Raw and Juicy

I’m extremely excited to announce that the place I’m lucky enough to call my “job” has been listed in the Top 10 Juice Bars in the nation by US Today! Keep in mind we’re in a tiny Airstream that fits 3 people (4 is a cozy party) that sits on a quaint beach side street. Some of the other “best of’s” are in major cities like Atlanta, L.A, Nashville and such, so clearly the heart and energy behind Raw and Juicy speaks in volumes!

Curious of the creator behind this magical place serving things like the Spicy Rabbit, Green Goddess and Spiked Melon? Meet Jenifer Kuntz by clicking here.

I’d love to do a huge post with hundreds of photos of us playing with fruit, veggies, blenders and more (aka- “working”) but in the midst of fun, I rarely remember my camera.

So instead, I’ll post a few that were captured and link you directly to their website which is well worth a look. Please take a moment and embrace what is the Raw and Juicy Life.

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Working? Sure, you can a all it that.

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So this is Carinne, a happy little lady who happened to drop the blender lid behind our freezer. Our compact area provides such a tight squeeze, this is what I turned around to after hearing the strenuous sounds of go-go gadget arm!

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When you order from this superb place, let me confirm that any smoothie with coconut meat, milk or water legitimately comes straight from the source. It takes solid effort, but it’s well worth the results!

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As well as full description of each amazing item on our menu, I could also go into an entire post about every lovely person I get to share this space with. Instead, I will just send my full gratitude to Christin, Kevin, Daisy, Jesse, Corinne, Shen, Michelle, Jo Jo, Kayla, and Grayton. You make my work-world a vibrant place full of positive energy and mindful thoughts… Thank you.

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Categories: Edibles!, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

4th of July… Santa Rosa Beach style

I’ve spent the last three years celebrating the independence of the USA in Northern California with some dear friends. A houseboat trip, fireworks and quality people definitely equals a memorable holiday. For a change, this 4th of July I chose to be near water on the Gulf of Mexico in Florida with my mom.

Not much description is needed to represent the outdoor venue in which our talented friend, Geoff Mcbride was spreading his love.

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Music + happy humans = Dancing!

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If this beautiful couple looks familiar, it’s because they were there the first time I fell in love with the music of Heritage (who happens to enhance the post below)!

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For the night of the 4th, we were lucky to score our favorite tunes from none other than the band Heritage!

Set up in an open alley, they were the center of attention to a beach side block party.

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Enthusiasm? And the winner is…

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Sun down and an intermission brought us all to the coast for fireworks off the dock.

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“One more song! One more song!”

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Although this photo isn’t amazing quality, I dig the glowing jewelry.

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Just as the band was finishing up, mom and I ran into one of my new favorite hair clients and long lost friend that I didn’t even know I had… Remember Stephen from recent posts? He’s back!

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After a day of music and an evening block party with quality vibes, what summer holiday would be complete without a recovery day on the beach? Same sand, lovely mother and a creative handstand shot (not sure if that was helpful to the recovery by the way) to celebrate the anniversary of our Independence Day.

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For fun facts and more about this holiday, check out the post called 4th of July in the USA (or just click on it).

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Tulsa, more than just the Drillers.

I’ve been loving life on the road now for 2 1/2 years. Homeless but never unsettled… traveling solo, but rarely alone. What a dream.

Volunteering abroad has allowed me to experience a wide range of lifestyles, careers, religions, traditions and so on. In regards to food and accommodations, I’ve been able to pleasantly earn my way through volunteering and bartering, that in itself has been an adventure!

Well, turns out there was opportunity right near my own back yard!

Work hard (barely) and play hard (relax) seemed to be the theme of my whirlwind trip to Tulsa. A few projects to assist in and a partner in harmless crime was my position to fill during this visit to see my long time family friend, Ryan. We spent a summer together over 15 years ago and lost touch until last year. Fun fact, we both traveled to Asia and Japan within months of each other without even knowing it!

Assignment number one? Taxes…. enough said.

How it began…

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The controlled chaos…

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The gorgeous results…

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I’ll pause here for you to meet Chris Farley…. Cute, lazy and completely lovable.

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Project number two called for some creative minds, dirty toes and one bandaid thanks to the gorgeous cactus plant.

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If you know me at all, you’ll know that cooking is hardly a chore but rather a candidate for one of my top 5 favorite activities. With that said, playing in his kitchen was far from work and more of a treat. Friends, meet one of my happy places.

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Where was Ryan during my crazy culinary play-time? Clearly he knew that without his effort, it was going to be an all veggie dinner. I found him out back firing up the grill.

