Zion 2018 Part 1

2018 is proving to be one of my best years.  I’ve really been trying to live my best life this year.  One of the things that is helping me do that is trying to visit places I’ve never been before.  One of those places that I really wanted to visit was Zion National Park in Utah.  On what seemed like a whim, my friend and I decided to go.  And let me just say this, I’ve never seen anything like this before.  It is absolutely stunning.  And its stunning in a different way than looking at the New York skyline at night or a beautiful piece of jewelry.  Its the kind of stunning that you cannot believe what you see is real.  Even after spending 2 1/2 days there, I still can’t believe I’ve been there.  If you ever get the chance to go, just go.

Day 1:  The Narrows

Oh, the Narrows.  Easily, pictures of the Narrows are some of the most recognizable.  You will frequently see pictures of the Wall Street portion, especially if you search for “The Narrows” on Google.  So, of course, we had to do it.  Now, when I say I did research on this, it might be an understatement.  I wanted to know exactly what I was getting myself into.  Most travel forums will tell you that you need to rent the special gear that consists of neoprene socks, special water shoes and a walking stick.  Since the idea of wearing shoes that thousands of others have worn grosses me out, I went in another direction.  I wore my shoes that I bought for a Spartan race.  They can get wet and have drainage holes on the side.  For socks, I bought performance wool socks.  And they worked perfectly.  They provided the grip I needed when traversing over submerged rocks and the wool socks helped keep the heat in so my feet didn’t suffer from the cold.

This hike is so much fun.  Albeit, it was exhausting and at some point, I just wanted out of the water.  But it was fun and a unique experience.  We went about 2.5 miles down and back for a total of about 5 miles.  It took us about 4 hours.  The slot canyons, especially in the part known as Wall Street are incredible.  As you continue on, you can see evidence of flash floods and years of the Virgin River carving out the rock.  It really made me appreciate the power of nature.

Day 2:  Angel’s Landing, Kayenta, Lower and Upper Emerald Pools

One of the most popular hikes in ZNP is Angel’s Landing.  The majority of the hike is a regular, mostly paved trail.  And it just keeps ascending.  The end game is to put your life in the Universe’s hands to climb over a narrow summit to Angel’s Landing.  We ended up not going that far, as the amount of people was a deterrent.  Who wants to be on a summit with steep drop offs and a width of only a few feet while having to share it with someone going the other way?  Not I, is the answer.  Nevertheless, we made it to the part of the trail in which you can have a seat, look out over the canyon and watch all the crazy people make their way to Angel’s Landing.  And that was just fine.  The trail was challenging enough without going all the way, and the view is still ridiculous.  Since this hike only took us a few hours, we decided to tack on some additional trails.

Specifically, we decided to start on the Kayenta Trail, which connects to the Upper and Lower Emerald Pool trails.  This makes for a very fun afternoon.  The Kayenta trail was just challenging enough after doing the Angel’s Landing trail.  The Emerald Pools were pretty neat, and I’m glad we decided to go.  What is great about this set of trails is that when you go from Kayenta to Lower Emerald Pools, you end up at the Zion Lodge.  They have a cafe there where you can get a snack before heading out again.

Day 3:  Pa’rus

While we were getting ready to leave this amazing place, we had to squeeze 1 more trail in.  Before breakfast, we choose an easy hike to top off our trip.  We choose the Pa’rus Trail.  This trail really cannot be called a trail.  It is flat and paved and is more like a walk along the river.  Nonetheless, it was great.  This trail would especially for those in a wheelchair, pushing a stroller, etc.  It was proof that you don’t have to be an experienced hiker to experience the beauty of ZNP.  It ended up being a perfect ending to magical trip.

In total, my visit to Zion National Park will go down as one of m favorite vacations.  Being in a place this vast puts life into perspective.  I would urge everyone to visit parks like this if they can.  Spending time in nature is good for the soul.

Coming soon…Zion 2018 Part 2: The Food.


Cruelty Free Faves

For me, makeup has become something that gives me so much enjoyment.  While sick, it was the only thing that made me feel human.  And still, even when I’m just having a bad day, makeup makes me feel better.  What also makes me feel better is when I find a cruelty free item I love.  Here is a list of my favorite cruelty free makeup items.


Wet n Wild PhotoFocus Foundation – $5.99

*My go to drugstore foundation.  I have extremely oily skin, and it is difficult to find a foundation that doesn’t turn my face into an oil slick in 5 minutes.  It goes on smooth and provides full coverage.  The only drawback is the smell.  It has a very paint-ish smell, but it does go away pretty quick.

Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation/Instant Retouch Primer – $34 & $32

*I have to mention these 2 together, as you need to use the primer that goes with it.  You can’t just use any primer.  Its a slight drawback, but its worth it for this foundation.  I love this foundation, especially for my oily skin.  If you have dry skin, this might be too much and will likely make your skin super dry.

NYX HD Photogenic Concealer Wand – $5

*After NARS lost their cruelty free status, I needed a cruelty free alternative to their concealer.  Enter super affordable NYX Cosmetics.  I read in a couple articles that this was a good drugstore dupe for the NARS one, so I decided to try it out.  Drugstore + Cruelty Free is a win-win.  And I love it.  Its not heavy and comes in a ton of colors.

Morphe Continuous Setting Mist – $15

*I never thought I would like something better than the Make It Last by Milani, but this one is great.  The aerosol eliminates the awful wetness that sometimes comes with setting sprays.  Its a little pricy for a setting spray, but it does last quite a bit.

Face-The Fun Stuff

Fenty Beauty Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter – Mean Money/Hu$tla Baby – $34

*Did anyone doubt that Rihanna would come out with beautiful highlighters?  I love the duos, as they give you a matte and a shimmer.  Mean Money/Hu$tla Baby is my favorite every day one, but Trophy Wife is beyond.

Wet n Wild MegaGlo Highlighting Powder – Precious Petals – $4.99

*This is a good drugstore dupe for the Fenty Beauty Killawatt highlighters without trying to be.  This one came out first, so it could also be said that the Fenty Beauty highlighter is a good mid-range dupe for this one.  Enough of my musings on the philosophical stiuations about highlighters.  The formula for this one is great, and they even recently came out with more colors, as well as a palette of 4 colors.  Precious Petals seems to be the most universal, unless you are super pale.

Makeup Geek Blush Pan – Heartthrob – $10

*This one is making a repeat appearance on this blog.  Previously, Colourpops Quarters was my favorite.  But as I was putting my travel palette together, I found this one.  Now, yes, the $10 price may be a lot for a blush, but is actually on par with Milani or Flower.  And it comes in a pan, which just sings to me.  I have this in a mini palette with the Kat Von D Contour pan.  Perfection.  And this color, also perfection.  Not too pink, not too brown, just right.


Kat Von D Shade & Light Eye Contour Palette – $48

*One of the most useful eyeshadow palettes in my collection.  With my monolid eye shape, there isn’t much contouring to be done, as too much makes me look like a clown.  I usually just follow the dark to light (bottom to top) method of applying eyeshadow.  This palette has everything set up so I don’t have to think, and truthfully, I’ve used them all in combination.  If you only have 1 higher end eyeshadow palettes, this one is the one to have.

Colourpop Pressed Powder Shadow Palette – My Little Pony – $16

*As far as color is concerned, you can never have too much.  I appreciate brands who do something different and interesting.  Pür put out a My Little Pony collaboration as well for the movie.  However, Colourpop took it back to vintage My Little Pony.  And this was a must have for me.  With that being said, I have a couple other Colourpop pressed powder palettes and I love them.  They have a decent formula that is super affordable.

Kat Von D Tattoo Liner – Trooper – $20

*Again, I bring up my eye shape.  Monolids.  There are certain things that are hard to find that work.  Eyeliner is one of those things.  There is always the dreaded transfer situation.  My little sister usually forgoes eyeliner altogether, but I need it.  This eyeliner is everything.  Previously, I was afraid of liquid eyeliner.  I never had good luck, but then pens started to become a thing.  And this one, is my perfect eyeliner.  I’m a fan of eyeliner pens with brush applicators.  Felt tip is my worst enemy.  Plus, this gives a good line, and lasts all day.

Kokie Velvet Smooth Eyeliner – $7

*While not perfect, this is my favorite pencil eyeliner.  It tends to not transfer and usually lasts all day.  The one about this one that makes me happy is that it smudges beautifully, and gives you time to do so.  While I love the Marc Jacobs Highliner, it gives zero play time.

Wet n Wild Max Fanatic Mascara – $4.99

*Again, I’m all about the Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir mascara, but the Wet n Wild mascaras are extremely good.  I’ve never had issues with transfer or anything.  Of course, it takes time to dry, but its not unreasonable.  This particular one I love because of the wand.  Its curved, and lets me get the whole lash.


