W ith Super Bowl madness behind us, I’m guessing that there are a number of us wanting to move away from chips and dips and work on getting a Beyonce-like energy as we head into this bright and beautiful new week. Yeah? Well, you’re in luck because I have a green juice recipe coming at you.

For the new year, I signed up for a free challenge with Simple Green Smoothies. The goal was to drink a green juice every morning for the first 30 days of January. They included a lot of great recipes to make it easy. (Pretty sure you can still sign up to do the challenge regardless of the time of year. Check out their website if you’re interested!) Even though Bobby and I eat a pretty healthy diet, I still know we could always do better on incorporating more vegetables. This habit of making green juices has been a great way to incorporate an automatic serving of spinach or kale into the day. My body craves it now! (As I write this, in fact, I’m drinking a big glass of kale, carrot, orange, and mango.)

Sometimes I use a recipe from the Green Smoothie challenge and other times I just throw stuff in that sounds good. A few weeks ago, I did just that – and the results were great. Bobby and I both loved it AND I happened to make it on Graham’s adoption day anniversary, so we toasted his presence in our family.

It was good enough to jot down the ingredients and good enough to share with you! If you’re looking for something healthy, fresh, and delicious, this is it. Throw all of this in a blender and drink up.

I’m sure there are a million recipes on the internet similar to this. I don’t claim that it’s super original, just that it’s super tasty. (Oh, one more thing: despite this being a “green” juice, it’s not really green in appearance. The strawberries mix in a weird way with the spinach to create a…brownish color. It’s not the most photogenic drink ever but, thankfully, your belly won’t care.)

Happy blending!

This past weekend, I was totally spoiled. One of my best friends from college, Rochelle, flew down to Florida for a vacation and took ME with her! She rented a Mustang convertible and we drove down to the Florida Keys. I’ve never felt so cool while on the highway.

We stopped at farmer’s markets, went kayaking on the ocean and adventured into mangroves, and stayed in the cutest little Airbnb bungalow. It was the perfect girl’s weekend to ring in my birthday.

We stayed on Big Pine Key which is home to the National Key Deer Refuge. What’s a Key Deer, you ask? Oh, just the CUTEST MINI DEER YOU’VE EVER SEEN.

Our Airbnb was actually in the midst of this refuge – the owners had built a sweet little house (with an outdoor shower!) in the middle of this Florida palm jungle.

They told us that we should expect to see deer right outside our door, but we didn’t encounter any the first night. The following morning, I was brushing my teeth by the outdoor shower. The weather was way better than forecasted, and it was a warm, beautiful morning with a great sky. I looked up in wonder and thought to myself, “God is completely flirting with us.” Then, not to be outdone, God was like, “Oh, I’m just warming up – you just wait!” I casually looked to my right and – out of NOWHERE – a deer was standing about three feet away, looking at me with those cute deer eyes.

From that point on, I was obsessed with the deer (and I like to think that they were obsessed with me).

During our weekend, we also visited the gorgeous Bahia Honda State Park. It had amazing beaches that have won awards. For real. It was like the Meryl Streep of beaches.

I left a cheery flamingo on one of the boardwalks for a beach-goer to find.

Thought I should share the sentiment with you, too!

You’re spectacular. You really are.

T omorrow I will turn 30 years old! Birthdays are always a good time for reflection but the “new decade” birthdays seem to carry a particular weight. Because of this, I’ve been thinking a lot about lessons I’ve learned during my 20’s. While reading The Happiness Project a few years ago, I was struck by the “Secrets of Adulthood” that the author, Gretchen Rubin, kept tabs on. She developed a list of truths for herself to remember and refer to – principles that she had discovered throughout adulthood that helped keep her healthy and sane.

Well, it only took me about 29 years and 10 months but I finally learned one of my Secrets of Adulthood when it comes to media consumption: some of it is poison for me and I’m much better off without it. I’ve had this realization on and off many times but have finally taken it to heart. Getting older is awesome when it comes to taking yourself and your needs more seriously!

This all came about a couple months ago when Bobby and I were looking for a new series to watch. (I’m not going to pretend that we don’t watch TV because OH BOY can we plow through a great show. Bobby and I love a good Netflix series – or Amazon Prime (Mozart in the Jungle, anyone?!). We’re getting in our fill before we have kids someday and can’t spend late nights watching episode after episode. 😉)

I’d heard people talking about Scandal for the longest time but always dismissed it. I knew nothing about the show but, based off the name, assumed it was probably trashy and about infidelity and soap opera type happenings. That didn’t appeal to me. After hearing someone mention the show again though, I decided to look up a summary. It actually sounded intriguing! I learned it was a show about a powerful woman heading a crisis-management firm in Washington D.C. It had super high ratings. Wikipedia called it a “political thriller.” It sounded smart and well done. This was totally going to be a show we’d like.

Well. We watched the first episode and I felt a little uneasy. My brain freaks out a little bit (okay, a lot) when I think about dangerous things in the world, crimes, and horrible events. It doesn’t matter if it’s fictitious or on the 5 o’clock news. I get fixated on the negativity and fear. It really affects me. Scandal started stirring some of those feelings in me and I recognized it fairly quickly. But did I stop watching? Why, no! Bobby was into it and I thought that I might acclimate to the show. I kept watching a second episode and then a third.

All the while, though, I knew the show wasn’t sitting right with me. I wasn’t feeling uplifted. I was feeling slightly paranoid. This show was certainly not going to make me a better person. Then, I came to this REVOLUTIONARY thought: what if I drew the line quickly and swiftly the second I started to feel uneasy while watching a piece of media? What if I stopped trying to talk myself into things, stopped trying to soothe my mind by saying “this is just a fictional show,” stopped trying to analyze my psyche and figure out why I can’t handle certain material while other adults don’t get affected in the slightest by it? How would it feel to do that?

So I tried it. I told Bobby that Scandal just wasn’t sitting right with me.
This was unfortunate for him because he was just getting into it – he would have gladly continued watching the series over the coming weeks. (I assured him that he was more than welcome to continue watching on his own, but he opted out of that idea. Half the fun of watching these shows is that we get to snuggle while watching them together and talk about them later.) We made a pact that I would start to screen shows first to see whether I can handle them and THEN introduce them to him once I’ve given them the green light.

It seems obvious, typing this out right now, that I clearly shouldn’t subject myself to watching things that I’m not really enjoying. I don’t care if other people love it. I don’t care if it’s been nominated for awards (Django Unchained, I’m looking at you). There are way too many wonderful things that I could spend my time doing instead. I don’t know why it took me so long to crystalize this Secret of Adulthood for my own life but I do know that I’m finally, blissfully not going to play the game anymore. It’s not worth it. I’m so much better off keeping my heart and mind focused on the good.

These days, this is my jam:

Perhaps the best feeling is when I settle into my best self just a little more. Thirty may bring some gray hairs with it, but if it also brings more of these realizations then I’m all about it. Happy birthday to me!

P.S. If you need to cut something out of your life but have been vassilating on it for one reason or another, consider this your permission slip. You don’t need it! Lighten your load and join me in the joy. xoxo