Green Smoothie Challenge - Update

Let me just say this: being sick SUCKS! Especially when it seems I am like this all the dang time. Seriously, wasn't I just sick a few months ago?! This time my allergies got the best of me and I've ended up with a sinus infection. I'm on Day 4 of antibiotics and prednisone and I'm not much better. Hopefully I won't have to go back to the doctor to get a different drug...ugh.

So, since I've felt so terrible for the past 10 days, I haven't bothered with making green smoothies. Last Monday, I made one that I thought was a favorite of mine (Berry Cold Fighter), and it wasn't quite up to par, but I think that the taste was affected by my allergies. I wish I could remember what I made after that, but it was horrible. Undrinkable. And then I tried one that I just knew I'd love (it had romaine lettuce, fresh mint, and cocoa powder), and it was nasty. So after that, I got discouraged, and that combined with feeling so crappy just made me say "forget it" to the whole green smoothie train.

Actually, yesterday I had planned to make a smoothie. I wanted to make Berry Tang again. I figured the kiwi, blueberries, and orange juice would be good for me and help me fight this infection. Unfortunately, we were out of OJ, so that didn't happen. Yeah, I could have just made a different recipe, but my brain was too fried from all the snot in my head (lol, sorry) to think of anything else.

Today, I decided I wanted a smoothie but not necessarily a green one. So I made my old stand-by: almond milk, banana, and peanut butter. It was delicious.

However, it has made my mucus situation so much worse. I read recently that milk is bad for mucus cause it makes it worse. I assumed that was just cow's milk, but now I think it means any type of milk. Almond milk included. Bummer. I'll have to remember tomorrow NOT to make this recipe! At least not until I am cleared up.

My two friends that have been doing this green smoothie challenge with me have kind of fallen off the bandwagon, too. So at least I'm not alone. Last week, I was really beating myself up about failing at this challenge. But then I realized that its a challenge, not a sentence. When I signed up for this challenge, my goal was just to start incorporating green smoothies into my normal diet, and maybe even be inspired to eat a little healthier. I wanted to feel better physically. I didn't think that I'd have to consume a smoothie every single day of my life. I also wanted to try new things, push my taste buds a little, if you will.

After the first week, when I was reaping all the benefits of green smoothies (I remember how awesome I felt that week!), I said I definitely had to have a green smoothie every single day, or else I wouldn't feel that good. That may be true. Its hard to say now, though, since I'm sick. Would green smoothies help me feel better this week? I'm not sure. But for sure, before I got sick, on days I didn't have a green smoothie I felt different - less energy, not quite up to par.

But you know what? I've realized that green smoothies don't have to be "do or die." I'm not gonna beat myself up if I don't have a smoothie every morning. And I'm not gonna push myself to try "weird" ingredients, either. I'm pretty proud of myself for trying the things I did. Heck, for even trying a GREEN smoothie! Who would have thought I'd like blended up spinach and kale?!

During this challenge, I tried 3 different types of greens - spinach, kale, and romaine. I made myself try mangoes again, even though in the past I didn't like them. I tried chia seeds. I tried combinations of ingredients that didn't sound quite so tasty to me. Some pleasantly surprised me, and some were so gross I couldn't stomach them. But I tried. That's the point. One of the points, at least.

Week 3 recipes were all about extra greens. Normally, the ratio for green smoothies is 60:40 (60 for fruit and 40 for greens), but that week, the ratio was flip-flopped. I may end up trying some of those recipes, but I'm not gonna stress about it. I'm not exactly keen on the idea of consuming quite so much greens like that daily - just a little bit goes a long way with me, I've found! I couldn't even tell you what types of recipes are on the list for this last week of the challenge. I just haven't felt well enough to really read the e-mail and think about it.

But what I've decided to do (when I start feeling better, and the thought of drinking a green smoothie doesn't make my stomach churn) is stick with the recipes that I really enjoyed earlier in the challenge. I may end up trying a few new ones here and there, but only if it really sounds like something I'll enjoy. And I'm not gonna be buying crazy ingredients anymore, either. For instance, last week I purchased almond butter for a recipe. I have yet to try that recipe since I got sick and discouraged about the smoothies. I tasted the almond butter, hoping that I'd love it and want to use it on toast and stuff (like peanut butter). I love almonds. But I am not crazy about almond butter. I'm gonna try that smoothie that calls for it because it sounds good to me, and if I don't like it, that jar of almond butter will probably be donated to my friend, lol. From here on out, I'm gonna stick with things I know for sure I like. I can still see plenty of benefits from green smoothies without going crazy and trying new recipes every single day.

