Jan
31

Betty Bear Hut 10th Mountain

Moving to Colorado was an intentional lifestyle choice on my part. People always ask, WHY?

I no longer enjoyed the monotonous life I was living in Chicago, I craved more adventure than what was available in the city. 

Betty Bear Hut 10th Mountain

Rather than dressing in fancy, glittery attire for the begin of the New Year (as I would have done in Chicago), a couple of friends and I decided to tackle 14 miles of the backcountry in snowshoes. The beastly trail that took us to the 10th Mountain Betty Bear Hut was certainly the toughest trail I have ever hiked. After 1 mile, I was all “are we there yet…??”

Betty Bear Hut 10th Mountain

After hiking 6.5 miles up the mountain in >10 degree weather, a wave of altitude sickness (that ended up lasting all night) swept over me. After hiking 7 miles up the mountain, I could hear friends in front of me celebrating, they’d found the Betty Bear Hut that we would call home on New Years Eve night. I can’t describe the amount of relief I experienced in that moment.

Betty Bear Hut 10th Mountain

Betty Bear Hut 10th Mountain

The views in the backcountry are unlike anything you will see elsewhere in the world, you’ve got to put in work in order to lay eyes on that unobstructed beauty. If you can manage it, it is largely worth it, even with a severe case of altitude sickness…

Betty Bear Hut 10th Mountain

Betty Bear Hut 10th Mountain

2015 ended rough for me and 2016 began the same way HOWEVER I have once again recommitted to living the life I want to live without any apologies to anyone. Hiking up to Betty Bear (we call her the Bitch) revealed a confidence that I didn’t know existed within myself. I only admitted to no one but myself how nervous and anxious I really was to hike up that mountain. My lower back is equivalent to or worse than an 80 year olds, I suck at cardio, I lack stamina, we feared an avalanche, and although sunny, there was a chill in the air that kept our bones tight – this hike was tough but I I did it. I DID IT.

Betty Bear Hut 10th Mountain

Betty Bear Hut 10th Mountain

Betty Bear Hut 10th Mountain

At the top of the mountain, not only were we greeted with breathtaking views, but an amazing, well-stocked, cozy-as-hell hut big enough to accommodate 16 people. Enough firewood to last an entire winter, sleeping pads and pillows, buckets to collect snow for melting down, and a rustic kitchen were just a few of the amenities that made our overnight stay comfortable.

Betty Bear Hut 10th Mountain

Betty Bear Hut 10th Mountain

Over the holiday season, I lost faith in some people and gained mad respect for others. I am tremendously proud of the women and dudes that hiked to the top of this mountain with me and encouraged me to laugh and have fun along the way. Camaraderie is one of the main components that made it possible for us to summit and visit Betty, and camaraderie is exactly what each individual shared along the arduous hike.

Betty Bear Hut 10th Mountain

Betty Bear Hut 10th Mountain

Betty Bear Hut 10th Mountain

What happens after 7 miles you may ask? Celebration, wine, lots of wine, a group-prepared and devoured dinner, yoga & stretching, cabin clothes, relaxation, snow collecting, sledding, laughs, s’mores, sleep, and preparation to wake up the next morning and make the trek downhill….

Betty Bear Hut 10th Mountain

I have not lived my life the way I planned to when moving. Regretfully, my intentions and purpose were obstructed by love, fear, and anxiety.

On this last day of the first month of the new year, I am thankful for the Coloradical life I live and I am thankful for the beautiful land and people that surround me. I am committed to more of that from this day going forward.

Betty Bear Hut 10th Mountain

Love

Crista


Oct
15

swan lake road / dillon reservoir

As the sun began it’s journey to the west side of the mountains, I couldn’t help but drive up to Swan Lake Road and perch myself on the side of the mountain to catch those last rays of sunshine for the day.

Beautiful, how the clouds meld into the snow-capped mountains, and allow the persistent rays of light to rigidly shine through.

dillon reservior / breckenridge

swan lake road / breckenridge

breckenridge / lake dillon

swan lake road / lake dillon

swan lake road / lake dillon

breckenridge / snowy mountains

I’m in the mountains for a few days this week, a work-related trip. I went to Aspen for the first time yesterday. The fall colors are GORGEOUS up there – the most vibrant yellows, oranges, and reds I have ever seen., I didn’t get any photos unfortunately, but I wish I had.

Today, I’m going to do a quick hike in Glenwood Springs before heading back home…. My eyes crave more candy…

Love

Crista


May
17

Breckenridge

While my mom was visiting last weekend, she got to experience a variety of different seasons. On Saturday, we had beautiful 80 degree weather – perfect for hiking Red Rocks. On Sunday, we schlepped around Boulder (shopping), determined to not be stuck in the house all day. By Monday, the rain turned to snow – in MAY –  spring feels somewhat like winter when you are (once again) pulling out snow boots and heavy jackets. I had put those items away thinking they’d serve no purpose the next few months…. BUT, this is Colorado :) So, in the snow, we drove up to the mountains – they are prettiest when covered in snow anyway. Breckenridge is where we landed. It’s mud season now, so the city was as quiet as can be. Regardless, we had a good meal and shopped the few stores that were still open. 

