It’s midnight here in LA with a lazy night to myself. I was just sitting on the couch with a glass of wine, watching one of my favourite authors, Brene Brown, being interviewed by my all-time fav, Oprah (#lifesgood), and out came one of the most golden quotes I’ve ever heard…
Vulnerability is the birthplace of everything we’re hungry for.
Stop being “brave” and covering up with blame and excuses. Show up with your arms uncrossed. Be seen. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and playing victim. All we ever need is a vulnerable discussion.
Contrary to how society has raised us, our greatest strength is in our vulnerability.
That is how we find peace in ourselves and in our relationships.
I am STOKED to share with you that over the past six months I have been quietly working with my family on a project that I am so passionate about — a juice bar in Australia’s tropical paradise of Palm Cove!
Jooce Bar: local and organic focused, cold-pressed juices, smoothies and raw vegan treats with a tropical FNQ twist.
I just returned to LA after a month in Palm Cove where I was in the most creative and aligned zone I’ve ever felt in my life. I surprised myself every single day. Combining all I have learned over the years in nutrition, marketing, decorating, artwork, relationships, customer service, business management, everything and anything – it’s all rolled into one here at Jooce Bar.
And best of all, it’s a project involving my entire family, Angel included. I couldn’t be more proud. Particularly of my brother who is the most driven person I know. Jooce Bar is located inside Jack & Shanan’s, my brother and his partner’s gelateria and creperie, fittingly named after my two beautiful nephews.
The above images are the before and after shots of Jooce Bar’s transformation within just a few weeks. The picture on there right is still a work in progress — the baskets under the palm tree will be loaded with fresh, locally grown coconuts, and the shelves will be loaded with fresh produce ready for juicing.
Here is a look around all of Jack & Shanan’s on one of our final days getting everything together for opening:
The poker world (and beyond) is blessed to have the work of Lee Davy grace our industry. He has a unique ability to latch people open and go deep. When you read an interview by Davy you can be sure it’s not just top-coating fluff. He sees people far beyond their facade and finds ways to reveal his subject’s truth. So, when he asked if I would spend some time chatting for the following interview, I was honored. And of course, it’s no surprise that it is my favourite interview yet and I am filled with gratitude for his incredibly kind words…
Last week I faced a big fear that I have been carrying around for half my life without having had a clue it was there.
As a kid, I adored acting but stopped in my early teens when I convinced myself that it was time to focus on studying and getting a “real career”. Just recently, I remembered the last time I acted was in a theatre show where I slipped over. My insecure 13-year-old self was devastated with embarrassment. It wasn’t just a small trip up… My costume came untied and I went flying in the air, landing on my butt, right in the middle of the stage. I never admitted this was the reason why, but I never returned to acting classes after that show. I even hid the tape, adamant it never be seen, and I still haven’t watched it! I had completely turned my back on my passion out of shame, embarrassment, fear.
I still managed to reroute and find my way back to performing as a TV presenter which I love when I’m talking to a camera, but I freak out when I can see my audience. This always confused me because you couldn’t keep me off the stage as a kid. After this revelation, it all made sense.
With a helpful nudge of encouragement from Lilly Dawson that I will be forever grateful for, I ran toward that fear, “immersing” myself in acting for an intensive week with Hollywood Immersive. I not only reignited my old passion, I had to perform in front of a small audience I could see — every single day. I was petrified going in to the program and I came out beaming with joy, pride and confidence.
Embracing a passion and/or fear has nothing to do with how good/bad we are at it, it’s all about how the experience of it makes us feel. If something is calling you, GO AND DO IT.
It is liberating to continue to shed off my layers and learn about myself — an education from which we will never graduate. Question everything about yourself. It’s so much fun. #lifesgood
This is not a term we use in Australia, so it wasn’t until yesterday morning that I realized I needed to whip up something to bring along!
I fired up the Vitamix and in went a lil o’ this and a lil o’ that.
Just 10 minutes later, I rolled together these delicious treats, while proudly smiling to myself for my slapped-together success!
The party was filled with amazing people and great food. In the end we left with an empty dish — my balls were a party hit! (LOL)
Here’s how it went:
2 small handfuls of almonds
6 pitted medjool dates
handful of goji berries
large handful of coconut flakes
1 tablespoon of raw cacao
two tablespoons of almond butter
1 teaspoon of honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
sprinkle of pink himalayan sea salt
Blend, roll into individual balls and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving. They will keep in the fridge for at least a week — if they survive that long!
Tip #1: Beautify your balls.
I didn’t do this last night, but if you want to pretty them up a little just lightly dab each ball with water (to get them sticky) and roll in desiccated coconut to finish.
Tip #2: Yes, almonds AND almond butter.
This may seem unnecessary, but they both offer different textures. When you grind up the whole almonds in this mixture they will help add a little crunch, while the smooth creamy texture of the almond butter will help stick the balls together (and so will the honey).
Tip #3: Blend dry and wet ingredients separately.
If you don’t have a mighty powerful blender like a Vitamix, it’s best to separate the ingredients into textures and blend separately.
Blend the dry ingredients (almonds, coconut, cacao, salt) together until the almonds have ground down (chunks are fine). Remove and put aside. Then blend the wet ingredients — dates, goji berries, almond butter, honey and vanilla extract until they combine into a thick, chunky paste. Add the dry mixture, pulsing and shifting until combined.
Tip #4: Don’t forget to remove the pip from the dates!
