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Advice Travel

Vegan in Italy/Travel Tips

I’ve had quite a few people ask me this question: is it difficult being vegan in Italy? The answer is simple: no.

Being vegan is honestly as easy or as hard as you make it. For me, eating plant based foods is second nature, so wherever I go, whatever I do, I seek and eat plants. And for the most part, everywhere has some sort of plant based foods.

I’m currently living in Europe for three months working as an Au Pair (a nanny) for an Italian family. Since I live with them, they buy my food and make my meals, for the most part. (I make my own breakfast, and usually lunch I do with the children, then the mum makes us all dinner)

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We were sitting down eating lunch today, and the mum said to her husband’s parents that she thought it would be much more difficult having a vegan live with them, but it’s not. It’s super easy. She explained how I mainly just eat pasta, rice, potatoes, etc. She buys me fruit every week (bananas, melon, etc), and they also buy me a huge bag of granola and hazelnut milk every week. So that’s pretty much what I eat here. And also bread. Lots of bread.

As far as traveling goes, it’s been quite easy/second nature for me. A BIG part about being vegan is planning ahead, packing snacks, and just being prepared. You can’t go on a day trip and pack nothing. Even non-vegans shouldn’t do this. Since I was young my mother always packed snacks and water for day trips, so it’s basically instilled in me to do so. I’m always like the mum of the group because I literally carry everything in my backpack: snacks, bandaids, hand sanitizer, tampons, hand wipes, earphones, tissues, pens, hair elastics, chapstick, water, etc.


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The first weekend I was here, I hiked through Cinque Terre (which took us 7 hours to go through the towns). I brought with me: 3 peaches, 5 rice cakes, half a bag of snap peas, and a lara bar. When we stopped in the first town, I had two peaches, and then fortunately for me, there was a shop that had fresh focaccia (a delicious type of bread here), for 1 euro each. So I got two pieces.

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Also during this day-trip I bought gelato, and also we went to a restaurant for dinner and I got pasta. For my snack before this I had my rice cakes and snap peas, and that was about it! You see, it’s not that difficult being vegan because you can either just get pasta, or rice/vegetables of some sort. Or if you’re lucky, you can ask your server at the restaurant if they can make you a pizza with no cheese, extra vegetables.

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Is pasta egg free?

YES. So far all of the pasta’s I’ve had have been egg free. Same with the bread. The only thing they really put on bread and everything is olive oil.

What if the pizza crust has egg or milk?

JUST ASK! 🙂 If it does, get pasta or something else. If it doesn’t (which usually it doesn’t), then get pizza!!

How do you find vegan restaurants while traveling!??

Literally just search anywhere in the world and if there are vegan restaurants or restaurants with vegan OPTIONS, it will tell you!! So awesome. I also contacted people who live in said cities I was going (through instagram) and asked for recommendations. xx

How do you get vegan gelato?

I’ve found that the majority of places in Italy have vegan options. When you go in, just ask “do you have dairy free?” or “vegano?” and they’ll understand. Every single place usually has at least a few vegan options, which are usually the fruit ones and dark chocolate.

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NOTE: Everything costs money, from using the washroom (either having to purchase something, or literally paying 50 cents in a machine), to water. Luckily in most cities there are water fountains outside somewhere, you just need to find them. The water is very clean in Italy and you can drink it from the tap, so I’d sometimes fill up in washrooms where I was able, just to get some cold water. (Desperate times call or desperate measures, folks, and I don’t spend money if I don’t have to. I haven’t bought water once since being here. I always manage to somehow get it. And trust me, I drink TONS of water… like 5 litres a day haha)


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The next place I traveled to was ROME! Rome had so many vegan restaurants it was hard for me to narrow down which ones to visit. I will list a few below:

Universo Vegano (vegan fast food)

Mathura Resraurant

Op’s (vegan buffet)

CamBio Vita (gelato, crepes, vegan cookies)

Ginger (acai bowls)

Bio’s Cafe

I stayed in an airbnb. The lady was a college student and didn’t have much food at her place. When I first arrived, she asked if I was hungry. (It was like 10pm and I had been traveling all day, so YES) I told her I was vegan, and she said, “that’s fine, my friend here is vegetarian!” She gave me a big salad she had just made for dinner with all the fixings, and then some crackers and bread. Because I’m smart and pack snacks, I had with me: 1 cantaloupe for breakfast the next morning, as well as 1 cut up pineapple for the train ride, and also strawberries and cherries. I also brought in my suitcase dates, saltine crackers, rice cakes, and bread. You want snacks that will fill you if you’re traveling and hungry. Bless bread because it’s pretty filling.

On the Saturday, a few girls I met through Instagram and I went to Op’s vegan buffet for lunch.

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We got gelato during the day (literally so many dairy-free options for gelato in Rome), and then by the time I got home, it was after 8pm.

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I asked the girl I was staying with if there was somewhere nearby I could grab dinner that was a) close b) vegan c) cheap. Luckily for me, she directed me to a little pizza joint up the street that is well-known for being affordable. I went there, simply asked for no cheese and extra vegetables instead, and voila. It was 6 euros and it was awesome.

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During my solo travels on Sunday, I went to CamBio Vita and got gelato and a vegan cookie. It was very delicious. They also do crepes there.

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I spent a whole day in Monte Carlo, Monaco as I was traveling to Nice for the weekend to visit my vegan friend VICTORIA who I met through Instagram over a year ago. As usual, I looked up ahead of time any vegan restaurants in Monaco, and also Victoria mentioned this one vegan restaurant that just opened in Monte Carlo, so I decided to go!

It was a bit pricey, but it’s Monaco – the land of the rich and famous. It’s whatever.

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Well since I stayed with my friend, who is also vegan, it was easy to have breakfast and or dinner with her. But there were a couple vegan restaurants (or restaurants with vegan options) in the city that I found through Happy Cow. There was this one called Vegan Gorilla that we were planning on going to Saturday night, but we didn’t get around to it. Instead, we got sushi.

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Again, I packed lots of snacks during the day. Although I didn’t eat enough on Saturday during the day, and on Sunday I felt very weak and lightheaded. This shows how vital it is to ensure you’re eating enough and giving your body that energy and nutrients it needs! FOOD IS FUEL!

