can create all the difference between having a great week and having a stressful week.

Yoga Mat x Top x Capris

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This year I have made it an uber important goal of mine to stress out FAR less. It’s just really hard to live a high vibe, productive life when your anxiety levels are high and you feel like you’re always behind on something. I felt that way ALL YEAR last year, and somehow I still managed to have an awesome year because my career was taking off & I got to publish a book. So yes, my dreams were coming true but yes, I was also a stress-basket nut ball.

Overall, living that way just doesn’t work with my lifestyle. I am not necessarily calm as a cucumber in demeanor, but I try to have a generally relaxed outlook on life, work, relationships, food (duh) & more. I do still get stressed, every single day, but it’s making sure that I incorporate days like these into my routine that help me stay balanced, flexible, happy and honestly successful. Success comes from within, and when I am in the nut ball mood that I described above I get nothing done and it’s all bad.

This outfit is legit my life in outfit form. Cozy, athletic-inspired, beachy, pajama-esque but made to be worn indoors or outdoosr, and neutral tones so I can add a fun bag, reflective sunglasses, etc. The top is my favorite because it reminds me of an old school football jersey. Anything with two stripes on the arm has my heart… I guess I have a thing for athletes (?! or I just wanna be one, haha). And the pants — hellllooo, comfy amazingness. I have also been throwing these pants on after a long run or a hot yoga class when I want to be comfy-casual but get out of my sweaty leggings or shorts.

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Also, Modcloth has so many retro sunglass options that are to die. For your inner hippie flower girl ( like me ! ! ! ), CHECK THESE OUT. Ugh, love.

Oftentimes I get into this working bubble during the week where anything that doesn’t fall under my usual work routine trips me out and makes me feel like I am not getting enough done. Like I said, managing my blog, clothing line, social media accounts, workout sched, book marketing, personal life ( hehe that one is big, let me tell you… You can run from your personal probs but you can’t hide! That sounds creepy but I mean it’s true… #workaholicproblemz ) & more can be TOUGH on a girl’s weekday schedule.

But it’s days like these that bring me back to earth and remind me that no matter what is going on– at the end of the day I am FINE. I am lucky, I am productive, I am happy, I am zen, I am good.

^ New mantra, anyone?!

Also, this crazy cozy Chill You Be Mine? cardigan is life. My mom is already trying to steal it from me, and we haven’t established this yet my mom is the queen of style. I am serious, she dresses me and everyone else we know.

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And another in the cardigan because this sunset was magic…

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I almost didn’t mention that before we began this shoot, we had lunch at Malibu Farm on the Pier with my TBV team. Being surrounded by such amazing, driven friends & biz partners of mine really makes my heart happy so that added to the greatness of the day tenfold.

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And before I go and let you have your Saturday (or your Sunday-Friday, depending on when you are reading this…!) the last thing I want to tell you about Modcloth is that it was started by two high school sweethearts in a college dorm room in 2002! They’ve since grown to 350 employees in three major cities. If that isn’t reason enough to get your booty over to their site, I don’t know what is. Oh wait I do know — THE YOGA MAT!

Love you guys. You’re all so sensational for reading this far that it hurts. (PS according to Danika, “sensational” is my word of the week.) I just feel so grateful for what I do and the people who give me the opportunity me to do it… INSPIRED & full of gratitude is an understatement. LOVE, love. Xo

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Have you tried Modcloth? Have you been to Malibu Farm?!?! Both are sensational (THERE I GO AGAIN W/ THE WORD!) & worth trying for sure. But if you don’t live near Malibu then I guess you’ll have to wait to try… Modcloth you can try whenever — the beauty of the Internet 😉 !! X

Resolutions Update & Some Delish Recipes

So you guys know that I am a huge fan of challenging myself to do healthy things both physically and mentally in order to find the healthiest version of myself, and it’s been almost comical how seriously I have taken challenging myself during this month of January.

