LIT SHIT: March

SPRING HAS SPRUNG. And yet, here I sit in the middle of Snowstormville, IA, typing away at the coffee shop I used to work at. Hello nostalgia! Also hello snow, what the f are you. Seriously. It feels like the North Pole here. I must say I’m pumped to be wearing my favorite turtle neck today though. God, I love a good turtle neck.

Moving on. We made it through another month and as per me swearing I’m going to start holding myself accountable, that means I gotta do one of this weird review things to talk about shit that is lit…or at least I think it is. Can I get a drum roll? Or at least pretend you’re even a little bit excited to read these.

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RELAXED. The Now in Silverlake. First of all, I had never been to Silverlake, which is apparently the hipster capital of Los Angeles. Now I’m by no means calling myself a ‘hipster’ but…..how the hell had I made it that long without exploring over there??? I also wore fake wire rimmed glasses so I could blend in with the hipster-folk. So this little boutique spa is aesthetically crafted by the Instagram and zen gods. It’s beautiful. All white walls, plants everywhere, minimalist design and not to mention that it smells incredible. As I said in one of my previous posts, I made the goal to take time to do one self-love-esque activity each week. This was my pick for week one of March. I got a 60 minute deep tissue massage and dammmmn did ya girl have some KNOTS. The Now really knows how to set the mood.

They gave me some water and led me into this heated room with swinging benches and faux fur blankets and once my masseuse was ready, I followed her back into this long hallway with an extremely high ceiling riddled with low-lit lanterns hanging ever-so-perfectly. I basically had to shackle my hands so that I didn’t grab my phone and take photos of it all for the gram. I was trying to zone completely in for once. I left feeling great and had even managed to snag a few photos of the waiting area while I made friends with the two chicks at the front desk on my way out. Bottom line, if you haven’t checked out The Now, do it. They have locations all over LA including West Hollywood and also Studio City but you can check out the other ones on their website I linked above!

REFLECTED. Wisdom Tree. Alright so let me start by saying, THIS HIKE IS HARD. Especially for people who are unapologetically clumsy in nature (me). I struggled so hard to find my footing through the bouldery inclines and sharp drop offs, but hey I lived to tell the tale. It probably didn’t help at all that I came to meet Carsyn at the base of the trail directly from finishing booty day at Barry’s. Yowza. IMG_2184But worth it. We both needed a morning to disconnect from our digital lives and enjoy nature and a great book. I brought my journal up there cause it had been a hot minute since I had written an entry. Carsyn just stated reading You are a Badass (READ IT IF YOU HAVEN’T). We spent about an hour and a half up there. Wisdom tree is cool cause there’s this box where people write stuff and then leave it in there. Because I’m nosey as hell, I struggled to not read everyones’ notes but I restrained myself. I can only imagine the secrets people stick in the box.

BAWLED. Love, Simon. After Carsyn and I finished our morning at Wisdom Tree, we headed to go see Love, Simon. It is so good you guys. I probably cried for about the last half of the movie. For those of you who don’t know, it’s about a high school aged boy who is gay and has been hiding it his whole life because he is unsure of how to come out to his friends and family. Growing up, I had a lot of extremely close friends who lived this exact life. I thought this movie provided a pretty raw look into what that must have felt like for them. Ouch. This really tugged at our heart strings. Not to mention, the soundtrack is incredible. But I’ll talk about that more a few bullets down.

GROOVED.  Like a sexy human Claude Racine’s class at Edge. Yooooo. We learned a dance to Rocket by Beyonce. Which literally starts off by saying “Let me sit this @$$$$$$$$ on ya” so you can probably imagine the nature of the combo we learned. I’ve been trying to stretch myself when it comes to performance and committing to a character and this class just felt so good. Claude is cool as hell and teaches in such a relatable and real manner. I’ll definitely be back soon.

SURPRISED MYSELF. at Nikki. I had my first actual audition in front of an artist this month. That artist was Nikki Minaj. Lol yeah excuse me while I shit myself. Got to spend about 6 hours with my Clippers chica, Kylie.IMG_2267

SPENT. $25 on an entre at Mercado. HOLY SHIT CARNITAS HEAVEN. This is self-love activity numero dos. I can’t say I’ve spent that much money on a meal in a lonnnnng time but it feels good to be able to do that for myself when I want to. It’s a trendy little Mexican style restaurant in West Hollywood off 3rd street. I went with Carsyn and they set us at a two-top table by a fireplace. Ambiance points!!!! They for sure thought we were on a date though L O L. We started with the chips and guac and can I just say HOLY GUACAMOLE. I am a guac fiend and this was definitely top 5 level.IMG_1891 Carnitas are their specialty and since that’s literally one of my favorite meats, I couldn’t say no to that. Basically it’s a hunk of TENDER AF meat served with escabeche on the side and corn tortillas. And Carsyn and I split a side of mashed potatoes because we were really going for it. Pair that with a few spicy margaritas and boom, you have the perfect way to spend your evening. Dessert was Coconut Bliss non-dairy ice cream and an Eating Evolved coconut butter cup (AKA MY FAVORITE THINGS EVER, if you’ve never taken any of my recommendations this is the one that I promise you you should take). Where did I fit all this food you ask? That, my friends, is a question I will never be able to answer.

DRINK DRANK DRUNK. Bottomless mimosas at Mama Shelter. $20 for all you can drink mimosas. This reminded me of college where you can literally die on $20 worth of drinks (hello dollar-you-call-its). Obviously we had a little more self control than my college self probably would have but ooof did they sneak up on us. We started here for St. Patty’s day with some brunch and then ventured up to the rooftop. I’m so excited to come back once it’s a little bit warmer outside. I spent my time on the rooftop under a heater and blanket cause I’m fragile and California has ruined me.

