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Spotlight on the Fabulous Lauren Bender

Who is Lauren Bender? Where do you live? 

I’m a beachy blonde 23-year-old girl with a passion for health and wellness. I have an entrepreneurial spirit, crave adventure and love connecting with likeminded people. I’m from South Florida and currently live in my quaint beach town of Palm Beach Gardens.

What do you do? 

WHAT DON’T I DO?! I like to keep my life busy – the bigger the challenge, the better! I’m a model, workout fanatic and creator. I’m in the works of starting my own brand (lots of exciting things to come), modeling, the CEO of my Rodan and Fields team (BEST skincare, changed my life), getting my Pilates / Megaformer certification, and working in the business department of my dad’s nonprofit, Place of Hope.

What is a typical Tuesday like for you from sun up to sun down? What are you eating? Drinking? Doing?

Tuesdays get me motivated. I like to plan out my week the Sunday before, so I know what to get prepared for. My alarm goes off at 6:50 am and I tiredly put my slippers on. I normally jump in the shower, throw on my robe, and head straight to my Nespresso machine. I add collagen peptides and cinnamon to my Italian cappuccino. I love slow mornings, being able to sip on my coffee and read my devotions. Once I’m ready to go, I grab a yummy Whole Foods granola bar, a glass bottle of water and head to Place of Hope. I make sure to drink A TON of water throughout the day… like I flood my body with it. I like to stay hydrated and energized throughout the day to keep focused and have motivation to workout later. I don’t like to snack either, which I think is a major struggle for some people. I head home for lunch and normally make some organic bone broth, so yummy. During my lunch break, I like to get caught up on emails, follow up with people, and brainstorm my next project. I’m constantly working, but I love it! I always make afternoon hot tea with a teaspoon of ashwagandha (stress reliever, natural energizer and mind clearer). Right before I workout around 6:15 I eat a pre-workout snack – been loving a spoonful of almond butter lately. I workout at Core Evolution (Megaformer / Lagree Fitness workout – killer toning and cardio!) for an hour and normally head to my favorite vegan restaurant, Christopher’s Kitchen. My go-to meal there is their macro kale salad – quinoa, kale, chickpeas, cucumber, sunflower sprouts, beet, carrot, avocado, and cashew cheese. After a long, productive day, I put my favorite pj’s on and enjoy the rest of the night with my family. I jump in bed around 10pm (or earlier) with a cup of citrus chamomile hot tea, turn on my Spotify sleep station, and get ready for the next day.

What is a typical Saturday night for you?

Totally depends on what mood I’m in! If I don’t have any travel plans, I love finding the best local spots to hang at. I probably spent the day at the beach or on the boat, so I keep it pretty low key at night to catch up on rest. Currently loving The Cooper, a local farm-to-table restaurant with a seasonal menu and unique drinks. I’m either with a group of friends or at dinner with my boyfriend, so my Saturday nights always keep me entertained. I know my body, and I can’t function without sleep. So, I like to turn in at a decent hour, and wake up Sunday morning and head to yoga or Core Evolution.

What’s your workout routine? 

If I’m not at Core Evolution, I workout at the gym with the boys. If it’s leg day, we start with weighted lunges and I like to superset them with banded air squats. We stick to 4 sets of 12 reps for every exercise. We do about 5 different leg workouts and finish with 10 minutes of abs and 10 minutes in the sauna. On other days we workout triceps and chest, biceps and back and finish with 15-20 minutes of cardio. KILLLLER BABY!

Do you stick to a pretty strict diet?  What are some of your splurges?  Any healthy snacks or recipes you can share with us?

I am so against “strict diets” – we weren’t made to be scared of what we eat! I am used to and actually love eating healthy, so it’s easy for me thankfully. I am so aware of what goes into my body, I don’t want to flood it with crap. I have never counted calories or not eaten something because of a strict diet. I simply eat clean because I want to!

If I do splurge, like I did tonight, I have vegan ice cream from Christopher’s Kitchen topped with organic vanilla cookies. I have never had anything so good in my life!

