Traveling Light: A 12-Day Trip to Ecuador

I am having a hard time leaving my bed, at this moment. Perhaps it’s my body saying “enough” after a weekend of camping and unpacking only to repack. I picked out and packed my clothes in less than an hour which truthfully deserves a medal in my book. And now I’m laying in bed and sharing with you on just how I did that 😉 If we run into each other at the airport and you see me lugging another bag, I promise you won’t find a single item of my clothing in it. It’s all gifts for family and the various things they’ve ordered from Amazon and had delivered to me. The perks of having a big extended family, haha!

Besides the shoes that I’m wearing to the airport, I’m bringing two sets of shoes. Some flat sandals that I picked up on Monday, sneakers for the occasional run, a scarf for the plane and for chilly nights, a tote bag for any books that I may pick up at the airport, a crossbody bag for my time in Ecuador and my trustee passport case.

Besides the black jeans that I’m wearing for the flight, I’m also bringing a pair of leggings, and two pairs of shorts. And yes, I will iron these shorts before wearing them. Haha!

In addition to the red silk blouse that I’m wearing, I will also bring 7 additional tops, 5 to be worn interchangeably and 2 for workouts.

Speaking of workouts, I’m bringing a pair of running shorts and 2 sports bra, both suited for extra support. You can’t pack for a trip without bringing a bathing suit for the occasional trip to the beach or even just the hot tub.

I also packed a long striped dress and romper, which I could dress up or down, and a pretty, red, linen dress that I had altered and didn’t get to wear here.

My beauty routine is simple, on the day where I put “effort” into it, I add a cream blush and a brow wax. It happens quite rarely but I packed them, in case inspiration should strike. Not hating on people who wear make up, I wish I was like them but I always end up looking like a child who is playing around with art supplies. Teach me your ways, make-up aficionados! What I have always valued, well since I was 18, is skincare! Not only did I bring my usual skincare but I also packed a sheet mask and face gels for each leg of the trip. I brought some Tylenol PM for the off chance that I don’t fall asleep the second I get in my seat or if these sniffles don’t leave me. They’re usually a sign of lack of sleep for me.

Well, I thought it couldn’t be done and yet somehow I pulled off 12 days in a backpack 🎒Watch along on my instagram for all of my adventures but for now my biggest adventure will be getting out of bed and to the bank. I won’t board my plane for a couple of hours so if you have any last minute tips, please send them my way!

Xoxo,

Gen

Zucchini Noodles and Pesto

I love pesto and I love zucchini noodles! They are my all time favorite foods. Besides lentils. Lentils are my all time fave!

One ingredient that doesn’t make the list is Nutritional Yeast. Gosh! I am not a fan. Eating it in dishes is fine but cooking with it is a constant struggle. The problem is that I bought a whole bag of it and now I have to use it. At byChloe, they add nutritional yeast to their pesto and that gave me the wonderful idea to create this dish!

I topped it with radishes to give it a bit of a crunch but feel free to top it with any veggie you may choose.

My handheld spiralizer left me with this bit of zucchini that I will save for a soup or chips.

Ingredients:

  • 2 handfuls of Basil
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • 1 tsp. Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 tbsp. Raw Pine Nuts
  • Sea Salt to taste
  • 2 Zucchinis
  • 1 tbsp. Coconut Oil

Directions:

  1. Thoroughly wash the zucchini and basil.
  2. Spiralize your zucchini and let it rest for a minute.
  3. In a nonstick pan, over medium heat, place a tbsp of coconut oil and a dash of sea salt. Place your spiralized zucchini and cover for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Place the basil, garlic, nutritional yeast, pine nuts and sea salt in a blender and blend until smooth.
  5. Mix the spiralized zucchini with your pesto saw and serve. Enjoy!

Xo,

Gen

Dear, Heart – An Open Letter

I am taking the following straight out of my journal. As I laid in bed, the other night, I could not fall asleep with all these questions at the back of my mind. If you are feeling anxious over tomorrow, overwhelmed by today, or perplexed over the unknown, I’m here to tell you that I have been there too. Below is what I wrote to my heart and what anchored all of the thoughts that were taking me in a million different directions:

Dear, Heart,

There are so many loose ends. Endless balls in the air. So many unknowns that one could loose sleep over them. I actually do not know what is next, but here’s what I do know to be true.

  1. I am a child of God.

Now we’re no longer living like slaves under the law, but we enjoy being God’s very own sons and daughters! And because we’re his, we can access everything our Father has—for we are heirs of God through Jesus, the Messiah! – Gal. 4:7 (TPT)

2. God stands in my tomorrow and although things may come as a surprise to me, they do not surprise Him.
You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed. – Ps. 139:16 (NLT)
3. God is good, God does good, and God works ALL things for good. Even when I cannot see it.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose – Rom. 8:28 (ESV)
4. My God will supply all of my needs, according to His riches in glory.  
And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. – Phil. 4:19 (NKJV)
5. In DUE TIME, I will reap a harvest, IF I don’t give up or grow weary. So if I continue doing what I know I have been called to do then I will be okay.
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap,
if we do not give up. Gal. 6:9 (ESV)

In the midst of all of the unknowns in your life, can I encourage you to write down what you know to be true and let that certainty be what anchors you. Find your TRUTH anchors 🙂 God is not finished with you yet, the fact that you are reading this is proof of that.