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TUNES. Listened to Amy Shark, Exes. Alright, I said earlier in my blurb about Love, Simon, that I would get back to talking about the soundtrack. This is where I discovered Amy Shark. The song ‘Sink In‘ is one of my new favorites. This song punches ya in the gut. Not to mention it’s totally in my vocal range and my latest obsession when it comes to belting (and recording myself) in the car. Also if you haven’t checked out Exes yet, I highly recommend. She just released a song called ‘Over‘ (also one you may need your tissues for). SO so incredible.

OUTFIT REPEATED. Leather Jacket. Yeah this is no secret so I won’t dwell on this point too much. I feel like every time I feel cool enough to post an Instagram story of myself I’m wearing this stupid thing. I truly don’t know how I got by without it for as long as I did. I could be wearing a workout outfit but throw on my (p)leather jacket as a head out the door and instantly level up my life. I got mine at Urban Outfitters…pretty positive that all of Los Angeles owns the same exact one but it’s fine.

READ. Tiny Beautiful Things. I just bought a bunch of self-help books based on suggestions so THANK YOU to those of you that tossed some my way. This is the first of the group that I dove into. I’m about 100 pages in and I’m already in love. Basically it takes a bunch of advice column entries from Dear Sugar and complies both those and their responses together for a beautifully crafted series of stories and lessons on love and life. I love non-fiction books that I can apply to my own life, but I also love the story-telling quality that fiction books have. Because of that, this is such an easy read for me because it’s both. It’s all true little stories that are 100% applicable to life’s trials and tribulations.

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I spent the end of the month the best way possible, with my family. The perfect way to recharge. April’s gonna be a good one.

Alrighty friends, until next time.

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LIT SHIT: February

Where the hell did the last 28 days go? Went by in the blink of an eye and I think it’s because I was so crazy busy. Lots of cool stuff happened, but my schedule was so packed I feel like I didn’t really take enough time to check in with myself and appreciate much of it. Also. I feel absolutely all over the place right now so forgive me if that’s reflected in this blog in any way shape or form. I also just drank a latte faster than any human being should. Get ready for some scatterbrained writing. You’ve been warned WOO.

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Me pretending I’m not having a quarter-life crisis! Also-check out Joe Ward for all your photography needs!!!

I spent this morning taking some time to try and get my life together by setting a plan and some goals for the next few weeks. I started by reflecting on February. Looking back on the last 4 weeks, it’s no wonder I feel a little psychotic right now. My planner is full of white out, scribbles and a series of me stretching myself way too thin week after week after week…after week. Moving forward with this year, I’m trying to find a little bit more consistency in my life and learn how to say NO when ya girl just needs a break- easier said than done. So. I’m sitting here trying to think of ways I can start to do that and I figured I’d start with Riffs and Raffs. What better way to start than with a more regular writing schedule? Up until now, I’ve kind of just put out posts about random shit whenever I feel like it. Which has been fine, but in the spirit of consistency, I’m going to try to put something out each week of the month, with the last post being a review of some of my favorite shiz from the previous 4 weeks. I figure ending the month reflecting on all of all the good stuff is a surefire way to start the new month on a positive foot. I have also given a name (soft opening in the title of this post, stay tuned for the grand opening in about a paragraph. OH BOY OH BOY!!!).

PSA: I’m writing all of that blabber above to hold myself accountable to this schedule. I’ll probably try and do a few posts and mental/physical wellness, navigating life in LA and some on dance life as well. That being said, if there’s anything you want to see me writing about- PLZ HOLLA AT YO GIRL. If you could not give less of a shit I guess you could also tell me that. I’ll only cry for a few hours.

SO. Without further ado here’s some LIT SHIT February edition. And yes, I am calling this monthly blurb LIT SHIT. Yes, it will always be in all caps. *Cue Demi Lovato’s Sorry Not Sorry*

DRANK. Bulletproof coffee. The addiction is real. I was spending way too much on them every time I went to Whole Foods (which is too often) so I took matters into my own hands and bought the ingredients to make my own. The recipe calls for black coffee, ghee (or butter) and Bulletproof brain octane oil. I also add collagen (I use Vital Proteins) and sometimes a little coconut milk and maca. I throw it all into my nutribullet and blend for a frothy drank that keeps you going for hours, helps you metabolize fat and curbs cravings.

TUNES. I know I already confessed my love for Taylor Swifts new album, so I won’t talk about that anymore…but really it’s great. But I recently found this song “I Don’t Wanna” by a band called the Ivy. SO good from the beats down to the lyrics. I’ve also started making a playlist for each month on my Spotify and have been told I have great taste in music by several strangers (friends) who are completely non-bias (definitely bias). March is still a work in progress but I’ve got lots of good stuff on there and more to come if you’re trying to get some new sounds in your headphones.

ESCAPE. Ojai, California. I need to treat myself to more weekend getaways because DAMN. It was the trip I didn’t know I needed. My friend Arielle turned 25 and a bunch of us pitched in for an AirBnb over there. I forgot what it felt like to step outside and hear literally nothing but birds. Didn’t even know I missed that. It was such peaceful weekend with lots of heart-to-hearts, wine, food, more food and hiking. If you’re in the LA area and haven’t taken a second to escape the tall buildings and build up of trash on the sidewalks in a little while, treat yourself to a quick little road trip to Ojai to recenter and remember that there’s more out there than just Los Angeles.

