Happy Monday!

Today I wanted to share my favorite Green Smoothie – which I refer to as “Try The Grey Stuff, It’s Delicious” (not to be confused with this grey stuff, which admittedly is equally delicious – just a different kind of delicious). So why the name? In a previous life, I worked a couple of blocks away from a really fancy whole foods, where I would stop in every morning for a smoothie (that is long gone from their menu) and a latte.

One day, while I was waiting on my order, I noticed a decidedly grey smoothie be placed on the counter waiting to be picked up. My mind immediately said, “try the grey stuff it’s delicious,” because it is silly – so I inquired about it. I was told that it was a riff on my usual order, with the addition of blueberries. They offered to make it for me so I could try because they thought it was a better tasting version. Indeed they were right! The addition of the blueberries make the smoothie infinitely more palatable, and my morning ritual went from repetitive and comfortable to being something I honestly looked forward to.

So when Whole Foods decided to overhaul their menu and standardize it across all of their stores, I (along with some other regulars) wanted blood :x. Ok, *I* was sad. But I heard that another regular was out for blood. As such, this particular store continues to make the smoothie, but at a pretty significant premium. As I no longer work in the area, I was *very* kindly given the recipe by a staff member so that I could make it at home. So behold – the recipe for my favorite green smoothie!

This recipe is extremely easy and quick to follow – the keys are all in the prep work (which can easily be done in advance of a work week on a weekend), and the order ingredients are placed into the blender.

As soon as we come home from grocery shopping, I’ll immediately start by washing my spinach in a mix of water and red wine vinegar, and do the same for the blueberries. While both are soaking in the vinegar water concoction, I’ll take my bunch of bananas, and slice them one banana at a time. I’ll bag them individually in a ziplock baggy, and toss the baggies into the freezer. I’ll then rinse and dry the blueberries and spinach, and place them in separate tupperware containers, and pop those into the fridge.

Freezing the bananas and refrigerating the fresh blueberries is absolutely key to the consistency and taste of the smoothie. Whole Foods uses a commercial flash freezer for their fruit, which guarantees a fresh texture, but we have to improvise at home. ***Note that subbing in frozen blueberries purchased from the freezer section will result in a grainier smoothie and the taste will be different.

Prepping these 3 ingredients will make your Monday (and Tuesday, and Wednesday…) morning much easier! Come Monday morning, I will begin measuring out the Almond Milk, and pour that into my Vitamix container. I highly, HIGHLY recommend purchasing one of these! Ours is nearly 4 years old and has been worth every penny (and their 7 year warranty is amazing). I’ll then add the frozen banana – be absolutely sure to pour the almond milk in first, having the liquid as the first ingredient ensures a longer living blender!

After the banana, in goes the blueberries and spinach (order on these doesn’t matter), followed by the protein and spiraling powders. I then add the avocado, and top it with the agave. I tend to like this order, as I find that the avocado and agave provide extra moisture to break down the powders.

 

I’ll use my smoothie preset – which is about 45 seconds on high, if you don’t have a Vitamix. You may have to play with this a little bit on different blenders!

And – voila! This recipe produces a large 24 ounce serving. If you are active, and based on your caloric and nutritional needs – this may be the perfect serving size for you. For my needs (as you can see above), I usually consume 12-16 ounces of it, and save the rest for a snack the following day.

Please note that the color is really determined by the balance of the spinach (packed cup vs. not) and blueberries (when you fluctuate between 4 and 6 ounces). My preference for taste is when the liquid comes out grey with a slight purple glow (you’ll know it when you see it). If the liquid comes out purple, it will likely be on the sweeter side, and if it comes out more green, it may be less sweet.

'Try The Grey Stuff, It's Delicious' Green Smoothie

  • Servings: 1-2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A creamy, well balanced Green Smoothie packed with protein, antioxidants, and tons of vitamins and minerals.


Credit: Adapted from Whole Foods recipe

Ingredients

  • 10 ounces of Almond Milk (I like Califia Unsweetened Almond Milk)
  • 1 medium to large organic banana (size pending freshness and availability), frozen and cut into slices
  • 6 ounces of fresh organic blueberries, refrigerated
  • 1 cup of organic raw spinach leaves, washed and dried
  • ~7/8 of a scoop of protein powder (I like Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein Powder. I use Vanilla Chai flavor, but that’s up to you)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Spirulina powder (I use Now Organic brand.)
  • 1/4 organic large, Hass avocado (so half of what is pictured above)
  • 1 tablespoon of Agave Nectar

Directions

  1. In a blender (I use a Vitamix Professional Series 750), combine all ingredients in the following order: Almond Milk, Banana, Blueberries, Spinach, Protein Powder, Spirulina, Avocado, and Agave Nectar
  2. Close the top!
  3. Turn Blender on – I use a smoothie preset, and run for exactly 1 cycle – about 45 seconds on high
  4. Serve & enjoy!


While I’m an avid tea drinker who does not discriminate by type – I find that I most enjoy red teas, bonus points if they’re French 😉.

