Aug
20

For years I have dreamed of traveling to Costa Rica, a country in Central America that I know to be vegan & yoga -friendly.

A country that is a good performer on environmental sustainability and is home to rich wildlife and plants.
A country well-suited for the outdoor enthusiast. BONUS: there are beautiful beaches.
As far as I’m concerned, “everything’s included” 

I have often thought of Costa Rica as being the place I run off to and get married… or honeymoon.
Turns out Costa Rica is the place I’ll spend my 30th birthday.

Our trip is booked. (!!!)
We’re staying in Dominical, a small village on the Central Pacific coastline.

We will be at a cozy, boutique hotel Cuna Del Angel for 3 nights where we will a couples massage and an infinity pool. The rooms are richly decorated with Colonial and Asian details, all with ocean and jungle views.

Cuna Del Angel

The remaining 3 nights will be spent at the Waterfall Villas where we will practice yoga and enjoy a private, vegan chef. The rooms here are designed to balance of the elements using authentic Feng Shui architecture design. Each room overlooks a waterfall, and ours will have it’s own private meditation garden. 

Waterfall Villas

Hopefully, we will visit Manuel Antonio National Park (as recommended), which is well known for it’s beautiful beaches and hiking trails. In 2011, Manuel Antonio was listed by Forbes among the world’s 12 most beautiful national parks.

Manuel Antonio

I’d also like to visit Jaco, which apparently is more of a “party” town….. 

I’m stoked. 

On my actual birthday, I will be in Orlando, Florida for work. My girlfriends & I plan to travel in early and visit Blizzard Beach, a waterpark (home to some of the tallest free-falling slides in the world!!)

While in Florida, I might even get lucky enough to see grandma & grandpa for a night. I’m hoping to take them to a vegan restaurant in Orlando.

Cheers to 37 days left of my 20’s. This girl is getting old(er).

Love

Crista


Aug
19

the theme of yesterday’s yoga class was to think positive thoughts. throughout class the instructor consistently reminded us to think positive thoughts, “i can do it,” “i am good enough,” “i am beautiful” etc….

at the end of class, the instructor asked each of us to repeat a positive affirmation to ourselves 3 times. i panicked at first, i felt rushed, i wanted to find the perfect affirmation. i struggled. i wasn’t sure what to tell myself. i was doing the exact opposite of what the teacher had asked her students to do. then i finally found it. “i am love” 

Warren Dunes

i am currently reading a book, The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry. the couple in the book are in a marriage that has gone stale. through self-discovery they realize regrets about their marriage, love, sex, communication.
of course, this book has opened my eyes and allowed me take a look at my own relationships with others. AM i “love” ? 

on Friday, i had a conversation with a new friend. she is a 40-something year old vegan woman. she’s never been married, and she was telling me about a guy she has just started seeing. it is not easy to meet good people, it is not easy to find someone you would consider sharing your life with, but she found one she is considering. she even found a guy who is vegetarian! we talked and laughed. we said a few jokes about the male species, and we reminisced the ones who got away.

the topic of “new love” always sends hearts and butterflies running through my body. i mentioned how i miss that “smitten” feeling that you get when you are first getting to know someone, and then i immediately realized that i have always been smitten for my boyfriend. however, i have allowed life’s little annoyances to get in the way of pure love. things like making the bed, doing the dishes, taking out the trash, and running 10 minutes behind have gotten in my way of being love.

“awareness perceives change,” is a mantra that my colleagues constantly repeat and analyze. today and from here on out, i will work hard to ensure that i don’t have any regrets later in life. that i take advantage at every opportunity to love and to be loved. carpe diem, they say. 

as my yoga class ended yesterday, my boyfriend was sending me these text messages: 

text message

“The question is not what a man can scorn, disparage, or find fault with, but what he can love and value and appreciate.”
“If there were one thing I’d live by, it’d be that,” he said. looks like we’re on the same page. (although i have not voiced any of this to him)

“fear less, hope more; eat less, chew more; whine less, breathe more; talk less, say more; love more, and all good things will be yours.” – Swedish Proverb

“greatness is not in one special place, it is not in one special person. greatness is wherever somebody is trying to find it.” 

this weekend has brought one big message to my attention, and while it wasn’t the first time i can also guarantee this won’t be the last time that this message presents itself to me.

maintain a positive state of mind.
love, value, and appreciate.
find greatness in everything you do.

Love

Crista


Aug
14


Veggie Fest Chicago
is actually held in Naperville, IL.
this year, we attended for the first time ever.
it was much bigger than we expected.
we had fun, and ate some damn good food!

Veggie Fest 2012

Veggie Fest 2012

Veggie Fest 2012

we found vegan dog food! FINALLY! Purchase online here

Veggie Fest

our favorite food was from the Caribbean Kitchen. see the (vegan) cajun spiced chicken & rice. 

Veggie Fest 2012

Veggie Fest 2012

Veggie Fest 2012

carrots for juicing! 

Veggie Fest 2012

i tried the 5 alive: apple/carrot/cucumber/greens!

