This & That. (with GIFs)

Hey guys! Happy Wednesday. Five things today. And an excuse to use GIFs..

Grab some tea, coffee or matcha and lets sip and chat!..

A Quote.

Queue the Pirates of the Caribbean music... da, da, da, da, dah, dah, dah, dah, duh, duh duh, duh, dah, dah, dah, dah

1. Caribbean Cruise: Best Rates End Oct 24th. Come cruise with me this March 2017. Details in this post.

The Lowdown: The Holistic Holiday Cruise features all things wellness, plant-based and cruise-tastic. Speakers include Neal Barnard, M.D., T. Colin Campbell, Christina Pirello, Gene Baur, Robert Cheeke, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn -- me! -- and many more. Eat delicious vegan food, explore Caribbean islands (the itinerary rocks!) and meet a whole bunch of like-minded people - or just stick to yourself and lounge in the sun - intro and extroverts welcome!

I will be demo-ing my famous Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers and my favorite smoothies. My friend Cat from Rabbit Food For My Bunny Teeth is coming along too!

When you sign up, be sure to mention my name to receive perks including a $50 onboard credit, optional meet-n-greet and a Healthy Happy Life VIP gift bag. Details here.

Let's go cruising!..

Now, Self-esteem time..

2. Podcast Love.

Listen of the week: The Chopped Podcast. FriChats, by Marly of Namely Marly and special guest, Cara of Fork and Beans. They are my Oprahs of blogging. But you do not have to be a blogger to love their smart, sassy and soulful conversations.

Two Frichats to try, both on the topic of self-esteem:

- The Beautiful Blogger Myth
- Blogging is Not a Popularity Contest

..I love how Marly and Cara note that self esteem issues are a constant battle in today's world - "like gravity" you have to keep pushing against it. Women and girls are bombarded with messages that they are not good enough. Pretty enough. Slim enough. Sexy enough. Detoxed enough. Even happy enough.

Cara and Marly also talked about negative self-talk and Marly said "I am probably the meanest mean girl in my head." Yup, it never ends. We are so harsh to ourselves. And as Cara replied, "..And we need to stop it!" - Cara.

I have come a long way in my own self esteem journey, but even as a 35 year-old woman I still struggle. My brain knows not to care about self-comparison, perfectionism and personal vanity, blah blah blah. But it sneaks up on you! And the only way to continually keep yourself in check is to practice self acceptance and love every single day. easier said than done in this world! But let's keep doing it.

"Self esteem" changes as you age. It warps into something more complex than in your teens and twenties. It sneaks up and bites you in the butt, even when you are feeling shiny, grand and fan-freaking-tastic.

In your teens and even twenties, you do the "comparing yourself to famous people and popular schoolmates" thing. You worry about having a cute boyfriend, fitting in socially, succeeding in your classes or new job, being thin and pretty, and on and on.

In your thirties and beyond you question your worth in other ways.. "Am I a good mom?" "Am I a good spouse?" "Am I succeeding in my career or doing what I love?" "Am I strong, sassy and sexy for my age?" And then there is the 50 is the new 30 mindset but that's a whole other chat.

But, what? Today's young women know that strong is the new skinny. And #MakeupMonday is all the rage.

Sure. True. But despite the 'love yourself' movement online, I still see loads of images that are triggers for negative self talk and eating disorders. Instagram perfectionism. Before/after diet/workout photos galore. And diet/slimdown/detox/bikini blast programs everywhere you look. Even ones with good intentions. All quietly reminding you that you are not good enough just as you are right now. In this body. Today. But just today, I am here to remind all of us that we are good enough, today. Right now. No matter what.

Aging is a part of life. Lines come and your body changes. Get used to it ladies. We are SO much more that our jean size or our unfiltered reflection on our Snapchat.

And there is so much beauty in growing up. Each day turns a new page in your story. Good or bad. Today you may learn something that changes your perspective, motivates you or brings you immense comfort and joy. Forever changed. Growing "old" doesn't have to be a bad thing. Really, it is quite beautiful.

It is a fact of life though. Women have constant pressure coming from so many angles, mom, wife, friend, sister, daughter, it is no wonder we can feel overwhelmed at times and need to take special care of our mental health via friends, fun, family and self-care. So to end this little rant, let's remember to not only lift ourselves up, but remember to lift up the women in our lives! I don't know about you, but a kind, flattering, loving remark from a friend means so much to me when I am having a bad day or in a funky mood. "We have the absolute power to lift each other up, even if we find it impossible, at times, to lift ourselves up." Your random kind comment or reminder to a friend why she is so awesome, may be all it takes.

3. Cookbooks!
There are SO many amazing vegan cookbooks out and coming out this fall and winter!..

- Amber from Fettle Vegan brings you Homestyle Vegan. Amber is such a sweet and super talented girl. I cannot wait to get my hands on her first cookbook. The cover is gorgeous.

- Angela's second book! Oh She Glows Everyday is gorgeous. Oh my. I will be sharing a recipe from it soon and RAVING about it, but for now, snag a copy and get super inspired to eat plant-based.

- Kristy from Keepin' it Kind bring us But My Family Would Never Eat Vegan! I am such a huge fan of Kristy both as a person and as a blogger/author. She is one of the sweetest people I know. I love her soul and I love her books. This new book is such a FANTASTIC idea for anyone with "but I could never go vegan" friends, family and kids in their lives.

- The Perfect Blend from my friend Tess Masters, aka The Blender Girl. This book looks incredible and I cannot wait to check it out! Tess is such an incredible person and talent and her energy and ideas are so inspiring.

- The Nutrition Stripped cookbook by McKel Hill is gorgeous. I was sent a copy and love it. It isn't 100% vegan, but has loads of vegan options. It reminds me so much of McKel's gorgeous blog!

- Thug Kitchen 101: Fast as F*ck. This is another book from the thug duo, whom I adore. You might be surprised to hear this, but despite the hilarious and brash attitude that their book's carry, the folks behind the brand are so nice and friendly -- and yes still brash and hilarious. I love this book and have been browsing through my copy with delight. I mean the photo with the Nintendo as a food styling prop? Yes.

- Isa. And last, but certainly not least, the vegan queen herself, Isa, has a new cookbook: The Superfun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook. Isa has been a superstar in the vegan world long before I even entered the game. And that was ten years ago!! So my vegan hat is tipped to Isa. She seriously wins all the golden statues for the best cookbook titles ever. Can't wait to see this one!!

4. Healthy Halloween! Reminder to check out the vegan recipe filled, Healthy Halloween pin board I have taken over this week. There is a $50 VISA gift card (plus other goodies) up for grabs! Details here.

And finally...

5. Some inspiring words. In honor of Halloween month, I want to share one of my fave instagrammers, Vinessa Shaw. She played Allison in Hocus Pocus, which as you may remember from this post is my fave Halloween movie and one of my fave movies ever. She posted this recently and I love it so much I though it would be an awesome way to end this "random things" post..

A photo posted by Vinessa Shaw (@iamvinessashaw) on

"If you summon your courage to challenge something, you will never regret it. How sad would it be to spend you life wishing, "If only I had a little more courage." Whatever the outcome, the important thing is to take a step forward on the path that you believe is right.There's no need to worry about what others may think. It's your life, afterall. Be true to yourself." - daisaku ikeda

Love that.

Happy week guys! ~ Kathy

ps. I would love to hear your thoughts on this post or any of the topics today! Please chime in below. It means the world to me when you guys take to time to comment!

pps. Need Halloween movie and snack ideas! Check out this list right here!

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