Not to sound like a broken record, but to remind you of the challenges I have been doing: I’ve been doing the barre3 Challenge all month with online workouts and a nutrition guide, I’ve been training for the LA Marathon with Team NutriBullet, I have been meal prepping every Sunday so that I can eat at home for at least 90% of my meals throughout the week, I have been doing a secret self-discovery challenge type of thing that I will talk about once I finish it mid-February, and I have also been doing the extreme challenge of cleaning out all of the excess from my life in order to live essentially, minimally and have space to BREATHE. Oh, and I’ve been doing a lot more yoga (thanks to barre3 for inspiring me to get my flexibility back after all this running) and of course barre online workouts in the program have helped me with my flexibility too. 

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So yeah, I’m detoxing my life. In a very lifestyle-esque kind of way… not in a January cleanse kind of way. I have also challenged myself to have no alcohol and no refined sugar for the month of January. Barre3 Founder Sadie Lincoln has shared a bunch of tips to help stay on top of that particular goal without feeling deprived. To name a few: Drinking fizzy water at night with unsweetened cherry juice instead of wine (even though I am not a wine drinker but you get the picture) AND making these Chocolate Donut Holes. YUM. This has all been LIFE changing on top of the physical and emotional challenges I’ve set out on.

Basically, what I’m saying here is that in order to make legitimate, lasting changes in your life and find the healthiest version of yourself you have to PUT IN THE WORK. Committing to this barre3 challenge at the beginning of the year really set my mind on the right track to make some legit changes in my life and my routine. I now wake up a lot earlier, have put some new nutritional guidelines into place, have been a regular at all of my favorite workout classes again, and have learned to say “NO” to things that I don’t necessarily want to do. The reason that last part is important is because saying no to the unnecessary stuff leaves way more room for me to stay on top of my own goals and intentions.

It might sound scary and intimidating, but honestly it’s a lot of fun. If you find the perfect routine for you, a great workout / meal prep buddy, and / or find your own groove and what you need in order to make the challenge an enjoyable process… You will love it. You’ll love feeling better from the inside out, and ultimately you’ll love finding confidence and feeling downright sexy in your own skin.

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I want that for ALL of you, in case that wasn’t clear. And that’s what I’m here for — to help give you tips and tricks to achieve that level of health and happiness. I try a lot of things so I can report back… All sorts of things from fitness programs to workout gear to natural supplements to workout clothes to clothes to wear when you’re not working out. 😉

Speaking of workout clothes, the “Balance” tank from the barre3 online store that has made several appearances on my Instagram in the last few weeks has gotten more attention than anything I’ve worn on my IG in a LONG time. How awesome is this?! It’s practically like it was made for me. :) Do you love or do you love? The necklace is from their online store too!

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If you missed this particular challenge, you can still do it because barre3 is keeping the Challenge Hub live through the end of Feb! All you have to do to get access to the program is subscribe to barre3 Online. :)

I am going to be sharing my everyday healthy moments and tagging them with the hashtag #b365 for the rest of the year — so keep an eye outfor those pics and join me!

Here are some recipes that I’ve fallen in love with lately that will help keep ya on track…

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The Food:

As important as it is to develop a consistent workout routine and challenge yourself to try new things physically, I would be lying to you if I said nutrition wasn’t also a huge component of changing the way you feel from the inside out. That’s why I’ve chosen to focus today’s post about my barre3 experience on a few of my very favorite meals from the nutrition side of their challenge.

Making these recipes was one of the main motivators for me to get back in the kitchen and start meal prepping each week. If you follow me on Snapchat (username jojoyounger), then you know I have been cooking at home like a FIEND. It’s pretty much been simple, super healthy recipes that have interchangeable ingredients (think chicken, veggies, salmon, lemon kale, nutty banana oatmeal and protein breakfast cookies so I can switch up my meals with on-hand ingredients as I go along through the week) — BUT when I make recipes from the barre3 nutrition guide I feel like I am making legitimate gourmet stuff that still somehow keeps it simple. It just includes spices and a few variations that I probably wouldn’t think of on my own if it weren’t for their guides.

