Feb
03

People who don’t know about Colorado think that Denver is a snowy, wintry mess and they snub it due to their lack of knowledge. Honestly, I didn’t know much about Denver’s awesome weather before I got here, and I almost don’t want to tell people about how awesome the weather is here because there are already too many people moving to this city! (LITERALLY, there aren’t even enough homes to house all the people that are moving here, it’s crazzzzy)

North Table Mountain

North Table Mountain

These photos were taken at North Table Mountain (which is about 20 mins from my new home) in January, the dead of winter.

Sure, the mountains get a lot of snow during the wintery months, but down here in the foothills we get very mild weather – a lot of 60’s and 70’s days, and on the day these photos were taken, 80’s. We were in tank tops and we were WARM.

North Table Mountain

The photo above shows the Denver skyline, from atop the mountain. 

North Table Mountain

North Table Mountain

You can see snow on this mountain, it sits on the side of the mountain that doesn’t get much sun. And sure, we get snow in Denver but it disappears within a day or two. It lasts just long enough to justify a “snow day” and hang out by the fireplace… then it’s back to the outdoors the following day.

North Table Mountain

My friend Samantha just moved to Colorado from Georgia. A she was planning her trip out here, her friends told her she needed an SUV, 4 wheel drive, and chains for her tires. It made me laugh, simply because many people really have no idea how good we have it here in Denver.

North Table Mountain

North Table Mountain

I’ve been sick the last two weeks (cold, flu, bronchitis, or a sinus infection – who knows) and I tend to avoid doctors and medicine. I just can’t bring myself to take a lot of medicine, so I don’t. Instead, I rest, drink lots of water, and allow myself some fresh mountain air. 

Although I felt much better after getting off the couch and becoming one with nature the day we took these photos, I am still waiting to kick this illness….

While many of my friends in the midwest figure out how to dig themselves out of the snow today, I’ll be out enjoying a Coloradical 65 degree, sunny day at the park with my doggie.

North Table Mountain

Love

Crista


Aug
17

peaches-and-cream-yogurt-parfait

It’s peach season here in Colorado and apparently it’s a pretty big deal. There are several festivals happening throughout the entire state in celebration. A mountain town, on the Western Slope, Palisade, CO is where some of the best peaches in the world are grown and that small town sits near Wine Country. Sounds like a great place to vacation – local wineries, festivals, tours, farm-to-table dinners (peach & wine inspired), farmers markets, B&B’s, and a quaint little downtown. (count me in!!)

After hearing about these peaches (everyone is talking about them!) I didn’t wait long to try them. I ate one the first chance I got! I was driving through a small suburb right outside of Denver the first time I spotted these peaches, they were being sold at a little fruit stand in the corner of the parking lot. I may or may not being living off of peaches right now – I take one with me every where I go. I eat them for breakfast and as a late-night snack. I’ve paired them with ice cream and peanut buttered crackers. 

For a Sunday morning breakfast-in-bed, I decided to make a Peaches & Cream Yogurt Parfait. I prepared the peaches last night (as the recipe prompts you to do) and couldn’t wait to get up this morning to eat them. And now I’m off… to begin my day… 

Peaches & Cream Yogurt Parfait
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 peaches, core removed and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
  • ½ cup vanilla coconut milk yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ¼ cup granola
Instructions
  1. Toss the peaches with the sugar and allow them to sit in the refrigerate overnight. They will soften and create a syrup.
  2. When ready to serve, stir the honey in to the yogurt and then combine the peaches and yogurt together.
  3. Top with granola.

palisade-peaches

Love

Crista


Aug
16

“Where are we??”
“RED ROCKS!!”
“What are we??”
“ALIVE!!”

….a chant that was articulated between a yoga teacher and 2000 yogi students (including myself and a lucky PLQ giveaway winner) several times this morning….

yoga-on-the-rocks

By 9:30 AM this morning, I felt accomplished. I had already practiced yoga at Red Rocks with 2000 other yogis and hiked the Trading Post Trail at Red Rocks. Oh, I’d also collected several free samples that Whole Foods was giving away for the Yoga On The Rocks event. 

yoga-on-the-rocks

I learned today that Red Rocks is the ONLY naturally-occuring, acoustically perfect amphitheater is the world – no wonder it has attracted the attention of musicians for years and years and years. Musicians plan years of their lives around the opportunity to play at this spiritual, emotional venue.

