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Wellness

Venice, CA

Career Advice

I’m so excited to share my career tips and advice as a part of today’s Wellness post.  I want my Wellness posts to be tools that help you look and feel your best whether that be through the food you eat, the products you use, self care rituals, relationship advice, or career tips and tricks. My Work Experience Before I give you career advice I think it’s important that I share my own personal career and job background with you.  I’ve been working for the last 15 years (I’m almost 30.)  My parents were tough love people.  They taught me the value of a dollar and hard work very early on and had me get a job starting at the age 15.  I worked at my uncle’s dentist office filing papers.  At 16, I worked at La Grande Orange in Phoenix, Arizona.  I was a cashier, bussed tables, and took out the trash.  I worked the 6am shift before going to high school and then I’d come back after school to put in another few hours. The restaurant industry is one of the hardest industries I’ve ever worked in – I have complete and total respect for anyone who works in it.  At 17, I started working at local boutiques and clothing stores.  I loved fashion so this was really fun for me.  I was a sales associate at Calypso St. Barth and Saks Fifth Avenue.  I pretty much spent my entire paycheck on clothes – oops! At 18, it was time to go to college and my parents were going through a rough divorce and let me know they would not be supporting me financially anymore.  This came as a shock to me. And I scrambled to figure out how to pay for my tuition, car insurance, gas, rent, sorority dues, food, clothes and anything else that came up!  I knew I needed a job that paid more than retail so I became a full time nanny and took mostly online classes which allowed me to work 50+ hours a week while still getting my degree. I held 3 interior design internships over the course of 3 semesters during my junior and senior year.  These internships were invaluable to me and helped me realize that I actually did not want to become an interior designer (which was my college major and what I had planned on doing.) After college, I dreamed of moving to NYC and making it in the fashion industry. I started my blog as a passion project that summer before moving to the city and at the time no one was reading it and that was just fine by me!  It was essentially an online diary and my creative journal.  I moved to NYC with no job, and just the savings I had from selling my car – risky move I know!  I pounded the pavement applying to a zillion jobs and luckily got one 3 days later at a small jewelry company in the Garment District.  It was a company of only 3 women and I was to be doing a little bit of everything from social media to PR, sales, accounting, invoicing, trade shows, customer service, and wholesale management. Certainly, I didn’t have all of the skills for this job, BUT the designer believed in me – and she loved my blog!  I had put my blog on my resume on a whim – and it worked in landing me the job!  She saw my aesthetic and writing skills and thought I seemed like a hard worker/quick learner and luckily for her I was!  I worked there for a year and a half and the experience I gained was PRICELESS.  I learned how to run a business from start to finish – the ins, outs, and the nitty gritty stuff no one talks about.  I continued writing my blog during this time and would come home and stay up until midnight or have my roommate take photos of me on the weekend. I dreamt of writing my blog full time but this was back in 2012 so brands were still hesitant to pay bloggers and I couldn’t support myself financially from solely my blog. So, I quit my job after feeling overworked and under-appreciated – and I started my own social media consulting business to make ends meet.  I was scared at first to start my own business at 23 years old, but GOOGLE became my best friend and I researched for hours and hours how to set one up.  I used my fashion network in NYC and got 3 regular clients my first month.  I loved social media and was good at it so it all felt very natural. Having my own business allowed me to blog at the same time and after 6 months of freelancing I landed a huge campaign with Nordstrom and realized I could probably make a living blogging so I folded the consulting business and focused on blogging full time.  I say probably because it was a huge risk and nothing was guaranteed or certain, but as cheesy as it sounds I believed in myself and knew I would do whatever it took to make it work!  Now here I am today, 8 years later still blogging full time! My Career AdviceEveryone’s career path and journey is different.  We all choose jobs for various reasons and are passionate about a multitude of things.  So what’s the right move for you?  How can you get ahead?  How can you change careers?  What do you do if you hate your job?  How can you negotiate a raise or get a better position? Or, how do you deal with difficult people?  How the heck do you know what to even do?!  Read on. HOW TO figure out what kind of job you want/HOW TO MAKE A CAREER CHANGEFirst and foremost, what are some things that you are passionate about and what are you good at?  