Step 1: Using 4 by 4 treated wood posts, build frame Step 2: Staple chicken wire to front facing side Step 3: Cut frame wood Step 4: Nail framing wood to tower Step 5: Lay out landscaping fabric and then optional drip system hose Step 6: Pack tight with soil mixture Step 7: Paint backing plywood with waterproofing pain then nail to back of tower Step 8: Plant Succulents! Preferably do this with the towers laying flat and let the roots root down.

Backyard Landscaping: Succulent Walls - Leucadia, CA

I have to start off my apologizing for any of my recipe descriptions that say “easy to make” because I have learned that what is easy to some is hard for others! I looked online and found some websites that listed step by step guides and it seemed simple so I thought building 3 would be a snap, but I think it may have been a little ambitious of me. Parts of building these were easy but we also ran across a few challenges. Either way there were some great lessons learned.  Building the towers themselves was fairly straight forward, the challenges came when it got time to planting the succulents.  The first one we put together we didn’t pack the soil very tight, we thought they would need room to breath but the minute we stood them up all the soil settled down and we had a huge gab so we just tried to hand feed soil into the top.  Oops! Planting the succulents was the most time consuming and arduous part of the project.  We bought flats of mini succulents thinking we could just jam them in in the holes of the chicken wire and we thought it would be best to plant the succulents while the towers were somewhat vertical.  First off the jamming them in part didn’t work, in order to do that we had to cut big holes and then the soil would fall out and they ended up sitting in very loose.  Planting while they laid vertically wasn’t easy as it was hard to get them to want to stay in.  JP got about 15% planted on one and gave up and I think it tool me about 3 days to plant them all.  My hands were pretty much numb after that. I came to find out after it’s best to plant with the walls laying down, let the plants roots establish and then raise them. Ya that makes sense, but we were on a time crunch we wanted to get this yard done!

Tuesday’s Tool’s of the Trade - Road Bike

As my back and strength continues to improve, Chris, has been re-introducing more physical activity into my life. Unfortunately I’m not able to do any high impact sports or fitness because if the injuries in my spin so that cuts out a couple of the fun fitness I used to do, including running and zumba.  It’s a bummer but both Chris and Guy Voyer felt that road biking would be a good fitness option for me. I could build my cardiovascular strength back up, while getting some speed, endorphins and time outside.  JP recently purchased a hybrid road bike to rehab his foot so now we had something we could do together.  Chris helped me find a bike that was not only perfect for my size and level but also at a killer deal.  He had told me if I didn’t care about color or not getting the latest model I could get a good deal on older models. First priority was finding a bike that was full carbon.  Aluminum frames don’t absorb bumps and such as well translating in more force on your spine but a full carbon frame has better absorption equating to a smoother ride and less wear and tear on your joint.  It was also imperative I got Shimano Ultegra parts as in the long run they would not only perform the best but last the longest. Like in most sports there are women specific bikes but really it comes down to what will fit your body best.  After doing all the fit measurements it turned out I needed a pretty small bike. Most shops I went in to only had one of two bikes in my size. We searched shops and online until we found the perfect bike at the right price, Nashbar CR4 Carbon Road Bike This sick little bike is so stealth in all mat black and originally $4000 I got it for $1700!?!?! Score! Only thing it didn’t come with is pedals.  I chose to get the Shimano XT SPD Trekking T780 MTB Pedals, which are actually a mountain bike pedal but what I like is that they are two sided with a flat side for wearing regular shoes and a clip in side.  It was really exciting when the bike arrived and putting it together with Chris was fun.  I can not believe how light it is and how fast without even trying she is. Yes, she is a girl and I think I will call her Stealth Stella!

Backyard Landscaping: Grass!?!?! - Leucadia, CA

Wait a minute, wasn’t a big part of this project to remove all our grass to save on our water consumption and conserve during times of drought?! Yes, but as we started the decomposed granite section of the yard JP decided that all the cement and DG was too drying and he wanted grass.  Regardless of the fact that we were already at the point of no return there, was no way we were going to replant water wasting grass.  We began to explore other alternatives, ultimately deciding that “fake grass” would be an acceptable option.   I had made the original backyard design based on using two different colors of DG separated by steel edging and the edging was already in but no matter!  We just swapped out one of the DG colors for fake grass.  We checked out different grass manufactures and they are all fairly similar but we decided to go with Go Turf Direct as they are a local family owned business.  Turned out not too shabby if I do say so myself!

