Friday, August 21, 2015

Colorado Peaches And Chilies, Eat Local And In Season with Whole Foods Market!

August is such a bountiful time of year, fortunately for us in Colorado it's peak Peach and Chile season!   Whole Foods Market is highlighting #inseason produce so we can find the freshest and most likely, locally sourced fruits and vegetables.

For the past three weeks, every time I head into the market I pick up a bag of no less than 8 peaches from the western slope and it doesn't seem to carry our family of four more than a couple of days. We've been adding peaches to crepes, plain yogurt, oatmeal, salads, sliced with cashew butter for an amazing snack, and even in a quinoa salad I made a big batch of to pack for lunches through out the week. I find they are the most perfect snack when hiking on a hot day. I often joke with cashiers that peaches should come packaged in an egg carton to protect them. I typically hand carry them out of the store to protect them from bumps and bruises on the commute home.

For more peach recipe inspiration, check out these links below!

Recipes from Whole Foods Market:
Rum Butter Glazed Grilled Peaches
Arugula Salad w/Peaches and Blue Cheese
Peach Coconut Freeze
Chicken w/Grilled Peach and Chipotle Salsa

Six Ways To Savor Peaches by In Jennie's Kitchen

Disclaimer, I was compensated by Whole Foods Market as a WFM Ambassador for this post! Content including photos is purely at my discretion. 

Friday, August 7, 2015

Inspiration For Packing Healthy Lunches!

As Back To School is upon us, it's time to get inspired and reinvigorated for lunch packing season. I was featured on two Denver News Stations sharing how I pack lunches for my daughters.

Here are my top tips to start the school year off right!

Avoid the sandwich rut, deconstruct a sandwich, pack the components with crackers instead.

Choose small portions and a variety of foods to help picky eaters open up to new foods.

Aim to pack 3 fresh produce items, in any combination.

Invest in lunch boxes which make the morning rush a cinch! My favorite is the Bento Sets by Bentology (I'm an affiliate):

My former lunch packing blog, Colorado Bento contains over 100 lunch packing ideas which I've combined into Eat Play Love! Click here to scroll through to gather more ideas. 

Get your children involved in their lunch packing. Hand them a small cookie cutter and have them cut out the melon the night before, have it ready to grab and go when packing lunches the next morning! 

Breakfast isn't just for dinner, how about breakfast for lunch?

Don't be afraid to use leftovers, include lots of fresh items to accompany left over pizza!

Here are more photos to gather ideas!

 Quesadilla, veges, cantaloupe.

 Mac N Cheese, pear, vege booty, canned mandarin oranges!

 Plum, Carrots, tomatoes, broccoli, fresh figs, pretzel sticks, and pancakes!

Chicken meatballs (w/ketchup), champagne grapes, carrots, snap peas, 
pirate's booty, and a little piece of angel food cake. 

If you scroll down on the right side, you will find the bento packing and lunch ideas broken into categories, there are many posts to scroll through like Bento Tips, Breakfast for lunch, Laptop Lunches,  Hot Bento, Snack Bento, and a dozen others! 

Happy lunch packing! 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Harpoon Caught Swordfish Tacos

After returning home from two weeks in California, we inevitably had a craving for fish tacos. Truth be told, I only purchase fish from Whole Foods Market because of their Sustainable Seafood Practices and their commitment to the Marine Stewardship Council guidelines. As I approached the seafood department, some beautiful Swordfish Steaks caught my eye, so I picked up a pound for dinner. Swordfish is a delightful and firm, mild flavored white fish, which appeals to my daughters. While our normal go-to taco meat is ground turkey or chicken, I was thrilled to recreate a Southern California favorite with the swordfish. 

There's really not much preparation for the swordfish, simply marinate before grilling (see full recipe below). To compliment the quick and easy fish preparation, I also picked up the ready to go coleslaw in the produce department. The cabbage and carrots are pre-shredded on site and it comes with two containers of dressing. We are in love with a Colorado made vinaigrette called Alpine Avocado, it worked perfectly for both the marinating and the coleslaw dressing.  Within 15 minutes dinner was done. If only I had the view of the ocean in front of me, I may have called this meal absolutely perfect. 

