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I went down to Little Saigon in Orange County to celebrate Lunar New Year, Vietnamese style. Here I’m being fitted for my dress. Traditional Vietnamese dresses are called Ao Dai.

These dresses are super flattering with high side openings and wide, silky, flowing pants.

Next stop is the Vietnamese New Year Festival, where I found a baby cherimoya tree.

This marketplace made me feel like I was in SE Asia, except it was much colder here in California. Tons of tropical fruit like rombutan, cherimoya, and jackfruit. Yummy!

These magnolias are so pretty!

There were so many varieties of orchids at the Lunar New Year Festival. Check out the bulbous orchids at the top of this photo, hanging down.

It’s the Year of the Dragon. And, no Lunar New Year Celebration is complete without dragon dancers. These Vietnamese dragons, aka lion dragons, are made up of 2 people, while the Chinese dragons are much longer.

There were 4 different lion dragons in different colors. People were feeding the lion dragons ‘lucky’ dollar bills to ensure good luck and fortune for the new Lunar New Year.

And last but not least….. fresh durian! Here my friend and I are driving and eating durian in the car. We actually think durian smells good! Sweet and delicious. I guess I can only be friends with people that love durian too. Hahaa.

Wishing you and your loved ones a very Happy New Year that’s filled with tons of love, bliss, health, and prosperity. May we all choose to live long and be happy! xoxo

My family loves to take our holiday in mid to late January in honor of Mom’s birthday, and after the holiday crowds have dispersed. This year, we found our way to the beautiful island of St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands.

When the water reaches out to the horizon with over 180 degree views, it’s super calming and breathtaking.

The palm trees are over 5 stories tall, and full of green coconuts that I can’t reach. It’s torture, especially since there’s a bunch right off my balcony. It took me several days before locating a coconut to drink. (Though, I think I like Thai coconuts better. They have a sweeter and fuller flavor.) I was surprised at how little fresh produce or raw foods were available on St Thomas. They were serving pineapple juice out of giant cans and were making smoothies using strawberry puree from a box! Thank goodness I packed most of my suitcase with fruits, sea vegetables, nuts, seeds, blue green algaes, and superfoods.

I met a lot of iguanas, they are so cute, and very mellow. Folks seem afraid of them, but they’re harmless.

All I want to do on holiday is play play play. One of my favorite pastimes is swimming in the warm ocean (the ocean in LA is much too cold for me). I’ve been enjoying the sun, lifting heavy weights, and running up mountains. I don’t recommend running here because the roads are very narrow, there’s no shoulder, no sidewalk, and people drive crazy. I don’t think you can ride a bike here either, and I haven’t seen one yet.

Forgive me for being a cheeze ball here, but I want to show off my ab muscles. I don’t remember seeing abs on myself since I was in middle or high school. I’m happy I upgraded my workouts from long, slow, distance to explosive, heavy, and intense workouts. I believe training with sprints and intense spikes in cardio is how we exist in nature since we have to quickly and suddenly run away from predators.

Since St Thomas is 4 hours ahead of LA, I haven’t seen a sunrise yet. But, the sunsets are gorgeous! Sitting on the beach under the stars and moon at night is such a treat. Thank you to my friends in Florida for telling me to avoid night swimming because that’s when sharks feed. As a raw fooder, you know I would have been out in the ocean swimming naked every night! Ha haaa.

I was in NYC last week for my television appearance on NBC at Rockefeller Center and several events celebrating my newest book Ani’s Raw Food Essentials. I love how easy it is to get around NYC without a car by walking, taking a train, bus, or subway. I miss great public transportation when living in LA. It’s also surprisingly easy to be healthy and to enjoy raw foods in NYC. I felt super lucky to be invited by the lovely Mia Andres from Organic Avenue and raw model Anthony Andersen for dinner at Pure Food and Wine.

This was my first visit to NYC in 6 years, and my first visit to Pure. I was blown away by the food! It was super fresh, beautifully plated, and really delicious. We enjoyed the S+M salad, appetizers, ravioli, lasagna, but my favorite thing ever was the Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sundae! I finally got to meet the heart of Pure Food and Wine, Sarma Melngailis, who’s even more beautiful in person.


The next day, I was invited to Quintessence for lunch with my good friends Dhrumil Purohit and Philip McCluskey. Dhrumil is the amazing brainiac creator of the best raw food online community We Like it Raw, which Philip is now a part of too. These two are a real RAWkstar power team….handsome, young, super talented, and doing positive things in our world.

I had been to Quintessence my last visit to NYC 6 years ago. It was good then, and was really good this time around again. We enjoyed tacos, burgers, sundaes, but my favorite was the bagels and cream cheese! Wish I had been there on a weekend to enjoy their raw vegan brunch menu.

I was craving Pure’s Mint Chocolate Sundae, so had to make it back for one more dinner before heading back to Los Angeles. My friend Moby, a long time vegan, and my favorite electronic musician, met me in the garden for dinner along with a few friends and my cousin, Minnie Roh. We enjoyed pizza, ceviche, tamales, smoothies, drinks, lasagna, appetizers, chips and guacamole, but most importantly…a Mint Chocolate Sundae! Everyone was hooked.

To boost this blissful experience even further, Shania Twain, a friend of Moby’s, and Canada’s most popular musician, stopped by our table to catch up with Moby. What a way to finish up my NYC visit!

monkeys

3 monkeys in the Monkey Forest, Ubud

I just finished reading my Hanuman book. My Chinese astrological sign is the year of the monkey, and I love monkeys of all sorts. In Ubud, Bali, I visited the Monkey Forest, where I met these 3 cuties eating fresh fruits and all raw foods: leaves and fruits.

hanuman

Hanuman at the Hindu Temple in Singapore

Hanuman, the white monkey, is sometimes represented in blue, as at this Hindu temple in Singapore.

