Author Archives: Krystle

About Krystle

I live in the House of Snuggles.

I Haven’t Disappeared, I Swear.

I know, I know. I took a long sabbatical.

Here’s what happened. I got burned out and overwhelmed. There seems to be so many freaking rules to running a successful something or another that I got twisted and turned around and way too overloaded with information that I completely shut down for an extended period of time.

I mean I still lived the everyday life. You know, get up, go to work, come home, take care of the babies, go to bed. I vegged out a lot. I mean, I watched Designing Women reruns on Youtube and stared into space a lot wondering what the hell to do now. Then it finally occurred to me.

I’m going to throw all the rules out the window and just do whatever I feel like doing. Seems like a solid plan, right? My best observation these past few months was that it seems that everyone just rushes around doing what ever they want with no overthinking or regard for much of anything else. Than it occurred to me that I could and probably should be doing this too.

With that being said, I have disregarded all of my own rules and I feel much better. I have also been reinventing myself, which has been a lot of fun. I have discovered some new passions which I’ll be writing about at some point. See, I think we hold ourselves to these rules and standards to try and live these perfect lives when in the long run they make us exhausted and miserable. Of course, the rules of hygiene will always apply, and the rules of good manners should also be followed.

What I’m talking about is this desire to be perfect at everything. Have the perfect job, be the perfect vegan, be the perfect parent. These standards are so exhausting and really hard to turn off. Here’s what I recommend to help overcome the standard of being perfect.

1. Stop. Stop holding yourself to these ridiculous and impossible ideals. Trust me, it’s causing you more stress than it’s worth.

2. If it doesn’t make you happy, don’t do it. Life is too fucking short for anything otherwise.

3. Sit down and figure out what is really important and what will make you unbelievably happy and then find a way to pursue that.

That’s it. That’s all the words of wisdom that I have for you. Now go forth, my little munchkins, and prosper.

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The Best of Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Bonanza

I don’t know if any of you have made it to Trader Joe’s this year, but dear lord, they are killing it with the seasonal pumpkin overload! While most of it isn’t vegan, there are quite a few veg friendly items that are definitely worth a try. Of course, I bought all the vegan items to indulge my pumpkin fanaticism and they are all tasty (except for the body butter, I didn’t taste that. … yet.)

vegan seasonal treats

  1. Pumpkin Joe-Joes- Let me say that these are probably my most favorite Trader Joe’s treats ever. They are like Oreos, but the vanilla cookie ones, with pumpkin filling. Can I repeat that? PUMPKIN FILLING! Ok now that you heard me, let me tell you how amazingly yummy these are. I bought one box and it was gone in a day. Then I bought the second box. It was gone in hours. (Husband and I are not pigs I swear, we just gorge ourselves once in a while. No big deal.)
  2. Pumpkin Spice Roobios Tea- This is a smooth, spicy, tea that’s great for winding down from a long day. This tea is a great substitute to those pumpkin spice lattes that everyone loves and is especially good for people who are avoiding coffee or caffeine. I like to brew it and then add some almond milk so it kinda feels latte-y.
  3. Country Pumpkin Spice Granola- Eat it as a snack. Eat it for breakfast. Eat it hot. Eat it cold. You can even throw this on top of some yogurt. I tried it all ways and its fabulous.
  4. Pumpkin Body Butter- Ok, Trader Joe’s is not the first place I go for lotions and potions but I saw this by the register (damn impulse buys) and I decided to check it out. After a quick check to make sure it was vegan and cruelty-free, it ended up in my basket. It really smells mostly of cinnamon and nutmeg but it feels luxurious when you slather it on. This is a super silkily, delicious fragrance that will have you smelling spicy all day long.

Have you tried any Trader Joe’s seasonal goodies? Which ones are your favorites?

September Vegan Cuts Beauty Box

SEPT_VEGAN_CUTS_BEAUTY_BOX

 

It’s time for another amazing Vegan Cuts Beauty box, Snuggle friends. This is a really great program that allows you to sample 5-7 vegan, cruelty-free, toxin-free beauty and self-care products for only $20 a month. This is such a great value because many of these boxes have at least 1 full size product mixed in with the samples.  It’s like a little gift you can give yourself monthly.