My friend Melissa over at E3Live asked me if I would do a video of one of my recipes using E3Live.  I immediately said yes but then I began to procrastinate.  Not cuz I’m lazy but because I realized I had never made a how to video ever in my life and although snowboarding gave me a lot of experience in front of the camera I still never felt comfortable with it.  I kept pushing off filming the video but I finally could not push it off anymore and so I had JP film me with my iPhone and Melissa put together this little video. Instead of having a photo step by step here is the video step by step.  See it really is simple!

Figs’N’Greens Smoothie

Serves 1


2 C packed spinach  

1 banana (a frozen banana will give you a thicker consistency, but non-frozen works, too)

4 figs, stems removed, halved

1 C hemp milk, almond, or coconut milk

Superfood Boosts

1 TBSP E3Live

1 tsp Sol Raiz maca powder

1/4 tsp Blue Majik


1. Place all ingredients into the Vita-Mix container(or blender) in the order listed and secure lid with plunger. Select Variable 1. 

2. Turn machine on and quickly increase speed to Variable 10, then to High. Blend for 30 seconds then lower back to Variable and continue blending if need to achieve a smooth consistency.

3. Serve and enjoy!

Backyard Landscaping: Irrigation, Soil, and Decomposed Granite -Leucadia, CA

With the cement done, veggie boxes and retaining wall set and the steel in, the backyard was really starting to take shape.  A big component to our “California Friendly Landscaping” was going to be a new irrigation system.  We upgraded to a drip system for everything that would help to properly water our new fruit trees and edibles while still being low-water friendly.  We also needed soil to fill in around the new trees and fill up our boxes.  We needed more then a couple bags we needed some serious soil! I looked around to find out where I could get organic soil in bulk and came across, Great Soil in Escondido.   We ordered up a few tons of their organic amended soil and they should up with a big dump truck foil or nutrient rich soil.  

City Farmers Nursery - San Diego, CA

Originally I had planned on growing from seed in my new raised garden beds but that was when I thought the project would be completed by March………fast forward and it’s summer and too late to grow summer crops from seed. Luckily this is Souther California and you can still have a plentiful summer crop if you plant from established seedlings.  I decided to head down to San Diego and check out City Farmers nursery as I had heard they had an amazing array of organic and NonGMO seedlings. I was overwhelmed by the size of the nursery that had everything from vegetables, plants, trees, berry bushes, flowers, succulents, to farm animals and fresh hen eggs! There is also a cafe and restaurant.  I stoked up on some organic veggie plants and berry bushes but I will definitely be back!

Throwback Thursday - 18th Birthday July 27, 1994, Mt Hood, OR
Wow, it’s been 20 years since this photo!?!?! Really, wasn’t it just yesterday that I was living in a tent out back of HWY 26 Snowboard Shop skating and snowboarding all summer long?  Such a fun group of guys I hung out with that summer and I have lots of good memories of all the mischief we got up.  Pretty sweet of a bunch of hood rat boys to get me a Dairy Queen Cake! High-res

Throwback Thursday - 18th Birthday July 27, 1994, Mt Hood, OR

Wow, it’s been 20 years since this photo!?!?! Really, wasn’t it just yesterday that I was living in a tent out back of HWY 26 Snowboard Shop skating and snowboarding all summer long?  Such a fun group of guys I hung out with that summer and I have lots of good memories of all the mischief we got up.  Pretty sweet of a bunch of hood rat boys to get me a Dairy Queen Cake!

How important is your personal health? And a Personal Confession.

I have been thinking about this a lot the past couple years with the struggles I’ve had with my back and then with JP’s injury this winter.  It’s interesting how when you are forced to stop and really look at things how clear everything gets.  Your personal health is the foundation for living.  Good health not only means you can live, prosper, and get out and do fun things but it means you can be there to support and love those around you.  But how do you achieve ultimate health?

Having my cousins Paula and Mike come spend a week with us really helped to put everything in perspective.  Mike was diagnosed in 2011 with a rare brain tumor, Extra Ventricular Neurocytoma.  Chemo or radiation isn’t an option for Mike because if the type of cancer.  He had surgery 3 years ago to remove the tumor but it has grown back as well as the seizures that keep him from living an independent life.  Through all this Paula has been his rock, his support, and his caregiver.  They have explored alternative medicines, healing with living foods, mediation, anything to help Mike get healthy.  This summer he will be having another very risky surgery to remove the tumor.  With the love and support of Paula Mike is facing this surgery with courage and positivity.  It was amazing to see the pure stoke in Mikes eyes as he spent a week here surfing, SUPing, cruising, and enjoying the California sun.  Mike and Paula  are both using living foods to help heal their bodies and from the energy and positive light they both have it is working!  They have both received resistance from friends and family for the path they have chosen and I know it’s out of concern but you have to do what is right for YOU!

