Around Here

Party DecorWow, time sure does fly - December 10th already?! I apologize for my absence on the blog lately - but then again, I don't because so much goodness has been happening around here and I've stepped away from my online presence to soak it all in. The holidays are such a magical time of year, aren't they? We had an amazing time in Chicago for Thanksgiving, and last week was spent celebrating James and my birthdays, which are just four days apart (so fun!). My 29th birthday was on Wednesday, the 3rd, and Touch A Life has a policy that gives employees the day off on their special day, which is such a treat. I got my stretch on at yoga and my sweat on at City Surf, treated myself to my favorite juice and smoothie at The Gem, picked up some birthday goodies at J. Crew, and got a foot massage at my favorite place. James and I noshed on filet mignon, barbecue ribs, creamy spinach dip, and French fries at Houston's for dinner, toasting with martinis (for me) and whiskey (for him). It was the perfect day.

James's 30th birthday was on Sunday and I threw him a surprise party! It was the best. Nearly 35 of our closest friends came to celebrate James and he was so totally shocked when he walked into our house - we nailed the surprise! My super talented friend Bri took photos of the day, which I'll share here soon. I had so much fun planning the decor (a few party remnants are pictured above), snacks, and drinks, and all of our friends pitched in with setting up, throwing James off, and keeping the secret about the party. It is the best party I've ever hosted, filled with so much fun, love, and good food. James had a fantastic time, which made me so happy.

Holiday events are in full swing, which I love! Tonight is a Christmas-themed girls night in at Korena's, and tomorrow the Black Frames are playing at a charity wrap party hosted by Fullosophie. My dear bestie Becca and her boyfriend Mark are coming in from Nashville to attend a wedding this weekend, and I can't wait to see them (and eat tacos at the best spot in town). Sunday night marks Laura, Kyla, and my fifth annual Christmas besties dinner, and the following day is my favorite event of the season (tied with the besties dinner, of course) - the Cone Christmas dinner at Patrick and Lauren's, where Patrick cooks an entire holiday meal filled with delicious seasonal favorites. James and I are going to check out the Highland Park lights with Callie and hot chocolate in tow, and we're scooting down to Austin the weekend before Christmas as a special treat to one another (also with Callie in tow, as we'll be staying at my favorite hotel).

I've been cooking some of Shauna Niequist's recipes, as I planned, so I'll be sharing a recipe tomorrow, as well as some fun posts the rest of the month! But if I go MIA again, have no fear - I'm just enjoying all that the holiday season has to offer, namely the fact that we get to spend this month thinking of the amazing Christmas story and Jesus's birth. What a beautiful season - I hope you are loving it as much as I am!

Spicy Green Juice

I have had such a great excuse to eat so much good food over the past couple of weeks, what with our trip to Los Angeles and our friends visiting over the weekend. After indulging in so much goodness, though, I'm ready to lighten up my meals a bit, and the perfect addition to any clean eating diet is green juice. I do enjoy salads and grilled vegetables but I must admit that I tire of them quickly, so drinking green juice not only fills me up but it also ensures that I get my daily serving of veggies. This juice is a variation of the Green Glow drink that I love from our local juice bar, The Gem, and I've started making it nearly every day - it is so tasty and nutritious. There's a sweetness to it because of the apples and lemon, and there's an added spicy kick from the combination of the ginger and jalapeños. James, a notorious meat-and-poatotes sort of dude, even requests this juice on the regular - he'll drink it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Impressive, right? James and I bought this juicer from Costco when it was majorly on sale, so tweak this recipe depending on what you're using to blend up your fruit and vegetables - I'm sure this would be easy to make in all kinds of juicers/blenders/Vitamixes.

Spicy Green Juice

Fresh vegetable juices on wooden table, on green background

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch kale (about 3 - 4 large leaves), stems removed
  • 1 apple
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 lemon, peel removed
  • 1/2 jalapeño, seeds removed
  • 1-inch piece ginger

Directions:

  • Cut and prepare the produce. My juicer does best when I remove the kale stems, slice the apple into quarters, cut the cucumber in half, and remove the lemon peel, but do what works for you and your machinery.
  • Shove all of your produce through your juicer and watch the magic happen!
  • Stir the drink thoroughly before enjoying - otherwise you might get a gulp that's just a pinch too spicy.

Image via Lean it Up