travel

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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Your next (or first) Caribbean vacation….check this place out.

Sail board-head-club med

Paddle boarding, windsurfing, kayaking, sailing, snorkeling, yoga on the dock, beach power walks, beach volleyball, ping pong, basketball, tennis, bocce, and even trapeze. (all included in your price) Not to mention you are on one of the top rated beaches in the entire world. You do have to be eighteen, have a passport, and be ready for maximum activity and fun or just chillin’ on the beach. It’s almost impossible to gain weight on this vacation with all these activities not to mention the dancing at night……for hours.  So, what is this place?  It’s called Club Med on the island of Turks and Caicos. Nicknamed Turquoise because that is the actual color of the water. Go visit and let your adventure begin.

Club Med- Breakfast blog

So, my niece and I just returned and have to walk around with buckets to hold our tears. Was our room totally lush and extravagant? No. But we were never in it. Was the food 4 star? Nope, and coming from a foodie that could be a disaster. But it wasn’t. For the first time in a long time the food didn’t seem to really matter. I could always find something to suit me even though it wasn’t gourmet. The coffee was delicious, the breads were freshly baked (I fell in love with their chocolate bread dipped into my coffee), the salads were refreshing, and there was always something simple I could find at the buffet. And this pic is where we ate most of our breakfasts and lunches ….the picture speaks for itself.

Sooooo, that was pretty fun. You don’t get to try trapeze very often. The scariest part was climbing up the teeny tiny little ladder without a harness. Then reaching over to an even teenier and tinier platform. My adrenaline was off the charts. I could barely think. You would imagine once they put the harness on my fears would slightly dissipate……not a chance. You lean forward and put your life into the instructors hands who is holding the harness. When they say, “hep” you are required to jump off the platform and go flying through the air. Terrifying and exhilarating all wrapped up into one. They tell you to put your knees up and then let go with your hands. Geez. If you do that a few times with success you are ready for the catch which you see in the viddie. One of the coolest things I have ever done.(I say that now, but at the moment, each time I got off the trapeze I was shaking like a leaf) But….still can’t wait to go back and do it again.

 

 

Club med sunset

The sunsets were so breathtaking I couldn’t possibly describe the beauty. This picture wasn’t even taken with a good camera. It’s from my phone and I haven’t even upgraded to the iPhone 6 yet. So if you’re wondering why it looks so perfect…..it’s because it was.

So does summer camp exist for adults? Without a doubt. And besides the insane turquoise water and never ending activity—- what really makes this place unique is the employees. They are called G.O.’s. It stands for General Officers and they are like your favorite camp counselor on steroids! They are from all over the world and speak many languages and are organizing activities for YOU the whole day.  They also give you lessons for every activity imaginable and throw the best dance parties I’ve ever been too. We not only learned the trapeze, we took lessons in sailing, windsurfing and SUP. These “G.O.”s perform hysterical shows each night and when you leave it feels like you’re leaving a bunch of friends behind.

Can’t wait till my next Club Med. Onto Cancun in November!!

xoxoxo

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Heading to Phoenix?……Don’t miss my favorite restaurant. Flower Child.

 Flower child Banner                                                                               Photo credit Iamaflowerchild.com

The Flower Child in Phoenix, Arizona is an experience that is almost indescribable. You’ll know what I mean when you get there. And you will get there. Promise me. The food is spectacular but that is just the beginning. The employees are literally spreading love with their overwhelming kindness, patience, (if you only knew how long it took us to decide what to eat because we literally wanted EVERYTHING on the menu) knowledge, and warmth. The Flower Child is worth finding a reason to go to Arizona!

The Flower Child’s fundamental promise is “to serve healthy food for a happy world.” It means they work with ranchers who respect, protect and love their animals – and their food supply. The proteins are all raised naturally, without additives. The organic produce is guided by the wisdom of the Environmental Working Group. Local sourcing is a priority. They know their farmers and their families. The food is always cooked fresh. And served quickly. They’re fast. But they never cut corners. You can taste it. They are grateful. Humbled. Honored.

 To put it simply, if we ate at the Flower Child the first night we arrived at our Nutrition and Health Conference….we would have never even tried another restaurant. They even had the best Kale Salad we had ever tried or made…..and trust us….we may not be a connoisseur of wine or beer, but when it comes to kale salads, we know our stuff.

Flower Child

  Spread the love, check it out….xo
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The Travel Bug…and Recovery

Travel bug

I just got back from a four day trip to Houston with a girlfriend followed by four days in Las Vegas with my husband for a conference.  I feel like all I have done is eat, drink, eat some more and then finally, eat.  The good news is, I am usually one who likes to work out on vacation.  I am a workout “hobbyist”.  If I am in a “big” city, I enjoy trying a new workout that I may have never done before.  If I am at the beach, nothing beats a jog (walk) alongside the crashing waves or some yoga or Pilates oceanside.  But this trip?  I just wasn’t feeling it!  I wanted to enjoy the amazing restaurants, see the sights, and worry about my diet “tomorrow”.  I will say, I walked EVERYWHERE.  My feet feel so raw in addition to my bloat!  But you know what?  That’s ok!  It’s Sunday morning, we got home late last night and I am ready to reset.

detox

I woke up this morning after letting myself sleep in.  Not setting an alarm is a luxury I relish and I am a person who needs a lot of sleep.  My first step after rise and shine?  I drank a mixture of warm water, cayenne pepper, and the juice from a whole lemon and took a shot of apple cider vinegar (ACV).  Was it delicious? No.  Was it palatable?  Yes.  And I feel like it helps detox my body after treating it poorly several days in a row.

Note: The ACV shot should be followed by a TON of water.  It can hurt your teeth so don’t brush them right afterwards either.

Since it’s Sunday, my gym is closed but Douglas and I wanted to do something active.  We walked our neighborhood and then did a thirty-minute workout DVD.  This is not my ideal activity but the point is, I did what I could with what I had!  I was so proud of us after we worked out!  We both felt less jet lagged, bleary eyed, and full from all the debauchery of the past week.  I have learned that after I mess up my diet or fitness routine, instead of saying, screw it, lets go to hibachi! (even though this sometimes seems logical) I feel so much better if I hit the pavement, go to the gym or make a green smoothie.  I feel like me again in no time!  Oh and words to live by from my dear friend David, put the bottle/fork down, honey!rachel signature

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