Posted by: Zoe V | October 14, 2015

Special Gift From My Penn State Coach Russ Ross

It’s often said that a person is defined not by the years they’ve lived but by the experiences they’ve gone through. For me, among those experiences one stands out – playing volleyball for Coach Russ Rose at Penn State. A few people know that about me, but I played volleyball for many years both as a teen in Bulgaria and then at PSU in the early 2000’s.

A whole decade has gone by since my playing days, but when I recently received a package from my beloved Coach, I couldn’t help but share the excitement. With the help of my son Denzin, I made the video below where I share its contents. Check it out:

Words can’t describe how I felt when I opened the large envelope. It had my original playing jersey with my name and number of the back! It was so well preserved too. As Coach’s note said, it brought so many fond memories. I just couldn’t believe how such a busy man would still find a minute to send me such a priceless gift. Thank you, Coach!!!


For those unfamiliar with collegian volleyball, it’s important to note Penn State Women’s Volleyball dynasty status. Coach Rose has been voted AVCA National Coach of the Year five times: 1990, 1997, 2007, 2008, and 2013, more than any other Division I coach. Also, he has the highest winning record in Penn State athletics 1161–180 at the end of 2014 season. Since taking over PSU Volleyball in 1979, Coach Rose led the team to a total of seven Division I NCAA Championship titles – 1999, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014. Today PSU Volleyball is a synonym with one of the most prestigious volleyball programs in the country, and certainly the top-ranked one on the East Coast.

So how did a girl from Bulgaria end up playing volleyball at Penn State, you may wonder? While in my video I share a bit of my story, I would like to elaborate more here. My family arrived in the United States on December 19, 1997. A few days later, I turned on the TV and ended up watching a women’s volleyball match on ESPN. The game was between Penn State and Stanford, both playing for the Championship title. As a volleyball player myself, who has competed for the best team in Bulgaria, I was glued to the TV set analyzing the players skills. Even though they lost, the players on the PSU team made a huge impression on me – Lauren Cacciamani, Bonnie Bremmer, Terri Zemaitis especially. The chemistry on the team was absolutely magical! It’s at that moment, I said to myself, “THIS IS THE TEAM I WANT TO PLAY FOR SOME DAY!” Mind you, I had no idea who Penn State was, where they were located or how could I even get to contact the coach. That was long before the conviniences of social media.

In the following couple of years, I visited other volleyball programs – Rutgers University, Saint Peter’s University, University of Central Florida (UCF), but none made me feel like I “belonged” there. Then in the fall of 1999, a family friend took me to visit Penn State University. That weekend in October, PSU was hosting both football and volleyball games against Michigan State. I clearly remember the intense energy on the campus – people everywhere, tailgating and celebrating the great tradition of sports at Penn State. If you have ever visited PSU during a football game weekend, then you’d know EXACTLY what I’m talking about. It was like nothing I have ever experienced in my life at that point.

Equally mesmerizing was the volleyball match between the teams later in Rec Hall. The Nittany Lions plowed over the Spartans in front of roaring 3,000 plus fans. Following the game, I walked up to Coach Ross to congratulate him on his win. As I introduced myself I told him that I am a volleyball player from Bulgaria and my biggest dream was to go to school at Penn State and play on his awesome team. He looked at me, smiled and told me to come back next morning at 8 am and do a tryout practice with his team. I was stunned by his proposition!

That night I went to the local Walmart to buy sneakers and workout clothes. Next morning I showed up promptly in South Gym and tried out for a spot on the team. After the practice, Coach Ross called me at his office where he and Coach Erin (she was in charge of recruiting back then) offered me a spot on the team for next season. Ironically, Penn State ended up playing Stanford again and won their first Championship title in 1999.

In the spring of 2000, my application to Penn State was accepted and I was part of the six freshmen on the team in 2000-2001 season. You can easily spot me on the far right.