On Sunday we went and got Socca, which is famous in Nice. It’s just chickpea flour, water, and olive oil. And it was amazing. Also many dairy-free options for Gelato. But it was fairly pricey, I found, compared to Italy.

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Okay, now this is where it gets kind of interesting.

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I never say that it’s hard being vegan (because its not, its like first nature to me to avoid foods with animal products) but in Venice, there were hardly any vegan options!! It wasn’t a problem for me because I packed lots of snacks and stuff that’s good for travel (apples, granola, saltine crackers, rice crackers, banana, dried mango, bread, etc) However when I had to find dinner on the Saturday night, it was kind of a hassle to find CHEAP vegan food. Because everything is soo expensive in Venice (vegan or not), because it’s super busy and packed with tourists. They charge you for everything, from using the bathroom, to even sitting in the restaurant. Also I should note that in Canada, it’s illegal to deny someone water. You can go into any ANY store or shop and ask for water (tap water) and they have to give it to you. But in Italy, even tap water costs money. So I always filled up at water fountains outside or in bathrooms. (The water is very clean to drink)

ANYWAYS, my point is, Venice is very expensive. The cheapest place I found was a lil shop that had cheap Italian food. I got pasta with vegetables for 7.50€ and took it to go because it was cheaper than staying at the restaurant. The portion was fairly small but managed to fill me, then i just had little snack after.

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The next day for lunch we found a restaurant and the menu literally had just plain pizza with tomato sauce (no cheese) (cheese is more expensive HA!) so it was already vegan. It was 7.50€, pretty thin crust, but i folded it in half like a lil panini and it was good. Also noting that this menu offered cheap sides such as potatoes, rice, vegetables, and salads. So worst comes to worst, just get a few sides and make it a meal.

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Other than those two meals, I didn’t buy anything. I just ate the food that I packed with me. The hostel we stayed in had a lil breakfast for guests the next morning, and when I asked the man if there was fruit, he said no….

Luckily there was bread and jam, so I made sure they were both vegan and had like 6 pieces for breakfast. It was fine with me because any food is good food when you’re hungry. I’m just not used to eating a diet that consists of hardly any raw meals. Back at home I eat fruit for breakfast every single day, have fruit for lunch, then vegetables throughout the day as well. But you know what? You can’t be picky when you’re traveling, so it’s something that you just need to get used to. I will binge on fruit and smoothies and nana ice cream once I’m home.

Last thing about Venice: there were hardly any vegan gelato options!! Every single city I’ve been to has had dairy-free gelato, but in Venice, every single place I asked said no.


I’m currently staying in a little village called Borzonasca, which is inside a large city called Genova. However, I don’t go into the city very often – only when catching the train. The closest little town to Borzonasca is Chiavari. This girl that I know told me that there is a vegan bakery somewhere in Chiavari, so I googled until I found it. It turned out to only be a 5 minute walk from the station. It’s called Sweet Dreams American Bakery. Yesterday was my birthday, so I started my day off there and literally had cake for breakfast hahaha. It was amazing.

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After the bakery, I spent the day wandering and exploring the beautiful seaside of Santa Margherita and Portofino. After that, I headed into Genova to go to a vegan restaurant for dinner.

The restaurant was called La Cucina di Giuditta. It was VERY fancy and expensive, which I didn’t know until getting there. But since it was my birthday, I let it slide. (Normally I go places as cheap as possible haha).

It was actually an accidental find. Because originally I had plotted out my night and planned to go to this other vegan restaurant. But once I got there, it was closed!? (Even though the website said it would be open frmo 7:30-10). But anyway, I had to think quick and find somewhere soon because I was starving and it was nearing 7:00pm. I didn’t have much data on my phone, but it was a semi-emergency, so I did a quick Google search, found La Cucina di Giuditta, saw it was only an 11 minute walk from my current location, and I headed off there.

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Unfortunately the menu was in Italian and I couldn’t understand a thing hahaha. I kindly asked the waiter for recommendations, to which I finally decided on this THING which I do not even know the name, but it was some sort of concoction of tofu, potatoes, and a bunch of other stuff?? It was 14 euros.. oh my.

So fancy though. Before they brought out my meal, they brought this cute little appetizer thing, as well as freaking SANGRIA. I was living it up for my bday.

Then for dessert I decided to treat myself (you only live once, right?) and got a chocolate cake for 8 euro. wowzers. It was so amazing though, with creme on top and cherries and shredded chocolate inside. MMMM.

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I only have two more weeks here in Italy (wow the time just flew by), and then I’m headed to GREECE for 2.5 weeks.  But before I leave Italy, I’m going to Milano next weekend, as well as Verona. Then the following weekend I will go to Camogli, Pisa, Florence, maybe? Who knows. Stay tuned.

If you have any questions at all regarding traveling europe or italy, or vegan tips while being here (that aren’t already covered in this lengthy post) feel free to comment below and I will try to respond as soon as I can.

To keep updated on my travels or see what I eat, I have a playlist of my travel diaries here:

Lots of love,

Katrina xx



Advice Mindfulness Personal

How Australia Helped Cure my Acne

Throughout my life I’ve gone through stages of pimples, (doesn’t everyone?) but never anything too severe. However, in the fall of September 2014, I noticed I was getting more pimples than usual.

For the next few months, it continued to get worse. I read many different articles online/heard of other people’s experienced, and I tried a number of things to help. I stopped wearing all make-up, I started washing my face with coffee scrub, at one point I tried cutting out bread/gluten because I read that certain people can get sensitivities to it that cause breakouts. I knew it wasn’t my diet because I was eating a plant based vegan diet comprised of all healthy foods. In high school I would breakout if I ate greasy/fatty foods, or even when I drank alcohol. So basically, I didn’t know what else to do, and I was so distraught.

In December 2014, it got really bad. I still didn’t know what was causing it and it continued to go on for a few more months. Finally, I made an appointment with a dermatologist, but that would take 3-4 months before I saw him. In the meantime, I visited a natural path, who helped me immensely.

We talked for a long time and basically she narrowed my acne down to one thing: stress. She analyzed my personality type, my life stressors, and basically told me how I’m the type of person who takes on other people’s stress and makes it my own. I’m also a very neat freak/perfectionist type person, where everything has to be perfect/in order/my way. I guess that could be quite damaging to me. So once we knew it was my stress, we had to figure out a way to cure the acne. She gave me these natural remedies, and while they helped a little bit, what I’m about to tell you next helped the most:

I went to Australia.