Breckenridge

It was kind of fun to see what Colorado looks like in the spring AND what it might look like in the winter – all in one weekend. I guess it’s part of the beauty of living here.

Breckenridge

Love

Crista


Jan
11

Rocky Mountains

I am absolutely obsessed with the Rocky Mountains. I couldn’t be more happy to finally be moving so close to them….

Rocky Mountains Rocky Mountains

During my recent visit to Denver, I stayed in the mountains a few nights, Breckenridge and Vail. Part of me would love to just move to the mountains, but the food selection isn’t as abundant up there. This foodie really really likes to have plenty of restaurants to choose from and Whole Foods. smile.

Rocky Mountains

However brisk, the air up there in the mountains is fresh and pure. It was hard to breathe in the mountains though, I will definitely have to do some adjusting to the higher altitude. 

Rocky Mountains Rocky Mountains

I could have taken a million photos of these mountains… and the trees… and the snow… and the sun… and the blue, blue sky.. and the life… 

Rocky Mountains Rocky Mountains Rocky Mountains Rocky Mountains

While parked in town, Vail, a black crow landed on my car and was walking around. It was bizarre, I’ve never seen a bird perched atop a vehicle. 

Rocky Mountains Rocky Mountains Rocky Mountains

“Those who travel to mountain-tops are half in love with themselves, and half in love with oblivion.” 
 {Robert Macfarlane, Mountains of the Mind: A History of a Fascination}

Love

Crista


Jan
05

Happy new Years my friends! 
Is it too late to say that? Have you already moved on?

I spent my NYE in Breckenridge with strangers. It was gorgeous being up there, but a little strange to party with people I didn’t know. Fun, nonetheless. I made fresh baked {vegan} chocolate chip cookies for everyone with cookie dough I had purchased earlier that day. Everyone else was drinking (beer) non-stop, I only had two glasses of my Vanilla Vodka Chai Teas. mmmmm

breckenridge

Because Marijuana went legal on the 1st in Denver, I paid a visit to a recreational marijuana dispensary. Don’t judge me, if you were in Denver this week. you’d have gone there too – just for the experience. I don’t smoke, I didn’t even buy anything. But now I can say I’ve been there, and done that.

Cheesman Park

I went out this morning for yoga but I think I’ll stay in from the cold the majority of the day. Like many of you out there (especially in the Midwest) we are getting pounded with snow here in Denver. 

Snow Day

It’s so funny to experience peoples reaction to the snow. The weather all of a sudden become top news, REPORTING: 6 INCHES OF SNOW!! Funny, one of my friends from Vail was laughing because they get just about that much snow on a DAILY basis. 

When I went out this morning, I saw two people skiing through Cheesman Park, fully embracing the weather. I loved it. I wish I could snowboard, I bet today would be the PERFECT powdery day to be on the mountain… 

Snow Days

Everyone is talking about the snowy weather on Facebook, almost as if they’ve never seen snow before. One of my friends shared this video where a comedian is poking fun at the fact that people run out and grab their milk and bread in case they get snowed in. I never understood that. Why bread & milk? Sandwiches & cereal? That doesn’t sound warm at all.

If I were snowed in, I’d want to be sure I had these items in stock: quinoa, a variety of fruit & vegetables, cereal, almond milk, beans, popcorn, and a box of cornbread mix.

I made an apple pie quinoa dish for breakfast this morning (recipe coming soon) and I’m ready for more comfort food. In this chilly weather, I’m craving something warm. 

garlicky kale + white bean stew

Here are a few foods I like to make on a chilly, snowy, day-in-the-house like today: Breakfast Quinoa with Fruit & Almonds, Apple Carrot Quinoa Chili, Garlicky Kale + White Bean Stew, Roasted Acorn & Butternut Squash SoupSweet Jalapeño Cornbread, and Indian Tea.

Stay warm, friends! 
xox

Love

Crista


Dec
11

BRRRRRRRR.
It is bone chilling cold here in Chicago.
We had our first big snow here last night, it was beautiful to wake up to.
It’s always fun to make the first footsteps in the fresh, powdery snow.
In weather like this, it’s hard to want to do much besides sit on the couch, with my fuzzy socks on, snuggled in a warm blanket…. and blog.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll do anything to stay warm.
Here are a few comfort foods that may help to warm your body and your soul:

Aveda Tea

Comforting Hot Tea

apple carrot quinoa chili

Apple Carrot Quinoa Chili

Mushroom Barley Soup

Mushroom Barley Soup 

Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Grapes

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Grapes

Breakfast Quinoa

Breakfast Quinoa with Fruit & Almonds

Kale Breakfast

Kale + Avocado Toast Brunch

….let it snow, let it snow, let it snow….

Love

Crista