Smashbox Always On Matte Liquid Lipstick – Bawse – $24

*Smashbox kills it with their liquid lipstick formulas.  When they went cruelty free recently, the liquid lipsticks were what I was most excited about.  This color in particular is a collaboration with Lilly Singh, and I hope they keep it.  I don’t really need a lip liner with this but I actually started using Colourpop’s Bossy with it.

Kat Von D Everlasting Lipstick – Nahz Fur Atoo – $20

*The perfect deep red that is super classic.  Most definitely, this color is a tie with Santa Sangre, but this one is more versatile.  I read a lot of reviews saying that this is super drying, but I have only had an issue with 1 color.  I usually use a lip balm under before I apply.

Colourpop Ultra Satin Lip Liquid Lipstick – Jiffy – $6

*This color is part of the collab they did with Amanda Steele, and may not be available.  Echo Park is one of my favorite nudes, but this one edges it out by a smidge.  Their Ultra Satin Lip formula is one of my favorites.  Its comfortable and lasts.

Jeffree Star Cosmetics Velour Liquid Lipstick – Mannequin – $18

*I love this liquid lipstick formula.  It goes on without too much effort and comes in great colors.   In the past, I’ve always grabbed nudes that had a touch of pink or mauve, but this is a straight up nude.  Its beautiful, and is perfect when I want to bring attention to my eye makeup.

Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipstick – Sexer – $20

*Studded Kiss is by far my favorite stick lipstick formulas.  Underage Red was the first lipstick I bought at Sephora.  But I am particularly fond of the pinks she has to offer.  Sexer is a gorgeous hot pink.  The formula for the stick formula is changing and the Studded Kiss Lipsticks are currently on sale for $12 at Sephora.

Kat Von D Everlasting Lip Liner – $18

*I have several colors of this lip liner, and its great.  I love how it feels and it most definitely lasts.  And since its not a pencil, it doesn’t need to be sharpened.


Travel: Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture


Tomatoes to greet you on the entrance path!

On my recent trip to New York, I knew that one of the things I had to make happen was a visit to Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture.  About 30 miles north of Manhattan, in a town called Pocantico Hills, is Stone Barns Center.  It was started by the Rockefeller family more than 20 years ago.  And it has turned into a hub of experimentation and research for something that affects us all; farming and food.  In conjunction with chef Dan Barber and Blue Hill at Stone Barns (11th best restaurant in the world), they have created something very special.  After a day at this amazing place, I have grown to appreciate even more what they do there.

One of the major things that I have learned about SBC is that they genuinely believe in what they do there.  Of course, they have gained more notoriety from their collaboration with Dan Barber and Blue Hill, but the farmers have a bigger purpose than trying to get to the top of the list.  Its very simple.  They want to grow and raise food that tastes good and is sustainable.  One of their major techniques is a 7 year rotation with the crops in the field.  For example, if this year, tomatoes are grown there, tomatoes will not be in that soil for another 7 years.  They understand each crop completely.  They utilize each crop’s assets and defects to grow better food and to make it sustainable.  For example, they know that tomatoes suck nitrogen out of the soil, so they may plant a crop next time in that space that puts nitrogen back into the soil.  Or they may plant a micro green in the same bed at the same time that counteracts the nitrogen depletion.  Its an amazing technique and to see it in action makes you feel like you are witness to a food revolution. Stone Barns Center also utilizes a greenhouse.  They do this not in an effort to grow out of season, but rather to extend the growing seasons.  In the greenhouse, they have a 10 year rotation cycle instead of 7.


Another thing they do is create new types of fruits and vegetables.  And they do this without genetic modification.  And they do this for a better tasting crop.  They use traditional methods of cross breeding.  When I was there, I saw the pepper crops.  They had the usual jalapeños, bell peppers, etc.  But they also had a new pepper.  It was called a Habanata (not sure it that is the correct spelling).  It is a habanero that has had the spiciness bred out.  Amazing.

When you go there for a day, you also have the option to participate/observe in activities around the farm.  I chose the watermelon testing, the foraging walk and the pig feeding.  By far, the foraging walk was my favorite.  To learn about how the restaurant uses foraged ingredients made me have a new respect for the chefs at Blue Hill at Stone Barns.  It is one thing to say, “I want these ingredients to make this dish”.  It is quite another thing to say “I’ve been presented these ingredients, what will I come up with?”.  And that is what they do at Blue Hill at Stone Barns.  They are presented with or have found ingredients and they come up with something grand.  They can be presented wit a giant crop of sunflowers and have come up with a way to use EVERY SINGLE PART OF THE SUNFLOWER.  Nothing goes to waste.  This is an important part of what happens at SBC.