Here’s something you should know about me. 1) I’m a very structured person. I can’t be spontaneous about anything because I always have to plan every single detail. 2) I’ve wanted to go to Australia for a long time and even planned to go to school there and live there.

So in June 2015 when I woke up one morning thinking, “anything could happen. We don’t live forever. I need to go see Australia”, I booked a flight within days before I left. Spontaneous. Wow.

You can read my journal entries from Australia here, but what I’m basically trying to say to you is this: from the moment I booked that spontaneous flight, to the entire time away traveling, I experienced something that I couldn’t at home: I wasn’t thinking about my stress and worries. I forgot about all my problems and left them back home in Canada. I explored the country, traveled on different trains and planes, saw places I’d never even heard of. I went biking a lot, and when I didn’t know what to do, I started biking to different fields or parks to do yoga and to meditate. I’ve never done that before!!

And then I forgot about my acne. I stopped staring at it in the mirror every day and I didn’t even notice when started to disappear.

It wasn’t until the day before I left that I remembered my acne. I looked in the mirror, and to my surprise, there was barely anything there. I took a photo and made a collage to compare how it was before and my eyes started to water. I was so happy. For so long I had to look at it every day and feel the pain it brought to my face (pimples hurt), and it just wasn’t a fun experience, especially when I couldn’t solve it.

Australia didn’t cure my acne – I did. My lifestyle choices and mindset did. But traveling there, getting out of my comfort zone, and just doing things to relax and find myself truly helped me immensely.

And afterwards, I changed myself and brought all of that positive thinking back with me. I stopped being so uptight and worrying about every detail. I noticed myself starting to relax a bit and not caring if my room was a bit messy. (That is a big deal for me). I tried to keep up with stretching my body every morning and taking time to meditate and relax with my own thoughts per day.

So if you are experiencing a similar problem, I truly hope this can help you. I am by no way promoting that aesthetics and looks are everything – in fact, I think looks are very irrelevant. You should feel confident in your own skin and acne does not define you. However, acne is not random. It happens for a reason, and it is your body’s way of telling you that something is not right.

Acne can be caused my many different things from stress, hormones, foods, not enough sleep, dehydration, bad living environment, etc. Narrow down all the things in your life and try to determine what could be causing your acne? Hey, it could be food; too much fat, not enough fat, who knows!? Nina and Randa had acne and once they cut out soy and fat, their acne disappeared. Maybe you have a gluten insensitivity. Maybe you’re stressed. Maybe you’re a teenager and going through hormones. WHO KNOWS!! But you can figure it out 🙂

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Advice Article Personal

Welcome Back, Bread

To all those people cutting out bread/wheat/gluten because of the ‘gluten free’ fad happening: it is not necessary. Bread is not the devil. It is not unhealthy and it will not make you fat. Unless you have celiac disease or have a gluten intolerance, than you can eat bread!!

So this post is basically my history with bread, why I ditched it for a while, and how/why I eat it again.

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Back in March 2014 (a couple months after going vegan) I decided to cut out bread and any other products containing wheat and gluten. I had been hearing so much about the ‘gluten free ’ fad and seeing books like Wheat Belly that say wheat is not good for you. I didn’t know what to believe, so I just took the safe route and cut it out completely.

This isn’t the first product I’ve done this with. Within 2013/2014, I just randomly stopped eating bread, pasta, rice, jam, crackers, chips, and anything with ingredients that I didn’t recognize. I think this was me being an obsessive health freak and trying to eat as clean as possible.

Near the end of summer 2014, I began eating Sourdough Bread because I heard it’s actually much healthier for you than regular bread. It is so delicious, and with the health tip in mind, I had no problem eating it. But then I kind of became obsessed with it and had a bit too much. Around that time I also started breaking out with pimples pretty badly. I read an article by Organic Burst saying sometimes people have wheat/gluten intolerance that they aren’t even aware of, or are so small that they only cause things such as…. acne. So I decided to cut out wheat again to see if that would help any.

A month or two went by and I realized my breakouts weren’t getting much better, but they also hadn’t gotten worse. I figured that cutting out bread/gluten was not the answer, and I decided to incorporate it back into my diet in small amounts. I would buy this Chia Hemp Flax bread that had all the healthy ingredients and actually tasted good. I would use it to make pb&j sandwiches, or avocado on toast.

In November of 2015, I would only eat bread moderately, only buying sourdough bread once in a while. I listened to my body and would only eat it if I knew it was what I wanted. My stomach also did this strange thing where if I ate over 3 pieces of SD bread, my stomach would feel full for HOURS and I wouldn’t even be hungry for dinner. But I look back now and think that maybe it was because my body wasn’t used to it. After all, I was eating mostly fruits and veggies for meals all summer.

But now it’s February 2016 and I eat sourdough bread every single day. I’ve been doing this for the past 2-3 months now and I absolotely LOVE it. I have sliced avocado on fresh sourdough and it is the best! And if there’s no Avo, I have peanut butter and jam. And sometimes when I come home at night after class or work and I’m hungry, I make another pb&j. So much bread. So much love.

I am a huge supporter of listening to your OWN body, and not just following fad diets and doing what other people are doing. (ex going HCLF, gluten free, paleo, raw till 4, etc) Depending on the time of year, my body craves different things. So if some days I crave raw fruits+veg, then that’s what I’ll have. But if I’m craving sourdough bread, then I will never deny my body of it.  Do whatever your own body wants. If your body craves starch/cooked foods, then eat that. If your body craves raw food one day, and (vegan)chocolate cake the next, then eat it. If your body wants bread, THEN EAT IT!!

My point is: don’t be afraid of eating certain foods just because you hear other people saying they are bad. Everybody reacts differently to different things. Let your body be the judge of that. If you eat bread and feel like crap afterwards, then cut it out. But if you don’t have a problem with it at all, be thankful you’re not celiac and eat that bread!! It’s not going to kill you, and neither is wheat, gluten, carbs, pectin, or any other ingredient you might fear.

Just remember; food is fuel. As long as you’re eating healthy foods that make you feel good, then continue eating it.



