Random recipe: Blueberry Spinach Smoothie

I never used to enjoy eating my vegetables. They were always so gross to me. My mom usually purchased frozen or canned vegetables and then I truly think she pulverized them. Overcooked, often with added vinegar (um gross), and if lettuce at all it was usually iceberg. I do not blame her, maybe it was all she knew. I was that girl in college that basically ate cereal at every meal, or anything white (mashed potatoes, corn, pasta) — you get the point.

Until Chris.

Yes, Chris changed my vegetable consuming life. Let me just say we rarely have frozen vegetables, and other than canned tomatoes for a potential recipe, I do not think we ever have canned vegetables. Fresh. Always fresh. We live in the perfect state to enjoy local farmers and their tasty bounty. I now crave vegetables, and make sure to have them during each meal of the day.

For at least the last five years I have consumed a green smoothie for breakfast. Usually it is this fruit version, or this chocolate yummy goodness. Lately though we’ve wanted to try new options to put in the rotation. Every version we have must contain spinach or kale. I think of it like having a salad for breakfast without having to masticate every piece. You do not even know you are drinking all the greenness. I found the original recipe on Averie Cooks, but have adapted it to my liking. The pomegranate juice adds a bit of tart in with the sweet blueberries. Oh, and for those of you that are grossed out by adding spinach, you cannot taste the spinach, but you get all the nutrients.

INGREDIENTS:
12 ounces frozen blueberries
Large handful of spinach
1 med/large ripe banana
3/4 cup  pomegranate juice (can also try blueberry, grape, cherry)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:
1. Combine all ingredients in an amazing blender (my personal favorite is my trusty Vita-Mix and blend until smooth and creamy.
2. Serve immediately.

Bees do more than just sting

I am someone who spews a crazy number of analogies out of my mouth each day. Sometimes they are just all wrong, other times they are spot on, and then others just somewhere in between. In a meeting yesterday I somehow paralleled a situation with a project with the world without bees. How the heck do those compare?

Recently I read an article that shared if we let the bee population die off what it would do to the produce department in our grocery stores. See these images in this Huffington Post article. It reminds me of scenes from Flint, Michigan. Empty, non-existent. It is actually quite scary. I never knew how much we could be impacted by the lost number of bees.

Sure, bees can be annoying. In the summer, the patio at work where we often have meetings and eat outside is often swarming with bees. They literally land on your lunch and take a seat for a while. I think I even have a video on my iPhone of a bee eating bits of a piece of turkey on my salad. Maybe it was starving? I am glad my salad last summer potentially helped keep one more bee alive.

In all seriousness, bees are something we should dedicate more time to saving. Due to all the pesticides, chemicals, and crap we pour into the environment, they are disappearing faster than we can save them. While I do not know too much about the topic, it is one I want to continue to research. How naive I have been. Study up, otherwise your produce department might turn into a ghost town.

A few articles on the topic:

A World Without Bees

List of Foods We Will Lose if We Don’t Save the Bees

Are you a nitpick?

Are you a nitpick? I am.

This article from The Washington Post titled: “Carolyn Hax: A wife who gets things done is judged by a nitpicking husband.” I am the nitpick wife. Is it my dad’s fault? He ingrained in me to do it right the first time.

Why am I a nitpick? I make quick decisions often based on my intuition, but also based on the facts I have. I completely relate to the very first line of this article, the only difference is 9 times out of 10 Chris and I both believe that if it is worth doing it is worth doing right. A house project, a work initiative, a trip, whatever it might be, we focus on the plan, and put time into selecting the right options.

“My wife and I live by two different schools of thought. I believe that if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing right, and put lots of time, energy and resources into things I plan.”

We like to make sure we are both on the same page. If one of us researches, then we show the other our findings, sharing pricing, timing, likes/dislikes, and what we think the next steps are for the project. Yes, in essence we project manage our life, but it means there is no miscommunication. Take a weekend. Yes, this might sound sterile, but often I will coordinate all the different errands we need to do (and the list is usually long) and orchestrate where we need to go and when. It feels slightly militaristic, and yet what it actually does is allow for us to get shit done and the rest of the time is for relaxing. If we did not coordinate, we would probably not get what we needed done, and potentially never find any downtime.

