Gluten Free Follow Me: Interview with Jackie McEwan

Howdy you!

How are ya? Week good? What's happening?

I am SO BUSY this week (so annoying to say that I freaking know).  BUT all my besties are coming in town tomorrow for the next few days for my birthday and I couldn't be more grateful or excited. Too good to be true. We're renting an airbnb on Saturday and having a chef come to cook us amazing eats and hanging together.

LAHVE.

But, to the post today! CUZ IT'S GOOD.

I am firstly, so into supporting people I believe in and vibe with, but also super interested in sharing the stories of people who are doing what they love for their full-time career. Sharing the story of someone who went from doing they didn't love, to following their passion and creating a life out of it - FASCINATING.

Jackie has done that! If you don't know her, she's the lady behind Gluten Free Follow Me, and she's a blogger/influencer who is the lady for all things GF. Working in finance previously in NYC, she built her business, and when right, made the leap to having this passion be her FT. If you're looking for a spot to eat that's healthy, amazing, and GF - her site has GOT YOU!

I met Jackie at the lovely Jordan Youngers yoga event and we vibed immediately.

She's SO smart, open, friendly, warm and genuine and what I love most about her, is when I asked, 'what's your goal' the other night at dinner she goes. 

'I'm just enjoying my life right now. I'm living my goal'.

VIBES.

To be so present in the NOW and grateful for what's happening is so PRECIOUS.

I was like, damn. That is TRUTH and I love it.

So this post is full of good advice for starting your own business, understanding what gluten free eating is like, seeing some of Jackie's favorite recipes and more. 

LOVE IT.

Enjoy LOVES. 

xo

Krista


Brief intro to who you are, what you do

Hi Hundred Blog readers! I’m Jackie, and I’m the founder of Gluten Free Follow Me, the Guide to Dining Gluten Free. I detail and rank 2,000+ gluten free friendly eateries in NYC, California, & beyond, in addition to products and recipes on my website www.glutenfreefollowme.com. I grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut and studied Finance and International Business at Georgetown University. After graduation, I moved to New York City and lived there for five and a half years. I worked in the finance industry at a bank for over five years, and as of a couple months ago, Gluten Free Follow Me is now my full-time job! I recently moved to Santa Monica and go back to the East Coast every month or so. I feel so fortunate that I can split my time between the best coasts!

Can you talk about your gluten free journey? 

Five years ago, my sports doctor had all of his patients take a food intolerance test, and gluten came up in my test results. I was like, what’s gluten?! Looking back, my diagnosis made a lot of sense because I would get sick at least once a week in college. In college, I would eat stir fry on Sundays (using gluten-filled soy sauce) and always felt nauseous. I would get sick after eating my favorite sandwich at Cosi and thought it was food poisoning. I went to the Emergency Room at a nearby hospital a few times because I couldn’t keep any food or water down. I had these reactions throughout college but no one ever brought up gluten as a reason for my sickness. Gluten sensitivity/intolerance and celiac disease were not as wide-spread as they are now. Looking back, it seems silly that I never pressed doctors on what was making me sick but gluten wasn’t in the forefront of their minds.

I was incredibly overwhelmed when I finally found out that gluten was making me sick. I had recently moved to New York City and was so excited to eat out at all the restaurants. I went to a few gastroenterologists and found out I didn’t just have a gluten intolerance – I also had celiac disease.

This diagnosis forced me to rethink my meals and snacks because I had to immediately cut gluten out of my diet. I did a ton of research on what foods had gluten in it, what foods were gluten free, and all the grey areas in between. The gluten free diet has become much more popular in the past couple of years, but it wasn’t as prevalent five years ago so it was challenging. 

What is gluten and why is it important, or why is the topic really popular right now?

Gluten is a mixture of proteins found in wheat and related grains, including barley, rye, oat, and all their species and hybrids. Gluten helps food maintain their shape, acting as a glue that holds food together. Gluten can be found in many types of food – not just bread! Gluten is commonly found in breads, baked goods, soups, pasta, cereal, sauces, salad dressings, but there are so many gluten free alternatives nowadays so it really isn’t hard to be gluten free!

When I first went gluten free five years ago, it was challenging because it wasn’t popular then. You really had to do your own research and search for gluten free items. Now, most supermarkets have an entire section for gluten free items, and they label which items are gluten free outside of that section.

Many mainstream products label their products as gluten free if they are or have adjusted their products to make them gluten free. The gluten free diet has become more popular with greater public awareness and better diagnoses. More and more people are discovering that they have celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity. I’m glad that it’s become more acknowledged because it’s making people more mindful of allergies and thoughtful about what’s best for their body.

