Sep
18

Over the weekend, we went to see the JOBS movie. The movie was great, however unsatisfying. The movie offered an account of  Steve Jobs career as it related to the startup of Apple. It was almost as if the movie could have ben called “Apple” instead of “Jobs”. What disappointed me is that the movie did not expose the personal life of Steve Jobs.There were a few moments when I thought the movie would display the emotion that Steve Jobs felt during some of the life changing human interactions he experienced it, but after only skimming the surface, those moments would end. There were many questions unanswered about what a genius like Steve does when he is at home. I know he lived a very unique life and that is what I was hoping to learn more about in the movie. you know who else I wanted to know more about? Steve Wozniak.

Not many of us on this earth will have movies and books written about us after we die. If we want our story to be told, we have the opportunity to do it while we are alive, and make it available for the world to see. My buddy Sean (and his crew) recently developed an iPhone app, StoryApp that allows the user to tell their story. The blogging platform is another way for users to tell their stories, which is what I how chosen to tell my stories. (I use StoryApp too, it’s badass)

The reason I want to tell my story so bad is because I have strong influencers and beliefs that I know will enhance peoples lives if they choose to hear me out and take part in what I’ve taken part in. It is no secret that since the day I read the book Skinny Bitch, food became one of my number one influencers. Food & eating influence my how I spend my money, the conversations that I have with people, where I choose to travel, among many other things. I booked a trip to the Waterfall Villas in Costa Rica solely based on a review I read about the food available there.

I had a conversation with my mother last week and during that conversation I was shocked at what came out of my mouth. I was shocked, but I wasn’t shocked – my thoughts were premeditated and I meant what I said. I said to her: “I know how you are going to die, It will be cancer.” I’m not sure how she felt after I said that to her, but she responded with something like: “I know I need to give up the diet soda”. And then I said it again: “It is going to kill you.”

My mom may or may not have the same belief that I do but I hope to someday help her see what I can see. If I keep telling my story, and sharing my beliefs, those who read my story will eventually find something that they can relate to. My motivation is found through hearing the story of a person who made a life change based on a story I told them.

Yesterday I received a text from my mother-in-law to tell me about a life changing moment she had experienced. This woman who has been drinking soda every day for years hadn’t had a soda in over a week. While at work, she broke down and opened up a can but after taking just a few sips she decided to dump the rest out. She immediately sent me a message to tell me what she had done – she knew I would be proud of her, and I was. THAT is the kind of story I like to hear.

Stories that serve people. I have lived in my current location for almost a year now and I just recently found a sense of community with a group of yogis who attend the same yoga classes that I do. I have become fond of one teacher in particular because I am drawn to her style, her voice, and her flow. The first class I took of hers, she asked my name, and she is the one who invited me to be a part of the community. Every time I take her class, I walk out with a new perspective on life. Through yoga, she is teaching me important life lessons.

During class today (in which she was a student, not the teacher), I found myself wondering  about her. Where does she live? Is she married? What is her family like? How did she get involved with yoga? Does she have a full-time job? Or has she dedicated her life to yoga? You see, I trust this woman to offer me life recommendations and in order to enhance my learning, understanding, and my practice I would like to get to know more about her and her journey.

Originally, I labeled this blog a food blog even though I decided that I don’t appreciate labeling. I take it back. This is my life in a blog. I might talk about food often because it deeply affects my daily life, but I might choose to talk about traveling, or gardening, or some gadget that I found that I think other people could benefit from having.  I’m not sharing just to share, I share in hopes that you can relate with me and benefit from the stories that I have to share.

Blogging can be some what like a full time job and I hope to turn it in to my full time job some day. I spend countless hours working on blog posts, taking photos, and most recently designing my blog to make it look more attractive and user-friendly for two reasons: 1. Attractively display my stories. 2. Create a home/space to invite my friends to.

I’d also like to invite my friends to share their stories on peace. love. quinoa. There are many amazing people in my life whose story I know needs to be heard like my girfriend who has lost 60+ pounds by giving up junky food, I have a friend who is an expert at meditation, and a friend who has beat Crohn’s Disease by changing her diet. This is real life and these are real people and they are the people who inspire me on a daily basis.

So I welcome you, my friend. Welcome to my home. Welcome to the space that I spend a lot of time in. I do it for you, I do it for me. I do it because I enjoy it and I am obsessed with it.