NETFLIX BINGE. The End of the F*cking World. WATCH IT PEOPLE. I actually watched the entire series kind of by accident while I was in Ojai. We had all come home after lunch and needed a nap but that turned into about 4 hours of wine and Netflixing. It’s a super easy series to finish because none of the episodes are over about 20 minutes long and there are only 8 of them. Basically it’s about this teenager who is a psychopath and wants to kill this girl (she’s actually such a badass) so he befriends her and basically he catches #feelings. There’s a lot more to it though. It’s suspenseful, sad, romantic, funny and also really f*cking weird.

you+are+a+badass+by+jen+sincero+review+the+b+diaries+self+help+book+self+improvement+growth+blogREAD. You are a Badass. I put off reading it for a long time cause it’s such a fad read and sometimes I like to be a hipster about things. But it’s the real deal. I love the voice that Jen Sincero writes in. Kind of reminds me of the tone of my blogs- pretty laid back and casual. Kind of feels like you’re sitting in her living room on the floor drinking wine and she’s preaching at you how to take control of your life. And like, you wanna listen cause she’s cool and also drinking wine.

OVERATE. The Farmer and the Cook. Yooooo. THIS restaurant. Another find in Ojai. It’s this little hippy dippy spot with lots of vegan options, a market place, live music, outdoor seating, juice/smoothie bar and full coffee menu. LET’S GO. What more could you want. I got the Hurrache which was better than anything I have eaten in a long time. I also was blessed enough to consume the best cookie I’ve ever put in my mouth. Ever. I’m not either of these two things but for some reason I got the vegan and gluten free oatmeal raisin cookie. I realize to 78% of you that sounds absolutely awful, but I am not exaggerating when I say I’ve never eaten anything that good. It had this crazy brown sugary mapley aftertaste and ugh I can’t talk about it anymore cause I’m hungry and it’s making me sad.

#FITNESS. In the Yoga studio. As you know by now, I do class pass each month. I used to have a yoga membership at White Heat yoga in North Hollywood and it truly felt like home. I loved the staff and the way I felt walking out of the studio. As hard as I tried to make it work after I moved downtown, I had to cancel the membership. They recommended I go to Evoke yoga downtown and let me know that a lot of the teachers also teach there. Cool. That was in November and I just now made the time to go see what Evoke is all about. It’s about 1.5 miles from my place and I learned the hard way that it’s more efficient to just take an Uber (if I can’t get my ass out of bed early enough to walk) because parking downtown is not a thing. As in I missed my first class cause I couldn’t find a place to park good ole Snoop. I’ve been going to hot flow 2 and am so thankful to have yoga back in my life. Taking the time out of my day to get centered is really beneficial for my scatterbrained self.

These last few weeks have felt a little off for me, so here’s to looking at the positive side of things from February and knowing that it’s only up from here.

And, as always, please please reach out if there are any questions you have for me or anything you’d like to see me write about.

Whole 30 Hacks

What up. I’m on day 26 and thought I would just write a quick little blurb about what’s helped me get through (almost) all of Whole30. I’ve had quite a few people reach out and ask me if I had any recommendations, product suggestions or how they can set themselves up for success so I figured I would outline all of that here! Without further ado here is my top ten list of musts for surviving your Whole30. You’re welcome.

1. Be annoying about it on social media

Currently doing so. Announce it on Instagram, blog about it, make a Facebook status, tweet it, post annoying Snapchat stories…I don’t care. Do all of it. It’s going to hold you accountable. The second you announce something publicly it becomes a very real thing. Why else do you think being FBO became a thing in middle school??? Think of this as your relationship status change with food and your personal health. Not only is it kinda fun to document, it adds another element to the “I can’t mess up” mentality. Cause if ya do, your mom, dad, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, grandma and all of your old high school friends who are getting engaged are going to also see that. Pressure’s on. Sounds scary but on the flip side of this, it also creates a little support system for you- especially if you can post progress photos!

2. Tell your coworkers

Crucial. Why do work parties, meetings, business trips, acts of kindness etc. always revolve around food?? This is a question I still have yet to figure out an answer to. But nevertheless, they do. And if you agree, that means you’re aware of this challenge going into your Whole30. Therefore, there is no excuse to let these things become a problem. It’s not weird to drink your coffee black or skip the donut your boss bought for everyone. If you work at a restaurant, tell you coworkers (including the kitchen staff). No one is gonna hold a piece of pizza to your mouth and force feed it to you. And if they do, that’s freaking weird and you should probably just quit your job. What’s even more is that means more food for them since you’ll be passing.

3. Journal

IMG_3676Now that you’ve announced it on social media and you’ve got a crew of coworkers to hold you accountable, hold yourself accountable. Whole 30 can be a rollercoaster, especially for people who don’t normally eat anything like this. Document it. Write down how your sleep is, how much energy you have, any cravings you may have had, what you ate for the day, your likes and dislikes. All of it. As I mentioned in my previous post, I used the Whole30 Day by Day diary. I highly recommend this. It has little tips and tricks throughout the entire book as well as a fun little check box at the end of each day. So. Satisfying. It also has you list what Melissa Hartwig (the co-author of Whole30) refers to as NSV (Non-scale victories). You aren’t permitted to weigh yourself during the 30 days. Instead, you’re supposed to focus on other improvements. Health isn’t synonymous with weight.

4. Follow the bible

Aka this guy. If you’re going to go all out with this, you need The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom. You could probably do Whole30 with different information you find on the internet, but buy the book. Pro tip: It tends to be a little cheaper online than it is at Urban or your local health food store too. It’s part of the experience and there’s something about holding the actual object in your hand that makes it easier to commit. Also if you spend money on something vs. ripping it off the internet, you’re even more motivated to get your monies worth. Probably why I only made it through half of the Kayla Itsines workouts. Aside from that, there is tons of useful information in this thing.

5. Keep your recipes fresh

FE-with-book-open-website-header-660-x-330.jpgEnter Whole30 product number 3: The Whole30 Fast and Easy Cookbook. This thing is the bomb and kept me from going crazy or getting bored. The Whole30 bible (listed above) has some recipes too but the fast and easy cookbook has 150 additional recipes. This thing helped me realize that I didn’t have to eat eggs for every meal and dress like a cave man. Hello versatility and normal food!!! That’s where I got all of my slow cooker recipes, shrimp and broccoli, and (my personal favorite) the buffalo cauliflower and chicken. I even took it once step farther and picked about 3 recipes I would try each week and used the cookbooks as a guide to make my grocery list. I also kept track of my meal plan on an excel spreadsheet cause I’m a psychopath.

