Happy Monday! Another fun installment of Thrive! Lady Interview Series and today I have Val the blogger behind Mangiamo Hoboken.
Last year, I met Val at the Hoboken and Beyond Blogger Meetup and her blog is quickly becoming one of my local favorite! xo Laura
Tell us a little bit about yourself
I’m Val! I started my blog, Mangiamo! Hoboken, two years ago when I was diagnosed with a rare condition as a result of my undiagnosed Celiac’s disease. Over the years, I was always sick – suffering from chronic sinus infections, extreme fatigue and even shingles. Basically, the food I was consuming was “poisoning” me, which lead to a damaged immune system and malabsorption of essential vitamins. After I was diagnosed, I was in complete denial. I looked at everything I ate and did not think I would ever be able to truly enjoy the foods I loved and I really had no one to talk to in my situation.
All of this inspired me to start sharing my experiences about being a gluten free girl in the hopes that I could help others with Celiac’s or a gluten intolerance. Dining out was always my toughest challenge. Fortunately, as more people are becoming diagnosed, restaurants and food companies are more in tune to the needs of these individuals and how important it is to ensure that their foods are safe to consume. My blog posts discuss gluten free menu options at restaurants around Hoboken and also the latest gluten free products that I have tried.
You are Italian and gluten free?! Can you share with us a bit about your transition into the gluten free world and what are some of your favorite gluten free findings?
I am Italian and gluten free, does that make me an oxymoron!? I have always loved Italian food. I grew up watching my grandmother make everything from minestrone soup to lasagna and gnocchi. During college, I studied abroad in Rome and I was spoiled as a student enjoying the most amazing food in the world.
When I moved to Hoboken in 2010, I was inundated with more Italian bakeries, pizzerias, and delis in a mile square than I could imagine. I truly was “home” and my appetite for Italian food was never lacking. I did not believe that anything was better than homemade pasta or pizza. So to say the least, my transition into the gluten free world was not easy, especially in this town. I did a lot of research on my own about Celiac’s, gluten intolerance and being gluten free.
My favorite gluten free findings include Tate’s cookies, Wegman’s brand corn pasta, Trader Joe’s Brown Rice Wraps and my mom’s homemade GF banana bread! My favorite gluten free pizza from Keste in New York City. My friends tried it and could not even tell a slight difference!
What advice would you give to women who crave living a richer/fuller life?
My biggest piece of advice is not to care what other people think and to eliminate waste from your life. You are the most important person and in order to be successful at your job or in a relationship, you have to be happy with you. It’s taken me a long time to learn this lesson, but I found it to be true. I think as women, we are pulled in so many directions and worried we are not perfect or feel guilty for not doing everything. That was definitely me a few years ago. I was always looking at things 10 steps ahead of me instead of focusing on what was right in front of me. If a friendship or relationship or something else is not benefitting you, then you need to walk away. It’s sometimes a hard lesson to learn, but in the end you have to do what makes you feel best.
Another piece of advice I have is to write down what you really want to accomplish – both short term and long term. On New Year’s Day of this year, I sat down and made a list for myself for what I wanted to achieve in 2014 and how I was going to make it happen. It wasn’t a New Year’s resolution such as “lose 5 pounds by x date,” it was more “what is going to make me happy this year?” For example:
- Take an Italian language class
- Go wine tasting
- Try a new exercise every month
- Grow out my hair and donate to Locks for Love
- Update my blog site (success!)
Would you mind sharing your go to morning ritual (routine).
I will admit I am not a morning person. So my MUST is a giant cup of black coffee. After I drink that, I feel like I can conquer the world. I give myself five minutes to check e-mails, social media, etc. Then, turn on music, shower, do my hair and makeup. I also pack my snacks/lunch for the day and generally know what I’m wearing as far as clothes and jewelry so I’m not spending time trying on outfits. I have to leave my apartment a little before 7 every morning, so I wake up at 6 and don’t waste time. My mornings might not be super fun, but they are certainly productive!
What are your go to self-care tools and experiences that restores you to your best self?
I have a lot and they are in no particular order: a stocked pantry/fridge, exercising, massages, wine, a clean apartment, sleep and volunteering.
I feel at peace when I go grocery shopping and come home from work knowing I have food in the house. I am not the greatest cook, but I feel better knowing that I don’t have to run around looking for something to eat that’s healthy (especially important).
Exercising. This doesn’t have to be a 20 mile run or doing crossfit, just going for a walk makes me feel better. I love living in Hoboken because of the views of Manhattan and the Hudson River. Going for walks with such a beautiful backdrop helps me unwind from the day.
I absolutely love massages. I try to go every other month for one just to relax and get rid of all the toxins from my body.
I also love wine. I certainly do not come home every night and drink it, but after a long, overwhelming day, I love to open a good bottle of wine and just relax and read or watch TV.
A clean apartment. I’m a neat freak and seeing clutter or not cleaning every week makes me anxious. I find cleaning therapeutic and having a spotless apartment makes me happy!
Sleep. I seriously get 7-8 hours of sleep a night. As I said previously, I leave for work early so I like to be well rested to get me through the day and be productive.
Volunteering. Since I can remember, I have always volunteered and I was in a community service organization in college. I think we get so wrapped up in our everyday lives, that volunteering brings things into perspective. There are a lot of people who are not as fortunate in the world and it brightens my day to know that I have helped in some way, even for a few hours.