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Archive for November, 2011

The Twitter

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 3:26 PM
Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I’m pretty new to this whole Twitter thing, and it’s making me crazy. I’m trying to build my following, and it’s a problem, because most of my friends are not on Twitter and could not give a shit about Twitter. In fact, I myself was in this category, until my friend Hugo Schwyzer convinced me that it was necessary to conquer Twitter in order to market my blog outside my “core demographic” of my aunt Nina and two perverts from Eastern Europe.

So I’m following his advice – which is for me to ‘follow’ at least a hundred new people a day, in the hopes that at least a handful will ‘follow me back’ and build my fan base.


As of this writing, I’m following over 1200 people and I’ve amassed about 200+ followers in the process. And here’s how the Google Analytics has charted my spectacular growth, in terms of website visitors:

PRE-TWITTER: (avg.) x visitors a day

POST-TWITTER: (avg.) x+1 visitors a day.

Sigh. It’s going to be an uphill battle.

But being on Twitter is interesting. Not so much for the constant porn dogs and marketing maniacs who keep confusing me by following me and then dropping off once they see I’m not into what they have to sell. More for the amount of people out there who have a gift for the 140 characters or less jokes.

I love to laugh, and I’m following a number of people who Tweet, throughout the day, hilarious one and two-liners. I feel like Tweeting them all back “hahahaha!” but I’m afraid I’ll sound either maniacal, sarcastic, grandmotherly, or all three.

Tonight I discovered a button that says “favorite” and I’m wondering if someone “favorited” a Tweet – yes, Twitter uses it like a verb – is supposed to mean the same thing as Facebook’s “Like” button.

I’ll have to try it. I’ll also have to try being funnier, or more pithy, more of the time, if I’m really going to make a go of this whole Twitter thing. It’s overwhelming – how in the world does someone with 40,000+ followers and/or followees ever get to actually read/focus on any particular Tweets at any particular time?

At 1:30am in the morning the other night I ‘replied’ via Twitter to Roseanne Barr, who had just tweeted that we should vote everyone out of Congress except for Kucinich. I wrote her back that we should also keep Bernie Sanders, and she wrote me back immediately and agreed! Then she Tweeted out to her followers that she’d also make an exception for Bernie. I felt such a high, receiving a personal Tweet from THE Roseanne Barr.

Then I replied again, asking her if she’d take a look at my blog. I’m sure her reply to me just got lost in the mail… er…

I feel like I’m developing ADD just thinking about it all.



(Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin))

If you look carefully, you can see the Twitter bird is about to barf from reading too many Tweets in one sitting.

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The Greatest of Ease

posted by Sheva 11:52 AM
Tuesday, November 29, 2011

So, the other day, when I was flying on the trapeze…?

Ha ha ha.

How cool is it, that I get to say that? Because, duh, the other day, I flew on the trapeze.

And I’m gonna do it again.

Full disclosure: The video, below, is not of a first-time flyer. The first lesson I ever had was when I was 15 years old, at Club Med. I was so good that I got to ‘perform’ in the end-of-session flying trapeze show. Thanks to that show, somewhere there exists a photo of me in a white see-thru leotard, arms outstretched, high in the night sky.

Then, 15 years ago, I got really good at it. (Wait – when I was 12?? How does that work? Nevermind.) Fifteen years ago after I first moved to LA, I would go 2, 3 times a week – travelling deep into the SF Valley with my cousin who was ‘in’ with the Los Angeles stuntman crowd, to an older stuntman’s backyard to – yes – fly on his flying trapeze. Gary was his name, and he was a crotchety old fellow who flirted harmlessly (albeit a little disgustingly) with all the girls but in fact was a good teacher and a nice guy.

Everyone else in that backyard had gymnastics and or years of stunt training. Except me. In the couple of years I flew with Gary, I went from being the awkward cousin whose legs didn’t appear to belong to the same body as her arms, to being a strong, graceful flyer. Gary used to point me out to newcomers, telling them, “you should’a seen her when she first came to me! She was terrible! The worst! I thought she’d never learn! But look at her now.”

And through the sky I’d fly, upside-down, or turning mid-air and returning to the platform, unassisted, or get caught by the catcher without even a safety belt.