And that leads to my main takeaway of my visit.  They are trying to really create a better world through food.  They want to create something sustainable and delicious and in such a way that keeps you interested.  When I first read The Third Plate, I was convinced that Dan Barber was on to something.  And to see it in action is truly something awe-inspiring.  With so many horrible things going on in this world today, it is important to do things that make you happy and give you hope.  Stone Barns Center gives me hope and it made me so happy to see something like that first hand.  If you ever get a chance to go, I urge you to go.

Farmers Market Haul!

Probably my favorite day of the week is Sunday.  And its not because I don’t have to go to work, or because I get to sleep in.  Its because Sundays are for the Farmers Market!  My best friend got me a tea towel that says “The Farmers Market is my happy place”.  And this couldn’t be more true.  I love it.  After I read The Third Plate by Dan Barber, I was inspired to eat more locally, and to be more sustainable.  This is where my love affair with the Farmers Market began.

Living in Los Angeles, I am extremely fortunate to have a good number of them at my disposal.  On Sunday morning, finding a Farmers Market is like shooting fish in a barrel.  But my personal favorite is the Hollywood Farmers Market on Selma and Ivar.  Its huge, and has everything you could possibly want.  Plus, its near both Groundwork Coffee, some great shopping and some great restaurants.  Not to mention, they validate for the parking garage at Arclight Cinemas.  $3 for 2 hours is just a bargain, in my opinion.  But, this isn’t about the Hollywood Farmers Market in particular.  Its about what I found there.

As I’m sure every regular patron of this weekly event of awesomeness can tell you, you end up at the same stalls every week.  There is just something about that lettuce or those tomatoes that keep you wanting more.  Its not just about the produce.  Its about the sense of community that happens at Farmers Markets.  You see the same people every week, and it makes you feel more at home.  Or at least that has been my experience.

Here is what I snagged, and from where!  (All featured farms are linked below.)

*Corn from The Garden Of.. // Cucumber from John Givens Farm

FullSizeRender 4

*Yellow Peaches from Burkhart Organics // Foraged Forest Kemeko mushrooms from LAFungHi // Mixed Cherry Tomatoes & Ambrosia Melon from Ellwood Canyon Farms FullSizeRender 3

*Carrots from John Givens Farms // Shallots & Lemon Cucumbers from The Garden Of.. // Enoki and Maitake mushrooms from LaFunghiFullSizeRender 2

Farm Links!

The Garden Of…

Burkhart Organics

Ellwood Canyon Farms

John Givens Farm


Be Well Challenge: The End is Near

This month has been crazy, and has been such a good experience.  I loved being able to ramp up healthy habits and things that help to reduce my negative effect on the planet.  When I originally started this challenge, it was the most intensive way I could think of to gain footing in making things stick.  Although I did not do everything perfectly, I am content with the progress I have made over the last month.

Let’s start with food.  I don’t think I have ever eaten as well and as consciously as I have for the last month.  Being mindful of what I am putting in my body made me eat healthier on the whole.  And although there was the occasional misstep, I did a lot better than I thought I would.  I bought more fruits and veggies, and ate more clean.  Adding in the Farmers Market component to this challenge was extremely beneficial.  I tried some new things, and taught me to go outside my comfort zone.  Before this, I would have never tried dandelion greens or even the green plums.

Now…on to workouts.  I was almost perfect with my workouts.  Forcing myself to be consistent makes it a part of my life.  Some people really dread physical exercise.  But the truth is is that I get to workout.  After surviving cancer, it is nice to be able to do anything.  Working out is no exception.

When it comes to waste, I would say that this is where I was my weakest.  I realized quickly that there are many places that do not subscribe to the less is more philosophy with waste.  Personally, I frequently forgot my reusable cups and eating take out made this more difficult than expected.  However, I most definitely was more conscious of the waste I was producing.  And although I wasn’t able to eliminate my waste, I’m definitely moving in the right direction.

All in all, this was a very cool experience.  I learned about what motivates me and what I really enjoy doing.  And I really enjoy being healthy.  Exercising, taking care of the planet, and eating right just makes me a happier person.

