Monthly Archives: January 2014

Miss Monroe

After 40 weeks and 3 days of waiting, little miss Monroe Eve Yamada has arrived!  Fashionably a little late, but with an unforgettable arrival, she officially makes our family a party of FIVE!

Without going too much into detail, here’s how it all went down:

Labor started early Monday morning (Jan 27th) with uncomfortable contractions around midnight (nope, didn’t get to sleep that night at all), and painful contractions starting around 2am. After waiting for family to come and watch our 2 and 3.5 year olds, who were sleeping soundly and unaware that they’d be having a new little sister that day, we finally headed out to the hospital around 5:20am.  Traffic was already horrible (YES at 5:20 in the morning!) so good thing we left early while everything was still bearable.  Got checked into triage at just after 6am – was still laughing with my husband and the midwife at this point although actively in labor – then quickly moved to my L&D room.  Here’s the last “normal” pic of me pregnant! Taken just before we headed off to the hospital (right before a contraction…):

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With the help of the jacuzzi tub for about an hr (AMAZING) , an ice cube feeding-chapstick applying-picture taking-supportive husband, and my experienced, knowledgable, to-the-point midwife, we were able to welcome beautiful Monroe Eve into this world at 10:11am (just about 4 hrs after checking into the hospital). It was such a beautiful experience and I still can’t believe I was able to do it with NO pain meds at all! Entirely, scarily, yet beautifully all natural.  She was the biggest of all 3 babies, at 8 lbs 7.2 ozs (Milo was 7 lbs 15 oz and Maya was 7 lbs 11 oz).

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Big brother Milo and big sister Maya couldn’t wait to meet little miss Monroe and were both very insistent on holding her 🙂

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At 24 hrs old, her bilirubin levels were slightly elevated, so instead of getting discharged, we needed to stay an extra day in the hospital with baby Monroe under the phototherapy lights. I called it her tanning bed. She hated it.

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And yes, I even snuck one of these in while waiting that extra day for her levels to right themselves (vegan tropical strawberry Shakeology):

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Luckily, the blue lights did their job and we all were released right around the 2 day mark with a clean bill of health.  She hated her car seat, lol, but quickly got used to it and fell into a nice deep sleep to brave the afternoon traffic home.

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Our sweet girl is now 4 days old. Physically, I feel amazing and strong and just about 95%. Got the ok to start exercising at 2 weeks (probably start with walking) – so be on the lookout for more follow up Post-Baby Fitness entries to come!

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Budget-friendly (pregnancy) fitness attire

Baby. There’s so many thoughts that go through your head once you know you’re pregnant and a BABY is coming! Joy, excitement, anticipation, dreams….finances…..  WELL, I could go on and on about baby talk, but let’s narrow it down and focus on clothes. Specifically – pregnancy WORKOUT clothes.

Just because you’re pregnant and fall into the “maternity” category doesn’t mean you have to “spend” like you’re shopping in the maternity section!  During all three pregnancies, I avoided maternity stores because, let’s face it….they’re EXPENSIVE.  And forget trying to even find “maternity workout clothes.” Do those even exist? Well, these were my pregnancy workout attire criteria:
1) Comfort – would comfortably stretch to “grow” with my body
2) Fully cover Belly – I didn’t want the dreaded under belly mid-drift action
3) Functionality – needed to be able to workout in them
4) Cute – not all “pregnancy appropriate” clothes are created equal…I wanted basics that served their purpose but looked good too…
5) Longevity – needed to be able to wear after baby came too
6) COST! – did I mention we love Dave Ramsey and are on a budget?

It took some searching, price/sale watching, creativity, and thinking outside the box, but I was finally able to narrow down a ton of cute, inexpensive, comfortable clothes that function pre pregnancy, during pregnancy, after pregnancy, etc. These are all “normal” clothes (NOT maternity clothes). I honestly feel like once the word “maternity” is added to a clothing label, the price goes up 3x’s…  I purchased these all either in my regular size or in a size up. They all have stretch, and were all $12 or less per piece. Watch the video below to find out where I got my fully stocked stash of pregnancy workout attire. I’ll just go and pat myself on the back now 🙂

Do you have 21 days?

