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


Dec
12

cupcakeporn

cupcakeporn2

On a recent trip I took to Milwaukee, I stopped in to the Comet Cafe after googling vegan-friendly restaurants. It seems I never have a problem finding the hipster joints in any city I visit. 

So anyway, the food was good blah blah, but thats not what I’m writing this post about. I’m writing to tell you about the most amazing vegan cupcake I have ever experienced in my life. Homemade by the owners of the Comet Cafe, that most amazing vegan cupcake came to me in the form of Red Velvet. The cake was moist and the frosting was as equally creamy as it was sweet.

That cupcake was huge, but I still managed to eat every bite of it myself. I took it “to go” so that I could go back to my hotel room and eat it in private without any judgement from others. (stuff my face – nom nom nom)

I am on an ever-lasting hunt to find the “perfect vegan cupcake” ….could be that my search ended right there at the Comet Cafe.

Comet Cafe, 1947 N Farwell Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53202

Love

Crista


Apr
29

There aren’t many summer weekends in the Midwest region (Chicago) where I live so I want to be sure to take advantage of each and every summer weekend that I can. In order to do that, I’ve gotten out my calendar and I am planning my summer vacations and mini-get-aways already. My boyfriend hates that I plan all of this out in advance, he’d rather go with the flow but going with the flow leaves us sitting around the house wondering what we should do on the weekend. Blah.

We are city dwellers, recently relocated to the country. Our most recent past summers consisted of urban street festivals, and taking advantage of Chicago’s patio season, outdoor dining at our favorite charming restaurants. We’d take long walks through the concrete jungle that was our neighborhood, and spend time at the dog park with the pooch. Weekly, we’d visit our local farmers market and spend the day. On occasion, we’d get out of the city with a weekend trip to a state park, somewhere green. Life was good.

Life is still good. We live on 10 acres and have an in-ground pool just steps outside our back door. If the pool were open, I’d be writing this post pool-side. I can not wait to get my hands in to the 4-tier garden that my in-laws built and I’ll try composting for the first this summer. (excitement!) I doubt we’ll spend much time in the city this summer, rather take pleasure in the quiet slowness that the rural world has to offer. As I organize & plan my summer bucket list, I realize that I’m going to be a busy girl.

Warren Dunes - Sawyer, MI

On my SUMMER BUCKET LIST 2013:

  • When I think of summer, my first thought is of the beach. Last year, Chris & I discovered the WARREN DUNES in Sawyer, MI and we were in awe over the pristine beauty of the blue lake and white sandy beach. We were  just a few hours away from home in Michigan but it felt like we were on a vacation in some far-away place. We are DEFINITELY going back to the Warren Dunes this summer.
  • Speaking of Michigan, I recently learned of a Cleanse & Detox program at CAMP RAWNORA in Watervliet, MI. Two and a half days on 350 acres of pristine land focused on a healthy mind, body, and soul? YES, please.
  • Chris & I have enjoyed rock climbing for several years now but rarely get the opportunity to climb outdoors. We were introduced to the Chicago Mountaineering Club, which is a group that takes several trips a year up to DEVILS LAKE in Baraboo, WI for outdoor climbing. The Mountaineering Club owns property for their members (and guests) to camp on during their outings. We have only attempted a climbing trip with the Mountaineering Club once, it was rained out. We look forward to returning to Devils Lake this year for camping and climbing. Whether we are climbing or not, Devils Lake is one of our favorite places to spend summer days. The state park is gorgeous, offers beautiful hiking trails and a cute little lake for swimming. Aside from the CMC camp ground, we enjoy camping at Wheeler’s Campground, it’s clean and well-maintained.
  • Speaking of Wisconsin, I have become slightly obsessed with learning more about CAMP WANDAWEGA in Elkhorn, WI. Chris & I paid a visit to the camp a few months ago, they were been closed for the off-season. Although the signs read NO TRESPASSING, we wandered around. We found the decorated treehouse  and the tree swing however I don’t know much about the place. What I do know is that Martha Stewart featured the small lake resort on her website.
  • I’m traveling to Nashville, TN for work in July. OBVIOUSLY I’m going to extend my trip. I’d love to spend a few days in Nashville, a few days in Memphis, and a few days in Chattanooga at THE CRASH PAD, which  is an uncommon hostel welcoming outdoor adventurers (that’s me). From what I understand, Chattanooga has long been heralded for it’s wealth of great climbing. (I’ve been DYING to go here!!) 
  • One more place I’d like to get to this summer is Orlando, FL to visit my recently widowed grandpa. I have no expectations on what that trip will look like. I’ll do whatever grandpa wants to do.

Orlando, FL

What are YOUR summer plans? 

Love

Crista