So hopefully in the next few days, I'll get back into making and drinking green smoothies, at least a few times a week. I'm really glad I accepted this challenge because I have learned a lot. Its also brought me a little closer to two of my good friends. We've been doing almost daily e-mails talking about our smoothies every day. So that's been nice. ( :

Let me just say, though, that I am so glad I didn't go out and buy a super expensive fancy blender like I had contemplated! I don't see myself continuing to consume green smoothies daily, so I don't think it would get enough use to justify the purchase. That being said, if my el-cheapo blender blows up, I will probably get a more expensive one. My friend just got a Ninja Pro and she loves it. I'll admit, it looks pretty cool. And who knows? Maybe I'll surprise myself and end up doing green smoothies every day like a health food freak! ( ;


Office Organization

Last Thursday, a friend brought lunch to my office. I guess having someone other than my boss see my work area made me see the space with new eyes. Suddenly, I couldn't stand how junky my desk was! I decided that day that I would organize my work space.

On Friday, I headed to Staples to check out what kind of office organization supplies they had. I immediately grabbed a cart and was all ready to load her up, when I decided to call my friend for advice. She advised me not to purchase anything yet, but to think first about what I wanted from the space, and how I wanted it to look and function. Okay, solid advice. It was hard, but I forced myself to step away from the organizers and leave!

I knew I couldn't go crazy in here. My boss uses the other side of my desk, and he wouldn't appreciate anything too girlie. He likes things to be kept professional around here, which is fine. We already had some black mesh wire things, so I decided to stick with that theme for simplicity.

Well, I thought about it all weekend, and yesterday decided to just go to Office Depot (because its closer to my office than Staples) and get whatever I thought I could use, and return what I didn't end up using. I think I had way too much fun with this project!

First, let's take a look at the "before" shots. Beware, its pretty bad.
I know, I know. How did I work like that???! Amazingly, I knew exactly where everything was there. It might not have looked organized, but I had a system.
This is the area to the left of my desk. (Well, its all one big desk.) Again, even though everything was jumbled and gross-looking, I knew exactly where everything was.
This is the area to the right of my desk. Everything was just piled around. Yuck.

How about a close-up of my desk area? *shudder*
So distracting!

Okay, now how about some refreshing "after" shots? ( :

I took everything off the space and cleaned it really well (uh, hello, dust bunnies!). I sorted everything into piles and tried to think about where I wanted everything to go. For the most part, I liked the overall placement of things, it was just too much going on. I'll just let the "after" pictures speak for themselves.
Ahhh....MUCH better, huh? I feel like my desk is 3 times as big now! I love how open it is under my screens now.
This area didn't change a whole lot, but I think its a big improvement. I love the sorter that holds the binders in the middle. No more falling over binders!
I love my little pen/highlighter/note pad station! Its kind of hard to see (iPad pics, sorry), but I corralled all my everyday supplies (stamps, paperclips, binder clips, hole puncher, stapler, and my stress relieving slinky!) on the top shelf of those stackable trays. At first I had those just neatly placed on the desk, but I realized how much nicer it looked to have them corralled in a tray like that.

So far, I'm very happy with this arrangement! My boss was happy too, so that's a nice bonus.

Oh, I did one other little project at work yesterday, too. I updated my invoice paying system! (How nerdy is it that I'm super excited about this?!) My previous system was just a regular folder with 2 pockets (which was absolutely falling apart). Not very efficient. So I bought this handy dandy expanding file folder and I think I'm gonna like using it for invoices.
I know I'm not the only one who goes gaga for office supplies and organization, cause I read too many blogs to think otherwise! I don't have a home office (well, we have one, but its my husband's; I don't use it, so I don't get to organize or decorate it), so it was fun to get the chance to do something like this. Yep, I'm a nerd! ( :


Today Is Definitely Monday

So, its really hard to blog about green smoothies all the time. I mean, there's only so much you can say about them, without being a blog dedicated to them and their healthy goodness (like Simple Green Smoothies). All the pictures I take of my smoothies look the same, so that's boring. Oh well!

On Friday I made a smoothie called Peaches n' Cream. It was okay, definitely not my favorite. If I remember correctly, it had spinach, almond milk, frozen peaches, and a banana in it. The actual recipe called for coconut water (or milk?), but I didn't have that, so I used my almond milk. Well, my almond milk is actually vanilla flavored, which I hate. So all I could taste in this smoothie was peaches and vanilla. It really tasted like homemade peach ice cream. My husband would have loved it. I will probably try the recipe again with regular almond milk, since the vanilla taste was way too strong for me.