6. Buy a slow cooker

I like to think of mine as my live-in boyfriend. The most non-committal way to have a good meal ready for you when you get home from work. And whats so great about it is you can literally throw anything in there with a little bone broth, put it on low and just let it sit there over night. It also makes my place smell like heaven. I have a little personal size one like this but if you have roommates or want to make a bigger batch, I’d suggest this size.

7. Keep your activity up

If you want to see more change and just feel better about life in general, Whole30 is a great time to get your act together in the workout department. It’s been really cool to feel the difference in my body and the way it reacts to a workout throughout these 30 days. I definitely feel more energized and am able to enjoy the workout more than before. What a cool thing that happens when you are giving your body the nutrients it needs. That feeling beats Splenda in your coffee any day. Personally, I try to do different types of activity each time I work out. It keeps my body guessing and saves me from getting bored.

8. Invest in a cool water bottle 

Ok so this isn’t really a necessity, but it’s so much easier to stay hydrated when you have a cool ass water bottle. It’s science. I snagged a S’well bottle (and broke the bank) in hopes that I would not only look cooler, but actually keep track of it for more than a few months. So far, so good.

9. Find joy in things that aren’t edible

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Look what cool things are outside!!!!

PROBABLY THE MOST IMPORTANT THING. Get a freaking hobby. And one that doesn’t involve food. So many events and fun outings are centered around food. WHY. There are so many other things you can attach to the feeling of joy that aren’t horrible for your body. Go on a walk. Pick up a book. Call an old friend. Meditate. Write. Dance around in your underwear. Whatever.

10. Give credit where credit is due

If you’re choosing to make this change in your life, that’s huge already. Go you. You are a rockstar. Don’t get down on yourself during the hard days. Go into the whole experience with a positive outlook. You aren’t missing out on anything and you’re not going to die because you have to drink your coffee black for 30 days. Know that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and it feels much better on the other side. This is another reason why I love the journal. It helps you acknowledge yourself by physically writing down the “non-scale victories.” And going off that, hell yeah you should bring in the whole “be annoying on social media” thing back here. Post the mirror pic!!!!

Alright, cool. There you have it. If you choose to do to it LET ME KNOW. I want to hear about other Whole30 experiences outside of my own! Oh and one more, drink your Kombucha in a wine glass. Pretend wine. So fun!!

OH WE’RE (over) HALFWAY THERE

Yo yo yo. As some of you may have seen, I am currently taking on Whole30. I started it the day after Christmas because Holiday food. I typically maintain a pretty heathy diet but between being home for my family Christmas and starting a new job at Cafe Gratitude (a hippy dippy vegan restaurant) I was eating all of the baked goods, vegan or not. I am blessed with a body that is EXTREMELY sensitive to sodium and grains. Meaning if I eat too much of either of those, I wake up and can’t get the rings off my fingers while simultaneously looking like I got punched in the eyeballs and can’t open them all the way. Aka I AM PUFFY. Man, is my future husband lucky. So picture that times about 2 and a half weeks plus limited activity. I was ready to get back to #health.

Since I had to spend Christmas away from my family (I went home the weekend before for my family Christmas) due to work and dancing at the Clippers game the 26th, they took it upon themselves to send me some fun little gifts in the mail so I had something to open on Christmas morning. Well they tried to send them for Christmas morning but most of them arrived well after New Years day…..you might say that procrastination runs in the family. Moving on. One of the gifts that did arrive on Christmas Day was the official Whole 30 guide book. Lit. I’ve been talking about how I wanted to try it for over a year now so I was pumped to finally have the book in my possession. I read through the info right away and started planning.

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Ok, this was bomb.

If you’re reading this like “what the f is Whole 30???” I’m about to explain a bit. More or less, its a 30 day guide of food elimination to find what they call “food freedom.” It’s designed to eliminate certain foods that may be causing cravings or weird things to be happening (like inflammation, energy crashes, acne, fatigue, etc.) in yo body. For me, I looked at it as a step beyond the Paleo diet, which I already know works extremely well for my body. Paleo basically means eating like a caveman. Anything that comes from the earth is a go minus grains, legumes and peanuts. Where Whole30 differs is that it is a strict “off-limits” type of situation that not only is great for your body, but is also designed to change the way you view food. Meaning they cut out things like honey, coconut sugar, vanilla, natural sweeteners and anything random and unnatural that you may find in your “healthy” products. Aka to do whole30 you have to get GOOD at reading labels and throw out anything that has weird stuff like xanthum gum, agave, maple syrup or any ingredient you can’t pronounce. They also don’t want you to snack, but since I’m so active, I have to. Which can be hard.

My go-to snacks for pre-rehearsal or work out downtime are raw unsalted, W30 approved nuts, Lara bars, Rx Bars, sweet bell peppers, raw veggies and my “treat” of banana and almond butter. There was one afternoon I was having a bit of a sweet tooth attack and so I heated up a Lara bar and slapped some almond butter on it. So. Good. But since the point of W30 is to train your body that it doesn’t need sweets and food rewards, I didn’t make a habit of that. I also have a hard time controlling myself when it comes to almond butter so I try not to buy it too often.

So here I am, day 17 and I’m feeling absolutely amazing. I can see more muscle definition, feel more energized, have noticed a change in my skin and am sleeping so much better. I also have not really had that difficult of a time saying no to certain foods and asking for modifications at restaurants (I do, however, feel extremely annoying and extra). I think so far the hardest part as been the honey thing. I didn’t realize how much of it I consumed until I cut it out. So many of my coffee drinks I sweetened with honey and many of the granola bars I was eating had honey as a main ingredient. Which is fine, honey isn’t the worst thing you can eat. But your body treats it as sugar.