Yoga, on the rocks, was nothing short of an emotional experience either. During practice this morning, the instructor insisted that the students open their eyes and really LOOK at the surroundings. Beautiful rock formations, blue skies, and a bright, sunny sky.

yoga-on-the-rcosk

Practicing ancient, meditative body movements (yoga) in an ancient, naturally formed venue is an experience I will never ever forget. Upon entering the amphitheater this morning and during my yoga practice, I had an overwhelming feeling of emotion and energy.

yoga-on-the-rocks

There were 4 sessions of Yoga On The Rocks this year and I only got to attend 2. There is no doubt I will try my hardest to attend all 4 next summer.

yoga-on-the-rocks

Corepower Yoga is the host of Yoga On The Rocks and I’d like to extend gratitude to them for inviting me to YOTR, gifting me with a yoga mat and super sweet sunglasses, and allowing me to gift a reader with an unforgettable experience. 

My Colorado Life keeps getting better and better….

 

Love

Crista


Jul
19

Yoga On The Rocks

Before moving to Colorado, I learned about Yoga On The Rocks at Red Rocks and knew for sure I would be in attendance this summer. I mean seriously, do you see the view these people have during their yoga practice? There is no passing that up. I MUST be a part of it!!

I’ve had the 4 dates for YOTR this summer on my calendar since the day they were posted. Unfortunately, I was out of town during the first YOTR session this summer, but I’m almost 100% sure I’ll be at the next 3 sessions, and I’ll def be there on Aug. 2. 

Yoga On The Rocks

YOTR & PLQ are giving away a complimentary pass to attend a session of Yoga On The Rocks. Enter to win by leaving a comment on this post, telling me why you’d like to attend. The lucky winner will receive 2 passes (for you & a friend) and will choose between two dates (Aug. 9 OR Aug. 16).

Yoga On The Rocks

Since I plan to be at each of the YOTR sessions, I hope to meet the lucky winner, potentially neighbor during the practice, and capture some photos. 

Winners will be announced on July 31, which allows you to enter (by commenting on this post) until July 30.

If you’re not the lucky winner but you still plan on doing some yoga at YOTR, holler at me – I’d love to meet!! 

Yoga On The Rocks

***YOTR offered me the opportunity to give a complimentary pass to my readers, however I have not received any compensation for writing this post. The views expressed on PLQ are solely those of the blog post author (Crista), and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author’s sponsors.

The photos in this post were provided by YOTR.

Love

Crista


Jul
13

Mt. Evans Trail

Yesterday, I climbed my first fourteener. I had no idea what a fourteener was before I moved to Colorado, but everyone here talks about them – there are 53 of them in Colorado. A fourteener is any mountain or peek that is 14,000 feet or higher. I climbed to 14,256 feet yesterday with with some great friends.

Mt. Evans, Colorado

Mt. Evans, Colorado

I was nervous to hike this trail, especially knowing that I was doing it with people who have hiked several fourteeners. What put me at ease is that the Mt. Evans trail is only 2ish miles long, some of the fourteeners can be 10-13 miles long – and remember they are AT ELEVATION – it’s hard to breath up there! It was quite an intense hike, but doable with several resting sessions. This was considered one of the “easier” fourteeners, but it almost kicked my ass! 

Mt. Evans, Colorado

Thankfully, this guy (Patrick) helped me gather the correct gear for the hike. I thought it’d be warm up on top of the mountain at some point but it was pretty chilly – in the 60’s (if I had to guess) and very very windy. There were a few times I thought the wind could catch me and whisk me right off the mountain.

Mt. Evans, Colorado

The photo above is the peak of Mt. Evans, the final destination. It’s just about level with the clouds, as you can see. 

Mt. Evans, Colorado
Mt. Evans, Colorado

Mt. Evans, Colorado

Notice, there aren’t any trees in these photos. Trees stop growing around 11,000 feet and we were above the treelike the entire hike. It was super cool to drive up the mountain past the tree line it was a very distinct line. It looked like you could jump right from the road on to the top of a tree. Ha! 

