Nov
04

.Camp Wandawega

In July, just before the holiday weekend, my girlfriends sat at Chino Latino with our guys who were all meeting each other for the first time. During that monumental time in our lives, we decided that we wanted to take our next girls vacation “glamping” // for a moment or two we considered inviting the guys, they were relieved to be let off the hook. (not nice!)

Camp Wandawega

I put a lot of value on getaways and quality time with my girls (#homegirls), but when we booked our glamping trip way back in July, I had no idea how valuable and necessary this trip would be for me.

Camp Wandawega

I haven’t been well the last few months. Conflicted, uncertain, anxious, frustrated, and emotional are a few of many words I could use to describe the roller coaster I have been riding lately. I have not eaten regularly, I hadn’t even been to the grocery store in weeks until yesterday, I experienced anxiety attacks for the first time in my life, I don’t read, I don’t blog, I don’t leave the couch unless I absolutely have to, and I cry, I cry a lot. 

Camp Wandawega

You might be asking why? 

Life can be rough, relationships can be tough, and unfortunately I’ve fallen victim to the struggle lately.

Camp Wandawega

So yeah, camp. Camp Wandawega! CW has been on my bucket list for years, and I was thrilled that the girls agreed to trek all the way to Wisconsin for our glamping weekend. Originally, we’d considered camping somewhere in Colorado, which would have been amazing but I am thankful that I was able to get away from my home, a home that I’d spent countless hours crying in, and get out of Colorado. 

I have no doubt that the world somehow knew I’d be desperate for uncommon surroundings to offer me varied perspectives and even though I didn’t realize it at the time of booking, I now know that our trip was booked with purpose. 

I’m not the only one who needed the getaway, my homegirls needed it too! 

Camp Wandawega

Camp Wandawega prides itself on being a place where adults can go to play, to let loose, and to be free. Amanda, Laura, and myself ran around the modern-vintage retreat, not much different than we would have as kids at summer camp, photographing ourselves on the tree swing, telling stories from our bunk beds until wee hours of the night, and courageously walking from the shower house to our cabin wrapped in the Hello Kitty towels that were gifted to us as a Happy Girls Glamping Weekend gift. (Thanks Kristy!)

Camp Wandawega

The weekend gave me exactly what I needed in my life at the time. 
Laughter.
Reflection.
Girl Talk.

Camp Wandawega

Although planning is my forte, busy schedules and lifes daily struggles kept us/me from doing much planning for our trip to Camp Wandawega. When the time came to make plans for this trip (scheduled departures, meals, etc.), I couldn’t even. I was not a functioning human being at that time, and I most certainly wasn’t able to make any decisions. 

Camp Wandawega

My beautiful friends, my homegirls, Amanda & Laura, compensated for my slack with extreme willingness and never showed frustration over my lack of function. Best friends aren’t called best friends for no reason.

Camp Wandawega

Homemade Waffles with Almond Butter and Pure Maple Syrup //
Wild Rice and Butternut Squash Salad //
Copper River Salmon & Curried TruRoots Rice //
Sauerkraut & Sausages //
Cheese, lots of cheese & Wine, lots of wine //
Campfire Heirloom Apple Crisp //
S’mores //
Local-made Muesli //

Camp Wandawega

We ate so fucking good at camp. 
No thanks to me, the only thing I could suggest was that we make guacamole-stuffed peppers which is a staple for me when tent camping. I couldn’t even process the fact that we would have a beautiful, vintage kitchen to cook in while at camp. It’s called “glamping” for a reason.

Quednow's Apples

We’d planned to visit an apple orchard/pumpkin patch during our trip but none of us expected to stumble upon Quednow’s Heirloom Apple Orchard which is an orchard that grows hard-to-find, heirloom apples. 

Quednow's Apples

Upon entering the small barn at Quednow’s, we were greeted by a smiling gentleman in a wheelchair, a delightful black cat, and unsurpassingly fragrant apples in varieties we’d never seen or tried before. We were offered samples of every apple variety we showed interest in. Each bite from each apple offered a novel experience, each variety unique in it’s texture, flavor, and fragrance. 

Quednow's Apples

Hawaii holds a special place in my heart, our hearts. When I think of the island, the experience, my heart expands, feels deep, and fills with love // love for my life, love for our life, love for my best friend(s). As you can imagine, I was delighted to find a Hawaiian apple variety // it’s pineapple-y flavor and suggestive name was all I needed to spark memories of my real-life love story…. a story that has been discredited in the recent past. I brought those apples home with me as a reminder…… and I shared them with my love.

Quednow's Apples

Quednow's Apples

Camp Wandawega

On our last night at camp, we were invited to use the beautiful kitschy kitchen in the main lodge, a space that has been used by several Chicago-based chefs to create beautiful dinners and dinner parties. 