I made this mistake once. It was one VERY noisy lesson and a beautiful batch wasted. The screeching of the blender blades still haunt my ears!
Angel and I recently spent a really beautiful week in New York City. We love to eat our way around the cities we visit, so NYC is like Disneyland for us.
We were there for the WPT Foundation’s All in For Kids Charity Poker Tournament at the swanky Mandarin Oriental, where we raised $910,000 for the incredible Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Amazing. It was an honour to be part of such a special event.
With my birthday just days later, we decided to extend our stay to mark the beginning of my thirties in one of the greatest cities in the world.
It’s all about the journey rather than just the destination (as life should be) in NYC. If you walk aimlessly through the streets of Manhattan, you will always come across something that piques your interest. There is so much to see along the way. That’s exactly how Angel and I spent most of our days, with a little assistance from Yelp along the way, of course.
We stayed in Midtown, which I highly recommend for first-timers. It’s a central area with most popular spots within walking distance (if you’re not visiting during extreme weather).
Here is a list of our favourite finds that are oh-so-good on the palate, the body, and the environment.
I only found out about Juice Press on my last day in town, even though it was only one street away from our hotel! Luckily I had plenty of time to stop by and pick up a nutritious breakfast.
This place is awesome.
Not only is it filled with endless choices of organic smoothies, pressed juices, fresh soup and salads, and raw, vegan, whole-food snacks ready to eat on the run, they offer samples of almost everything, and provide a bunch of cheeky marketing material, free for you to take to help spread a great message about nutrition.
I had one of the most delicious servings of oatmeal in my life, with cashew milk, dates and spices, as well as “The Guru” smoothie loaded with all the goodness listed below (a little too heavy with the oatmeal, but I wanted to try everything!)
Very similar to Juice Press with loads of organic, ready-to-go whole food meals and snacks with various locations dotted all over NYC. They successfully prove that healthy can be convenient, and it’s always a bonus when you walk into a bench loaded with free samples!
I had the Green Coco pressed juice with mixed veggies and coconut water and drank it as I walked through Central Park. It was just what I needed!
If you appreciate a good quality coffee, you will love this place.
Named after the popular Melbourne street, replicating Melbourne’s finest coffee and attracting every Aussie in the area, Little Collins will make you feel right at home if you’re from Down Under. They even serve the trusty “smashed avo” for breakfast (translation: avocado on toast).
It’s a small cafe and busy during all hours of the day, so if you want to dine in, securing a table can be difficult. The first time I visited, it was 11am and near impossible to get a table, but then I went the next day at 9am and managed to walk in right as a table was clearing off. Score!
If you haven’t noticed, finding great-quality restaurants gets me pretty damn excited. And what tops it off? Finding great quality restaurant chains! While I love supporting small local businesses, seeing health-, environmentally-, and socially-conscious chains pop up can only mean that the demand is booming, and therefore so is supply, and that supply is supporting other small businesses such as local farms. Before we know it, this will become the norm and factory farming will be eradicated.
Bareburger is one of these very places, with around 20 locations around the US east coast. They are an all-organic restaurant serving grass-fed, pasture-raised meats and lots of veggie options.
I get all giddy when I see a menu that lists all the local farms the restaurant purchase their ingredients from.
I couldn’t get enough of this park, decked out with the quaint Winter Village. While I grew up in Australia with Christmas being a summertime holiday, there is something about the chilly New York City winter Christmas vibe that feels so homely.
Bryant Park is the perfect place to grab a hot cup of tea and a delicious bite to eat, sit on one of the chairs and just people-watch the afternoon away.
Here are some of my favourite Bryant Park food finds:
This all-veggie, organic, whole food eatery serves warming, homemade dishes cooked from scratch. They had a huge line out the front, and for good reason. My lunch was so good, I polished it off in lightening speed.
Just as the name suggests, these pies are nuts. Or as we say in poker, THE nuts.
Not only do their delicious pies hit the spot when it comes to my appetite, they also hit the spot with their tagline: “It’s not about the ingredients we leave out. It’s about the ingredients we put in.”
WOW. Chocolate is my weakness, so I love stumbling across finds like Raaka Virgin Chocolate. Using ethically-sourced cacao beans, Raaka is handmade at low-temperature, preserving the delicate flavors and benefits of raw cacao.
The girl at the store was passionately telling us all about it while letting us indulge in all the free samples. We ended up leaving with eight bars!
All vegan, all virgin, all ethical, all delicious.
If you’re visiting NYC soon, I hope this list helps you!
There is still so much more to explore. Is there anywhere you suggest I visit next time? If so, please leave a comment below!
Lately, Angel and I have been buying baby coconuts and cracking them open at home. I had never got into this (until now) because it seemed way too hard and messy. Plus, why bother with that when buying the bottled stuff is so much more convenient?
Well, unless said bottled coconut water is labelled “raw” and kept in the fridge, it’s pretty much nutritionally dead after the heat processing it went through for preserving — and often tastes nowhere near as good as the real thing.
Computers are changing the way we see the world — but are they also changing the way we see?
It’s rare to find someone who doesn’t spend hours on a computer every day, and doctors are now seeing more cases of Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), which is caused by exactly that. So, I’ve gathered some information and strategies to help prevent eyestrain, or in more extreme cases, CVS.
Dr. S. Singh, an ophthalmologist at the Castleman Eye Center in Michigan says, “No study has proven that long-term computer work truly damages the eyes; it could however lead to strain, fatigue, headaches and symptoms of dryness.”Continue reading →