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My favorite breakfast from their program is by far the Cherry Almond Vanilla Smoothie — YUM! It’s so nutty and delicious, and the texture sort of makes you feel like you’re drinking something more dessert-like and “sinful” than it actually is. Plus, you get your sneaky greens in there which you know I love. I love to have it for breakfast or even for a mid-afternoon snack if I’ve had a rigorous workout that day. Here are the deets for making it…

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INGREDIENTS

2 cups pitted cherries (preferably fresh)

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. vanilla extract

3 Tbs. almond butter

1 1/2 cups spinach

1 Tbs. chia seeds

1 cup almond milk

5 ice cubes

Option to add in 1 TBS of raw cacao nibs to turn this into a healthy sweet treat.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place all ingredients into a high speed blender and whirl away until smooth and creamy. Easy peasy!

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And then there is the Savory Oatmeal w/ a Fried Egg Recipe from the guide that is TO DIE FOR!!! This one I seriously died over because I love everything in it, and I couldn’t believe someone other than myself was suggesting eating oats WITH eggs WITH veggies. It renewed my love for scallions and sesame oil too, so those have been staples in my kitchen lately…

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INGREDIENTS

1 cup old-fashioned oats (gluten free, if preferred)

3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 bunch scallions, white and light green parts only, finely chopped

1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

6 ounces mixed mushrooms, such as shiitake, chanterelle, or button, roughly chopped

1 cup spinach

2 Tbs. low-sodium tamari or soy sauce, plus more for serving

2 eggs

1 Tbs. sesame oil

Minced cilantro, for serving

Pepper, for serving

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a large saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add the oats, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until fully cooked, about 10 minutes. (Times will vary depending on your specific brand of oats)
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet set over medium heat, warm 1 ½ tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the scallions and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring often, until the scallions start to soften, about 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms start to soften and brown, about 8 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the spinach and tamari sauce. Cook, stirring often, until the spinach wilts, about 1 minute. Remove the skillet from the heat.
  3. In a small nonstick skillet set over medium heat, warm the remaining 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil. Crack the eggs into the skillet and cook until the whites are set and the yolks are cooked to your liking, about 3 to 7 minutes depending on your preference.
  4. Meanwhile, divide the oats between two bowls. Top with the mushroom-spinach mixture and drizzle with the sesame oil and additional tamari sauce. Top each bowl with a fried egg and garnish with the cilantro and pepper. Serve immediately.

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So basically, joining this program has been above & beyond one of the best decisions I could have made for myself this January. It reinvigorated my love for cooking, stretching (thank god because of all of the running) and for being motivated by a supportive community of people working toward the same goal. The challenge is lead from beginning to end by founder of barre3 Sadie Lincoln, and she is one awesome and inspirational #girlboss.

I plan on continuing this challenge allll throughout the year but is that a surprise? I don’t necessarily commit to things that are a “one stop shop,” if you will. I like to commit to challenges that will be sustainable lifestyle changes and add value and positivity to my life. I will probably incorporate the online barre classes into my weekly circuit of workouts 2x a week on top of yoga, running and HIIT. And rest and downtime of course. :) I’m not encouraging you to be a fitness maniac… Even though I kind of am, haha.

How did everyone else’s resolutions go this January?! My friends are cracking up because I have always been very anti “resolution” and more about GOALS because I feel like resolutions usually fall by the wayside… but I have been pumping out my resolutions this year and falling on top of the world because of it! I guess there is something to be said for everything. Would love to hear about your journeys. :) XO

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Why Being a Fitness Addict is the Best Thing That’s Ever Happened to Me

Hi LOVES! I know I’ve been a little sporadic with my posting schedule lately, but I promise it’s for good reason. I’m getting my life, personal health, blog, social channels, YouTube, writing sched, goals, apartment space and mind organized. It’s the best feeling in the world. It’s been a long time since I have felt this much clarity. And man, does clarity take a lot of time & effort! The most worth it kind, for sure. Absolutely cannot wait to share more with you guys on all of that, but for now… A post that popped into my head on my way to OrangeTheory the other day that I must, must write about today!

Why Being a Fitness Addict is the Best Thing That’s Ever Happened to Me. That’s a pretty serious statement, I know. And it’s so TBB of me to call myself an “addict” rather than an enthusiast or a passionate person or simply interested (ew, boring word)… But I am an addict and I am proud of it. I think it’s okay to be wholeheartedly addicted to something that aids in keeping you mentally and physically healthy. You wouldn’t want to be addicted to the point of giving yourself an injury, but that’s a whole other story.