Without further ado, Here’s your September Vegan Cuts Beauty Box:

  1. Clark’s Botanicals Deluxe Deep Moisture Mask– This stuff is amazing. The smell is incredibly soothing and the way your skin feels after doing a treatment makes you want to rub your face on people to show them how smooth and soft it is. This mask is made from algae, comfrey root, jasmine and green tea.
  2. Only Goodness Inside Deodorant- This is a good deodorant that will keep you stink free all day. They use organic food grade ingredients that are gluten-free, vegan, irritation-free and best of all, stain-free. It goes on like a lotion and dries quickly making it great for peeps on the go.
  3. Lunatick Cosmetic Labs- Oh and I love me some eyeshadow. I mean I’m kind of obsessive with it, especially funky colors. So this was a nice little surprise this month. I received this loose shadow in Dr. Jekyll, which is this amazing bronzy, gold shade with silver sparkles. This is a really awesome shade that can go for both day and nighttime wear. (And I got lots of compliments on it)
  4. Derma E Microdermabrasion Scrub- This is a very nice scrub that uses volcanic sand and Dead Sea salt to gently buff away dead skin for amazingly soft and smooth skin. Dead Sea salt and volcanic sand? Sounds tre chic and spa like.
  5. Suncoat Mascara- A natural, sugar based mascara that is excellent for sensitive eyes. Suncoat uses mineral pigments and vitamin E but leaves out the toxins to keep your peepers healthy. This is a nice, thick mascara that glides on smoothly and lasts throughout a long work day.

That about wraps it up. These are some really great products and you should get in on the next box. So go do it. Now. You won’t regret it.

10 Ways to Use Pumpkin This Fall

Alright, alright, alright, it’s October 1st and you know what that means. It’s officially pumpkin season. Now, I know Starbucks and most various other places launched their pumpkin seasonal lovelies back at the end of August but in my own personal opinion, October is really when it should be debuted.

vegan, Pumpkin, recipesPumpkin is crazy versatile and super nutritious (tons of antioxidants.) Fresh is always best, canned will do in a pinch but you have to be aware of those nasty BPAs that  can be lurking in cans. I usually get a good-sized pumpkin, roast it, and then can or freeze it for when I need it. Seeing as there are million things you can make with pumpkin you’ll probably go through it pretty fast.

With that being said, here are my top 10 Favorite Ways to Use Pumpkin

  1. Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte- Starbucks may taste nice, but ditch the nasty additives and make the real thing at home.
  2. Roasted Pumpkin Seeds- A delightful snack if you’re on the go. Also a great topper for salads and soups
  3. Pumpkin Soup- Super yum. Pumpkin soup is creamy and it can be sweet or savory.
  4. Pumpkin Ravioli- I have yet to make these, but they are on my bucket list for fall this year. Pumpkin filled little noodle delights? Where can you go wrong.
  5. Pumpkin cookies If you remember last year’s pumpkin cookies…
  6. Pumpkin smoothie- Just a little frozen puree, almond milk, and spices and you have liquid pumpkin pie for breakfast.
  7. Pumpkin pie- Der. Can’t have fall without at least one helping of pumpkin pie.
  8. Pumpkin pie oatmeal- You can have pie for breakfast! Didn’t you know? Add some puree and pumpkin pie spices to oatmeal for a hearty breakfast.
  9. Pumpkin pasta sauce- Making any squash into a pasta sauce is super delicious and makes me want to cuddle up under a fluffy blanky and watch the leaves fall.
  10. Roasted pumpkin- Roasting is great for almost any vegetable. Roasting really concentrates the flavors and the nice caramelizing on the outside is enough to make my mouth water.

Ok, I think covered everything. Pumpkins are great because they are nutritionally dense on top of tasting amazing no matter what you do with them. Celebrate fall with some pumpkin!

What are you favorite pumpkin treats?

On Staying Fit

vegan athletes, vegan nutrition

So about a month ago, Husband announced to me that he wants to get into bodybuilding. Honestly, I wasn’t all that surprised since Husband has an appreciation for Arnold movies (especially Terminator 2.)

He found himself a beast of a body builder for his trainer (seriously, the dude is fucking huge), got himself some protein shakes, and a meal plan and now he’s on his way to hulk-ville.

Or as he likes to refer to joining the “Swole Patrol.”

Now that he is on the bodybuilding kick, it got me thinking about getting into better shape. I mean, I run on a regular basis but I couldn’t kick anyone’s ass if I really wanted to because, really, I just want to be prepared for the off-chance that I am in a bar fight and need to bitch slap someone. Hard. And I think having muscles could help me do that.

