Friday, June 28, 2013

Camera Shy


Dove - 'Camera Shy' from Epoch London on Vimeo.

I am a big fan of Dove's advertising. It's real, simple, and helps women feel more beautiful. Take a look at this video and the next time you find yourself in front of a camera, don't hide. Smile!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Wanderlust: Santiago, Chile








On Thursday, I'm headed to Santiago, Chile! I've been there once before, when I was 15 years old and just learning how to speak Spanish. It'll be interesting to see how I perceive the same country 13 years later. I'll be sure to share some photos and experiences when I get back or feel free to follow along on my Instagram feed @catfishback.

{Click each photo to view the source.} 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Summer Brights!

Happy Summer Solstice! I'm feeling inspired by bright colors lately and thought I'd share some of my favorite pieces of bright inspiration. 

Click here to find the Fluoro Heart Print and "Marrakesh Tower" art print

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Parmesan Baked Potato Halves



I tend to think of potatoes as more of a "winter" food: hearty and heavy. But this recipe which bakes the potatoes in a mixture of butter and parmesan cheese is so good, you can't confine it to just one season. This recipe is so simple and so good, it deserves to be celebrated and enjoyed year-round. Give it a try and you'll agree.

Parmesan Baked Potato Halves
From favfamilyrecipes.com
Yield: about 4-6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 40-45 minutes
Total Time: about 1 hour

INGREDIENTS:

10 small potatoes, scrubbed and cut in half
1/4 cup butter
grated parmesan cheese
garlic powder
other seasonings (to personal preference)

DIRECTIONS:

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Melt butter in a 9x13-inch pan and distribute evenly across the bottom. GENEROUSLY sprinkle parmesan cheese and lightly sprinkle other seasonings all over the butter. Firmly place potato halves face down on the butter and seasonings. Place in pre-heated oven and bake for 40-45 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes before removing potato halves from pan. If desired, serve with a side of sour cream or rance dressing for dipping.

Enjoy!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Havasupai: Where An Adult Can Be A Kid










Remember when you were a kid and spent summers exploring backyards and canyons with your friends? Getting into trouble, coming home with cuts on your legs and discovering new things? When time meant nothing and adventure only slowed down for food or sleep? Well, guess what? Last weekend, I was a child again and it was amazing!

Havasupai Falls is located in the Supai Indian Reservation just outside Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona. It's literally an oasis in the desert that will have you exploring, adventuring, relaxing and enjoying endless fun in the sun to your heart's content. It's the most beautiful place I've ever been to.

Our trip lasted 4 days. We hiked in on Friday morning, stayed the whole weekend and hiked out on Monday evening. Hiking out in the evening was nice as it allowed us to avoid the heat. For the last 2-3 hours we were hiking in complete darkness with nothing but a headlamp lighting our path. We were so focused on moving forward, there was no time to be afraid of the dark.

We left our home in LA on Wednesday night for Las Vegas. We spent Thursday in Vegas, shopping for last-minute essentials and packing our packs. Then at 2AM on Friday morning, we got in the car with my sister-in-law and brother-in-law and made the 4-hour drive to the Hualapai trailhead. From there, it was a 10-mile hike down Hualapai Canyon to get to the campground. The hike itself was not extremely strenuous as most of it was fairly flat (or downhill--hiking out is another story) but it felt long, especially since we were carrying packs and hiking in the heat of the sun toward the end. For anyone planning a trip there, I highly recommend starting your descent at first light (around 4:30AM) to avoid hiking under the hot sun and also give yourself the best chance of securing a good campsite when you get there. There is also an option to have a mule carry your pack down if you'd like to lighten your load on the hike.

About 8 miles into the hike, we checked in at Supai village. At this point, we were pretty tired and the sun was starting to beat down pretty hard, but we carried on because we knew we were SO CLOSE! The last couple miles were tough because it was so hot and we were just ready to be done, but soon enough we heard the rush of giant waterfalls and the amazing crystal blue waters that made us want to come to Havasupai in the first place was right in front of your eyes. All I wanted to do was dive down into the crystal blue waters to cool off, but we had to continue on to the campground to secure our campsite.

Finally, we claimed our site and immediately stripped down to our bare essentials and jumped into the river right next to our camp. The cold water was so refreshing and felt so good on our sore muscles. We all just sat there for about an hour and rested.

For the rest of our time there, the surrounding area was our playground. We did whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted. And we enjoyed every second of it, spending as much time as possible at each of the falls, even if it meant taking a nap in the shade next to them. We explored and adventured and rested and relaxed. Even though there are four "major" falls, there are also lots of pockets of surprises all around, waiting to be explored.

To summarize, our time in Havasupai was amazing. Even though I was sick with a bad cold the whole time and completely lost my voice on Day 2, I loved being there so much. These falls and the whole surrounding area is just breathtakingly beautiful. It's so fun to live in your bathing suit, go exploring every day, jump around into different swimming holes and just enjoy yourself! By the end, I was exhausted and I'm still recovering from my sickness, but the memories of the falls are so magical in my mind. I feel like I've experienced a little gem of the earth that most people don't even know about and even fewer people have been to. Havasupai is the most beautiful place on earth that I know of.

To check out more pictures from my trip, check out my Havasupai Facebook album.

For anyone planning a trip to Havasupai, I've put together a packing list of everything you'll need.