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There’s a way to be a BALANCED exercise addict. Ya feel me? You can’t run 20 miles every single day (even if you want to), but you CAN run 20 miles on a Saturday and wind down with some restorative yoga that night or the next day. (Depending on where you are in your fitness journey — don’t go out and run 20 miles if you haven’t been training!) It’s all about learning how to be kind to yourself and make decisions that will leave you feeling wonderful in the long term. We’re not talking about short term health and fitness here. When you start thinking in the short term, that’s when you make drastic decisions that result in crashing and burning in the worst of ways. Trust me, I’ve been there.

I have thought a lot about why being a fitness addict has shaped who I am in every aspect of my life, and as all of my reasons came to fruition in my mind I legit typed this all out on my phone while walking from my apartment to OrangeTheory the other morning. For your reference, that is about a 3.5 minute walk. Less than a quarter of a mile. That is how crazy I get when a blog post (or any writing, for that matter) is ready to pour itself out of my brain and into this space. My friend and I call it “#EPlife,” short for “extreme personality life”… and if you’ve read my book, then you know exactly what I am talking about.

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 ( *BTW, this post was semi-inspired from my 24 Reasons Why You Should Date a Girl Who Practices Yoga post from 2 years ago. I rediscovered it the other night and have been reading and re-reading it. I love writing real talk, detailed lists that those of you who are also “addicted” to fitness can relate to. Expect more of these this year! This is what I’m talkin’ about with organization. It requires doing research to the point of reading my own blog posts years back. Weird? Yeah. Necessary? Yes.* )

Why Being a Fitness Addict is the Best Thing That’s Ever Happened to Me

1. It’s how I’ve met some of the best people that I know. And no, it is not a coincidence that I have chosen to make this perhaps unexpected reason #1 on the list. At the end of the day, this sole part of the equation is reason enough to be addicted to fitness. It’s the way that I spend a good portion of my time, so naturally I have met a lot of really fantastic, inspirational, likeminded people through the various studios that I belong to and wellness events that I go to. But it really goes beyond that… It’s not just about knowing these people, it’s about developing relationships with them in and out of the fitness world. It’s about surrounding myself with people who are interested in the same things that I am — so I don’t feel alone or like the “odd one out” for prioritizing fitness and wellness the way that I do. When you surround yourself with people who understand the vast benefits of maintaining a solid fitness routine, you are inevitably surrounding yourself with people who have a good outlook on life, will challenge you to be your best and will GET you in a way that some others just can’t. They are prioritizing their health — meaning they are prioritizing their own happiness in one way or another… They aren’t allowing themselves to get lost in the shuffle or get swallowed up by the sedentary life that is so socially “normal” in our society. They will encourage you to be the best version of yourself, and you’ll always have a workout buddy and someone to lean on when you need extra motivation. I’m not saying that people who are addicted to fitness are all awesome people and/or more likely to be inspiring than people who are NOT into it, but I am saying if you look for them in the fitness community you will find them, bond with them, and align yourself with them. It’s a pretty magical quality — and that bonding is certainly sped up in the yoga community because of the overall inclusive vibe of yoga itself.

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  1. A) And as a small sub-category of #1, because I got very general there for a minute: the reason why I personally put this at the top of the list is because once I actually got involved in the fitness community rather than just being into it for a long time but walking in and out of every studio pretty much with blinders on to the people I could meet… that’s when everything changed. I credit part of that shift to my yoga teacher training in 2011, when I realized that there were tons of people who were looking to transform their lives through fitness and yoga, and in part to joining OrangeTheory last year and meeting so many incredible people through that studio. One person in particular that I met through OTF has become my marathon coach, and several others have become some of my very closest friends. I have found a lot of support in that community of people and I also love having people to share my passions with (or addictions, lol) — it helps me stay on track with my goals and intentions in life — wellness being at the top of that list!Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 2.17.41 PM