I love finding new healthy snacks! My new favorite thing is going to the Whole Foods protein / granola bar section and picking out different individual bars. You can’t go wrong! Just pick what flavors you’re craving and grab a few for the week ahead. I also love snacking on goji berries and currants – simple but so good for you. Organic kale chips are so so yummy too. I put them in the oven at low broil with olive oil or coconut oil (you choose), pepper, garlic powder, Himalayan pink salt, and hot pepper flakes.

How would you describe your style? You always look so chic! Are you a bargain shopper or labels all the way?

Changes on a daily basis! I don’t think I can describe it with just one adjective. My eye is always drawn to all different styles! I love looking casual and comfortable in my worn out converse, ripped jeans, and white V-neck. I also love grabbing my Prada heels and black dress and heading to The Breakers for a cocktail. Then again, you can always find me in a bikini!

I am totally a bargain shopper. I’ll splurge here and there on a good pair of shoes or a nice bag, but love heading to TJ Maxx and exploring their fun shoes, accessories and tops! A good family friend also owns a consignment shop in West Palm Beach, so I’ll go to City Girl consignment for exclusive finds with a story behind them.

Do you read a lot of blogs?  Food? Fashion? What are some of your favorites?

I am obsessed with podcasts lately! My favorite is The Balanced Blonde. I love how real she is, it’s so refreshing. She blogs about life, health, travel and so much more. I have also been following Gold Fish Kiss for years, and met Rebekah at Miami Swim Week – such a sweet human with a happy soul! Her blog is full of tropical inspiration, and makes me want to be on an island with my favorite bikini. Steph Claire Smith is my IDOL. She’s an Australian babe who models, does kick ass workouts, and has her own recipe and workout books. All these girls are so inspiring – but I tend to drift towards more food, fitness, and health blogs. I go to some fashion blogs like Rocky Barnes, Sincerely Jules, and Jacqueline Mikuta for some inspiration on what to wear.

Beach or pool?

Beach – salt water cures everything!

Flats or heels?

Converse ;)

Drive or walk?

Walk – fresh air!

Smoothie or milkshake?

Smoothie no doubt – love making sweet smoothies that taste like healthy milkshakes too!

Steak or fish?

Fish – all about blackened Mahi

Is there anything else you can share with us?  Anything else you’re passionate about and want the world to know?  

I’m really excited about concentrating on getting out of my comfort zone and exploring. I’m finally making an effort to focus on my wellbeing and happiness. I think it is so important to take care of yourself spiritually, mentally and physically. I’m starting to do some soul searching through traveling, journaling, working out and relationships. I’ve become a huge advocate for living a balanced and pure life.

What’s next for you?  Where will you be in one year?  Three years?

Praying for amazing things in the future and trusting God and His timing! I would love to be modeling more and more a year from now. I truly have a passion for being in front of the camera. I know I will always be building strong relationships with people, no matter where life takes me. My goal is to travel back to Italy within the next 3 years to visit my family again in Milan, Sorrento, and Positano. I am up for anything that gets thrown my way, and enthusiastic for this journey of life!

 

I mean, I am obsessed with this girl!  Follow her on insta and expect <more> AMAZING things from her in the coming months!

Thanks again Lauren for opening your world to us!

xx,

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Simple DELICIOUS Summer Side Dish

So simple in fact, you don’t need a recipe.

And just in time for your July 4th weekend festivities!

Who doesn’t love a caprese salad?  Am I right?  Super ripe, sweet, LOCAL summer tomatoes with slices of salty mozzarella and ribbons of crisp, fresh basil.  Splash on some good olive oil, maybe some balsamic and BOOM.

I LOVE THIS.

But when serving a crowd (which I do more in the summer when everyone can spread out outside) I like to serve up a chopped caprese with a twist. I add bread to put a little panzanella spin on the salad and spinach so it packs even more of a nutritional punch. Pine nuts give added crunch and texture-which to me is what takes a salad from boring to bright and something people will go back for seconds and thirds!

