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.

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Wellness Wednesday: Hidden Greens

One of the first tips I give my health coaching clients is to increase their consumption of dark, leafy greens like spinach, broccoli, & kale. Kale especially has special magical super powers when it comes to health & wellness. One former client wowed her coworkers with her healthy glow & svelte figure after only 3 days of eating more greens. Granted, in this case she was consuming kale at every meal, but every little bit helps.

Yesterday, I decided to take my own advice and hide kale in everything I consumed. I felt alert, healthy, and clean all day long and my skin had already started to glow by evening.

kale in everythingPictured Kale Keepers:

center – Green Juice w/ cucumber, celery, kale, lemon & green apple
left heart – a slightly altered Aztec Spirit smoothie from Crazy Sexy Kitchen w/ kale, cacao powder, cacao nibs, peanut butter, frozen banana, So Delicious coconut milk, vanilla & a shot of espresso
right heartAmy’s Alphabet Soup w/ torn up pieces of kale added

How many places can you sneak kale into your daily diet?

Quick Bite: PBJ smoothie

Have I mentioned how much I’m obsessed with PB&J sandwiches? They’re the perfect gateway lunch for any aspiring vegan. However, now that I’m a veteran veggie, I try to opt for a few more greens on my sandwich than a PB&J allows. That being said, I still get the occasional PB&J craving. Which is why I loved this PB&J smoothie recipe from Minimalist Baker. The most surprising part of this recipe: dates + blueberries = a somewhat grape jelly-like flavor*.

grape jelly flavor without the grapes.

Catwoman thinks this smoothie color looks purr-fect. (Sorry, I had to.)

*A note on grape jelly: I actually prefer my peanut butter with a strawberry companion. I’ve never liked the flavor of grape jelly. It reminds me less of yummy fresh grapes and more of artificially flavored Dymatapp or Pediasure. That being said, I loved the flavor in this smoothie. So either a. after years of refusing to consume grape jelly, I’ve grown to like the flavor without knowing it or b. this smoothie will disappoint grape jelly lovers everywhere for tasting nothing like the real thing. Either way, it’s darn delicious for what it is and the blueberries will boost your antioxidant levels to make up for any lack of grape goodness.

Bonus: Because the flavor of spinach covers well in blender recipes, you can add some optional greens to this type of PB&J without activating your gag reflex…kind of like this.

Ingredients [altered slightly from the Minimalist Baker recipe]

4 dates, pitted
1 tbsp peanut butter, creamy & preferably unsalted
1 small banana, frozen
3/4 c So Delicious coconut milk
1/3 c frozen blueberries
1 tbsp flax seed meal

Place all ingredients into blender & process until smooth.
Optional: garnish with a dollop of peanut butter on top for extra flavor. Enjoy.