Grilled Swordfish Tacos (Whole Foods Market Recipe link):


  • 1 1/2 pounds swordfish steaks 
  • 4 tablespoons 365 Everyday Value Organic Chipotle Ranch Dressing or other spicy 
  • dressing, divided 
  • 2 cups shredded red or green cabbage, or a mix 
  • 8 soft corn tortillas, warmed 

  • Method: 
  • Prepare a grill for high-heat cooking. Brush swordfish with 2 tablespoons of the dressing.
  • Grill, turning once, until fish is browned and opaque in the center, about 6 minutes. 
  • Place on a cutting board; cut off and discard skin. Cut flesh into small cubes.

Toss cabbage with remaining 2 tablespoons dressing. Spoon fish into tortillas and top 

with cabbage and salsa.
Nutritional Info: 
Per Serving:410 calories (170 from fat)19g total fat3g saturated fat115mg cholesterol400mg sodium23g carbohydrate (3g dietary fiber3g sugar)36g protein

Disclaimer, I was compensated by Whole Foods Market as a WFM Ambassador for this post! Content is purely at my discretion. 

Summertime Joy Achieved At Snow Mountain Ranch, YMCA of The Rockies

Summertime for our family means an opportunity to spend quality time together, exploring museums, walking to get ice cream after dinner, bike rides to catch a brilliant sunset, and it always must include time in the mountains. It also means, extra time to really organize our bedrooms and closets, weeding in the yard, putting the sprinkler under the trampoline to jump with joy after a day of tasks has been completed! I've come to appreciate a nice balance of busy time with activities and down days for us are just as important as adventure days.

When we were invited to spend a couple of nights this summer to Snow Mountain Ranch, YMCA of The Rockies, I immediately responded yes. YMCA's Snow Mountain Ranch in Granby is a place where we inevitably create long lasting family memories. Snow Mountain Ranch is a gem, it's brimming with natural beauty. All too often we hear phrases thrown around casually like, something for everyone, but at SMR it's simply the truth. Just off the top of my head here's a list of some of the activities offered on site: tennis, miniature golf, family game night, horseback riding, guided hikes, mountain biking, horseshoes, a craft center, swimming, rock climbing, archery, canoeing, rollerskating, basketball, arts activities, group sports, s'mores, zip lining, summer tubing, library, tricycle park, fishing, disc golf, and a labyrinth (winter has an additional set of snow based activities). I mean, wow! The majority of those activities are free to people staying on site or with a day pass, but some have a small fee. I would recommend clicking on the activity link to see what's being currently offered because I know I just scratched the surface.

Here are some moments I capture while we were on site:

One of the most joyful moments we had at Snow Mountain Ranch was at the tubing hill. It's big, fast, and fun, not to mention has a beautiful view of the mountains! The white part is a specially designed summertime tubing hill surface that is used in conjunction with single or double tubes, throw in some misting water and voile magic! The tubing hill techs send you sailing down the hill with one simple request fulfilled, forward, backward, or spinning? I lost track of how many times we went down the hill, we could not get enough.  

You may be wondering, what are the accommodations like at Snow Mountain Ranch? We stayed in a room at Indian Peaks Lodge and had meal tickets at Schlessman Commons. If you aren't familiar with YMCA of the Rockies properties, you won't find televisions in the rooms, but there is wifi available in locations. Personally we embrace the opportunity to unplug and view our room as simply a place to come and have a good night's sleep, we are most interested in actively exploring everything the YMCA SMR has to offer. Added bonus from exploring from sun up to sun down? We sleep really well. 