What affect does gluten have on people and why are people trying to avoid it (outside of someone who has celiac disease!) 

People react differently to gluten.

My reaction to gluten is I have to throw up anywhere from three to ten hours after eating it. I’m very sensitive to gluten, so I will know if I ingest it! This is why I do a lot of research before eating out, and ask questions regarding cross contamination and food preparation. Other symptoms can be bloating, skin rashes and red-like skin, digestive discomfort, diarrhea, constipation, headache, tiredness, weight loss, stomach aches, nausea, and more.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease and affects about 1% of the general population. Unfortunately, many people who have celiac disease don’t even know that they have it. I’m so thankful that I found out five years ago because if it goes untreated, it can lead to malabsorption, osteoporosis, iron deficiency, other autoimmune diseases, and in general a reduced quality of life.

A lot of people, including me, forget that certain symptoms you’re having aren’t normal. You normalize it because it happens so much but you shouldn’t feel sick or uncomfortable all the time! I urge everyone to get a food intolerance test as a first step to see what comes up because the results may surprise you.

Many people feel better when they give up gluten, and they end up self-diagnosing themselves as it can be tough to diagnosis gluten sensitivity. If you feel better going gluten free, then by all means, continue to do so! 

Can you talk about your journey with Gluten Free Follow Me?

A few years ago, I started to post about some of the gluten free foods I was eating on Instagram. Surprisingly to me, my posts were met with such a great reception. My followers kept asking for more gluten free friendly eateries, products, and recipes, and I was more than happy to continue to make these discoveries. I was getting so many questions that I knew I needed to put all this information in one place rather than just Instagram. I taught myself how to make a website and how to code, and I launched www.glutenfreefollowme.com in September 2014! I wish I had something like Gluten Free Follow Me to guide me through my new gluten free diet five years ago, but I’m glad I can be a guide for others now!  

What's a typical day in the life?

No day is ever the same which keeps it interesting! It sounds cheesy but I really do wake up excited to conquer the day. On a typical day, I wake up and do my first social media post of the day either during breakfast or at the gym. When I run outside, I don’t bring my phone so it’s my time to zone out and get creative without technology. I run on the beach in Santa Monica, and it really is the prettiest place to run! When I go to the gym, I answer emails, responds to comments on my social media networks, and post for the brands/eateries I manage.

For lunch, I either schedule lunch at a restaurant or throw together a salad and omelet before jumping into my recipes for the day. I dedicate certain days as recipe days so I can be in the kitchen creating recipes uninterrupted and then shoot them in the daylight which is so key for good photos!

During the week, if it’s not a recipe day, I’ll schedule one or two eateries in a day. I’ll meet with chefs and owners at eateries to figure out what’s gluten free at their restaurant and bring up the right questions such as potential cross contamination and modifications/substitutions. If I have an evening event, then I may schedule a lunch in the area and work out of a coffee shop in between meals.  

 Go-to GF snack or meal? 

I kick off each day with fruit, greens, veggies, and eggs. I love eating healthy but I also have a sweet tooth and love my daily chocolate!

What advice would you give to someone who wants to make their side hustle their full-time career?

It’s so important for everyone to have a passion or hobby.

I feel like that’s how your creativity gets going, and your side gig can help you in other ventures even if it doesn’t become your full-time gig. I never meant for GFFM to become anything and definitely not my career. It happened so organically since it stemmed from my passion, but it also took hard work and dedication for it to become what it is today. When I started posting on social media and launched glutenfreefollowme.com a couple years ago, my family and friends never really understood what I was doing or why I was spending all this time focused on GFFM. Now, it’s easy to see how the journey happened but it wasn’t in the moment so I’m glad I believed in myself and kept at it!

Don’t let anyone sway you from what you love to do. It will shine through your work and can then translate into success. Only you know what you’re passionate about, and that makes you so good at it.  

I don’t recommend for everyone to turn their side hustle into their career, but if it works out financially then it may be worth it to take the plunge! My main advice would be to make sure that your side hustle can support you. I know of some people who tried to transform their side hustle into a full-time career and got discouraged since they felt like they had to continually put themselves out there and couldn’t afford to get rejected. They ended up going backwards and went back to “main-stream” jobs so make sure that the timing is right for you! 

What was the best thing about leaving the corporate world?

The best thing about leaving the corporate world is I’m able to devote all of my time and energy to Gluten Free Follow Me! I’m very thankful that I was recently able to make GFFM my full-time gig because it was getting difficult to juggle GFFM with my finance job which was pretty much 9-5.