I love the ending of the article too:

“As a person on the receiving end of this constant oversight, I can tell you the drip drip drip of disapproval is eroding your wife’s affection for you. I can appreciate my husband’s careful ways (we got a great mortgage rate!), but he has no appreciation for someone like me who knows when it’s just time to pull the trigger and buy some damn sheets instead of endlessly researching thread count. You’ve been warned, husband. Find a way to appreciate her ability to get things done or someday she will leave you.”

I agree with the author. I would never leave Chris and often I want him to decide on the damn sheets, but that is just a little conversation we have to move the decision along. We need someone in the marriage that reads the fine print, watches out for where we might be screwed, and keeps us on our toes. Maybe we are both nitpicks. Either way, I like us just the way we are.

Badass Witches

Sometimes we come across something that might be a bit out of our realm. We explore it, it opens our mind, and then we want to share it with others. I bet that happens all the time. Well, I suppose first you have to be looking at the world with an open mind, curiosity, and a desire to learn something new. I came across the blog: “Bad Witches” and a specific blog post titled: “Ten Signs You Are a Bad Witch.” It is an interesting read.

A line in #2 is how I live my life: “This may mean that eventually you go into stealth mode so as not to continually create alarm, but you don’t go stealth because you’re hiding or avoidant. You do it because you’ve got things to accomplish and only a limited amount of time here in the third dimension.” That is the way I see the world. I suck the life out of every damn day. I want to look back and know I did all I could.

#5 is a favorite: “You can always tell when someone is full of it.” So true, so true. I feel like my shit detector is always on, awaiting the moment someone goes on and on, and you think: “they are full of it.” Maybe I watch for that because telling the truth and trust are very important things for me. I cannot stand lies. Once they have started it is very hard to ever gain back that trust (at least for me). Mostly because then you never know going forward what is true and what is a lie.

Why else do I like this article? For many years I have had a strong passion for intuition and listening to the way of the world. I am very aware and in the moment to what my body is telling me and what energy I pick up from those around me. I try to always be very aware of the energy of the person/people I am interacting with throughout my day. Are they happy? Are they present? Do they need me to listen? Do they need guidance? Can I help them? Can I just be present with them?

While this article mentions witches (which is not a term that I gravitate towards) the ideas of being your badass self still resonate. Be your own badass witch.

Workplace: Fewer or more walls?

The world moves and changes at a rapid pace and when I see folks that work in larger companies struggle with on a day-to-day basis is their personal space. As companies grow the trend seems to be moving towards open office environments. Is that the best way or does it look great? This is a recent article from The Washington Post titled: “Google got it wrong. The open-office trend is destroying the workplace” and it is definitely worth a read.

I work in an open office environment. Some days it works and some days it is hard to focus. It is fun, there is transparency, but I am not always sure that everyone is truly as productive in an open environment. Plus it can be highly distracting.

Does the open environment matter based on the individuals that sit in the space? Yes. If you do not get along, you do not necessarily want to have walls down. If you do, it can be so easy to talk and banter with those that sit close to you that you might look back on your day and think about what you really got done. This quote from the article says it all:

“If employers want to make the open-office model work, they have to take measures to improve work efficiency. For one, they should create more private areas — ones without fishbowl windows.  Also, they should implement rules on when interaction should be limited. For instance, when a colleague has on headphones, it’s a sign that you should come back another time or just send an e-mail.  And please, let’s eliminate the music that blankets our workspaces.  Metallica at 3 p.m. isn’t always compatible with meeting a 4 p.m. deadline.”

Private areas to meet when necessary. A place to make private phone calls if needed. Agreed upon rules on music and definitely ones that respect the use of headphones. Maybe we need little “Do Not Disturb” flags at our desk? I wonder if there is an app for that. I do not desire at all to move back to cubicle land, but if you have an open environment there needs to be a thoughtful approach to how it caters to those of differing needs. We are not one size fits all.