Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries: Magical Moments and Improv Play

Magic Things Print on Etsy

Magic Things print on Etsy

There are some moments in life that just feel so perfect it’s unreal. Last night, as I was walking home from a day filled with friends, laughter, love, and great new experiences, I glanced up to see the first few snowflakes falling past the streetlights. Yes, it’s been a long winter and I’m a little sick of snow, but I could still appreciate the beauty of that moment. Then, just when I thought the evening couldn’t get anymore magical, a bunny hopped out of nowhere to lead me down the alley to my apartment. Perfection, right?

The sad thing is that there have been times in my life that I might have missed the magic of these moments. I have a tendency to live inside the labyrinth of my mind, forgetting to pay attention to the outside world. I overanalyze, over criticize, and just generally bring myself inward to the point that I sometimes forget to play and appreciate the simple things. So that’s my new motto: play more. I’ve been reminding myself of it every day and pursuing new interests that encourage it in the hopes that it will become a habit.

For instance, after avoiding it for nearly 5 years, I finally signed up for a Second City improv class. I’m a by the book, highly prepared, and planned out performer so the idea of doing improv has always terrified me to the core. Of course, I also know that some of the greatest opportunities for growth in life come from doing the that thing that scares you most. So a few weeks ago, I took a deep breath, made my payment, and tried not to throw up on my way to class. And you know what? It wasn’t that bad. In fact, it was a lot of fun.

Since that first class, I’ve started attending a few improv jams and mixers around the city. I’m still such a newbie in this world that I love observing everything. One of my favorite characteristics about my new hobby is the lingo. When all is said and done and the evening is about to end, no one says “thanks for acting with me” or “it was great working with you,” instead they say “thanks for playing.” Because that’s exactly what improv is at it’s best: we’re just a bunch of kids getting together on the playground [or in some cases at The Playground] and playing pretend together.

Don't Forget to Play print on Society6

Don’t Forget to Play print on Society6

As for other areas of play in my life, I’ve made a point to break up the serious studies of my yoga teacher training [3 weeks left!] with a little project pose playtime.

Most of the inspiration for these poses have been found on instagram or in the challenge pose section of the Yoga Journal blog. It feels great to dare myself to grow in my practice as I photograph my progress along the way. If you’d like to follow along in my playtime, you can find me on instagram: @michelleshea.

And speaking of instagram, I’ve been posting a lot of photos of my new favorite cherry cheesecake smoothie lately so, as promised, here’s the recipe:

Life is Just a Glass of Cherry Cheesecake [inspired by Mind Body Green’s recipe]

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 3.25.45 PM

Ingredients

2 tbsp raw cashews
2 tsp Sun is Shining powder [or a few handfuls of greens like spinach]
1 tsp maca powder [optional, but good for you!]
1/2 banana, frozen
a handful of cherries, frozen
a splash of vanilla
1/2 c So Delicious coconut milk [more or less for desired thickness]
1 tsp cacao nibs [optional]

First, place cashews, green powder [or greens], macs powder, and coconut milk in blender. Process on high until smooth.
Then, add in the remainder of the ingredients & process on medium until smooth.
Add more coconut milk as desired to assist in blending or to make a thinner smoothie.
Serve in your favorite pretty glass & top with cacao nibs for a chocolatey crunch.

Room for Color Contest: We Need Your Vote!

This morning started off pretty normal, Nick & I woke up, enjoyed a cup of tea with banana cinnamon muffins left over from my last How to Quit Sugar class, & eased into the day with a little on-the-couch conversation. Then, just as I settled in for some yoga, I heard the familiar ding of a facebook notification from my phone…

It was one of my burlesque girlfriends congratulating me on my apartment feature over on Apartment Therapy:

apartment therapy room for color contest

We’d submitted our living room for the site’s Room for Color Contest a few weeks back, but I had no idea that it had already appeared online. Talk about a great start to the morning!

I love how these photos [taken by one of my favorite photogs & fellow vegan, Aaron Ehinger] showcase perfectly our eclectic lifestyle.