Mt. Evans, Colorado

Mt. Evans, Colorado

Mt. Evans, Colorado

Mt. Evans, Colorado

Mt. Evans, Colorado

Mt. Evans, Colorado

Mt. Evans, Colorado

Every now and then we stopped, found a comfy place to sit, and marveled in amazement at the scenery.  It was incredible. (although, we DO live in CO, about 1 hour from Mt. Evans, so we get to see these mountains on a daily basis – it’s surreal to think about.) It was also necessary to catch our breath – hiking at elevation is exhausting!

Mt. Evans, Colorado

Mt. Evans, Colorado

Mt. Evans, Colorado

Mt. Evans, Colorado

We were pretty excited to find an easier trail to descend from the summit until we learned that the entire trail was composed of loose rock and mud, we basically slid the entire way down. Ouch, made my knees hurt – but so worth it.

Mt. Evans, Colorado

My friends did but I didn’t capture any photos at the top of the mountain (the summit)… I was busy caching my breath and enjoying the reward that I well deserved. Anyway, photos don’t do it justice – you just have to be there….

Love

Crista


Jul
04

Yesterday was a sad day. I had to dig up my plants that were planted throughout 2 garden plots provided to me through DUG: Denver Urban Gardens. I didn’t WANT to dig up, but I don’t feel like I had any other option. 

Denver Urban Garden

I was EXTREMELY excited to garden with DUG, I had been in contact with them for months waiting for an available plot to present itself to me and it FINALLY did. However, after that initial excitement, things started to move downhill pretty quickly. You see, someone was trampling my garden, someone dug up my tomato plants and stole my tomato cages, and a few weeks later, someone took two concrete blocks (I was using as stepping stones) out of the garden plots. And that’s not it – I was also promised a third plot (that was completely covered in weeds taller than myself). I had JUST come up with a plan to plant the seeds that were gifted to me at “On The Farm, Off The Hook” this past week SO I spent hours weeding the plot (do you KNOW how dirty that job is??) and prepping the soil, only to come back the next day and find that SOMEONE ELSE swooped in  and planted the space! THAT is STEALING! Luckily my seeds are still in my possession and not buried at the bottom of someone else’s garden mess.

I never even really got the opportunity to blog about my garden after it was planted because the “drama” started almost immediately. I kept waiting for the drama to subside so that I could focus on the happy but it seems like EVERY TIME I visited my plot (daily), I left feeling mad and upset. It shouldn’t have been that way. I was using that garden as an experiment, growing things I’d never grown before. It should have been a happy place, full of newness and positive energy. 

Denver Urban Garden

This week, I finally lost all confidence in that space, I knew that if I let my plants produce, there was a fat chance the fruit would be stolen from me. Or trampled on. Or who knows what else. So I moved all of my plants out of that space and in to the garden space behind the salon, where I’m confident they will be well looked after. Luckily, I had room for everything and didn’t have to abandon one single plant.

Before I made the decision to dig up all of my plants, I worked with the garden leader to find answers, but she had little to no information and/or skills to manage the challenges I was having.

In the middle of all this drama, I came across a blog post titled, “Community Does Not Mean Kumbaya” written by a garden leader and/or an employee of DUG. In the blog post, she expands on the drama and conflict that stems from the “community garden” community. Although an interesting read, I’m not sure that I found any relief in knowing that I’m not the only person experiencing conflict in the community. If anything, I’m even more turned off by the community gardening experience. I’m almost 100% sure I’ll never garden a community plot again. 

Denver Urban Garden

In the photo above, you see a tomato cage with two tomato plants planted in it. That cage and those plants magically appeared about one week after my two tomato plants went missing from my plot. I’ll never know for sure if those tomato plants were the ones I had planted or not, but I dug them up and took them with me anyway. I might know if they were mine after they start producing fruit. Gah, it makes me want to scream.

Everyone has a theory about what happened to my tomato plants but I’m about 100% sure it was the church groundskeeper who dug up my plants. He places a cinderblock in the space that my tomatoes were planted in – I doubt a thief from the streets would bother with the cinderblock. My belief is that someone from the church (probably the groundskeeper) and/or the other gardeners were the ones trampling my garden, and spilling piles of weeds in to it. Either way, the problem was obviously “on site” and I have no regrets moving my things off of that site.