/////////////////////////////////////////

A penny for my thoughts, oh, no, I’ll sell ’em for a dollar
They’re worth so much more after I’m a goner
And maybe then you’ll hear the words I been singin’
//the band perry// 

Love

Crista


Jan
04

for my 30th birthday, we took a trip to Costa Rica

before we lost our GoPro Hero Cam (on the third day of our trip), we took some video footage
Let me clarify: I did not lose the camera, HE did. in the ocean.
there is NOWHERE in Costa Rica to purchase a Hero Cam.
we couldn’t replace it until we got back to the States.
4 days of vacation in Costa Rica without a Hero Cam = sad face
part of owning a Hero Cam is understanding the risk of losing it.
we’re not the only ones.

please enjoy our amateur video. it’s so good. but only 2 days worth. 

Love

Crista


Nov
17

Our trip to Costa Rica was lovely however it could have been burdensome and cruel without the proper gear. After we booked our trip to Costa Rica, we went crazy trying to figure out what to pack for our trip. I hear it’s the rainy season, did we need rain jackets? Wait, what’s the weather like? Will it get chilly at night? Do we need hiking boots? Should they be waterproof? Water shoes? Should we pack a travel safe to store our belongings? Someone told me there is a chance our car will get broken in to. Should we take our mobile phones? Will we be able to make phone calls from CR? Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah. We had heard so many different things from so many different people, that it was hard to decide what we did need and what we didn’t need.

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Costa Rica Packing List

COSTA RICA PACKING LIST

Our trip included 6 days in Dominical, Costa Rica which is on the South Pacific during the winter/rainy season. During our trip we ziplined, hiked, climbed waterfalls, and laid around at the beach. We stayed at two beautiful rainforest resorts, our trip did not include any primitive stays. I will say that our trip within itself was fairly inexpensive, however we spent a great deal of money on accessories. This packing list that I am providing includes the items that worked for us. I have offered commentation on the big “why” behind the items listed. You may need to add to this packing list if you are staying longer, doing different activities than we did, attending an event, or if you are camping. 

CLOTHES

  • Tanks & T-shirts
  • multiple pairs of Shorts
  • Moisture-Wicking Pants/Shorts
  • 2 Sundresses
  • Lightweight Hoodie or Sweater
  • Lightweight Water-Resistant Jacket
  • 3-4 Bathing Suits
  • comfortable Underwear
  • Sports Bras
  • Sleepwear

Whatever clothing you decide to pack for Costa Rica, be sure that it is lightweight and will dry out quickly especially if you are visiting during the rainy season (which is a beautiful time of year to visit.) I would not recommend taking heavy jeans or denim jackets. Most days we wore our swimsuits underneath our clothing in place of undergarments – you never know when you’ll come across a waterfall that you must jump in. I doubt you’ll need fancy clothing for your trip to costa Rica (unless you are attending a Wedding or an event.) The Ticos do not ever dress fancy –  if you choose to, you will look silly.  

ACCESSORIES

  • Hats
  • multiple pairs of Sunglasses
  • Bandana / Headbands
  • Poncho
  • cheap waterproof Watch
  • small Umbrella

I struggled with deciding whether or not we would need to purchase expensive rain jackets and ponchos. Although we were in CR during the rainy season, the rain did not bother us much. The rain came around 2PM and was gone around 5:30PM. We came equipped with rain jackets and ponchos, we only wore our rain jackets once and it was because we were a little chilly, not because of the rain. We never wore our ponchos. You could probably get away with purchasing a $5.00 poncho and leave the Rain Jacket behind. I was so glad that I didn’t spend $200.00 on a rain jacket from REI (I found one at TJ Maxx for $15.00.)

FOOTWEAR

  • comfortable Flip Flops
  • Hiking or Trail shoes
  • Waterproof Shoes, I recommend TEVA’s (for rafting or waterfall play) -find a pair that you can wear comfortably without socks
  • lightweight Hiking Socks

Whatever foot wear you decide to take, make sure that it is comfortable. You will not need fancy footwear (unless you are attending an event.) Take shoes that you are OK with ruining. I wouldn’t recommend taking your gym shoes that you’ll want to continue wearing to the gym when you get back. Purchasing a pair of Teva’s prior to the trip was the best decision we made. 

PERSONAL ITEMS

  • Bobby Pins
  • Hair Ties
  • Tweezers
  • Clips
  • Ziplock Bags (variety)
  • Nail Clippers / File
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip Balm w/ SPF
  • Feminine Products
  • Insect Repellent
  • Cortisone Anti-Itch Cream
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Bandages
  • Small Roll of Toilet Paper (keep this in your day pack) 

Don’t expect to find any of these items in CR if you forget to pack them. Shopping in CR is minimal – close to non-existent, even for items like Bug Spray and Sunscreen. Take a small roll of toilet paper and keep it in your day pack. Just trust me on this one. 

