Okay so this life update is a couple of weeks old and most of you probably already know by now, but…
I have a puppy!!!! And his name is Ovi and he’s the best boy ever😊 He’s almost 10 weeks old now and he’s a black bi Aussiedoodle!! He was actually the runt of the litter too, so hopefully he’ll be in the 27-32 pound range. I just need to be able to travel with him so I can take him home for holidays!
He’s seriously the sweetest, so smart and so full of life. He’s a snuggle bug and I love him so much. If you’re obsessed with dogs (like me), you can follow him on Instagram because I’m a crazy pup mom and made him his own😂 It’s @ovithefloof
Other than that, I’ve just been trying to get ahead on work since we go to Hawaii TOMORROW! We’re somewhat irresponsible dog parents leaving our baby so soon, but we didn’t know we were going to have him obviously. Thank goodness for sweet friends who are going to watch him while we’re away!
And now, onto Friday Finds before I head back out of town because this summer is non freakin’ stop…
Good Morning Coffee Lover’s Smoothie – So many of my favorite flavors in here! I have a smoothie for breakfast almost every single day and this is a good way to get that caffeine fix without the extra mug🙌🏻
Señorita Ab Routine – Maddie is one of my favorite YouTubers and I LOVE her workouts! She’s being doing workouts set to songs, which is fun since they go right with the beat of the music and only last a few minutes😅
A Budget You Can Actually Stick To – THIS. I work on my budgeting almost every couple of weeks (just because the nature of my work is all over the place) and I love the way this article breaks it down in a tangible way!
Hey y’all! Did everyone have a good holiday weekend?
We got back last night after spending ours in Northern California with our pup at a friend’s cabin! It was our second time making the drive up there and man, I wish that place was closer. It’s SO beautiful and relaxing up there!!
We were in Bear Valley, California (not to be confused with Big Bear) and it’s funny because as awesome as it is up there, I feel like most people don’t know about it! Or, at least people from the SoCal region. It’s about 6.5 hours north of LA and east of Fresno, although if you go with a puppy, it may take a bit longer😅
Bear Valley and the surrounding towns have so much to offer, so keep on reading if you’re looking for a new place to explore on the west coast!
Bear Valley Mountain – This is probably the most well-known spot in the area because in the winter it draws a pretty decent skiing and snowboarding crowd! I actually came here on New Year’s Eve two and a half years ago and it’s a nice size mountain when the lower part of it is open! In the summer, there’s a ton of hiking and a nearby river you can canoe, kayak or SUP in. This time we hiked down what’s known as a double black diamond trail in the winter and then hiked up a catwalk. It was crazy to see what’s usually covered in feet of snow! And it was HARD.
Wine Tasting – One thing I wasn’t expecting when we went up north for the weekend was how popular it is to go wine tasting in Murphys, the biggest (and cutest!) town on the way up to Bear Valley. It’s kind of like Santa Barbara in that there are just a bunch of tasting rooms on the main street, so it’s easy to go from one to the next! We consulted some locals and tasted a few bottles, but Hatcher and Aloria are highly recommended. If you go to Hatcher, be sure to grab a loaf of Todd’s freshly made sourdough, too!
Exploring Murphys – Aside from wine tasting, this town has a ton of great eats like V Bistro, Murphys Pourhouse (awesome beer selection and a huge outdoor section, too), and Alchemy, plus cute shops and some seriously tasty ice cream at Joma’s Artisan Ice Cream. If you bring your pup, they’ll even give you a little cup of their famous vanilla for them!! Ovi tried his first ice cream there and needless to say, he was a BIG fan.
Calaveras Big Trees State Park – If you’re looking to spend some time outdoors looking at some of the most beautiful Sequoia trees that ever existed, come here. It’s a huge park, I’ve been twice now and even though we visited two different areas, I’m sure you could come here 50 times and still have things to see. In the northern part, there’s a walking trail that we did during the winter (SO beautiful but very cold!) and this past weekend we did the 5-6 mile (easy) hike in the south part. It’s about $12 per car to enter the park, just fyi, but the beauty you see inside couldn’t be more worth it.
