Livin La Pura Vida

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I recently returned from one of my favorite places in all the world. The morning of January 2nd, was a last minute, spontaneous whirlwind moment of buying tickets and packing my backpack all in effort to visit a place in the land of “Pura Vida”, where I left a piece of my heart 3 years ago. Nosara, is a serene, unspoiled corner of Costa Rica, where you’ll find monkeys hanging in the trees, and sea turtles on the sea shore. Famous for its surf and yoga, the atmosphere of Nosara makes it easy to leave your worries behind you. Soon you find yourself completely submerged in the present moment, which manifests a deep and wonderful feeling of happiness and pure contentment, of “Pura Vida”.

Part of what makes this little tropical surf heaven so lovely is the lack of industrialism and it’s dedication to preserving the natural environment. There are no lights, and no building within 200 meters of the beach. This is to preserve and protect the ritual of the sea turtles migration and nesting. It was to my surprise on a pre-surf beach run one morning, that I stumbled upon about 40 baby sea turtles making their way to the ocean. They were the most incredibly cute little creatures I have ever seen! Witnessing their vulnerability and observing their struggle first hand definitely reignited my passion for protecting our oceans and all the beautiful creatures that call it home.  

The main beach in Nosara, is called Playa Guiones, and it’s endless, expansive shores and consistent beach break is where I spent the majority of my time. I’d typically start my day with either an early morning surf, run, or hike. The beach is so large that I could run for 30min without seeing another person. The lineup was rarely crowded, and the surf consistent. Not to mention the water is a comfortable 83 degrees, reassuring your mind and body you could surf all day if you wanted to. Aside from the surf, my favorite thing about Play Guiones is its hypnotic sunsets. At the end of every day, locals and visitors alike migrate to the beach to watch the breath taking sinking of the sun, into the endless horizon. It’s a beautiful thing as the shops close their doors, people stop what they are doing, and they simply come to sit on the shore and watch the sun go down. There is an overall feeling of peace and gratitude for the gift of another day, the gift of good surf, and the gift of being alive to experience all of the world’s beauty. 

It’s not just the land and the ocean that create a relaxing and simplistic atmosphere in Costa Rica. It is also the beautiful people who originate from this 3rd world country, the Ticos, and their “pura vida” lifestyle. “Pura vida” translates to “pure life”, and it is the law of the land in Costa Rica. The expression is used in many forms, from a greeting, to a synonym for “excellent”. Similar to “hakuna matata,” it’s a worry free philosophy which basically means, life is wonderful, enjoy it; Go slow, savor, and be present in every minute. Ticos follow this lifestyle and are some of the happiest, longest living people on earth. They are wealthy when it comes to love for life, family, and nature. Though when it comes to possessions and dollars, they may not have much. That’s the beauty of it. I am a firm believer in what’s simple is true, and that the greatest things in life, money can’t buy. Ticos live large on very little. Take a trip to Costa Rica and you will be reminded of the line that separates the difference between wants and needs. You need very few material things to thrive, and what you find in nature and in the goodwill of good people is much more satiating. Costa Rica is plentiful of those two things, good people and nature’s bounty. “Pura vida” is very similar to the life perspective I’ve been able to develop growing up on my island home. For that reason, Nosara, like Catalina, holds a piece of my heart always.

I am thankful for the opportunity to visit such a sacred, beautiful place. For those of you yet to experience it, please go if you get the chance. And for those of you who have been, I am sure you can agree with all that I have said. Whether you want to simply surf, need to do some soul searching, or want to give back by volunteering with the Costa Rican wildlife, a trip to Nosara may be just what you’ve been looking for.

Pura Vida. 

 

Nature Of The Journey

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“3 strong women. 3 long days. 58 total miles. An organic challenge to paddle around Catalina Island recently pushed 3 strong women to test their stamina and experience the deeper beauty of this offshore Southern Californian wonderland. "Nature of the Journey" follows the first females to accomplish this feat along their sun-soaked adventure.”

Checkout our amazing journey here…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTVpzUZ1R4k&feature=youtu.be

And read about it through our daily journal here…https://www.sanuk.com/blog?postid=nature-journey

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Walking Words

As a writer, I have always struggled with capturing my thoughts and containing them on paper. This is mainly due to my nature addiction. The one thing I cannot give up is time spent outdoors walking, hiking, wayfaring through mountains, along beaches, across valleys and everywhere in-between. 