Here’s a secret: I’m planning to do something soon that makes my stomach do like eighty thousand flips just to think about it: standup comedy. So I figure, if the trapeze is any indicator, I’ll be spectacularly horrible at it.

Until I’m not.

Wish me luck…


Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

My cousin Judith performing with her friend.

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Heavy Petting

posted by Sheva 11:43 AM
Monday, November 28, 2011

I told my kids they are not allowed to kiss a boy or girl on the lips until they are married.  I originally told them that no one is allowed to kiss on the lips until they are married, but then some kids’ TV show went and ruined all my big plans.

I can’t remember now which show it was – the loose hussies of Waverly Place, the slutty Sonny with a Chance, or the trollops of Shake it Up – but whichever it was, they showed the pre-teen kiddies snogging away and dashed my hopes of protecting my children from the evils of pre-marriage smooching.

“They’re kissing!” screeched my son gleefully.

“Ew!!” seconded my 5 year old daughter.

“Close your eyes!” I demanded. “And shut off the TV! You’re only allowed to watch Little Bear from now on.”

The chorus: “Awwww!”

But I don’t think I’m wrong. Already my 5 year old tried twice to French kiss me on the mouth when I reached down to give her a goodnight kiss. Horrifying! I blame the media.

Even my two year old is tired of Little Bear. She wants Sponge Bob, Phineas and Ferb, or “Nigel the mean guy” from Spy Kids 2. Recently, I read a study that showed how kids were instantly dumber after watching a half hour of Sponge Bob. Nonetheless, I have made the executive parental decision that I am infinitely more okay with them being dumbed down than I am with them learning to French Kiss their mother by watching Disney pre-teens suck each other’s faces.

I figure they can bounce back from momentary Sponge Bob-induced retardation. But once you’ve French-kissed the wrong authority figure? The one that, unlike their mother, decides to kiss them back? Not so easy.

Now, yes, it’s true, I was making out with boys at the way too early age of DON’T EVEN THINK I’M GOING TO ADMIT TO ANYTHING, NOW GO TO BED!

Are they gone? We mommy bloggers have to be ever-vigilant.

For the rest of you (who are not my children), I admit, it is possible that the sleeping bag incident was not isolated. And that my advice to my kids about no kissing before marriage could be construed as hypocritical. But I was the classic case of Mommy-and-Daddy-Get-Divorced-and-Parents-Were-By-Products-of-the–Free-Love-60’s-And-Godless-Jewish-American-Intellects-So-Daughter-Has-No-Moral-Compass.

My kids, on the other hand, (so far, with fingers crossed, wood knocked, and many “BLI AYIN HARAs” repeated) are the product of an unbroken home and spiritual parents who are respectful of physical boundaries.  They don’t have the same excuse I did, to act slutty & stupid. Except for the small problem of the rampant sex I can’t seem to stop from popping up on every billboard we drive by, every advertisement on TV, and every pre-teen Disney show that corrupts their minds while I’m not hovering over them with the remote.

Where’s Tipper Gore when you need her?


Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

Get those man-eating lips away from my children, you hussy!

Flashback Friday! (Judy Blume and Porn)

posted by Sheva 12:56 PM
Friday, November 25, 2011

Flashback Friday!

Every Friday, I will post an oldie but a goodie blog for your enjoyment. To those of you who just started reading The Grownup Girl recently, enjoy the “new” blog! To those of you who have been with me from the start, but have memories like mine, enjoy the “new” blog!

And to those who were with me from the start and who already read this blog and burned it into your memories, word for word, photogenically, I say:

What are you doing wasting your time dilly-dallying on my website? Get out there and find me a book deal!
If you hate to read, just click on the audio link, below.

BatSheva (BatSheva Vaknin) – Judy Blume and Porn

Judy Blume was totally my surrogate mother while I was growing up.

Gentle readers, are you there? It’s me – Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)!

I actually did a monologue from one of her books as a kid, auditioning for a Washington, DC professional children’s troupe. And I got in.