I would duck out for lunches if I could and if the restaurant was close to my office. I always had Instagram events or dinners after work, sometimes several in one night. I wouldn’t get to the gym until 9:30pm (always have to get my workout in!) so I was definitely running low on time. I would open my packages from brands after the gym, and then do all of my recipes on the weekends.

The hardest? 

The hardest part is I don’t have the stability. Working in the corporate world meant I had a stable salary, and I knew exactly what I was earning and when I was getting my paycheck. However, GFFM is my passion, and I have more of an incentive to do well. Nowadays, I end up working longer hours than my finance job but when you’re doing what you love, it isn’t seen as work :) 

What's the best part about what you do now? 

My favorite part is being creative with food and getting to interact with my followers – I seriously have the best followers! I also love being able to wake up every day and do what I love. I feel like I appreciate it even more because I can now truly dedicate time to GFFM. I’m so thankful that I get to choose how and where I spend my day!

My hours are flexible so I can go running in the middle of the day when it’s 70 degrees and sunny rather than working inside from a cubicle, just staring at the pretty weather outside. I don’t need to be in the office from 9-5 and have people manage me. I’m the boss, the employee, a one-woman show, and I love it that way! 

The most challenging?

 Every day is different which I love because it keeps me on my toes. You have to be very motivated and structured to work from home and run your own business. Now that GFFM is my full-time job, I’m able to be more flexible with timing but I still like to have some sort of schedule to keep me organized.

What are some of your favorite recipes/or restaurants on your website?

Ooh there are so many good ones! I detail and rank 2,000+ eateries, products, and recipes so the list is never-ending. I love discovering new eateries and products for my followers and coming up with delicious recipes.

My favorite recipe right now is an easy cupcake recipe I created last month.

I know that not all of my followers have easy access to gluten free cake mixes so I wanted to create a recipe that was easy to do with kitchen staples.

All you need is:

  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup GF flour
  • 2 eggs or egg substitute
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • A few drops of vanilla extract

You can make this recipe vegan by using vegan butter and milk.

Combine all of the ingredients, and it makes about 9 cupcakes. It’s perfect for when I don’t want to make a huge batch, and then if I do, I can just double the recipe.

Full recipe on http://www.glutenfreefollowme.com/my-creations - I’m usually an icing gal but these cupcakes are so good, I eat them plain too!

What are you looking forward to in 2017?

I look forward to taking GFFM to the next level and continuing to grow my website and social media networks.

I love my followers, and their appreciative comments and support keeps me going! I also look forward to becoming more of a part of the LA community. I’ve met some amazing influencers and like-minded people so far (like YOU, Krista!) and can’t wait to meet more.

Thanks for listening and hope to connect with you all on GFFM! 


Where can people connect with you?

www.GlutenFreeFollowMe.com

Instagram: @GlutenFree.FollowMe

Twitter: @GlutenFreeFM

Facebook: Gluten Free Follow Me

Snapchat: JackieAanonsen


Meet my new fav BLOGGER: Caroline Juen of Love & Loathing in Los Angeles

Suppppp!

Hello hello!

Welcome to a new week y'all. 

Excited to share this one with ya.  A little intro to my fav blogger, Caroline Juen of Love and Loathing Los Angeles.

Not only does she have the dopest logo, but she does all the shit in LA that I should/need to do. She's down to earth, has a really unique and creative eye, and has a perfect balance of art, food, culture, fashion and shit you want to read about.

It's really hard to stick out in this space, and I've been so impressed with her ability to be a unique voice, with a unique creative vision in today's blogging world. 

She's adorable with dimples, and her photography is OFF THE CHAIN.

A little reminder that I need to up my game in the photography space, fo SHO.

For me, acknowledging and giving props to the best of the best (from my perspective) is #womensupportingwomen  - no competition is needed anywhere, since we're all different and bring something different to the world. 

I am so EXCITED for this interview, and some of my favorite Caroline photos to share with ya. She's a true joy to read, has a real wit and fun loving part about her and I know that you're going to fall in LOVEEEEE (no loathing) with her.

Shout out to Caroline for helping on da post!


Tell us a little about who you are, what you do:

My name is Caroline Juen, I’ve been an Angeleno for about 7+ years now, and I run a lifestyle blog called Love & Loathing Los Angeles!

Why did you decide to start a blog?

Originally I wanted to write a BOOK, but after telling my mother about all my big literary plans she brought be back down to earth and suggested I start with a blog first. The intention behind the whole thing though was to create more positive conversation about a very misunderstood town. LA is not “literally the worst”, and people who say that it is have likely never been to LA or have visited and did all of the wrong things. LA has such an incredible spirit, it’s a place worth visiting, talking about, and yes even residing. 