Living Foods can do wonders for people’s health but what I have learned is that how different we are on the outside we are on the inside.  I’ve been soaking, sprouting, juicing, dehydrating and blending my way to health for years but why was I still in pain and not healing?  This is where I have a confession to make. After trying all types of treatments, physical therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic, natural path and rolfing I had come to the end of my rope.  I had gone year and a half in some level of pain 24 hrs a day. Although I continued to do some low level exercise I missed feeling good, like I could do anything, I missed surfing, and I missed the abundance of activity I used to do.  I wanted to get back to being me.  Through a recommendation from Danny Way I went to see a CHEK Practitioner, Chris Maund, in Encinitas this winter.  I didn’t know what I was getting myself into and if I had I might not have gone.   

Chris put me on what I would call a “Radical Recovery Plan”! My first session was intense as I brought in all my MRI’s, X-Rays, blood work results, 30 pages of medical history, my training schedule per-injury, my pain management journal and a 7 day food journal. I figured he would applaud me for my awesome eating skills but it was the opposite!  He gave me a new diet plan basically consisted of no more grains, limited fruit, and no dairy(easy) and to incorporate vegetables(easy) and good fats(avocado, opine oil, nuts, seeds, hemp oil, yum!) with each meal and two things that were hard for me to swallow, literally.  He wanted me to include good, all natural organic butter and all natural organic animal protein, either fish, chicken, or eggs for one meal(umm…mild panic attack).  I couldn’t believe it, but apparently I have been “malnourished” for so long that is why I have all these deficiency’s and my body is having a hard time healing. It’s not getting the nutrients it needs to create tissue, bone, ligament.  Yikes! Desperate times call for desperate measures and I was anxious to get healthy again so I did it!  I found humane certified, pasture raised eggs, picked up some goats butter and got to.  You know what, after only 3 weeks I began to feel more energized and my pain levels began to decrease.  It’s been 6 months and besides the new diet I have incorporated an intense daily stretch routine, evening ELDOAs, corrective strength program and I have been seeing an Oesteopath in Santa Monica as well as even got a session with Guy Voyer who invented the ELDOA’s that have been helping to strengthen and straighten my back. For now Chris won’t let me do Yoga or Pilates but I know I will return to those one day.  Over the months my pain has decreased significantly, I am now averaging 5 days or more without any symptoms and the days that I have symptoms it’s minor.  I got cleared to start swimming a couple months ago and recently I have been easing myself back into surfing. Woohoo!  I am closer to the light at the end of the tunnel.

I received some resistance to my radical diet change but mostly my friends and family have been supportive especially since they see the visible improvements.  It’s really made me realize how different we are and there is not one true diet that works for everyone. We have our own body dynamics, genetics, injuries and lifestyles to maintain and what sustains one person may not sustain another.  I of course still eat tons of raw food and I love it but now I have sustainable fish and eggs from humanely raised and pastured grazed hens from a nice gentleman at the farmers market.  I don’t feel bad about it at all and I know some people might get upset about it(as they have already) but I have to do what is best for ME.  MY health is my #1 priority and these changes have put me on a better path to recovery and I’m sticking with it! Well for as so long as it works. Our bodies and our lives are constantly changing and I’m just going to roll with the punches and enjoy life to it’s fullest on my terms!

Tuesday’s Tool’s of the Trade - Food Prep

Sweet summer corn is going off around here these days.  I love to just eat it raw right off the cob or grill up a cob for a tasty snack. When I use raw corn in recipes, like my Mexican Corn Salad, I have to get all the kernals off the cobs. It seems no matter what technique I use I seem to get kernels flying everywhere!  I picked up the OXO Good Grips Corn Stripper and it definitely minimizes the mess but you will still find some stray kernels taking flight. What I like about it though is the majority of the kernels are collected in the container so you can measure the amount you strip as you go along. No matter what you use, raw fresh organic summer corn is tasty on or off the cob!