I mean, who of you can say that you didn’t cry with that Blubber girl, bite your nails with Margaret, and hold your breath along with the rest of Judy Blume’s teenage heroines, as you took breaks from your overwhelming teen & pre-teen days to just lose yourself in a book? I even liked Judy Blume’s early childhood books, with kids who had names like Turtle and Fudge.

Question: Did any of you discover Judy Blume’s other books?

Por ejemplo, Wifey?


That book… rocked. My. World.

My twelve and thirteen year old world, to be exact.

To this day I still remember Shep, the sexy man who drove by the protagonist’s house (don’t remember her name, and who cares! She was me, in my fantasy) – and how Shep dropped his pants & masturbated, then leaving her – me – alone again, with the image of a stars and stripes helmet and a naked, sexy man, masturbating for me. I mean her.

Somehow, when I write about that scene, I wonder how Judy Blume pulled that off – making that scene about basically a stranger flashing & jacking off to a woman hot and sexy, vs creepy and disgusting. But she did. That is exactly what makes Judy Blume such a frickin MASTER.

I found my dad’s stack of Playboys hidden in the basement cabinet one time when I was snooping around as a kid. I was pretty grossed out and annoyed that he had them in the house like that. But then again, I had my own secret stash upstairs… my dog-eared, worn from constant re-reading, thick sex novel, Wifey. By Judy Blume.

Holy shit. I’m revising this blog before signing off, and an old, buried memory just surfaced like a fart bubble in the bathtub. That book – Wifey? – originally belonged to my stepmother.


It’s all coming back to me – how I found it in one of their overstuffed, musty bookshelves, and stole it. I guess I just loved and obsessed about it so much, that I adopted it and it became mine. Now that I remember it first belonged to her, it feels a little grosser than before.

I still love you, Judy Blume. It’s not your fault my Dad & his wife were horndogs.

One last note: When I was seventeen I lost my virginity. Not because I was in love. Because I had read – at age 14-ish – Forever .

(By Judy Blume, DUH!)

Forever… In which the heroine, Katherine (I only know her name because I looked it up once as an adult – believe me, I wouldn’t have remembered because she was ME when I read the book), loses her virginity to Michael when she turns seventeen.

If seventeen was good enough for Judy Blume, it was good enough for me.


Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

Yeah, Mom, I'm just going to stay home and read my Judy Blume book, no biggie! (hee hee hee hee...)

Piano Ties and Facial Hair (AKA Hebrew School)

posted by Sheva 11:59 AM
Wednesday, November 23, 2011

When I was around 6 years old, my parents divorced, my grandmother died and my father remarried a shiksa (that’s a Christian lady, for you non Jewy people reading this).

What does all that have to do, you may wonder, with the title of this blog?


You see, my father felt guilty marrying a non-Jew right after his mother died (it’s doubtful she would have approved). Even though my stepmother may seem more Jewy than my real mom to the naked, non-Jewish eye (Stepmom studies Torah with a rabbi & had her daughter/my half-sister do a mikveh-conversion, whereas my real mother doesn’t even believe in God) – all that doesn’t matter; we Jews  care more about maternal blood lines, overeating and guilt trips than we do about “Torah Study.” QED: My real mom > Jewy than my stepmom.

Gosh, this blog is getting so mathematical!

But I digress… because what I wanted to point out was that one of the wonderful side-effects of my father feeling guilty in the wake of his mother’s death & divorce & subsequent re-marriage to a non-Jew, was that he threw all three of us kids into Hebrew school for some quicky bar & batmitzvahs.

Which was awesome.

And I’m not just talking about the batmitzvah money. Which was AWESOME.

Or the fact that I wore a purple paisley suit with a white ruffled lace collared blouse, permed hair swept up on one side AND lip-synched at my after-party to “Let’s Go Crazy.”

Which was awesome.

No, I’m talking about the zany fun which was Temple Sinai – the place I had to go for a couple years before my batmitzvah, once a week after school and every Sunday. Not so much the ‘learning the Hebrew alphabet and Torah stories’ – that part was thuddingly boring (though I admit it helped me when I later decided to do the Kabbalah thing and found I remembered how to read the Hebrew letters).