ELECTRONICS

  • Camera
  • Waterproof Video Camera, I recommend a GoPro Hero Cam
  • Laptop (I recommend you dump your memory cards at the end of each day)
  • Chargers
  • Travel Alarm Clock
  • Spare batteries
  • Spare Memory Cards
  • Flashlight

We took a lot of electronics with us with no regrets. We had a DSLR Camera with waterproof casing and a GoPro Hero Cam. Between these two, we got some phenomenal photos and video footage. Be sure to dump your memory cards at the end of each day, you never know if you’ll lose your camera or ruin your memory cards the next day. We did lose our Hero Cam to the ocean half way through the trip – thank goodness we dumped our memory cards and still came home with a decent amount of footage. One of the hotels we stayed at did not have an alarm clock or a TV, it was nice to not be worried about the time – but let’s face it, sometimes you need to know what the time is. 

GEAR & EXTRAS

  • Reading Books
  • Guidebook
  • Journal
  • Pens & Pencils
  • Quick Dry Towel
  • Lighter / Matches
  • Mesh Laundry Bag
  • Swiss Army Knife
  • Duct Tape
  • Travel Yoga Mat
  • Backpack Food (for hiking)
  • Airtight Waterproof Bags (variety of sizes)

We stored a variety of different things in the airtight/waterproof bags: money, electronics, toilet paper, our Passports, etc…

PAPERWORK

  • Passport
  • Driver’s License
  • Credit Cards (as backup – use mostly cash)
  • Travel Confirmations
  • Copies of your Passport & Credit Cards (or scan them and e-mail them to yourself)
  • Travel Itinerary
  • Numbers for Emergency Contacts
  • Numbers of CC companies

You may not have access to phones & e-mail while you are in CR so make copies of anything that is important to you JUST IN CASE. Before you travel, print off directions for your first destination if you are renting a vehicle. I recommend that you plan to pay for most everything with CASH in CR. Most places will take a credit card, but you will be charged international fees every time you swipe that card. One of the hotels we stayed at gave us a discounted rate because we paid in cash. 

LUGGAGE

  • Backpack
  • PacSafe (if you are hiking for multiple days)
  • TSA Approved padlocks

You will only need a PacSafe/Travel Safe if you are planning on camping if you are staying at a primitive hostel. If you are staying at a resort/hotel, your belongings should be safe. DO NOT ever leave your valuable items in the car, keep them on your person at all times. Although a few people mentioned Costa Rica not being safe with a risk of being robbed, we never felt that our safety is at risk and we were never robbed – or even messed with. 

Love

Crista


Nov
07

On my bucket list sat the Waterfall Villas in Costa Rica for many many years.
The main reason I wanted to visit Costa Rica was so that I could stay at this beautiful, serene, scenic, vegan-friendly resort.
Situated in the lush Baru rainforest, the Waterfall Villas are completely secluded and offer a true escape.

Waterfall Villas

Waterfall Villas

These pristine, private waterfalls are accessible only by guests of the hotel (us.) We were lucky enough to have the waterfalls all to ourselves during our stay. (!!!) The constant flow of the crystalline waters was breathtaking. We bathed in the waterfalls for hours….

Waterfall Villas

Waterfall Villas

Waterfall Villas

Waterfall Villas

Waterfall Villas

The rooms at the Waterfall Villas are adorable and offer a balance of the elements using authentic Feng Shui architecture and design. Every room is equipped with a balcony that overlooks the top of the waterfalls. We chose a rainy day to pull the sofa in our room out on to our balcony and we napped the entire day. (!!!!) I have never been more relaxed than I was that day. Our room also had a private outdoor meditation garden, these open air spaces allow for the ever moving Qi energy.

Waterfall Villas

Waterfall Villas

Waterfall Villas

Upon arrival, the owners scheduled our private candlelit vegan dinner. Yes, a private vegan dinner. Served in an outdoor pavillion overlooking the waterfalls. We enjoyed a vegan lasagna and carrot salad.

And then every morning a vegan breakfast was provided, prepared fresh by a private chef. We indulged in vegan banana pancakes, fresh pineapple, hot tea, and a fruit smoothie. The pancakes were phenomenal, the best I’ve ever had.

Waterfall Villas

Breakfast also consisted of cereal and Costa Rican fruits: sun-ripened bananas, papaya, watermelon, and pineapples.

