Floral Creamers

It’s wildflower season here in Colorado, and it’s unbelievably beautiful.

All of those gorgeous, colorful blooms and blossoms come and go so quickly, I had to capture them somehow. I’ve been creating some floral-based concoctions, and so far this is my favorite: floral scented creamer. This time of year, with the sun shining, birds singing, and adventure calling, it can be hard to stay focused, especially during those busy, early mornings. These vegan, sugarless rose petal, lavender, and orange blossom creamers are like a little morning oasis; a sweet summertime escape. Add them to coffee, tea, or perhaps a caffeine-free alternative, and start your day imagining yourself in the middle of a wildflower field.

Rose Petal Creamer

  • 2 cups Unsweetened Nut Milk of Your Choice
  • 2 tbsp Dried Rose Petals
  • 1 tsp Concentrated Rose Water
  • 1 tbsp Agave Nectar

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and barely bring to a boil. Immediately remove from heat and let rest for ten minutes. Strain out rose petals and serve.

Lavender Vanilla Creamer

  • 2 cups Unsweetened Nut Milk of Your Choice
  • 2 tbsp Dried Lavender
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tbsp Agave Nectar

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and barely bring to a boil. Immediately remove from heat and let rest for ten minutes. Strain out dried lavender and serve.

Orange Blossom Creamer

  • 2 cups Unsweetened Nut Milk of Your Choice
  • 1 tbsp Dried Orange Peel
  • 1 tsp Concentrated Orange Blossom Water
  • 1 tbsp Agave Nectar

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and barely bring to a boil. Immediately remove from heat and let rest for ten minutes. Strain out orange peel and serve.

Good morning, summertime!

Happy Place

Self-care is really about finding your happy place. A state of mind that helps you unwind, destress, and connect with your inner peace. There are countless self-care methods and daily practices out there, some to practice alone, and some to practice and share with others. Traveling and unplugging are huge for my personal self-care. I’ve traveled alone, which is a beautiful experience, but there’s something about sharing an adventure with someone I love that is infinitely valuable. My happy place. I found myself right in the middle of my happy place when we decided to pack up for the weekend and camp out near the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. The weekend started out with a pink, glowing sky, bringing us intentions of love and energy. The sand dunes were breathtaking, but since Molly is getting older and can be somewhat of a timid pup, Luke and I weren’t sure how she would react to the mountainous, rolling dunes. I now believe it’s her new favorite place on Earth. I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen her quite so happy, rolling around in the sand and splashing in the stream that runs through the dunes. We were brimming with laughter to see Molly so excited. It was unforgettable. Ever since we moved to Colorado, I’ve been eager to get out and explore, to see more of the state and to venture further west. My list of destinations keeps growing. I was reminded this weekend that the real adventure is right here beside me, and that exploration is so much better with these unplanned shared experiences. We didn’t have an exact plan when we left the house that afternoon, and I never would have guessed that we would get to see Molly acting like a puppy, spot three baby moose, or stumble upon six bighorn sheep during our unpredictable trip, our unforgettable adventure, our happy place.

Photo Credit: Luke Cord

What is your happy place?

Superfood Smoothie Bowls

With summertime just around the corner, you might find yourself dreaming of cold, sweet treats. I definitely do. Fortunately, there are ways to fulfill this desire while still being good to your body. My personal weakness this time of year: smoothie bowls. In fact, I’ve been packing mine with extra nutrients by adding superfoods to the ingredient list. Here are some of my favorite vegan superfood smoothie bowl recipes:

(I tend to toss stuff in while blending until I get the taste and consistency I want, so the measurements are super flexible).

Featured Superfood: Blueberries

Smoothie blend:

  • 1 cup Almond Milk
  • 1 cup Cashew Milk Yogurt
  • 1 Frozen Banana
  • 1/4 cup Frozen Blueberries
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Blueberries

Pictured topped with frozen raspberries, frozen sliced strawberries, blueberries, and dried lavender.

Featured Superfood: Spirulina

Smoothie blend:

  • 1 cup Almond Milk
  • 1 cup Cashew Milk Yogurt
  • 1 Frozen Banana
  • 1 tsp Spirulina Powder
  • 1/4 cup Frozen Blueberries

Pictured topped with sliced mango, fresh blueberries, chopped walnuts, and chia seeds.

