Crystal Madrilejos

Design & Creative


Hey Friends! Another legit update on the house project. I’m on a roll! We’ve been making lots of progress since my last post about the sewers. I’m going to try really hard to post regularly so as to not overwhelm you with epically long posts that are TLDR. It can be a lot, I know.



We’ve finally picked up some momentum on the barn conversion! A few weeks ago, we were finally able to tie the farmhouse and the detached garage/office space into the sewer. This was one of the main hurdles to parcelling off the property and we’ve hurdled that Matrix-style – jump and hover mid-air for what feels like eternity. That was us trying to get this thing done. The longest hurdle in history. That analogy was a stretch. It’s early. I’m still waking up. (more…)


If you follow me on social media you already know about a little project I’ve been working on for Hello Creative Family that was launched the other day. It’s a small project, but it was oh, so fun to make!

A couple months ago, one of the co-creators of Hello Creative Family, Crystal (Allen), asked if I’d create a printable calendar for one of their holiday gift guides. I said yes, because I’ve always had a thing for calendars and planners. (more…)


The most complicated thing about this smoothie is trying to figure out what to call it. You would think it would be based on its most predominant ingredient (which would be banana) but just calling it a banana smoothie didn’t seem right since that’s more of the base than anything, plus there’s a fair bit of coconut. But Banana-Coconut-Cashew-Butter-Cocoa Smoothie just doesn’t roll off the tongue. So here we are with my recipe for a Banana Cocoa-Nut Smoothie (see what I did there? ha!) (more…)

On Being

35 Years


Today is my birthday! I’m not going to apologize about how long it’s been since I wrote. Looking back and seeing that it’s been a couple months since I last posted, made me slightly sad. But at the same time, thinking about how much has happened since then and how perspectives and outlooks can change in such a relatively shorty time, makes me feel much better about the state of things. (more…)


We’re still plugging away at Project Homestead. It’s hard to know where to start with an update due to the amount of time that has passed since my last post and so much has happened since then.

So first off, we were a bit ambitious thinking that we’d be ready to start construction in July. Andrew’s Mom was being nice and didn’t say anything at the time, though she was thinking – “uh, yeah right.” :) Andrew’s parents built their home years ago, so they know from experience what it’s like. (more…)


Yesterday I posed a little sneak peek on Instagram and Facebook about our house plans. I’m super excited to share where we’ve finally landed with the homebuilding project. I didn’t want to say anything earlier because we still had some loose ends that needed tying up and even now there is one big blocker that we need to overcome, which I’ll talk about later. After much back and forth, we had to forgo the location we had originally settled on due to the fact that it just wasn’t going to work with our budget. We could have probably built in that spot if we waited another 20 years to save the additional money it would have cost, but it’s just not worth it to us. Opportunity costs, people! (more…)


Okay, so this is sort of a bummer post. After much going around and around and talking with too many people to even recall, it’s looking like we may not be able to build our homestead in the spot we had planned. Super sad face, I know. Let me break it down for you. (more…)


I don’t have any previous experience to compare this whole process to, but it seems like every step of the way we are encountering obstacles. Maybe that’s just par for the course, but it can be discouraging! More than once this week I’ve had to step back and take a breather because things were starting to feel heavy.

We have been going back and forth with the county building department and the local zoning board to find out about parceling the property and their requirements for a driveway. We always thought we would just share a driveway with Andrew’s parents since that seemed to make the most sense but there’s some confusion around whether this is actually allowed. Another super frustrating process. There seems to be no consensus on this and whenever Andrew talks to someone, they aren’t quite sure and have to “talk to someone else” to get any sort of answer. (more…)


Ever since completing my first Whole30 back in August, I’ve been working on perfecting this paleo recipe and after many batches, it’s finally ready! These Cocoa Almond Butter Truffles are not only delicious, but paleo approved – dairy free, gluten free, vegan and have no added sugar. And despite the fact that sweet treats are discouraged on the Whole30, if you take out the vanilla, all these ingredients are Whole30 compliant. Seems impossible, right? But I assure you they are good. My kids love them (the true test) and they are super simple to make too. (more…)