Is there an overlap?  Write down a list and start to research jobs that fit both of these things.  Times have really changed and you don’t have to hold a college degree in a certain field to necessarily work in that field (unless you want to be a doctor or something extremely specialized.)  There are a lot of job options for women today!  Once you have narrowed down a few jobs that sound appealing to you and that you think could possibly be a good fit. Find companies within those fields that you are drawn to and cold call or email them. See if you can go in for an informational interview which is when you can chat/meet with someone at the company even if there’s not an open position.  See if you can shadow someone for a day, take a part time internship or an entry level position just to get your foot in the door.  Ask friends or family if they know anyone in that field and see if you can get coffee with them and pick their brain about their job.  Do your research and don’t be shy!  Ask questions, be curious!  You may have to take a pay decrease or position downgrade at first, but ask yourself if it will be worth it in the long run and if the risk is worthwhile – then take it. What to do WHEN you hate your jobIf you hate the FIELD you are in, reference the above section and go from there.  If you hate the company you work for you can take a lot from the above section as well – expand your network, ask questions, cold call/email other companies and inquire about upcoming openings.  I think it’s important to ask yourself WHY you hate your job in the first place and pinpoint what parts you don’t like about it.  Remember no one likes every aspect of their job!!!!!  NO ONEEEEEE.  You should – and deserve – to enjoy what you do the majority of the time though – life is short and none of us are guaranteed tomorrow! Here are a few questions to ask yourself…“Did I choose this job to please my parents?”  You’d be surprised, but many of us do things unknowingly to please our parents even when we are grown ass, independent adults!  I still secretly want approval from my parents even though I don’t “need it” – this is a very natural, normal tendency!  Your parents will love you no matter what – even if it’s choosing a career path other than the one they want you to choose – I promise!  It may be uncomfortable at first veering off their path for you, but all parents really do just want their children to be HAPPY at the end of the day.  So dig deep and figure out what it is that YOU want. Another question to ask yourself is…“Did I choose this job for the money?”  If you chose a job purely for financial stability but have zero passion in it, don’t be so hard on yourself – you are not alone.  We all need to survive and support ourselves!   I will say as someone who was completely broke 8 years ago and is now in a more financially stable place, money does not buy happiness or inner contentment.  It really, truly does not.  I am being 100% honest and serious here.  Yes of course it allows you to have more freedom which brings moments of happiness and an overall sense of calm and security which I personally am extremely grateful for – BUT it does not change that DEEP, core level of inner happiness and peace that lies inside each of us. Some of my most cherished times and memories were when my bank account was at nearly zero and I was writing my blog from my studio apartment eating 99 cent pizza every night for dinner.  I was SO passionate and excited about what I was doing and living in NYC as a young 20 something was exhilarating!  No amount of money can buy that inner contentment that comes from being true to yourself, being surrounded by genuine people, doing what you’re passionate about, and living out your full potential. Lastly ask yourself…“Did I choose this job because it seemed cool, easy, or fun, but it’s actually not at all?!”  As a reminder, no job is easy even the ones that look effortless.   People tell me ALL THE TIME that blogging looks so easy.  I say – well good, then I’m doing my job.  I’m delivering beautiful content for YOU to enjoy – meanwhile I’m behind the scenes working my ass off to create it.  I love what I do though, so I don’t mind!  Choose a job because you are passionate about it, feel connected to it and the people you work with, and believe you have the right skill set for it – and the work you put into it will be rewarding, satisfying and worthwhile. I also want to add that it’s important to not to compare your job situation to that of your friends, family, peers and/or people you see online or in the media.  You never know what someone else is going through or what their work/life is really like.  Someone could seem like they have the best job ever and actually hate it, or they could could be making millions of dollars but working so much/so stressed out that they never get to actually enjoy all of the things they worked so hard for OR spend time with loved ones. On the other end of the spectrum, someone could be working a more unassuming, low stress job where they’re not striving to be a top level executive at some company – and to some, it may look as though they’re not trying hard enough to “reach their full potential” or not striving/grinding/aspiring “hard” enough to do more, make more, have more more more, but they probably have a great reason for this, may be onto something, and/or just have other priorities!  