DISCLAIMER: Whole 30 also forbids alcohol. And if you’re doing the math right, you’re like “wait a minute, that means she was on W30 during NYE and she was definitely hammered…???” YOU RIGHT! I will be revisiting W30 in the near future and doing it minus the alcohol but this time I gave myself 3 alcohol passes. One of those being New Years Eve because it’s New Years Eve and I deserve to get drunk on Champagne and run around until 4 am. I’m not a psychopath and I don’t believe in depriving myself of stuff like that (although the next day I was wishing I would have refrained).

IMG_3676For those of you that are hardcore Whole 30ers you probably hate me right now and would tell me I should have started over. Like I said I will do it with out alcohol soon. But, I wanted to change my eating post holidays ASAP. Even though I’ve given myself 3 passes, I haven’t even wanted to use the other 2 because of the way my body has been feeling. That being said, I do kind of hate how restrictive W3o is. I mean, it works for me because I love a challenge. My parents gifted me the guide, recipe book and journal so I have all the tools necessary for me to succeed. But on the flip side of it, I imagine people who 100% restrict themselves from foods they love (or alcohol that they also love) have a hard time with guilt at the end of their 30 days. Maybe I’m wrong?

IMG_9618We’ll see in the next 13 days how I’m feeling but this is what I’m planning on as of now. I don’t think I’ll be reintroducing much of the food that is “off limits” on Whole 30 once I’m finished. In fact, I probably will try to eat as close to this as I can for the rest of forever. But what I will do is let myself live. Enjoy a cocktail (or 15) with my friends, have one of the cookies at work (seriously go eat them they are insane), sweeten my latte with honey…whatever. But only from time to time because if any of those things was making me feel the way I felt before this experience, I don’t really wanna reintroduce them. There’s no point.

Not to mention, I have tried out some pretty bomb recipes throughout this process including buffalo grilled chicken and roasted cauliflower (CHECK IT OUT ABOVE HOW SEXY – and also #SAUCY – IS THAT?!)

So. In conclusion. I’m checking in at this midpoint to say I’m loving it, still alive and have not had much difficulty thus far. Which scares me cause maybe that means my W30 breakdown is coming in the next 13 days. And if that’s the case, lucky you cause you’ll get to read about it.

DISCLAIMER: I have not joined the pumpkin spice craze

I hope everyone rolled out of bed before I did this morning……which may or may not have been somewhere around 12:30….. What’s even better is that despite the late wake up time, I was still full from yesterday when I finally rose from the dead. Love that!!! Although I definitely had my fill of pumpkin pie, cinnamon rolls, and dump cake (which all worked together to have me feeling like an absolute slug for the 4 hours I’ve been awake), I also made room for my new favorite paleo/gluten free pumpkin and banana muffins!!! YAY.

When I was scouring the internet for something to bake for friendsgiving, I came across this recipe from Jen Eddin’s blog. I didn’t trust myself to make an actual pie and since I figured I would be stuck with some leftovers, I wanted to make something I could still eat past my Thanksgiving splurge (and boy did I splurge). Enter these delectable little guys.

I ended up doubling the recipe but it calls for the following:

  • 1 large banana, mashed
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350, start with the wet ingredients in one bowl and dry in the other, mix and fill the muffin cups about 3/4 of the way then bake for 20-25 minutes (highly recommend spending this time with a mimosa in hand. Probably don’t follow my lead and leave your apartment while they bake though) and VIOLA.

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They are painless to make. Actually, my biggest concern was not setting off the fire alarm in my apartment like the last time I used the oven. No, seriously. I tried to make cauliflower pizza and literally spent the entire 12 minutes of bake time fanning the smoke detector in my unit with my denim jacket. There was no smoke so I have no idea whyI was so unlucky, but I definitely got an extra arm work out for the day. img_8024-1

To my surprise, I didn’t set the place on fire and they actually went over pretty well even amongst all of the traditional Thanksgiving deserts. Friendsgiving was not only filled with amazing drinks and foods (I literally had thirds) but incredible people and hilarious games. If you have never played What Do You Meme or had Shannon’s caramel apple sangria you are doing life wrong.

I got back to my apartment feeling extremely lucky. I was even lucky enough to take some of my muffins home (score!!!). The best thing about them is that they double as a little fall breakfast treat and pair perfectly with coffee. So although I take pride in not joining the pumpkin spice bandwagon, these little guys will definitely be a new staple to my holiday season.

Yo, I’m so juiced

THREE DAY JUICE CLEANSE HAS OFFICIALLY BEEN COMPLETED. After consulting with a few friends who are juice cleanse veterans, I decided to go with cleanse 1 from Pressed Juicery. It’s a bit higher calorie and meant for first time juicers (because it’s a bit tastier than some of the other ones) and also athletes due to it’s calorie content. Perfect. In most of my experiences with juice cleanses, work outs are a bit scary. So I’m looking forward to being able to sustain normal activity during these three days. I’m also obsessed with with the pressed freezes from Pressed so I already had a little bit of a bias towards going there.