I guess, like the thoughts, stories, and articles that write so lovely in my mind, I too have a hard time being contained. Ill walk miles on end while a symphony of words compose within my mind. Stories of love. Articles about the ocean, sustainability, and our Earth. Life lessons and growth. But like the trees I admire, these words come and pass as I put one foot in front of another. 

The other day however, as I was clearing space on my phone, I opened up my memo pad app and read some of what came to mind on a few of those hikes in the Malibu country side. At the time I had just moved from my Island home on Catalina and was living in the city for the first time. It was serious culture shock. During those months, I constantly found myself retreating to whatever trails, dirt roads, beaches, and mountains I could find. My soul hungered for the nature I had spent my life immersed in living on the island. I was nature deprived and this was my way of keeping my wild soul grounded and connected to the natural world. Ill never forget climbing the switchbacks, taking myself from sea level to the top of the majestic Santa Monica Mountains. Almost daily. As I moved my feet faster and faster, some of my most brilliant writing came to fruition. The thoughts would come and I would think…I should be writing this down! But I was in the middle of nowhere, without my tools, so like a walking meditation, the thoughts came and went. 

Then one night, actually on Christmas Eve, I was given some game changing advice. I synchronistically ended up spending the evening with an old soul mates family. It wasn't planned but I was a stranger in a strange land spending Christmas alone, and they reached out and invited me in. 

That night I ended up having a great conversation with a gentleman who just so happened to be a successful writer for a multitude of magazines and music publications. We talked about our love of writing and the ebb and flow of our productivity and passion. I told him about my struggles of time and place and how I was unable to capture my thoughts when I was miles deep into the trails. All my most genuine and honest work gone with the wind.

Turns out, he could deeply relate. He talked of being stuck in traffic, playing with his kids, or trapped in an elevator when his most brilliant thoughts would come to mind. Then he shared with me a simple solution. It may seem obvious to most this day in age, but it was revolutionary to my simple soul. The freaking memo pad!

While I may not carry a notebook with me, I usually bring my phone along on my adventures. No, not to take selfies, pictures, or to snap chat, but in case of emergency, or if I needed help while I was out there solo for whatever reason. Turns out, I could also use it to help me round up these thoughts of mine. I have always been weird about using my phone while in nature because it always felt strange to me, but I thought if it was a possible solution, why not give it a go. I decided I could use it mindfully, as a tool.

So, I did just that. Wrote things down. Paused on the trail, mid run, even paddling in the ocean. I even began pulling over to the side of the road in my car or on my bike to keep those thoughts and topics from getting away. I started making it a habit. And in turn, it translated into endless blog topics, conversation starters, stories, recipes, and ideas.

That was months ago. In between now and then, l have collected notes everywhere. My memo pad app is miles long. I have journals everywhere, filled with everything from one line statements to pages long articles. 

One of my favorite things to do is to scroll back in time and read the thoughts, stories, and ideas that Ive produced. Not only do they sometimes shock me, but they help remind me of who I am now, and who I was then. They provide fuel for future endeavors, further articles, and hold me accountable when I claim to have writers block.

So, if like me, you too find yourself letting your thoughts and writing topics slip away, try this. Maybe its not the memo pad. Maybe you don't mind carrying a small pack that you can tuck some pen and paper into. Whatever you choose, get those thoughts down. See what they turn into. You don't have to do this all the time. Do it only occasionally to preserve that sacred nature time. I personally need to completely disconnect more often than not.  But for the times I have documented, it was worth it, and it has paid off. Some of the greatest philosophers and writers in history were also enthusiastic walkers. Combine the two and see what happens.

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Simplified Daily Essentials

A simplified guide to help optimize your day


1.One round of authentic physical effort. Strength, endurance, dance, yoga, play, the details don’t matter. Just move.

2.One Superb meal. Real food that nourishes the mind, body, and soul. Give thanks, eat slow, enjoy.

3.One period of flow and concentration. Full engagement in a task, work, or hobby. Sustained attention and concentration.

4.Contact with the natural world. Outdoor experience and exposure to sunlight and the weather. Contact with habitat, dirt, plants, animals.

5.One period of quiet refection. Meditation or contemplation. Observe, breath, relinquish attachment, relax mind and body.

6.Authentic social experience. Listen and invest in others. Enjoy their company face to face. Put away phones. Be present. 

7.Spark curiosity. Engage your sense of wonder. Ask deep questions about life and the universe. Learn something new.

8.Reflect on your purpose. What is your meaning, your gift, your purpose, your path?

9.Gratitude. Give thanks for your life, the people, the places that make it possible.

10.One great sleep. Eat and drink early. Taper cognitive activity. Put away electronics. Gaze at the night sky. Rest, recover, and value sleep.