Featured Superfood: Beets

Smoothie blend:

  • 1 cup Almond Milk
  • 1 cup Cashew Milk Yogurt
  • 1 Frozen Banana
  • 1/4 cup Chilled Diced Beets
  • 1/4 cup Frozen Strawberries

Pictured topped with coconut flakes, chia seeds, and sliced banana.

Featured Superfoods: Spinach and Avocado

Smoothie blend:

  • 1 cup Almond Milk
  • 1 cup Cashew Milk Yogurt
  • 1 Frozen Banana
  • 1/2 cup Fresh Spinach Leaves
  • 1/2  Sliced Avocado
  • 1/4 cup Sliced Kiwi

Pictured topped with sliced kiwi, fresh blueberries, chopped pistachios, ginger, and coconut flakes.

What are your favorite superfood-smoothie bowl combinations?

Elements

As I sit here writing, I notice the scent of tea tree lingering from my hair, slightly damp from my shower. I breathe in the warmth from the green tea in my favorite mug. I am safe. I am clean. I am comfortable. Unexposed to the elements on this unusually chilly night. I feel cozy tonight, but my mind wanders to a recent camping adventure in which I was almost completely exposed to the elements, at the mercy of Mother Earth. With the promising forecast of clear skies and decent temperatures, five of us headed out with our camping gear, unfazed by the unpredicted grey clouds looming in the distance. A few hours into our trip, tents built and campfire blazing, those clouds opened up and the rain began to pour. We ran into our tent and huddled up together, waiting for it to pass. These unexpected but temporary downpours continued on and off throughout our trip, producing the most beautiful sunset and sunrise. We were exposed to the elements with few options for shelter, nervously hoping that the tent enveloping us would hold up through the periodic storms. It is eye opening to get a glimpse of what so many people are forced to experience on a daily basis, exposed to wind, rain, cold temperatures. However, we were doing this for fun. We chose to wait out the rain and thunder for the joy of camping. There seems to be a common nomadic daydream among many in our generation. The dream of living on the road or off the grid, a form of chosen homelessness. There is something that feels so natural and primal about living in such a way. It feels magical to wake up in a forest, making your breakfast over the fire you’ve built, cooling off in a nearby stream, completely surrounded by nature. I feel that while living our chosen lifestyles, whatever they may be, it is important to remember that we are lucky enough to get to choose that lifestyle. As someone dedicated to a helping profession, I wonder how many ways we can find to reroute our daily activities in order to give back, to waste less, to show compassion? Volunteering, recycling, composting, donating, leaving no trace, etc… I would love to hear your thoughts on this! What aspects of your lifestyle are dedicated to bettering the planet, or what would you like to start doing and learning more about?

Growing an Herb Garden

After a few unexpected weeks of rain, wind, and even a little snow, the sun finally emerged and began to warm the earth around me. I graciously planted my bare feet in the dirt and, after much anticipation, started transplanting my herbs to the garden. Since I have been limited to small garden boxes or indoor pots in the past, I wanted to take advantage of all of the space in my new yard. I designated specific areas for different herbs based on the plants’ needs. Below is a guide on where to place plant babies and how to care for them.

Rosemary and lavender love the sun. They absolutely love it. Full sun is best for these plants. And they are definitely not needy when it comes to watering. Water is usually only necessary for these babes when the soil gets pretty dry.

I have a few basil plants as well as some varieties of mint. Basil plants can grow pretty large, so leave some room for them to spread out. Basil and mint prefer a lot of sunshine, but can also tolerate some shade. They’re a little more fussy and need to be watered regularly.

Dill enjoys full sun, but also doesn’t like to get too much heat. I’m still trying to find a balance for my dill plants. Dill also needs to be watered pretty regularly.

Sage, thyme, and cilantro prefer full sun and well-drained earth. Sage and cilantro may tolerate some shade. Make sure to provide plenty of room for plants, especially cilantro, to grow and grow.

Chamomile and lemon verbena seem to enjoy more shade than sunshine. They also don’t need a ton of water.

It always helps to do research before starting an herb garden. Some methods of growing and care may differ depending on types of herbs, as well as your zone.

As my herbs grow, I’ll be making all sorts of concoctions, potions, and recipes with them and sharing on the blog! See you soon, and happy planting!

In Bloom

The sun wakes me up a couple of hours later than it used to. I’m still astonished every morning to open my eyes and see Pike’s Peak looking down on me from outside the bedroom window. Everything is new.

Newness can feel daunting. It presents challenges, demands acclimation, and evokes uncertainty. It also offers fresh perspective, expanding knowledge, and beautiful, towering surprises. I turn a corner to find mountains before me. Looking up has never been more enthralling, or more often. Although, even in the grasp of change and newness, we still have our rituals, our traditions. Something to help us feel that we are staying the course, still on track. Clouds followed as our dog, Molly, led me through pathways and trails unfamiliar to us. Red rocks, waterfalls, flowers, and even more clouds surrounded as we breathed in our new atmosphere.

I crave exploration. I yearn for adventure. I needed this for my own self-care. Of course I have so many people who are close to my heart, yet now so far in distance. My love for them does not falter based on the location of my freshest footprints. I want to see more. I want to learn. I was drawn to this transition. Maybe it was to show those who are feeling stagnant how realistic such a seemingly drastic change can be. Maybe it’s okay to follow your heart, even if you’re not sure where it’s leading you.

Grow. Blossom. Bloom.

    

Salt Glow

I was inspired by my week in the Caribbean sun last month to make a few new batches of body scrubs. After soaking up the rays and now adjusting to the Colorado climate, these salt scrubs are once again to my rescue.

Here are the recipes:

Coconut Lime Pink Salt Scrub

  • 1 cup Himalayan Pink Salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup avocado oil
  • 10 drops lime essential oil

Mix ingredients until well combined and use as an exfoliant in the bath or shower.

Lemon Ginger Salt Scrub

  • 1 cup sea salt
  • 1/2 cup avocado oil
  • 5 drops lemon essential oil
  • 5 drops ginger root essential oil

Mix ingredients until well combined and use as an exfoliant in the bath or shower.

Carolina to Colorado, Part Deux

We did it. We moved across the country from Asheville, North Carolina to Colorado Springs, Colorado. From the Smokies to the Rockies. 1500 miles of driving, music, laughter, and anticipation. We are currently falling in love with our new home.

Change is good; growth is amazing. I can’t wait to show you (and myself) what is yet to come.

Stay tuned for more adventures out west.

Getaway

In the midst of self-inflicted chaos, we decided to take a break. Preparing for a move across the country is a big undertaking. (We’re moving from North Carolina to Colorado this month). We set the boxes aside, pulled out the suitcases, and headed to the Eastern Caribbean for a change of scenery. We swam with wild sea turtles, drank raw coconut water on the beach, and soaked up just the right amount of sun and saltwater.

As important as it is to take breaks from stress and working, when we try to escape, reality often follows, begging to be acknowledged. Although nothing is ever perfect (even on vacation), you definitely get glimpses of perfection in places like this. It’s really about holding onto those glimpses, appreciating each other, and soaking in the moment. You begin to realize that it’s okay to let go of monotony every now and then in order to find adventure.

Where will you take your next adventure?

Morning Coffee Alternatives

Physical health is a big part of my own self-care. That includes what I decide to put in my body. A warm cup of coffee is usually a go-to when it comes to early mornings and busy schedules, but caffeine doesn’t always match with our self-care routines or health goals. Luckily, I just found an awesome place in Asheville called Alchemy, a tea room/ apothecary that serves all natural, caffeine-free coffee alternatives. Alchemy brews their own root blend that has an amazing coffee flavor. They can even add cacao to create a mocha if you’re looking for something on the sweeter side.

If you’re not local to Asheville, there are also other alternatives to morning caffeine rituals. Personally, I’ve been starting to drink warm lemon water in the mornings. Adding lemon to warm water to start the morning off seems to benefit me throughout the rest of the day. However, if you’re still longing for that coffee aroma, brewing ground chicory root can also be a great alternative to coffee without losing the taste. Kick the caffeine, keep the flavor!

Here’s to beautiful, intentional, nourishing mornings.