The Overall Vibe – Bear Valley is nothing like Lake Tahoe or Big Bear, it’s far quieter, much less built up, and draws a different type of out-of-towner! There are a ton of people with second homes that come from the Bay Area and from what I can tell, everyone is pretty low key, casual, outdoorsy and friendly. If you have the opportunity, I definitely recommend renting a cabin in the woods so you can enjoy some local wine and cheese on the porch, dip into a hot tub, and cozy up by the fireplace! And don’t forget to grab a fresh pie and/or cider donuts from The Red Apple on your way up😍
I feel like we have so much more to see and I’d love to snowboard on that mountain in the winter again, so I know we’ll be back soon! Where did you spend your holiday weekend?
The summer is already flying by and I don’t know how I feel about it…
I literally almost ran out of time to put this post together because how the heck n’bob is it already JULY?! Like I’ve barely done a thing on my summer bucket list…have you?!
And even though I wasn’t even back in California until almost mid-June, I somehow feel like I’ve been in my kitchen/at home a bit more than usual, and trying a ton of new products. Here are the ones I’ve been loving lately😍
FOOD & DRINKS
Smashmallow Strawberries + Cream Marshmallows – You. Guys. If there is one thing you make this summer, please let this be it s’mores with these marshmallows. They’re obviously phenomenal on their own (all of their flavors, honestly), but in s’mores with some good chocolate? PHENOMENAL. They’re non-GMO and made with organic ingredients too, so better ingredients than regular marshmallows!
Sweet Earth Veggie Burgers – I’m not even kidding when I say I’ve had a variation of that plate up there at least 3 times in the last 2 weeks. I’ve had a loooot of veggie burgers in my day and these are easily some of the best I’ve tried. They’re hearty, have a great texture, don’t crumble apart like so many others, and the nutrition facts/ingredients are pretty impressive.
Better Booch in Golden Pear and Cherry Retreat – If I had to choose one thing to drink for the rest of time it would probably be this kombucha. Wait that’s a lie, it would be coffee, but this is a VERY close second. It has just the right amount of bubbles, the flavors are insane, and the sugar counts are surprisingly low for how good they are.
Reddi Whip Almond Milk Whipped Cream – I’m not gonna lie to you, this isn’t the healthiest item on here, but DANG is it good. I top my iced coffee with it sometimes and my day is instantly better. Worth every gram of sugar and calorie, in my opinion😉
Simple Kneads Gluten Free Bread – So I’m not gluten free by any means, but I’m always looking for ways to cut back on gluten and dairy, mostly for anti-inflammatory purposes! Not to mention there are some killer options out there these days, including this bread! You’d seriously never know it’s gf either, it toasts up perfectly and I’ve been having it almost everyday with pb & j or Kite Hill cream cheese and an egg!
Crystal National Mineral Enriched Deodorant – Let me just preface this by saying that my boyfriend literally calls me stinky because my deodorant NEVER worked…until now. I have tried almost every single natural deodorant on the market and they’re all a scam (jk, our bodies all just work differently), except THIS ONE. It’s a good price, too!
Leahlani Happy Hour Balancing Serum & Mad Hippie 2 Minute Polishing Mask– I’m pairing these two together because I’ve been loving them as an evening skincare duo about 2x a week! Since I have oily skin, I really don’t need to exfoliate more often than that, and then the serum feels so amazing afterwards (it’s pricey but it lasts forever)! Both of these brands green, non-toxic, and amazing🙌🏻
Whew! That was a lot, but I’ve seriously been loving ALL of those things so much and want you to, too!! What have you been obsessed with lately?
Happy Friday!!! This is actually a big one for me…
It’s my last Friday before I’m a dog mom and I’m SO EXCITED. It’s all I can think about🙈 And luckily I wrapped up my busiest work week for awhile just in time!
