Do not miss Korcula when visiting Croatia! Marco… Polo…

korchula

When in Croatia, visiting the island of Korcula is a must. It is as if you were visiting a miniature version of Dubrovnik.

korchula city center

We rented a car for the day in Dubrovnik (from Avant Car Rental) and drove a couple hours to the ferry stop across the island. Thankfully our car had GPS so we didn’t get lost but you can easily look this up in your phone maps. We parked in the lot near the ticket station and bought a ticket on the car ferry since it was actually about to depart in a few minute. We heard that parking in Korcula was limited so we decided to just leave it parked in the mainland. Continue reading “Do not miss Korcula when visiting Croatia! Marco… Polo…”

Diving in Croatia’s underwater winery

zuljana bay

It was a pleasure to meet Sanja – one of the most bravest women I’ve met during my travels. She is a marine biologist and activist at Ekoloska Udruga Mala Sirena which is an NGO dedicated to protecting the marine ecosystems and educating the public about the environment. We met her during our trip to Croatia last week where my friend and I scuba dived to the underwater Edivo Vina winery in Zuljana (located in the Peljesac Peninsula). We were very nervous but she held our hand and walked us thru the whole process. Once we were all ready with our gear it was time to jump off the boat and view the beauty under water. There were corals and fishes and laying at the bottom of the reef was the underwater cellar. A unique experience to view the clay pots in a rack submerged upside down at the bottom of the sea.

zuljana painting

The Edivo Vina winery is a spectacle to see underwater but if you are not interested in diving you can visit their location in Drace and learn about the process while you taste the various wines they offer.
Check out my video here to see more about our adventures.

What made the whole experience so incredible was meeting Sanja. She taught us about the corals, showed us the fishes found underwater and explained the various projects her organization is working on. You can see her vertical gardens near the beach and her work to clean the environment and the Zuljane Bay Marine doesn’t go unnoticed. Such a beautiful town! She is an incredible person who’s mission is one that we can all take part in to help the world become a better place. We learned so much from her and hope to one day to come back and visit her lovely town again.

You can learn more about her diving center at www.divebarbara.com and view all the amazing projects she is working on at www.ekomalasirena.org.

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Healthy made delicious

desiree-rodriguez

It’s a new year and I am sure that some of you probably had “eating healthy” on your list as one of your new year’s resolution. I know I did and broke it the next day but don’t worry as I want to introduce you to one of my good friends, Desiree Rodriguez. Not only does she inspire people to eat healthier but she has a list of amazing plant-based recipes that anyone can make. Desiree loves incorporating her Puertorican roots into her dishes and you will be amazed how easy and delicious they are to make. Her collection of original and Latin inspired plant-based recipes along with her blog will definitely motivate you to live a healthier lifestyle. We sat down to have a quick chat with her and her future plans. Don’t forget to visit her website at www.ricanvegan.com to learn more about her and her amazing recipes.

Can you please explain what consists of a plant-based diet?

A plant-based diet consists of eating only real whole foods that are nutrient dense such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, seeds, and nuts. This way of eating does not include eating any meat, fish or animal byproducts such as cheese, eggs, or cows milk. Also, processed foods containing chemical preservatives, excess sugar, salt and oil are avoided.

Who is your favorite role model?

My favorite role model is Oprah Winfrey because she is very inspirational and she inspired me to find what I love to do and make it my job. My blog is the combination of my love for creating recipes and helping people and without Oprah helping me realize it I would have never started it.

Any tips and advice you can share to help us start making healthier choices in our busy schedules?

Planning and making your meals in advance can help ensure that you will always have a healthy meal available to eat when you have a busy week ahead of you. Preparing double batches of your meals also saves you time because you would only need to cook once and can eat twice. I would also recommend carrying healthy snacks with you where ever you go so if you get hungry you can eat one of your snacks and avoid buying something unhealthy.

Any future collaborations in the works?