It was the people I met there who made it fun – people like Josh, for example, who was about three feet shorter than me, wore a piano tie every single day, followed me and my friend Gaby around everywhere, and ultimately, years later, shocked me by showing up at Yale and being much cooler than I was. Who knew that piano ties were indicators of brilliance and hipness?

Josh was a cute boy, but there were other, cuter boys too, like  Jimmy, whom I remember secretly making out with in my sleeping bag during one of the Hebrew School “camp out” nights. We fumbled and fondled, practically suffocating beneath the heavy zipped-up covers, as the rest of the campers around us sang songs like “Uno Candelita, Dos Candelitas.” (I think it’s the Spanish version of “Light the Manora.” No, none of us spoke Spanish. Don’t ask me.)

BTW, These occasional overnight “camp outs” were held INSIDE the Hebrew School auditorium, with nary a walk into something green like grass or even moss for the duration of the retreat. We were such wusses.

And then there were the teachers that made the whole Hebrew school thing awesome, too – people like my teacher Danny who never failed to make us laugh, or the overlarge woman with unruly facial hair and moles the size of a large country tick.

Plus I remember one teacher telling me that some Jews believed in angels, and even reincarnation. For my little Agnostic mind, she planted a seed that would grow years later, after reading Many Lives, Many Masters, Autobiography of a Yogi, and finally, The Way, as I found my way to the Kabbalah Centre.

Where… so far… I haven’t found anyone wearing a piano tie or female facial fuzz.

A girl can still hope, can’t she?


Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

I'm not kidding, I really think this is the lady who taught me the Aleph Bet. I'd recognize that beard anywhere!

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The City of Angeles (and Celebrities)

posted by Sheva 12:16 PM
Tuesday, November 22, 2011

LA is fun to live in for many reasons.

For example, where else could one casually say, “You remember back when I babysat Red Hot Chili Pepper bassist Flea’s daughter Clara?” or “Wasn’t that weird when John Cusack picked me up at a bar?” or “Want to read the police report from when I wrecked a golf cart and broke my wrist, driving drunk on the Santa Monica Airport during a movie wrap party where I got to dance with John Travolta?”

Plus, the weather is fantastic.

But back to the celebrity/party culture… it’s sort of comically horrific when you are immersed in it, or even just standing on the sidelines of it all.

For example, yesterday’s blog about stalking the cast of Grey’s Anatomy… I actually wrote that a couple weeks ago. (Yes, readers, sometimes I plan ahead. Radical, I know.)  Then – last week, I was in the same health food store I saw the first two GA guest stars, and guess who I found myself browsing milk next to?

Only her:

HELLO!!?? It’s CALLIE!!! (Again, don’t know her real name, don’t care.)

Told you I’m a psychic stalker. And Erewhon (the store) appears to be the energetic vortex of GA actors. Yo, TMZ, you’re missing out!

Of course I spoke to her, duh. Told her she’s amazing, I love her, I’m a fan, blah blah blah. And PS – she is 500 x more beautiful in person than her cholo-makeup-wearing character. (No, I still don’t care what her real name is, who am I, a casting director?)

But you gotta love LA…


Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

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I’m a Stalker

posted by Sheva 11:44 AM
Monday, November 21, 2011

It started innocently enough. Over the past six months, I have been obsessed with Grey’s Anatomy. I have read the Wikipedia synopses of every GA season (because if I don’t know what is going to happen over the next several episodes, I can’t talk myself out of STOPPING to watch episode after episode and finally go to sleep), and I obsessively browse through pictures of the GA stars online via Google Images.

The other day, however, my relationship to the cast of Grey’s Anatomy leapt to a whole new level. Because the other day, I found myself standing in the checkout line of the small Whole Foods-esqe Erewhon Natural Foods store, face-to-face with her:

And – at the EXACT SAME TIME, with her:


Sometimes living in LA is soooo awesome. Like when you spot a live version of a character you know intimately from being obsessed with his/her show.

I even said hello to the 2nd one. I said to Ava/Rebecca (her TV names – who knows/who cares what her name is in real life??!!), “Wow, it’s so weird to see you because I basically see you every single night because I’m watching all the seasons of Grey’s Anatomy back to back and then my other all-time favorite TV show is The Good Wife.  I’m a big fan.”

Um… yeah. A little stalker-ish.