Advice Article

Essena Oneill Quits Social Media

This post will only be relevant to you if you know who Essena Oneill is. If you don’t, then… this may not make sense to you.

For those of you who do not know Essena Oneill, she is an 18 (almost 19) year old girl from Australia. She rose to “internet fame” when she began posting photos online on her Tumblr page when she was only fifteen. 570k followers later, Essena has amassed an enormous follower-fan base and has made huge impacts on people all around the globe. She went vegan (coincidentally around the same time I did), around February 2014. She has made a huge impact in the vegan community and probably has influenced thousands of people to go vegan for their health, the animals and the planet.

Essena has changed a lot over the years, and that is understandable, considering she is only a teenager, and had to evolve through her teen years in the ‘spotlight’. People have hated on her for changing her mind, or doing something differently than she used to. But she is only a teenager, and she is allowed to change her mind. However, yesterday, Essena posted the most shocking change of all – she is deleting all social media accounts and focusing solely on her blog, which will essentially exploit the reality of social media and what it’s like behind the scenes.


I agree with Essena 100%. Social media has become quite a destructive tool for a lot of people. Youths are comparing their lives/bodies/appearances to other people online, and that can be truly detrimental. She deleted over 2000 of her instagram photos, almost all of her YouTube videos, and deleted her Tumblr. She went back on her instagram photos that she did keep (there’s only about 100 left) and re-wrote all of the captions, essentially exposing herself and revealing the truths ‘behind the image’. Example:

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I wrote a blog post a couple months ago (March 16th to be exact) called ‘The Media is Taking Over”. However, I never published this because I was afraid of the reaction I would get. I called out the Instagram community,  and how fame is taking over people’s lives; boosting their ego’s; creating false realities. I also pointed out how Instagram followers are spoken about in the equivalence of high scores in a video game. “Just hit 100k!”

Hit? You just hit/reached 100k? One hundred thousand people are following you, and you treat it like you just reached a new high score. Why do we treat our social media apps this way? It’s quite sad. And to make matters worse, people hold ‘shoutout comps’ or do ‘sfs’ to get more followers. Pretend all you want, but shoutout competitions are to gain more followers. People use excuses like “it’s a great way to help me find other cool accounts!” or “I just want to help out the smaller accounts”.. but if these things were true, you would only require people to comment on your photo, or find other ways other than them giving you a free promo with nothing guaranteed.

You are not better than anyone else because of the amount of followers you have acquired. Your friends do not define you by how many likes your selfies get. Your family will not love you any less if you only have 100 followers. These things do not matter.

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(Yeah, that was a bit harsh, I know. That’s why I never published the older article)

I don’t like technology and social media. I never really have. And it’s a bit ironic and hypocritical of me considering I use multiple social media platforms, and have over 58,000 followers myself….

However, I like to relate my online presence with the term counter hegemony.

Counter-Hegemoney: people working within the media (and elsewhere) who attempt to challenge the dominant ideology by working to produce a counter-hegemonic world view.

Basically that means using technology, to dis-promote technology. (Similar to what Essena is doing)

Personally I am trying to make a difference in this world, so I am using the same tool that I despise to make that difference. Does that make me hypocritical? Maybe. But it’s working.

2014-01-08 005 2014-01-08 008What Essena is trying to say is that we are being brainwashed by this online social media presence. We feel self worth by the amount of followers or likes we get. We compare ourselves to others, and determine who is worthy and who is not. It’s ridiculous. Essena also speaks about the ‘celebrity concept’ of worshiping these social media starlets such as herself. She says , why? what makes me so special? I am not different than anyone that follows me.

I’m so glad to see Essena posting these kinds of things because she has such a huge following and can actually make a difference.

However, I don’t think it’s necessary for her to delete all of her social media’s. Sure she can take a break and post less, but she is very inspirational and has made such a positive change for so many people that I think she should keep her accounts, and rather than deleting them, just change the content.

I also don’t think it’s her fault that her followers treat her this way. She never asked to be worshiped or be put in the spotlight – that’s on the people – that’s US. How we treat others is up to us. We as online viewers have the ability to believe everything we read online, or take everything with a grain of salt, and understand ‘everything is not what is appears’. I know that Jay and Alexis don’t have perfect lives. I understand that Instagram is a highlight reel where people only post the best shot out of 100, with the best possible lighting and well thought out caption. Does every human actually look/act this perfectly? No. But you would be a fool to actually believe that.

So basically this post was just a spew of information out of my mind that I had to jot down and share with others. Use social media, but with caution. Use it for good, to help spread a positive message, or to connect with like-minded people. But don’t let it consume you to the point where you lose sleep at night over followers or how your photos are not as good as someone else’s. Because remember, when you turn off your phone, it all goes away. It’s just an app after all.


Take a break from your phone/technology once in a while. Heck, take a break everyday. Just hide your phone somewhere and go for a walk, read a book, hang outside, chill with friends or family. Remember that there is a world a part from your phone.


Also to note, I study the media. Literally, my major in Uni is Media and Cultural Studies. So I have been learning about this kind of stuff for 3 years now, and have written countless essays on the topic of technology and social media. I enjoy writing about that stuff so if you’d like to see some of my essays, let me know and perhaps I will post it on here.

I also wrote a post a while ago called ‘How to be Insta Famous’ if you want to check that out:

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Advice Article Food Vegan

Tips for Being Vegan in University

As mid-August approaches, the most dreadful time of the year is right around the corner…. and I think we both know what that is….


As much as it pains me to write this post, I know it is necessary to help all the youngens out there going off to college and university. My heart is breaking because Summer is my favourite season. I love the sun, the warmth, swimming, tanning, exploring, adventuring, and… ya know, not going to school.

So without further adieu, here are my tips for being vegan in college or university. (Point formed because well, they’re pretty straight forward)

Dorm Rooms:

Eating food in the dining hall and meal plans:

  • I lived on residence first year and had a meal plan that consisted of 12 meals a week. I went vegan in January/February, but even before that I would always keep certain food in my room because I preferred making my own meals. For breakfast I would make oatmeal, then go to class. I’d come back to my room, make a smoothie for lunch, then go back to class. Then I’d always eat dinner in the dining hall that would consist of a big salad with either potatoes, rice, veggies, fries, or whatever else they had that I could eat. One could say that it’s a waste of money, but my mealplan was pre-paid and I didn’t know I was going to go vegan… but if you are a vegan going into  college or uni, then just buy the smallest meal plan and make do with what you can in your dining hall, and buy a few groceries for what you need.

