united by blue


Get up. Go. Adventure.
Leave the plans behind. Ditch the maps.
Step inside. Ask directions. Follow the lines scribbled on a napkin.
See where it leads you.
Then find your way home.

le marche st. george


You've probably seen one or more of these photos scattered throughout my work in the last few months, but today I'm compelled to publish them all in one place. Together they show the collective magic that is Le Marche St. George, a cafe and small market located in Vancouver, Canada. It's the kind of place we all romanticize about owning one day. A cafe where the guests come for the people just as much as they do the coffee. A place where the owners travel and hand-select luxury goods to sell in small quantities. Where the texture on the walls authentically screams of weathered age, and where the marble top tables transport you to 1920's Paris. The ceiling-to-floor shelves stocked with local staples -- coffee, jam, pickles, and crackers.

I sat here for hours my first time in Vancouver. I sipped on a cappuccino. I split my flaky croissant piece by piece to nibble on its airy richness. Beside me sat a foursome of middle-aged women. They talked about using their bikes to get around and someone they knew who developed diabetes. Mothers with strollers made their way up to the door. I watched it all through speckled light cast through the trees. Little shadows danced on their children's faces as they waited patiently in their strollers. The table in front of me was a beautiful still life all its own. 

This experience welcomed me to Vancouver. It gave me pause -- moments to gather my thoughts, realize where I was, and get ready for something new. Who I was, there at that cafe, preparing for it all, is not who I turned into after the experience. That trip, those adventures, the way they changed me was like being branded on the brain with a scolding hot iron. My eyes will never see the same. Everything holds a different hue than ever before. I hold that moment at Le Marche St. George in my heart as a glimpse of who I was, a person on the brink of something new.

diy aromatherapy sinus relief


Note: This post was previously published here as a part of my freelance work.
The seasons are changing. Temperatures are rising and falling to new extremes each day, and with them a toll is exerted on our sinuses. We are more prone to infections, clogs, and discomfort around our nose and eyes come this time of year. To help keep them clear and to give relief, you can simply inhale some of Mother Nature’s healing scents. Eucalyptus, peppermint, and lavender are a dynamic force that help clogs and give soothing energy to sinus cavities. Next time you need a little something to make you feel better, try putting together one of these simple “smelling pouches”.

What You’ll need:
1/3 cup dried lavender
1/3 cup dried peppermint
10 drops eucalyptus essential oil
Organic linen pouch (draw string is best, but you can also find a piece of string or ribbon to tie yours off with)

1. Mix together your dried herbs.
2. Drip essential oil on top, and mix up to help distribute the scent.
3. Pour everything into the small linen pouch. 
4. Close tight, and keep on hand for a sniff any time you’re in need.

diy healthy hair rinse


Note: This post was previously published here as a part of my freelance work.
After visiting the Officina Profumo Farmeceutica di Santa Maria Novella in Florence, I discovered hair rinses and became very intrigued to try some of my own. I did a little research and got to experimenting. 

The base for every rinse is vinegar. It helps to remove buildup and smooths out breakaways. Each hair cuticle is essentially constructed like little shingles piled on top of one other; the vinegar helps to smooth the “shingles” down and keeps them pulled in close together. 

From there, you can mix in whatever herbs you’d like. I found that my favorite way to make a rinse was with essential oil because it has such a concentrated amount of the nutrients and the most potent smell. Certain ones are more beneficial for hair than others. Below is a rundown of the best to choose from, so you can throw together a combo that seems most fit for you. Myself, I ended up making a rosemary lemon grass combo, and I love it. 

After using the rinse a few times, I did notice a difference in shininess and overall health. So, here you go, here’s how to make your own!
The Herbs:
Rosemary: Good for dark hair. It helps with oily locks, dandruff, and will stimulate growth.
Sage: Good for dark hair and reversing grays. Sage will also help with dandruff.
Chamomile: Chamomile is good for light colored hair, and it will bring out highlights.
Calendula: Helps condition damaged hair.
Basil: Good for oily hair & stimulates growth
Lemon Grass: Good for oily hair.
What You Need:
1 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
10 Drops One Essential Oil
10 Drops Second Essential Oil
Glass Container

1. Combine ingredients in a glass container, and let sit for at least one day.
2. When you’re ready to use, take 1/2 tbsp of the rinse, and mix it into 1 cup water.
3. Shampoo your hair, and then pour the rinse through, so it touches as many strands as possible.
4. You can either rinse out with some water afterward, or leave the rinse in. It is up to you. I always left mine in.

meet: chrissy usher saavedra


Every once in awhile a new friend walks into your life and you instantly connect. Life, for one reason or another, sets your paths at an intersecting junction, and gives you a stretch of time to share with one another. 
About six months ago, Chrissy Usher Saavedra and I met at that point in the road when she set foot in the halls of Free People's BLDG 25 office and floated right by my desk. I looked up, not thinking twice, and immediately smiled and introduced myself. There was no looking back from that moment.