Havasupai Packing List:

{for your feet}:

1 pair of hiking boots or old running shoes
1 pair of water shoes (I wore the Maui & Sons Tide Water Shoe which worked out great)
1 pair of lightweight flip flops for walking around at camp
2 pairs of athletic socks for hiking in and out
1 pair of sock liners to wear with your athletic socks while hiking in and out (this helps prevent blisters)

{for your body}:

2 pairs of spandex and athletic shorts for the hike in and out
2 sports bras for the hike in and out
2 t-shirts for the hike in and out (I don't like wearing tank tops when I'm hiking with a pack on my shoulders)
2-3 lightweight tank tops
1 pair board shorts
1-2 bathing suits
4 pairs of underwear to change into at night
1 lightweight hoodie for nighttime
1 pair of leggings for nighttime (I never used these but there was also a heat wave while I was there)
1 hat
1 pair sunglasses

{for your bed/shelter}:

1 fleece sleeping bag (it's so warm there, this is all you'll need)
Either 1 hammock OR a tent and sleeping pad

{for your belly}:

1 camping stove or jet boil
matches or a lighter
1 bowl
1 spork
water reservoir for the campsite
Gatorade powder to mix into your water
Breakfast ideas: oatmeal packets, oranges
Lunch ideas: clif bars, jerky, trail mix
Dinner ideas: Mountain House pouches, ramen, couscous, mashed potatoes, canned meat

{for your health and hygiene}:

1 roll of toilet paper
1 comb
band-aids
ibuprofen, allergy medicine
toothbrush
toothpaste
lotion (your skin gets really dry!)
sunscreen
eyedrops

{for everything else}:

water bottles or CamelPak
1 large pack
1 daypack
1 sarong (this is handy for so many reasons - it works as a towel, a light blanket, a handkerchief, a swimsuit cover-up, I even used it to help keep the bathroom door shut when the lock was busted)
1 headlamp with fresh batteries
camera

Friday, June 14, 2013

Berry Season!

Last night, we made a trip to the grocery store and re-stocked our kitchen in a much-needed way. We were thrilled to come home with huge cartons of fresh strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. Man! Nothing beats the taste of a fresh, ripe strawberry in my opinion. I couldn't help but sigh of enjoyment when I bit my teeth into that first red strawberry. Berry season is here! 

To help provide some inspiration for how to use up all these fresh summer berries that are so abundant this time of year, I've listed some of my favorite berry recipes below. 




Happy summer cooking!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

{Mooney Falls, Supai, Arizona, USA}

 I'm back. Tired, sick, and extremely grateful for the beautiful earth we live on. More pictures and details of my trip to come. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Friday, June 7, 2013

Meanwhile, in Russia



Have you seen this video of a Russian man and his pet bear?!?! This pretty much blew my mind. I mean, really....

PS: Wheel Gymnastics in Germany

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Curry Kale Salad




About a month ago, I was having a conversation with a co-worker who was visiting from Australia. He had been in Los Angeles for about 3 weeks and we started talking about all the things that are quintessentially "LA". One of the topics that came up was healthy eating, especially "veganism", and particularly "kale". He kept going on and on about how "kale" is in everything and he had never heard so many people talk so much about kale. Then we started joking about how a celebrity is probably gonna name her baby "Kale" someday soon. So I'd like to spend some time talking about kale today because, well, I have now been converted to it's goodness.

Kale has become a more popular food in recent years in large part due to it's amazing health benefits. One cup of chopped kale will give you 9% of your daily value of calcium, 206% of Vitamin A, 134% of Vitamin C, and 684% of Vitamin K! (source) It is also a great source of iron.

Brad and I have been juicing kale for a couple months now, but I hadn't figured out a good way to serve and consume the whole vegetable, until I remembered a great recipe from my friend Nicole. This recipe is fairly quick to make (some recipes for kale salad require you to let it sit for hours before consuming) and it really brings out the natural flavor and texture of this curly, leafy green. I can see this recipe becoming a regular player in our weekly meals.

Curry Kale Salad
From Nicole Cordova
Yield: one medium-size bowl full (about 4-6 servings)
Time: 20 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

1 bunch raw kale, chopped, stems removed
2 fresh cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
Pinch of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
Pinch of cumin
1 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons tomato paste

DIRECTIONS:

Coat the bottom of a large pot with olive oil on medium heat. Add garlic and dry spices, then stir briefly (about 25 seconds). Add chopped kale leaves. Mix tomato paste and chicken stock together until tomato paste dissolves, then pour over kale in pot. Cover and reduce heat to low. Let cook for approximately 10-15 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

Use tongs to transferred cooked kale leaves to a serving bowl, then sprinkle with sea salt, freshly ground pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes.

Enjoy!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Upcoming Trip: Havasu Canyon

In 3 days, I'll be on my way to Supai, Arizona, a tiny Indian Reservation town nestled 8 miles deep into the grand canyon that is accessible only by foot or helicopter. I plan to spend most of my time in and around Havasu Creek, a tributary to the Colorado River which boasts a handful of majestic, breathtaking, awe-inspiring waterfalls. The water from these falls is an incredible tropical blue-green shade due to the limestone at the top of the Havasu Canyon. If this place looks anything close to the pictures I've seen, I'll be a happy camper but from some accounts I've read, most pictures don't do it justice. What?!?! I'm so excited to give you a full account through both words and photos when I return.