Life is meant to be enjoyed after all.  So again, there’s really no need to compare or judge others job choices or our own. HOW TO WORK WITH DIFFICULT PEOPLEPay very close attention to people’s energy and how they make you feel when you’re around them.  This starts with when you’re in a job interview.  Observe the vibe in the office, the feeling you get from the interviewer – what’s the company culture?  Company culture is everything in a job.  It makes or breaks a job.  You want to work with happy, positive, uplifting, helpful, patient, kind people that will help you grow.  Steer clear of toxic work environments by shadowing people at the company and asking LOTS of questions about the culture before taking a job.  If you’re already in a job that has a toxic work environment, and you don’t love the people you work with, or hate your boss – then take action. Here’s a few things I recommend:Get a therapist to help you look at the situation differently, understand where these feelings are coming from, and see if there’s anything YOU can do differently to turn the situation around.  Stop taking everything personally. We all take things WAY TOO PERSONALLY.  Most of the time people’s moods have NOTHING TO DO WITH US.  Maybe someone had a fight with their boyfriend, maybe they feel sick, maybe they have a whole slew of issues we don’t know about – don’t let other people’s bad moods or vibes bring you down! Show humility.  Ask someone if there’s something you can do to make their lives easier or if they need anything from you work wise.  Just stopping and asking someone what they need/how they’re doing has tremendous results.  Isn’t it crazy that we rarely stop and ask someone point blank how they’re doing?!!!!!!!  Taking a brief pause to check in with your coworker or boss, being open to change, and being willing to take on a little extra work – can go a very, very long way and change an entire dynamic. Having humility is an amazing way to bond with people.  Lastly, quit your job.  I put this last because of course changing jobs is a huge process but sometimes it is necessary if the work environment is so toxic and all of the above options have been exhausted. HOW TO ASK FOR A RAISE OR BETTER POSITIONAsking for a raise is awkward AF!  Whew, I remember sweating bullets when I asked my old bosses for raises!  A few tips for asking for a raise or better position…First schedule a check in meeting with your boss where you want to go over your employment history, goals, performance, and anything else relevant.  This can be at a 6 month or 1 year mark.  You never want to ask for too much too soon – it just looks bad.  When you come to the meeting, prepare a presentation – maybe it’s a powerpoint, or just a nice print out of everything you’ve contributed to the company. Don’t be shy, feel free to share some stellar moments that you are proud of, company goals that were met or exceeded, teamwork examples, new ideas and contributions you have for the coming year, and any other key things that will help you prove your point.  You should take this talk seriously and be overly prepped for it.  After sharing what YOU’VE contributed to the company this year, be sure to compliment your boss on their leadership skills and/or anything they did this year that stuck out to you. Kissing up to your boss goes such a long way people!!!!!!!  LOL  It’s true!  And after all of that, then state the number you want and let the last 30 minutes or however long your talk was and your presentation speak for itself from there.  You may already know the number you want your new salary to be, and if you don’t do some research (google google google!) or ask others in your industry what an appropriate raise would be. HOW TO MAKE EXTRA INCOMEMinimum wage is barely enough to live on today. Especially in a major city.  Most people working minimum wage jobs have to have several jobs in order to survive.  The current economic situation is extremely alarming to me and the middle class is disappearing at a rapid rate.  People are unable to pay their student loans off, buy houses, or save with the way that things are going.  The homeless rate around the country is rising and particularly in LA and in my neighborhood it is rampant and absolutely breaks my heart.  I will share more about how you can give back and how I am getting involved in my community this year in a separate post, but for right now I want to give you some tips on how to earn extra income when you have a full time job and ideas/things that I have done! When I was in high school and college working at my retail, restaurant and nannying jobs, I also took on part time tutoring jobs.  I used the network at the middle school I went to and picked up several students to tutor after school, at night, or on the weekends.  Tutors make amazing money. You can charge up to $85 an hour depending on your level of education and expertise.  