Here's the view from our lodge room:

There are many other accommodation options from camping sites to group retreat cabins and every size in between. Of course my family is most excited to return and stay at a yurt! The lodge rooms start at $79/night, cabins start at $179/night, campsites $47/night and yurts are $94/night. The prices vary for seasons and view the ranges here for Summer and Fall. Here's a special for 2 free breakfasts for every lodge room booked. Of course because the YMCA of the Rockies is such an amazing place, they offer a special military getaway rate, details here

A special thank you to the Snow Mountain Ranch, YMCA of the Rockies, for once again providing us the opportunity to grow, laugh, explore, and bond as a family. Summertime magic achieved. 

Disclosure, our meals, activities, and accommodations were provided by YMCA of The Rockies.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Road Trip Summer 2015, Highway 1 in California, Lead The Way!

Summer 2015 road trip, where shall we go?

Two years ago in June, we embarked on our very first long road trip adventure to San Diego. Up until that trip we had only traveled 8 hours together in the car and San Diego was double the amount of time, a whopping 16 hours from Boulder. We learned in the summer of 2013, we road trip well together. How could we not? Of course there are wonderful snacks with a few smatterings of foods we would never keep in the house, stops in random towns, miles upon miles of beautiful scenery, lots of laughter, The Series of Unfortunate Events audio books, singing, oodles of photo ops, and a very special bond that forms when you spend days together cooped up in a vehicle. Last summer we returned to southern California, which was wonderful, but I've been longing for years to drive Highway 1 through Big Sur. This year, I finally had my way and we set sail on our longest road trip to date, 2,990 miles!

We did things slightly different this time around, we took two nights on both ends of our trip to get to and from California. We may have tested our boundaries in the past to spend more time at the beach, with the inevitable if we do this, we'll have to drive straight through 16 hours back home (yeah, we can do it). Even though we did it with no problems, we were really crabby, the girls had to sleep in the car, we had to drive many hours at night, and road tripping with two children like we did when we were in our 20's is simply not ideal. But in the moment…two more days at the beach really had us convinced otherwise.

We quickly discovered this time around, more travel time is our sweet spot, it left us time to have a real dinner in the town we arrived in for the evening. We only drove during daylight hours, which I love from a sight seeing perspective and as someone with terrible night driving vision. Every hotel we stayed at had a pool, so the girls had the opportunity to burn off some energy and something to look forward to as the miles ticked closer to our landing spot.

This trip was certainly one for the books, we stayed in a beautiful mountain luxury condo, a delightful no frills mountain cabin, a few hotel chains, a wonderful home just blocks from the beach, a boutique hotel on the beach, a vacation club, and last but not least a motel in the mountains of Colorado. California cities we checked off our road trip list were Olympic Valley (Tahoe), Berkeley, Palo Alto, Santa Cruz, Monterey,  Carmel, Cambria, Morro Bay, and Santa Barbara. Of course that included Big Sur and all the lovely spots along Highway 1 from San Francisco to Santa Barbara.

Bixby Bridge in Big Sur was a place I've dreamed of visiting for years. I've always had a strange, albeit fearful, fascination with bridges and the picturesque Bixby Bridge topped my list of bridges I've always wanted to cross. When we arrived at this very spot, it was simply breathtaking. My eyes didn't know where to look first, the sweeping views for miles up the coast and out to sea, or an occasional vehicle coasting around the corner and passing over the brilliantly engineered architectural splendor of a bridge. The breeze kicked up and the waves crashed, I put my arms around my girls and told them I had always dreamed of standing in this very spot. We put away our cameras and hit the road, hundreds of miles of coast ahead of us, the view was magnificent mile after mile. There were too many, wow look over there, moments to count. Our hearts swelled from the natural beauty we were experiencing and our love affair with California blossomed, all from simply allowing Highway 1 to lead the way.

…more stories and photos to follow

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Ready For Action Bag from Whole Foods Market

Whole Foods is launching their second Beauty Bag today, June 27th, Ready for Action! My bag arrived right before our vacation and I was so excited for the contents this time around (oh and the jute bag is my favorite, turquoise color). Goodies to be found in this release are a full sized Toms of Maine deodorant in powder scent, which for some reason just sings summer time to me. Boiron Arnicacare Gel which I always have to lug the large size around when traveling for bumps and bruises, so I found the little one to be lovely! Sunscreen and pure aloe vera for the most important job of summer skin care before and after sun exposure!