I have been taught this lesson a time or two in the last few weeks: if there is someone or something that is presenting anger and/or negative energy to your world, it is best to remove it from your world.

Good-bye DUG.

Love

Crista


Jul
02

On The Farm, Off The Hook

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend an event put on by Heroes Like Us and Yelp Denver called On The Farm, Off The Hook. The event took place at the Growhaus, a local 20,000 square foot non-profit greenhouse, marketplace, and educational center. Essentially, the purpose of the event was to learn about and support local farms, chefs, and organizations. I was excited to be there for a few different reasons:
1. Check out the Growhaus (I loved it!!)
2. Meet like-minded people (and I did!!)
3. Eat yummy, locally-produced, organic food (mission accomplished!)

On The Farm, Off The Hook

The space was adorable, charming, the exact type space I dream of hosting my own dinner party in. Before dinner was served, we were able to walk around the Growhaus and check out the space while being served local craft beers and wines. The Growhaus is probably one of the coolest places I’ve ever been (I am so incredibly turned on by the process of growing local/organic food sustainably). I wanted to stay there at the Growhaus forever, move in.. you think they’d give me a job? (haha) 

I joined the Tambien program, which is a donation-based membership program which allows it’s members to support local food production and education in and around Denver. Im totally stoked to be a part of it, and can hardly wait to get more involved. (way to squeeze my foot through the door..)

On The Farm, Off The Hook

This guy, the Bishop, (pictured above) DJ’d during the cocktail hour – hilarious, right? He pretty much rocked.

On The Farm, Off The Hook

The local chefs that created our meal that evening are from Bad Apple, Fuel Cafe, and Petey Bird.

On The Farm, Off The Hook

Cocktails, wine, and beer were provided by Stranahan’s, Avery Brewing, and Infinite Monkey Theorem.

On The Farm, Off The hook

On The Farm, Off The Hook

It was so much fun to meet new people, everyone had a different purpose and reasoning for being there – amongst them were  a birthday girl and her pals celebrating, a husband-and-wife duo made a date night out of the event, and a nutritionist networking just the same as myself… just to name a few.

On The Farm, Off The Hook

On The Farm, Off The Hook

On The Farm, Off The Hook

If you look closely, I am in some of these photos. Which speaking of, I borrowed these photo from the Heroes Like Us blog post – I didn’t take many photos that night… I decided it was best to not worry about my camera and allow the photographers to do their job. My job that night was to relax, network, and eat damn good food. 

On The Farm, Off The Hook

On The Farm, Off The Hook

This was only the first of four “On The Farm, Off The Hook” events that are happening this summer. I’ve already purchased tickets for the July event happening at Miller Farms and I plan to attend all four events. Cheers to Heroes Like Us for organizing these events that are totally “off the hook”. 

the Growhaus Denver

Love

Crista


Jun
11

starter plants from Farmers Market

One of my biggest challenges with gardening (so far) this year was deciding where to buy the starter plants for the garden. It was really important to me that the starters were grown locally and organically. 

As soon as I learned that I’d have a garden this year, I turned to people who have lived in Colorado for several years to give me recommendations on which nurseries to shop here in Denver. I only found one that I was willing to shop, Urban Roots. Before committing to a purchase, I asked the staff a lot of questions and found out that they themselves actually visit all of the farms where the plants come from to ensure they are being grown organically.The staff was also very helpful in guiding me through what I will be most successful growing here in Colorado in the space that is available to me.

starter plants from Farmers Market

I wasn’t able to find all of the herbs and veggies I wanted at Urban Roots, so I turned to the Farmers Market where I found everything I was looking for (and then some).

At the Boulder Farmers Market, I was able to find 6-7 different local Colorado vendors selling starter plants, there was a huge variety. The only reason I didn’t start at the Farmers Market in the first place is because I didn’t know it existed until after I’d been to Urban Roots.

starter plants from Farmers Market

When I lived in Chicago, I always turned to the Farmers Market for all of my starter plants. The farmers are always full of information and I’ve learned a lot from them. 

