About Me

Thank you for visiting my blog! You can follow me on FacebookTwitterPinterest, Instagram, and Bloglovin. My recipes have been featured on FoodgawkerBuzzfeedFindingVeganHealthy Aperture, Huffington PostBabble, and The Frisky.


My name is Lauren, and I recently graduated college with an English major and a teaching certificate and started life in the "real world." I grew up in South Dakota, but I currently live in New York City, where I teach writing to a hundred darling sixth graders in Lower Manhattan. When I'm not working, I love theater, reading and writing, figure skating, ballet and dance, traveling, and exploring "the City." I'm a big fan of The Office, the Harry Potter series, and anything Irish. Oh yeah, and a little thing called oatmeal.

Why Oatmeal?

Oatmeal was my gateway to healthy eating. After an entire lifetime of horrible dietary decisions, I vowed to make some changes to deal with my IBS. Many sites recommended eating more oats, which contain more soluble fiber than insoluble fiber, an important difference when dealing with digestive problems. I started with the instant packages by Quaker and became almost immediately smitten! Around the same time, I moved out of college dorms and started pursuing a Slow Foods diet, so after a few months of Quaker Banana Bread Instant Oatmeal, I switched to making my own porridge from scratch to save money and avoid unnecessary ingredients. Four years later, I now eat a heaping bowl of oats every single morning!


Why Slow Foods?

I've always had a fast metabolism, so I typically ate whatever I wanted to. The only vegetable I ever ate was a potato, and the only green thing I willingly put in my mouth came from a Skittles bag. When I graduated high school, I endured a rough transition period and consequently put on a lot of weight. Once my self-esteem hit an all-time low, I decided to make an effort to take off the extra pounds.

At my heaviest...with Peggy Fleming. :)

I made some smart choices, like eliminating processed junk food (au revoir, Cheetos Puffs) and choosing apples and other fruit instead. Unfortunately, I was mainly concerned with calories, and Coke Zero, Lean Cuisine, and Crystal Light were regular choices for me. Then, a series of events pushed me toward a whole foods approach: 1) Watching "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution" on ABC in the fall of 2009;  2) Trying to incorporate more soluble fiber in my diet to alleviate my IBS symptoms; and 3) Watching Food, Inc. during spring break of 2010. These three things heightened my awareness of food choices and gave me the passion and commitment necessary to make some serious lifestyle changes. Altogether, these adjustments helped me lose approximately 40 pounds.

I now believe wholeheartedly in the Slow Foods approach: taking the time to create, savor, and socialize around fresh, quality food in a way that nurtures the community and environment. I choose organic and/or local whenever possible. I also avoid fast food and most chain restaurants (Chipotle is the exception).

Meeting Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation; October 2011

Why Veg?

In September 2011, I became vegetarian for the environment. In October 2013, I became plant-based (vegan, but with honey) for health reasons. To learn more, read my page Plant Proud!

Why Running?

No, I am not trying to lose weight.

I have hated running my entire life. In high school, we used to have to run miles around the school during volleyball practice. My best friend Micaela, who ran extensively on her own time and therefore didn't "need" this extra stamina training, would literally walk with me while I pathetically jogged (and whined) at her side. Knowing that running is crucial to a healthy life (prevents cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis, etc.), I tried on multiple occasions to acquire a habit of it, but just couldn't make it stick.

During the winter of 2011, I developed an interesting, new IBS symptom. Eliminating meat and dairy from my diet virtually abolished the pain and...errr..."bathroom issues," but now I was dealing with something new. You know that feeling after Thanksgiving dinner when you've eaten WAY TOO MUCH and you feel like you could never eat again? Imagine feeling that way after every meal. Imagine feeling that way even when you only ate a medium-sized salad. Imagine feeling that way for hours after eating only an apple. That is what I was dealing with.

Since this was new to me, I did not immediately connect it to my IBS. Instead, I made the logical assumption that I was overeating. Why else would I feel so full? This led to a dangerous accidental period of weight loss and malnutrition. When I realized that one stinkin' apple could leave me "full" for hours, I realized I definitely wasn't overeating and immediately needed to address the issue. I saw multiple doctors, who had a variety of theories, but nobody had an answer for me. Meanwhile, I continued my 24/7 misery, no matter how healthfully I ate. I tried multiple solutions on my own: eating more greens, eating less carbs, eating less peanut butter, cutting sugar, drinking tea instead of coffee, doing yoga and meditation, eating while standing up, eating small meals more frequently, eating gluten-free, keeping a food journal, eating bigger meals (seemed counter-intuitive, but figured it was worth a shot), and more. Nothing brought relief. Not even SLIGHT relief.