This weekend, I fell of the green smoothie train. I just didn't fell like messing with the blender and everything. On Saturday, DH got up early to go hunting, and C slept in her crib until almost 9. And you can bet this mama was in her bed until then, too!! It was glorious sleeping in like that. It put me in a rush the rest of the day, but that's okay, it was worth it. The rest of the morning, I ran around the house like a mad woman, trying to get some cleaning done. I was pretty proud of what I accomplished before lunch. After lunch, C and I headed to my mama's church, where we helped prepare for my Grandma's surprise birthday party.

The party was yesterday, and it was a success. Grandma turns 90 tomorrow, and we always go out to eat or have a girls' weekend with her, but this year we wanted a big shin dig, and that's exactly what we had! Around 200 people came out to celebrate that woman with us. It was awesome. We treated it like a wedding reception - tons of food and the fellowship hall was decorated to perfection. (Well, I thought it was! haha) It was exhausting, but worth it because Grandma was happily surprised and had a great time. I was the official photographer, but I left my memory card at home today so I can't even look at the pictures. :( The plan is to make Grandma a photo book of the party. Hopefully I'll have time to get that done this week...

Today I made a green smoothie that is normally my favorite - Berry Cold Fighter. But today I just wasn't digging it. It was all I could do to force myself to drink it, and I left a few sips in my cup. I'm probably just getting run down from everything going on lately. On top of everything else, God has put it on my heart to try to help out my husband's brother and his wife, who had their baby last weekend. I've intended to make them a casserole for 2 days now, and haven't had a chance yet, so that's on my to-do list for tonight. That, and laundry (why is laundry so never-ending??!), and cooking supper, and cleaning the kitchen, and taking care of C.....argh. Exhausts me just thinking about it.

Okay, enough complaining! Today at work I'm workin on a sort of personal project. I'm updating/organizing my desk space! I'm super excited about it, and I'll post about it when its done. ( :


Challenge Update

Life has kept me way too busy this week to even think about blogging! Rest assured, though, I'm still participating in the 30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge and loving it!

We're on day 10 now, and I'm still amazed at how much better I feel since starting this challenge. There have been 2 days when I didn't have a green smoothie, and the difference in the way I felt those days was extremely noticeable. As an added bonus, I've lost a little water weight these past 10 days. I'm not trying to lose weight, and don't think I need to. BUT all of my pants were pretty tight (and some were downright uncomfortable) as of late. I don't have extra money to buy all new pants in a size up (even though I would be totally fine going a size up - I seriously don't have body image issues), but I also wasn't down with "dieting" to lose a little weight. Somehow, adding green smoothies to my normal diet has slimmed me back down so that my pants are comfortable again. Yay! Now I just have to be careful, because once I start losing pounds, my body sometimes goes crazy and loses too much. I ain't tryin to look like a twig! ( ;

I wondered when I started the challenge if drinking green smoothies every day would prompt me to eat healthier in general. You know, no more cakes and cookies and candy. So far, that hasn't happened. I've had a slice of ho ho cake almost every day this week, and I don't feel guilty about it. In fact, I'm kind of doing the opposite. When I want a sweet treat, I justify it because I had my green smoothie that morning. haha!

Let's see. The last time I blogged, I said I was going to take the leftover Orange Jewels smoothie and add a banana to see if that improved the taste for me. I blended the heck out of that smoothie Saturday morning before heading to church. And it was still full of pulp! The banana also didn't improve the flavor at all. I forced myself to drink almost all of it, though, since I knew I'd need the energy. And boy, did I need the energy! I was at the church from 10am until after 6pm. I wasn't working that whole time, but it was still exhausting. Oh, and HOT. Seriously, it doesn't matter how mild or cool the weather is around here in late September, it never fails that on Harvest Sale day the temps will spike back into the 90s. Yuck. (This week, its been chilly and rainy here, and while I don't care for the rain, bring on the chill in the air!!)

On Sunday, I didn't get a chance to make a green smoothie. I still haven't decided how Sundays will go on this challenge. Normally, I eat a regular breakfast, then drink my smoothie on the way to work, and it lasts for an hour or 2 after I get to work. On Sundays, I don't have that kind of time, and I can't be sippin on a smoothie during church. Maybe smoothies will become my Sunday afternoon snack?

At any rate, we were woken up early that morning with a call from DH's family. His brother and his wife were at the hospital in labor. The hospital was over an hour away, but we didn't rush to get there, since we knew we wouldn't be able to see the baby for a while. I won't go into details, but that entire day was stressful and frustrating. Mama and baby were both totally fine, though, thank goodness. And to top it off, my iPhone was stolen at the hospital! The police are working on it, but I'm pretty sure I'll never see that phone again. :(

Anyway, I don't know if it was the lack of a green smoothie that morning, or the super stressful day in general, or a combination of the two, but I felt terrible that day. I had slept well the night before, so it wasn't lack of sleep that dragged me down. I just felt incredibly tired and almost hung over all day. After that, I decided not to skip any days of green smoothies if I could help it.

