Ica, Huanachina, and Paracas in less than 48 hours

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Huayna Picchu

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Seems like one of those selected few moments of life that seems to just drop down on your lap. There’s some alinements that brings things towards each other and connect, but never crashes. Like meeting my lifelong friends at the top of Machu Picchu. Than being fortunate enough to be 1 out of 400 people to climb up Huayna Picchu today. The amazement and mysticism is too much to explain or capture. If you want to feel one of the highly known immense wonder of our planet, past, and people, take your journey here. But don’t just come to look, really see it and feel its stunning present.

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Alma Zen

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Alma Zen, super cute and cozy vegetarian restaurant in Mira Flores, a popular neighborhood in Lima, Peru. Being a vegetarian place, of course, had some vegan options. Having a pretty wait staff and a chill atmosphere, made my lunch that much more satisfactory. Everything is organic and fresh. My meal was 28 solés, which I think is about 12$. Definitely worth going to if your in Lima. No website but if googled you’ll come across several blogs/reviews.

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Unimpeachable Groping

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What an amazing day, one of those everything went so perfect, it can’t be real. Each second and breathe, so alive and vivid. Brought me to this place of deep emotion. To reflect on the climb, the moment, the doubts, the dredge, the hours spent training. The push, even if you were tired, the days not having enough hours, the rain preventing you from hiking. But you still put on your backpack and hike up your stairs! Over and over again, because you know, there’s no excuses. It’s dedication! It’s commitment! It’s an goal coming to an completion. It’s also the thought and leap to make it an achievement. The decision to take life to your edge and dig deeper into yourself. The friend ship and bond to create a working team. To rely and help one another, and yes your life depends on it! If its running a marathon to run another marathon, cycle to Austin from Houston for the benefit of others, sitting in a bound meditation, just know you will get there, because taking the path is the challenge. With much love and gratitude to all my friends, family, and anonymous people who influenced and inspired me. Thank you a million times over, you are what makes me.

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Vegan stuffed bell peppers

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So, I was not that busy at work yesterday, and decided to make this! What I love to do when making a dish is look at several recipes, stem from the essentials and improvise. I look at vegan and non-vegan ways, since I know how to substitute ingredients. I also look at reviews and see what others did to recreate the recipe, just be open and creative. Well, unless you are baking, than maybe stay true to measurement at least on the first attempt, gotta know the rules before you break em.

What’s is also cool is, looking in your fridge to see what you have, and going from there. I had a few bell peppers floating around, and knew they would’ve gone to waste soon. And so happens I had some mushrooms, a zucchini, and a tomato.

Most of the vegan recipes called for brown rice or soy meat, mixed with different veggies. I decided to make a grain and lentils combo in the rice cooker and sauté veggies in a skillet, than mix them together. One thing I had read, was to blanch the peppers for 3-5 min in boiling water. I was going to skip this processing, thinking i’ll just cook the peppers longer in the oven. But in the end decided to, and was glad I did, it really made the peppers the perfect texture.

Ingredients:

3 bell peppers (I used red)

Sauté veggies
1 tbsp olive oil
1 zucchini
1/2 an white onion
1 container of pre sliced mushrooms
3 clove garlic

Grain combo
1/4 cup brown rice
1/4 cup lentils
1/8 cup amaranth
1 1/2 broth (veggie of course)

Sauce
1 tomato
2 tbsp sun dried tomatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic clove
A dash of basil
And however much cayenne pepper (I like a little kick!)

Start by making the grains since it’ll take about 40 min. You’ll wanna put all the ingredients in a rice cooker, set it and forget it. Well, l at least til it’s done.
Once that’s ready start preparing the rest. Preheat the oven to 350. Cut up the veggies and mince the garlic. Heat a skillet on med with the olive oil and garlic, once the aroma kicks in, throw in the onion for 3 min than add the mushroom and zucchini. Cook til desired texture, I did about 7 min. While your veggies are cooking, fill a large pot with water, enough to cover the peppers and bring to a boil. Cut the peppers in half, length wise, and discard the seeds. Immerse in boiling water for 3 to 5 min, than drain and fill pot with enough cool water to cover the peppers again. In a bowl mix the grains and veggies together, add pepper and salt, if desired. Take peppers out of pot, make sure to get excess moisture off. Line them in a cookie sheet, and stuff the peppers with the grain and veggies. Place in oven for 10-15 minutes. While your peppers are in the oven cut up the tomato and garlic, place them in a blender or food processor. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and blend to your desired consistency. Remove sauce from blender and use medium heat on stove for about 5 minutes. Once the peppers are done cooking remove from oven and drizzle the sauce on top!