Freshmen Class of 2000-01

The hard work, sweat and tears later paid off when I was given the Most Improved Player Award at the annual student-athlete banquet in the spring. My volleyball career soon came to an abrupt ending when I was critically injured in the spring of 2002. A sprained ankle injury proved too painful and difficult to heal, and I made the decision to focus on my studies instead.


I am beyond grateful to have been a part of such a phenomenal volleyball program as Penn State Women’s Volleyball. The experience taught me how to set a vision and follow through with actions. It taught me that great coaches can spot talent even in the most unconventional of circumstances. It taught me to be consistent, persistent and disciplined.  It taught me to believe in myself and not be afraid to pursue my dreams.

Such life-defining experiences are blessings. Years later I am beyond grateful to my Coach Rose and to everyone at Penn State for giving me the opportunity to be part of the program. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart!!!



psu 2

My family visiting during a home volleyball weekend in 2000


Copyright © 2015 GreenMomZoe All Rights Reserved

Posted by: Zoe V | November 15, 2014

Message To The Haters Out There

Ever since I launched my blog and YouTube channels about six years ago, I have gone through all sorts of feedback from my subscribers and followers. The majority has been strongly supportive and encouraging of my efforts to inspire others to make healthy changes in their lives. Here and there, I have also received some negative remarks but I never really focused much on those. They come with the territory once you are a public figure.

A couple of days ago, something really strange happened in regards to a posting on my Facebook page. Following an encounter with a homeless man, I posted this status:

“A homeless man just passed by me begging me for money. I didn’t give him cash not because I didn’t have it. Instead I gave him a protein bar and told him to use it as a fuel to find himself a job.”

For some inexplicable reason, within a couple of hours of posting, some people on my friends list decided to use it as a forum to attack me on personal level. The attacks were so vicious, mean and rude to the point that I couldn’t believe my eyes to what I was reading. They questioned my character, intentions, recent selfie postings. There were threats that I will be “unfollowed” because I was confusing people to what I’m about. The list went on and on.

It’s important to state that those attackers were not people I knew in real life. They were “ghost buddies” that came out of the woodwork to voice their opinions. Their bizarre behavior stunned me as my Facebook is my PERSONAL page and not some censored corporate site. As such, I gave them the privileged to be part of my intimate world. Those “ghosts” completely misunderstood me and judged me harshly.

While I am very patient and tolerant to difference in opinions, I DO NOT allow blatant and disrespectful assumptions placed on my character by complete strangers. The video below is my response to them. It should CLEAR the air on WHO I AM and WHERE I’M COMING FROM once for all.

To those who have supported and stood by me all those years, I extend my deepest gratitude. I’m moving on much stronger as a result of this experience, and I’ll be focusing on the positive aspects of my work. Peace and love to all of you. <3

Copyright © 2014 Zoe V. All Rights Reserved

Posted by: Zoe V | August 19, 2014

Don’t Just Dump Ice on Your Heads, Donate!

You may have seen it on the news. You may have read about it online. If you have a Facebook account, chances are you have stumbled across a few of those videos in your newsfeed – a person dumping iced water on their heads, also known as the #IceBucketChallenge.  The premise of the challenge is that someone who has done it has to nominate you. You are given 24 hours to either accept the challenge to pour iced water over your head or to donate $100 to ALS.

I first heard of the #IceBucketChallenge a week ago while vacationing in California. My former Penn State assistant coach Mike Schall posted a video on Facebook showing him and his children taking on the challenge. At the time I didn’t think much of it other than a fun video. In less than a week, the #IceBucketChallenge became a national sensation. Anyone from celebrities to big athletes to high-ranked politicians were pouring iced water on their heads and passing the baton to others. Celebs Embrace Ice Bucket Challenge

But not everyone appears to be thrilled with the viral challenge. To some, the idea of wasting valuable water is complete non-sense (considering California is suffering from a bad drought). To others, taking the challenge without donating money is counterproductive. And there are those who question the longevity of the impact. While I can see where those concerns come from, one cannot deny the immense advantages of the challenge.  As the number of people accepting the Ice Bucket Challenge skyrocketed, the donations to ALS followed suit. Since July 29, the ALS has raised $15.6 Million, up from $1.8 million raised during the same time period last year.