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The result of our powers combined equaled a huge hunk of meat and my roasted veggies, a cucumber-tomato-onion salad with a side of homemade guacamole and salsa with lentil chips. Yum.

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I’ll give you one guess to figure out which plate belonged to him…

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Ryan served up dessert with an unofficial-officially proper scotch tasting.

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If you ever make your way through Tulsa and you have a great deal of appreciation for creative drinks in a unique ambiance, I highly suggest you check out Valkyrie.

They provide carefully selected craft beer, worldly wine and your classic cocktails using quality ingredients. By “quality” I mean they make their own mixers, infusions and juices with local produce and a lot of love. From lavender, jalepeño, to cucumber and homemade ginger beer, the menu offers a variety for the people who stick to the classics. It also caters to those of us who search for a new flavor with each order. Choose from the “shaken” or “stirred” list and wait for the masterpiece to present itself. I tried the “Shake rattle, bang your head” which was a brilliant combination of Gin, jalepeños, chartreuse, cucumber and lime.

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After enjoying these wonderful beverages, what better way to test your hand-eye coordination than a few friendly games of pool and shuffle board. To prevent public embarrassment, I won’t say the name of who came in 2nd place… I’ll simply post a picture of who dominated both games.

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For my last evening, we went to a local restaurant that offered a classy menu with a fine wine list. Unfortunately we managed to order items that didn’t produce the flavors it had flaunted. I’m thinking we just caught the chef on an off day, so if you choose to dine at Tall Grass, I wish you an amazing edible experience!

Our selection for the appetizer was bone marrow. Notice how he just pushed the interior mass into a pudding-like pile. The first taste to hit my palette was salt. Not a “salty” flavor, but actual sodium… like I licked a salt shaker. There wasn’t a second flavor due to the speed in which I removed it from my mouth. Hmmm, no thank you.

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For dinner I ordered a root salad with an apple cider vinegar dressing and he went for the pecan crusted halibut (sounds marvelous, right?). Dessert was a fancy wine that neither one of us had ever heard of, but definitely proved to be the most flavorful item on the table.

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The best photo of the evening was catching Ryan in his ever so sophisticated pose with a cheeky grin. Perfect for the energy of the evening, well done… Well done!

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Lastly, I’ll wrap up this post in gratitude for the very much appreciated moments outside. A breath of fresh air, solid sunshine and good conversation was a perfect compliment to this mini trip.

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Ryan, this unexpected and perfectly timed get-away was hopefully just the first of many. Cheers to Japanese bloody Mary’s, squeaky windmills, kale chips and the best sports team ever… The Drillers! Thank you for everything.

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A fishing pole, banjo and a beer

Once upon a time, my mom and I took one of our usual walks to the beach.

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After too many duo selfies and a couple cartwheels (me, not mom) she randomly spotted a cheerful looking fella walking with a huge fishing pole, a banjo and a beer. “Ooh, I wonder what he’s fishing for!”, she says like a curious kid who wants to know everything about everyone. As I turned to look, my lovely mother was already near him with her hand extended. As I approached the banjo man, is was clear she had met an incredibly good natured guy with an easy going attitude. Casual conversation lead to a hair cutting date and a new friend. Nice catch mom!

Fast forward a few days and here we are! A front porch haircut and more smiles… Excellent!

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Sorry sweetheart, I’m not experienced in dog grooming.

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Glorious! I score another buddy with an instant connection bonded by a haircut. I’m so thankful mom was interested in his fishing adventure.

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Moving on in the week, Steven sent me another client that enhanced my day with an additional porch side haircut, meet Grayton!

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UPDATE:
I met Steven on the beach who then introduced me to Grayton. What I didn’t mention above, was that he also referred me to a job of my dreams at a local vegan cafe and juice bar. (Turns out Grayton works with there as well!)

Guess who is now officially employed at the one and only Raw and Juicy that sits so perfectly in the center of Seaside beach?! I’ll show you more details of this adorable set up later, but here’s a sneak peak!

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Digital Graffiti at Alys Beach

It’s been labeled “Photo Bombing,” “Guerilla Projection” or my favorite, “Urban Projection,”. This is when underground artists use huge structures, such as sky scrapers, to cast their own digitally animated images for display.

“Digital Graffiti” at Alys Beach is the first outdoor festival specifically organized to showcase these unique talents. It reminds me of the white walls in Malaysia that welcomed local artists to draw, paint and tag till their heart was content in a structured and encouraging environment.

For one night, this beach-town of white stucco buildings turns into a living gallery. A dark neighborhood is lit by pathways of colored lights and innovative artwork. The event coordinator explained it simply, “Our town literally becomes their blank canvas.”