In addition to the selection of clean alternative skin care products, there were even some items to stay fueled, appealing to my try before you buy tendencies. NUUN active electrolyte drink tabs (yeah for staying hydrated), seed blend packets, and a vanilla chai amazing meal. When we are on the road and have had a long day, I love being able to nourish my body with a quick green and probiotic shake instead of reaching for the bag of chips.

Limited quantities can be found at your local Whole Foods Market, it retails for $12 and is a $50 value! 

Disclaimer, I was compensated by Whole Foods Market as a WFM Ambassador for this post! Content is purely at my discretion. 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

What Happens After The KonMari Decluttering (with Photos)

Little whispers started dropping in my world, Kon Mari, Marie Kondo, at first I wasn't really connecting the dots, but then I started listening.  I didn't engage in any direct conversation, I just simply put Marie Kondo's The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up in my library queue, to find out firsthand what all the buzz was about. As to be expected, the wait was lengthy for the book. Close to three months passed when I received the email that my hold was ready and I instantly realized the timing couldn't have been more perfect.

The book arrived the Friday before Spring Break. 

The decluttering started immediately. Well immediately after I binge read the book, went directly to the closest store to buy a box of 50 extra large black trash bags, and pick up some empty boxes to start filling. While I could go through the details of my process, I simply want to say, I decluttered the major hotspots in my home all in one week. There are other areas I am slowly working through (storage closet for example). I have donated 2 full carloads and 1 truck load to local thrift stores. I have thrown away exhausted items and recycled old paperwork. I have mailed a 22lb box of lovely hand me down clothing to my niece in New York and given away 2 completely full reusable shopping bags of clothing to a kindergarten girl in our community.

It has been one month and my home has never been kept this way, full of joy and zen, especially for this long of a period of time. When I have some down time in my day, I now use it to clean, rather than avoid things like laundry, piles of junk mail, papers, the girls things strewn around the house. The avoiding situations don't exist anymore. My house it fairly tidy, comparing it to one month ago, it's exceptionally tidy. There is no place in my home that a visitor is not welcome to check out, no closed doors, no embarrassing please don't look spots. A great example, I had a girlfriend around for tea the other morning and I actually brought her into my closet to show her my folding method for clothing, NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS would that have happened before reading Marie Kondo's book.

Let's visually explore some of the changes since decluttering:

My closet before:

My closet TODAY (a month later):

My clothing (we have downsized one whole dresser):

Now for the ripple effect of decluttering. I've put up with this ugly grey tile in the entry way of my home for 4.5 years, it's truly a remnant from when my home apparently had wall to wall brown shag carpeting. I've spoken to my father and brother about ripping it out, but they both discouraged me from doing so, not knowing what the condition of the floor would be underneath. Josh took the girls camping for a weekend and I don't think they had made it out of the neighborhood before I had a pry bar and hammer in my hand going to town on the tile.

I simply no longer had a tolerance for the grey floor. It did not bring me joy, so I ripped it out. Admittedly the floor underneath is not perfect, but I simply purchased a rug that does bring me joy. Win, win. Soon enough, I hope to have our floors refinished, I just helped save us some of the cost of labor.

Tile entryway before:

Entryway now:

Which brings me to my most recent project. Last Tuesday (my day off), I walked into the bathroom and simply felt overwhelmed by how it brought me down. The paint colors (AWFUL), the cheap ass medicine cabinet on the wall that only housed the girls toothbrushes, the ugly ceramic towel bar and toilet paper holder. Dread is what I felt… So, I set about to fix that, to find joy in my little space. There will be a separate post devoted to everything I did in there because as one could imagine, I ran into a few unexpected repairs I needed to take care of. Can you say, patching drywall…

Bathroom Before: 
(I almost didn''t even have the courage to post this)

Bathroom now:
No more medicine cabinet, a white rug, new fixtures, and paint. Voile. This bathroom, tiny and functional, completely sparks joy in me. 