Judging by the numbers alone, it’s obvious that whomever initiated the Ice Bucket Challenge was a marketing genius! Such phenomenal fundraiser would have never been possible without the help of social media. It’s because of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram such an idea is capable of reaching ad impacting our private worlds.

If you happen to be nominated by someone, I encourage you to both take the challenge AND donate to ALS. By doing so, the small amount of water you may waste is just a “drop” in the bucket compared to the good you are doing for people suffering with ALS.

On that note, below I have posted the video of Denzin and I doing the Ice Bucket Challenge. We also donated to ALS. Enjoy!


What is ALS?

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.

To learn more about ALS, visit

To donate to ALS, click HERE


Copyright © 2014 GreenMomZoe All Rights Reserved

Posted by: Zoe V | July 25, 2013

Best Tasting Green Juice (kids-approved!)

Parents often tell me how difficult it is to instill healthy eating habits in their children. One of the top challenges is to get them to eat their vegetables. Some children would rather starve than eat their broccoli. Sad, sad…

As with any good habit, first you need to set it by example and second, start as early as possible. Forget the jarred baby food and overly-sugared juice beverages. Make them fresh green smoothies and green juices instead. This way kids will begin to develop taste for vegetables and associate it with positive feelings.

Denzin enjoying green juice in July 2010

My son Denzin was about 18 months old when we started giving him green juice. Actually, it was him who wanted to try it in the first place. He would see Mark and I drink our daily green juice in the morning and snatch the glass from our hands. Now at four years old, he makes his own green juice and likes to pack it for daycare every day. I would never forget when his teachers first asked what was that green “thing” I was making for him. :-)

The recipe I’m sharing has been carefully developed over time. It’s the most requested formula by my clients who order juices from me too. Mild, pleasant and lightly sweeten, this green juice would change your perspective on how you and your family consume your veggies.

Best Tasting Green Juice

Yields 4 x 8 oz. servings


  • 1 Head Romaine Lettuce
  • 1/2 Bunch Kale (Regular of Lacinto)
  • 1/2 Bunch Swiss Chard/Collard Greens/Spinach
  • 1/2 Bunch Celery
  • 1 Fuji Apple
  • 1 Lemon
  • A few sprigs of Mint


Soak and wash all the produce with fruits/veggie wash (preferably) to remove any traces of dirt, pesticides, preservatives or waxes. Chop up celery and apple. Peel and chop up lemon as well. Put through juicer in alternating patters – follow greens with a piece of apple or celery to facilitate easier processing. Strain juice through a mesh strainer to remove leftover pulp. Pour into a glass and enjoy!



It’s always best to use organic produce in season. But if not available or if too expensive, it’s perfectly fine to use regular produce. Just make sure to soak and wash carefully so there are no traces of harmful chemicals that can end up in your juice.

Also, due to green juices’ energizing and detoxifying properties, the best time to consume is first thing in the morning or in the mid afternoon, a few hours following a meal. DO NOT consume along with solid food as it will greatly slow down the absorption of nutrients.

Enjoy and I would love to hear your feedback when you try it. :-)



Copyright © 2013 Zoe V. All Rights Reserved

Posted by: Zoe V | July 20, 2013

My Raw Food Journey ~ 3 Years Later

Hello Everyone!!!

It’s been a long break from blogging and I’m anxious to get back and start sharing with you again. I figured what better way to do it than to post an update on my raw food journey. With over 900,000 views and counting (!!!), my original video posted in July 2010 has generated a tremendous interest.



So many people commented saying how much they were inspired by my personal transformation. Sure, the intention was to share and motivate others to change, but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine the magnitude it would reach. Words cannot express how grateful I feel to have the opportunity to make a positive impact in others lives. I’m truly blessed! :-)

And now I want to share my latest video so that you can see how I look today, three years after undertaking the raw food diet path. I hope you enjoy it and please feel free to share your comments below.



Copyright © 2013 Zoe V. All Rights Reserved

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