Here’s a day time shot to give you an idea of the distinctive buildings that make up the famous Alys Beach.

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After the sun went down, the stimulating lights came on and the digital art was displayed for all the guests to view. If you’d like to see video of these photos in motion, go to www.digitalgraffiti.com.

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After observing the extraordinary art scattered about the neighborhood, we found ourselves at a dance party, otherwise known as my “happy place”. The Dj did a fine job keeping a crowd along side a chill Vegas-styled pool (that was extremely tempting as we all stood in the Florida humidity trying to look cute and pretend that you didn’t feel the sweat dripping down your back).

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A complimentary photo session invited friends to line up and pose for a picture that would probably be used later as friendly bribery and/or memorable laughing material.

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Before going on, I’d like to point out the gorgeous blonde in the photos from above. Julia Cole is an upcoming singer/songwriter that I met through Tyler (the gentleman in the post “Beaches, boats and ballads”). I highly suggest checking her out (my favorite song is “Sweetheart”) and let me confirm, her stunning looks match the remarkable voice that comes out of her sweet smile.

Julia, thank you so much for the pleasant path crossing, hopefully next time we’ll get more time! Cheers to you and the journey ahead.

Ok, so this is where my night goes from amazing to heartbreaking. Without boring you with the details, just know that at this point, my body signals the call it a night siren and I decide to head home. Enter sad pouty face here. Feeling like a 9 year old that gets sick at Disneyland, I exit the fantasy evening holding high hopes that I’ll get another opportunity to experience it to the fullest.

A special thanks to Tyler and Andrew for making this a possibility for me!

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Please note, many photos from above were borrowed from other sources.

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Beaches, boats and ballads.

I finally arrived in Florida to visit my marvelous mom and naturally, we had our toes in the sand within moments of my arrival.

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Surprise for me! On this night we got to go to a show of my ultimate favorite local band, Heritage! You may remember these quality fellas from the post, “A man becomes what he thinks about”. With music that feeds the soul and energy that boosts the mood, you really can’t go wrong by surrounding yourself with their unique vibe!

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This is my favorite photo of the evening simply because of the bright smiling blonde enjoying the music. Priceless!

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Who’s this? No seriously, you can barely see us… but standing next to me is a fine gentleman by the name of Tyler. Within moments of our first eye contact, the conversation was flowing as if we’d known each other for years.

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2 days later

Did I mention that this new pal wake boards? With my quick acceptance to his casual offer, I found myself on a boat with non other than fun loving Tyler and a handful of his closest buddies. Yep, it happened.

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The drive inland takes us lakeside to a perfectly placed country house that just so happens to be the home of Andrew. I didn’t ask permission to expose his full name or his professional past… Let’s just say some may consider him to be “kind of a big deal”. (To be said sarcastically but half way serious).

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Time to suit up, stretch out, get wet and throw some tricks! I’m speaking in regards to their abilities of course. Mine would go more like, “Suit up, cross your fingers, get cold and score some bruises!”. Either way, good times all around.

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I forgot to have someone snap a picture of me doing super-skills (ha.ha.ha), but I did snag a few sweet ones of the boys!

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Check out the clouds in these next photos. Definitely a typical Florida sky showing signs of potential rain with a side of rolling thunder!

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That’s our cue to head in and tie up. My curiosity peaked when I couldn’t see a dock, but was quickly tamed when they informed me of the plan. His backyard had flooded a bit which made for a smooth transition from boat to water… to slimy mud… to grass… and finally to his deck. Ignoring the idea of water moccasins tangling between by ankles or swamp alligators sniffing out my new lotion, I jumped off like the rest of them and made the trek towards his house.

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With the barbecue fired up, we made time for quality conversation and an assault attack of some yellow flies (please google them if you’ve never heard of these aggressive insects). Not pictured below was the entire group running, swatting, slapping and yelling threatening phrases at these vicious little creatures!

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The sunset brought a calm ending to an energetic day and the perfect opportunity for a handstand.

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Much gratitude for the open invitation and hospitality shown by this group. I look forward to the next adventure… Soon to come!

ADDITION:
A week later, I got to head out again except this time there was twice as many riders and some of the best in the world (seriously). These famous athletes were shooting film to promote next seasons gear. From England to Australia and a few Cali kids, this boat towed some extreme talent and I was lucky enough to observe!

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Without much explaining, here are some photos I captured throughout the day. I’m sure they’re not as incredible as the ones snapped by the professional (that’s using a waterproof-inspector gadget camera getup), but hey…

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Positive people, amazing wake boarders and another event in which I was honored to be a happy little fly on the wall.