Having given up on my doctors, I researched on my own, and after nearly a year of discomfort, I discovered it's a common IBS symptom. It was so drastically different than my previous symptoms that I never even considered it to be related. Still, none of the advice people offered helped me. I was already following a pretty healthy diet (I wasn't entirely vegan yet, but I was eating no meat, tons of fresh produce, and very minimal amounts of dairy; plus, I was well-versed in soluble fiber vs. insoluble fiber). Finally, in winter of 2014 (an entire three years after this misery started), I found a handful of articles that recommended cardio.

I was annoyed. Wasn't it bad enough that I had to give up soda during junior high, when all my classmates were blissfully chugging Mountain Dew Code Red? Wasn't it bad enough that I had to say "no" to the pan of brownies someone brought to theater rehearsal in high school? Wasn't it bad enough that I could never enjoy pizza or my mom's lasagna without feeling sick afterwards? I felt like I had already made so many sacrifices for my IBS, and now I had to make another.

I tried it. One day in February 2014, I felt obnoxiously full after dinner (with normal-sized portions). Feeling desperate, I piled on multiple layers and headed outside, where I pitifully alternated between jogging and walking for about a mile and a half. That night, for the first time in three years, I felt relief. I could only describe the feeling in my stomach as "nothing," which I guess most people would call "normal." In the morning, for the first time in three years, I felt something else: hunger.

Although I loathed running, I hated the full feeling more. It had controlled my life for too long. Whenever I didn't feel like running, I thought about how I would feel the next morning: did I want to feel "nothing," or did I want to feel like I had a balloon full of cement in my stomach?

Now, I run around 2-3 miles at least three times a week. The relief it has brought me is unbelievable. I can eat more, and when I eat, I enjoy it more. Furthermore, I have more energy, and I'm happier. Once again, IBS has proven itself to be a positive impact on my life by forcing me to make healthy changes.

But it wasn't all easy. You can read about my journey to fitness in my Getting Fit series.

Favorites & Such

My favorite food (after oatmeal): Sushi (peanut-avocado roll on brown rice, please!)
My favorite ingredient: Peanut butter
My favorite fruit: Peaches
My favorite vegetable: Brussels sprouts
My favorite dessert: Tiramisu (Peacefood Cafe makes the BEST vegan tiramisu!) and pumpkin pie
My favorite spice: Cinnamon
My favorite herb: Basil
My favorite restaurants: Champs, Wild Ginger, Cafe Ghia, Asuka Sushi, Peacefood Cafe, Beyond Sushi, Red Bamboo, Peanut Butter and Company Sandwich Shop (all in NYC); Elbow Room (Newark, NJ)

64 comments:

  1. I just found your blog and love the oatmeal theme! I, too, am in LOVE with oatmeal. I have done a few posts committed to oatmeal...you should come check them out on my blog...everydayvegangirl.blogspot.com I can't wait to see what you do next!

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    1. Hello, Shelby! To tell the truth, I've actually been to your blog before! Haha. I believe I have pinned a couple of your oatmeal recipes to my Pinterest board. :) That's awesome! I will add you to my blogroll. ;) Oh, and thanks so much for your kind words!

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  2. Hey Lauren- Because I really admire your passion for oatmeal and super-creativity, I have honored you with the Kreativ Blogger and Sunshine Blogger Awards (http://keepinitkind.com/potlucks-pals-pats-on-the-back/). Keep up the awesome work! :-)

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    1. Thank you SO much! I am absolutely flattered!

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  3. I'm delighted to have found your blog! First of all, I love finding fellow vegetarian blogs, and I am obsessed with oatmeal and discovering new combos, so I am super happy to have found you for that purpose. But also I am an English grad and the product of a whole family tree of English teachers so I feel we have a lot in common ;).