In other news, I wrapped up my 6 weeks at physical therapy for my back and truth be told, the pain isn’t better at all whatsoever. I’m going to have to see a spine specialist, so please pray for me that I don’t have to go to a chiropractor because nothing grosses me out more than cracking bones😂
Me a few years ago: “Umm, I would literally never do acupuncture, why would you voluntarily stick multiple needles in your body at once?”
Me two weeks ago: “LET’S DO THIS.” And don’t get me wrong, I was still scared as frick, but I was also fed up with my back pain and after hearing from at least 10 of my friends how amazing acupuncture is, I knew I HAD to try it at least once! They say it can help with all kinds of things aside from pain including depression, anxiety, hormone health, headaches, insomnia, and even infertility.
So if you’re feeling the way I did but are maybe intrigued and would want to give it a shot, keep on readin’😊
For my first acupuncture experience, I went to WTHN, a New York-based acupuncture “spa,” if you will! At least, it felt like a spa to me, in the best way possible. First of all, that place has the most aesthetic décor ever with a ton of plants and a cute shop in front for all your wellness needs. It’s instantly inviting and warm.
From there, I was taken into my own curtain-ed off space with a specialist who first asked me what exactly I was interested in achieving with acupuncture and where I was experiencing pain. After sharing my frustrations with my mid and upper back injury, as well as my nervousness around getting acupuncture done, he kindly explained exactly what I could expect and assured me that there was not nothing to be afraid of.
If I’m being 110% honest, you do feel a teeeeensy tiny prick with the traditional method, but there is virtually no pain. It’s as if you were to give yourself a very small and gentle quick pinch. He also did a few needles with the “pressure point” method up by my shoulders and I admittedly did feel a bit of discomfort during those.
I’m really glad he did both kinds, just so that I could experience them, and I’m sure that the pressure point technique is necessary to really get into those tight muscles (they don’t use that all over the body, just in certain areas of the body that carry a lot of tension).
After about 5-10 minutes of the setup, he handed me a button that I could press if I needed anything or started to get uncomfortable, covered me with a very thin, paper-like blanket, and put on headphones with my choice of serene music. For the next 25 minutes, I laid there.
Here’s how the next part of my session went:
I almost instantly relaxed and teetered somewhere between awake and asleep (but I didn’t want to actually fall asleep though, for fear of being startled when he walked back in😂)
I lost track of time and felt almost weightless
At around the 20 minute mark (I think), I felt myself starting to overheat – again, not from being in pain, but more so from feeling like I couldn’t move
I panicked a little, and almost pressed the button, but talked myself down and knew I could make through the last few minutes
And then? It was over! My acupuncturist gave me a sheet with some recommendations (4 sessions to ease the pain) and made sure I was both pleased with my experience and hydrated! Again, very spa like💆🏻
After my appointment, I continued to feel very much relaxed and didn’t experience any back until the middle of the night, which is super normal for me. I don’t know if one session is really meant to achieve long-term effects, but I’m positive that if I lived near WTHN I would be back soon.
All in all, I would recommend acupuncture to absolutely anyone. It was a different kind of self-care and one with so many benefits. And one last thing – I do think that being face down and not actually seeing the needles was super helpful, but if you need to be face up, maybe ask for something to cover your eyes!
Tell me, have you ever tried acupuncture?! If you haven’t, do you want to?
Guys, I’ve officially been an LA resident for EIGHT YEARS. How nuts is that?
And even more nuts is the fact that I’ve pretty much been blogging (however embarrassingly so) since then. If you’ve been a long-time reader, I appreciate you❤️ I really feel like I’ve lived about 9 lives here already – life as a lost 20-something after college, a dancer, a hand model, a business school student, a marketing professional, and now, we’re here!