That's just part of the ripple effect. I've started working out and eating better. I stand taller, I'm smiling more, sleeping better, more present with the girls. I will continue to share my post decluttering journey and all the progress I've been making in my home and personal life. It's all intertwined and I feel so grateful for the changes that have been sparked by letting go of stuff. Simply amazing. 


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Take Home a Bra Giveaway at Title Nine's 2015 Fit Fest

When an invitation to a Title Nine's media only FitFest arrived in my inbox, I knew the timing was perfect. My exercise routine does not involve many high impact activities, but I've always been that person that settles for whatever is in my wardrobe to suffice when it comes to sports bras. I've definitely never been fit by a professional or as Title Nine calls their experts, Bravangelists.

At the event I met a really supportive group of women making the FitFest a breeze. There happened to be plenty of laughs, some bouncing on a huge rubber ball and hula hooping to see if my new bra withstood the bounce test. I learned a lot about how my sports bra should fit, what real support actually feels like, and that a supportive bra does not mean uncomfortable!

I decided on the 3 Reasons Support Bra, which is rated 4 barbells:

These bras work best for our fuller C and D cup testers who want great support for high impact activities. DD cup testers will do well in these for medium impact activities.

I love the adjustable straps, which are easy to access in the front. I went from yoga class where I was nice and secured in, to giving myself some room and relaxing the straps a bit on my way to pick up the girls from school. I've never owned a sports bra that had real clasps on the band, which is the most important part to help support us when working out. Lesson learned.

Title Nine is holding Fit Fests in many locations, all you need to do is RSVP with your local store. The bonus of attending a Fit Fest is that they will have the largest selection of bras on site to try on. I tried about 5 bras before giving the 3 Reasons a thumbs up.

Now for the exciting news, I am giving away a Title Nine bra for a reader that attends a Fit Fest! Locally, you can find Fit Fests:

April 8-9, 10am-8 pm
Title Nine Boulder
1801 Pearl Street

April 15-16, 10am-9 pm
Title Nine Cherry Creek 
160 Steele Street

April 22-23, 10am-8 pm
Title Nine Colorado Springs
210 N. Tejon Street
Colorado Springs

Comment equals entry! 
Facebook comments will be transferred over. Good Luck. Contest is closing, Friday April 10th, 10pm MST. If you comment as anonymous, please just leave an email address so I can contact you. Winner has 24 hours to provide contact info or another winner will be selected.


Disclosure, content at my own discretion, contest giveaway provided by Title Nine Sports, as well as the items I received when attending the Media Only Fit Fest preview.

Update! Congrats to Hanna R!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Beauty Week at Whole Foods Market March 18-24

March 18-24 is beauty week at Whole Foods Market! This year to celebrate they have introduced a beauty bag full of delightful products worth $60 for only $18 in store. Fair warning quantities are limited and each store is holding a bag release party on March 21 at 10am.

Whole Foods Market has set high standards for the body care industry based on the philosophy what you put on it, you put in it.  We purchase many of our body care products at Whole Foods. I do love the release of the beauty bag and having the opportunity to try out products on my rather sensitive and fickle skin. Even the bag is high quality, it is made in India by an organization that provides jobs to survivors of human trafficking. The women receive health care, literacy training, day care, and a fair wage. On that note, I've actually decided to deactivate my monthly more traditional beauty bag subscription, and instead pick up Whole Food's quarterly bag.

My bag contained a facial mask, repair shampoo, a facial moisturizer, microdermabrasion scrub, mascara, and mineral eye shadow. I'm already in love with the facial mask and have picked up the regular size product in store.

Hello Beauty, it's time to really examine our body care routines and see if it matches with our clean eating regimes. If not, it's time to change that!