Now I know I wasn’t actually, ‘purposefully’ stalking either of them… however, I firmly believe that “like attracts like.” In other words, I created my reality. I drew them to me.

Hmmm… I need to focus. Focus, Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)!

So that, instead of the B players, I can start drawing him into my life:

And her

And him

And him too:


Okay, I know he’s not in Grey’s Anatomy, but if I’m going to be stalking, I may as well stalk the best of them, right?


Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

Flashback Friday! (Pardon My French)

posted by Sheva 11:41 AM
Friday, November 18, 2011

Flashback Friday!

Every Friday, I will post an oldie but a goodie blog for your enjoyment. To those of you who just started reading The Grownup Girl recently, enjoy the “new” blog! To those of you who have been with me from the start, but have memories like mine, enjoy the “new” blog!

And to those who were with me from the start and who already read this blog and burned it into your memories, word for word, photogenically, I say:

What are you doing wasting your time dilly-dallying on my website? Get out there and find me a book deal!

If you hate to read, just click on the audio link, below. And the audio is funny, so do it!!

BatSheva (BatSheva Vaknin) – Pardon My French the BLOG

WARNING: the following blog is rated R due to graphic language and the joy experienced by the writer as she writes said graphic language.

Cursing. So wrong. And yet…

Can be so delicious.

Generally, I don’t like to curse. Kind of comes with the territory of being a parent. Or a teacher – my younger brother had a finely tuned potty mouth, until years of teaching high school caught up with him.

“I’m Effing tired, dude!” he announced, arriving late off a plane to come visit us – a rare occurrence.

“Effing? Effing” I couldn’t stop laughing. And Brother admitted that he’d gotten out of the habit of cursing so that it wouldn’t slip out in the classroom.

And as anyone who stops cursing knows, (much like quitting smoking, actually), once you stop, you NOTICE when other people keep doing it. And you realize what a bad habit it is, what bad energy those words carry, and what a terrible influence that type of language has on children.

And yet.

Occasionally, when I’m with certain friends who I feel I can really let my guard down around, I’ll swing out a “fucking” mid-sentence, just to really ramp up the impact of my statement. Because for someone who (nowadays) never swears, one little “fucking,” mid sentence, can really pack a punch.

And while I dislike hearing people talk who way over-use curse words, I admit I feel the power wielded by those certain people who really know how to do it. Old pros, who chew and chew and chew, and then POP POP POP! Three bubbles in a row. Or, rather, they put a “mother fucker cock sucker” right where it counts.

My friend is one of those people. Old school. He’s fun to listen to – he says things like, “we’re just riffing here,” and “let’s make some bread,” and other phrases that make me feel like he just returned from hanging at Studio 54 with Andy Warhol. His cursing? Unparalleled. The guy can slaughter another person or an idea (or make it seem fantastic) with a string of choice curse words. And unlike those posers who curse to get attention, my friend couldn’t not curse if he tried.

Case in point: yesterday he was talking animatedly to me about something, telling me about this “mother fucking guy” – and then he stopped, looked at me like “shit, she’s my friend and a mother of three and I know her husband and we go to Shabbat together,” and he corrected himself. He said, “excuse me, ‘fucking guy…”and continued on with his story.

Cursing is so much a part of him that he didn’t even notice that when he tried to censor himself, he accidentally took out the “mother”.

Left in the “fucker”.

Made me smile.


Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

Warning: This blog may be hazardous to your mental health. Or it could make you laugh. I'm hoping for the latter.

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The Trouble with Penises

posted by Sheva 1:40 PM
Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Many of you read my scintillating blog on Penises and Mustaches, which gave cutting-edge advice to men about growing some lip hair… and then, I come to find out, the November 2011 men’s lip hair ground had ALREADY been broken by an entire website dedicated to the cause,! (I swear I did not make this up. Go see for yourself.)

At least that wasn’t the Penis and Mustache blog’s only claim to fame. For in that self-same blog, I also edumacated my readers with the groundbreaking, previously unknown fact that penises were once opposable. (Or pinky toes were. Couldn’t remember which, too lazy to look it up.)