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Is it hard to cook food in a dorm?

  • I didn’t do any cooking because like I stated above, I would eat dinner in the dining hall. But if you consider oatmeal cooking, I brought my own kettle and would boil water and pour it into the bowl to mix the oatmeal. Some colleges or universities have little kitchens on each floor so you can bring your own kettle/microwave/toaster/fridge whatever you want, but there are also sometimes appliances in the kitchen areas. My dorm had a kitchen that we could rent out, but I never got a chance to use it.

What to keep in your room?

  • Whatever you eat. So in my case, I always kept stocked up on bananas so I could ripen and freeze them for smoothies. I’d also put them on my oatmeal. Also fruit (Strawberries and blueberries) to put in smoothies and on oatmeal. Ummm, almond milk, peanut butter, spinach/kale, mangos, apples, kiwi, oranges, crackers, chips, bread, etc.

How do friends react to it?

  • They didn’t really care that much. I ate my stuff, they ate their stuff. Except sometimes they’d ask questions and be like, “wait, can you have this?” And of course there was always ‘ice cream night’, or muffins being handed out in the caf. And treats in class. But if you have a motivation and continue to remind yourself of it, then you won’t fail.

Is it hard going shopping and keeping stuff in a small area?

  • No not really. On the weekends that I’d go home, I’d stock up on all the main stuff I ate. Then when I was at Uni, I’d take the bus into town some weeks and get stuff I needed. Also one of my friend’s had a car so sometimes I’d go with her.
  • I designated an area in my dorm-room for all my food, and I also brought my mini fridge so it was easy to keep all my stuff in one place.


  • Washed them in my room because I had a shared bathroom, but there was also a common room that had a sink.

The loud blender?

  • I used it during off times when I hoped it wouldn’t annoy people too much. And if I really needed to use it, people can just suck it up. It takes like 1 minute to blend a smoothie.

living with roommates

Living off campus with roommates:

Buying groceries

  • I would walk or take the bus down the street to the closest grocery store.
  • Always look at flyers to see when there are sales to get the cheapest deals.
  • Bring reusable bags/your own cart and stock up on everything you need for that week.
  • Make a list so you don’t miss or forget anything when you go. (I always forgot at least 1 thing)

Packing food for lunch when you’re on campus all day

  • Use lots of tupperware containers.
  • Meal prep and make your meals the night before if you know you have a busy day.
  • Pack easy lunches or snacks like sandwiches, lots of fruit, lara bars or other snack bars, nuts, crackers, etc.
  • Bring money if you know that there are veg friendly options to buy something on campus. (noodles, sandwiches, etc)

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Social situations

  • Just do your thing and don’t let people bring you down.
  • Don’t bring up the fact that you are vegan unless people ask.
  • Tell the waiter/hostess/etc that you are allergic to certain things so that they make sure not to give it to you.
  • Don’t make a big deal about it.
  • If someone offers you something you can’t have, just politely say “no thank you”
  • Give it time and the more people learn, the more they will come around. My roomies always came to this one vegan restaurant with me and they loved it!

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Dishes and kitchen appliances

  • I’m a very neat and organized person; also a perfectionist. Also a cleanfreak; so I brought a few of my own dishes to the house and used certain separate ones than my roommates.
  • I also created a sponge system so we each have our own sponge so nothing cross contaminates (eggs, meat, cheese, etc)
  • I washed pots/pans/large bowls with steaming hot water and soap before using it (those are the things we all shared)
  • Use the dishwasher as well if you have one. (I personally wash most of my dishes by hand)
  • My roomies and I also have a sticker system so we put a colour star on stuff that is ours so that it is not confused and that no one eats your things.


I hope this helps, and if you have any questions, feel free to comment them below! Have a great semester everyone xx

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Advice Food Personal

Why I’m no Longer “HCLF” or “RawTil4”

I’ve mentioned this before in previous videos I have made on my Youtube channel, but I haven’t written anything about it here on my blog. So… that’s what I’m going to do today.

(I also just uploaded another Youtube explaining the same thing as my last video, but in shorter terms: )

Basically I started off eating HCLF and “RawTil4” ish lifestyles around May 2014. HCLF means “High Carb Low Fat”, and Raw Till 4 is a diet/lifestyle where you eat raw fruits and veggies for breakfast and lunch, then have a nice high carb cooked meal for dinner. They are both created, I think, by Youtube sensation Freelee the Banana Girl.

When I first found this diet/lifestyle, I thought it was AMAZING! As you can see here, I wrote ecstatic blog posts detailing how amazing it is and how it works for everybody. Little did I know at the time, it doesn’t, and I was acting like a little brainwashed Freelee child.

 But let’s back up a little bit.

So before I switched to this lifestyle, I was still eating lots of fruit and veggies, and was super healthy and stuff; I just did whatever I wanted, not following any rules or guidelines. I was slim, fit, and happy.


But the more I watched Freelee’s videos, and the more people on Instagram who I saw switching to this lifestyle, made me want to be just like them and do exactly what they were doing. I eventually started increasing my portion sizes and eating tons more because that’s what everybody else does, and that is what Freelee preaches after all: Eating in abundance, no restricting, and eating unlimited calories. Oh, and may I add she also would say “I barely even work out”, or she’d show her stomach off in videos and say, “I eat unlimited calories with minimal exercise”

article-2601633-1CFF8BED00000578-843_638x624I was so brainwashed that I literally believed that just eating raw fruits and vegetables automatically gave you a flat stomach. And whenever I’d feel full or bloated on days, I’d try to go Fully Raw, as if it were a cure for not feeling slim.

So fast forward to Winter 2014. I was eating quite large portion sizes of all HCLF meals. I know many people on this lifestyle eat about 8 or more bananas for breakfast, but I could never do that. I’d always have 4 bananas for breakfast, either in a smoothie or nana ice cream. So 4 bananas, plus fruit, or water/almond mylk, whatever I added to the smoothie. Then for lunch I’d make a sandwich, or oatmeal, or have veggies and hummus. Then for dinner I’d make GIANT salads with spinach, avocado, and every single vegetable in my fridge. Or I’d have 2 cups of rice pasta + tomato sauce, or 4 potatoes cooked into fries. (This is all while I was living away for Uni)

Everybody knew I ate a lot. My family would always ask if my giant salad bowl was for the family, and I’d be like “uhh… no, this is just my portion size”. And at my house where I lived with my friends, they would sometimes say, “oh, you can’t finish all that,” and I’d be like, “yesss I can! This is how much I need to eat!!!”