Babysitting/nannying is another great way to make side money because the hours are so flexible! Working part time at companies like Taskrabbit, Uber, Lyft, Wags, and Glamsquad depending on your interest and expertise are also solid options.  Selling clothing and accessories you no longer want on Poshmark, The Real Real, or a local consignment shop is SO easy and you’d be surprised at how much money you can make from doing this.  Setting up an Etsy shop if you enjoy making things and being a contributing writer for online websites or magazines in your community is another great way to bring in extra income.  Lastly, starting a blog and using affiliate links from affiliate marketing companies can make you a significant amount of commission as your audience grows.  I’ll touch more on this in the next section… HOW TO MONETIZE A BLOGThere are several ways you can monetize a blog.  You can sign up for affiliate marketing companies and use their links in your blog posts and on your social channels to get a percentage of all sales you direct to certain websites from your links.  Links from affiliate marketing companies are trackable and over time, these small commissions and sales can add up to a significant amount per month as your audience grows. Many people get discouraged or don’t utilize these companies and links because they just see that they can make let’s say $1.50 or $8.75 here and there from the sale of an item, but what they don’t realize is that these numbers ADD UP and if you stick with it, and are diligent about linking as many things as you can. You can make a full time salary on affiliate commissions alone.Yes, it takes quite some time to find the item you’re talking about on their website, link it, then hyperlink within your posts etc. But for me, it is 100% worthwhile and has paid off tremendously.  Many of these affiliate companies also have connections with large brands and they bring the bloggers who are converting and driving sales paid campaigns which is another great source of income.  Speaking of paid/sponsored campaigns, brands are investing in bloggers more than ever now because they see the power that a digital influencer has when it comes to sales, reach, and their image. Paid campaigns can come from many places.  Sometimes brands will email a blogger directly and say they’d love to work with them on X and are willing to pay X for the deliverables.  Always negotiate that number and those terms, and ALWAYS have a lawyer review your contract with that brand.  Sometimes brands will reach out to a blogger’s manager or agency if they have one and then the manager will negotiate/work out contractual obligations and rates from there.  Sometimes brands will reach out to an affiliate marketing company and have them give campaigns to their top performing converters.  And sometimes you can create an incredible sponsored campaign simply by ASKING and PRESENTING a brand with your idea. Never be afraid or shy to cold call, email, or DM brands you love.If anything, it’s great to make those connections and network now and you can always ask later when the time is right to do a sponsored project with them.  Approach this the same way you would in my HOW TO ASK FOR A RAISE section above by presenting facts and evidence on how and why you would be the right fit to work with them, show numbers, sales and analytics on how you could drive sales and perform for them, and then share your rate – on the very last page. Never ask for money and share your rate off the get go. It’s important to slowly work that into a conversation and build upon a genuine relationship, love of the brand, and create that connection first.  Once you’ve established a loyal following through your blog or social channels, the possibilities are endless.  You can host events, design product lines, consult for other bloggers, continue making money through affiliate links and paid posts, branch into Youtube, etc. I’ll be going more in depth on blogging stuff in a separate post since there really is a lot more to it than meets the eye!  In terms of growing your following – there are various ways to do this, but I suggest focusing on creating authentic content on your Instagram and blog first and foremost, posting regularly if not everyday, finding your voice/not trying to be like someone else, using Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, investing in SEO or doing your own (I use Influencer SEO – Jordan is amazing!), and networking with like minded people. HOW TO BE AN ENTREPRENEURWhew this topic is going to have to be an entirely separate blog post as well haha!  But I will absolutely touch on it here to give you a quick rundown should you be interested.  Let me start by saying no business school or class, and no book or article can ever really TEACH you how to be an entrepreneur.  You just have to buckle up, enjoy the ride, and keep your eyes + ears open at all times because it sure is a WILD experience. Like anything in life there are incredibly amazing, rewarding moments and there are absolutely devastating, soul crushing moments that come with being an entrepreneur and it honestly is not and does not have to be for everyone!  I think today, in 2018, we absolutely glamorize entrepreneurship.  