Be Well Challege: 2 Weeks In! 

My original intention with this challenge was to update everyday about my progress. However, life happens. I was sick (I’ll talk about that), and was super busy. So, now, I’m looking at a 10 day gap in updates. So, here is a general update on the first half of this challenge.

What I have been eating has been pretty much the same every day. Instead of a detailed per day update on food, I’ve included a general guideline I use when planning my food for the day.

      *Breakfast: Usually, I try to eat   something that will get me through the morning, and not make me a crazy person. This usually consists of oatmeal and fruit. On the weekends, I usually eat eggs with toast.

     *Lunch: For work, I usually bring a sandwich, a veggie, and a fruit. Summer at the Farmer’s Market is so great. I fully take advantage of fresh strawberries and stone fruit. On the weekends, I try to get it as healthy as possible. There is no method to the madness on the weekends, but I just try to stay within the healthy set of foods.

     *Dinner: My biggest range of variety comes with dinner. Same as lunches on the weekend, I just try to keep it as healthy as possible. I will usually indulge in pasta with sauce and some kind of veggie. 

Farmers Market: The last 2 weeks have been so great at the Farmers Market. I also committed to trying something new every week. The first week was dandelion greens (I will update what I did with these in a separate post). The second week, I tried some green plums. I’m a creature of habit, and picking a green plum is not in my lane. It was delicious. They were slightly less sweet than a purple plum and worked so awesome mixed with the yellow nectarines I bought. 

Waste: The past few days have been rough on the waste front. I started housesitting for my parents in the middle of the week. And they are also having their kitchen worked on, so I’ve had to buy food every day. This has contributed to my overall waste. Also, a major waste fail over the last few days is with Starbucks. It makes me so sad about this, as reducing my waste is one of the key parts of this challenge. 

Workouts: This is one of the biggest wins over the last 10 days. Aside from the 2 days I was sick, I completed all scheduled workouts. Overall, I can tell the difference in my mood. Exercise just makes you feel better. Even if it’s just a quick walk, or stretching. 

I mentioned in the beginning that I was sick. Even prior to this challenge, I have been trying to eat as healthy as possible. My favorite food is quite possibly donuts, followed by anything else fried. I have largely abstained from eating those, as it never is good for you. But, as stated before, life happens. And sometimes, life can derail you from being consistent. This past weekend, I went on a bit of a binge. Saturday, I had 4 donuts, 4! This was followed by tacos that were fried in oil. Then, on Sunday, I had a generous portion of fried chicken and mashed potatoes. Are you starting to see a theme? Well, this all resulted in me being sick for 2 days from the bad eating. Lesson learned. When you eat healthy, then eat A LOT of bad food in a quick time frame, it will affect you negatively. You could escape unscathed, but usually, it doesn’t end well. 

All in all, this challenge has been pretty great. It has taught me a lot already about how I buy things, what my default is, and things that are hard to keep up (like this blog). I’ve also learned that even though you get thrown off course, you can just right the ship and keep going. Quitting is not necessary, and its ok if it doesn’t go exactly as planned.

Be Well Challenge: Days 3-4

Being healthy.  Its something we all strive for.  Not one person says to themselves, “I don’t want to be healthy”.  Its all a matter of how bad one wants to be healthy.  Perhaps they have always applied themselves, and making healthy choices comes easy.  Or perhaps, they have always made horribly unhealthy decisions, and being healthy takes a conscious effort.  I would definitely fall into this category.  This challenge is most definitely helping me make better choices.  When I am more mindful of making the right choice, it becomes easier.  Here is my recap of Days 3 and 4.

Day 3

Workout:  My Monday night yoga class is one of my favorites.  It is with one of my favorite teachers, and its a nice way to start off the work week.  It is also not as challenging as my Sunday class.  It forces me not push as hard as I would like to and listen to what I need at that time.

Food:  When I don’t have to work, I tend to either graze all day or eat horribly.  I tried to be mindful of everything I ate, and it seemed to pay off.  It wasn’t perfect, but hey, at least I didn’t order pizza.

  • Breakfast:  Coffee w/ soy creamer & Cottage Cheese w/ Peaches
  • Lunch:  Grilled Cheese Sandwich
  • Snack:  Banana
  • Dinner:  Tofu w/ Fried Rice & Frozen Yogurt for dessert

Waste:  As I go through this challenge, I’m realizing more and more the little things that one doesn’t think about when trying to eliminate waste.  The trash I created was limited to 2 wrappers from the cheese slices and empty bag from the fried rice.