After my bad experience with the Orange Jewels recipe, I decided on Monday morning to stick with something I knew I loved, so I made another Berry Cold Fighter (kale, mixed berries, pineapple, banana, and water). No problem gettin that one down! And I felt much better all day Monday.

On Tuesday, I decided to try one of the Week 2 recipes. I also decided to be brave and try something I have never liked - mangoes.

I made the Cream Machine recipe (spinach, water, avocado, banana, and mango). YUCK! I just couldn't handle the mango. I brought to work with me and made a very valiant effort to get it down, but I just couldn't. However, I think I consumed just enough not to affect the way I felt that day, so that was a plus. That experience taught me that I don't even need to consider any recipes with mangoes in them. They're just not for me. (Luckily, that night I let my mama try the smoothie, and she loved it, so she drank it and took my extra mango home with her. I hate wasting food.)

Yesterday, I decided to try another new recipe. I had a feeling I'd like this one, and thankfully I was right!

Sweet Tang

  • 2 cups kale
  • 2 cups orange juice (I just used store-bought juice since I HATE PULP! lol)
  • 2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 3 frozen kiwis
  • 3 tablespoons soaked chia seeds

I cut the recipe in half, just in case. But it was delicious!
It wasn't really that dark. It was a very nice purple color. And yes, there were a ton of seeds in this one, but for some reason I liked that. (I'm so weird with textures!)

Yesterday was also the first time I tried chia seeds. I got a couple of teaspoons from my friend. After some research, I just threw them in a small bowl with some water (in a 4:1 ratio):
Chia seeds are supposedly a super food. You can read all about them (just do a google search), but they're supposed to be chock-full of nutrients and protein. Some people sprinkle them on top of smoothies, but if they're soaked over night more of their good stuff is released, plus it thickens up smoothies nicely.
Its hard to tell in a picture, but after they're soaked they have a gel-like consistency. I couldn't detect any taste at all, and I definitely didn't notice them in the smoothie.

Week 2's recipes are supposed to be thicker and heartier, and you can use them as meal replacements. That's why you add chia seeds to this recipe. Maybe I didn't add enough (I think I did 2 teaspoons instead of tablespoons - whoops), but this smoothie didn't fill me up for long - no more than any of the other smoothies I've tried. So the jury's still out on whether I'll purchase my own chia seeds. I have some chia gel leftover, and I'll add that to another recipe and decide after that.

Today, I went out on another limb and tried another new recipe: Pumpkin Spice. My reaction to it? Eh.

Pumpkin Spice

  • 2 cups spinach
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 1 cup plain, unsweetened canned pumpkin
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup mango (which I LEFT OUT!)
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

I didn't hate it, but I definitely didn't love it either. I don't think I'd ever had pumpkin until this morning, so it was a pretty big assault on my taste buds. It was super smooth, though, and I liked that. It was missing something, though. I think it needed more sweetness. Which is probably why the recipe calls for mango. Maybe I should try to substitute a different fruit?

Tomorrow I think I'll try the Peaches 'n Cream recipe (spinach, coconut milk - which I didn't purchase, so I'll just use almond milk -, banana, and peaches). I'm not a huge fan of peaches (except by themselves), but I'm gonna try it. I'll be back tomorrow with another update! ( :


Challenge Day 4

Aaaaaaand, we're back to boring post titles! Oh well.

Today I prepared a green smoothie called Orange Jewels. That is such a weird name for a smoothie. I was pretty skeptical about this recipe, because it calls for 2 oranges. I like oranges, don't get me wrong. By themselves. I don't like orange flavored stuff, and I don't like oranges mixed with other stuff. I'm not a tropical, fruity, citrusy-flavored gal. Plus, oranges tend to make my reflux flare up, so I try to avoid them like the plague.

But, in the name of trying new things for this green smoothie challenge, I was down with tryin out an Orange Jewels smoothie. It wasn't bad tasting. It just wasn't wonderful to me. Way too much citrus. Though that could have been because I messed up a bit...

Here's the recipe:

  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk, unsweetened
  • 1 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 banana
  • 2 oranges, peeled
  • 1 cup pineapple
  • 2 teaspoons spirulina, optional

Very fruity. First off, I do not have any spirulina. I hear its an excellent source of protein, and if I can find some easily I will probably try it. I'm not stressing about it, though. One of my friends uses it in her green smoothies and says it doesn't alter the taste, though it is quite green.