Disclaimer, I was compensated by Whole Foods Market as a WFM Ambassador for this post! Content is purely at my discretion. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Maybe Tomorrow Night Will Come Without Tears

Wednesday March 18th was going to be such a happy day, the day J was to return from a trip to Nepal. As it turns out, today was conversely a sad day, a day when I finally crawled into bed just moments after the girls were tucked in and I cried. Apparently I needed a good cry. A good cry for holding it all together, through the my trip has been extended news, through driving off in my car after witnessing a group of girls not being kind to my sweet girl, through hugs and big smiles the way a mother needs to stay composed even though I'm deflated on the inside. Through damn me for grocery shopping yesterday because I don't have the energy to cook dinner, but guilt so strong, I sucked it up and cooked dinner. Through, I can't quite recall the last time I slept through the night, maybe February before J left on his trip. The girls and I have grown closer these past few weeks. Our vulnerable collective leaves me feeling so completely raw and depleted, but tomorrow is another day. Another day to pack lunches, make breakfast, get the three of us to school/work on time, get to after school activities, come home cook dinner, sit around and laugh, shower, brush teeth, tuck in the girls, and do it all over again.

Maybe tomorrow night will come without tears, but more than likely it won't.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Roses, Happy Whole Foods Market $25 Gift Card Giveaway!

Why buy any roses, when you can buy Whole Trade® Roses

I'm always drawn to the variety of colors roses come in, when red always seems to be the Valentine's Day default, but here's a great way to get a hidden message across:

·         Red - true love, passion and respect
·         Dark Red - beauty, perfection and adoration
·         Pink - romance and admiration
·         Deep Pink - appreciation, gratitude and sincerity
·         Light Pink - sweetness and gentleness
·         Orange - desire, passion and excitement
·         White - spiritual love, purity and new beginnings
·         Yellow - warmth, joy and friendship
·         Lavender - love at first sight

Want to learn more?  Whole Trade® Info 

I have a $25 Whole Foods Market Gift Card to giveaway!
To Enter:

1. A comment equals one entry, comment as much as you wish, I will transfer over Facebook comments. Please leave a valid email address if you comment as anonymous.

2. Contest will close on Saturday February 21, 2015 at 10pm MST. 

3. 1 winner will be chosen from comments by Random. Org and notified via email.

4. Address must be provided within 24 hours or a new winner will be selected, the gift card will be shipped directly by the supplier of the giveaway.  

5. Open to US residents only. 

Disclaimer, I was compensated by Whole Foods Market as a WFM Ambassador for this post and giveaway! Content is purely at my discretion. 

And the winner is Comment #4! I'll be in touch Catherine for your address! Congrats. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

In Colorado, We Have The Sky

Countless hours could be lost at the ocean's edge. Endless empty views of pure light and color melding, a dramatic ocean meets sky off in the distance. A blank meditative canvas. Waves crashing ashore, rhythmic sound lulling the mind into a day dream. Faint droplets of sea spray appearing on sunglass lenses. Feet resting in warm sand, radiating into one's being.

If only I lived near the ocean…

In Colorado, we have the sky. Clouds drop so close, for a brief moment the mind wants to reach up and experience fingertips gently caressing the pure white fluff. And the blue, a sapphire pales in comparison to Colorado sky blue.  Joy can be found by simply observing the intensity of the sun's rays moments before it dips beyond the Rockies. Even hours after it sets, the sun fights to stay in our consciousness with darting rays into the sky, pink and orange displays highlighting the clouds. Take a chance on allowing your days to be bookended by witnessing sunrise and sunset, the light intensity at various moments of the day, we are surrounded by it, if you just pause to notice.

We have the sky.

We have the sky.

A glimpse into my weekend in the mountains:

Friday, January 30, 2015

Need Clean Eating Meal Inspiration? Let A Whole Foods Market Gift Card Help Your Journey!

February is right around the corner and there's a great chance you're looking for inspiration at this phase of your clean eating journey. There's also a decent chance, if you are anything like me, that you just realized the month of January is almost behind us and you thought you'd be making a stronger effort this year. Have no fear, put your calendar aside, and set your clean eating intentions!