With that being said, I got my tushy over to the running store. Yes, a whole store dedicated to running gear and what not. I mean, who knew that you need gizmos and thing-a-ma-bobs to just go for a freaking run! You know, it’s that store where nothing costs under $30 and everyone that works there are running fanatics and are high on endorphins. Anyways, I got myself properly fitted with custom inserts because apparently I have freakishly high arches that love collapsing when I run. I picked out a pretty loud pair Sauconys (purple and neon orange) and now I’m on my way to running glory.

In addition to my running goals, Husband has taken it upon himself to put me though a Marine style boot camp bodybuilding routine to help make me super beefcake. Well I’m not quite aiming for super beefcake but to look good in a bikini would be nice.

One of the most important parts of starting a rigorous fitness routine and being plant-based is to make sure that you do the proper research to make sure that you are getting optimum nutrition for your developing muscles. There are several resources out there that will help you because vegan athletes are fairly common.

Here’s a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Find a good quality vegan protein powder. This involves finding one that has a blend of different plant proteins, as well as, being low in heavy metals. Check out this piece I did for Peaceful Dumpling that covers the basics. After doing research for that article, I decided on Plantfusion. It tastes pretty good and gives a decent amount of protein per serving. I’ve only tried the chocolate flavor and I find it tastes ok mixed with just water.
  2. Make sure you make an appointment to see your physician to make sure you are able to do intense and rigorous exercises. It’s usually a good idea to see what kind of shape you are in starting out and then make a plan based on that.
  3. Make sure to do your research on food plans. For me, I’m eating about every two hours and making sure I have some type of protein with every meal. I focus mostly on beans, since these are cheap, easy to prepare, and excellent source of protein, fiber, and iron. Since you are starting an exercise routine you may need to increase the number of calories you are consuming to make sure your muscles get all the help they need.
  4. Get good quality supplements. Make sure to take a multi daily along with your B12, and whatever else you may feel that you will need. It doesn’t hurt to get some blood work done while you’re at your physical to see if you are lacking in any nutrients. Also consulting with your doctor (preferably a naturopath) or a nutritionist doesn’t hurt when it comes to supplementation.

Now that I gave you a very brief starting point, get out there and do your research. If you need help finding information, stay tuned, since I’m sure this new journey will give me plenty to talk about.

Plant based athletes, what do you do to stay fit and healthy?

Great Resources:

Vegan For Life–  Jack Norris, RD and Virginia Messina, MPH, RD

Vegan for Her– Virginia Messina, MPH, RD

Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life– Brandon Brazier

Veganhealth.org

Travels with 2 cats

traveling with pets

Koshka

Have you ever tried to drug a cat?

Let me tell you, it’s serious business.

Four years ago I decided to pack up and move 2,000 miles. The reasoning for this decision is fodder for another post. Today, I want to focus on traveling with fur babies.

So at the time, I had only 2 cats, my baby, Bacardi Koshka and Miss. Sassy Pants Calypso. I wasn’t about to leave them behind so it came down to figuring out the cheapest way to get them across the country with the least amount of fuss.

Being resourceful, I first decided on flying them. Should be no problem, right? Millions of people travel by plane with their fur-babies and they are a.o.k. Here’s the thing about air travel: If you don’t have a pocket dog or other small animal, it’s a little more complicated. Before I continue here’s a few things you should know about air travel with your pets:

  1. It is not safe for smushy face pets (aka brachycephalic) You know, like Persians and pugs and what not. They have an extremely hard time breathing at high altitudes and are prone to oxygen deprivation. Never let these guys fly in cargo.
  2. If you must fly with your beloved pet, keep them in the cabin. Buy them a seat or make sure their crate fits under your seat. A lot of animals that are checked into cargo can suffer injuries, anxiety, sometimes get lost and sometimes fatalities happen (morbid, I know.)
  3. To minimize risk to your furry friends, research airlines that allow pets to travel in the cabin, only fly on direct flights, and keep a current copy of your pets immunizations and a recent photo.

So anyways, on to my story. I checked airfares for myself, a traveling companion and two kitties and it was way out of my budget. So on to option numero dos. I decided to drug my cats and drive the 2,000. Was drugging absolutely necessary? Yes, yes it was. Have you ever ridden in a car with a cat? I mean I know there are some freak cats out there that are ok with car trips but most cats I know get hysterical and then have to sing the song of their people the entire trip (mine sing in harmony.)