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Roasted Kobocha Squash with Cinnamon and Coconut Butter

The little pumpkin that packs a punch! Kombocha squash is a variety of winter squash that is also known as Japanese pumpkin. Its golden yellow flesh is packed with the antioxidant beta-carotene, which once in the body, is converted to vision-protecting Vitamin A. It is also an excellent source of fiber, low in calories, and high in soul satisfaction.

Kombocha is amazing for stuffing, pureeing, and more, but my absolute favorite way to prepare it is by roasting it. I love to sprinkle it with a little cinnamon, sea salt, coconut butter or oil, and a bit of stevia ( or raw honey if you prefer). It tastes like pumpkin pie! Like all of the flavors of fall. It will warm you heart and soul!

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Ingredients

1 Organic Komboch Squash

Cinnamon

Coconut Butter or Coconut Oil

Stevia, Raw Honey or Other Sweetener of Choice

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Carefully cut the kombocha squash in half, separating top and bottom.

Scoop out the guts! Remove all of the seeds from the center and then brush the flesh with coconut oil, sprinkle with cinnamon and sea salt, and then throw it in the oven for 25-35 minutes or until it is soft when you poke it with a fork.

Remove from oven, cut like a pizza, and enjoy!

The Connection Between Your Clothing and The Ocean

While checking out an article about the 2013 Surfer Poll Awards, I stumbled across a video clip of pro surfer and MMA fighter, Dustin Barca, as he received the “Agent of Change Award”. Little did I know, Mr. Barca not only kills it in the lineup and in the ring, but he is also on his way to smacking down some of the world’s most powerful companies within the biotech industry, mainly Monsanto, and their destruction of Hawaii’s sacred lands and surrounding seas with their toxic chemicals and experimental GMO crops.

This got me thinking about the connection between surfers, the environment, and sustainability. The surfing community is directly related to the cleanliness of our oceans, and the cleanliness of our oceans is directly related to the cleanliness of our land. I then thought about the reasons why those of us that are connected to the ocean in one way or another, may want to consider purchasing clothing made from organic cotton and sustainable materials versus conventional cotton and synthetic materials. Cotton is famous for being “the fabric of our lives”, we come in contact with it every day, from the beds we sleep in, to the clothes we dress in. But growing conventional cotton requires the use of enormous amounts of pesticides, which has a huge environmental impact. 

Cotton has long been the most valuable non-food agricultural product produced. Unfortunately, cotton is also labeled as the “dirtiest” crop around. It is a sad fact that growing conventional cotton for clothing requires more chemicals per unit than any other crop and accounts for 16% of the world’s pesticide use.  Conventional cotton is grown from GMO seeds, and treated with fungicides and herbicides to increase germination rates and produce higher yields. In clothing and textile production, the cotton is treated with toxic dyes and chemicals that are harmful to both the environment and our own health.

By choosing organic cotton, you are helping to alleviate these problems and helping to improve the wellbeing of our ecosystems and your overall wellness. Benefits of organic agriculture include protection of purity of surface and ground water quality, conservation of biodiversity, and elimination of toxic chemicals. Someone can’t do everything, but everyone can do something! By educating yourself, you empower yourself to be a positive force in this world, especially when you apply this knowledge to the everyday choices you make. The effects of all of the little choices amount to huge results, just as every drop in the ocean counts! 

Just as Dustin Barca is sticking it to the man with his relentless efforts to evict Monsanto from the sacred Aina of Hawaii, we can also have a voice and a choice to choose the kind of world we live in. The use of powerful pesticides, GMO crops, and experimental chemicals are not only taking a devastating toll in Hawaii, but in agricultural lands all around the world. By keeping a conscious mind when you purchase clothing and textiles, you can help in Barca’s efforts, and the efforts of all the ocean lovers around the world in keeping the ocean clean, pure, and pristine for the creatures that live there, and for the future generations to enjoy. I am sure you can all agree with me when I say I have enormous amounts gratitude for all that the ocean has provided me with throughout life. From the most magical playground, to a comforting place of solitude, the ocean is always there for us. By choosing to be eco-friendly consumers, we have a chance to return the favor to the environment and the ocean. Long live the surf, long live the pure ocean! 

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Coconut Crack Balls

The first time I made these was a few years back. I literally just threw a bunch of my favorite things in the food processor and hoped for the best. Lets just say they didn't disappoint. 