Today I can say with confidence that I am a business owner, social media consultant, and healthy living blogger, and that feels pretty rad.😊 In all honesty, I didn’t actually plan a celebration for this milestone, but the whole weekend spent adventuring in my city felt like one, anyway!
I kicked off the weekend with a gloomy Saturday morning clean up sesh (bless you Marie Kondo for inspiring us to de-clutter) because we are getting a PUPPY! Yep, a little pupper to be my buddy since I work from home and Alex travels a bit. I figured we should get our sh*t together before we add more dog toys and another living thing into the mix!
After putting about 9 bags together to give away, we headed to Venice Beach where Beach Now had so kindly set up a bunch of chairs, umbrellas, games, towels and refreshments for us! It was a little chilly (June Gloom is very much a thing here!), but we had so much and I was happy the sun came out.
Saturday night we ordered Thai takeout and binged the first 4 available episode of Handmaid’s Tale. If you’re not watching it, you have to start NOW. I promise you won’t be disappointed, we’re obsessed with it!! I love how it’s about female empowerment, despite all the awful things that happen in it.
On Sunday, my sweet friend Emily drove all the way up from Orange County to spend the day with me! We kicked off our morning with coffee from Coffee Commissary (one of my favorite coffee shops here!) before doing a free workout with my friends Keely and Rachel through Athleta! I don’t know if this the case for all stores, but at least near me, Athleta holds free classes about once a week that their ambassadors teach!
Post workout, we went to Bluestone Lane for brunch and shoveled it in SO HARD. I love that place – the people are nice, the food is fresh, and it’s a nice ambiance!
Since we obviously couldn’t just stop there, we went to try a new place for some soft serve! Lucky for me, Emily likes treats so we went to Bumsan for some incredible organic ice cream. I got the matcha and milk, and Emily got the choclate and salted caramel. We were able to try all the flavors and let me tell you, I WILL be back soon😍
The rest of the day was just spent getting more organized, heading to TJ’s for some groceries, and watching some more TV before calling it quits for the weekend. We grilled up brats, some romaine (new favorite thing to grill!), peppers and onions and had Spanakopita on the side! Needless to say, it was a decadent weekend😂
What did you guys do? Was the weather nice for you?!
Hellooooo Friday! Ugh, aren’t Summer Fridays the best?!
It’s not like I get actual Summer Fridays (y’know when you have a half day of work), but since I’m my own boss, I’ve decided that I’m going to do them once in awhile, anyway😏
I purposely made this week more low key than usual with fewer plans and workouts scheduled in. My time in NY was so hectic and since I wasn’t actually on vacation, I definitely didn’t get enough work done😅 Luckily I’m feeling nice and relaxed, and more importantly, back in the groove! Here’s what I’ve been reading…
Cassava Flatbread – What’s pictured up at the top of this post! I actually subbed garbanzo flour for the cassava flour and you guys I am BLOWN away. This bread has zero sugar in it yet somehow tastes slightly sweet? And has a ton of fiber/protein, too!
I am back from one of the most epic, hectic and AMAZING trips to New York that I’ve had since I left in 2011! I initially went for my best friend’s bachelorette, which was an absolute, exhausting blast, and then stayed to see my family and friends!
I met up with some of my incredible blogger babes, caught up with friends from college, and got to visit some places that have been on my list for ages. I also threw an event alongside my friend Alyssa and a company called MyWellBeing, so full recap on that to come soon😊
Until then, I’ve rounded up 7 of my favorite wellness/healthy living spots from my trip and let me tell you guys, I miss them already. NYC is so much more wellness focused than it was when I was in college – it’s crazy! Let’s get into it😍
WTHN – Okay you guys, I finally did it, I got acupuncture for the first time!!! I’m so proud of myself, can you tell😂 I’m not going to lie, I was pretty nervous, but I’m willing to do pretty much anything to ease my back pain at this point. Plus, my friend Alyssa told me this spot was unbelievable, and she was RIGHT.