Some of my favorite items around the room include:

♥ Our collection of books [mostly mine] ranging from topics on veganism & green living to fashion & shoes…I’m a very girly hippie. 😉
♥ Our blue glass window farm, made entirely out of recycled & salvaged materials by my boyfriend, Nick. If you’d like to have one of your own that comes complete with installation instructions, check out his store page over at GreenYourSuite.com.
♥ Nick’s record collection. It’s getting so massive that it’s starting to migrate out of our fireplace. Thankfully, I’ve convinced him to weed out a few titles that will soon be listed in our Vintage & Vinyl Etsy store.
♥ My hand-me-down couch that was entirely re-apolstered by my mother [thanks, mom!] & so comfy.
♥ Our vintage camera collection, found entirely in thrift stores around Chicago.
♥ And, of course, our bright blue walls.

If you’d like to check out more photos & maybe even vote for our entry to help us win, head over to Apartment Therapy & click the little “favorite” button at the bottom of the post.

We’d really appreciate it!

Faux Fashion Friday: Birthday Dress, Not Suit

Faux Fashion Friday has been on a bit of hiatus.

Why? Well, frankly, I got tired of staging photos. It’s hard enough to find the time to get all dressed up, but when I do, I’ve usually lost the sunlight needed for a good photo.

I’m an evening glamour doll. So I was psyched when the Omnivore offered to take me out for an early birthday celebration last Monday night. Although I was tempted to buy a brand new outfit for the occasion, I opted instead to recycle some old favorites into a new look:

boots – target
belt – thrifted from the brown elephant
dress – handmade by my mother ♥
earring – bunny madden on etsy

Fun Fact: this dress was actually created for a Marilyn Monroe-themed photo shoot that I did several years back. My mother kindly shortened it for me recently to make it into a dress suited for going out. Here’s the original shot:

marilyn.

Lavoro Designs’ Vegan Necklace w/ FREE BEAD COUPON CODE!

veganism: carve it in stone...or stamp in in metal.

As I’ve mentioned before, I love reviewing vegan freebies. I also love when I get the opportunity to promote local artists. Last week, Lavoro Designs gave me the unique opportunity to do both.

Stationed in Rockford, Illinois, Lavoro owner Shelly discovered her talent for making jewelry one 2009 evening while searching for the perfect pair of earrings. Unable to find a pair that she truly loved, she decided to create her own.  Since then, her creations have grown from earrings to bracelets, rings, and lovely charm necklaces, much like the handstamped vegan necklace she designed for me to review.

A vegan herself since 2010, Shelly refuses to use animal products in her designs, that means no pearls, shells, bones, silk or leather.  Furthermore, she likes to use local rocks found in the Great Lakes region whenever the design allows.  Locally-sourced & cruelty-free? Sounds like a designer after my own heart. ♥

My first impression of the necklace upon it’s arrival is that it’s much smaller than I expected.  The high quality photos of the design online had me anticipating metal disks around the size of pennies or nickels, but in actuality they are slightly smaller than dimes.  At first this made me a bit disappointed [I love chunky jewelry], but I soon realized that the daintier appearance of the charms allows the necklace to double for both casual and evening attire.  This is great for girls like me who find themselves running from work to an evening out with little time to change accessories.

The second thing I noticed about the design is the pretty blue bead Shelly had picked for my necklace. Normally customers select their own bead color upon placing their order, but I had told Shelly to use her own judgment and surprise me.  The blue bead was also smaller than I had expected, but again, gave the necklace a more refined look. The three charms can be worn together or mixed and matched depending on your mood. Personally, I prefer the group as a whole, but those with simpler tastes might prefer less clutter.

In short, I’m in love with this necklace.  The Omnivore keeps mentioning how cute it looks on me and I like the fact that it’s subtle advertising for my vegan lifestyle.  So far, I have yet to have anyone comment on the charms, but I’m sure they’ll serve as a great conversation starter once someone observant notices their message.

Want one of your own? 

You’re in luck! Shelly has offered VTB readers a special coupon code that gets you a FREE additional bead for your charm necklace!  That means you’ll get two metal disks [one stamped ‘vegan’ or ‘raw’, the other stamped with the year you went veg or any 4-letter word of your choice] and TWO beads in the colors of your choosing for just $20 [chain included].  Just enter in the coupon code “VTB” in the comments section of your order as well as the bead colors and words you want included on your necklace. It’s that easy!