I've since been getting to know Chrissy, learning more about her each day, and often stopping by her desk for a few laughs to break up the intense work day flow. She's a whacky soul with one of the biggest, loving hearts you'll ever come across. I admire her utter desire to be good and warm towards everything in her life. She truly cares about other people, and is unapologetically herself at all times.
Getting to laugh with Chrissy has been an honor. Dinners with her and her endearing husband Manuel have filled me up with happiness. They are simply fun and uplifting people to be around. I'm so excited to build a friendship with their two amazing souls as we continue to share this little junction in life. 
It just goes to show, you'll never stop meeting new people who amaze you. And how happy of a thought is that?
Now, let's get to know Chrissy a little better. ;)
Growing up in Colorado I learned to love adventure in the outdoors, anything from camping, to hiking, to snowboarding! // My mother is my best friend and I am her biggest fan.  She is the most inspiring person, one I hope to be just like when Manuel and I have babies. I love her. // And my dad is an extremely talented business man, who would do anything to enhance the success and happiness of his family. He is a very supportive Papa and has always allowed me to follow my heart even if he didn’t agree. // Living in New York was the most challenging and exciting period of my life thus far.  It taught me a lot about my passion for theater and fashion and introduced me to some lifelong friends and the love of my life. // I came to Philly for this amazing little piece of heaven called “Free People, BLDG 25” and I haven’t looked back.  Although I do sometimes miss the late night pizza and New York City buzz! // If I wasn't working at Free People I would be back in Colorado, close to all of my friends who are having babies so I can be Aunty Chrissy, living in Denver with my husband, and Gatsby (of course) looking for the next step in my career.  Getting my masters?! Who knows! // My life has been dramatic, passionate, emotional, exciting, and driven by listening to my heart. It’s crazy to think I’m married to the most amazing man and working my dream job…in Philly. // I laugh the most when I’m with my family.  There is never a dull moment and always a little drama when we are together. We always find ourselves sitting on the kitchen floor at 1 o’clock in the morning, eating mom’s leftovers, drinking a beer, rolling around laughing at the most absurd things. I love them. // The most exciting thing is being on stage, performing in front of a packed house on opening night.  I admit that I miss this so much. // I adopted my dog and he completes me. Ha, but seriously. His name is Gatsby, he is a sweet little baby love, who has taught me a different kind of love, and I can’t imagine my world without him in it! // When I wake up in the morning this is a hard one to say without making myself sound like a dirty Colorado hippy. // I’m so inspired by artists.  Anyone who lives for the passion of their art, whatever it may be.  People who are artistic live such extraordinary lives that are filled with so much hunger for artistic success. // I would want to be famous for my acting.  Always and forever, I will always have the dream to become a famous actress. // I will always remember my golden retriever Sabrina. I never thought I could love another animal as much as I loved her. She was by my side throughout my whole childhood and early adult life. She will always have a piece of my heart. // If there is one thing the years have taught me it has to be that mom and dad are usually, almost, always right. They lived it, they see it, and they get it! But you have live and learn in your own way. // In life you have to follow your passions.  I have lived my life basing everything off of my heart and listening to my gut.  Also, you have to find the little things in life that make you smile; those are the moments that get you through each day. // The last movie I watched “The Adams Family” tis the season right?! // Saturdays I usually sleep in really late, take Gatsby to the most amazing dog heaven dog park in Jersey, do a little shopping(because I am ADDICTED) and have date night with Manuel if he is off. // One day I will find my way back to Colorado to be closer to my family and friends, buy a house somewhere in Denver, and own my own business.  Manuel and I want to open our own yoga studio attached to a restaurant. Ha, I am a dreamer…remember this. // Not many people know that I have a phobia of fruit. Probably because this is an embarrassing “fun fact” that makes people judge me more than they already do! // You can never eat enough chocolate. Nuff said. // I couldn't live without my husband, Gatsby, my family, and my childhood blanket, which I still sleep with…every night. // The best feeling is being understood and loved. That is so cheesy but nothing feels better than someone 100% understanding you and loving you for who you are. // People say that I am super goofy, loud, and dramatic. I would have to agree. // My wardrobe consists of mostly Free People, Urban Outfitters, some pretty awesome vintage finds, and a lot of jackets. // Without fashion…haha that’s a good one. // Right now, I really want to get back to Colorado for the holidays.  This is the best time of the year and I always start planning months in advance. //