There is no need to measure, just add what you like in whatever amount. Here’s what you need:

  • Local cherry tomatoes, the more color variation the better. Slice in half.
  • Fresh buffalo mozzarella or burrata cheese. I will be using creamy burrata because it is INSANE. Tear into bitesize pieces.
  • Basil leaves. Either tear into pieces or slice into ribbons.
  • Organic spinach. Same as with the basil, tear or slice for easy eating.
  • Toasted pine nuts or any sort of nut you like.
  • Local, fresh bread from Lorraine’s if you live in Lynchburg or any other clean, whole wheat bread torn into bitesize pieces. Toss with olive oil and toast until lightly browned in the oven.

Put all of your ingredients into a large bowl and drizzle with GOOD, fruity olive oil and a little balsamic if you like. Dash generously with salt and pepper and serve immediately!

Voila!

Happy holiday weekend y’all!

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Kiss My Face Sunscreen…A Review and a GIVEAWAY!

Have you guys read this hilarious post by Sarah Kallies about parenting and sunscreen?  Well, please do. It will cause belly aching laughter and resonate so true.  We are all just doing our best, right?

When perusing the sunscreen aisle on any given day at any given store, it is overwhelming to say the least.  Do we want zinc or do we not want zinc? What is it about minerals again? What are those bad chemicals called? Well let me help you zero in on a product my whole family uses.

I’m not an expert but I am a huge fan of Kiss My Face sunscreen.

The Dry Oil Air Powered Spray goes on super light, it isn’t gross and sticky like so many other spray ‘screens plus it smells delicious. I used this spray Memorial Day weekend at Smith Mountain Lake and got a nice, even tan with no burning. A few facts about the product:

Facts for Kiss My Face Dry Oil Air Powered Spray® Sunscreen spf 15

  • Vegan & cruelty free
  • Provides light weight non-greasy broad spectrum protection
  • Convenient air powered, eco-friendly spray sunscreen
  • Nourishing ingredients like Vitamin E and Coconut Oil
  • Free of parabens, phthalates, & artificial fragrances
  • Light Coconut scent
  • 80 minute water resistance

Practice Safe Sun:

  • Apply sunscreen 15 minutes before heading outdoors
  • Reapply sunscreen after 80 minutes of swimming or sweating
  • Also reapply every two hours
  • Do not spray directly on face

If you’re looking for a safe baby specific ‘screen Kiss My Face makes one just for our little ones! I used the lotion on Aubrey’s arms, legs, face and actually all over his head; he never complained and his skin was completely protected. Some info about the baby sunscreen:

Kiss My Face Baby’s First Kiss Mineral Lotion Sunscreen SPF 50

  • Vegan & Cruelty Free
  • 100% mineral active ingredients
  • With moisturizing Aloe & Chamomile for your baby’s delicate skin
  • Tear Free & Fragrance Free
  • Made with non-nano minerals
  • Broad Spectrum spf 50
  • Water Resistant for 80 minutes
  • Free of parabens, oxybenzone, phthalates, gluten, & artificial fragrances

We actually keep the baby sunscreen in Aubrey’s stroller and use it on his legs daily for walks or blanket sitting or swinging…anytime we are outside in this hot Virginia sun!

You can get the dry oil spray on Amazon here, the baby lotion here, OR you can get the product AND do something good by ordering through Amazon Smile here.  What’s Amazon smile you ask?

Automatically make a donation to Beagle Freedom Project (Animal Rescue Media & Education) when purchasing Kiss My Face sunscreen and other products through Amazon Smile.  When you shop at smile.amazon.com, Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price: Learn more at https://smile.amazon.com.  Just do it!  What a great cause and you’re getting a fantastic product to boot!

OR WIN A FREE BOTTLE FROM ME!  Just share this post on Facebook or Twitter and tag Blondes Eat Clean!

Must be 18 years or older and US residents only please.

