Crystal Madrilejos

Design & Creative


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…)


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…)


It’s that time again. Recapping last year and prognosticating what’s in store for the New Year. I figured there’s no better time for a long overdue update. I have a number of posts in draft form, but haven’t had the chance to hit publish.

The ramp up to this New Year’s Eve was chaotic and so swift it knocked me off my feet, literally and figuratively. Though we usually don’t do anything to celebrate the turning of the calendar, this year was especially lackluster; spent in bed–all four of us–sick with whatever nasty bug is going around. Andrew was the first to be hit. Then both kids and I fell right in a row. Luckily, both kids escaped having to take any antibiotics but Andrew ended up with a sinus infection and myself with a killer sore throat. This is the first I’ve taken antibiotics in probably over 10 years (our kids have never had antibiotics in their short lives thus far and am hoping they don’t have to for a long time – knock on wood!)

As I was lying in bed, I would scroll through Facebook and see everyone reflecting on their year and setting intentions for 2015 with lots of motivation and high hopes. It seemed like most people had a feeling that 2015 was going to be their best year yet and that they could sense the areas of their life that were going to shine. And I wasn’t feeling it. I had no motivation, no sense of what 2015 had in store for me, and definitely did not have that feeling of a fresh start! Granted, my mind was clouded and I get super emotional when I’m sick, but I had this feeling like – Is this it? Is this lack of motivation and horrible state I’m in a foreshadowing of what this year has in store for me??

But as I’ve recovered from being sick, I’ve noticed my motivation coming back and I’m able to look back on 2014 and realize what a monumental year it was for us on many levels. I started Wild Daughters. I got an amazing new day job as Creative Director at an incredible technology company, as well as a game-changing side job, going back to my career roots, designing a magazine with a stellar team of individuals. Andrew and I are this close to being completely debt free. We hit our savings goal to finally build the house we’ve always wanted. Our little family is healthy and happy.

I’ve also been able to think more about what I want 2015 to be. The way I see it, 2014 was the year of positioning. A year of moving all the pieces in the right place to set us up for the big things we have planned for the next couple years. What can I say? We’re long-term goal type people. But what does that mean for THIS year? It means that we’re fine-tuning the mechanics of how all the pieces are working together and propelling things forward. It means making BIG moves on goals that we’ve only been inching towards for a long time, namely the house (!!!) and another project (that will remain unnamed for now) but has been 6+ years in the making. If 2014 was the year for career building, then 2015 is going to be year of The Homestead. Don’t get me wrong, both Andrew and I have big plans and ambitions, work-wise, for 2015 but I think the year is really going to shine on the home front.

I’m still feeling like I need a little bit of a kick in the pants to get this year started. I was hoping this little winter holiday break would have been the time for me to regroup and tie up loose ends, but alas, being sick derailed that plan and I have just as much stuff to do starting the New Year as I had coming out of the previous one.  So my only intention I’m making at the moment is getting through this current mile-long, to-do list and being super grateful for it all.

Happy New Year, guys.

On Being

Autumn Notes #002


I’ve got an infinitely scrolling to-do list and this blog post is not one of the things on it. But I’m sitting down to write it nonetheless. This past week served me a huge helping of humble pie (Whole30 compliant, to boot). Basically, I learned that no one can do it all, no matter how driven and focused. It confirmed (something that I already knew) that I wouldn’t be able to do a quarter of the things I do in life without my husband’s support. No success has been my own, and you know what? I’m totally happy to admit that. I’m so freaking fortunate for this life. I am lucky. Really, really lucky. (more…)


I’ve been having lots of thoughts and observations lately I’ve wanted to share but they are random and are probably more journal fodder than anything. The kind of thoughts you have while driving to work or watching the kids play. They may be constructive and potential for bigger more in depth blog posts, but sometimes I just want to put the thoughts out there without thinking about the larger form they can take.

As a way to incorporate these into my blog, I decided to create seasonal notes for thoughts and happening not warranting a full-blown post for now. They may be totally useless and uninteresting, maybe they’ll spark some thought and discussion. Who knows? We’ll just see where this goes. (more…)


I’m done! I made it! Whew.

Okay, so I have to admit that Day 30 was a bit anticlimactic. Even today, the day after when I’m free to eat whatever I want, it’s sort of like, okay now what? The one thing I did do different today was add a little bit of vanilla extract to my Primal Non-Dairy Coffee Creamer – thrilling, i know. (Vanilla extract isn’t recommended on the Whole30 because of the alcohol content.) I also added the teeniest tiniest bit of our homemade maple syrup to my coffee. I have to say, the vanilla was actually an amazing addition. The maple syrup was, meh. I think I was expecting a burst of sweetness to my newly re-sensitized tastebuds. However, I then remembered I have been eating fruit this entire time, so maybe my tastebuds aren’t as sweet deprived as I’d thought! (more…)


Yesterday was my Whole30: Day 26 and I had a pretty big realization about something.

One of my biggest concerns when I first started considering the Whole30 was the hunger shakes. You know when you get so hungry that you feel shaky and you can’t concentrate? That used to happen to me a lot. I would be famished by 11am and if I didn’t eat soon thereafter, I’d start to feel shaky. I thought, there is no way that I will be able to function for an entire 30 days with that feeling. But lo and behold, I haven’t had that feeling once in the past 26 days. Somedays, I realize that it’s already 1pm not only have and I not eaten lunch,but I also haven’t felt that shakiness or lack of concentration that in the past would have signaled that I needed to eat. (more…)


Okay, so I totally botched my attempts at a daily update on my last week of the Whole30. Turns out there are only 24 hours in a day!

Yesterday was my Whole30: Day 25 and Andrew helped me make this Whole30 compliant chili recipe, which turned out really great. Thanks again, Chandra, for the great recommendation! Luckily, Andrew not only knows his way around the kitchen, but also knows my taste preference and sensitivity to spicy foods, so instead of two teaspoons of red pepper flakes, he only added 1/4 teaspoon. I’m such a baby when it comes to heat, and this was the perfect amount of spice. When I was reading the recipe, I thought adding one teaspoon would be enough to cut the heat! I didn’t realize how spicy those things can be. (more…)


And I thought Week 2 was full challenges. Week 3 was tough on many fronts. The biggest being totally unrelated to the Whole30. Last week, my Dad went into the hospital and had heart surgery, followed by a minor stroke. It’s been a rough week on my whole family. Fortunately, despite his setback, he’s still on the road to recovery making progress daily. (A huge thanks to everyone who sent love and well wishes. He’s got an amazing bunch of people in his life, that’s for sure.)

With that said, basically everything else going on in my life has paled in comparison. I even debated writing this post since any small challenges I had faced this past week in regards to what I was eating were just small potatoes compared to what my Dad went through. (more…)