While I love that it’s getting so much buzz and attention, it’s crucial that anyone out there who is an entrepreneur including myself, continue to share the ins and outs, ups and downs, and more real life stuff that comes with it. We should never look down on anyone who isn’t an entrepreneur or think we are better than someone who isn’t!  Vice versa – if you are not an entrepreneur – do not feel the need to become one because it seems cool or because you feel some sort of pressure to from society.  I respect ANYONE who works their butt off and we should all give ourselves credit if we are making strides and big differences at a company we are working with/or at.  That is equally commendable and honestly allows you to have a much better work/life balance. Being an entrepreneur is absolutely not easier than working for someone so if you think it is, it’s not.It’s a different kind of hard with a different level of responsibilities and pressure.  You never turn off.  You have a way harder time balancing work and life. I work way more than I play/spend time with friends/family.  You work long hours and weekends usually 6-7 days a week, almost 365 days a year. And especially on holidays which are the busiest times. You feel isolated because people think you have the dream job. People think it looks so easy and you’re too tired to even begin to explain what really goes on behind the scenes. You feel like you often can’t relate to most of your peers, you can’t be friends with your employees because you need to maintain a professional relationship which can be exhausting and uncomfortable at first. You have to switch gears and wear 100 different hats throughout any given day where you go from thinking about a creative project back to managing and overseeing finances, back to the creative project, then onto contractual obligations, then it’s time to manage people which comes with hiring and firing at some point – and all that jazz.  I am in no means trying to talk anyone out of becoming an entrepreneur here I am just shining a light on what it’s like (and this is only scratching the surface.) If you want to be an entrepreneur then go be one.Stop wondering, waiting for approval, or waiting around for god knows what.  Google how to start a company, have something you’re so f*cking passionate about that it keeps you up and wakes you up in the middle of the night, something that you don’t mind working late, working on the weekends and on holidays for, and that you literally can’t wait to share with the world – and go make it happen. IMPORTANT JOB SKILLS ANYONE SHOULD HAVE/THINGS to BE MINDFUL OFNever take anything personally.  Have an open mind.  Always be curious and want to learn more about the field you’re working in.  Ask your boss and coworkers how they are doing.  Go the extra mile even if you think it goes unnoticed – it doesn’t.  Show up on time.  Learn how to write a professional and articulate email.  Learn how to create a solid powerpoint or outline/presentation. Dress for success – modest, put together, clean cut, no chipped nails!!!  Triple check all emails and papers for typos.  Don’t bring personal drama to the workplace.  Don’t take advantage of a corporate card or budget even if it’s for small things like coffee on your boss’s card – ask first.  Be prepared – do your homework!  Work hard and reap the benefits of that.  Remember nothing amazing ever comes from doing the bare minimum. Think outside the box.  ASK as many questions as you need to clarify and understand  something – NEVER EVER ASSUME ANYTHING – that is the worst thing you can do even if you think you’re doing someone a favor/saving time – more often you’re not because you’ll have to backtrack to fix a mistake (if it’s even fixable!!!)  RESPECT yourself and others even if they have different opinions.  Agree to disagree.  Pick and choose your battles.  Give yourself reality checks.  Think positive.  Be grateful.  VALUE yourself and others.  Take PRIDE in your work. HOW TO STAY MOTIVATEDThis advice can be applied to anyone whether you work for yourself or for someone else.  If you’re struggling to stay motivated as an entrepreneur, then you probably shouldn’t be doing what you’re doing, or you’re suffering from burnout and need to take a major step back and rest/recharge.  I was born to be an entrepreneur.  I can say this with 100% certainty.  From the time I was 9 years old, I dreamt of having my own office and running my own company.  I’m not even kidding – I was an odd kid what can I say.  I have always gone to the beat of my own drum and been an old soul.  I have always been headstrong and willing to do whatever it takes to make my dreams a reality and have my vision come to life because I am so passionate about it. Creating content and writing is literally a part of who I am. I have to be creative on a daily basis, so to do anything else or something that wasn’t creative would just feel wrong.  Even when something goes so awry, is hard or annoying, I still wouldn’t want to change jobs and I move through it and push forward.  I may take a step back and cool off for a few minutes or hours, try to think about something from a different perspective, research various ways to alleviate the situation, or talk to friends and family to get advice, but I always come back to it.  