I discovered Rouge Provence by Mariage Frères during my last trip to Paris a few years ago. I’d gone with my mother (Pre-S days) , and we ended up spending a very cold and rainy week in April fighting off some godawful version of The Crud™. My mom certainly had it worse than I did, but one day I was able to convince her to venture out from our hotel in search of tea. After encountering a big miss on the Rue Saint Honoré, we hailed a taxi and headed to Le Marais for The Good Stuff™, destination: Salon de Thé de Mariage Freres.

I honestly couldn’t tell you what tea I ordered that day – I just remembered enjoying a marble green tea (and violet?) cake, and admittedly – the eye candy (again, this was Pre-S!) – the waiters dress in full white suits with bowties. BUT, I do remember trying the tea my mother ordered – Rouge Provence, a red Rooibos. Mariage Frères officially describes it as

“The aroma of red and black berries is wed to the sweet, mild flavour of the tea leaves, underscored by wild lavender and enlivened by rose petals.”

I’ve been drinking this for years, and am surprised to see the presence of rose – for me, this is a beautiful berry with well balanced lavender. Some floral teas can be overwhelming (I think that was the aforementioned issue on the rue Saint-Honoré. Well, that and the tea was terrible quality), but not here. Even with the presence of lavender, it is something that I enjoy year round.

Rouge Provence can be purchased from La Maison de Marriage Freres directly. Shipping to the U.S. is a bit hefty at 25 euros, but that fee remained flat until I surpassed 100 euros, and then the rate increased to 30 euros. It is definitely worth it if you purchase a handful of different teas to try! Otherwise, if you’re in the U.S. – Luckyscent carries quite a lot of Marriages Freres teas on their website (just no Rouge Provence!), and Williams-Sonoma stores carry a limited selection as well.

 


By Emily McDowell Studio – Available for purchase here and here.

See my picks for Valentine’s Day Gifts for yourself, your friends, and your significant other!
 

1. Tom Ford’s Oud Wood – notes of Rare Oud Wood, Sandalwood, Chinese Pepper, Rosewood, Tonka Bean, Vanilla (special size starting at $145)

2. John Wayne Bracelet – Because some guys like jewelry too. “…Given to soldiers as a symbol of friendship and respect by the Montagnard tribe.” ($80)

3. Deep Sea Sand Art – perfect for anyone’s desk (Got this for S a few years ago! $85)

4. Fossil Townsman 48mm Automatic Light Brown Leather Watch – with movement! ($225.00)

5. A Man and His Watch by Matthew Hranek – This one is hard to find! You may have some luck at your local bookseller ($33)

6. Burberry London Leather Card Case in Burgundy – S still won’t let me live down that I got him a maroon one instead of a LE Mineral Green one ($225)

7. Fondale Vase – Guys like flowers (or at least greenery) too. What better than to present them in a vase “inspired by the shape of airflow funnels on the decks of large ships.” German engineered to boot 😉 ($250)

8. Frog Prince – While it may seem cheesy on the surface, I gifted this to S a few years ago for is desk at work (to me, he really was my Prince out of a sea of toads). When his office went to a clean desk policy, I was pleasantly surprised to see this surface front and center on his desk at home. Best presented with a heartfelt card (Full disclosure, this thing is small, $68)

9. Terre Noire candle by MAD et LEN – black soil, petrified pine and aged oakwood ($110, but get 10% off your first purchase when you sign up for their emails)

10. House Blend Coffee from District Roasters – Notes of chocolate and hints of juniper. Roasted in Houston, TX. Bonus: pair it with a handmade mug ($16 for 12oz. bag)

11. Saint Rita Parlor Parfüm – Notes of Whiskey, tobacco, and rose. Saint Rita Parlor is based in Los Angeles, and they make interesting things (starting at $40)

12. Dark Chocolate Bourbon Bears by Sugarfina – Tried these at my local Sugarfina counter, and they’re positively yummy. If your SO (or you) is a vodka fan (S isn’t), their “Vodka is Always a Good Idea” set is adorable as well ($26)

13. Wild Man Grooming Kit – After Shave, Man Mist, Bod Butter, Soap ($60)

1. Jasmine Morganite Cluster Ring – For anyone who likes sparkle. Would even make a beautiful engagement ring ($290. Further customizations available on artist, Emi Conner’s website. But it won’t reach you in time for Valentine’s Day!)

2. Haffke Bronze With Rose Picture Frame – Just add meaningful photo, or an antique print ($103. Pricing due to quality of materials)

3. Tiffany’s Interlocking Circle Necklace – I have a soft spot for this, as S gifted this to me for our first Valentine’s Day! I was completely taken aback by such a thoughtful and beautiful gift. And I still wear it. Plus, who doesn’t love a little bit of Tiffany’s Blue? ($375)

4. Mothership IV Eyeshadow Palette from Pat McGrath Labs – If you or your girl are into makeup, you cannot do better than this limited edition palette. Full pale girl review coming early next week! ($125)

5. Colette Madam Gown by Eberjey – Just look at the beautiful lace back ($110)

6. PHI One Rose de Kandahar EdP by Tauer Perfumes – One of my favorite date night fragrances, and I’m not normally a fan of rose. Notes of apricot, cinnamon, bitter almond, bergamot, rose essential oil, Bulgarian rose absolute, Bourbon geranium, tobacco, patchouli, vetiver, vanilla, tonka, musk, ambergris ($160. Sample available here for $4)

7. Staub Cast-Iron Heart Cocottes, Set of 3 – Perfect for whipping up heart shaped desserts…or some gnocchi romana :X ($60)

8. La Naissance d’Aphrodite Triangle Bodysuit by ID Sarrieri – Something reddish pink and lacy ($676, but 20% off when you sign up for their emails. More budget friendly option here!)