Okay, so this morning I gathered my ingredients and right away thought I had a problem. I looked in the bag where my oranges and one lemon were and couldn't find the lemon! This is proof that I am clearly not a morning person, because the lemon was right there in front of me. I guess I was expecting it to be super yellow. But it was a very pale orange color. Maybe because it was organic? (I don't normally buy organic fruits and vegetables, but at Harris Teeter earlier this week I was so overwhelmed and didn't realize until it was too late that many of the produce I bought was, in fact, organic. And thus expensive.) Anyway, once I reassured myself that the pale orange in front of me was, in fact, a lemon, I started preparing the smoothie.

I blended my almond milk and spinach first, like always (this helps to make sure the greens really get blended well - no chunks, thank you very much!). Then I halved the orange-lemon and squeezed what I assumed was about a teaspoon into the blender (who has time to measure?!). So far so good. Next, I peeled the oranges and threw them in piece by piece, blending well before each addition. I do NOT like pulp AT ALL, so I really tried to cut that out. (And failed.) After that, I threw in the banana (frozen) and some pineapple chunks (also frozen) and kept blending for a while.

While that bad boy was blending away, I started to clean up. My intentions were to save the lemon and use it in my water. I don't like to waste anything, and I love lemon slices in water (though I never buy lemons for that purpose; too expensive). But when I turned back to my cutting board, nothing remained. Okay, I thought, I probably just put the lemon in the fridge and didn't even process the thought. Please tell me I'm not the only person who does stuff like that all the time!! Nope, not in the fridge. Not in the trash. Then I realized that I must have threw the lemon into the blender with the oranges! This is what I get for tryin to make fancy stuff in the morning (haha).

The smoothie looked beautiful to me:
But, boy, the citrus scent was overwhelming! I tasted it and didn't hate it, so I knew I could drink it. I poured half of it into my gorgeous new bling cup and put it in the fridge.
I grabbed it on the way out the door. C asked to taste it (she tasted the Berry Cold Fighter smoothie yesterday, too), and she said she liked it, but didn't want a second sip. I sipped on it all the way to work, but the pulp was disgusting to me. I seriously have a huge problem with pulp. I don't know if maybe I should have blended this for longer, or if I just need a better blender to accomplish no pulp, but this was unacceptable to me. Surprisingly, the flavor was okay, though since it was so citrusy, its not something I'd want very often. Just not my cup of tea smoothie.

I forced myself to keep sipping at work, telling myself that despite the pulp, this smoothie was awesome and really good for me. It worked until I was down to the last few sips, then I just couldn't do it anymore. "A" for effort, though, right?

Since I have another serving left, I'm gonna blend in a banana tomorrow morning and sip it tomorrow during our church's annual harvest sale. Hopefully the banana will make it taste better, and maybe more blending will get rid of some pulp. Either way, I'm gonna make myself drink it cause Lord knows I'll need some energy tomorrow. I'll be working the drive-thru (with one of my challenge buddies!), which means I'll be on my feet and running around (in the 85 degree heat - seriously, Earth, its FALL, get with the program!!) from 10-2. And after that, we'll have an auction which usually lasts until 6pm or so. Yep, I'll definitely be glad I'll have the power of greens in me tomorrow! (Oh, jeez, that was super lame.)


A Few New Favorites

Let's talk for a minute about something totally unrelated to my crunchy lifestyle. This post won't cover green smoothies, cloth diapers, or breastfeeding. It won't even cover anything related to Christianity, parenthood, or marriage.

This will be a completely materialistic, indulgent post. Kind of like the one I wrote a while back on my hair. But hey, there are lots of different aspects of this gal. Yeah, I'm a "crunchy, country mama," but I'm also a woman. A woman who likes to wear makeup, fix her hair, and wear pretty clothes.

Yes, I know those things are not necessary, but I'm blessed enough to be able to indulge just a bit in this area, and I enjoy it. I don't wear designer clothes. I don't carry designer hand bags (my purse is the Skirt Purse from Thirty-One). I don't shop at Sephora or even the Belk makeup counter. I don't get my hair colored, or even cut very often. I'm pretty low-maintenance.

But I wear makeup pretty much every day (not on Saturdays, if I stay home all day). I've said before that I'm a Mary Kay Consultant. I've been selling this brand of cosmetics for almost 6 years now (wow). And I'm pretty loyal to the brand. I have super sensitive skin, and Mary Kay products do not bother me at all. In fact, Mary Kay eye shadows are the only ones I've ever tried that don't make my eyelids itch!

