Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Don't Get Hangry, Get Cold Pressed.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Jamba Juice. All opinions are 100% mine.

Cold Pressed Juices

Ahh, the perditious call of the caffeine siren!

Years ago, before our daughter was born and available leisure time supported lengthly gym workouts and other activities that now seem like indulgences, we would frequently go to juice bars -- to get quick nutrient slams. Our favorite -- Jamba Juice -- conveniently located near our gym and, not surprising, across the street from my second home, Whole Foods. Over the last few years, as our parenting and work schedules got tighter, and working out became less frequent, our visits to the juice shops had become a little less recurrent; well, nonexistent, really.

I still love you coffee, but I need to make
some new friends!

So we tried self-juicing with the Vitamix. And while the Vitamix is an indispensable kitchen tool when cooking meals, using it for juicing quickly waned. It requires a considerable amount of fruit on hand, as well as enough time to cut and core all the produce. It also requires a good deal of cleaning. All this can be a tall order at 6:00 in the morning, when I have to prepare 3 breakfasts and 2 lunches, track down homework, get kids dressed, brushed, and coiffed, and unearth shoes, jackets, library books and other miscellaneous paraphanelia. Needless to say, home juicing hasn't been a top priority, of late!

Earlier this week, while queued up in an unbelievably (but worthwhile) sample sale line in Manhattan, I noticed a Jamba Juice across the street. Ahh, it had been a while. Luckily, I had befriended a fellow sample sale junkie standing beside me, and after offering her my New York Times and promising a similar beverage, she generously agreed to save my place while I jumped over to the juice bar.

In the past, I went to Jamba Juice to boost blood sugar quickly, especially before working out -- all that fruit quickly and effectively fostered pleasant energy jolts. And now that I am in my 40s, and more prone to the heart palpations that come with too much coffee, I look for non-caffenated energy revivers. I am also more cognizant of vitamin intake, specifically in the form of greens -- dark bitter greens. So, taking all this into consideration, it was a pleasant surprise to see that Jamba Juice has recently added healthful paleo ingredients, such as beets, kale and other organic super greens to their Fresh Squeezed Juices. Smart!

One for me, and one for my new sample sale buddie, Evelyn.

I tried the new Amazing Greens drink, which comprised of super greens, lemon, peaches, banana, and pumpkin seeds. It was delicious, and I was surprised that my energy was boosted, without coffee. Yesterday, I received an email that further reductions were being taken at the sample sale. I rushed over, but not without stopping, once again, at Jamba Juice. This time I just picked up their new cold-pressed line called Tropical Greens -- apples, pineapples, super greens (organic baby spinach, organic red and green chard, organic baby kale) and lemon. Yum!! This drink was pre-made, but packed with the same vitamin-rich energy properties. And, I can throw it into a gym bag to drink before or after a workout.

When I got home from the sale, having looked more closely at the container, I realized that I really didn't understand what cold pressed meant. So, logically, I looked it up. These days, I have discovered it is better to understand topics before my daughter does. Cold Pressed Juices use thousands of pounds of pressure to extract and preserve the juice. This is markedly different from the blending of juices, which heats up the ingredients, aerates them, and ostensibly eliminates some of the nutritional properties. Makes sense to me!

So I mentioned to the counter staff at Jamba Juice that I was doing a blog post on the sample sales and that I might include the benefits of juicing, and they offered to give away a $20 gift card to one of my readers. So, I will send this gift card out to the person that comes up with the best reason they enjoy their favorite juice drink. Let me know what you think!

Oh, and the Jamba Juice website has some coupons that are worth checking out:

Go get some Happy Juice!

Visit Sponsors Site

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine's Day

Still so much Human Rights work left to do! 

This Valentine's Day, I am encouraging everyone I know to watch the "Take me to Church" video by Hozier. It brought our daughter to tears when, for the first time, we had to explain that some people still hate others for whom they love. In some countries, like the Soviet Union (as depicted in the video) it is illegal to even advocate or discuss LGBT issues. There is still so much human rights work to do, at home and abroad; but, it is encouraging to know that progress is being made.

I was prompted to write about Hozier after watching the Grammy's earlier this week. It was maddening to watch Madonna still playing the vagabond harlot, for nothing more than attention. While moments later, on the same program, young artists like Hozier (Sam Smith, Katy Perry and Annie Lennox, too!) are making powerful statements with their music. Hozier's song brazenly encourages change --  asking us, not subtlety, to assert ourselves through beautiful acts of love. In an interview about the "Take Me to Church" song Hozier states that it is not an inditement against “church” but against institutions that preach hatred as a part of doctrine. I have much respect for Hozier for using his new found fame altruistically, and with purpose.

Human rights challenges still rage on, and while the battle fields may be distant from home (especially here New York), everyday I am thankful for the truly spiritual and enlightened people in my life who do not condemn adults for whom they love...

...just some thoughts as we enjoy Valentine's Day 2015.  Amen.

With Valentine's Day and Mardi Gras falling ostensibly on the same week, I thought this Raimundo De Madrazo painting colorfully and playfully celebrates the season:

Spring is coming, I promise!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Calgon, Take Me Away!

In this "grotesque" weather...I dream of retreating to the warm grottos where these amazing works of art were discovered. 

What a day! Even before shoveling my sidewalk on this wintry snowy/rainy/sleety morning, even before my first cup of coffee, the top of my day began with a formidable leak in my freshly painted kitchen ceiling (the roof above this room was repaired just 4 months ago). This was followed by the discovery of a hole in my daughter's snow boots (pointed out only after we had trekked 3 blocks in the snow, forcing a return home) and upon returning home, encountered an ominous manhole explosion and subsequent fire just outside our house, which resulted in the loss of power (a rare event in NYC).

Once we got to school, late and wet, I overheard another parent, also struggling (seemingly) to make sense of the crummy morning, say to her child "why don't we think about everything for which we are thankful."  At first I thought she was talking to me!  Nonetheless, while not directed toward me, it was sound advice, a quiet reminder to keep everything in perspective. Especially for us parents!

After school drop-off, I took a moment to think of how I would use my time most wisely, given all the items that needed attention. In an uncharacteristic yet true "Calgon" moment (for those of us old enough to know what that means)  what I came up with is completely and utterly impractical -- I decided to spend the morning cyber-oogling!

My go-to cyber-oogle -- checking in to see what my favorite designer, Steven Gambrel, is up to these days...

...lots of tufting on those sofas, nice!

It's just wonderful to see designers who aren't afraid of color. The use of color is a running theme in many of my posts, but what makes Steven Gambrel's hues different is that he successfully melds them into being both modern and traditional, and produces spaces that are homey, yet tactile.  Just the way I like it:

A colorful bed design that I did a few years ago -- hues of burnished metals are always warm and welcoming. Speaking of metals,  I am in awe of this artist -- El Anatsui:
His sculptures appear at first glance like opulent mosaics of Byzantine origin. But, upon further inspection, their repurposed, plastic, and commercial roots (actually comprised of bottle caps, milk tin lids, and wood strips) reveal the artwork's true intentions  -- layered commentary on culture and consumerism. It's stunning and important work. 

Ah, that's better! Looking at beautiful images always makes me feel enriched.  Now I am ready to deal with the water dripping into my kitchen, drenching my stove that crucially needs to be in solid working order for tonight's dinner. 

In case your day is less than chipper, I'll leave you with these wonderfully colorful grotesqueries...