Xo,

Gen

Wellness Finds: Floating Therapy

Have you all heard of floating therapy before? The idea behind it is that you would feel as if you are floating in the Dead Sea. Sixty minutes of total silence, literally floating life away. This is what their website states,

Studies performed in the United States and Sweden indicate that flotation therapy delivers wide-ranging benefits including significant reductions in not only stress but also chronic pain, swelling, headaches, depression and insomnia, all while lowering blood pressure and improving skin tone.

This experience was unlike any other and I can honestly say that I walked in with pain in my right shoulder and felt the level of pain decrease significantly. Initially the pain went away altogether and although the pain has returned, it’s certainly not as intense as when I walked in.

A couple of recommendations:

1. Insert the ear plugs before getting wet, it will provide better protection from getting water in your ears.

2. Use the neck pillow! It will allow you to rest your head comfortably.

3. Bring a bathing suit or not, you’ll be fine either way!

4. Once your session ends, either sit or hold onto something while your body gets used to being vertical again.

5. Wash your hair!!! A couple of times! The salt will cling to your hair and trust me, having salty water dripping from your hair won’t be a cute look.

6. Moisturize! Floating Lotus provides a wonderful Shea Butter Lotion. Use it! Your body will need it after you have been immersed in salt water for an hour.

7. Rehydrate! Drink the water that is provided, you’ll body will thank you for it 😉

After the session, hang out in the waiting room. Make yourself some tea and grab a book. Allow yourself the time to soak it all in! For a full video, check out my Instagram!

Have you ever tried floating therapy? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Homemade Almond Milk

There is something about making your own almond milk that is so fulfilling! Knowing every ingredient that’s going into your food is comforting, or is that just me? I have made a couple variations of this milk but I made this one to be neutral enough to use in a sweet or savory dish. I’m dreaming of overnight oats so that’s probably going to be my first use of this delicious drink!

Homemade Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 1 snack pack of Raw Almonds (mine are from TJ’s)
  • 32 Oz of Water
  • Sweetener Optional (I didn’t use any because I want to also use this for a pasta dish)

Directions:

  1. Soak raw almonds overnight
  2. Peel the soaked almonds, the peel should slide right off.
  3. Blend the almonds with water until all of the almonds have disintegrated.
  4. If you have a nut bag, you can run it through there. If you don’t, you can take a Bounty paper towel and put it over your sifter and get all of the liquid out that way.
  5. Serve or store in a glass container in the refrigerator but make sure to enjoy it within 3-4 days.

Let me know if you make it and what add-one you include 💛

Xo,

Gen Ceci

Cashew Latte

Hello, Tuesday! Didn’t expect you to be so warm! For some reason, I’m experiencing a delayed case of the Mondays! Lame! With the temps reaching the high 90s, I needed something cold and so I whipped this guy up! A latte made with cashews, organic brown sugar, and some good old Colombian coffee.

When I tell you that this was an easy drink, I am not exaggerating. I had all the ingredients in my fridge and I essentially saved myself at least $5.

Try it and let me know what you think 💛

    2 tbsp. raw cashews
    1 tsp. organic brown sugar
    1 tsp. Colombian coffee diluted in 3/4 c. of hot water
    2 ice cubes

1. Soak cashews in hot coffee for about 5 minutes.

2. Blend all of the ingredients in a blended for 2-3 minutes.

3. Serve and enjoy!

Now let’s kick some Tuesday butt!

Xo,

Gen

A Weekend in Cuenca

Ever felt like city life was weighing you down? As if your own thoughts weren’t audible amongst the sirens or if we’re serious, amongst chaos, commitments, and deadlines?Yeah, fun times! That’s when it’s time to get away! AFTER every assignment is handed and everything that was due is turned in. We are responsible after all 🤓

I was given the opportunity to visit Cuenca for the weekend and it was a dream! Now I had not been to Cuenca since I was 5 and this weekend exceeded all of my expectations.

If you are visiting from the US, there is no need to worry about bringing foreign currency since Ecuador uses US Dollars. If you are visiting from outside of the US, make sure to exchange your money before your arrival or at the airport. I have found that Ecuador accepts credit cards but not as readily as NYC, so bring cash whenever possible. This is particularly hard for me since I rarely carry more than a $20 bill with me 🤷🏻‍♀️

Let’s break it down 😃

Where to stay:

Anywhere in Cajas will surely be fun but we stayed at Hosteria Durán. The best feature of this hotel are their thermal baths. Known for their healing properties, a dip in these thermal waters was the best “me time” that I could have hoped for.

Where to eat:

Dos Chorreras was one of the top recommendations and it did not disappoint! Trout is all over the menu so if you are a pescatarian, this is the restaurant for you. On my flight out of Ecuador, I even saw an ad for Dos Chorreras before the in-flight movie 🙂

Things To Do:

  • A facial and massage at Novaqua Spa is the perfect way to start your trip.
  • The Turi Swing will test how much of a daredevil you are  and for the price tag of 1USD, can you really say no?
Selfie with a llama that we saw on the side of the road.
Post-Meal Horse Petting Session
Petting this horse was almost therapeutic.
I booked my facial early in the AM and there was no one in the spa except for the masseuse and myself. Quiet and stillness at its finest.
The view from the top of the Mirador de Turi
This was a much more tame version of the Turi Swing
Bubblegum ice cream? Yes! Yes! Yes!
This souvenir shop was full of cute little sayings for the kitchen.
Trying to pet these little guys was about as much cardio as I got that weekend.
The view from Dos Chorreras