Waterfall Villas

Our experience at the Waterfall Villas is tough to describe with words.
There were minimal words spoken while we were there and I’m leaving this blog post to a minimum, allowing just enough…. I encourage that you check out the Waterfall Villas for yourself…..

Waterfall Villas

A healing journey was promised and attained.

Love

Crista


Oct
24

rambutan / lychee

In my previous blog post, I mentioned the lychee fruit that we fell in love with. Everywhere we went, Chris carried them in the pockets of his cargo pants and I always had a few in my backpack. Every other day or so, we’d purchase a bag of the exotic fruits from a local Tico selling street side.

I vividly remember the Tico’s calling this fruit a “lychee” and we ran around Costa Rica all week telling everyone about these lychees that we couldn’t get enough of.

The gal from this blog mentioned that the pictured fruit is not a lychee, rather a rambutan. She wrote a post featuring the lychee fruit, and I do notice that the fruit pictured in her photos is most definitely different than the fruit we experienced in Costa Rica.

I’m so confused… why were the Ticos calling this fruit a lychee?
I decided to do more research. Instead of finding clarity on this topic, confusion. 

Let me explain to you what is blowing my mind right now. 

Listverse.com names this fruit a rambutan in their “Top 20 Fruits You Probably Don’t Know” list. 

Costa Rica Country Living calls this fruit a lychee. Not only do they picture this red fruit, but they also show this fruit in a yellow variety (is this still called lychee?) (oh, I just read that the yellow version is a “wild lychee”)

To make things even more complicated InsideCostaRica.com calls this fruit mamón chino (or the Costa Rican rambutan.) Mamón Chino translates to Chinese Sucker. The Eye On Costa Rica blog and the California Native both agree that this fruit is called a Mamón Chino.

As if I’m not already feeling dizzy from all of this rambutan/mamón madness, my head was spinning after I read the definition of Mamón at RuralCostaRica.com. The definition is as follows: “This is a small, bitter fruit that has a small pit in the middle. The mamón chino is another variety of the fruit with soft spines on the outside husk. This “Chinese” version is known in English as the Asian fruit ‘lychees’.”

I am convinced that this fruit is not officially a lychee, however I am bewildered by the Ticos for naming it as such.

rambutan / lychee

Love

Crista


Oct
21

Traveling to Costa Rica is hectic, yet rewarding. My understanding that vegan food is easily accessible in Costa Rica was one of the main reasons I wanted to visit the country. That, and adventure. A girl who appreciates vegan, organic, clean foods can appreciate the local foods offered in Costa Rica.

Upon our arrival into San Jose, I experienced anxiety, worry, trepidation. The airport experience was chaotic and upon realizing the lack of traffic regulations, renting a car seemed like an awful idea. We chose to drive in to San Jose, which was the opposite direction we needed to be headed because I had heard of a few vegan restaurants in that area. Although the guy behind the counter at the rental car company advised against it, we did it anyway. We could not read the street signs, nor was the “map” any help. I use the word “map” very loosely. Eyes wide open, sitting on the edge of my seat, we were driving in to a crazy busy city without any idea of …of.. anything. Well, we knew we were hungry for vegan Costa Rican food.

We never did find the restaurant originally sought after, however we did stumble upon El Gourmet Vegetariano. Upon sight of the restaurant, the universe became a bit brighter, our anxiety released, and our journey was officially validated.

El Gourmet Vegetariano

We found a place to park the truck, which was scary considering we could not read the street signs and we had all of our valuables packed in the vehicle. In Chicago, if you park on the wrong side of the street at the wrong time, you are ticketed. Would this happen in San Jose? We still have no way of knowing.

Dodging the rain, we stepped in to the restaurant. In broken english, the server asked “do you know we have no meat?” “That’s why we’re here.” *smiles* He handed us menus that we could not read (they only had a spanish version available) so we pointed to the pictures representing the meals we were interested in. (so that’s why photos are so important) We crossed our fingers in hopes that we’d made good decisions. Ends up, we were served one of the best meals we had the entire trip.

El Gourmet Vegetariano
My salad consisted of cucumber, tomato, lettuce, carrots, cabbage, avocado, yucca, pejibaye, plantains, and palmito. Served with oil & vinegar.

El Gourmet Vegetariano
Chris ended up with this palatable veggie burger. Seriously, the most scrumptious veggie burger I’ve EVER tasted. Oh, and those fries….. 

Through the continuous rain, we set off to our destination after lunch. We were looking at a full 3 hour drive. In the dark. In a foreign country. With minimal street signs and street lights. In the rain. We only got lost 7-10 times. We only had to stop and ask directions 7-10 times. High.Anxiety.

