I'm excited to feature one of my childhood best friends who remains one of my greatest inspirations for following your dreams and carving your own path. Blakely has always been a ball of energy, a warm spirit with a heart of gold -- not to mention the ultimate fitness inspiration. We used to run track together and she spent most of her childhood barrel racing. Since our days in New York (she lived here for a brief stint), she's experienced quite the journey, and has become one of the most spiritually driven people I know. It is with great pride I share this interview with you...
- xx Danielle -
Blakely Stein Robertson with her daughter, Kailana in Pavones, Costa Rica
Blakely Stein Robertson owns and operates Rancho Cannatella, an oceanfront bed and breakfast estate, in Pavones Costa Rica, with her husband Joseph and kids Kainoa and Kailana. Pavones is known for its world- class left hand surf breaks, gorgeous beaches, incredible wild life, botanicals and endless amounts of edible plants and fruits. Rancho Cannatella offers 4 bedrooms and 3 baths, accommodating up to 8 people on its 2 acres of beachfront property. Rancho Cannatella offers surfing, snorkeling, yoga, skate, relaxation, bird watching, fitness, homegrown vibrant food and a range of cooking classes.
What’s your connection with DANNIJO?
Danielle and I instantly connected in middle school and stayed close throughout high school. Our paths have gone in different directions, but I always knew one day we would reconnect. Thanks to cyber world, we have, and will hopefully play here in the jungle together very soon! I have always admired and cheered on Danielle and Jodie since the beginning of their DANNIJO journey when we were kids. I am continuously inspired and proud to know them-- they are both humble and extremely talented with not only a unique eye for fashion, but also the ability to make everyone around them light up. In 2002, Danielle made me a turquoise necklace-- I still have it to this day, and wear it as a reminder that with hard work and determination, anything is possible.
What brought you to the end of a dirt road in the jungle of Costa Rica?
If you told me 5 years ago that I would be married with kids, owning and operating a business on the beach in the jungle of Costa Rica I would have said you were crazy. After graduating from the University of Georgia, I went to NYC to complete a culinary Arts Degree at the French Culinary Institute and then worked the line at Scarpetta under Scott Conant. Many long nights in a basement city kitchen with 4 men had me craving the outdoors and adventure.
Shortly after, I moved to the mountains in Colorado. I ended up in Telluride, where I started a catering business called JB & ME and co-founded a medical marijuana dispensary called Delilah. I cooked private dinners and events for vacation snow bunnies at JB & ME and medicinal treats for patients at Delilah. After 5 years of 17 hour work days in freezing cold temperatures, I realized my soul was actually craving sunshine. It all began one night cooking for an event that had a silent auction. After the food was served, I rolled up my apron and went for a stroll to check out the auction items. One lit up: “SURF TRIP for 2 to Costa Rica.” One thing led to another, and I ended up on a plane for Costa Rica.
I started my trip in the town of Santa Teresa where I met and worked with the incredible Margariet Zwart of Zwart Cafe. Margariet had been a long time local artist and amazing surfer, and is now rock star mama and an incredible human. She taught me to surf and introduced me to the life in Costa Rica.
A year later, I went south to Dominical for a Yoga Teacher Training program at Danyasa with the fabulous and talented Sofiah Thom. Sofiah fuses yoga with expressive dance connecting people back to their bodies-- opening them up so they can turn their dreams into reality. I stayed for a couple years cooking for Sofiah’s retreats and trainings. Sofiah took me under her wing to assist in her performances and cooking at Burning Man, Lightning in a Bottle, Symbiosis and the Envision Festival.
In 2012 I went on a surf trip to Pavones with a group of friends and knew there was something special about the place. After traveling all over Costa Rica and California, I knew it was time to unpack my bags and let my dog, Samson, have a rest. Samson had been traveling with me since Colorado. I found an opportunity to care-take a farm in the mountains of Pavones called Finca Marea. Soon after I met a few local women and Jungle Soul Table was born-- our monthly farm-to-table dinners for an intimate crowd with live music and good vibes. Joseph (my now husband) and Kainoa (aged 3 at the time) came to all of the dinners... and that’s where it all started. Joseph had owned and operated Rancho Cannatella for nearly a decade when I met him.
For the last three years we've been focused on renovating the rancho, building and designing a skate park, and expanding our clientele. We had a baby this time last year and Kainoa is now in 1st grade. We are both passionate about living off the land, growing food, cooking, surfing, and skating. The water is pure, the air is clean and the food homegrown and delicious. We have our challenges living at the end of a dirt road as foreigners, but the struggles are worth every minute of being here. Pavones is truly unlike any place I have ever experienced.
How was having a baby in Costa Rica?
I spent most of my pregnancy in the ocean. I surfed up until 4 months and then swam everyday. I wanted to stay in Pavones for the birth, however, the nearest hospital is over an hour away. I found a wonderful midwife and rented a house in San Jose so I could have a home birth but still be close enough to the hospital which made Joseph and my Mama a lot happier!