Mary Kay revamped their eye shadows line several years ago, and changed everything to mineral eye shadows. I loved the old formula, but have been happy with the mineral stuff as well. Its a little looser than I'd like (meaning when you apply it, some of it inevitably ends up on your cheeks - but it easily wipes off), but they all give good coverage and last all day on me. (My favorites are granite, chocolate kiss, and moonstone.)

A few months ago, I decided to try out one of the MK cream eye shadows. I wasn't sure how I'd feel about having to put it on with my finger (you can use a brush, but I like to have as little as possible in my little makeup basket on the counter), but I found that it didn't bother me at all. The coverage is great, I love the color I got (Metallic Taupe), and its easy to apply lightly or more heavily for a smokey eye look. The cream shadow plays well with my regular mineral eye shadows, too.

Last week when I placed another MK order, I got myself another cream eye shadow (Iced Cocoa), and I love it! Its a pretty, coppery, sparkly color. Some may say that at 30, I'm too old for sparkly eye shadows. I disagree. Most of the colors I gravitate towards have a hint of shimmer in them. I think they make my eyes pop. (Mary Kay does make plenty of matte eye shadow shades, FYI!)
Metallic Taupe, left; Iced Cocoa, right
This week, I've been experimenting with different looks using my cream eye shadows and the regular mineral ones. I don't take pictures of my eyes like that, so you'll just have to take my word for it. But I'm having fun applying my makeup lately! I don't go too adventurous with my eye colors (I mainly stick to grays or browns), but there are so many different looks you can achieve with those colors.

What's even greater about these little cream eye colors, they will last a LONG time. I've been using the Metallic Taupe color for a few months now, and I've barely made a dent in the pot. Now I want to collect some more of the cream eye colors....!

Another make up product that I've been loving lately is actually not from Mary Kay (gasp!). I've been 100% loyal to Mary Kay for almost 6 years. I haven't even looked at another brand for makeup or skin care (until I switched to washing my face in coconut oil and using an all-natural, local made moisturizer earlier this year). But I decided recently to look for a new concealer. MK's concealer is okay, but lately I've realized I need a little something more. I have dark spots on my upper lip. Its from years of birth control use, and pregnancy probably contributed a little more to it. The spots have faded some over the years, but they still bother me and I always use concealer and foundation to cover them up. (Yes, I've tried professional microdermabrasion and lightening cream. Nothing has helped.) But I've never been completely satisfied with how the MK concealer covered those spots. It kind of caked up after a while.

So I headed to Walgreen's (cause you know this girl ain't gonna spend a fortune!) and browsed the cosmetics aisle - something I haven't done in 6 years! I bypassed Cover Girl, cause in the past their products really irritated my skin. Maybe they're different now, but I don't want to find out. Neutrogena and Almay were the brands I used before I switched to Mary Kay. Almay had a new CC cream that kept calling to me. (If you've never heard of CC creams, don't worry - they're new to me, too. BB creams came out not too long ago, and I didn't hop on that bandwagon. When CC creams were introduced, I thought it was ridiculous. Then I did some research. See what one of my favorite bloggers Kate had to say about BB and CC creams.)
This one is the Almay smart shade CC cream, with SPF 35. Let me tell you, it has been life-changing. Okay, maybe not quite so drastic, but seriously, this is some good stuff! I don't even use plain old concealer anymore. This stuff covers up my dark spots and some other areas of discoloration on my face. I could probably stand to have a little more coverage under my eyes, but I rarely worry about that area (cause I'm constantly wiping at my eyes, so makeup doesn't stay long under them).

CC stands for complexion corrector. I was skeptical about the "corrector" part. But you know what? I can tell a difference in my dark spots! I could tell a difference after just a few days, actually. I don't know what they'll fade away completely, but I'm loving that they're already lighter. Last Saturday, I didn't even apply anything to my face, and I left the house - that's saying a lot for me.

This little tube was around $10, but that wasn't too bad for me. And it was been totally worth it. I use my Mary Kay Mineral Powder Foundation on top of the CC cream, and now I have a very nice, even face color. The Mineral Powder Foundation has always stayed pretty well on my skin anyway, but now I don't even need a touch up if I go somewhere after work. Its flawless all day! Gotta love that.

I feel a little bad for "betraying" Mary Kay, but no one ever said I had to use only one brand, right? ( :  And you better believe if MK ever comes out with a CC cream I'll be trying it!

Okay, that's enough vainness for one day. ( ; I'm really not vain, but when I find a product that works so well, I feel like I have to share it with the world! Back to crunchiness tomorrow. ( :

Challenge Day 3

Day 3 of the Green Smoothie Challege - day 4 of green smoothies for me. Wow!