I literally stretched my stomach so that it needed bigger portion sizes. And I convinced myself that this is how much I needed to eat to suffice myself and “get in enough calories”.

I also wasn’t working out much, because I don’t usually workout in the winter time. (Cause school=stress, and it’s freezing in Canada, and ya) (I usually always start working out in April for summer time and go for bike rides daily etc) AND I THOUGHT THAT THIS WAS OKAY BECAUSE APPARENTLY FREELEE DOES MINIMAL EXERCISE AND HAS THE MOST BANGIN BOD EVER.

This clearly wasn’t working for me, but I was oblivious to that.

I had a wakeup call when I went to the doctor’s for my yearly physical, and glanced down at the paper work to see my weight.

Now, coming from a past of disordered thoughts and eating, I stopped weighing myself over a year ago. Once I found plant based veganism, I was so happy and learned self-love and happiness. I never needed to weigh myself.

But once I saw the number on that page, I freaked. According to the doctor’s scale, I had gained 30 lbs (13.6 kg for you Aussies) over the winter.

I WAS SHOCKED. APPALLED. How could I have gained so much weight when I was eating all the right foods and doing exactly what Freelee and everyone else says to do?

I was determined that it was my fault. That I was eating too many vegan treats, like chips+hummus as a snack once in a while. So I cut out all my favourite vegan treats and stopped night time snacking.

It wasn’t until about April or May 2015 (so now it’s summer season approaching) that I noticed I had stretch marks on my bum, and cellulite on my tummy. I have NEVER had these things before, and it made me so upset.

I heard about Dry Brushing, and had to try it to get rid of cellulite on my stomach.

I feel like I was in a state of denial about my eating and weight gain, until my mom told me, “it’s because you’re eating too much”

And I was all like, “NO, YOU’RE WRONG. Freelee eats 3000+ calories a day and barely works out, so can I”

I had this brainwashed mindset that was so CLEARLY WRONG FOR ME, and wasn’t working for me, yet I ignored all the signs my body was giving me because I was too busy listening to other people’s advice instead of my own body.

In June 2015 (current time) I went away to Australia for a month to travel. I ate out at a lot of vegan restaurants, had vegan treats, but I also had fruit and veg a lot and went for lots of walks and bike rides. I didn’t care what I was eating and I was happy.

When I came home, I knew I had to make a change because I was so unhappy with my body.


It’s now July 2015 and I’ve made some great changes so far in my diet and exercise.

I now understand that Freelee wasn’t wrong, and I wasn’t wrong, I was just too caught up in other people’s lives/advice, and what works for them that I forgot what works for ME, Katrina.

That’s amazing that Freelee can eat 2500 to 3000 calories a day – but now I know that she cycles A LOT. In Chang Mai, she cycled up the mountain every single day. She works her body and is constantly moving, so she NEEDS that many calories to sustain herself. So she is 100%…. for her OWN body.

My body is different. Everyone’s bodies are different. So I don’t think she should be taking what works best for HER, and recommending other girls and boys being doing the exact same thing.

It messes with people’s lives because here I was, a naive teenage girl, thinking that I could eat 3000+ calories and not workout. And look what happened – I gained weight.

So I appreciate what she is doing and that’s awesome that it works for her – but remember people, your body is not her body. We are all different and what works for one person may not work for the next.

I currently have shrunk my portion sizes to eat until I am satisfied, no longer stuffing myself to fit in calories.

Also when I was in Australia, I think I was eating less amounts because I didn’t always have such a huge variety/selection of food. I was constantly traveling from city to city and couldn’t do a proper grocery shop, so I basically just ate whatever I bought that day or day before, which resulted in eating smaller portion sizes.

So it was no problem coming home and eating less. In fact, on my second day home, I tried to have 3 bananas in my nana ice cream, and I was so full half way through. I didn’t listen to my body though – I pushed through and finished the whole thing. Then I felt like shit afterwards and was way to full. After that, I learned my lesson and now will eat less, and stop when I am actually full. No more making the same mistakes as before.

I also started cycling everyday. I usually do that in the summer anyways, and it felt so good to get back on my bike and just ride. I started off doing 5k, then 8k, then I was doing 10k for a couple days, and now, just two days ago, I did 20k in one day 🙂 I feel so proud and accomplished when I finish a long cycle.

I still eat the exact same foods as before, just smaller portion sizes.

Because my body still doesn’t need as much as Freelee’s. So I bike as much as I want, and I eat as much as I can, and if that means only 2 bananas and 2 mangos in 1 smoothie, then that is fine with me. I also used to make GIANT salads for dinner, but now I use a smaller bowl to portion-control myself.

Hopefully this new regime works for ME and helps me tone up and lose that excess weight that I gained over the winter time. I just want to be happy and healthy, with both my mind and my body.

And I want that for everybody else as well.

So if you’re reading this, just remember, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY!! Eat what works best for you. Some people can have smoothies for breakfast, some people can have oatmeal. Some people can eat 20 bananas, some people can only eat 1. And that’s 100% okay because we are all so different and unique in our own ways. So from now on, throw out the diets and advice from other people. Stop following what works for them, and start doing what works for YOU!

I’m not ‘high carb low fat’, or ‘raw till 4’….. I’m just Katrina.

I hope this helps and I’m sorry for ranting for so long. I just had to talk about this.

Lots of love,

best day (14)


Official Bragging Hour

We often forget our talents when comparing ourselves to others. We watch and see other people succeeding or achieving goals of their own, and we allow ourselves to feel down about it. We often forget that we each have our own individual and special talents as well, they just sometimes get thrown in the gutter when we see the amazing things that other people are doing or have. With that being said, I also find myself especially getting so worked up and overwhelmed with my own problems. Will I succeed in life? Will I be good enough? I am constantly asking myself questions that I wish I had the answers to. But the truth of the matter is, if we all threw our problems into a circle, we’d probably wish we could take ours back. Yes you may have failed a test or ate bad food, or said something you regret, but guess what? Everybody is facing their own problems and going through their own struggles. Getting down and out on yourself isn’t going to help anyone.