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DAY ONE

1. 9:30 am: Vanilla almond (almonds, dates, vanilla bean and sea salt)

YUM. Obviously I’m going into this whole thing super optimistic and I’m sure by the third day I’m going to probably hate the taste of it…but for now YUM. I opened this one up in the parking lot of Pressed Juicery because I knew that I would love it. This one is one of the heavier juices, almost like a shake. That being said, it’s a little chalky. For some reason I like that though. Even when it comes to my chai, I won’t order it if it’s made with syrup because I like the chalkiness of the chai powder. Strange (and also a little coffee shop snob of me).Greens 3 (kale, spinach, romaine, parsley, cucumber, celery, apple, lemon and ginger)

2. 11:30 am: Greens 3 (kale, spinach, romaine, parsley, cucumber, celery, apple, lemon and ginger)

Alright, this one tastes more like what you would think a juice cleanse should taste like. Pretty earthy. I did a few one-day cleanses back in college and this is the taste I remember. The apple and lemon is the saving grace in this one for sure. I’m also a huge ginger fan so as earthy as it is, I’m still a fan. I should note that you’re supposed to drink at least 2 cups of water between each juice. There is no water in any of the juices, so in order to keep hydrated and digestion working properly, H20 is crucial. I also opened up the chlorophyll water (which is bright green) for the day as well. It helps sustain energy throughout the day.

3. 2:30 pm: Roots 2 (carrot, kale, romaine, spinach, parsley, apple, lemon and ginger)

It’s orange!!! This one’s not too much different than the last one as far as taste goes. But the carrot does take the edge off a bit. By this point in the day, I’m half way through the 6 and I had yet to be hungry. I haven’t done a lot of extra physical activity up until this point (my body was crying after rehearsal the night before).

4. 5 pm: Citrus 2 (pineapple, apple, lemon and mint)

This one tastes like a tropical cocktail…minus the alcohol. I love pineapple juice so I’m a huge fan. I will say it’s a bit challenging to choke down a drink so sweet after the last two drinks were so earthy tasting. Still good, nonetheless. I drank this one as I headed to work for a 6 hour shift. Which means (as you probably guessed) I had to take my last two juices to work. So now I’m officially that bougie girl who does juice cleanses at work, oops. I still felt great at this point and was sending a prayer to the juice gods that that would continue throughout my shift.

5. 7:30 pm: Greens 2 (kale, spinach, romaine, parsley, cucumber, celery, apple, lemon)

Alight, this is when I started feeling slightly crazy. Just before it was time to go in for juice number 5, I low-key felt buzzed at work. I’m not sure if this is just from all of the running around at Kahuna Tiki or if my body was starting to adjust to the whole 3 day liquid diet but wooof. I had never looked forward to drinking baby poop green liquid in my life. Even though this is one of the lighter drinks, it was interesting to feel the shift in my energy and stability after sucking this one down. I was gonna survive work, yay!!!!!

6. 10 pm: Chocolate Almond (almonds, dates, cacao, sea salt)

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This one is basically the sister of the first drink of the day. So. Great. Perfect sweet treat to end the night feeling energized and full. Like I said earlier with the vanilla almond, this one is also heavier and slightly chalky. I drank this one at work as well. To be honest, I was a little nervous about sticking to the schedule of the cleanse while still going about my normal daily activities. I think a lot of people are. But after the first day went so smooth, that’s definitely not a valid worry to have. People (at least around here) are familiar and acceptable of the juice cleanse life. They know what it is, even if they don’t know much about it. That being said, no one looks at you weird or tries to tempt or force you into eating solids.

*Bonus* 11:45 pm: Aloe water

Since Pressed was having a special, I went ahead and threw in the Aloe water along with the Chlorophyll water for each day. It brought the total from $84 to $104 (normally it would have been near $160). You’re supposed to drink the aloe water just before bed to aid with digestion. I still had some chlorophyll water left at that point as well so I basically sat in my kitchen watching K-pop videos with Annie (my Aussie roommate who is obsessed) until they were finished. This got a little weird though. Have you ever sucked down like 3 glasses of ice water the second you sit down at a restaurant and suffered from intense chills?? <— Me trying to be relatable but i don’t know if this has ever happened to anyone else. Well, if so, that’s the kind of feeling I had immediately after. I’m typically a pretty warm blooded human and would take being a little chilly over being too hot any day. But I had to grab a sweatshirt and a few extra blankets until I warmed up a little bit #strange. Anyway, by the time it was a little past midnight I was MORE than ready for bed and feeling pretty accomplished that the first day went so smooth!

DAY TWO

Disclaimer: Just so you know, each day consists of the same juices in the same order. So for the next few days, I’m not going to spend too much time focusing on the taste of everything, cause (if you can read) you already know that.

8 am 

Wooo, good morning day two!!! I woke up feeling very refreshed, unbloated and a little bit hungry. On a normal morning, I’m usually a bit groggier- especially lately. For some reason it’s been so difficult to get out of bed this last week, so I was pleasantly surprised to be ready to roll out of bed at a decent time. I didn’t necessarily have anything on my agenda for the day, so I went into the day not feeling too nervous about adding another 24 hours to my cleanse, starting with the yummy vanilla almond drink.

11:30 am

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I headed out to run a few errands and took the second juice along (this is the super green one). Still feeling energized and fine, I had a realization. I couldn’t even go sit at a coffee shop after finishing up my errands. That’s like one of my favorite things to do. I mean I guess I could have gotten a table and sat there until they figured out that I didn’t buy anything from there. Dang. So many activities are centered around food and beverages, it’s wild. I’ve always known that but the struggle is REAL when you’re mid juice cleanse. So basically, the only thing I could do while I was out and about was pop into a few stores and window shop. What could have easily been a 3 hour trip down Ventura Blvd. turned into 40 minutes cause I was just out of things to do and had stuff to do back at the homestead.

1:30 pm

By this time, I’m starting to feel a little bit sleepy. I couldn’t really tell if this was because of the juices or if it was just one of those weeks. We had a lot happening here since Kelly was getting ready to leave for the cruise and Annie was moving into my room so that could have also played into it. I ended up fighting the urge to nap and did some apartment hunting while I sipped on the carrot/ginger juice. I’m stressed out enough about finding a new place so that distracted me from the fact that I was now 36 hours (HALF WAY!!!!) into the cleanse.

That lasted a little while, but I ended up back in my bed after about an hour. I had planned to get back into Sienna’s heels class that night so I thought I should try to preserve my energy.