If you’re passionate and/or connected to what you’re doing this should feel natural. In terms of burnout…Burnout is very real and happens to the best of us.  I experienced burnout living in NYC 3 years ago and I solved that by doing a combination of things.  I learned how to meditate, I went on yoga and wellness retreats where I knew no one, I read about ways to unwind/destress, I went to weekly therapy sessions, I researched what real “happiness” was – go watch the HAPPY documentary if you haven’t already, and after all of that, I took the month of August of 2016 to road trip through Southern California, to turn off from social media, reconnect with myself, and push myself out of my comfort zone and routine, which in turn led me to fall in love with Venice, California – and move west 6 months later. Are there days where I feel more motivated than others?OF COURSE.  Somedays I want to sit on my couch in silence in sweatpants eating ice cream, with zero social media, no writing, no creating, no makeup and no feeling like I have to be on or photo ready. And I let myself do that wholeheartedly with no judgment (ok maybe just a little judgement because I do have a hard time turning off…)  But once I rest + recharge like that – I feel inspired again and ready to tackle whatever it is I am working on or create something amazing.  We all get waves and spurts of creativity, productivity levels and energy – this is very normal!  Ride those waves and let yourself rest and recharge when you need it without beating yourself up. If you’re worried that you’re resting too much and not able to get back up/have that energy you want even if you are doing something you love/are passionate about, then I highly recommend you see a therapist to explore whether something is holding you back emotionally (i.e. self esteem, negative thoughts, childhood issues, the people in your life, etc.) and take the time to evaluate your diet.  Brain fog is REAL and I personally get it when I eat too much starch, sugar or high histamine foods (I’m histamine intolerant) and not enough veggies and protein.  It comes on very fast and can last for hours, days, weeks, months, and even years if you aren’t aware of it. It can make you feel heavy, tired, depressed, unable to concentrate, moody, or just very BLAH.  Food is medicine and one of the most powerful things we have access and control over. I urge you to not underestimate the direct correlation between your diet and mental health. RECAPI truly hope you learned something from this post.  The top 5 things I want to highlight are; Don’t take anything personal, Don’t be afraid to ASK for what you want – you’ll never know if you don’t try, Don’t underestimate the link between your diet and your level of motivation/overall mental health, Be mindful of the people you surround yourself with at home and at work – do they lift you up? and HUSTLE because no job is easy and if you want something done you are going to have to work your ass off to get it. The quote “Choose something you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life” is misleading because you WILL have to work and it won’t always be pleasant, BUT it WILL be worth it if it is something you are passionate about and believe in the long run. As always feel free to email me with any questions and please leave me a comment below if there is anything else you’d like to expand on in future blog posts!
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Kitchen Essentials

Whether you live alone, with roommates, love cooking or hate cooking, are married or are engaged and starting to plan your registry – these are the kitchen essentials I can’t recommend enough!  I have tested out a ton of kitchen accessories this past year with my cookbook and these are the ones that I LOVE and use on a daily basis. Every morning, I use this juicer to make my green juice.  It’s SO easy to clean and only has 4 parts.  In the afternoon and evenings, I use my Instant Pot to make everything from steamed veggies, fish, chicken, pasta and rice.  It literally cooks pasta in 4 minutes, chicken in 10 minutes, and makes a delicious soup in 12 minutes.  It’s as easy as throwing everything in the pot and clicking a button – no joke.  I use my Vitamix to blend steamed veggies to make delicious purees and soups.  I don’t really make smoothies anymore, but it is amazing for making smoothies/crushing ice! Also, I love a small Cuisinart for making dressing and sauces (I use it to make my pesto every week.) When it comes to pots and pans…I really wish I had known about Le Creuset sooner.  I had heard of the brand before, but didn’t realize how incredible the quality was and the way it made food just taste better until I started using it. In addition,  I love that you can saute fish or veggies in this pan and then stick it in the oven to finish/brown/crisp it up!  If you have a small kitchen – it looks gorgeous out on the stove – I keep mine out as decoration! In terms of utensils, you can never go wrong with a simple stainless steel whisk. Especially living in a small space.  