How do you describe your blog to a stranger? 

“Food, fashion, and fun in Los Angeles.” 

What's your favorite thing about what you do?

That’s a hard one, because I can’t quite nail down just one. I love being able to create content on my own terms and have it be received with open arms, support and positivity. I love meeting so many wonderful people because of it. I love running my own show. I love the struggle, I love the success, I love the journey of always being excited over “what’s next” for Love & Loathing LA. It blows my mind everyday that I get to do what I want do with my life and that it keeps simply moving forward. 

The hardest thing about what you do?

“What’s next” is a double edged sword, it’s exciting but also terrifying. Freelancing means there’s no guarantee and if you get to deep into your own head it can be detrimental. I try to stay on top of making sure I feel like I am consistently trying to make new connections and relationships to keep things moving forward. 

Something you'd like to do more of that you aren't currently doing already?

I feel like I can’t do enough of anything as it is!!! I wish there was just one more of me! If there WAS one more of me, I might explore a little more video though, could be fun!

Advice for other bloggers on standing out in a saturated place:

Create a very specific voice/narrative, be personable (be you!!!), and be consistent. And never ever never skimp on quality - quality ALWAYS stands out. (No blogging for bloggings sake.)

Find out what your edge is, what makes you different (whether that be voice, photography, style, you’ve been to more restaurants than anyone you know, etc.) and run with it.

Advice or tips for curating the perfect instagram feed (fucking love yours):

SO MANY. #1 trick I use to curate is by using a fake Instagram account to test my photos on. There ARE apps for this, but I much prefer the “real” thing. I love to test out photos for my feed before posting; I think of my Instagram as my mini editorial lifestyle magazine, it’s all gotta be cohesive. Another tip I think really helps up the Insta game is to find your filter and stick to it.

I use A Color Story to edit my photos and I truly believe it helps me with that cohesiveness amongst all of my photos!

Describe your perfect day: 

No gym, we’ll just start there. Someone else will have worked out for me, and then I would probably do something along the lines of breakfast and sun consumption in my backyard hanging with my boyfriend and dog, then lunch at Kazu Nori, carefree shopping spree at Reformation or ACNE, a movie at the iPic theater (*VIP SEATS* obviously), then either a bougie dinner at Spago, or burgers and cocktails at Everson Royce Bar. Cant decide there.

There’s so many ways to have a perfect day in LA though, it’s incredible. That’s just the kind of day I want TODAY I think :)

Why the LA love? What makes LA so great from your perspective?

LA is so incredibly magical, I was trying to nail down my favorite thing about LA the other week and it was just impossible to come up with just one. I love that LA is so insanely welcoming and supportive of so many people and cultures, we really get to enjoy and experience it all here. And for a large as LA is, there really is a huge sense of community here - we all seem to more or less be on board with “we all come up together.”

The creativity that emanates from this place is palpable, it’s inspiring, and it’s unlike anywhere else on earth in my opinion.

Brand you wear that describes your style?

Calvin Rucker. Love & Loathing LA has more or less grown up with this brand and I have to say if I could only wear one brand for the rest of my life it might be theirs! They’re talented women, founded and made in DTLA, and their designs are just incredible. Their M.O. is edgy yet feminine - think Gwen Stefani. All I ever want in life is to be Gwen Stefani, and Calvin Rucker gets me kinda close. 

Best beauty secret? 

Wash your face and moisturize at night, even if you’re too tired and/or drunk. I use Guinot religiously (like will not be persuaded by other brands), and I swear it has changed my skin. 

Best advice you ever received?

"Either you can or you can’t, either way you’re right.” I’ve got about a billion and one more great bits of advice where that came from, all given to me by my #1 - my mom. 


What's next for you in 2017?

I am “a day at a time” kinda gal, but I am really hoping to get to Europe this year. I could really use some culture and some travel this year :) otherwise it’s just maintaining this train and keeping it moving forward!

Where can people find and connect with you?

You can find me on my blog for a more in-depth curated look at life around LA

 loveandloathingla.com 

Or you can find me on Instagram for the more "in the moment” perspective  

instagram.com/loveandloathingla (@loveandloathingla)


So SO good right? I loved how she thinks of her Instagram more as an editorial - making it polished cohesive and fresh. If you ever visit L.A> especially for my babes out of the area, DO go to her site and get all the good recommendations. 

Love this, truly! Inspired just reading and doing this with Caroline.

Excited to hear what you think!

xoxo

Krista

Getting ready for a night out with Dove (tips and tricks for looking and feeling your best!)

Guys!