On the day of Kailana’s birth, I had gone to a Mezcal sweat lodge ceremony with my Doula and happened to go into labor half way through. The contractions were coming fast so we quickly left and got a cab back to the house where my Mom and Midwife were waiting on me. Three hours later our baby girl came into the world. Today, Kailana is almost one. She's full of energy, a bright spirit and already has a great love for the ocean. Our daughter's name, Kailana means peaceful ocean; my step-son's name, Kainoa means sea warrior or knowledge of the sea.
Photo by Leo Castillejos
What is your philosophy on food?
I believe that many of us need to rebuild our relationship with food, go back to the basics and reconnect with our bodies through movement in order to truly understand our body's needs. After over a decade working in the food industry, I've realized that one diet does not fit all. My advice is to eat foods that are native to your region, exercise daily even if just for a walk, get in the kitchen and play and always listen to your body and mind's needs. I continue to remind others as well as myself that our needs will continue to fluctuate and evolve over time. Accepting this will give us more peace and comfort in our skin. Celebrate food with friends and family, bring colorful foods into your meals and enjoy every bite.
What are your go-to healthy recipes or favorite smoothies?
In our house there is always food on the stove. Our daily diets usually consists of rice and beans (gallo pinto), eggs with greens or veggies, fish or veggie soups, fried or boiled plantains, salads with lots of avocado, smoothies, fresh fruit and lots of water and pipa (coconut water). Soups and smoothies are great ways to pack in lots of nutrition.
I love to make free style energy snacks (meaning I don't measure or follow a recipe) to have on hand in between meals and before surfing. These bars or balls usually consist of a couple smashed bananas, oats, dried blueberries or dates, tahini, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, a splash of honey, coconut oil, cinnamon, sea salt and a scoop of protein powder.
The days are hot here and smoothies are the best way to cool down and still get lots of nutrition and energy. We have a variety of fruits growing on our property so my daily smoothie can sway depending on what's in season. My favorite is papaya, banana, coconut water, moringa (green superfood), ginger and a spoonful of nut butter or vanilla protein powder. The kids love banana with coconut water and vanilla protein powder.
You've always been so fit. What are your favorite workouts and where are your favorite surf spots?
Nothing like you Mama D, but I have always loved to be active. Surfing is a way of life for me, but it's also incredible exercise for the body and mind. When there are no waves I either take swim fins out in the ocean or run on the beach. I also love yoga and cross training. For me, the best way to get exercise is to be outside and feel the elements. My favorite surf spots are here in Pavones.
How do you stay centered?
Surfing, eating colorful food, quality time with my family and time alone in nature.
How has being a mom changed you?
Being a mom has grounded me both physically and mentally. My kids have taught me presence and patience more than I ever thought possible. My kids show me the depths and true meaning of LOVE on a daily basis.
How are you different than your younger self?
I’m happier and more focused. With a farm, family and business comes so much joy, but many responsibilities as well. I'm more efficient with my time and more organized than my gypsy-self. Despite being tired most of the time, I feel stronger and healthier than ever. I am working on making more time to play and sit down to enjoy my meals.
Who is your role model and why?
The three generations of women who have come before me. My mother, Polly, and both of my grandmothers, Joannie and Kirk (both living) have all taught me the true meaning of strength, grace, hard work and determination.
What's the best advice you ever received and who gave it to you / where did you read it?
The words below are a combination of words from friends, family, authors and my inner voice…
“Don’t worry about pleasing everyone or being acknowledged for everything you do. You will never be at peace if you constantly seek recognition. Everything is divine and perfect even when the walls are caving and your heart is in the trenches. There is a bigger purpose and meaning to it all. Without the dark we will not truly feel the light. Karma is real, you get what you put into the Universe, so be ready.”
The most transformative book you read?
My current read, The Four Agreements and The Mastery of Love by Don Miguel Ruiz
All time favorite movie?
Return from the Blue Lagoon, Waterworld, Pulp Fiction, and of course Blue Crush.
Your go-to beauty secrets:
To cleanse: Apply warm honey to face.
After sun care: Apply olive oil while skin is still damp.
To exfoliate: Mix sugar and coffee with coconut oil.
Inner medicine: Lots of water, less caffeine and more sleep always has my skin looking better... and don't pick! I’m a monkey at heart so I have to constantly remind myself, HANDS OFF!!!
Photo by Leo Castillejos
Describe yourself in 3 words:
Manifester, Lover, Creator
Your favorite vacation spot:
Santa Teresa, Costa Rica
Sebastapol/Bodega Bay, California
Favorite restaurant and what you order:
Well…the selection of restaurants here in Pavones is pretty simple, but here are a few of my current favorites because it’s hard to choose just one...
-Kojis Sushi (Santa Teresa, Costa Rica): tuna tataki, grilled octopus, and all of the rolls are insane ( Koji, Hermosa and Crispy)
-Gjilenas (Venice Beach): Burrata, Squash Blossom Pizza and all their veggies are insanely delicious.
-La Cocina: Organic pulled chicken salad with cilantro dressing and avocado and lots of tortilla chips with homemade salsa.
-El Olivia (San Jose, Costa Rica): homemade pesto pasta, grilled fish, steamed asparagus with lemon aioli, crispy eggplant with mozzarella
-Pinegrove (Jacksonville, Fl): tabouli, hummus and feta on pita
Your favorite DANNIJO style:
Finish this sentence,"Love is..."
Love is seen through the eyes of a child.