  2.  It prevents me from being an addict of unhealthy things. If you have an addictive personality like I do, there is a lot of room to potentially develop addictions or obsessions in not-so-healthy areas. I have been there, like when I was addicted to restricting my food intake and also addicted to eating nothing but pure, healthy, clean, organic vegetables from the earth. It might sound twistedly sort of healthy, but it wasn’t. I was depriving my body of necessary nutrients, healthy fats, protein, and ultimately calories in order to survive and thrive. I don’t think that I personally would be the type to become addicted to alcohol or drugs, mainly because I really dislike both of them, but you never know. I have also become addicted to sugar at different points in my life which has been particularly upsetting and frustrating, because it gets in the way of my fitness routine! When you’re bogged down on sugar, you don’t feel good and don’t have the same type of energy and stamina to workout. Being addicted to fitness has sculpted my routine into a very positive one all around.

  3. I have to fuel my body properly in order to have the energy to train and recover. In regards to what I mentioned above, it has taken quite a bit of diligence for me to find a new normal when it comes to fueling my body in the RIGHT way. First I was borderline anorexic with orthorexia, then I let go of the restrictions and forced myself to eat unhealthy foods to prove to myself that I was recovering/recovered from my eating disorder. Now that I am finally back in the swing of my fitness routine, eating well and eating enough is not a problem. I have to make the active decision to fuel myself properly every single day, eating nutrient-dense foods that replenish my body and give me energy to recover from my workouts. There is a science to it, and I have done more research than I can explain in order to find out what works best for me and also what works best to help me recover from and train for the different types of workouts that I do. This is a truly awesome aspect and it’s high up on this list because nutrition and fitness go hand in hand with one another, and when practiced in a smart and balanced way, you will find the healthiest version of yourself.

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 2.18.48 PM4. I sleep better. Well, this is huge because without physically working my body to the bone every day I suffer from serious sleep issues. It can be hard for me to turn my anxious mind off at night, and for some reason I tend to think about everything I need to do for the next 38473849 days the moment that I lay down to go to sleep. When I am exhausted from a long run, a sweaty yoga sesh, a HIIT class, Pilates, etc. then I actually for once in my life sleep like a baby. I also know that I need to sleep well in order to have energy for the next day’s workout, and it’s like a test for my subconscious to figure out how worth it it is to allow my brain to slow down so I can fall asleep and wake up to do what I love. It turns into this weird mind-body brain exercise where my whole body starts working as one (as it should) to allow me to get a good night’s sleep for the greater good of being able to maintain my daily routine. It’s amazing when it actually works — and it always works if I’ve worked out hard enough.

5. I stay more hydrated. We all know the importance of good hydration. It’s pertinent for the optimal functioning of our digestive system, it’s necessary for our skin on both a surface and cellular level, it keeps us alert and high functioning, and also keeps our hunger in check when we are properly hydrated. I drink a ton of water upon waking up so that I will be hydrated for my workouts, and while I workout I chug. After I workout I chug, too. Working out certainly helps in the hydration department.

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6. Endorphin highs!! This is a fun one. It’s so fun that it gets two exclamation points! I am sure you’ve heard the Legally Blonde quote, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands.” — Good ol’ Elle Woods. (Lol). But it’s true. If you’ve ever experienced a workout rigorous enough to give you that rockin’ endorphin high, then you totally know what I am talking about. I thrive off of those endorphins, and actually when I don’t work out in the beginning part of my day I really miss that adrenaline high. It gives me alertness and energy for my day and also point blank makes me happier. It also has something to do with feeling accomplished, and endorphins certainly do make you feel like you’ve accomplished something.