I am real excited over here, because I’ve been working on something special with some other blog babes, and one of the brands I admire, and whose products I use. 

Dove!

Dove is one of those brands for me that really just gets 'it'.

They're socially conscious, and partner with amazing and impactful organizations, they're spearheading causes related to women's self esteem and body confidence, and their products are amaze.

One of the Dove Mantra's I especially love, 

A girl should feel free to be herself

At Dove, we believe no girl should be held back from reaching her full potential. However, anxiety over appearance keeps girls from being their best selves, affecting their health, friendships, and even performance at school.
— Dove.com

Can I get an amen?

I don’t necessarily want to make this post about the struggles women face with the pressure to look a certain way, but that is TRUTH.

I know that we've all experienced some level of anxiety related to how we look. 

You guys know, that I am such a fan of socially conscious brands, doing good in the world outside of just making quality products :) 

So, I was honored that they reached out to me, about a product that I am already using, Dove Dry Antiperspirant. This stuff, is the smoothest, easiest way for me to freshen up on the daily.

To smell, and feel CLEAN. 

Is there anything better? 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve caught a whiff of myself, like DAYUM, I need to really freshen up.

I mean what? Can I live? LOL

But I Iove the Dove Dry Antiperspirant, because it’s easy, quick, smells AMAZING, cares for my skin and it lasts for 48 hours. Plus,  it's not wet AT ALL. 

I have a bottle at my desk at work, LOL.

Sometimes before a big meeting I’ll give my armpits a little spritz.

JK. I don't spray before meetings but I do when I need it! Like before a night out.

Last week, myself, a few bloggers, Lauren - of Bohemian by the Bay, Michelle  - of Fifty Two Thursdays, Esther - of Girls Who Brunch had so much fun at The Laugh Factory and dinner at Laurel Hardware.

We got ready before together sharing our secrets. 

The rare nights, I do go out, I’ve told you guys this, I go balls to the wall. I do the hair, the makeup, full jewel stacks.

It’s a deal.

Having the deodorant, is one of the key parts especially when you’re out for a LONG time. Smelling nice, is pretty much essential. 


Some of my night out tips:

Make sure you skin is clean before you put makeup on

Use a brightening serum (I like this one under my makeup from Peter Thomas Roth)

Moisturize

Wear perfume (my favorite right now is Alien from Thierry Mugler)

Drink lots o' water

Use a silicone based makeup primer (this one is my favorite!)

Master the undone beach wave (use this to help!)

Put on a perfect playlist (I've got some in my music section!)

Wear a bold lip (my favorite is NYX Liquid Lingerie in Teddy)


I also asked the other babes what their favorite tips for getting ready for a night out:

Lauren from Bohemian by The Bay says,

For a night out, I always like to make sure my hair is all set to go. With curly hair, it can get frizzy in an instant, so I use my T3 wands for beach-y waves and then finish with hairspray. One tip for getting the perfect beach-y wave, be sure to leave the ends out when using the wand! This creates a loose, no-ringlet wave that is perfect on anyone!

T3 Whirl Trio Interchangeable Styling Wand 


Esther from Girls Who Brunch Says,

My beauty tip for a night out is to always do your eye makeup first! This is especially good if you're doing a smokey eye. When you're applying eye shadow, liner and mascara it can sometimes get a bit messy and there's a lot of fall out. If you do your eyes first, you can wipe away the fall out and then cover with a concealer. My favorite concealer of the moment is the Bye Bye Undereye Concealer from It Cosmetics. It's thick so a little goes a long way! 


Michelle from Fifty Two Thursdays says,

An important tip which I'd like to share that'll ensure a successful night out and (more importantly) a refreshing morning after is to use a good firming under eye gel pads. I pop them on for a little over 10 minutes while I sip on a nice glass of wine and relax before an eventful night. It's my way of unwinding and prepping myself before the makeup, fitted clothes and uncomfortable heels go on for who knows how long. My go to gel pads are by skyn ICELAND. It de puffs, tones and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles to give me the confidence needed all night!


We had SO MUCH fun chatting at dinner, talking about blogging, our little businesses and life in general. It was so nice to feel fresh, look fresh, and really just let loose and have fun with like-minded babes.

 

So thankful for Dove and Simply Stylist for bringing us together, and for helping me stay fresh and DRY. Seriously, ha!

What are some of your tips for a night out? Anything I missed?

All my love,

Xoxo

Krista


Thanks to Dove for sponsoring this post! As always, all opinions expressed are my own.


Shop my outfit:

YSL Gray Bag

OTK Boots

Black Forever 21 Dress

Jacket from Zara (sold out) but similar one here