cremini mushroom & collard green whole wheat galettes


Note: This post was previously published here as a part of my freelance work.
Pie crust is one thing many cooks strive to perfect in their lifetimes. It’s finicky and temperamental, but when you get it right, that flaky melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness makes it all worthwhile. Add in the desire to make it wheat, and you throw a whole new curve ball into the game. 
Here, I adapted a galette crust from the folks at Tartine, and filled it with delicious local cremini mushrooms, collard greens, leeks, tarragon, and horseradish quark. I love the Tartine books, but I will admit that they are not for beginners. Their methods get so precise, and often a little tool pretentious. Ultimately, they do know what they’re talking about though, and even if you don’t get each step precisely as they describe it, you still end up with something that’s pretty darn good. 

The meaty mushroom filling in these particular galettes sings tastefully against the nuttier whole wheat crust. Folded up into individual portions, they make a beautiful treat for guests. Serve them for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and they will make sense. Deep into fall and heading into winter, they are a nice hearty treat.

For the crust:
1 lb. unsalted butter
1 cup water
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour

For the Egg Wash:
2 egg yolks
2 tbs half & half cream

For the Filling:
1 lb. cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 1/2 cups chopped collard greens
2 large leeks
2 lg garlic cloves, sliced thick
1/2 cup water
2 tbs chopped tarragon
2 tbs champagne vinegar
3 tbs horseradish quark
3 tbs coconut oil
salt & pepper to taste

For the Dough:

1. Slice butter into one inch cubes, dissolve salt in water, and stick everything into the freezer to chill for 10 minutes. Keep the water and the butter in separate dishes.
2. On a clean working surface, portion out your flours and mound them up into a square, about 1/3 inch thick. Don’t worry about throughly mixing the flours. It will inevitably happen once you get working.
3. Lay butter cubes evenly on top of the square, and sprinkle with some more flour. Using a floured rolling pin, begin to roll the butter until it warms up enough to make long little sheets. As you do this, intermittently scrape up the sides of your square to return it to the size you first began with. Repeat rolling and reshaping the square 3 or 4 times.
4. Now, make a whole in the middle of the dough, and fill it with the chilled salt water. Using a bench scraper, knife, or pastry blender, scrape the edges of the square into the center, cutting and mixing the water into the dough. It will start to look like a shaggy mess.
5. Shape the dough back into a square, and roll it out, so that it’s roughly 10 x 14 inches. Sprinkle with flour, fold in on itself, and re-roll 3 or 4 times.
6. Transfer the dough to a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for at least one hour. I chilled mine overnight.
7. When you are ready to roll out the dough, cut it into 12 even squares. Flour your surface and roll each square into a circle that is about 1/8 inch thick. Trim edges to make it round when necessary. 
8. As you finish the circles, fold them into quarters, and set them aside on a lightly floured surface. Stick everything back into the fridge for at least 10 minutes of chilling once all are rolled out.

For the Egg Wash:

1. Whisk ingredients together & set aside.

For the Filling:

1. Cut leeks in half length-wise, turn, and continue to cut into 1/4 inch strips along the short direction.
2. Heat coconut oil in a large pot, and add leeks.
3. Once the leeks begin to sweat, add garlic and tarragon, then sauté for about 1 minute.
4. Add collard greens. Stir around for 1 minute, and then add water, keeping the heat high. Let steam for about 10 minutes
5. Add in the sliced mushrooms. Cook for another 10-15 minutes, until most of the liquid is cooked out.
6. Add vinegar, and cook for 1 more minute, then kill the heat, season, and let chill.


1. Preheat oven to 350F
2. On a lightly floured surface, lay down your first circle of galette crust. Pile on filling, so that you have a 1 inch perimeter of crust, and so that it piles roughly 1/2 inch high.
3. Sprinkle with horseradish quark.
4. Fold the dough up around the edges, pressing it down to make sure that no liquid will escape.
5. Repeat until you’ve filled all of your galettes, You will probably have left over crust. This can be frozen and used at a later date.
6. Give your egg wash one last whisk, and then paint it overtop each galette, covering the crusts evenly.
7. Bake for 45-60 minutes, until lightly browned.
8. Serve warm.