4:30 pm

You should know that I may be one of the world’s worst nappers. What I am good at is laying in bed for the length of a nap and staring at a computer screen or finding 1 million things to do on the computer that make me feel productive. So, rather than nap, that’s what I did to prepare for class. That and drink my 4th juice, the yummy tropical tasting one. I ended up eating a handful of raw and unsalted almonds too before heading out the door. Pressed Juicery recommends this if you are feeling a bit drained or needed more fuel for any reason.

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So uninteresting.

With that, I headed off to heels class. Not only was this the most activity I had done since starting the cleanse, but it was also my first time back in class (and in heels) since making Clippers. Hello nerves. The first thing I noticed was that the only thing in my head for the first 30 minutes of class was “shit I’m probably gonna fall over” and “there’s no way I can pick up this choreo, I have juice brain”. While those may have been valid thoughts, the second I was able to shake them, I couldn’t tell a difference between class on any other day. I finished feeling accomplished, energized and definitely sweaty. WOOP!

7 pm

Time for the other green af juice. I actually ended up liking this one just as much as the others by the end of the cleanse. Kelly and I were about to head to go see the most recent Annabelle in Burbank and I knew I was about to endure the smell of popcorn for the next 2 hours. That actually didn’t end up being to bad but by the time the movie was over, I was HANGRY and NEEDED the last juice of the day: the chocolate almond.

11:45 pm

One small problem- Annie had taken the keys, Kristyn was at work and Kelly and I were locked out of the apartment. Guess what we did to kill time…WALK AROUND RALPHS WHICH IS FULL OF FOOD. Great idea!!!!!! It wasn’t even that I was craving any specific food, or any food for that matter, but the fact that I couldn’t even buy anything there had me feeling a bit trapped. Luckily, we only had to wait about 45 minutes for Kristyn to get off work to let us in. I basically broke the door down trying to get upstairs to drink my final juice of the day.

Also FYI, the new Annabelle movie is shit.

It was finally time for bed and my aloe water. We had an early morning ahead of us for the Iowa v ISU game!

DAY THREE: THE LAST DAY!!!!

7:30 am

WOOO GO HAWKS!!!! We woke up at the crack of dawn (I basically chugged my final vanilla almond juice), dressed our favorite Aussie roommate like a real life hawks fan and headed to Barney’s Beanery in Santa Monica! The alumni association out here has declared it an Iowa bar and puts on fun little events for the games there! It’s so fun to go and see people from college who are out here or even jus the Iowa pennants hanging on the wall. AND you get 40% off your tab if you wear Hawkeye gear!! Obviously I didn’t rack up much of a tab this time, but seriously if you love the Hawks and you’re out here ya gotta go!!!

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Before heading down the road, I packed 3 juices in my big ass mom purse. I even threw in an ice pack to keep them cold. Since I wasn’t drinking (or eating for that matter) I drove us to Santa Monica for the game (like a true mom).

10:30 am

Here comes Holly drinks juice at a bar part one. So by this point I’m on like my 4th water, Kelly is on her 2nd G&T and the other girls are finishing up their first mimosa. Sweet potato fries have been ordered and I’m over here at the end of the table cracking out the green juice. Pretty comical. The weird part was that it wasn’t even difficult to ignore the food that they ordered. Not even the smell of it made me want it. I’m not sure if it was because the juice was keeping me satisfied or the fact that I had spent over $100 on the juices and was therefore committed, but either way I remained happily food and drinkless.

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1:30 pm (ish)

FREAKING GO HAWKS. What a good game you guys. So cool to see all of the fans at Barney’s going absolutely crazy as we beat the cyclones (again). We had run into some friends who went to Iowa and decided to go to the Bungalow afterwards. On the way there, I smashed the carrot one so I could get that out of the way before going into the bar. Honestly, the most annoying part of this whole thing wasn’t the lack of alcohol consumed, but dealing with everyone and their brother bumping into my mom bag. Seriously I about swung it at like 6 people’s heads. I still had a blast though. As per usual, Kelly whipped out Heads Up at the bar. By about 4 we were ready to head out, and guess who was hungry…Kelly. I was so excited to go watch Kelly eat another meal!!!!!

3:30 pm

What’s worse is she picked one of my favorite spots, Lemonade. Lucklily it was time for the tropical juice so I kind of felt like I was drinking one of their bomb lemonades….kinda. If you feel like I’m sugar coating the whole cleanse, I’m really not. I’m not 100% sure of all the science that goes into creating a cleanse regime but I really did feel satisfied about 80% of the time.

7 pm

After we got home, I was planning on diving into my bed and then I remembered…our photoshoot for clippers is tomorrow and my nails are a wreck. We had specific instructions to have them done (or at least looking nice), so I figured I should go take care of that. Of course, they could only do them if I got there around 6:15 so that left me with about 20 minutes of pillow time. I finished the 5th juice on the way out of my place while all of my full and slightly buzzed roommates took a little snooze.

*If you think you’re noticing a theme here to STAY BUSY while on a juice cleanse, you’re spot on.

10:30 pm

 

TIME FOR MY FINAL JUICE!!!!! Our friend Caitlyn stayed at our place that night and we had originally all planned to go to dinner…buttttt #JuiceCleanse. So we opted for a quick trip to grab some chipotle for her (nothing has ever smelled so good) to take back to our place for a movie night in. I crushed my very last chocolate almond while watching Memoirs of a Geisha (solid movie) and headed off to bed dreaming about what the heck I was going to eat the next morning. Ultimately though, I was feeling SO accomplished. I FINISHED THE CLEANSE AND DIDN’T DIE!!!!

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Neck pillow on FLEEK. 