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7. It’s a great way to see LA & a great way to travel. I have a whole new appreciation for this after running 18 miles on foot last Saturday with my LA Marathon training team (#TeamNutribullet, represent!). I ran from West LA / Brentwood through Century City, down Rodeo Drive and deep into Beverly Hills close to West Hollywood before I turned around and ended back in Brentwood. Some of my teammates got all the way to the Chinese theatre before turning back around! I have also had this experience when I have been traveling. Even if I’m not running, checking out a workout studio in a new city is a great way to experience what life is like as a local. One of my best memories doing that was in the tiny town of Carmel by the Sea in Nor Cal, when I went to a local yoga studio with my brother-in-law on Thanksgiving morning. It was SO COOL for us to see how all the yogis in that tiny little town came together to practice an awesome flow that morning, and a bunch of them even brought their little kids since it was a holiday. I’ll never forget how charming it was to see them all interacting with each other and getting a glimpse into what it would be like to live there — it was such a cool sight because most of the people I’d ever observed in Carmel were tourists on vacation like us. I love to feel like a local and get a glimpse into what life is like in little pockets around the world… It’s the hyper-observant (or nosy?) writer in me. 😉 (Side note: I did the same thing in Florence, Italy but it was less enjoyable… Yoga there is not like yoga here! The other cool thing about this is you find what works for you and what doesn’t.)Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 2.16.47 PM8. Being in shape is a huge confidence booster. It’s the truth, and I’d say this to anyone. Whenever someone asks me how I achieve happiness and feel comfortable and confident in my own skin, I say WORKOUT and get into shape. Everyone has their own definition of being “in shape,” and for me of course since I am an addict I take this idea to a whole other level (without putting pressure on myself, I swear — I have fun with it). But getting into shape for you might mean going on walks after dinner instead of sitting on the couch and eating ice cream, or trying a new studio or routine that has scared you for a long time because you don’t think you’re ready enough for it. Let me tell you: there is no perfect time to try something new. You have to just DO IT. Tomorrow won’t seem any easier than today. Do it now, and be stronger than your excuses. It will be so worth it. :)

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9. It is a de-stressor and will add more compassion to your life. Exercise is an obvious de-stressor. This is both science-based and experience-based. Working out gets your heart pumping and helps lessen your anxiety levels if you suffer from anxiety, and it gets you out of your HEAD. I believe working out has brought a whole lot of compassion into my life for a lot of reasons. I have been in a position many times where I come back to a particular kind of workout after not doing it for a long time, and it’s very frustrating. I have had a lot of health problems over the years that at times have knocked me down… And it’s intimidating to start from the bottom again. Every single time. Then you work your way back up. I’ve also seen a lot of other people do this, and in many cases I’ve seen people do it who come from a very unhealthy background and have absolutely nothing to lose and everything not to. When I see someone taking the plunge to exercise when it clearly intimidates them, I want to cry from happiness / give them a huge hug and a high five / write them a letter to tell them how awesome they are / tell their family to be proud of them / help them track their progress / on and on. It may sound like a little much, but I KNOW how hard it is to just START. That’s why I am always encouraging you guys to just begin. It has added a major layer of compassion and appreciation for others’ journeys to A) have my own fitness addiction/journey, B) be in the presence of so many others who are working to transform their lives through fitness.

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10. IT HELPS SHAPE YOUR ROUTINE! Have you noticed that the word “routine” is my word of the YEAR so far? I am obsessed with it. I am in the process of transforming my routine and it has been so life changing I could cry just thinking about it. I have been running a lot more, (#marathontraining), waking up earlier, going to bed far earlier, carving out chunks of time to spend with the people who REALLY matter and who support my goals and intentions, doing as much yoga as I used to (or trying to), and giving myself more “me time” to hone in on what I really want out of this precious and awesome life. It really all circles back to the wellness factor and having this fitness routine that helps shape not only my days but my weeks, months, and year. It shapes my travel schedule, my relationships and my nutrition/sleep/hydration/blog work/creativity flow/etc. And not in a bad way or an obsessive way… It gives me structure where I otherwise may not have it. I have an alternative job, remember?! Fitness helps me structure my day in a very positive way.

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You might not see me above unless you look hard… I’m hiding behind Mike’s shoulder! Working it out at OTF. :)

So, fitness addicts — what do you think?! Am I accurate? Is there something big that I missed / any points that you agree or disagree with? Would love to hear your thoughts! Soon I want to do a post on all of the fitness gear that I love / feel is necessary to developing a serious fitness addiction and workout routine. Let me know if you have any suggestions! Lots of love!! Xx 

Organizing My Life & All That Jazz

Wondering where I’ve been all week? Other than Instagram, of course. I can always keep up with my Insta game even when my brain is a bit too overloaded to keep up with everything else. Some of my friends tell me they feel like I have an “Instagram blog” on top of my regular, website blog. I kind of love that because it makes it easy for people to stay up on my life and my projects even if they don’t have time to read the full bloggy every time I post.