These little nuggets are not only delicious and dense, but they are packed with healthy fats and an array of nutrients to keep you satisfied and fueled for the long haul whether you've got a busy day at work, are on a long hike, or just need a little pick me up or sweet treat. Another plus, anyone can make them! They don't require any cooking, so no excuses. Also, you hardly have to measure. Literally just through ingredients into the food processor, pulse it up, and there ya go!

WARNING! They do however live up to their name. They are really tasty! And if like me you don't eat a lot of sweets, these will light you up like the stoke of dropping into the perfect wave. So good! Remember, they are a treat! Not an everyday all day food. Enjoy!

 

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2 C. Shredded Coconut

1/4 C. Extra Virgin Coconut oil

1 Pinch High quality seasalt 

3T. Raw, Organic Cocoa powder

1/4 C. Raw Honey, local if possible

 

  1. Place all ingredients into a food processor and process until well mixed, scraping down the sides as necessary. You want to make sure all ingredients are incorporated, it will be thick!

  2. Roll into little balls with your hands, or scoop some dough out, and plop down on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

  3. Chill in the freezer or fridge. Store in an airtight container, in the fridge or freezer.

Sun Screen Safety

Chances are if you are reading this, you are an outdoor lover like me. That also means you probably soak up your fair share of sunshine throughout your day’s endeavors and adventures. When it comes to protecting yourself from too much sun, there are so many options, not all of them created equal. So what’s a sun lover to do?!

The majority of sunscreens these days contain harmful, toxic ingredients that not only take a toll on your personal health, but also on the health of our oceans. Each year between 4400-6600 tons of sunscreen washes off of swimmers, snorkelers, surfers, and other beach dwellers, and is released into the ocean. Studies show that the chemicals that exist in conventional sunscreens are an added cause to the oceanic pandemic of coral bleaching. While global warming, pollution, and human activities are a far greater threat to the health of coral reefs than sunscreen may be, it is still important to note that ocean friendly sunscreens do exist! By being mindful and using these environmentally safe alternatives, you can help be a part of a better, cleaner tomorrow and, in addition to helping health the coral reefs, your own health will be better for it!

The following are the four common ingredients shown to cause the most environmental harm, even at very low concentrations.

Oxybenzone- Aka benzophenone-3. This sunscreen component is known to cause many negative health effects.

Butylparaben- A preservative that also takes a negative toll on human health.

Octinoxate- Aka Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate. Let’s just say it’s no Bueno! You can’t even pronounce it!

4-methylbenzylindene camphor- Aka 4MBC. This stuff has thankfully been made illegal to use in the USA and Japan. However many European and Canadian sunscreens still include this harmful ingredient.

 

As a sun-kissed miss, a trail wonderer, a ridge runner, swimmer, paddler, and free diver, I know that it is part of my responsibility to protect both myself and the ocean that I love so much. So what can we do to ensure the health of our precious seas and our own bodies? 

For one, be mindful of the amount of sun you are receiving. Sunshine on bare skin in small to moderate doses isn’t a bad thing. In fact, we would all be vitamin D deficient without direct sunlight on our bodies. And the sun incredibly important for overall vitality. But if you are going to be in the sun for an extended period of time, it may be wise to either cover up or seek a means of protection via safe sunscreen.

When choosing a sunscreen, look for one that does NOT have any of the 4 ingredients listed above. Seek out brands that use natural, organic, and mineral based ingredients. Look for a water resistant sunscreen. It will stay on your body and out of the water. Find a sunscreen that has been tested and approved as biodegradable, meaning it will breakdown in the environment, instead of breaking down the environment. And lastly, look for the “Reef Safe” claim on the sunscreen label, and be sure to double check the ingredients just to be sure.

My personal favorite is Badger Balm. I trust the company and their dedication to using nontoxic, environmentally and human safe ingredients. I have even made my own zinc/coconut oil sunscreen at home and it worked wonderfully! However I don’t recommend surfing or paddling with it as it is a bit slippery!

Here is the Environmental Working Groups annual list of best sunscreen choices, based on efficacy and toxicity.

  • Aubrey Organics Natural Sun Sunscreen, Sensitive Skin/Children, SPF 30+

  • Badger Sunscreen Cream, Unscented, SPF 30

  • UV Natural Sport Lip Sunscreen, SPF 30+

  • Badger Broad Spectrum Sport Facestick, SPF 35

  • ECO logical All Natural Sunscreen, SPF 30+

  • Elemental Herbs Sport Sunscreen, SPF 30+

  • Green Screen D Organic Sunscreen, Original, SPF 35

  • BurnOut Ocean Tested Physical Sunscreen, SPF 30

  • Raw Elements USA Eco Formula, SPF 30

  • All Terrain KidSport, SPF30

The next time you take to the great outdoors and decide you may need a little extra protection from the glorious sun, keep the above info in mind and choose wisely! If you can’t cover up or find shade to avoid the sun’s rays, and you choose to use a sunscreen, do yourself and the ocean a favor and remember the 4 toxic ingredients to avoid, and the natural, organic, biodegradable, and reef safe ones to protect yourself with. Now get outside and enjoy that sunshine! 