I think we need to all take a minute or two out of our busy days and remind ourselves why we are here. What is our purpose, what can we do to make a change? What do we need to do to succeed in life and what are our true talents and accomplishments? I constantly see people around me doing so much better in school, getting good jobs, traveling the world, gaining success constantly, and I feel like a caterpillar in a world of butterflies. But like I always say, life is about perspective. So if you’re feeling like a caterpillar, then be a caterpillar in a world of cockroaches. Find your blissful medium that allows you to be who you are happily. Stop comparing yourself to others and viewing yourself as the underdog. If you have the power to change the way you view yourself; then why not do it?you deserve to brag about yourselfStop what you are doing and write down things you are good at. Write down what you succeed at and what your accomplishments are. We often forget all of the things we are truly good at or overlook them because we think people are better at them. But it’s time to realize that you are special and you are important. You have a right to brag about yourself, so go ahead and do just that; right now. Get a piece of paper and write down a bunch of positive things about yourself. Keep writing and keep thinking of more things. It’s fun, I promise, and it will help you remember the things that keep you going.

Don’t let your light burn out just because someone else’ may be brighter. Keep your light shining high and shine like the beautiful caterpillar you are.

Love, Katrina


Advice Article Food Personal

Veganism or Orthorexia?

Today I am going to be talking about veganism and the confusion that people often mistake it with Orthorexia. In case you are unfamiliar with orthorexia, it is basically a medical condition in which the sufferer systematically avoids specific foods in the belief that they are harmful.

obsession with eating foods that one considers healthy.


Although it’s not listed on the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5), which psychologists and psychiatrists use to diagnose mental disorders, people still consider a very serious condition.

The reason I am writing this post is because of an article I just read online, and I want to address some things and clear some things up. Below I will post some excerpts from the following article:

“American doctor Steven Bratman coined the term “orthorexia nervosa” in 1997 some time after his experience in a commune in upstate New York. It was there he developed an unhealthy obsession with eating “proper” food, “all I could think about was food. But even when I became aware that my scrabbling in the dirt after raw vegetables and wild plants had become an obsession, I found it terribly difficult to free myself. I had been seduced by righteous eating.”

“Raw food followers might meet regularly to “align their bodies, minds and souls” by feasting on “cleansing and immune-boosting” raw foods. Such foods are never heated above 44˚C, so “all the living enzymes in the food remain intact”. No gluten, dairy or “sugar” is allowed.

Clean eaters may follow similar regimes, removing gluten, dairy and even meat from their diets. You might overhear a discussion about “superfood green smoothie” recipes after a yoga class that also happened to “cleanse your gall bladder”.

There is a blurry line separating “normal” healthy eating and orthorexia nervosa, but one way to define the condition is when eating “healthily” causes significant distress or negative consequences in a person’s life.

They may be “plunged into gloom” by eating a piece of bread, become anxious about when their next kale, chia or quinoa hit is coming, or eat only at home where “superfood” intake can be tightly controlled.

Such behaviours can have a significant impact on relationships with family members and friends, let alone on their mental health.”

So now veganism and plant based diets come into play. How do you know if someone is just healthy, or is suffering from Orthorexia Nervosa? Well, the answer is, it is none of your busisness and it is up to that person to discover and help themselves. Of course with many exceptions such as noticing your friend of family suffering or falling into obsessive habits; but other than that, stay out of people’s lives with false accusations and opinions.

I find that most people don’t care about your health – they care about being right. That’s why most people will ask vegans how they get their protein and all their other vitamins and nutrients. Seriously…? You didn’t care about my health five minutes ago, but suddenly my bloodwork results are somehow your business. Why is this? Because people love to be right and to prove people wrong about their diets. This is a comment that is posted on the article:

[Typical vegan argument:
“Oh well…. you call it an obsession because you’re just a disgusting fat pig that eats nothing but junk food!”

Or maybe, we realize the human species was born omnivorous. There is an idea. We were never born to be rabbits.]

My point proven.

Some people like to eat healthy; what is the harm in that? I do not believe that going vegan is going to lead to Orthorexia in any way whatsoever. If you go vegan and develop Orthorexia (theblondevegan), then that is because of your behavior and your brain, not the fact that you switched to a vegan diet.

I hate calling it a vegan diet because it is so much more than that. (I actually have a blogpost on that here). It’s a lifestyle, and no matter what your reasons are for going vegan, think of it as a lifestyle rather than a diet. If you went vegan strictly for your health and do not care about any other factors such as the planet or the animals, than do not consider yourself vegan, but rather “plant based.” People who follow a plant based diet tend to usually wear leather, silk, use cosmetics tested on animals, and don’t usually mind if they have the occasional slip up. However I do not speak for all plant based eaters, but that is usually the case. But hey, whatever works for you – as long as you’re eating less animals.

ANYWAYS, back to Orthorexia.

Eating fully raw is not an obsession. Cutting out meat, dairy and eggs is not an obsession. It’s changing your lifestyle to be the best that you can be and to maximize your responsibility in saving the planet.

However sometimes people do take things too far. This is when you obsess over the foods that you eat and worry about eating “dirty” unhealthy foods. Even some healthy foods frighten you and it takes up most of your time thinking and stressing about it. This is when you need to realize that something is wrong and you need help.

But if you are fine eating the way you are, and do not find yourself ever in a panic or distress, than you are fine. I know I am fine because I can eat raw vegan one day, then have vegan cupcakes and cookies the next. I love to eat healthy because it makes my body feel the best, but I would never deprive myself of something that I want, and if that means cooked meals or vegan desserts, than by all means I’m going to indulge. (I do not believe that anything that comes from an animal is a ‘treat’, so that’s my opinion there when someone tells me to just “treat” myself to some cheese pizza)

 I never used to be like this though; I actually struggled with food and body image for many years, and though I was never officially diagnosed, doctors believe I had an eating disorder, and looking back now, I know it was either Anorexia or Orthorexia. I guess you could say that I was obsessed with working out and eating clean. I would feel bad if I messed up and ate something unhealthy and it was all sorts of crazy, right down to the obsession with specific plates/bowls/silverware. I kept a scale in my room at all times and would get so upset if my weight fluctuated. It was bad, but it wasn’t until I discovered veganism that all these negative thoughts and obsessions went away and my mind could finally be at peace. Now I never worry about what I am eating, and I indulge in whatever I want. Even ask any of my friends, I always say “calories are irrelevent if you’re eating the right foods,” and ” I don’t believe in depriving my body.” I also always say, “nana ice cream is good for my body, but this (vegan) cheese pizza is good for my soul”.