No matter where you find yourself looking for inspiration, to keep going or to start your journey, you've come to the right place. I've done a few whole foods cleanses over the years, think of it as focusing on foods that would rot if left out on a counter top for a week (minus the dairy, we know dairy would spoil). If it comes in a box or a plastic wrapper, it's off my shopping list. If it appears like it did when a farmer picked it off his land, then your focus is stellar! If you have to read the label and can't decipher the ingredients, take a break from that item. Baby steps, get inspired, and build momentum from there.

Once you take your mind off of foods that you can't have and focus on the foods you can have, this rainbow filled nutrient rich food world opens up to you.

Breakfast salad? 
One of my favorite ways to enjoy greens, berries, 
almonds, avocado (healthy fats), and coconut! 

A gorgeous non-traditional tuna salad. 
The heck with a bun and mayo, a side of chips.
Load your bowl up with a bed of greens, a dash of oil, vinegar, and spices,
cucumbers, pickles (we love Bubbies), olives. So delightful and
no longing for how you've always eaten tuna. Fresh and healthy! 

We love ground turkey or chicken meat loaf in muffin tins. 
First the serving size is perfect for the girls and it cuts cooking
time in half. Meat loaf in less than 30 minutes? Say yes to muffin tins!
Today I tried the meatloaf with a cabbage leaf lining the tin and
to my surprise I loved it. I added fresh parsley, baby spinach, carrots,
bell peppers, an egg, and spices to liven up this classic dish! 


I have a $25 Whole Foods Market Gift Card to giveaway!
To Enter:

1. A comment equals one entry, comment as much as you wish, I will transfer over Facebook comments. Please leave a valid email address if you comment as anonymous.

2. Contest will close on Sunday February 8, 2015 at 10pm MST. 

3. 1 winner will be chosen from comments by Random. Org and notified via email.

4. Address must be provided within 24 hours or a new winner will be selected, the gift card will be shipped directly by the supplier of the giveaway.  

5. Open to US residents only. 

Disclaimer, I was compensated by Whole Foods Market as a WFM Ambassador for this post and giveaway! Content is purely at my discretion. 

WINNER: #8, Anna! I will be in touch!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

LYFE Kitchen Boulder, Where Healthy Meets Fast Casual on Pearl Street!

We walked into LYFE Kitchen on Pearl Street on a chilly evening and our eyes were instantly drawn to the fresh herb tower. Within moments we were cozied up on a bench in the entryway and each reading through a menu that suited us, one gluten free, two everything, and one vegetarian/vegan. My 11 year old who is currently gluten and dairy free, not to mention refraining from pork and beef, was so excited to see an entire menu suited to her tastes! Mom, look at this and doesn't that sound awesome?!

LYFE Kitchen offers casual counter ordering through out the entire day and also table service for dinner, if you so choose. I was happy to see the counter service, especially on a school night where I am less linger more, EAT! LYFE Kitchen provides a truly well rounded menu, with something for everyone. I personally loved their flavor profiles (chimichurri vinaigrette, chipotle aioli), their stance on serving the best ingredients, and all of their meals are 600 calories or less. I had to order Art (Smith's) Unfried Chicken, pictured below. It delivered. Everyone left completely satisfied, with those meals that satiates your belly and your heart!

We also sampled the grilled artichokes, chunky guac n' chips (with house baked chips), J had the grassed burger, Sj had the chicken and avocado sandwich (GF bun), and G had the unfried chicken strips kids meal. We had that lull when our food was served, we were all too busy eating to carry on a conversation (always a great sign). Our meal was complimented with LYFE Waters (hibiscus beet, cucumber mint, orange ginger chia) which had such lovely flavor profiles and a few of them even featured chia seeds, which is a superfood that is also great for stomach health! Speaking of chia, we saved room for some vegan Budino made with chia seeds, the special flavor was chai based and I absolutely loved it. LYFE may have made a chia convert out of me, we never buy it to experiment with at home, but I'm going to seek out some recipes.