Costa Rica
This cute little market (Coca-Cola branded) we found along the side of the road lightened our mood. We purchased Costa Rican candies, honey, and lychees. The lychees ended up being Chris’ favorite fruit, in fact he took it upon himself to share them with every American we met along our trip. We met a group of people on our zipline tour who mentioned a bowl of these fruits decorating a table of their temporary home. They would have never known the lychee to be an edible fruit had they not met Chris.

rambutan/lychee
Chris carried a knife set along with him the entire trip, mostly to crack open the spiky balls of fruit. We purchased bags of bags of this fruit, mostly from Ticos selling on the side of the road.

rambutan/lychee

Late in the evening, we finally made it to our first temporary home, Cuna Del Angel in Puertocito. It was beautiful. There is so much story to tell but that is enough for one day. I’ve got to get on with my day, and pack for our big move.

Love

Crista


Oct
19

i am back home. from a country often mistaken as a Third World Country. where (many) people live in homes without windows and doors. they do not shower with hot water. they do not have WINDOWS or DOORS. OR HOT WATER. there are minimal street signs. there are no street names. addresses don’t exist. do they? work? money? eh. will-sell-lychees-on-the-side-of-the-street-for-money.

Costa Rica

a country that shows minimal litter. in fact, you would feel guilt from littering. there are no fast food joints. i saw one McDonalds and one WalMart. just one. of each. their food is fresh. organic. natural. they make do with what is available in their own country. you see a fruit growing on the tree, that fruit will be your breakfast. you see a fish swimming in the ocean, that fish will be your dinner. the Ticos don’t serve italian food and chinese food and thai food. they serve costa rican food. it wasn’t hard to find vegan food. in fact, i was pretty confident walking in to any restaurant or soda.

Waterfall Villas

do you know what eco-friendly means? the Ticos do. we ziplined through the Osa Mountain Village, hundreds of feet above the jungle platforms were bulit and ziplines were installed WITHOUT anything being screwed or nailed to the trees. don’t disrupt the natural surroundings.

Osa Canopy Tour

do you remember the days before mobile devices went mainstream, we had to stop at local gas stations to ask for directions if we were lost. sometimes, the gas station attendant was creepy. sometimes nice. sometimes helpful. sometimes, too creepy to stop. in Costa Rica, everyone is nice. and helpful. one guy even drew us up a map! we never once turned on our mobile devices in the country of Costa Rica. without legit street signs, we were free-ballin in a sense. there are no goole maps. just drawn out maps. well… and the maps provided by the rental car company. i… think… this is the right way…. uh… feels like the right way… let’s stop and ask. EVERYONE, regardless whether or not they spoke our language, was willing to help. this one family even let me use the restroom inside of their home! (we had been driving for hours) there are no McD’s or gas stations to stop at in time of need. well, you might find a gas station every 60 kilometers or so…

San Jose Costa Rica

this time of year marks the Green Season for Costa Rica, which doesn’t phase the locals one bit. they’re out with their bikes and scooters, umbrellas and ponchos. we were out too. i liked the rainy season. the weather was pleasant and predictable. the beaches weren’t crowded and we got extra attention at the hotels we stayed at.

Pura Vida

Love

Crista


Sep
21

On Wednesday, September 26, 2012 I will be 30 years old.

I’ve mentioned that we are taking a trip to Costa Rica for my 30th birthday, we leave on October 10.

I could be writing a post about what it “feels like” to be 30, or “30 things I’ve learned in 30 years” ….blah blah.
Fact of the matter is:
I feel damn good, better than ever.
I am more active than ever.
I am more aware than ever I ever was.
I am conscious.
I am loved.
I am happy.

 Maybe we really do get better with age?

Once upon a time, there were 3 guys who paid a visit to Dominical, Costa Rica (this is where I’m going) in search of pure adventure. I am overwhelmed with excitement to share their video footage.

Dominical, Costa Rica – Adventure Film from Blue Kite Cinema on Vimeo.

My heart races as I watch that video.
I am PUMPED to take a risk at adventure just like these guys did.
As people grow older, they become more cautious HOWEVER
I started rock climbing as an adult.
I started off-trail hiking as an adult.
I took Martial Arts classes as an adult.
I learned to ski & surf as an adult.
I purchased a Go Pro Hero Cam as an adult.
I have ditched the beach vacations in search of pure adventure.

So this was my “I might be getting old but I’m still awesome” post.

Love

Crista


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