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Creative color of the day…

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Categories: Fitness, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fishy fishy in the brook

I’d like to proclaim that I’m an outdoorsy girl that has no qualms with stomping around in gum boots, sleeping on the dirt ground and starting a fire with two sticks. All being true, I was excited to head to the local lake to go fishing with my good ol’ pops and the family. I can just see it now, dad, my brothers and I teaching the little ones how to cast a line…

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Well, turns out my rugged backpacking skills don’t assist me when I have a live worm in my hand with instructions to “just stab it through the hook” and “really make sure it’s on there.” Yeah, no thanks.

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As I was secretly hoping that I didn’t catch anything, (in fear of seeing a flopping fish struggling to survive the metal through its gils) I hear, “you got one Keka!” Oh great.

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After politely bailing on the actual fishing portion of the day, I was able to capture some cute moments with the family. This was such a peaceful day that will be listed in the “feels like it was just yesterday” portion of my memories.

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Excluding my new internal battle of fishing for sport, I’ll admit the afternoon was absolutely perfect. With family running through the dirt roads and ankle high grass, I found a sweet spot showing off the popular red dirt that Oklahoma is known for. Handstand time!

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Quick pic update for those of you who have been following since day one. Here’s a sibling photo from a post 2 years ago, followed by our recent. I don’t know how they got older and I got younger!?

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I’ll leave this as my last post in Oklahoma for the time being. Next stop is Florida where my mom is currently counting down the days until we reunite at the Panama City Beach airport.

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Polk Poison Salad… Delicious!

Poke, Polk, Poke salad, Polk greens whatever you want to call them, are a hidden secret that some of the locals down south don’t even know about. It grows wild and is rarely purposely planted due to its poisonous characteristics. Yes, you read correctly. If consumed without proper preparation, it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, headache, dizziness and occasional cases of death. With that said, let’s eat up!

Warning: Like most high fibrous greens, Polk can encourage a quick elimination depending on your bodies sensitivity. (It could also be the small trace of poison remaining in the depths of the leaves). Either way, I call it the “Polk Cleanse”.

Step 1: Have a generous friend that’s willing to hit the fields and collect bags full of this organic delight.

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Step 2: Rinse thoroughly to remove dirt, bugs, weeds, spiders or any other unwanted item.

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Step 3: Boil the venomous vines until you witness a greenish white foam floating on top. (I forgot to snap a photo of the white foam as I was stuck on step 4…. Sorry friends!)

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Step 4: Stare at the foam covered greens and debate if you really want to follow through with this toxic (but nutritious) detox. If bravery has overcome your naturally fearful thoughts, continue to step 5.

Step 5: Strain the greens and rinse.

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Step 6: Boil it again. This time cross your fingers and do a silent prayer that the white film doesn’t come back and the contamination was left at the previous soaking.

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Step 7: Strain and rinse again.

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Step 8: Serve it up! First, to your guests of course (mainly to see if anyone gets sick) then when all is safe, proceed by enjoying them yourself.

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Today I made a portion into a side dish, similar to a spicy spinach dip. I combined Greek yogurt, cucumber, onion, jicama, jalepeños, garlic, lime, cumin, salt, black pepper and tapatio. Chopped up some polk and viola… Polk dip!

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Dear Grams and Aunt Vicki, eating this wild plant will always bring back extremely fond memories with reminders of my time here and the many jokes over plates of Polk poison salad. Thanks for sharing! Love you

Categories: Edibles!, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Arkie to Okie….Crossing state lines

Leaving California usually provides mixed emotions. Saying goodbye to my hometown and childhood friends weighs heavy on the comfort seeking part of my spirit, yet knowing a new environment is in my near future brings a unique excitement that is irreplaceable. I’m not sure if it’s a hindering or useful quality of mine, but being in my “comfort zone” is generally short and sweet before I crave a different surrounding to stimulate my senses. I suppose there’s no need to label it “good” or “bad”… It just is.

To my memory, I haven’t posted these fun photos of the inside of the Sacramento airport. It’s so familiar to me that I forget my international friends have never experienced it. Check out the creative artwork at the baggage claim. I think it’s brilliant!

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Next stop is the land of fried okra, snappin turtles (nobody pronounces the “g” in “snapping”) and red dirt. Before we land, lets pause for a short story.

Southwest Airlines doesn’t assign seats, rather gives you a general boarding order that allows you to pick any open seat. This means, for travelers like me that don’t take concern in an early check in, get stuck loading a plane like a ten year old on a bus for the first day of school. All the cool kids with their window views, the runners up in the aisle chairs and the rest of us debating on the middle seat between the mom with toddlers or the business man who clearly uses the flight to recreate his work desk and take over the entire space with every tech gadget that they allow on board. My pick today was to squeeze front and center with an older man built like the traditional Santa Claus and a younger fit guy with legs the size of my waist.