Day 4

Workout:  Due to the holiday, my regular gym class was cancelled.  Luckily, there was one available to go to in the morning.  I met my friend at the gym, and we had a great morning workout.  It felt good to be able to get our regular workout in and also to start the day off with a little sweat (or a lot of sweat in my case).

Food:  Oh, the Fourth of July.  A day with BBQs, Fireworks, and lots of other unhealthy food to be eaten.  Other than Christmas or Thanksgiving, this is one of the hardest days to stick to a healthy eating plan.  I tried to not give myself too hard of a time, since I gave in to the temptation.

  • Breakfast:  Coffee w/ Soy Creamer, Eggs w/ Toast
  • Lunch:  Pasta w/ Ground Turkey & Sauce, Salad w/ Tomatoes & Cucumbers
  • Dinner:  Turkey Burger, Hot Dog (no bun), BBQ chips
  • Snack:  Iced Vanilla Latte, Banana

Waste:  I forgot my reusable cup to get a latte after my workout.  In total, the waste produced was the cup from my latte, and a paper plate from the BBQ.  Not the best, but not terrible either.

So far, after 4 days, this IS getting a little easier.


Be Well Challenge: Day 1 & 2

When I woke up on Saturday morning, I thought about the plans I had laid out for the next 31 days.  It was a strict plan, but by no means impossible.  I also thought about how I’m tired of being overweight and tired of feeling like I didn’t apply myself to lessening my impact on the planet.  With those thoughts upon awakening, I started my day.  Here is my recap of Day 1.

*Workouts:  I may have gone a tad overboard with this one on Saturday.  I went to my morning circuit TRX class in the morning, then ran 3.34 miles.  I also decided to get in 1 more workout and went to another circuit TRX class in the afternoon.  Normally, I don’t do this much a day.  But I think my enthusiasm for this challenge may have made me do it.

*Food:  An unspoken thing about this challenge is that its not just about not eating fast food.  It about eating healthy in general.

  • Breakfast:  Cottage Cheese w/ fruit
  • Lunch:  Grilled Cheese Sandwich w/ tomatoes
  • Dinner:  Sushi (my friend took me to dinner for a belated birthday dinner)
  • Snack:  Energy bar before my run

All in all, my food intake wasn’t terrible, so I can’t be too mad about it.

*Waste:  Rest assured, I didn’t let any sushi I ordered go to waste.  In all seriousness, I would say that this would be my biggest victory for Day 1.  The only trash I produced was the wrapper from the energy bar and the disposable chopsticks (w/ accompanying wrapper) from dinner.

I would say that Day 1 was a successful day.  I felt good about the day when I was going to sleep, and was looking forward to Day 2.

Day 2 started like every Sunday starts; with Yoga!  Yoga was something that stumbled onto in an effort to get over an ex-boyfriend.  And for whatever reason, I was hooked from the beginning.  I love it, and it has become a part of my life.  It is for sure a workout, but its also something that you can always improve at.  You learn about yourself along the way, and that is sometimes the better benefit.  Here is my recap of Day 2.

*Workouts:  As previously stated, I went to my normal yoga class.  My Sunday class is usually challenging.  Although I may not always be able to do everything, I try to do what is right for me at the time.  Coming off a day in which I overtaxed myself in the workout department, my body just didn’t want to do what I wanted it to.  But rest is ok.

*Food:  Sundays are usually the day in which I am a bit freer in my eating.  But I still try to stick to some kind of boundary.

  • Breakfast:  Banana (pre yoga), Latte & Bagel Bites (post yoga)
  • Lunch:  Prosciutto wrapped shishito peppers
  • Dinner:  Spaghetti w/ sauce and cheese, bread w/ butter
  • Snack:  frozen yogurt after dinner

*Waste:  The only waste created was the wrapper from the bagel bites (which I’m going throw in the recycling bin), the wrapper from the prosciutto, and some paper towels from prepping the produce from the farmers market.