Although, I will say, my personal favorite platform is the BLOG, of course. It’s where I get to pour my heart out and share all of my thoughts. Instagram captions don’t necessarily give me room for that. Snapchat videos on the other hand… those are fun in their own way because I get to say what’s on my mind in the moment and connect with you guys individually. I love it. I’m jojoyounger on Snapchat, in case ya wanna go add me…

I could go on and on about so many things, especially because this is my first post of the week, but you’re probs wondering at this point why I said my brain has been overloaded this week.

What I’ve Been Up To All Week:

ORGANIZING MY LIFE. Seriously. In every way, shape and form.

I’ve tried to sit down and write, and every time I do, what comes flowing out are lists and lists of goals and intentions, plans for 2016, organization strategies, schedule planning, email responses that I’ve put on the back burner for weeks, emails to people *un-committing* myself to things I agreed to that no longer serve my purpose (huge for me), meal plans for the coming weeks, notes for some new projects on the horizon, oh and ordering everything and then some on Amazon that I’ve been needing to order for MONTHS (think boring things like a dust buster, new running shoes, my fav shampoo, cat food, vitamins, oven mits and a spatula….).

A.K.A. I have been going to town, getting shit done and loving it. I am reading this amazing book right now (shout out to my BFF Jill for recommending it and lending it at the most very perfect time) called Essentialism, about the disciplined pursuit of LESS. It’s all about weeding out the excess in your life so you can focus on what really matters. I’ve just started to dive into it, but one line near the beginning that really struck me is that SUCCESS and the pursuit of success can directly get in the way of your goals and intuitions. I will break it down into more detail in an upcoming post, but I read that and bam… I realized what my problem has been for the last several months (maybe even a year, if I’m being honest).

I have been lucky enough to find great success with this blog, and to be able to pursue lifelong dreams like writing and publishing a BOOK, running a clothing line, managing my brand and business, & on top of those things also hosting events, doing all sorts of news interviews, going on awesome trips for work, representing brands that I love, representing my fav fitness studios, speaking on panels with people who are dear to my heart, etc.

And with that success and the whirlwind of excitement that comes along with it — I have wanted to say “YES!!!” to everything. Because it’s all awesome. Very rarely am I presented with an opportunity that I downright wanna say no to. So I have said yes… A LOT… and the excess has gotten in the way of my ultimate intention. My real intention here is to maintain my blog and bring fresh, new, exciting, passionate content (both imagery and writing) to you guys as often as I can — without forcing it, without procrastinating and whipping something up at the last minute, without feeling so rushed to write in between meetings and events and phone calls and interviews and obligations that it’s no longer fun.

That is intention #1: to bring fresh content to the bloggy all the time and have fun with it. I chose this job for a reason, because I freaking love it. So it’s time to settle down, get a little serious and be an adult about it. This is my job, and I don’t have to feel guilty for telling people that I have too much work to do to be able to say “YES” to everything.

Intention #2: Plain and simple, intention #2 is to take care my health and to put myself first. That means prioritizing my own workouts, my own meal prep and cooking, my own sleep and hydration and staying on top of my projects so that they’re still super fun to me (back to #1). It means taking control of the hormone problems I’ve had since my diet transition and getting them back in control once and for all– not next week, next month, next year… Now. Oh, and that means doing all of those things EVERY SINGLE DAY. Not just when it’s most convenient. (BTW, on the note of hormones, I’m also reading The Hormone Reset Diet right now and learning so much about my body and the issues I’ve developed.)

Intention #3: Making room for the people who really mater and being okay with making less room for the people that I don’t 100% click with or who don’t lift me up and serve the purpose of ultimate happiness and contentment.

Those last two intentions are super near and dear to my heart, because it can be easy to forget to prioritize yourself above all else. I don’t ever want to get lost in the shuffle because I’m doing so much that I am not happy at the end of the day. I was getting into this rut last year of doing so much that I pretty much always had a perpetual migraine, was running off of caffeine, and ate out for every single meal. I felt like I was still living a manageable, healthy, albeit busy life, but now I know I took on too much.