Many people purchase their plants from places like Home Depot & Lowes but I would never. First off, I’ve seen gardens planted with plants from Home Depot and they never look as healthy as my plants are. Also, the staff at Home Depot has very little knowledge on all of the plants they sell so if you don’t know what you’re doing or looking for, there is no one to help you.

starter plants from Farmers Market

If you don’t have a Farmers Market available to you, check out Craigslist for local farmers who are selling starter plants. Before I knew about the Farmers Market here in Colorado, I found a few locals that had plants for sale. I never did go visit them because I was able to gather everything I was looking for at Urban Roots and the Farmers Market.

starter plants from Farmers Market

Love

Crista


May
04

A few months back, I got in contact with Go Max Go Foods after randomly receiving one of their candy bars as a gift from a patron at a restaurant I was dining at. This girl at the restaurant had ordered an entire box of Twilight candy bars and was handing them out at the restaurant. She must have felt really nice that day.

When I contacted Go Max Go Foods to tell them how awesome their candy bars are (and to recommend a few potential retailers to them), they offered to send me one of each candy bar to share with my blog readers! …more generosity…

All of the candy bars are 100% vegan, made without the use of GMO’s, and 6 out of 7 are gluten-free! Plus, these candy bars don’t lack flavor – they are just as good if not better than any candy bar out there. See if you can guess which “regular” candy bars each of these mocks.

Go Max Go Foods Candy Bar

SNAP!™ Candy Bar

— crisped rice in a rice-milk chocolatey coating.

Go Max Go Foods Candy Bar

Buccaneer™ Candy Bar

— a chocolatey nougat in a rice-milk chocolatey coating.

Go Max Go Foods Candy Bar

Cleo’s™ Peanut Butter Cups

— creamy peanut butter in a rice-milk chocolatey coating.

Go Max Go Foods Candy Bar

Twilight™ Candy Bar

— caramel and chocolatey nougat in a rice-milk chocolatey coating.

gomaxcandybar-4

Mahalo™ Candy Bar

— coconut & almonds in a rice-milk chocolatey coating.

Go Max Go Foods Candy Bar

Thumbs Up™ Candy Bar

— a crunchy, peanut buttery center in a rice-milk chocolatey coating.

Go Max Go Foods Candy Bar

Jokerz™ Candy Bar

— peanuts, caramel, and nougat in a rice-milk chocolatey coating.

vegan blizzard

 I found a recipe for a milkshake / blizzard on Go Max Go’s blog and I’ve recreated the recipe twice using two different candy bars (Jokerz & Buccaneer). This is definitely the best way to enjoy these candy bars in my opinion. 

a vegan Ice Cream Blizzard
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups non-dairy ice cream
  • ¼ cup non-dairy milk (I used almond milk)
  • 1 Go Max Go candy bar of choice, chopped
Instructions
  1. Combine the ice cream and milk in a blender and pulse until smooth and creamy.
  2. Add the chopped candy bar and pulse until is evenly distributed throughout the blizzard and the pieces are chopped to your liking.

vegan blizzard

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There are 3 ways you can win these candy bars: 

1. Follow peace. love. quinoa on Facebook and post your favorite recipe from the PLQ FOOD archives. Be sure to tag and hashtag @peace. love. quinoa #peacelovequinoa in your post. 

2. Share this vegan Ice Cream Blizzard recipe on Facebook, tell your friends which Go Max Go Foods candy bar you would use in the blizzard. Be sure to tag and hashtag @peace. love. quinoa #peacelovequinoa in your post. 

3. Share a recipe or a post from the peace. love. quinoa Facebook page and ask your friends to follow peace. love. quinoa.

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 To be sure I see your post, I recommend you leave a link in the comments of this post.

The winner of this giveaway will be chosen and notified on May 18.

If you are interested in purchasing these candy bars, Go Max Go’s website lists out all of the locations where their candy bars are sold. Luckily, there is a vegan market (NOOCH) within walking distance of my home that sells these candy bars, so I’ve got easy access. 

Love

Crista


Mar
18

Deer Creek Canyon

Deer Creek Canyon

Deer Creek Canyon

Deer Creek Canyon

Deer Creek Canyon

Deer Creek Canyon

Deer Creek Canyon

Deer Creek Canyon

Early last week, I took a hike through the Deer Creek Canyons which is just about 25 miles southwest of my apartment. I LOVE living in Colorado, especially with all of the access I have to the amazing outdoors. 

The weather has been amazing here in Denver, today is was in the 70’s…..
I will never regret moving here. 

Love

Crista