*Farmer’s Market:  I love the Farmer’s Market.  Like, if I could get EVERYTHING there, I would.  But like the rest of America, I also have to be budget conscious.  Summer makes it a lot easier to shop at the Farmer’s Market.  Let’s face it, summer produce is just more appealing.  I got tomatoes, strawberries, lettuce, peaches, and dandelion greens (my new item for the week).  Now, I just want to say that NOTHING compares to good tomatoes.  To be dramatic, I feel like I have been living in tomato purgatory for the last 2 seasons.  I appreciate the fact that stores carry organic tomatoes.  But they are just not the same.  My favorite farm, Ellwood Canyon Farms, has the best tomatoes.  This is also my strawberry supplier.  I eat more strawberries and tomatoes than any other produce in the summer.  Enough about that, the important thing is that I used all my reusable bags and refused the plastic bags.  On to the new item, dandelion greens.  I’ve never eaten them, nor do I know how to cook them.  As I was putting them in my bag, I said, I’ll have to google how to cook/eat them.  The farmer then said, good luck, they taste terrible.  I googled how to cook them, and let’s just say ummm…just wish me luck.  I shall update on this in a future post!

And there it is…Day 1 and Day 2 of the Be Well Challenge.  All in all, I would say that the last 2 days were a great start to the month.  I can’t wait for the rest of the month!

30 Day Be Well Challenge

As mentioned in some of my previous posts, I have tried to live a more sustainable lifestyle.  As I have learned, this can be more difficult than I originally thought.  2 years after I set out on this journey, I find myself regressing into a wasteful and not so sustainable way of living.  So, what is missing?  I need accountability and consistency.

And thus, the 30 Day Be Well Challenge was born.  For the month of July, I will be adhering to the below “rules”.  My goal at the end of the month is to reduce my waste and to be healthier.

Here are the “rules”:

  • No extraneous packaging
    • My goal with this one is to reduce my use of plastic, and to refuse styrofoam.
  • Use reusable cups only if going to Starbucks
    • I normally go to Starbucks for an iced tea during the day at work.  5 cups a week for 4 weeks adds up to a total of 20 cups not going into a landfill.
  • No fast food or soda
  • Buy most produce at the Farmers Market every week
    • Supporting local, organic farms is something that I have always felt very strong about.  Relying on large-scale factory farms is not good for the environment, and supporting local farms helps the local economy.
  • Buy only humanely raised animal products
    • Ideally, I would be vegan.  I like the cleanness of a vegan diet, but I can never get the nutrition right when I try to eat a vegan diet.  Every day, I try to eat a little less meat and more plant based products.  Someday, I will get there.
  • Bring my own lunch and coffee to work every day.
    • Bringing your own lunch and coffee helps to save money, and helps you eat healthier.  Frozen dinners are off limits!
  • Complete all scheduled workouts
    • This is a tough one.  I consider myself to be an active person, but I can be incredibly lazy when it comes to working out.  Regular physical activity can only help.

I’m so looking forward to this journey.  Sticking with something starts with being consistent.  In addition to me doing this, I am doing this challenge along with a couple friends.  We all have the same basic rules, and we have all added bonus rules we have added according to other life needs we may have.  Let the fun begin!

Farmer’s Markets:  Support Local Farms

Recently, the Farm-to-Table movement has gained some traction.  Restaurants like Pedalers Fork and food trucks like Guerilla Tacos have been making the farm-to-table concept more accessible across Los Angeles.  However, you don’t need to live in a big city to experience farm-to-table eating. All you need is a farmer’s market. 

I’m extremely grateful that I have one of the best farmer’s markets within 20 miles. Every Sunday, I make my way to The Hollywood Farmer’s Market. With my market basket and 20 bucks in hand, I go from tent to tent, looking for the best produce Southern California has to offer.  

Today, I came upon some great looking strawberries. Since we are almost out of strawberry season, I gladly scooped them up. Usually, I buy 3 baskets, and freeze 2 baskets and eat the other basket fresh.  I asked the farmer if we were approaching the end of season.  Luckily, they have one more harvest.  I mentioned that it’s the saddest time of year; when strawberries are out of season. He mentioned that it is for them too because that’s where the money is; selling berries. 

Now I was doubly sad. And it reminded me of a point in The a Third Plate by Dan Barber. To truly embrace the farm-to-table concept, we cannot dictate as the consumer what the farmers have to offer at the Farmer’s Market.  At some point, consumers became the boss.  Each farm should be able to produce what is best for their farm and the land they work.  This is why I like to support local farms, to give this movement a chance.  This is also why I like to have no set idea of what I will buy. Because if I lock myself into a pre designated list, I might miss out on the offerings that may not be as popular. And if everyone bought what the farmer wants to sell, we can start to turn this thing around.