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    1. Rock on! English majors are the absolute best. I'm so glad you enjoy the blog! Keep visiting! :)

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  4. Great blog, Lauren. I stumbled upon it when I googled mangoes + oatmeal. we have an abundance of mangoes here in florida, and I thought that someone must have tried this dang good mango oatmeal I made this morning! :-) Rock on. You're a terrific writer, and your blog has great bones. Ok, I'm off to find some coconut now! :-)

    LP

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    1. Thanks so much! Mango is such a wonderful fruit for oatmeal.

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  5. Lauren, I am so excited to find your blog. I love the idea of so many different oatmeals! My husband and I love oats. I thought we were being pretty creative with frozen berries, nuts, flax, and chia, but YOU are an oatmeal GENIUS! I am thrilled to have some new ideas. And so happy that you don't use sugar or many sweeteners, everything looks so healthy. Thank you! I am so excited to keep reading. Also, I am an educator too! :) Hope you enjoy the rest of your summer break.

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    1. I'm glad you enjoy my healthy, sugarless recipes! Thanks so much for your wonderful comment. I love meeting fellow educators!

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  6. Hey Lauren, I "awarded" you a Versatile Blogger Award! To see what that means, visit this post on my blog: http://granolameetsgrits.com/2012/08/07/versatile-blogger-award/#

    On the one hand I am thrilled to share your blog with my readers because I like it so much, but on the other hand I am sorry because I realize this is kind of like those silly chain letters I always threw away when I was younger. :) If you would rather not post about this on your blog, I will not be offended in the least. Just wanted to include you on my list of favorites, that is all!

    Let me know if you have any questions I can answer, though I don't know much about this thing myself. :) Have a good day!

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  7. I'm so glad I found your blog! I love oatmeal so much!
    I'm thinking about going vegetarian... How do you get enough protein? Most protein I get are from meat...

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    1. Thanks a ton! And protein is not a concern of mine at all. You can find protein in almost everything: veggies, fruits, whole grains, nuts, nut butters, seeds, and beans. In addition to all that, I also incorporate tofu and eggs occasionally (very occasionally). I have no problems getting enough protein. Most Americans actually get too much protein.

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  8. I love your blog! I also have IBS, and I am gluten intolerant, so I find eating oats really, really beneficial. What other changes in your diet/lifestyle did you find helped your symptoms? It's not often I find other healthy eaters on the internet who also have IBS!

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    1. Hello to a fellow IBSer! First and foremost, I drink absolutely NO soda (not even in mixed drinks). It's my number one rule. In general, I just avoid all processed foods like the plague. They make me feel pretty rotten! I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. I have found that some soothe my symptoms, while others can sometimes aggravate them. Bananas, for example, help me out a lot. :P I eat mostly vegan because dairy aggravates me as well. I try to keep desserts to a minimum (the sugar and fat content makes me sick), but vegan desserts usually don't give me trouble. :) I hope that helps!

      P.S. If you ever make your own popcorn (not microwave popcorn), use white kernals, not yellow ones. The yellow ones make me SICK for days. The white ones leave me happy. :)

      Oh yes, and I choose tea over coffee most days...but some days I just really want that iced soy latte... :)

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  9. Hello! Found your blog yesterday and am loving browsing through all the variations of oatmeal you have shared! Made me smile to see you were in SD. I was a South Dakotan, and SDSU graduate years and years ago. Thanks for blogging! I am off to the kitchen to cook up some oatmeal--not sure which recipe yet. :-)

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  10. Hi Lauren, I am a Registered Dietitian and fellow oatmeal lover. Love your blog!! I gave you a shout out today in my oatmeal post, check it out :) http://kellyshealthykitchen.wordpress.com/2012/11/25/daily-oatmeal/

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  11. I really have enjoyed your blog. I am wondering if you have any granola recipes to share? That's an oatmeal goodie, too, right? :)

    Thanks again and keep the oatmeal coming!