Happy Summer and good luck to everyone who enters the giveaway!

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P.S. Kiss My Face provided me with a free product to honestly review.

Fit Vine Wine – A Review

photo:fitvinewine

I love wine.  I am no expert, but I love wine.  Did I mention I love wine?  However, I hate consuming all the sugar that comes with it and I hate feeling blah and foggy and ravenous the day after having a little too much wine.  Red or white. Doesn’t matter, I always get the same ugghhhh feeling the next morning (hello mid thirties!).

So leave it to me to scope out Fit Vine Wine.  Guys, it’s awesome.  AGAIN, I AM NOT A WINE EXPERT. But I know what tastes good.  I have ordered two cases so far.  I get six Sauvignon Blanc and six Cabernet.  I think they are both delicious.

A little about the company direct from their website:

How Did FitVine Come About?
FitVine Wine was born when three friends discovered that they could make amazing wines that also fit their active lifestyles. Our team is always on the go, whether we’re doing CrossFit, cycling, running, skiing, paddle boarding, or just enjoying the outdoors. We set about combining our love for wine and fitness with an ethic for sustainability. Our proprietary process delivers high-quality great tasting wine with less sugar, calories and carbohydrates.

Our Fermentation Process
To create wines that are both clean and rich in flavor and mouthfeel, we put our wines thorough malolactic fermentation and perform dry fermentation with no residual sugar levels. In doing this, per 5oz glass, both the Chardonnay & Sauvignon Blanc have 90 calories & 3g of carbohydrates at 13.4% alcohol. The Cabernet & Pinot Noir have 95 calories & 3.4g of carbohydrates at 13.9% alcohol. The remaining sugar is that which is naturally found in the alcohol which is less than 1.5g per liter.  Furthermore our fermentation process is extended 10-15 days in order to optimize pH levels. Our proprietary process allows us to extract more color and tannins. Finally we filter all of our wines with both diatomaceous earth and micron pads.
Our wines contain sulfites at less than 35 ppm (parts per million). Additionally, at primary fermentation, the SO2 (sulfur dioxide) content is kept at a low level.

Our Grapes
We are very picky when selecting our grapes. We choose only the highest quality grapes from small farmers who focus on quality, not quantity. Our story doesn’t include fancy chateaus or barrels hewed from the limbs of majestic oaks. We’re OK with that and we think you will be too. Because the most important part of any story is what you take away from it and at FitVine, we took away residual sugars, excessive sulfites and needless additives. Just great tasting wine with fewer calories and carbs. If you’re trying to be more conscious about what you’re putting into your body and looking for a wine that champions your active lifestyle – drink clean. Drink FitVine – end of story.

What Does All This Mean
It means that we take the extra time and effort to create wines that are clean and you can take comfort in knowing exactly what you are and are not putting in your body. This is the way that wine is meant to be made: without all the additives, sugars, and impurities that can wreak havoc on our bodies. And the results are in that our wines can have all the flavor, mouthfeel and alcohol as “regular wine”.  We have received high marks from customers and reviewers, whom are thrilled to have discovered FitVine Wine.

I have only ordered through the website which is easy BUT it is an inconvenience to have to sign for it upon arrival (hello, sleeping 9 month old baby, three dogs and the doorbell).  Some Whole Foods Markets are starting to carry FVW so if you’re close to one that does, go get a bottle case and try it for yourself.  Check here to see if they are at your local store.  (Central VA peeps, they have FVW at WF in Charlottesville and RVA!)

photo:fitvinewine

If you don’t believe me, read the reviews.  There are HUNDREDS of them and nearly all positive.  That is what had me order it first, well that and the idea of less sugar, chemicals, and crap in my vino.

They have free shipping when you order a case so it’s sort of a no brainer.  You can mix and match which is great too. They give you a 60 day money back guarantee (that you won’t need) but if that helps some of you pull the trigger, so be it.

Let me know what you think! Cheers to the summer of no hangovers!

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