How To Live An Ocean Inspired Life

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1) Keep Moving Forward

The ocean’s tides and currents are constantly changing, shifting, but always moving forward. Like the ocean, I choose to live my life in perpetual motion, physically, mentally/emotionally, and spiritually. Lately a popular expression has been “You only live once”, but I like to say “You live every single day”. Each day presents an opportunity to start from scratch, to learn, and to grow. As humans, we have the power to change our perspectives, and it is up to us to choose how we perceive things. Everyday has a lesson to teach us if we keep our minds and hearts open. Weather we are summiting a mountain to swim across a bay or paddle across a body of ocean in a physical endeavor, or we are learning the virtue of patience and persistence of another sort, the only way to go is forward. Even when the ocean is rough or there is a storm on the horizon, keep moving forward, every storm has a calm.  When you get into a rough situation, remember that the teacher is in the room, and with the right perspective, it can present a valuable opportunity. Learn from it, grow, and continue on in your journey. Everything is temporary, but lessons learned you can keep with you as you go. Keep a clear vision of who you want to be and the goals you wish to accomplish, then, like the ocean, move forward till you reach the coming shore.

2) Spread Positive Energy

One of my favorite things about spending time in the ocean is the amazing energy it leaves me with! Even just a quick dip in the water is sure to always give me the wakeup that I need and bring a positive perspective to my day.  When I would train for triathlons, I loved the fact that the swim was first because I felt as though I could absorb some of the oceans strength and power as I propelled myself forward through it. Upon exiting the swim, I was always stoked and ready to go for the run and bike segments ahead. I have found that I often perform better if I spend some time in the ocean before taking to other activities. I always feel more alert and more alive! No matter what endeavors the day may bring, if I ever need a place to realign my perspective, and recharge me internal battery, I just go to the ocean. Even just to observe it from the shore brings a feeling of contentment. I have also learned that by that spreading this positive energy onto others, even in the littlest of ways, that you can keep that energy flowing.  Say hello, and give a compliment to someone on the street. Pick up any trash you may see throughout the day. Chances are people are observing and following suit. One smile can make a million! A few positive words can make someone’s not so good day, a great one. The observation of a kind act towards another or towards our planet can create a domino effect of good. It’s contagious, just like the energy of the sea! 

3) Be Active 

The strength that the ocean possesses is like nothing else. The ocean reminds me that as an athlete it is important to be strong in mind, body, and soul. Through all my adventures and athletic endeavors while living on an island with no gym, I have found that the tools needed for optimal balance in strength, endurance, flexibility and mental fitness are provided for us in a combination of things found in nature and within ourselves. When you combine your own self-motivation with natures gym, you can have some of the best, and most fun workouts ever. Movement, adventures, and play become more of a lifestyle then just exercise or what you do to “train”. In fact, I never have been one to train. I am just active daily, and this allows me to partake in many athletic endeavors. For example, some days I will carry my paddle board to the beach, paddle a few miles down the coast to a soft sand beach, do a few running sprints, climb some rocks, through some rocks, or run with rocks underwater. I am able to get a great workout all while enjoying and using the nature around me. Other days, Ill bike to the west end of the island and then hike wherever my feet and heart choose to take me. Other days I rest, or practice yoga and being mindful through meditation. There are many days I just walk.  As long as I am listening to my body and intuition, I find that I am able to keep a balance and maintain optimal and functional strength. 

4) Love All That You Embrace

Nurture the things precious to you, just as the ocean nurtures and provides for all that inhabits it. The ocean is home to millions and millions of living things, providing for there every need. It is important to know what is important to you and what brings you true happiness. Embrace those things whatever they may be. Decide what your priorities are, family, friends, your passions, your desires, your purpose. Treasure your experiences with the people and the places that take you further in your journey, and trim away the unnecessary things that keep you from being true to yourself. You’ll discover that life is the grandest adventure of all and that the greatest exploration happens within. Know who you are, and strive to be the best version of yourself! Take good care of yourself. In turn, you are better able to serve the world with love, kindness, and a happy heart everyday.