Category: Lifestyle & Health

The novice hikers guide to surviving Mission Peak

With a 7 mile trail and no shade in site, a hike to the top of Mission Peak is best taken in the winter sometime around February – May when it isn’t too rainy for muddy boots and isn’t too hot to get a heat stroke. The trail is usually open to the public from 6:30 am to 8:00 pm. Compared to Big Sur and the 17 mile drive trails, this one is a little less scenic but worth it for the challenge. Most north Californians know about this moderately tough trail and have been on an adventure or two here to enjoy the view of the silicon valley from the peak. Mission Peak is one of the high hiking trails in the city of Fremont, California.

Some things never to forget are:

  1. Water

    You’ll see plenty of warnings on the trail to turn back and get water if you don’t have any and as with any hike you will definitely need at least 2 litres depending on your pace. Also make sure to use the bathroom before you enter the trail as you will not find loos in abundance on the trail. If you are getting your pet along, make sure to get them some extra water for them too!

  2. Snacks

    Pack light with granola bars, dried fruit, nuts and small sandwiches especially if you are going with a family or kids (Yes, I have seen kids completing this hike and if they can do it, you can do it too 😀 ).

  3. Sunscreen

    Mission peak is a combination of valleys and hills with a few choices along the way about which path you want to walk. Since there is absolutely no shade anywhere, sunblock is a must if you are taking this trail during the day. It takes anywhere from 2.5 to 5 hours to get back down depending on your pace and with no shade be certain that you will thoroughly be bronzed and burned by the time you are back.

  4. Jacket

    It can get extremely windy during the winter months especially at the peak. Come prepared with layered clothing that you can easily modify depending on how you find the weather.

  5. Running shoes

    You will be doing a lot of walking/running on this trail if you intend on reaching the top and no pair of flats will save you from the steep slopes and rocky terrain on the last 500 feet so it goes without saying that you will need a good pair of shoes to make this journey comfortable.

  6. A Camera

    Finally, about the selfies – on most days you will find people queued up by the 20’s to get a picture at the top. And why not? If you made your way to the top, give yourself a pat on the back and whip out that selfie stick. Whether it be your phone or a fancy DSLR, no hike to mission peak is complete without a selfie at the famous pole.


     

    Additionally, you can take pictures of green hills, views of the valleys and cows grazing, sometimes even a para-glider!

Detoxing with Wheat-grass

Wheat-grass is one of the most powerful super-foods on the planet with benefits ranging from getting rid of acne scars to neutralizing toxins from your body. Lets leave the magical cancer curing, weight dropping and other such hype surrounding wheat-grass consumption at the door. I chose Wheat-grass mainly for it’s anti-oxidant properties and it’s rich nutritional content (Nutritional Value Information Link here). And as with anything else – consistency is very important if you want to see results. I drink wheat-grass juice up to 3 times a week in the mornings and on the other 4 days as a post workout fruit smoothie add-in.

Wheat-grass can be consumed in quite a few ways – nowadays it’s available in both tablet and powder form. You can also buy the fresh pressed juice at most grocery stores. I prefer juicing it myself to avoid the “yummy” added preservatives in either of those forms. There are also claims that wheat-grass juice begins to lose nutritional value about 20 minutes after it is juiced so I grow my own stash at home to keep things fresh.

Homegrown healthy wheat-grass also claims to have the highest chlorophyll and vitamin C content than any other form. Based on the numerous articles I read before I tried Wheat-grass shots, I found that it’s best consumed on an empty stomach so I prefer taking it early morning. Preparing wheat-grass juice at home from is quite easy but I have to warn you that it’s not as delicious by itself. I mix it with some lemon juice and honey  to dilute the strong taste.

Preparation

  1. Blend equal parts of wheat-grass and water in a mixer – I use 1 oz of each. The juice will get separated from the fiber and can easily be strained out.
  2. Strain the juice from the pulp using a cheesecloth or a strainer.
  3. Squeeze in lemon juice (.5 oz) and stir in some honey or agave syrup to your taste and drink up asap! You can even blend in some apples, oranges, pears, kiwis and avocados with this shot for a more filling smoothie specially if you don’t plan on eating anything else for breakfast.

If you have any interesting information on wheat-grass or insights from your experience, feel free to share them in the comments section below 🙂

French Skincare With Caudalie

“Nature gave you the face you have at 20. It is up to you to merit the face you have at 50”- Coco Chanel.

