Blend 2015

Aloha! I just got back from beautiful Boulder, Colorado where I attended Blend Retreat 2015. I’ve always wanted to visit Boulder and this weekend was the perfect chance. I almost didn’t go to Blend because I’m trying to save money for my big move to Kauai. But I’m so glad I changed my mind and went anyway. I was told the weather in Boulder was not cooperating, but I have no complaints. A little rain never hurts, and I’m just happy it didn’t snow. The event took place at Chautauqua Park, which reminded me of a sleep-away camp that I attended in 5th grade.

blend15I shared a charming cabin with 3 other women, Amy, Tedi, and Lizzy. We were hardly in our cabin at all though because there was so much to do the entire weekend. It all went by so fast.

I hitched a ride with Kate and was able to chat with Giselle, Aly, and Colby on the way from the Denver Airport to Boulder. We arrived at Chautauqua, snagged our swag bags, checked in, and made some granola for the trail run. Kate, Giselle, and I opted to walk on our own little path instead.

Friday nights at Blend mean cocktail hour and dinner. I didn’t take any pictures of the food this year so you will just have to take my word for it that this was the best food I’ve had in all my three years of attending Blend. I am currently loving Sizzlefish for providing us with the tastiest appetizers. Also, that beef with chimichurri sauce was on point. I’m going to have to make my own version of chimichurri sauce in my Vitamix one of these days.

After dinner, my cabin mates and I went back to our cabin and got to know each other better. We crashed kind of early and I was totally okay with that.


We were up early Saturday morning for Gnarly boot camp led by Kindal. I couldn’t make it through the entire workout. I felt so lame sitting out, but the altitude and lack of water the previous day made me feel extra lightheaded. I’m not used to working out at high altitudes. My workouts are mostly done at sea level. But lesson learned. If you’re going to workout in the mile high city, stay hydrated!


We had breakfast and a hike was to follow. However, bootcamp was kind of rough so Kate had the idea of checking out the Boulder Farmer’s Market. Julie thought this was a great idea too so off to Pearl Street we went. I tried some delicious walnut butter, bought a carnitas pupusa from a food truck, and fed a bear. You know, usual Saturday morning shenanigans.


And of course, we had to check out Alfalfa’s Market because we don’t have these in California. I thought it looked exactly like Whole Foods (especially the bulk section). But the girl at the register assured me that they were not part of that “horrible monopoly”. Either way, we got what we came for. Julie needed eggs and butter to make some Simple Mills chocolate chip cookies.

alfalfasWe headed back to Chautauqua so Julie could make her cookies. If you remember my Expo West post from my old blog (that I deleted), then you will remember that Simple Mills was one of my favorite Expo West discoveries. Julie felt the same way and asked the kind people of Simple Mills to share some product with her. In turn, she shared some with me. I can’t wait to make my “paleo friendly” cookies and pumpkin muffins.

We’re always on our own on Saturday afternoons at Blend. They give us this free time to hang out and explore the city. Kate and I stayed together and recruited Megan and Brooke to come check out the Celestial Seasonings factory tour with us. Definitely something to do if you’re ever in Boulder.

Another thing to do in Boulder is check out beer fests. After we left the tea factory, we headed over the Upslope Brewing Company for their Get Down music and beer fest. We saw some questionable characters (fanny-pack man and hoola hoop girl) and more food trucks but opted to head back to Pearl street to check out the food scene there instead.

When we were walking around Pearl Street looking for restaurants, we ran into Nicole, Jayne, and Erika but ended up going out for Mexican food while they went to another, more fancy place. I don’t remember the name of the place in which we ate, but it was good. I had a chicken fajita, which is usually my go-to Mexican restaurant choice.


After dinner, we walked back to the car in the rain and tried to find some wine at a liquor store. Then we went back to Kate’s cabin and hung out some more. Katie joined us.

I skipped out on yoga this morning. I wish I knew about the alternative rogue hike before Laura and the others left, but I didn’t see the post in time. So Tedi and I just hung out on the front lawn, watched the yoga group, and enjoyed the view of the Boulder flatirons.

Before I knew it, it was time to leave for the airport. Megan drove me and we got to chat about how she used to work in my hometown. She lost a good chunk of weight power-walking the strand that’s a block away from my current apartment. So I am sure that Megan and I must have passed one another in the past while walking on the strand. It was great meeting her and everyone else.

I’m so thankful for all of the hard work that Lindsay, Janetha, and Lauren put in to make this weekend so awesome. Also, this weekend would not have been what it was without the great sponsors (Quest, Marley Coffee, Justin’s, etc…). I’m not sure I’ll be able to make it to Blend 2016, but I’m going to try. If you are on the fence about attending Blend, I highly suggest you check it out. It’s always good to have Blends.


Let’s Be Friends

There are three women whose sites and accounts I’ve been following lately. They all have a similar high fat, low carb agenda. And I want to be their best friends for life.

First, there’s Cassie. She’s a registered dietitian, but she doesn’t preach the same old stuff that the American Dietetics Association forces into the minds of ignorant nutrition students. She thinks outside of the box and conducts her own self-experiments. She has a ton of research and knowledge to back up the stuff she posts. And for that, I respect her a lot. Not many dietitians and nutrition experts do that. Today she posted something controversial on Instagram that challenged people to view heart disease as a sugar disease. This goes against what we’ve been taught, but it makes so much sense. That post kind of inspired me to write this blog post. I read what she wrote and thought, “I need a friend like her!” I like it when people challenge conventional wisdom. Especially when what they’re saying could be a solution to a problem in which the current “solution” is actually making said problem worse.

Then there’s Leanne who blogs over at Healthful Pursuit. She wrote a book called Keto Beginning that I think is worth checking out. I know there are people reading this who think that keto is not a cure-all solution. And that may be true for some. No single way of eating works for everyone. But Leanne backs up her posts with research and self-experimentation as well. She reminds me of myself. She’s got several food intolerances and allergies plus PCOS and some hormonal issues. She knows her stuff and I want to be her best friend forever. She just posted an interview she did with Jimmy Moore about the effects of high fat, low carb diets on cholesterol. This is also worth checking out if your doctor, like mine, is trying to get you to take statins and scribbling big words like ‘hypercholesterolemia’ on your medical chart.

Last but definitely not least is Stephanie. The most awesome thing about her is her name (obviously). Oh, and the fact that she’s almost 50 and is the freaking business. She doesn’t look a day over 30, and this girl is shredded. She posts a ton of YouTube videos. I actually just started watching them this past weekend per the suggestion of Jimmy Moore. Before that, I had never heard of her. But I’m so glad Jimmy mentioned her. And now I want to be her friend too. Just like Cassie and Leanne, Stephanie also backs up everything she posts with research she’s gathered from 5 solid years of self-experimentation. She has a bunch of successful clients as well who have seen great results following her keto plans.

I’m not preaching keto or saying that to be my friend you have to have a high fat, low carb agenda. You can be vegan and be my friend, but please don’t make me eat tofu. I guess what I’m saying is that I respect strong women who challenge the current way of doing things when the current way of doing things isn’t solving everyones’ problems. Kudos to these women. Let’s be friends!

A New Chapter

“Life is like a book. Some chapters are sad, some are happy, and some are exciting. But if you never turn the page, you will never know what the next chapter holds.”

I started reading blogs in 2009. First I found Caitlin’s blog. I don’t remember how I stumbled upon it. Probably through a Google search for vegetarian recipes or something. Then I found Tina’s blog. And then Janetha’s blog. And so on. I toyed with the idea of starting my own blog at that time but couldn’t really find my voice. Plus I lacked motivation to blog. And I definitely lacked the confidence. I had this crazy idea that people would judge me if I put details of my life on the interwebs.

I kept reading blogs, though I rarely commented or let the writers know I existed. I eventually got the courage to start my own blog in 2012. It was called Reclaimed Wellness. This was right after I received my Health Coach certification from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. So of course, my blog consisted of nothing but dogmatic health advice that was pretty much just common sense. I had no readers. And the only comments I got were spam comments from who knows where. I lost motivation for that blog and I gave up.

Then I bought a domain and put some money into blogging. I thought that investing some of my hard-earned money would encourage me to blog more. But I was wrong. I just wasn’t ready to speak (or write, actually). I changed my blog name to Wholesome by Design and kept getting asked if I was a designer of some sort. Nope. People were getting the wrong idea about my blog and I was again turned off from blogging. I continued to post impersonal things for fear of getting judged. I even attended Blend Retreat in 2013 and 2014 and Healthy Living Summit in 2013. Those events were the highlight of my blogging “career” because I met some awesome people like Becki and Kindal.

Last June I traveled to Salt Lake City, UT to attend Blend Retreat for the second time. I will be attending Blend Retreat again in a few weeks. I sort of felt out of place there because I wasn’t an established blogger. The truth is that probably about half the girls there were not blogging on a regular basis. They were there just to have fun. And yes, we all had so much fun. But I still felt like I was a fraud.

I was hanging out with a group of girls on the first night. One [very negative] girl commented that she thought it was so annoying when people posted about being gluten free. Sorry. I do it because I have no choice. Clearly, she had read one of my blog posts because she made a very passive-aggressive comment about it without clearly stating that she had read it. However, I knew exactly what she was referring to. And I was hurt.

The next evening I was sitting around with another group of girls. Some were super sweet like Candice and Kait. But then there were 2 girls who kept asking me questions about my life and I could feel them judging me. Usually I brush this stuff off because females will be females and sometimes that’s just our nature. But they were whispering to each other thinking that I couldn’t hear them. As a teacher of pre-teens, I am trained to hear things that people think I can’t hear. I know that they were checking out either my blog or my Instagram account on their iPhones and making rude comments. I heard one say to the other, “Oh that’s her?” in such a condescending way. And then they laughed. Again I was hurt.

So why am I going back to Blend Retreat this year? Truth be told, I did have a fun time last year despite the negativity and rude comments from some of the attendees. I may not be the most athletic girl there. I may not have an established blog or even much of an internet presence. But I don’t care. That doesn’t determine my self worth. Plus, this may be my last chance to attend a blogging event.

I’m moving to Kauai in June. I’m closing the California chapter, which I have been writing for the past 32 years, and I am taking a risk on a new chapter in life. I never thought I would ever end up moving to Kauai. But then I fell in love. I fell in love with the most wonderful man in the world. But more importantly I fell in love with myself. I decided to stop living the life others wanted from me and to start following my own dreams. I decided to stop letting others hurt me with their words or their actions and to just go with the flow.

I have grown a tremendous amount in the past year. And I think I have finally found my voice. That doesn’t mean I’m going to blog on a regular basis. I may go months without posting. But that doesn’t matter to me. Blogging is something I’ve wanted to adopt as a hobby since 2009 when I clicked with Janetha’s blog (because she mentioned Minus the Bear and I was like, “Wha??? That’s one of my favorite bands!!”).

This is going to be for me more than anyone else. And I don’t care if anyone reads it or not. I’m not going to invest money in it. Hence why it’s at a site. That may change over time, as things sometimes do. But my goal is to take it day by day and live my life. If I share some of it, then consider yourselves the lucky ones who are along for the journey.

Welcome to my new chapter. Welcome to my Wholesome Paradise.