I had the pleasure to sit down with Grace, the general manager of the Pearl Street LYFE Kitchen and she gave us the background of LYFE. With the story of LYFE, we also learned some small anecdotes about Grace, her passion for food just radiated from her. I have to admit, seeing a manager greet customers, run food, bus tables, talk about life on a farm, and always wear a smile, is a special person. LYFE and our community in Boulder are fortunate to have her. LYFE (Love Your Food Everyday) was started by the former Global President and former Chief of Corporate Communications of none other than McD's, who really were driven to change the food system. Their fresh casual concept started in Palo Alto, California and has made it's way across the country. The two Colorado locations are franchise owned. The interior design was a hit with my girls, we loved the colors, the reclaimed wood on the walls and some tables. We really felt at home in LYFE Kitchen and I see it as our go to for a quick meal on an evening where an activity has us out later than we'd like and starving downtown. All too often I find us crabby from a long day and want to make good choices about how we are nourishing our bodies, LYFE Kitchen makes that easy.

LYFE Kitchen is a great addition to Pearl Street and Boulder. I look forward to making my way through the menu, next up breakfast. there's a breakfast burrito and chipotle potato hash with my name on it.

LYFE Kitchen
Price point: $4-$14, average dish $8-$10 range
1600 Pearl St
Boulder, 80302

Sunday - Thursday 8am-9pm
Friday - Saturday 8am-10pm

Disclaimer: I was invited to bring my family into LYFE Kitchen, our meal was provided for us, under no obligation to post. All words, photos, and excitement about LYFE Kitchen are my own. ;) 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Facebook, Ties that Unbind Us

Facebook provides a false sense of connection, in my humble opinion. Facebook has allowed us to accept that we are indeed staying in touch with others, when really is a thumbs up an affirmation of your connection to that human being? The majority of Facebook users have come to believe they are keeping a pulse on what's happening with those in their social circle, whether it be family, friends, acquaintances, work mates, or your favorite person from Zumba class. I mean come on, you saw photos of me on vacation, at my child's school event, girls pedicures, date night, view from the top of a mountain, hitting the ski slopes, outside my favorite restaurant in NYC, or the Pinterest inspired craft I completed with my girls. Our connection must run deep, having all that select insight into my life. The majority have come to believe this is how we communicate now, but it's not. Not for me anyway.

Facebook is not connection, it's anti-connection.

Over the past few years we've accepted passive communication as a tool to keep in touch with the people that have come into your life. It's dull, for the most part it's one dimensional, it's lacking life. I don't need to present you with a Huffington Post article for you to recognize that the majority of what you are viewing is a highly edited version of what people want you to believe about them. You are viewing their life through a happy lens. Not to mention, you are only seeing a slim percentage of updates from your entire network, thanks to Facebook algorithms, which may be the most annoying part of my entire debate. Facebook is no longer real time, it's a version of real time, the version Facebook believes you should see. Thanks, but no thanks Facebook.

Which brings me to my love for observing people in public, it's part of my intuitive nature and part nosy ol' me, oh and is steeped in my Cultural Anthropology degree. Everyone has witnessed the Facebook obsessed public displays. Sitting at a dinner with 6 friends, but zoned in on your iPhone checking to see what's happening in your Facebook feed? The people at the table with you don't really matter, don't deserve your time and attention? But look Geri from high school who I haven't spoken with in twenty years is at the beach with her kids! Then there's the depressing family of four at Easter Brunch, both parents on Facebook, two small boys, sharing an iPad playing a game. Son asks Mom a question, after the third time she hears him, replies with in a minute. Gutted. I could go on and on and on. About a year ago, I started taking photos of people in groups engaged with their devices instead of the people around them, indeed I do I have a photo of that family from brunch. I haven't quite decided what to do with the photos, they are depressing.

Can we just stop and think if this what we want, what we are embracing, what we have turned into? Do we love watered down versions of people instead the fully dimensional whole beings that we interact with day in and day out. It's not what I want. I need people in my life to call me out on my shit because they know my shit, I let them in on it, and they know the lows as much as they know the finer moments. For me the only way to deepen our connection is to be wholly who we are, not an algorithmic version on top of a happy wonderful life filter. Lets get real together.