Great news to me, Mr. Bulging-biceps was a friendly talker who was extremely intelligent and eager to trade stories. I could make this entire post about the conversation between the two of us, but instead I’ll just give you a photo with confidence that this gentleman crossed my path for a purpose. Thank you for the new workouts, encouraging words and a few well needed giggles.

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I landed in Arkansas to visit my cousin Lana for a week before heading to Oklahoma. Road trip! Her and the family loaded up as we set off for our 5 hour journey.

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*To my international friends: North Americans pay gas per gallon, not liter.

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I wonder what their fuel was before? Also, notice the sign to the right… Classic southern offer!

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This little pit stop has a flavored sugar disposing machine. Yes, you imagine correctly. It’s a huge colorful attraction in which you pick your choice of dyed sugar to weigh in and eat up. I rarely post strong negative opinions, but really folks… Can we at least pretend to care about the nutritional needs of our children?

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The famous Route 66 guides us in to the final stretch before finally arriving to the small town (by small town, I mean a street the has some houses surrounding the gas station-grocery store-post office that sits across the hwy from the only school k-12th. All shown in detail here).

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Agra, Oklahoma will be home while I visit my family including but not limited too: The precious Grams, 2 hilarious Aunts, 2 adorable Great Aunts, my Dad and his wife, 5 siblings, and 23 cousins still counting…

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Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Folsom Farmers Market

If you’ve been following long enough, you’ll know it’s very likely to find me in a local market sampling any and every thing that’s offered. I love food.

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This round of staying in California placed me living a short distance from the local farmers market. For the first time I was a tourist in my home town as I chatted small talk with the venders every Saturday morning. Walk with me (or kidnap some friends and jog with me)!

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I apologize to the non vegetarians out there as I didn’t get close ups of any animal products. Take my word, there were definitely quality hunks of meat out there and I’m not talking about the guys who came to the market still dressed in their gym clothes.

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This stand sells goodies from under the sea. Fresh fish, smoked items and unique treats such as salmon bacon and fish jerky were a just a few of the options.

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All the way from The Netherlands (one of my favorite European countries) is Marga. With vegan treats and energy boosting snacks, she greeted me with a familiar accent. I replied with the only sentence I know in her language, “Klink ik nederlands?”, which translates “Do I sound Dutch?”. She responded with a giggle and said, “Not really. WellI I guess a little bit since I understood you!”.
Her website offers nutrient packed snacks and details of how it all started. Check her out at www.commonkettle.com

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A special thanks to Teresa. As if her tasty jam wasn’t enjoyable enough, the supportive conversation was something I looked forward to each week. Ps, apricot is amazing if you ever get the chance to order from her!

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Nita, side by side with her daughter, was always eager to divi out the samples (I’m sure because they were confident that you couldn’t resist another bite). From gooey caramel enhanced rice Krispy treats to peanut butter brownies, self discipline was a must when passing by this stand!

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Peel’d has a brilliant idea that is beng loved around the Sacramento area. Each day they juice a fresh new batch of smoothies and bring the amazing flavors out to the market. I know most of you savvy little health nuts out there have a juicer or Vitamix, but this little backpacker doesn’t have room to lug those appliances around. Instead, I choose over worn clothes, trail mix, and a half empty first aid kit.
With that said, this trip I’ve been spoiled with a fresh juice every Weekend. Glorious! If you’re jealous and would love these juicy deliveries to your doorstep, check out their website at www.getpeeld.com.
To Tim and my peel’d friends, your greetings every week spoke in volumes and have still left an imprint on my Saturday morning experiences, much gratitude to the dozens of samples (that you knew I had already tried) and the gifted bottles that I enjoyed to the last drop!

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I didn’t get to know this lovely lady as well as the others, but Nicole’s creativity and passion towards organic dog food stood out to me. Add animals to the list of things that I don’t backpack with, but if you have a healthy pup at home, feel free to look her up at www.inthedoghousetreats.com

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If I could remember the exact words these folks spoke to me I’d share them with the world to brighten the day. Their supportive compliments fueled my traveling fire and the mini bag of granola traveled with me well! Thanks again!

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Usually my market posts are crammed with fruit and veggies, but this round the vibrant people and homemade goodies took over. I don’t want to leave out the vendors that kept my counter piled high with rainbow colored edibles from the earth. Thank you for the abundance of plants grown in your backyard!

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Categories: Edibles!, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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