The film Avatar, which I loved, made me ponder if the beings on Pandora were related to Hanuman. The blue monkeys were connected to all of nature, had respect for all life forms, and listened to their ancestors. For me, Pandora was a beautiful representation of Eastern culture evolved from Hindu and Buddhist religions.

Hanuman embodies virtue, bravery, wisdom, knowledge, mercy, power, humility, and all that’s good including good health, modesty, altruistic deeds, and overall positive energy. A reminder that one way to feel happier is by eating more raw food, thinking positive thoughts, continuing to grow and acquire knowledge, practicing humility, and making time to give back to our communities and to help others.

airfood

Raw Airline Food

It can sometimes be a struggle to find a vegan option on an American airline. I was surprised that my flights in SE Asia on both Singapore and Silk Air both offered numerous vegan options, from Asian vegan to American vegan, and also offered a RAW FOOD option!

Cabin air pressure in flight is lower than air pressure at sea level, which means we have less oxygen being carried in our blood. Cabin pressure makes our digestion more challenging due to a 30% increase in gases trapped in our body. And, flying is dehydrating. I try to drink a liter of water for every hour of flight time.

I say a raw food platter should be served to everyone on every flight. It’s full of water, oxygen, and easy on the digestion. This isn’t rocket science, but simply common sense. Hopefully, this vegan and raw meal also helps offset my carbon emissions a little bit….

resort owner Mom Tri and I

resort owner Mom Tri and I

Mom Tri, owner of the resort, totally gets it. His spa uses edible coconut oil, he has an organic farm in Chang Mai with a cooking school, and looks super fit and healthy.

the salt water pool over looking the lagoon

the salt water pool over looking the lagoon

This is one of 3 pools at Mom Tri’s, and salt water too.

lotus pond

lotus pond

Each morning I’d find a newly bloomed lotus flower. They’re beautiful!

deck for dining

one of many decks for dining and drinking

This is just one of several decks overlooking the ocean for dining and drinking. What a view!

the beach

the beach

This is the beach at Mom Tri’s….turquoise water and white sands. I did get a minor jelly fish sting. I was with a doctor, luckily, who kept me calm, and though it left welts on my arm, it was really not a big deal. I tried to swim a mile a day in the ocean. It was bath water warm and such a treat.

Dr Richard DeAndrea and me soaking up sun

Dr Richard DeAndrea and I soaking up sunshine

It was super special to get to meet up with 2 longtime friends from SF in Phuket, Thailand.

Dr D (which in Thai means ‘the good doctor’) runs the 21 Day Detox program, and he and his partner John Wood taught me all about detoxing almost 10 years ago. Dr D is currently living in Bangkok developing his clinic with cutting edge healing therapies.

Dmy friend anthony in thailand

Anthony and I in Thailand at Mom Tri's

Anthony Hall and I go way back to SF days of raves and web 1.0. He’s an amazing photographer, and artist in general. We’re both back in LA now…and combating jet lag! Anthony’s British…perhaps that explains his stern expression. But, I did manage get him to smile…..

anthony

Anthony gives us a smile

Smiles and friends are two important pieces for fueling happiness. The sunshine and warm water and tropical environment helps too!

thailand from airplane

view of Phuket from the airplane

One way I like to entertain myself is with my camera, especially during long international flights.

sunrise

a sunrise on the plane ride back to LA from Asia

The sunrise during my very long flight back to the USA from Tokyo was beautiful. Most people were sleeping and missed this amazing view.

I don’t sleep well on planes, and you’ll usually find me doing wall push-ups and stretching in the open area by the staff. Maybe that’s why one flight attendant remembered me from my flight to Asia 6 weeks prior.

carol and ani in seminyak

carol and I watching the sun go down in Seminyak, west coast of Bali

Carol came to visit me in Bali all the way from Los Angeles, and we met our friend Deborah on the west coast in Seminyak for sunset cocktails.

Ani and Deborah

Me and Deborah

Deborah, originally from LA, now lives in Bali in a gorgeous home overlooking rice fields. Lucky lady!

sunset

the sun's setting

The sun is setting  off the west coast. I was staying mostly on the east coast in Sanur, and this was the 2nd sunset I got to watch on the island.

ani's sunset

ani's sunset

A final shot as the sky turned a brilliant fire orange red. I love the fact that it stays warm always, even after the sun goes down. Sometimes, it can be a bit too warm, if there’s such a thing.

an organic cafe in rice fields

an organic cafe in the rice fields

My friend and raw model Anthony told me to find Sari Organics in Ubud. I was ecstatic to finally find it on my 2nd visit to Ubud. I had one of the best medicinal herb salads ever, made with organic herbs from the fields and also gathered from the forest. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend this afternoon than chilling with my good friend in the middle of rice fields with a beautiful view and a bounty of delicious, fresh foods.

rice fields

the walking path along the rice fields

We had to walk a good 15 minutes or more to get to the organic cafe in the middle of the rice fields. An amazing journey with an organic treasure at the end. And walking is always the best exercise.

compost

composting

I even came upon a compost pile on the way. Someone was eating durian, I can see the rind in the heap.

satay

Wayan and Carol enjoying road side satay and rice

I had been fasting the prior day and earlier this day only because some nuts I’d eaten didn’t digest very well. Our driver Wayan and Carol were starving, so they pulled over at a road side satay stand to enjoy local snacks. I like this photo, and we can imagine the satay to be vegetables or tofu for our purposes here….though, as you all know, I’m no fan of unhealthy processed fake tofu meats.

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