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What’s in the bag

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1 Shirts. I have a Lulu Lemon tank and a running shirt. I love them, super comfy, wrinkle resistant, and can hand wash and dry quick. Oh also I can wear them multiply times before needing to wash. I have a few regular t shirts and a few blouse/button up. About 7 shirts all together.

2 Pants. I have my North Face hiking pants, that are also quick drying and could wear weeks on end with out ever needing to wash nor look it. Lulu Lemon yoga pants (which can serve as leggings for colder weather), blue jeans, and a pair of trousers (I’m not a fan of cargo pants). So 4 bottoms in total.

3 Undergarments. 4 pairs of sock, some thin running socks and some smart wool for hiking and colder climates, which are made out of antibacterial material (hence no need to wash as often). 6 pairs of Lulu Lemon and Patagonia undies, they can roll up small, dry fast, and are also made of antibacterial fabric (nobody wants stinky wet panties!) 2 sports bra, arm warmers, gloves and a scarf.

4 Shower necessaries. Dr. Bonner’s soap can be used as body wash, shampoo, face wash, laundry detergent, and even tooth paste( which is ok, but you can spare room for a tube of paste, cause its a bit yucky). I mean imagine washing your mouth with soap…. Yeah, anyways I’m packing shaving cream and razors too. You may wanna let it all go to lighten the load a bit, but i prefer a smooth leg. And Sunscreen, it’s so important, when your in high elevation the rays are so much stronger. Small 1 ounce Kevin Murphy shampoo and conditioner, I only shampoo once a week and rinse with hot water in between. I’m sure once I run out I’ll give Dr. Bonner a chance.

5 Shoes. New balance minimalist, light, compact and can be worn with out socks, they are awesome everything shoes. A pair of flip flop, and my hightop Vans, for mountain biking and walking around kicks, they are actually really supportive!

6 Sleeping bag. I prefer my own blanket and cozy comfort, but not necessary since I’ll be staying in hostels, but maybe for couch surfing and if I decide to go camping, which still some outfitters provide you with one, if you travel with them.

7 Toiletries. The usual, toothbrush, glasses, contact solution, contacts, a small brush, floss, q-tips (yes I know they’re not “good” for ya), deodorant, hair ties, face wash ( Dr. Bonner’s would work too) and nail clippers and tweezers, like I said, I like to keep groomed.

8 The Extras. Baby wipes (which my friend who didn’t shower for 6 weeks said was a luxury), insect repellent, band aids, anti bacterial ointment, chap stick, leather man, sunglasses, and tissues. Oh and some pepto and vitamins.

9 Jacket. My Patagonia puffy coat that I can roll up and stuff, it’s super warm. A long sleeve running sweater, It’s gonna be winter time while I’m in South America, a fleece hoodie could also work. And I’ll be wearing on me, my North face jacket which is good for 50 and 60 degree temperature.

10 Rain jacket. You never know, plus it rolls up and is pretty small, so why not.

11 Towel. A mini micro fiber towel, as above, it’s small and you never know.

* I’m also bringing my cycling gear which includes a full face helmet, google, padded shorts, jersey, and gloves. The bike tour are providing tools and tubes.

** And my travel yoga mat from Lulu Lemons, I used it so much in Nicaragua.

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Ridgeline 65 an REI bag

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There are several reasons why everyone (even if your not so outdoorsy) should be an REI member.

For me it’s the convent of their return policy. Sometimes I’m not so sure of the right size or what functions I really need out of such items. With REI you can buy anything, for me this time was a bag pack, and if I found it not up to my needs or expectation, you can return it (even if its been used or a few years old).

You also, of course, get 10% back annually on what you purchase the year prior. With the membership they have amazing sales, coupons, free workshops, garage sale (which things can be up to 90% off), and their online store and outlet store of last year or overstock gear.

I bought this bag with my dividend ($53) and a 20% off coupon from the REI outlet store online. The bag was already marked down 29% from $199 to $139 with the 20% coupon went down to $111 ($28 off) than add my $53 in dividend, I paid only $68!!! Not bad for a get size minimal, comfortable, and easy function bag. Plus free shipping for things over $50.

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