Veggie Fest 2012

veggie fest 2012

look at all this yummy food in different ethnic varieties including chinese, indian, & caribbean. 

veggie fest 2012

veggie fest 2012

veggie fest 2012

veggie fest 2012

veggie fest 2012

veggie fest 2012

we had our dessert on the lawn as the band played. how ’bout a vegan whoopie pie & carrot cake

veggie fest 2012

veggie fest 2012

Chris hung out with Donald-Hyun Kiolbassa – a gold medalist in Martial Arts. we purchased his book Discover Your Dragon

veggie fest 2012

veggie fest 2012

in addition to eating lots, we sat through a few cooking demos, watched yoga, considered chair massages, and experienced a portable sauna. not bad for a Sunday afternoon :)
….i already can’t wait for next year….

Love

Crista


Aug
12

one of our favorite spots to hang out on the weekend is the greencity market in Lincoln Park.

carrots, pickles, garlic, & peaches are a few of my favorite purchases this week.
when i ask the farmers if i can take photos of their produce, they gladly say yes, proud to display their local, organic goods.
i hope you’ll enjoy the photos as much as i do.

Green City Market

Green City Market

Green City Market

Green City Market

Green City Market

Green City Market

Green City Market

Green City Market

Green City Market

Green City Market

Green City Market

Green City Market

Green City Market

Green City Market

Green City Market

Green City Market

Green City Market

Green City Market

Green City Market

 

Green City Market

Green City Market

Green City Market

It’s not just about food, it’s about our community.
Support local.

Love

Crista


Aug
09

Quinoa:

a versatile SUPERFOOD.
super grain.
a good source of dietary fiber
a source of protein
packed with iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium
gluten-free & vegan

can be served sweet or savory, warm or chilled

Quinoa has a light, fluffy texture when it is cooked.
It is a great alternative to white rice, couscous, oatmeal, or ground meat (for vegans).

Quinoa

For a savory appetite, a variety of vegetables and seasonings can be added to quinoa to make a variety of different dishes. Typically, a savory quinoa dish is served warm.

Choose & chop 3-4 of these ingredients and toss with cooked quinoa for a filling savory dish: peppers, asparagus, chives, onions, peas, garlic, tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, olives, sweet potato, corn, zucchini, squash, broccoli, spinach, kale, seeds (pumpkin or sunflower), paprika, cumin, salt, pepper.

For tacos, tostadas, or stuffed peppers, you can use quinoa in place of meat for a hearty filler. It is also suited for a vegetable pilaf.

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For a sweet appetite, a variety of fruits and nuts can be added to cooked quinoa to make a variety of different salads. A sweet, fruity quinoa salad is typically served cool.

Choose & chop 3-4 of these ingredients and toss with cooked quinoa for a refreshing, fruity salad: strawberries, mango, peaches, apples, clementines, onions, celery, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, bell pepper, chives, dried fruits, raisins, cucumber, nuts (pistachios, almonds, pecans, cashews, hazelnuts), agave nectar, citrus juices (orange or lemon), cinnamon, coconut, ginger

Personally, my favorite sweet salad includes cooked, but cool quinoa, dried cranberries, pistachios, and clementine wedges. Topped off with a little bit of orange juice, agave nectar, and sprinkled with cinnamon.  

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For a high protein breakfast, you can serve your cooked quinoa warm or cool. Combine ingredients such as: peaches, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, bananas, (any type of fruit), dried fruits, raisins, any type of nuts, seeds (flax, chia, sunflower, pumpkin), cinnamon, honey, agave nectar, almond milk (or any type of nut milk), coconut, or yogurt and serve warm or cool, it’s your choice!

Love

Crista


Aug
07

marinated mushroom & broccoli

I have mentioned my new commitment to eating raw a minimum of 3 days a week.

I’ve already made this dish twice this week because it’s tasty and filling, it also curbs my salt craving. Currently, it is my favorite raw food dish.

marinated mushroom & broccoli

Marinated Broccoli & Mushrooms
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Ingredients
  1. a head of broccoli
  2. 15-20 mushrooms, variety of your choice
  3. 10-15 brussel sprouts
  4. 1/4 cup olive oil
  5. 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar or raw apple cider vinegar
  6. 1 Tbsp. agave nectar
  7. 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  8. dash of paprika
  9. 2 Tbsp. sesame seeds
  10. 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  11. sea salt & pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Chop the broccoli & mushrooms in to bite sized pieces. Chop the brussel sprouts so that they are shredded.
  2. Whisk together the olive oil, agave, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper, and paprika to make your marinade. Add more or less of ingredients to satisfy your own taste.
  3. Put the vegetables in a container that will seal shut. Pour the marinade over the top, close the container, and shake well so that the ingredients are well coated. Put in the fridge overnight to marinate.
  4. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and a pinch of red pepper flakes just before serving.
Optional
  1. An hour before serving, dehydrate on teflex or parchment paper for an hour.
Notes
  1. The second time I made this dish, I added cauliflower to my veggie mix and it was amazing!
Adapted from Raw On $10 A Day
Adapted from Raw On $10 A Day
peace. love. quinoa http://peacelovequinoa.com/

marinated mushroom & broccoli

 

Love

Crista


Aug
06

Warren Dunes

Warren Dunes

over the weekend, we discovered a beach in Sawyer, MI at Warren Dunes State Park
which sits just opposite of Chicago on Lake Michigan.
this park is only 90 minutes outside of Chicago and is absolutely breathtaking.