I actually have their “herbs” at home, which are supplements made with adaptogens, but I’m so glad I got to visit this gorgeous space in person. I think I might do a full post on my experience, but let me just say, this is the perfect place to go in NYC if you’re looking to experience acupuncture for the first time! It’s got the vibe of a super cool spa, they make you feel so comfortable, and the practice itself is super healing.
Sundays Studio – If you’re looking for a non-toxic mani in the city, you HAVE to go to Sundays!! The ambiance is beautiful, the service is outstanding, and my nails looked SO good. I got a regular manicure with some nail art (so many cute designs and colors!), but they also do non-toxic gel manis, too! Can’t wait to go back here next time I’m in town.
Hu Kitchen – YOU GUYS. Omg I wish I could express to you how much I loved it here😭 I was fully planning on going back at least once more and just ran out of time, but please oh please make a point to go to this healthy food freaking WONDERLAND next time you are in NYC. They have so many insanely delicious options that cater to nearly any diet and their creations taste like actual heaven. I wanted to try one of everything, but I made my own bowl with their pork meatballs, pineapple and broccoli. I also tried their chickpea focaccia which was SO good!
Charley St. – This was my first stop in the city last week for a meetup with some my blogging friends and it did not disappoint! It’s an Australian café, which I know seem to be popping up all over NYC and LA, but you guys. The gluten-free banana muffin and banana bread for to DIE for. They also make a mean oat milk latté and some seriously gorgeous smoothie bowls!
Energi – My friend Alyssa and I actually held an event here last week (blog post on that to come very soon!), but it’s such a stunning space! I’m so grateful that we were able to use it. Energi is a wellness focused co-working space that’s opening very soon, but they actually have a workout studio right upstairs too that’s already open! Some seriously incredible teachers have classes there (that’s something to do next time!), but the cowering space is pretty epic too. Super bright, open, welcoming, and full of energy – pun intended.
Two Hands – Another Australian café (yep, I told you they were on the up and up!), Two Hands is a beautiful spot for breakfast! It’s slightly pricier than Charley St., but worth every penny. The scrambled eggs are ridiculous and they too have banana bread, but the star of theirs it the whipped mascarpone on top. I’m so glad I got to meet my friend Gracie here – you guys might know her as Hungry Blonde but her blog was the first I ever followed back in college😊
Humming Puppy – Not gonna lie, I would legit move into this studio. It is easily the most beautiful place I’ve ever practiced yoga in, but it’s also so much more than that. The entrance alone is magical and there’s coconut water waiting in beautiful mugs for you, but then the studio itself is unlike anything else I’ve stepped foot in. It’s huge and the mats are placed ready and waiting for you in a half circle moving outwards from the center of the room where the teacher stands and each row is tiered slightly higher than the one before it. They keep it dark and there’s an actual constant humming vibration throughout the room during the entire class. I don’t think I’ve ever felt energy like that before🙌🏻
Okay, okay, that one up there ^ is NOT a healthy foodie spot, but if you like donuts and you’re in NYC, you do have to hit up Dough Doughnuts ’cause they’re the size of your head and oh so fluffy😏
Well, there ya have it! Do you have any favorite spots that I missed?! I’m hoping to get back to NYC a bit more frequently now that I don’t have to worry about vacation days, so hit me with your best!
“Wait this is really good, are you sure it’s vegan and gluten free?” -actual words from my bf after trying this😂
For the first time ever, I tried baking with hazelnut flour and now I can confirm: it is very much like baking with almond flour and VERY much delicious. Highly recommend👌🏻
This bread is pretty dang easy to make, gluten-free, vegan (unless you decide to use a different protein powder or regular eggs instead of flax eggs), and has zero added sugar since it’s sweetened by the mashed banana. It’s also insanely tasty topped with nut butter, just a tip.
Oh, and one more tip – it’s moist, so need to worry about it being crumbly per se, but if you don’t let it cool properly before transferring it out of the loaf pan, it might break apart! Just FYI😊