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    1. Thank you! Unfortunately, I've yet to find the ambition to make granola. I always see the recipes and think, "FOUR cups of oats?!" The thought of sacrificing so much of my precious oat supply is always daunting. However, I've been collecting a good deal of recipes on my Pinterest board: http://pinterest.com/lauren015/only-oatmeal/

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  12. Just discovered your site and LOVE it! Like you, I'm totally into oatmeal. I use the Nourishing Traditions method of soaking my oats due to my digestive and other health issues. So, I thought I had a lot of oatmeal posts on my site, but you have definitely made me realize after just a few minutes on your site that you literally have taken oatmeal to a whole new level! Wow! You're not fooling around here. LOL! Love all of your ideas! Just wanted to take a minute to encourage you and let you know what a blessing your site is! Many blessings to you, Kelly

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    1. Thanks so much! I read this in the midst of a bad bout of food poisoning this week, so your encouragement is appreciated!!

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    2. I am so sorry to hear that - hoping your feeling much better! I just love how the Lord can use us to give each other some encouragement when we most need it! Again, I'm loving your site! It's so fun to pop over and be inspired by your amazing creativity! Maybe we can partner together sometime, if you're interested! Lots of blessings, Kelly

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  13. Hi Lauren, my husband was laughing quite hard when I told him I stumbled on a website devoted to oatmeal recipes (in a friendly way though). I really like oatmeal and make a bowl myself (rolled oats in the microwave, generally with banana, raisins, seeds and cinnamon and/or ras el hanout) every weekday. I am definitely going to try some of your combinations, I think some of the baked recipes I can 'sell' to my husband as dessert :-)

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    1. Haha, that's great! Yes, some of those recipes make great "instant" desserts!

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  14. Can you do a recipe for halva oatmeal? I'm picturing tahini, vanilla, and honey. I just can't get the recipe "right" myself

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    1. I've never had (or heard of, until now) halva! That might be difficult for me to replicate.. :(

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    2. I don't mean replicating Halva itself... just the flavor of it. Basically something vanillay and tahini tasting

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    3. But that's what I mean! It's difficult to replicate the flavor of something when I have absolutely no concept of it whatsoever! Maybe I can seek it out at a restaurant sometime and try it first?

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  15. Great blog! I also eat oatmeal everyday and look forward to incorporating some of your creative ideas!

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  16. wow!!! I have been OBSESSED with your blog for ages now!!! I just read this and can relate so much!! :)

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  17. I stumbled across your blog yesterday and I have done nothing but drool over every recipe for the past two days! It reminded me of how oatmeal was the reason I started eating healthy, and how I definitely need to pay my dues to it:) anyway just wanted to say I love your recipes and can't wait to try them all!!

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  18. I am so happy to have found your blog! After becoming pregnant (this was two years ago) oatmeal was the only food aversion I developed. After finding your blog I have fell in love with oatmeal again (my son is now almost 17 months) and oh how I missed it!

    My road to becoming a vegetarian is a very similar story to yours. I have been meat free for four years.

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  19. I just made the French Toast Baked Oatmeal with Maple Nut sauce and I am savoring every bite. It could be a dessert. Wonderful recipes. I am really enjoying all of your posts and will be incorporating your oatmeal travel ideas on future trips. I am very glad I found your site (although I cannot remember where I found it so I cannot figure out who to thank for that too).

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  20. Lauren, I find your story so inspiring and empathetic, and your recipes so helpful. I am living by myself for the first time, with a tight budget and little time, and your blog has made my life so much easier, healthier, and happier. I really cannot thank you enough. Please keep sharing your oatmeal!

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  21. I nominated you for the Liebster Award! Check out my post to see the details!
    http://rdeliciouskitchen.wordpress.com/2013/09/20/liebster-blog-award/

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  22. Lauren,
    Just read the Oct. email. I am also going through coffee withdrawal for the tenth time! I have been drinking coffee for a half a century and my body has rebelled and said "no more". Your website appeared in my life at a crucial and very important time.
    I have tried some of the recipes and I feel so much better when I have oatmeal in the morning. I look forward to starting the day because I have something delicious waiting for me in the fridge. My son loves the Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal and I love it because I do not have to cook anything early in the morning. This is going to be great in January, in Minnesota, when it is cold and dark and no one wants to get up. Fortunately my son also loves chai so the latest oatmeal is perfect.
    I am so glad I found your site.
    Sheila from Stillwater, MN

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    1. Same--I really miss my soy lattes, too! :(

      I hope you're doing well in these frigid temperatures this week. Thanks so much for your kind words!