POST CLEANSE

I feel like this is the neglected portion of any info on juice cleanses you may find online. It’s so crucial not to binge eat (on whatever you may have been craving during your cleanse) the second you finish all of your juices. I mean you’ve done nothing but digest liquids for 72 hours…how do you think your body is going to react if you hit up your favorite Mexican joint right after a cleanse??? EASE INTO NORMAL FOOD PEOPLE. Trust me. Luckily for me, I wasn’t craving anything bad. I just did my body so much good for 3 days and didn’t want to undo all of that. Actually the only thing I was craving was a kale noodle poke bowl from this place across the street (this is strange, I am aware).

Moving on. I woke up feeling light and refreshed. My skin was pretty clear and I could tell that I had lost some water weight. I hopped on the scale just out of curiosity and ended up being about 4 pounds down. Don’t get me wrong…weight loss wasn’t the goal here, but I’ll take it. Not a bad confidence booster before going into my first photoshoot with the Clippers!

We all went to Kreation (you have to go if you haven’t) in the morning and they recommended I order the jungle bowl- this is an accai bowl with lots of greens and the same ingredients that were in a lot of the juices. I did make a mistake though. I had them add banana. OUCH. Bananas have made my stomach hurt in the past but DANG. My stomach was in knots the entire way to the photoshoot. But by the time I got there and had drank a lot of water, I felt relatively normal. During the shoot I snacked on a few nuts and veggies here and there…even had a cup of coffee (which made me feel turnt after not drinking any caffeine for 3 days). I didn’t quite trust my stomach with much else at the point.

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After a GREAT day with the team (I’ll be writing about that a little bit later) you better believe I smashed a Kale noodle poke bowl when I got home.

ALL IN ALL

When it was all said and done, I loved my first juice cleanse experience. I felt like I could have even done it for a few more days. So if you’re teetering on giving it a go, I say DO IT. As far as advice goes I would say

  1. img_4696Plan to do your cleanse accordingly. If you have a wedding to go to, a birthday to celebrate or lots of physical activity coming your way that’s probably not the right time to try and do it. Don’t make it harder on yourself than it has to be.
  2. COMMIT. If you’re gonna spend the money on the juices, drink them. Make the sacrifices you need to to complete the cleanse, it’s only 3 days of your life.
  3. Stay busy to stay mentally tough. Obviously don’t wear yourself out, but if you’re just sitting around all day your mind is going to start to drift (pizza, tacos, ice cream……..).
  4. Follow the rules. You gotta stay hydrated otherwise you will feel like ass at the end of the three days.
  5. Ease back in to solid foods!!! Your body will love you for it.

 

 

 

 

When the beach teaches you more than you learned in college

I’ve been trying to explore a little bit more. As I’ve said before, I’ve gotten pretty comfortable in the stretch between North Hollywood to Studio City. Which is great news that I’m sure my friends and family back home love to hear! I’M COMFY HERE!!! But now that Summer is around the corner and I feel at home, I decided to make a list of places and activities I need to accomplish or see. Time to branch out and really explore California beyond the valley. And let me tell ya, I’m finding some good stuff. Like did you know there’s Yoga on the ocean?!!??! It’s literally called YOGAQUATICS. I’m 200% sure I’ll fall off the board but that’s a for sure on the list.

I started my quest this week with El Matador State beach in Malibu. I’ve been craving a solo beach day pretty much since I moved in. Now that it’s finally hot and I have a few performances coming up this month, it’s the perfect time to get my tan on. I’ve been bad lately (mom don’t read this part) about not wearing sunscreen and, learning from Kristyn the lobster’s mistakes, (okay mom, start reading again) I doused myself with SPF 15 before heading out the door. My whole ride to the beach was filled with good jams and light traffic- finally starting to get the hang of the traffic patterns.IMG_1743Once I got there, I noticed that it was pretty overcast; cold, even. Even so, I figured I would spend a good three hours there and that it probably felt different once I got down to the actual beach. Figuring all this in, I paid for 3 hours of parking up front. Oh and I forgot to mention I got beachside parking. That literally never happens.

It seemed like the stars were aligning for me to have a fun-in-the-sun beach day and who knows, maybe I’ll even meet some cool new people on the beach since I’ve been on a roll with that! If not, I already had plans to call back the 27392 people who I’m still lucky to call friends after absolutely SUCKING at staying in touch (shoutout to you guys!!!). When I finally got down to the beach, the people were sparse, the wind was strong and it was even colder than I thought it would be. Great.IMG_1763In my head, I was initially pissed that I had just driven 45 minutes, paid for parking and hyped up this day so much. I went back and forth between wanting to find a beach beach, thinking that maybe if I walked down far enough, I could just keep my same parking spot? Or maybe I should just go back to a space that I knew. Zuma? Maybe even by the pier. But then I looked around…

Damn. This place was beautiful. I felt like I was on the set of Lemony Snicket’s version of the Little Mermaid, complete with rocks and full of cloudy gloom. How did I miss all of this when I first arrived? How did I ever even have the thought to leave?IMG_1757Naturally, when I began to take in the beauty of El Matador, I pulled out my phone to post photos on every form of social media I could. Dumb. And the beach said “nope.” There is absolutely zero cell service down there. It’s like I was meant to be there alone with just my thoughts and the crash of the ocean against the rocks. Completely disconnected.

Not going to lie, I struggled at first. But I learned so much from my adventure that day. IMG_1798After a few hours of writing, thinking and exploring I packed up my things and headed to a cute little place called Sun Life Organics (another spot on my list). They literally have a drink with all of my favorite things: banana, raw almond butter, hemp milk and even coffee. That’s basically Holly in a shake. AND IT’S CALLED THE BLACK GOLD. Fricken GO HAWKS!

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How cool ^^^

Driving home, Black Gold in hand, I wasn’t so lucky with traffic. But I did have plenty of time to reflect on my exploration at El Matador and what the beach had taught me that day.

Sometimes you don’t get what you expected, but you get what you needed.