I am actually getting ready to film a recipe demonstration video with another blogger who makes vegan dishes. We are collaborating on a dessert recipe that consists of making ice cream from frozen bananas instead of milk. That video will be posted on my blog and YouTube channel. I am working on a cookbook that will be available on my blog later on in the year. I have The Spark Program which is my 6 week plant-based coaching program where I work one on one with people helping them properly transition to eating a plant-based diet.

Vegan-Chocolate-Chip-Banana-Nice-Cream-Sandwiches

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Bridal Shower Bliss

bride to be
2016 is the year of marital bliss for two of my best friends. It was a hectic start to the new year as everyone was multi-tasking, crunching numbers, and working around the clock to meet deadlines. From eating Eiffel towers cake pops to celebrating in a country theme luncheon, it is an amazing year for my friends and an amazing display of bridal showers.

The first bridal shower of the year was a Paris theme backyard escape. As you enter the backyard you can’t help but notice the beautiful greeting table that contains the initials of the Bride and Groom, a sign-in book and an Eiffel tower. The introduction to this theme began with the entrance where the guests can start feeling the emotions and vibes upon signing in. The tables were decorated with small lanterns and vases with pink roses. A huge sign hung on the wall that said “She Said Oui” and giant posters of the Eifel Tower could be seen all over the backyard. It definitely felt like I was in Paris.

reception table

The main event was off course, the Dessert Table – especially the Macaroons. The Table had small Eiffel towers placed in the center and the macaroons were the highlight. They were delicately created and tasted so delicious that I loved all the flavors. A nice touch was labeling all the desserts as there were plenty. The red velvet cupcakes were decorated with the Eiffel towers and beautiful patterns. It also helped that the plates and silverware were pink with the Paris theme and the goodie gifts contained a “Merci” note.

Moving on to Spring, my other good friend just wrapped up her country themed luncheon at Loui’s restaurant in Coral Gables. This theme had elegant touches of rose bouquets and lemon-filled vases throughout the tables. The welcome table was full of mason jars so that everyone can write done a marriage tip for the bride and a beautiful scrapbook. My favorite game was a skittles game to help break the ice with all the guests. We each had to pick a color of a skittle from a jar and based on the color you chose you will have to describe a situation. For example, if I chose the color red then according to the game host I will need to tell the person next to me what I do for a living. It was a nice game to get to know each other and the bridal shower was a hit with the delicious appetizers and desserts.

mason jar

I can’t wait to attend her wedding later this year as I know it will be a success but more importantly she will be the happiest girl in the world. From macaroons to strawberry filled mason jars, it is a year of happiness for my dear friends and I wish them nothing but the best in their new chapter in life.

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Refresh yourself with Peppermint

herbs

The decision to use a hint of peppermint in my lip balm was pretty easy. The uses of peppermint oil are numerous and with all the benefits it produces, no wonder it is a staple found in most homes. Yet this is something that you can also use in the office or when you travel. The scent of peppermint is known to be minty and have a refreshing aroma which makes it ideal to use throughout your busy day. Have a long day full of meetings? Don’t stress – inhale this scent by rubbing a drop or two of peppermint oil under your nose to help perk you up and increase your mental clarity and concentration. Going to the gym? Whether you are going at the beginning or at the end of the day, you can apply a dab on the back of your neck and shoulders to keep your energy and mood up so that you can complete your workout.

Definitely going to keep peppermint oil in the office but you can also use this when you travel. While backpacking thru Southeast Asia I did a lot of walking and stair-climbing and more walking so my legs and feet were pretty sore. I was lucky to have five dollar massages available at every corner but in case you are not near this small luxury in your travels no need to worry. Peppermint oil contains anti-inflammatory properties so it can be used to calm your muscle soreness and/or cramps by massaging it to your tired muscles. Have a bug bite while traveling? You can also rub a dab of peppermint to get rid of the itchiness. Remember that everyone’s skin reacts differently to peppermint oil so be mindful of this when trying these benefits out.

With all these benefits, including a hint of peppermint oil in my lip balm was a no brainer. How do you incorporate peppermint oil in your daily routine?

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