Joined by the camp counselor (or so I’ll call him), we had our own dinner party. Local beers, red wine, and a full spread of german-influenced foods followed by s’mores and heirloom apple crisp was our feast.

Camp Wandawega

Melody, a girlfriend of mine that I hadn’t seen in years and her 3 year old son joined us for breakfast on our last morning at camp // to see her progress in life and to experience her positive outlook fed me beneficial energy and good vibes. Through her, and my homegirls, I realized that the kids (him & I) will be alright. 

Camp Wandawega

After camp, Melody asked me to share one of my favorite quotes with her, the one I found most relevant for my life as it is today is this: “Wherever you are, be all there.” – Jim Elliot

Melody put that quote in to a piece of art and is sending it to me. Although I’ve committed myself to just as this quote suggests, hanging that piece of art of my wall will be a nice reminder.

Camp Wandawega

Gratitude.
I have it for my friends.
I have it for my love.
I have it for my new artwork.
I have it for an awesome glamping trip at Camp Wandawega.
I have it for the next trip with my homegirls.
I have it so hard right now.

Pumpkin Patch

For more photos and travel notes from our trip, visit Amanda’s blog, Heartbeet Kitchen // her post is a delight to read and brings tears to my eyes. Happy tears! 

Had it not been for my beautiful friend Kayle spilling her heart to the world via a blog post, I’m not sure I would have had the courage to do so. Although our situations are very different, the emotions are feeling of drunken-ness are very much the same. I am thankful to have Kayle as a friend, and I’m thankful for the reminder that I am not alone in a world that has felt very lonely of late. And K, if you are reading this, HUGS. 

With all that being said, I assure you (and myself) that I am on the path to recovery and normalcy. Life is good, man. 

Also, go to Camp Wandawega, it’s fucking cool.

Love

Crista


Aug
05

YumUniverse

Content. That’s how I feel when I get to sit down and read a book – no laptop, no tv, no radio, no nothing except for me and a good book. I do get a lot of “Crista-time” but I typically spend it in the kitchen, working on my blog, gardening, or going to yoga. Rarely do I take the time to sit down with my laptop closed and just read a book. Years ago, I had time in my life to read, I even had an entire book collection (I was saving up to some day have my own library full of books)….. I think it was before I owned a MacBook.

(But look, I’m not complaining.)

I just finished a book (affiliate link! check it out at your own risk, the book contains some talk of animal slaughter and shit like that) that I started over a year ago, it’s a shame it took so long because the book is HILARIOUS.

I’m on airplanes quite often and have every intention of reading in-flight, but I tend to fall asleep before take off and wake up just before landing. Yeah, I’m that girl… sitting beside you in aisle 12, window seat, with her mouth hanging wide open. Did you take a photo of me drooling from one side of my mouth? Tag me on Facebook, would ya? Anyway, point is – my book-reading-time is frequently postponed for “other” activities (zzzzzzzz).

YumUniverse

Camping. It’s one of my favorite things to do in the summertime (especially here in Colorado) because it requires almost zero activity once the AM hike is completed and the PM meal has been prepped. I get to sit my ass down, drink a beer, and enjoy the peaceful mountain air. The best thing about it, everyone around me is doing the exact same thing.

((Speaking of camp, check out some plant-based meal ideas and enter to win some TruRoots product HERE))

YumUniverse

Now, on to what I’m currently reading: a bunch of old Martha Stewart magazines, some gardening blogs, and YumUniverse!  

If I told you I’ve met Heather Crosby in person, would you think I’m so cool? Would I gain some cool points? Street Cred? There are a few of you out there who know who Heather Crosby is and if you have read her book/blog, you’d know how kick ass she is and you’d probably love to meet her. All the others, listen up – I’m about to introduce you to Heather (she’s the one on the book cover).

YumUniverse

I have idolized Heather ever since I learned about her YumUniverse.com launch. She threw this sweet party at a big warehouse in Pilsen (Chicago) and had photographers, food, drinks, cool people – it was incredible. I fell in love with her blog shortly after I attended her launch and am now a proud owner of her book.

YumUniverse

First off, Heather created her book ALL BY HERSELF (a detail I learned on the One Part Podcast) which makes her way more awesome of a person than I could have ever imagined. 

Second, the YumUniverse book contains not only awesome recipes (Sliceable Cashew Cheese, Rainbow Ribbon Veggie Alfredo, Quinoa “Cinnamon Toast” Cereal with Toasted Pecans) but it gives you the “why” behind eating plant-based foods and teaches you how to do it. After reading, you’ll have this book  bookmarked or dog-eared and will refer to it often while working in your kitchen. In the book, Heather talks about fats, and fibers, and proteins, and meal prep, and shopping. She shares what type of tools you should have in your kitchen and even tells you how to get rid of pesky fruit flies.