If you have enough cabinet space in your kitchen, this is a great hand mixer. This Wusthof knife set is a staple and I love that it comes with this wood block which keeps my knives organized and holds matching scissors. For baking…This set of 10 glass bowls is an amazing value and so compact (they all stack within each other!)  This is the cutting board they use in the White House (fancy huh?!) and chefs all over the world rave about the quality.  It’s ideal for not only cutting things, but also laying out all of your ingredients and using it as more of a working space when you’re prepping. For decor…This Williams Sonoma pot holder is so farmhouse chic, Aesop soap is totally worth splurging on, and I DIE for the smell of this Goop candle!  In terms of cute cake plates, holders, etc. I am obsessed with everything in the Studio McGee shop.  I legit want everything from their kitchen section!  What are some of your kitchen essentials?!  Do tell! SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave
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Venice, CA

Butternut Squash "Mac and Cheese"

Happy Wednesday!  I have been making this delicious butternut squash “mac and cheese” from my cookbook at least once a week for lunch and dinner for the past few months and am SO over the moon excited to share the recipe with YOU today!  It is absolutely delicious and so perfect for fall.  There is no doubt in my mind you will L-O-V-E this recipe! I eat gluten and dairy free 80% of the time and try to cook at home as much as possible.  The reason is because I feel puffy, inflamed, and bloated if I eat gluten and dairy on a regular basis.  Following an 80/20 lifestyle allows me to look and feel my best while never feeling deprived or like I’m on a diet.  I hate feeling deprived!  I cook at home pretty often because this allows me to know exactly what goes into my food.  At restaurants, they could be adding BOATLOADS of salt, be cooking with bad vegetable oils instead of olive oil, or be adding MSG, dairy – who knows what else. I do LOVE to eat out Let’s not forget that I have an entire Travel App devoted to some of the best restaurants around the world, that one of my favorite dishes of all time is cacio e pepe which is loaded with gluten and dairy, and that I just ate my way through Italy (seriously did you see the amount of pizza and pasta I consumed?!) #Balance I am obsessed with this yummy, nourishing, pasta dish which has the richness and creaminess of a real mac and cheese without any of the negative side effects!  It is total comfort food and makes the most amazing lunch, dinner or snack.  It tastes just as good the next day as a leftover!  I crave this and love that it’s loaded with nutrients AND flavor.  It’s really such a perfect dish for fall or a big group of friends!!! I’m giving away an Instant Pot (this device has CHANGED my life and made cooking so damn easy) to one lucky reader.  All you have to do – is make my butternut squash mac and cheese at home by this Saturday and upload a photo to your Instagram or Instastory tagging @kattanita.  I will pour through all of the entries and be sharing ALL of them on my Instastory before choosing a winner.  I can’t wait to see how you make yours! <3 Butternut Squash “Mac and Cheese”Gluten + Dairy free Ingredients: 1 medium onion, peeled and sliced thin 2 carrots, sliced 1/4″ thick 1 tbsp coconut cream 2 tbsp olive oil 2 cups butternut squash diced (I buy mine pre-diced at Whole Foods!) 1 tsp dried mustard powder 2 garlic cloves (garlic powder also works) 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (I use coconut milk too) 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper 1 tsp salt 4 tbsp nutritional yeast 16 ounces gluten free pasta (I love this kind, or you can use kelp noodles!) Garnish (optional): 2 shallots, peeled and sliced thin 1 tbsp arrowroot powder 1/2 cup olive oil Fresh thyme Instructions: 1. Saute 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat and add the onions, carrots and a pinch of salt.  Sweat this down for 10-15 minutes – you want them to get nice and soft but not develop a deep color.  While this is on the stove, steam or boil the butternut squash in a saucepan for 15 minutes (or if you have an Instant Pot it does it in 5 minutes!!!) 2. Place the cooked squash, onions, carrots, olive oil, garlic cloves, mustard powder, coconut cream, almond milk, cayenne pepper, salt and nutritional yeast in a blender, and blend then taste. Adjust the seasonings as needed (add more salt or cayenne if you want more of a kick!) 3.  In a small saucepan heat 1/2 cup olive oil.  Combine the shallots and arrowroot in a bowl and then fry the shallots in the hot oil until brown and crispy.  Remove them from the oil and allow them to drain on paper towels. 4.  Cook the pasta to al dente (I use my Instant Pot and it takes 4 minutes!)  Drain the pasta and place into a saucepan.  Pour 1/2 of the butternut squash sauce over the pasta and stir to combine.  Slowly add in more sauce until the pasta is nice and coated.  Turn the heat back on and “cook” the sauce and pasta together, stirring constantly until the pasta has absorbed some of the sauce. 5.  Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed.  Place into a bowl and crack fresh pepper on top, then sprinkle with fried shallots and fresh thyme.  Bon Apetit!