To keep the sanity of myself and my traveling companion, drugs were the way to go. Cats are not huge fans of change and traveling is hard on them. Here’s how to travel by car.

  1. Make sure they stay in a crate. This is for your safety and the safety of your kitty. There are lots of places to hide in a car and if they get scared and jump on you while you’re driving than you are going to have bigger issues on your hands.
  2. Make sure their crate is big enough for a travel litter box and water. You know big enough for your cat to move around and to put a small box with litter because you never know when the urge to potty will strike.
  3. Make frequent stops to offer food, water, and do a wellness check up. Mine weren’t all that interested in using the potty or feeding during the trip. At our wellness stops, I mostly got the fuck you look from drug laden eyes.
  4. Do not leave your animal unattended in a car for long amounts of time and if it’s hot, don’t ever leave your animal in the car. This is kind of a dur, since your cat is already under a lot of stress, don’t stress them out more by leaving them alone in a strange place. Cars can get really hot really fast so never, ever leave your pet in a hot car. Just don’t do it.
  5. Stay at pet friendly hotels when you stop at night. I did the 2,000 mile drive in 3 days, roughly about 8 hours a day in the car (that’s how long the tranquilizers last) There are lots of pet friendly hotels out there so it should be fairly easy to find ones along your path.

With that being said, here is the procedure to catching and drugging your cat.

  1. Make your plan of attack- This is when you plot out a map of your house, close off exits, and get your pill ready.
  2. Act like nothing is going to happen- You know just walk around and pretend like it’s a normal day meanwhile keeping an eye on your cats moves. Your cat might begin to become suspicious.
  3. Quietly stalk your cat like the Crocodile Hunter (Crikey, She’s a Beaut!)- Follow her around the house, get her pattern of movement down and lie in wait for the perfect meowment.
  4. Pounce and attack!- This part of the process might be long or short depending on your cat. Mine are both a lively bunch and will put up a good fight. And be especially careful of those nails!
  5. Pry open your cat’s mouth and drop that sucker in there- Do this while whispering soothing words and making them as comfortable as possible.
  6. Release and wait- Eventually they will start drunk walking and then that’s when you know it’s time to go.

….or maybe you can crush up the drugs and hide it in some wet food. (This method did not work for my cats, finicky little fucks.)

That’s it. Have any questions about traveling with a cat? Had any experiences with traveling with pets? I’d love to hear your advice and stories!

 

Stay Hydrated, People.

Hydration

Hey there Snuggle Friends,

This week in the great Sonoran Desert the average temperature is 115 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s that wonderful time of year when you open your front door and feel like you are walking into Satan’s armpit. I mean boob sweat is a real tragedy that affects me on a daily basis and I’m only outside for a grand total of 10 minutes everyday!

With that being said, this type of weather has pretty much kept me inside and also made me just slightly stir crazy with a touch of the Cabin Fever. Oh, I have been tempted to climb the walls in my office once or twice just to try to break the monotony of my day. So today, I actually ventured outside and went for a 5 minute walk to the mailbox. To my delight, I found my Vegan Cuts Beauty Box (because really you know, this is the highlight of my month) and I pulled it out with the dreaded feeling that everything was melted in it. Low and behold, everything was ok with the exception of the lipstick and body butter samples but a quick stint in the refrigerator fixed those right up.

So since it’s getting to be the dog days of summer, I just want to remind you all to stay hydrated and to keep your furry friends hydrated and happy. Don’t keep them outside too long and know the signs of dehydration and fatigue because they are easily missed if you aren’t looking for them.

Here’s some tips on how to stay hydrated and avoid heat exhaustion in 115 Degree heat:

  1. Drink some fucking water- A lot of it, actually. In fact, don’t go anywhere without a water bottle. It’s easy to get busy and forget to take a sip of water but try to make a water date every hour. There are even apps out that will remind you to drink water so there’s no excuses.
  2. Eat some water dense food- Stuff like watermelon, cucumbers, and tomatoes hold a lot of water so eat these suckers like it’s cool. Want to know more hydrating foods? Check out this piece I wrote for Peaceful Dumpling here.
  3. Stay inside during the hottest parts of the day- This is generally about afternoon to early evening. Or if you live in the metro Phoenix area, all day every day, mid-July to about mid-September. Keep you pets indoors during these times too. They don’t sweat like we do and the heat is super hard on them.

Hope you all are having a good week and staying cooler than I am!