Beyond the intentions, how I’m going to make them work:

This is the real meat of what I’ve been up to all week long. I haven’t just been sitting around brainstorming my intentions for the year. I’ve been doing the work of figuring out HOW I can make those things happen, and beyond that– I’ve been making them happen. A couple of things I’ve been doing:

  • Calling and/or sending out emails to let people know that I can no longer commit to a few things I thought I was going to be able to do this year. This is SO HARD, especially for a people-pleaser, perfectionist, wanna-do-it-ALL-and-do-it-all-now person like me, but it’s so worth it. Letting some of those obligations go was the hugest relief on my heart and soul I can hardly even express it to you.
  • Pausing before answering a request with a “yes” or “no” answer. My usual gut feeling is to say yes, even if it sounds difficult to squeeze it in, but “YES, I can make it work” always sounds like a good idea to me at first. I am now giving things a good, hard pause and considering the pros and cons before committing. If it doesn’t directly serve my overall purpose and intentions, then it’s probably going to be a no, or a “let’s figure it out next month” kind of thing.
  • Putting my workouts and meal prep before my excuses. It’s easy to come up with excuses as to why there isn’t enough time to do both of those things, but there always is. I have been back into my Orange Theory routine, running almost every day (marathon is SO SOON, ahhh!), back in my YOGA ROUTINE (thank god), and meal prepping away. I have cooked every meal at home this week, which is pretty much the first time I’ve done that in probably a year and a half. It feels so damn good.
  • Slowing down at the end of the day and beginning to do something relaxing instead of continuing to grind away. Instead of reading and responding to emails late into the night, I have been reading books, watching Netflix (imagine that), cuddling with Hudson, going on walks with friends, journaling… It’s so much nicer and then in the morning I come back to my work refreshed and feeling rested and inspired.
  • Being easier on myself. It is my definite first instinct to beat myself up for not being above & beyond on top of things. I have been frustrated with myself this week for not getting a blog post up and for putting off some photographing I have to do for a few brands. But the juices just weren’t flowin’, and because of the flexibility I have with my job it’s OKAY that that happens sometimes. I have been organizing and getting my priorities on track, which feels way more important at the moment.
  • Taking control of my own health beyond working out and food by getting on a new supplement regimen (still taking Pure Encapsulations!), new digestive enzymes and a new skincare routine. I am waiting to see how the skincare routine works for me before I share it with you guys… But it’s looking really optimistic so far. Also trying a new facialist next week, and prioritizing getting a lymphatic drainage massage every week leading up to the marathon. Also SLEEPING more/better, and going to bed earlier — which also means waking up earlier.
  • Making time for those who matter most. Time with the most awesome and close people in your life is precious, and I don’t want to waste it by freaking out about work or being distracted. Midday breaks are becoming a little more normal and comfortable for me, but only if they serve one of my original intentions.
  • Planning out my main goals for the year and making plans to make them happen. On the horizon… More YouTube vids, more recipe posts, more TBV Babes of the Week… and a whooooole lot more. :)

So yes, all in all, I am doing a LOT of personal work right now. I am switching up my routine, making a lot of changes, and feeling really good about it. Eating at home more means making less dinner/lunch plans with people, which means making time throughout the day to see them at other points. And THAT means being on top of my work by being focused, waking up earlier, and feeling energized from workouts. I feel better than I have in a long time and I am really hopeful that this will be my new normal.

And the reason I’m sharing in such detail is because I have an inkling that a lot of you can relate — either to having taken on too much, to feel drawn away from your purpose, to feel overloaded, to feel like you don’t have enough time for what REALLY MATTERS… or maybe you need to sit down and figure out what the heck really DOES matter to you! Do it. It’s so worth it. And tell me how it goes.

I've been spending a ton of time with this angel bop and loving every second.

I’ve been spending a ton of time with this angel bop and loving every second.

Thoughts? Has anyone else been doing personal work like this in the new year? I know I’ve always said I’m not a resolution person but dayum I’ve been using this new year, fresh slate to my advantage and getting shit DONE.