Out of my entire collection of books, the YumUniverse is my absolute favorite right now – it’s like my food bible. After I’ve finished reading it through, I think I’ll read it again. Then again one more time. It’s THAT book that I take with me every where I go right now…. 

If you’re interested in reading as well, you can purchase the YumUniverse book HERE.

Love

Crista


Sep
05

I’ve mentioned several times that the Eco Lodge we stayed at over the holiday weekend is badass. It would be shameful to fail at mentioning the well-equipped kitchen and stone oven (which is embedded in the back of the fireplace).

labor day

labor day

labor day

First things first: The stone oven. Would you agree that this is badass? In photos from this post, you can see that this stone oven is located out on the screened-in patio. So is this fire indoors, or would you consider that outdoors? Anyway, the oven would seems perfect perfect for making a pizza! …but we made vegan corn dogs and s’mores.

labor day

Don’t you love Trader Joe’s? They think of EVERYTHING. These corn dogs ROCK MY WORLD.

labor day

labor day

Yeah, marshmallows…. they’re so bad yet so good. We only have them a few times of year (on camping trips). Have you ever tried vegan marshmallows? I haven’t but I need to. 

labor day

Hey Chris, you have marshmallow on your face. hehe
Indoors, we found this little stovetop and a bunch of iron skillets. Luckily, we packed egg whites, tortillas, and fresh homemade salsa – breakfast is served! We also packed tortilla chips, homemade tea, fresh tomatoes from the garden, dried fruits, and veggie burgers for grillin’.

labor day

labor day
labor day

labor day

Oh, our mini mustard and ketchup bottles — aren’t they cute?? I have a third little bottle and I think I’m going to fill it with olive oil. We didn’t think to pack olive oil on this trip, and we were freaking out until we were lucky to find some in the cabinet at the lodge (someone must have left it behind). 

labor day

Michigan is full of fruit stands and farmers markets, we found one easily without even looking it up. We were happy to find this blueberry honey, which we drizzled over fruit for dessert during our trip. I’ll definitely pack honey on every camping trip we take from now on. Imagine fruit grilled over an open fire + fresh honey. Yum.

labor day

labor day

labor day

labor day
For some reason, we were obsessed with Bloody Mary’s over the weekend. We couldn’t get enough. Well, I had had enough when I started experiencing a hangover mid-day. whoops. Here is what I didn’t like about the Bloody Mary’s (besides the nasty mid-day hangover): none of the restaurants we visited (in town) made their bloody mary mix in-house, they all used pre-mixed shit. Blagh. I snubbed them, but drank them anyway. The two “towns” that we bar-hopped are New Buffalo and South Haven. It was a beautiful weekend to be out rooftop-patio-bar-hopping….. and sipping on cocktails (which we rarely do).

labor day

Russell Simmons! Duh.

labor day

labor day

We couldn’t avoid this ice-cream stand on the last day of our trip. It came to us highly recommended and did not disappoint. I don’t know for sure how many flavors of ice cream Sherman’s has to offer, but it seemed like hundreds.

More posts from our holiday weekend: a road tripLonnie’s Eco LodgeRonora Lodge & Retreat Center

Love

Crista


Jul
17

in desperate need of some alone time, Chris and I sought out a private spot in the country (labled: NO TRESPASSING) to camp out at for a night. Chris used Google Maps to find this beautiful lake in the middle of nowhere, the area was gated off, but we found a way to get through. we drove through weeds and grass taller than the car to get there…….
we felt so lucky to find this place….. “our” special place where NO ONE on earth could find us….
you can see we set up our tent, and built a little campfire…. campingcampingcampingcamping
peaceful.
campingcamping
i can not even describe to you how excited we were to find this place…. Chris said “this is the kind of place i picture when listening to country songs…” (he’s such a country boy, it’s adorable)campingcamping
we didn’t miss one moment of that gorgeous sun setting….camping
grilled veggie dogs over an open fire, we kept it simple :) no plates, no forks, no napkins. just veggie dogs. and water. (and marshmallows)
camping

campingcamping
feeling alright.
camping

when the sun goes down… over the water…campingcamping-16
we slept underneath the moonlight. the coolest thing about our tent is that it’s topped with mesh so as we lay, we stare at the stars.
campingcamping
we got up super early in the AM to enjoy the sunrise… these last two photos were taken in the AMcamping
we left our campsite around 7:30 AM when we noticed some people fishing at the other end of the lake. we panicked. we weren’t sure how much trouble we’d be in…. then as we drove by the people they said “hope we didn’t ruin your morning, have a good day” ha! i guess we weren’t the first people to discover this beautiful, quiet, hidden lake…. regardless, i think we’ll do it again.

Love

Crista