When it comes to skincare, the earlier you start the better. After all, your skin is going to stay with you for a long time. Though healthy eating, exercise, stress relief and sun protection do play their own roles in maintaining the youthfulness and beauty of your face so does a good skincare routine. It takes time and a lot of failed attempts to find what works best for you but in the end it will all be worth it. I had a hard time keeping breakouts at bay during my teen years. I tried almost every acne related product in the market without paying attention to the harsh irritants that were present in them – none of which showed any results. By this point my skin was in need of pretty intense repair. That’s when I decided to go for gentler more eco friendly skincare and I began to see drastic improvements with natural ingredients.

When I was on a shopping spree in San Francisco, the friendly ladies at Sephora pointed me to this french skincare line called Caudalie. What got me interested is that all of their products are based on one powerful plant – the grape vine- which is known for it’s powerful anti-aging properties (No wonder french women look so youthful – it must be all the wine they drink 😉 ). So I went ahead and splurged a little to see what this brand was all about. Fortunately, it worked for me! They have everything from cleansing, toning and moisturizing products to detox face masks, nourishing creams, lip balms and anti-aging elixirs. Not only do they contain natural ingredients that benefit your skin but they also don’t contain any parabens, mineral oils, phthalates sodium laureth sulfate and other such harsh chemicals. They are also animal testing free and eco-friendly 🙂

3 basic skincare steps – Cleanse, Tone & Moisturize

The Caudalie Gentle Cleansing Milk is a great start to taking the day off with the Instant Foaming Cleanser and the Moisturizing Toner  being great follows. The cleansing milk is very moisturizing and melts on your skin taking off most light makeup and the cleanser + toner combination gets rid of any remaining traces.

On most mornings you can get away with cleansing, toning and misting the Caudalie Beauty Elixr. It’s a refreshing burst of freshness formulated with essential oils and extracts of rosemary, mint, grapes and rose. Not only can you use this elixr on bare skin but you can also use it as a makeup setting spray to combat oily skin!

Their Vinoperfect Radiance Serum contains viniferine – an ingredient from vinesap. This is one of my favorite of all. I found that this worked wonders with healing my acne scars and getting rid of sun damage to get back to my clear(ish) skin.

The Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet is a great moisturizer to layer on as the next step. It is packed with grape seed polyphenols that help combat free radical damage throughout the day.

Anti-Wrinkle Eye & Lip Cream – With a tag line of “Don’t let fine lines turn into wrinkles”, this one was hard to resist. It claims to block 100% of free radicals while boosting collagen production with Vitamin C. I found it to be quite moisturizing as a lip and eye balm.

Day Serums and Detox masks

The Vitamin C Defense Serum like most of the other Caudalie serums, it is moisturizing but what makes it stand out is the high concentration of their Vitamin C ester. It claims to defend against UV rays, pollution and smoking damage. This most definitely is the showstopper of this set. Barely 10 days into using this serum, I noticed that it gave my skin a very youthful glow.

I got the Caudalie Detox mask in a set with the vitamin C serum. It’s enriched with coffee, grape, pink clay and papaya extract. A little bit most definitely goes a long way. It’s a refreshing mask and does a nice job at making your skin feel fresh and soft.

If you tried and loved any products by Caudalie or other similar brands, leave a comment below with suggestions! 🙂

Adventures at Dusk, Santa Cruz

After a week long of rain, the sun was finally shining and so a couple of friends and I set off to explore Santa Cruz. This was attempt 1 at crossing through highway 1. We stopped by for a quick lunch – not far from the Natural Bridges State Beach at a place called the West End Tap and Kitchen.

I loved the ambiance of this place! It’s sort of a cross between a diner and a sports bar with some family vibes thrown in.

The food is really good for just how busy it is here. Their burgers are quite generous and juicy and come with a tray of endless fries.

Their cheese plates offer a selection of 3 cheeses with some sea salt crostini and seasonal pairings. This is something no cheese lover like myself can resist.

And as a palette cleanser, this lovely bottle of ginger beer was spectacular!

We drove down to the Beach  after lunch where there is this really cool natural bridge across the beach forming two arches. At one point both the sections were connected but the earth is always changing!

A few minutes down the road we stopped by this amazing cliffy coastline illuminated by the dim sunset. I’m still getting a hang of using my camera with low lighting. These pics don’t do enough justice to the majestic west coastline of Santa Cruz. It takes a little bit of careful stepping to get to the edge but the view is definitely worth it.

At Dusk the sun sets across the ocean forming a beautiful orange gradient above the deep blue sea. With lovely vantage points high on the cliffs, this makes for a sunset you’ll never forget.