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  23. Hi there,

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  24. Lauren,
    I just discovered you thanks to your great pictures on Pinterest and I fell in love with your blog :-)! You are very creative and your recipes are really awesome. I would love to connect with you, please shoot me an email: klara@mixmyown.com
    Have a fantastic day,
    Klara

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  25. Hi Lauren,
    I found your blog before christmas and have been trying lots of your recipes. Amazing stuff! And amazing pictures! Me and my sister just started a porridge blog and I wrote about your blog and recommended it to all porridge lovers. Thanks for being an inspiration :)

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  26. Hello Lauren. We are the team from SpaIndex Guide to Spas, an online directory to health and wellness travel destinations, day spa resources, and, we also publish SpaFlyer.com, a food blog devoted to healthy spa cuisine. We think our readers would benefit from meeting you and trying your delicious recipes. We have featured you on SpaFlyer.com, today, and we'd love to talk to you about this feature. Please shoot us an email at Kristina@SpaIndex.com. Thank you!

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  27. I've been converted! Until 25 Jan 14, the thought, look, smell of porridge made me gag. I could happily eat oats as a cold cereal but NOT cooked. Something made me try the Savoury Greek Oatmeal and it has become my favourite breakfast ever! It's been a week and I've had oatmeal for breakfast every day. The overnights are perfect for a quick breakfast and I save the stove stop and baked for the weekends (I'm baking the PB&J as I type). AND I've lost 5 lbs!!! Thanks for opening a whole new world.

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    1. I cannot believe that my GREEK Oatmeal was the one to convert you! I thought it was delicious, yet incredibly strange, and I couldn't imagine an oatmeal hater trying it and liking it on the first try. Congrats and thank you!

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  28. Love your blog and oatmeal recipes!
    Check out my blog (www.egginon.wordpress.com) for some other oat recipes (among others)

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  29. Do you have oatmeal for lunch and dinner too?

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    1. Sometimes! I just have to make sure I take in enough calories when I do that, so it requires a lot of supplementary snackage. :)

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  30. Hi there! I just came across your website and couldn't believe all the things you can do with oatmeal! Since a year I'm slowly making the switch to a healthier lifestyle too.. .Can't wait to try some of your recipes, yummie!!

    Lots of love from the Netherlands!

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  31. Wow! Another oatmeal-addict! COOL! Here in sweden we have a great alternative oatmeal that is more coarse and gives more texture because it isn't as processed. It's called "mathavre" and looks like this: http://www.swedishfoodshop.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/m/a/mathavre_425g.jpg

    If you ever swing by Sweden, check'em out ^^
    I know rolled oats are coarse, too, so maybe it is just the same, depending on the brand!
    Cheers!

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  32. Hi Lauren! I've nominated you for the Very Inspirational Blogger Award!! You so totally deserve it :) I always enjoy reading your posts and find your attitude towards life and how you managed to make a difference in it truly inspirational. And don't get me started on your oatmeal.. :) Have fun writing 7 random facts about yourself! Keep up all the amazingness! Anoushé xoxo

    http://ofpirouettesandconcealers.com/2014/06/04/i-am-very-inspirational-yeeehaaaaw/

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  33. I actually have a similar problem! I suffer with IBS and anxiety related to it, and i've recently cut out dairy and some meats (not a quick cut i can make just yet!) and i never even thought running would help me feel less full after those tiny meals!

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  34. Love your website! Can't wait to make some overnight oats tonight (chocolate banana - yum). Cheers darling!

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  35. Hi! Absolutely love your website Lauren! Is there a way I can contact you privately? Do you have an email?

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  36. (p.s. my email is dazzledmag@gmail.com)

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  37. Hi Lauren! Love your blog! Would love it if you could check mine out and tell me what you think! Here's the link: http://theartofbreakfast.tumblr.com/
    Keep posting beautiful breakfast pics!

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  38. Just ran across your blog after poking around on Pinterest. My 7 year old is obsessed with oatmeal so glad I found a place to get some new inspiration! I'm also a fellow South Dakotan, and I think I was at that same Eric Schlosser event, if I recognize the PAC correctly :)

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  39. You're one of my favorite don't judge a book by its cover people. I was like o boy vegan thin white girl...then I realized you're awesome with whisky, hip-hop and a whole lot of other good times. You rock Lauren.

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