9. Lace bralette by Anine Bing – Something black and lacy ($99)

10. UGG Addison Slippers – Also available in blush pink and silvery grey ($70)

11. Marshmallow Hearts from Williams-Sonoma – Gift with Cardamom Rose drinking chocolate and a delicate cup ($10 for the marshmallows; $20 for the drinking chocolate; $12 for the cup – currently on promotion for $10)

12. Pressed Shimmering Skin Perfecting Powder in Prismatic Amethyst by Becca – A unique lavender highlighter for an makeup lover ($38)

13. Rosy Velvet Pouch – cute clutch, or extremely luxurious pouch ($48)


Do you ever get so excited by a fragrance that you have to stop yourself from running out of the store with it because you need to slow down and pay for it first? I usually don’t purchase fragrances in this manner – having learned that lesson the hard way with Tom Ford’s Rive d’Ambre (citrus notes are hard for me). And so when I’m contemplating a fragrance purchase – I will pick up a sample, macerate in it, and mull it over for a few days.

To be fair, I did force myself to put the bottle back on the shelf, and while no sample was available, I spent the day smelling my Graphite imbued hand. I visited the fragrance (as well as candles from the line) a second and third time that week, before happily purchasing a full sized bottle of Graphite by MAD et LEN on my 3rd visit.

Worth mentioning first – Graphite (along with everything else in Mad et Len’s repertoire) is packaged beautifully. Each fragrance comes in a black cardboard box with a beautiful gilt label – a typography dream, and inside that box is a hand-forged black iron tin, with “MAD et LEN” emblazoned in gold. Inside of *that*, is the beautiful and weighty black fragrance bottle, which is packed tightly inside of the iron tin.

Graphite is a unisex EdP that features notes of paper, ink, pine, musk, camphor, and leather. I tend to gravitate towards smoky things – particularly in perfume and candles, and Graphite does not disappoint my smoke loving heart. It certainly conjures images of an artist, furiously sketching away on hand torn paper, raw graphite in hand and surrounded by old brick and metal. With the views of green rolling hills, and the sound of soft rain in the background. Maybe a glass of whiskey (or Madeira) and a lit clove cigarette nearby (that last bit is likely because on the days I was testing the fragrance prior to purchase, I was wearing Serge Lutens’s Chergui to begin with).

It is a fragrance that is potent and long lasting, but stays close to the skin. For me, the smoke and ink are quite strong, but it is surprisingly balanced with a sweet earthiness that I had no idea my nose was craving. I love this fragrance for me, and I admit that the combination with Serge Lutens’s Chergui is positively lethal (note that layering the two one on top of each other doesn’t work for me – but wearing them next to each other instead) – I don’t think S could resist me, even if he tried. That being said, I think the musky earthiness would be really enticing on my husband.

My excitement and overall love for this fragrance, really extends to the brand, MAD et LEN, as a whole. I anticipate blogging more about them, as I have a handful of MAD et LEN goodies en route to me.

Graphite by MAD et LEN can be purchased in full size online from Luckyscent and Kelly Wearstler in the U.S.; Orimono in Europe. Samples can be ordered from Luckyscent (when they have it in stock), or you may want to try Parfums Raffy (I’ve never personally ordered from here). Or, you might be able to find it locally from a cool shop in your town – in Houston, that would be Kuhl-Linscomb

I’m kind of a nail polish addict collector. I always have been, actually. By the time I was in middle school, I’d collected 100+ nail polish bottles. I ended up tossing them all in high school, thinking I was over it – but slowly started rebuilding it in college when I developed a Chanel nail polish habit (totally normal college behavior 🙄) 🤷🏻‍♀️.

All that to say – I’ve seen and owned a lot of polish, and I have to say – this one is a seriously special and gorgeous snowflake. It is a polish-o-holic’s dream!


The base is a beautiful emerald green, but even I question this because the oil slick effect is so strong that the base flat out changes to purple – with flashes of pink and orange when the light hits it just right. In its green state it flashes blue and purple. It’s quite incredible.

If the iridescence wasn’t special enough, it has a holographic shimmer. I normally shy away from holographic polishes (it just isn’t my thing), but here it is so subtle, it looks like stars in a night sky.



In these photos, I’m wearing 2 coats, but in a previous manicure had 3 coats. What’s fun about this is at 3 coats, it is dark and rich for Fall and Winter. But at 2 coats it was lighter in color, making it a great option for Spring (or even Summer).

Magical Mystery Machine is, at the time of this writing, available directly from Enchanted Polish here. If it happens to sell out, do not despair – the store is updated and restocked regularly.

See it in full technicolor action below: