I’m Kristina - freelance graphic designer, backyard farmer, cookbook reader, project starter, and new mom to a gorgeous little boy.

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Archive for September, 2014

September 22, 2014

A few days of summer in Mammoth

We spent a nice extra long weekend up in the Sierras before preschool started again and wow, I have missed it up there. Summer is such a perfect time to visit with small children. We’ll be putting Dash on skis for the first time this winter and that will be a whole different sort of adventure, but it was so nice to explore Mammoth without snow too.

There are big time perks to potty training with boys. The world is your toilet! Also big time perks to having an older brother show you the ropes. Mama is not sad to be (mostly) done with diapers.

As you can see we played in this creek quite a bit.

Puzzles with grandma and grandpa, watching woodpeckers from the deck.

Our first big hike as a family. Okay, maybe big isn’t the right word. But certainly our first real hike. Dash was such a trooper and Forrest was pretty happy snoozing in the backpack on our way past Devil’s Postpile and down to Rainbow Falls.

Lunch just tastes better outside after a long morning on the trail.

Mammoth is such a sweet town. It’s high up in the Eastern Sierras so the landscape is spectacular, especially if you’re able to take longer day hikes. But even if you stick close to town there’s beautiful scenery and exploring to be had. It just *smells* great in the mountains, you know? I’m trying to figure out how we can spend a month up here next summer.

This is a wildly incomplete list, but here are a few of our favorite spots.

Stay: Rent a house or condo, of course! Before my parents bought their house, we stayed at Snowcreek in the summers. It’s right on the meadow and includes access to community pools and a nice athletic club, with tennis, golf, and classes. There’s lots of camping options too, and a lodge and cabins near the lakes if that’s your thing.

Ride: Bikes! Rentals are available, including trailers, throughout town. We rented from Footloose because we’ve been renting stuff from them for forever. Also ride the town Trolley everywhere. It’s free and cute. The guys and I rode the entire loop just for fun a bunch of times. Boys and buses. You can’t go wrong.

Hike: Take the shuttle from the Main Lodge down to Red’s Meadow where you can access trails to all sorts of hiking and picnicking spots. Devil’s Postpile is neat and there are a few lakes to visit too. We hiked from Devil’s Postpile Campground to the bottom of Rainbow Falls and then took the shuttle back from the Red’s Meadow store. There are also a bunch of gorgeous, long day hikes from the valley up into the higher elevations. Minaret Lake and Thousand Island Lake in particular. Though these would be for those not dragging the children along.

Fish and Boat: Above town at the Twin Lakes. We rode bikes up the pass one afternoon which was awesome, but you can also take the trolley if that’s more your speed. Or take the trolley up and ride down. There’s lots of camping and cabin options up there too. And access to more beautiful day hikes as well: Mammoth Crest Trail and Duck Pass are favorites.

Eat: We mostly eat at home when we’re up here, but we had a delicious dinner at Campo in the Village and loved their patio with a Bocce court. Parents drink and eat, children throw things in a contained environment. Win! The Stove for the biggest, most popular breakfast in town. Mammoth Brewing Company pours delicious pints every day of the week. And there’s a sweet little natural foods market in town too. (There are loads of other options too, including some lovely higher end restaurants. But do we go there these days? Nope.)

Play: The meadow at SnowCreek. Mammoth Creek Park. The Adventure Center at the Main Lodge. The Mountain Bike park. Our cul-de-sac for high altitude scooting. Also golf and fly fishing and there are loads of summer “festivals” up there throughout the season. Plus the Village usually has games out for kids and hosts free movie nights too. And don’t forget the hot springs outside of town.

I suppose I could go on forever, but this is a good start, I think. We haven’t been up in the Summer for years and it was so awesome to see how fun and busy the town has become during the warmer months.

September 11, 2014

Reports of a juice cleanse

A few weeks ago I did my first juice cleanse. I posted it about it on Instagram a few times and some of you were curious how it went. First, I lived to tell about it! I bet you were wondering.

Let me start by saying the people at Urban Remedy were incredibly helpful in getting me set up with the cleanse I wanted to try. I chose their Purify Cleanse because I wanted to make sure the one I did wasn’t just tons of fruit juice, but instead mixed in some greens and such too. I am also stevia-adverse and while some of their juices contain stevia they were more than happy to customize my cleanse to include options that were unsweetened. Nothing against stevia at all. It’s just not my thang.