But what none of you could have known, gentle readers, is the trap I set for myself, writing that blog. You see, lately, I’ve been inundated with spam emails, most of which are entitled “Buy Viagra Now” and “Best Penis.” And, while I admit those subject lines did initially catch my attention, ultimately, I have determined that my life is richer without such emails.

In fact, I realized that if I didn’t ever have to even glance at those emails again, and waste five seconds deleting them from view, I would be a happier Grownup Girl indeed.

So, I did what any tech-savvy person would do – and considering I’m not at all tech-savvy, I was very proud of myself! I created a rule in my Outlook that automatically sends any emails with the words “Penis” or “Viagra” in the subject line straight to my junk mail.



Not so much. Turns out, those dastardly deliverers of spam figured out a way around my Outlook rules, because the Penis and Viagra emails still hit my inbox with clockwork regularity. Argh. On the other hand, all the comments from my beloved readers – for that particular blog, which was cleverly (or so I thought) entitled “Penis and Mustaches,” DID go straight to my junk email folder…

…where they languished for a whole day, poor things, before I discovered them and set them free. (Clicked on the emails and approved the comments, that is.)

So there you have it, dear readers… the trouble with penises is:

The bad ones are always trying to find a way to sneak into your inbox, while the good ones are prone to getting sidetracked from their proper destination.

Oy vay…


Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

This guy is totally like, "Let me out of your junk folder already!" Poor thing.

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The Chocolate Diet

posted by Sheva 11:44 AM
Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Readers, brace yourselves.

There appears to be a connection – not just a connection, but a DIRECT CORRELATION – between my intake of desserts and… GASP! – my fat.

More specifically, the fat of my stomach.

How could it be???


I admit, unlike 99% of girls in America, I never EVER had to worry about what I ate because I had the metabolism of a gazelle. (Let’s assume for the sake of this blog, since I’m too lazy to research it, that gazelles have excellent metabolism, k?) I would always eat about twice as much as everyone around me, twice as often, and I always stayed skinny as a string bean.

My stepmother, who is not Jewish and doesn’t understand why people would want to eat a lot ‘just because,” would complain often about how much we ate as kids. But, looking back, I can see her point. We weren’t just “big eaters” – My brother & I? – we literally would have eaten her & my father out of house & home if we had stayed there longer than every other weekend and Tuesday nights.

My eating habits only grew as I went to college and discovered that my ability & desire to eat was matched only by my inability to discriminate amongst all the college buffet extravaganza had to offer. Freakishly, my freshman year roommate was EXACTLY like me, in that she was naturally skinny, never had an eating disorder, and she could and often would eat more than three times her weight at any given sitting.

On a typical evening at Yale Freshman Commons (where the entire Yale freshman class ate), Bika & I would make sure to get there right as the doors opened. We’d jet over to the omelet line, take over the salad bar, sample all the vegetarian options, and THEN we’d get the rest of our food.

Later, around midnight, we’d generally order pizza. And that doesn’t even begin to include the copious amounts of beer and alcohol I consumed on a nightly basis.

Yes, I did ‘gain weight’ in college. But I didn’t really care – I was tall, naturally thin, and I wasn’t trying to be a model or anything. So – not only did it never occur to me to slow down or learn to eat less; I actually never even made the correlation between ‘eating a lot of crap and sugar and food in general,’ with ‘getting fatter.’

I mean, I “knew” that’s what happened, but I never really knew it – if you know what I mean.

Readers, I’m ashamed to say that before I went on my 40 day dessert fast? I was working on a blog about how a chocolate diet could actually WORK.

To help someone lose weight.

I even ran my brilliant idea past my co-workers and had already started dreaming about my runaway success as an author who finally introduced a diet into the market that included CHOCOLATE and WEIGHT LOSS in a single directive.

Then… something small shifted in me, out there in the ocean… and I acknowledged that I needed to stop eating so much chocolate. For emotional, addictive reasons.

And when I did…

I lost my belly fat.

It was amazing.

Until… lately. I’ve been eating desserts again. And while it’s not at the same obsessive clip as during pre-my 40 day dessert fast life… I’ve already noticed a pooch around my middle that was absent the prior month.


Time to go surfing again.


Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

Dang!! I could have sworn I was onto something big!

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