I really think this is something that I will stick with. Will I consume a green smoothie every single day after this challenge is over? I can't say that for certain. But after just 4 days of green smoothies, I can honestly say that I'm enjoying this learning process and I can't deny the benefits I'm already seeing.

I said yesterday that I felt like I've had more energy this week. I don't think that's all in my head. Its hard to explain, but even though I know I should be tired, I'm really not (not until late at night, anyway), and I feel like I can accomplish more during the day (if only there were a few more hours to it, haha!). So far this week, I have yet to hit my typical 3 or 4pm "slump" at work - when I normally feel like I desperately need a nap, and when I end up eating a few pieces of chocolate (or a bag of chips...) to attempt to wake myself up. Hey, if these green smoothies give me more energy, AND keep me from snacking on crap in the afternoon, that's a WIN in my book!

This morning I decided to do things a little differently. Every day this week, I've either had a smoothie by it self for breakfast, or a smoothie and a piece of peanut butter toast. But in a couple of hours, I've been starving again. Plus, I've been having a hard time drinking a full serving of the smoothies. For some reason, I struggle to drink a lot in the mornings, (Not to mention that it takes longer to consume a smoothie than it does some toast, so I have been rushing.) Well, today, I decided to eat my usual two pieces of peanut butter toast and bring the smoothie with me to work.

That also gave me the perfect opportunity to try out my new cup!
I just had the same smoothie from yesterday. I was right; it kept very well. It tasted just as good today as it did yesterday morning. And sipping it from a straw was much better for me. I sipped on this baby all the way to work, and then for a while at work until it was gone. And you know what? I was wrong about this cup - I thought it wasn't insulated, but it is! My smoothie stayed cold for a long time (I pulled it out of the fridge at home around 8:15 and finished drinking it around 10:30 - and it was still cold!), AND the cup didn't get all wet from condensation. So happy with this $3 purchase. ( :

Tonight I'll decide what smoothie recipe I want to try tomorrow. Its Day 3 of the challenge and I've only tried 2 recipes. That means I've got 3 more to try! One of them involves oranges, and I'm a little nervous about that one, since oranges and orange juice tends to make my reflux flare up. But I said at the start of this that I would at least TRY all the recipes, so I gotta do it!

Today we received the e-mail with the recipes for Week 2 of the challenge. I'm a little less enthusiastic about those recipes. Mainly because one recipe is for popsicles and one is for a soup. And there are lots of mangos involved in next week. And a can of canned pumpkin! That one actually sounds pretty good to me (spinach, almond milk, pumpkin, babana, mango, pumpkin spice, and vanilla extract - not sure how the mango fits in there...). Next week's recipes are supposed to be more filling, which means they can be used as meal replacements. So that might leave me with some good lunch options. We'll see!

Stay tuned for more of the Simple Green Smoothies 30 Day Challenge!

Green Smoothie Challenge - Whoops

This is why I don't often write draft posts. I forget to post them later! I wrote this one last week and intended to post it at the beginning of this week, so all my yapping about green smoothies would make sense. Whoops!

This post is pretty redundant now since I've been blogging about the challenge all week, but oh well. Here it is! ( :

Recently, I've hopped on the green smoothie train. My first attempt wasn't quite a success, but it didn't deter me from trying again.

I wish I could remember how I found the website Simple Green Smoothies - Google search? Link on another blog? Who knows. But somehow, I stumbled across the site, "liked" their facebook page, and have since been inspired by them.

Every morning, SGS posts a picture to facebook of a different smoothie and gives the recipe. One morning last week, they shared a pretty picture of spinach, green apples, and avocado. For whatever reason, that sounded delicious to me and I wanted to try it out for myself. Unfortunately, I've been in a sleeping-too-late phase, so I haven't had time to make a smoothie in the mornings (and I won't make one for supper, cause I want to eat what the rest of my family eats!).

Well, earlier this week, SGS posted their 30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge. After I read about it a bit, I signed up! For the month of October, the challenge is to drink one cup of green smoothie every day. And they give you 5 recipes a week - for FREE. Just a few hours after I signed up, I received an e-mail with the first week's recipes and shopping list. I'm so excited to start!
They do add some "special" ingredients to the smoothies in the challenge (like chia seeds and spirulina powder - what the heck is that??), but those things are optional. Who knows, maybe I'll turn into a green smoothie freak and buy that extra stuff. ( ;

I don't know that I'll successfully complete the entire 30 days of this challenge (well, I know I won't, because for a few days next month we'll be on vacation - and I have no intentions of bringing a blender!), but I'm gonna do my best. At the very least, I hope it gets me more comfortable with making green smoothies and expands my recipe selection. I'm going to attempt to drink every one of the recipes I'm given. Ginger is an ingredient included in one of the first smoothies - and I despise the taste of ginger. But I've never had it raw, and certainly never blended, who I might be surprised. So I'll try it. I also hate mangos, and that seems to be a pretty common ingredient with green smoothies. I'll try it once and see.