Brock and I decided to do the cleanse together, which was awesome. You kind of need a partner in this sort of endeavor, if you ask me. And two years into becoming a family of four, we were both in need of a restart of sorts. We are busy, we both work (him way more than me, but still), we have two kids, we are just starting a huge renovation project, there are days when we are just beyond maxed out. And preparing a delicious, healthful meal for dinner for the two of us ends up at the bottom of my list. A lot.

We’re both vegetarian and have done numerous cleanses in the past so to be honest I figured we would sail through the juice thing with no problems. Plus it seems like *everyone* is doing a juice cleanse these days, which makes it seem very achievable. And it IS. But it’s not so easy, I have to tell you! I think Brock spent three days sipping turmeric lemonade in a fetal position under his desk at work. Poor guy.

I found the mornings the hardest and by evening felt pretty good. I do not see much joy in getting out of bed without a cup of coffee or tea to look forward to, I have to admit. Which is the perfect example of why it was probably good to be forced to take a few days off. Cleanses in general are fantastic for breaking habits that don’t serve your best nutritional interests, and being that I don’t have a ton of time to devote to delicious meals for a whole foods cleanse (my usual choice), a juice cleanse seemed ideal.

Here’s how it works. You decide on a start date. Order your juice. And it arrives via FedEx on ice the day before. Which means you have no choice but to start or watch 30 bottles of juice go bad in your fridge. I LOVE that aspect of this particular program. No putting it off once you commit!

I also allowed myself some sprouted almonds throughout the day and a plain avocado at night as a treat. I feel strongly that cleaning up your diet for some time, whether it’s with a juice cleanse of something less extreme is an incredibly beneficial exercise and something that I will always incorporate into my lifestyle. But the truth is that pure juice is really hard! Especially when you’re trying to juggle work and kids and life at the same time. It was a great compromise to add a few raw snacks here and there, and the humor that Brock and I found in our experience was totally worth it. Not to mention the vitamins and vegetables my kids unsuspectingly drank while they stole sips from me.

As you can see Dash is enjoying his yam and burdock root “smoothie” while he watches an episode of Little Bear. Double treat!

So the big question… should you do it? Absolutely. If your curious, it’s a great exercise in restraint, it gives your body a break, it’s full of vitamins, and it’s delicious. Will I do it again? TBD.

September 5, 2014

The house project

Soooo, we bought a house. Which I mentioned on Instagram a few weeks ago. The other *thing* is that we’re also doing a full renovation on said house before we move in. It’s super exciting but also suuuuuper overwhelming too, not surprisingly. I don’t know what I’m doing and we’re operating on quite a tight budget to get everything we want to do completed. Oh and also, perfect and on par with all the amazing interiors I am forced to look at every time I go on Pinterest. Reality check!

We are making some good progress, and hopefully are only a few weeks away from submitting our plans to the building department. In the meantime the kitchen table is covered in floor plans and elevations and paperwork and notes. And I fry my brain every night before bed researching windows and fireplace inserts and tile and bathtubs and everything else that I apparently must pick out right this minute. Fun? Sort of. The pay off will be huge, but it is intense around here right now!

The fun part of course is the inside, and while this is in a way exactly what I wanted when we started looking for a house, I also know nothing and cannot commit to a decision for more than 10 minutes. I am absolutely unskilled when it comes to envisioning an entire house and all it’s surfaces as a cohesive space. But thankfully there is Pinterest, which is basically like an interior design app if you ask me.

The other problem is that I like lots of styles. I would primarily call myself a modern-ish neutrals gal. I like Scandinavian design, I like mid century, I like a little bit of rustic thrown in. See first mood board below.

But for whatever reason that style seems harder and more expensive for me to execute. Kitchen cabinets that I like for that style in particular seem super expensive and seem to be determining the entire style of the house. (See? I do not know what I’m doing!) BUT then again I also love white, black, and wood (if you could call that a style). A little “fancy” for my taste and our family, but incredibly easy for me to visualize and execute. At least I think. Truthfully I’m kind of leaning this direction at the moment.

And then there’s the really fun family-centric style of whites and bright bits of color. Also love this. Also seems do-able.

So where do we go from here? I am paralyzed and know that whatever decision I make I will second guess 1 week after we move in. I think this is why there are people called interior designers. One of which I am not. One of which we cannot afford.

If you’d like to see my House Remodel pinterest board it’s up for public consumption. And I pin to it quite often, not surprisingly. Fingers crossed the demo crew is ready to start before the end of the month. (Or if I had my way next week!)

*all images and their credits available on my pinterest board.