Notes From the Assistant: XXX Revealed, I Cheated and A New Cat

A TOTALLY random assortment of things going on since my last post.

Welcome Rebecca Holman (and Sarah Woolley!!)

XXX, as you now know, is Rebecca Holman!

She will be the new Editor overseeing xoJane in the UK. How exciting is that? We've kept this secret for so long that I even would forget who XXX was when I would see the contact entry on Jane's phone. (I would get strangely excited by seeing the XXX until I remembered why it was there.) Now that her identity is out in the open I couldn't be more excited and relieved. She is awesome and the site is going to be so cool.

(Especially with writers like Sarah Woolley contributing

. SO excellent!)

It continues to be very busy in the office on top of this great news. We're working (most of us non-stop) to bring you some pretty fun and awesome posts in the upcoming weeks. As always, it would be unfair of me to spill the beans on that stuff (sorry- still more secret keeping). But we will have some pretty fabulous interviews, some traveling and other exciting (we hope) material for you soon. (And remember, you can always tell us anything you want to see- love your ideas!)

I Need To Change My Cheating Ways. Or do I?

As you know,

Jane and I were on a raw food cleanse for five days.

It was intense and not always easy. I have always been down with trying different diets, exercise programs and cleanses. I also have a strong will and determination to follow these things to the letter. (I'm the guy who reads all the instructions on anything I buy before I use it or try it.) Now that we have finished it, I have to say that I have never felt better and clearer. I was a HUGE skeptic of raw food and used to make fun of my die-hard vegan friends. I 'm all about meat and potatoes.

The GO cleanse from Gingersnaps

may just have converted me (or at least changed my views on eating raw). As you can imagine, going through this with Jane was a riot and a learning experience.

The wonderful thing about Jane (and everyone else that works in the office) is we are never afraid to speak our minds and tell it like it is. This was certainly true when Jane and I would talk about what we were going through. We had two very different experiences for sure. She and I will go into greater detail in a separate post soon (a lot of talk of bowels, peeing and cravings), but today I have to come clean and clear my conscience about the night I cheated.

Like I mentioned, I live for following the guidelines of these of programs with extreme precision. You get the best results and gain the clearest understanding of the benefits of whatever it is you are trying by going by the book. Gingersnap's Organic, the company we used for this internal excavation, makes DELICIOUS food and laid out a very clear and concise plan to follow. I started off the week fine. It was actually pretty easy. I wasn't remotely tempted by the coffee, snacks, lunches laden with all sorts of cooked flesh and other non-raw food that was constantly in my line of sight.

That all changed on day four. It had been a hectic day and I was slightly stressed. I went to the office kitchen to grab a bottle of water. When I opened the refrigerator door my enemy was staring me straight in the appetite, cheese. My stomach flipped and grumbled, but I managed to


-- until I got home that night.

Besides cheese, I love burnt pretzels. I always keep them in the house for munching. I had forgotten that I had kept a bag in my refrigerator (normally, before doing a cleanse, I get rid of all temptation). When I opened the fridge door the pretzels all but jumped into my mouth. I could not withstand another tease to my appetite. I was also tired and slightly cranky (I guess I emotional eat too). Without thinking, I ravaged those pretzels like a long lost lover. I even dug out the remaining salt from the bottom of the bag.

When I woke up the next morning and went to my kitchen, I found crumbs everywhere, EVERYWHERE. It was pretzel Armogeddon. I must have been absolutely crazed. I felt horrible. You know that feeling when you go off your program and think you may as well throw in the towel because you ruined it all? That was how I felt, big time. All of the vegetable goodness I had been nourishing my body with all week was now buried under the remnants of a whole bag of burnt, salty pretzels.

In all honesty, I bounced back pretty quickly. After cleaning up the remaining debris, I drank my green juice and dove right in to the giant salad that was waiting for me at lunchtime, my pretzel feast forgotten (almost). There are certainly worse things I could have done in regard to cheating (like eating an entire package of string cheese- which I wanted to do earlier in the day, pre-pretzel). I actually couldn't wait to tell Jane about it as I know she understands these things. We laughed it off and I think she was relieved to know that I don't always go by the book. I also have cravings that sometimes get the better of me. I did my best, I learned something about myself, I still feel really good and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

I Cannot Believe I Got a New Cat

I have always


myself a dog person. Living with two cats during the past eight years was something I never thought I would do. (There are logistical reason why I have, but I won't get into those here.)

When Sasha had to be put to sleep in January

I was fine with having just one cat, Winter. Winter seemed pretty OK with it as well. He ruled the roost. Over the last two months he has developed a delayed depression (at least that's what I am told). It got to the point where he would not leave my side. He would rest with me on the couch while I watched TV, on my lap while I worked on the computer, he slept with me if I left my door open and he would even wait outside of the bathroom for me whenever I used it.

He was lonely and I was feeling


. I wanted Winter to have a new friend and need me a little less.

I went to Petco to adopt a cat

(via a satellite program they host with an

organization called Kitty Kind

). As I was looking at the furry little buggers in their cages, one four-year-old, twenty pound, tuxedo colored cat really grabbed me. After passing his cage several times he actually stuck out his paw to me (no joke) as the others pretty much ignored my advances. He was the one. I adopted him and received him last Tuesday. Winter took one look (and sniff) and went into a hissing/growling protest like I have never seen before. They have yet to be in the same room together.

I'm following very strict guidelines for cat integration- I will let you know how it goes. In the meantime I'm not certain what to call him. He came with the name "Homer" which I'm not crazy about. I was told it would be fine to change his name as he is still so young. When I spend time with him I try to sense his


in hopes a new name would come to me. So far Oliver is the only name that has sort of fit. Maybe you could help? Or, if you don't think I should change it from Homer, tell me. I can live with that too.

Have great weeks ahead everyone! XO Bryan

Follow me on twitter, @BryanStendahl, if you want to see me try to edit my thoughts to 140 characters or less- it's no easy task!