A couple of my friends are doing this challenge with me. It'll be nice to have real life people to compare notes with! If you've ever been curious about green smoothies, I'd encourage you to sign up for the free challenge. What have you got to lose? ( :

And by the way, I am NOT trying to lose weight here. Green smoothies are good for helping you lose weight, though. My goal is to simply be healthier and eat more fruits and vegetables. Also, I'm all about trying new things! ( :


Green Smoothie Challenge - Day 2

Technically, its Day 2 of the challenge, but this is my 3rd day in a row of green smoothies. I'm learning as I go, and really enjoying it so far!

Maybe this is all in my head, but I swear my energy level is much higher this week than it normally is. And I haven't been sleeping much (maybe 5-6 hours per night lately, ugh), so I should be really tired all day. Normally, around 2-3 pm is my sleepy time, but so far this week, that hasn't happened.

For the challenge, we were given 5 green smoothie recipes for this first week. I've been picking whatever sounds the best to me each morning, or whatever I have time to prepare. Yesterday, I kicked off the challenge with a smoothie called Falling for Apples:

  • 1 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 green apple
  • 1/2 pear
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 banana

It was absolutely delicious. I drank 1 cup with breakfast, and saved the rest for later. Well, "later" I forgot about my smoothie in the fridge at work. I went to the county fair for lunch (it was Senior Day and I met my grandma, mama, and aunt for a quick meal) and bought some peanuts, which became my afternoon snack. So today, I figured I'd drink the other cup of Falling for Apples as a snack. Wrong! It was not good at ALL. I'm not sure if I didn't store it properly (it was just in a travel mug with a lid), or what, but I couldn't drink it. Boo.

I should have brought the smoothie that I made this morning for a snack. I have a feeling it will keep nicely.

This morning, I made the Berry Blast Cold Fighter (I think that's the name of it):
Okay, so its not "green," but I promise, there are greens in there! Here's the recipe:

  • 2 cups kale
  • 1-2 cups water
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup frozen pineapple
  • 2 cups frozen mixed berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)

It, too, was delicious! It was a little watery for me, though. But I think that might be because every one of my ingredients was frozen, except the kale. I'll make this one again in a few days, and thaw the banana overnight. I think that will help a lot. To make this one a true cold fighter, you're supposed to add elderberry extract. But I don't have any of that, and I'm not fighting a cold, so I didn't feel the need to buy any. I'll have to remember it the next time I get sick, though!

I should have brought this one to work with me today. But I'll get the chance tomorrow morning to see how well this one keeps. I doubt I'll make a new smoothie tomorrow. This recipe made quite a lot of smoothie, and I don't want to waste it. Plus, I know I'll be home late tonight, so I won't have much time for prep work.

Last night, we got home pretty late (we took C to the fair!), but I was determined to get some smoothie prep work done before I went to bed (which ended up being at 12:30am - yawn).

I peeled and froze bananas:
I washed my bag of kale I picked up on Monday:
(I like to dry stuff on kitchen towels to save paper towels! Plus I think they work better.)
Then I froze the kale:
It was easy work, but it took me a while. After that, I looked over my green smoothie recipes for the week and chose the one that would be the easiest for me to assemble the next morning.

I wish the month had started on Monday. For some reason, I am staying really confused this week about the days. I keep thinking the week is almost up for the challenge, but actually we've got several more days! Plenty of time to try all the recipes they gave us. ( :

Today at lunch, I walked across the road to the Family Dollar. Please tell me I'm not the only one who loves a dollar store! They have the best stuff. I got C an adorable pair of shoes for $6. Can't beat that! Anyway, I also picked up this little gem:
Cute, huh? I thought it would be nice to have a dedicated "smoothie cup" this month (and hopefully beyond). It was $3, so I'm sure it won't last forever, and its not insulated or anything. But until I know if this green smoothie thing is somethin I'll keep up after these 30 days are over, I'm not spending too much money on extra gadgets. I couldn't resist the bling on this cup, though. They had some other colors, but since I love lookin at the greenness of my smoothies, I knew I'd enjoy a clear cup the best.

Its not too late to sign up for the Simple Green Smoothies 30 Day Challenge! ( :