Warren Dunes - Sawyer, MI

Warren Dunes - Sawyer, MI

Warren Dunes

Warren Dunes

we hiked up the sand dunes and sweated our butts off

Warren Dunes - Sawyer, MI

running/walking through the soft, dry sand develops power throughout your lower body and takes more energy than running/walking on a flat, smooth surface like asphalt.
it strengthens your ankles, arches, and all of your below-the-knee muscles. 

Warren Dunes - Sawyer, MI

Warren Dunes - Sawyer, MI

we had so much fun!

Warren Dunes - Sawyer, MI

Warren Dunes - Sawyer, MI

once we worked our tails off to get up the sandy dune, we relaxed under the shady trees and then RAN DOWN THE HILL

Warren Dunes - Sawyer, MI

Warren Dunes - Sawyer, MI

we made time for peace & love ..and play….

Warren Dunes - Sawyer, MI

Warren Dunes - Sawyer, MI

we laid by the beach for some R&R and a healthy dose of Vitamin D 

Warren Dunes - Sawyer, MI

Warren Dunes - Sawyer, MI

Warren Dunes - Sawyer, MI

Warren Dunes - Sawyer, MI

we enjoyed the dunes so much that we’ve already planned another trip to go back.
next time we are taking the family with us.
we’re planning on hiking, water slides (!!), hacky sack, flying kites, grilling, swimming, and maybe even a game of beach volleyball. i won’t fail to get my sweat-once-a-day on either – maybe i’ll get brave enough to take a jog along the beach (it’s hard work!!) …maybe even beach yoga!

Warren Dunes - Sawyer, MI

Love

Crista


Aug
04

I don’t feel fat, but I do feel fat. Am I not alone?

Reality is, I simply want to shed 5 pounds off of my body. (in order to look more like those Victoria’s Secret models)

My midriff area was inherited from my mother & grandmother, who happen to be gorgeous women. However gorgeous, they both happen to have a challenge with belly fat.

The 1st step I need to take in order to shed 5 pounds is to change my eating habits. Although I eat mostly vegan, I don’t always eat healthy. Cupcakes, french fries, bread, flavored drinks, desserts, sugar, and refined carbs are my weaknesses. (these weaknesses also inherited from mom & grandma) While I tell myself that I have a minimum intake of these little devils, I can see that I may have let myself get out of control….

I’ll admit that I’m not completely willing to give up on desserts & sweet treats, I am committed to cutting back. Also, as mentioned in an earlier post, I have committed myself to eating 100% raw 3 days a week, every week.

The 2nd step I have taken is to get regular & cleanse my body. I’m doing the Yerba Prima Women’s Renew Internal Cleansing System which promotes the elimination of toxins from the colon, supports all body elimination systems, and helps to promote a normal, healthy intestinal environment.

The 3rd step: more CARDIO. If I want to lose weight, I have to work out more often. period. I already workout 3-4 times a week, but I need to train harder and longer. As soon as I finish up this blog post, I’m headed to boot camp.

Step 4: I’m going to drink more water… a lot more water. Water boots the metabolic rate and helps to burn calories. Water actually helps you maintain a flatter stomach, drinking enough water and maintaing proper hydration prevents the body from holding on to water weight. 

I’m not going to post photos of my progress simply because i’m fearful there will be no progress. Hey, I’m human. Don’t judge me. …..so much for keeping faith in myself, eh?….

Love

Crista


Aug
03


watermelon gazpacho
Today is National Watermelon Day!

In celebration, I made this sweet and savory gazpacho to enjoy on the outdoor patio this evening. No other fruit says summer like the sweet, crunchy, cooling fruit watermelon.

Watermelon Gazpacho
 
Ingredients
  • ½ medium sized watermelon, seeded & diced
  • 3 medium sized tomatoes, chopped
  • ½ red or yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • cilantro, minced
  • fresh ginger, about 1 inch, peeled & minced
  • jalapeno, minced
  • juice from 2 limes
  • sea salt & pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Put half of the chopped watermelon in to a blender or food processor and pulse until it is a soupy consistency.
  2. Put the rest of he ingredients in to a large bowl, then pour the watermelon soup over the ingredients, and stir.
  3. Refrigerate until cold, and serve.
Notes
There is no right or wrong way to make this gazpacho, add all of your ingredients to your taste preference. Here are a few other ingredients you can add to your gazpacho if you so desire: chopped celery, strawberries, chopped onion, shallots, or mint, or basil. If there is an ingredient you are not crazy about, don’t add it.

watermelon gazpacho

Love

Crista