So yeah I like to have pizza and burritos and tacos and burgers. But I also like to eat smoothies, salads, nana ice creams and raw fruits and veggies. I’ve finally reached a place where I am happy and I hope you can all find that place to. I hope this article helped. <3


Advice Article

Nothing Tastes as Good as Skinny Feels

You’re probably familiar with this term, correct? I know I sure am. Do you know how many girls I’ve heard saying this over the internet, whether it be Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc? Far too many. What kind of message is this teaching younger girls? That food – the essential thing that our body needs to survive – should come secondary to looks? This infuriates me.

31Why have we been conditioned to strive for looks? Why have humans become so shallow that we could care less about one’s personality – as long as they are pretty, that’s all that matters. And this quote above just takes it even further by pressuring girls to want to be skinny. First of all, females, and males, have the right to be and feel however they want. Second of all, mental illnesses and eating disorders are on the rise. Telling girls that no food can compare to the feeling of being skinny is ridiculous. Not only is that bad for their well-being, but it’s also giving the wrong message. It’s giving the message that how others view you is more important than how you view yourself. If you don’t care what other people think of you, GOOD FOR YOU! That’s better than how most of us are doing. And I wish girls and boys could have that same mentality.

My second point is this: what if you could still ‘taste’ all that good food, and feel comfortable in your own skin. This quote bugs me because I LOVE FOOD. I’m not going to hide it, I love to eat. Clearly that’s why  I have a food blog and am constantly in the kitchen… making food… to eat it. And you know what? I’m skinny. I’m fit. I don’t even work out that often – I just eat healthy. So who’s to say that you can’t eat tons of food and still feel “skinny”. Clearly whoever says this has never had nana ice-cream..

Yeah.. I eat that pretty much everyday. And yes that’s healthy if you can believe it or not. It’s literally just frozen bananas and carob powder. So I have something to say to whoever started that quote:


If you’re interested in living a lifestyle where you can eat unlimited food and carbs and STILL be lean and healthy, check out my post on the HCLF diet. (high carb low fat) Link here:

Freelee The Banana Girl, famously known for 30 Banana a Day, is living proof that, ‘everything tastes as good as skinny feels – even better’.

I hope this helps people realize not to let society determine what kind of person you are going to be. Always remember that you should never put your dietary needs secondary to “looks.” Screw skinny- do you.


Advice Personal

How to Be Insta Famous

One question I certainly get quite often is, “how did you get so many followers?”, or I have people message me saying, “hi I’m new to Instagram and I wanted to know if you have any tips to getting followers and growing my account?”

This question makes me sad because I think about what our world has come to. Where people care more about Facebook friends and Instagram likes than they do their own reality. I’m making this post to address this issue because I feel social media shouldn’t be about fame and attention; it should be doing and posting what you love and are passionate about.


I first heard of Instagram in 2011, so I created an account. Although I didn’t know it was a public sphere; instead, I thought it was just an app to edit photos. So I would post the same photo 5 times with a different filter and save it to my phone. It wasn’t until someone started following me that I realized people could see what I was doing.

I created my “food” Instagram in 2013. I originally created it for inspiration to get in shape for summer, and would just add fitspo photos off the internet. I’ve always been a photographer, so I began adding my own food and fitness photos. Of course I’d do the odd hashtag for fun, but soon I noticed my following had begin to grow. I never created my Instagram with the sole purpose of getting followers or becoming insta “famous.” I did it for me. And even when I had 500 followers, or 2000 followers, I still posted what I did because I was passionate about it and it’s what made me happy.

When I had less followers than I did now, I would do shoutout contests, SFS with other similar accounts, and continue using hashtags for people to be able to see my content. But after a while, I realized that Instagram wasn’t about the followers, and I no longer cared about the number on my profile. So once and for all, I stopped doing SFS and shoutout contests for good. Personally I find that people do them just to get followers and I don’t like that. Like I stated above, Instagram should not be about that. If you create an account for yourself and you happen to get followers, that’s great. But you can’t go out there with the sole purpose of getting famous and expect it to happen, cause chances are, with that mindset, it’s pretty slim.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the people who follow me, but I don’t like to consider them as ‘followers’, but rather friends in a community where we can all take and share things about our lives. I’ve met so many people through Instagram that I have become great friends with. I wouldn’t be where I am today with my blog and Instagram if it wasn’t for all the amazing people out there all over the world who follow and support me. So shoutout to all of you, thank you so much, it means the world and more to me <3

I don’t promote creating a social media just to get followers, however since SO many people ask me how to grow their blog or Instagram account, here are some tips:

1. Post stuff that you know targets a specific demographic. If you know that you like food, and other people like food, post about food. If you like fashion, and other people like fashion, post about fashion.

2. Post stuff that you’re passionate about. I could never run an account about something that I don’t care about. It has to be something I love and am serious about that I can commit to and enjoy.

3. Post for yourself – not other people. Or else you’ll find yourself 50k followers later and scared to post a selfie with the thought that people might unfollow you. So start posting whatever you want right from the beginning.

4. If you do post stuff such as food, ensure you have good photos, especially if you’re on Instagram. Good lighting, good colour, good content. People don’t want to see dark, blurry photos. Take your time and do things wisely. And if you’re not good at photography, perhaps reconsider to a Twitter account.

5. Use hashtags. This allows a bunch of people to see your content.

6. If you really want followers, do ‘shoutouts’ with other mutual accounts that have the same stuff as you. That way other people will be able to find you, and you can connect with some great, like-minded people. In the early stages of my Instagram account, I met some of my good friends through doing shout outs with them. However I don’t like “shoutout contests” because I feel as though it’s just a way for the person of superiority to use their followers to share their content to gain more followers, without a definite guarantee of something in return.

Best of luck, and always remember to stay true to yourself. xo