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Venice, CA

10 Books Everyone Should Read

I’m chuckling to myself thinking about when I first started reading self help books – it all started about 3 years ago.  I got SUPER into them and like, wanted to read every self help book under the sun for about a year straight.  Every week it was a new Amazon box full of self help books!!!!  I spent my weekends holed up in the bathtub or curled up on my couch, reading and reading and reading. I had been single for about a year, and dated a TON prior to that, and was just over dating and all of the bullshit in general.  Instead of constantly going out, I buried myself in my books and went on a deep soul searching dive.  I was sooooo curious – absorbing everything I was reading about and learning like a sponge.  I had some really eye opening, enlightening moments after reading excerpts from these books – and I still utilize a ton of what I’ve learned in my life today, so I wanted to share these life changing books with you! On a side note – I now go in waves of reading self help books and reading in general.  I feel like you do need to be in the mood or in the right headspace to get into some of these books.  Keep an open mind and just see which books connect with you and draw you in.  Not every best selling, self help book that I’ve ordered has jived with me – and that’s ok.   If a particular book doesn’t jive with you, please don’t throw in the towel for all self help books!  Skim through a few different ones and feel ’em out! Self Help Books1 – DVF’s The Woman I Wanted To BeThis is such a quick read and super inspiring especially if you love fashion/are in the industry and idolize Diane Von Furstenberg like I do.  She’s an extremely resilient woman and embraces the ups and downs she’s faced in life.  I love that she has made it her life mission to empower women – she’s one of my greatest role models and I am still pinching myself that I got to meet her inside her apartment! 2 – The Secret This is a book that I truly think everyone should read and will enjoy.  It’s also a fairly quick read and shares simple life principals that we can all be more aware of and implement in our lives to thrive! 3 – The 5 Love LanguagesHoly crap talk about awakening and a-ha moments!  This book does not only apply to romantic relationships but will help you have a better understanding about your relationships with friends and family.  A definite must. 4- The Drama of the Gifted ChildThis book really helped me work through some unresolved feelings I had in regards to my childhood and my relationship with my parents.  I had a great childhood and I have a wonderful relationship with both of my parents, but of course, like anyone – there’s always family drama or sometimes uncomfortable family dynamics that go on.  No one’s family is perfect!  Everything made a bit more sense after I read this – it’s a classic in the self help, family relationship world. 5 – Lean InI really enjoyed this book and felt empowered knowing I wasn’t alone as a woman in the workplace.  Sheryl offers some great insight and tips with regards of how to carry yourself and handle certain situations at an office. 6 – Daring GreatlyBrene Brown is one of the #1 best selling self help authors.  Her books are incredible and really helped me open up and become more vulnerable. 7 – The Gifts of ImperfectionAnother Brene Brown book that I loved.  This is a great one especially if you are a perfectionist, type A personality like I am. 8 – Men are from Mars, Women are from VenusThis book possesses all of the answers to understanding and communicating with the opposite sex!!!  It’s so on point.  An absolute must read for interpersonal relationships. 9 – Eastern Body Western MindThis book took me a while to get into.  It’s so thick and starts out slow and is kind of serious at first…lol.  But I am so glad I stuck with it, and slowly worked my way through it.  I had some major wake up calls, enlightening moments and can honestly say this book changed my life.  Highly recommend. 10 – Love Style LifeThis is a coffee table book/autobiography/short and sweet self help style book.  Another great book for any woman – but particularly if you have an interest in the fashion industry and love Garance Dore as much as I do!  She’s so real, so cool, so laid back, and her journey to success in the fashion industry is truly inspiring.  I love the way she makes fun of herself and of other bloggers – she will make you laugh and give you honest insight into the world of fashion blogging!!! Other books I love; 10% Happier, I’ll Drink To That, and Grace.   The last two are not self help books, but just quick, fun reads that are great to travel with, will make you laugh and inspire you.  Speaking of Grace – my dear friend Grace of The Stripe always has the best book recommendations!!!  What are some of your favorite self help books?  I’m looking for a new one to dive into! xx
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