Did you know it takes 21 days to form a habit? (good and bad) This is probably why so many New Years Resolutions fly out the window within the first month. Oftentimes it’s hard to find the patience to stick with things for much longer than a week or 2! WELL, if you were wanting to get into shape and seriously jumpstart your health and diet, and could commit to 21 CONSECUTIVE days……what would you do if I told you that you could seriously lose up to 15 lbs….in just THREE weeks.  I know, I know, sounds like it’s too good to be true, but wait – hear me out!

21DayFix

Coming February 3rd, a new Beachbody program will be launched called the 21 Day Fix. This program focuses equally on exercise AND nutrition – getting you in shape and TEACHING you how to sustain a healthy diet. The key as far as nutrition goes is focusing on portion control and not otherwise depriving yourself of food.  Of course it focuses on clean eating via the included eating guide, but also doesn’t rule out an occasional treat – provided it fits in your container!  The fitness portion consist of 30 min workouts lead by trainer Autumn Calabrese. Every single workout has a modifier – making this a great program for a beginner or an advanced level. You simply watch the trainer who’s at your ability level and progress up/down as needed.  Here’s a snipped of what to expect from this brand spankin new program:

Looks amazing right?! So what exactly does this program include?  The 21 Day Fix Challenge Pack will include a 21 day nutrition guide, all your portion controlled containers, your workout program and program manual, Shakeology, and a Shakeology shaker cup, reduced shipping, a discounted price, and ME as your personal coach for accountability, support, and guidance.  This program launches on Feb 3rd (I WILL be purchasing it!) and I will be starting a private FB Challenge Group for it on Feb 17th – the 3rd Monday in February. No one will have access or be able to see anything posted in this private FB group unless you are a personally invited 21 Day Fix Challenge participant.  (for peace of mind) This Challenge Group will allow you connect with like-minded participants, gain encouragement, support, guidance, and be accountable to not only yourself, but others who are in the same boat as you as well.

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Ready to get started with the complete package – fitness and nutrition/eating right all rolled into one? To begin with, go to my site to create a FREE Account. This will start you off with me as your Beachbody Coach. I am determined to get YOU to your health and fitness goals and look forward to motivating you on your journey! Next, fill out the Challenge Group form below. Remember, this Challenge Group will begin on Feb 17th (3rd Monday in Feb). The only cost to you will be the cost of the Challenge Pack which will give you everything you need to get started right.

Strawberry Shakeology Review

The brand spankin new flavor of Shakeology – Strawberry – was released just last monday (1/13) and, after much anticipation, my order came in and I was finally able to try it today!

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I usually drink my shakes with just soy milk and ice (shaken up in a Shakeology Shaker Cup), but mixed this one up with:

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–  5 ice cubes
– 15 oz ice cold water (1 serving calls for 8-12 oz liquid, but we prefer our shakes with a little more liquid and not as thick)
– 1 serving Strawberry Shakeology (whether you have a bag and you use one scoop, or use a packet like I did as shown above)
Shake, shake, shake everything up in the shaker cup and…..

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…it was creamy and delicious! (this was just with water and ice mind you) I can just imagine how yummy it’ll taste with my organic soy milk 🙂  What I will add is that it’s not quite as “smooth” as the chocolate flavor. Whereas Chocolate would be 99% a smooth consistency (in my opinion), Strawberry was about 95% smooth. There seemed to be a tiny bit of ground strawberry seeds(?). Not a big enough deal to get stuck in my teeth or anything though. TOTALLY ok with all of us….my husband and I thought it made it feel more natural and authentic. Remember…Shakeology has NO artificial ingredients in it. Strictly ORGANIC.

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Overall review from myself, husband, and 2 year old daughter = YUM!  I strongly believe Strawberry would be an excellent flavor pick for the Shakeology 3-Day Cleanse (since your shakes during the cleanse can only be mixed with water….and the strawberry flavor with water is still YUMMY!)

Not sure what Shakeology is? Click HERE to visit my Beachbody Shakeology site for more info on it 🙂 (“What is Shakeology” post to come soon!)

Post Baby Fitness – Part 1

Hold on, YES, I’m still pregnant!

But I decided to start a video diary/blog diary of my journey to getting fit once baby gets here – STARTING with now! On this journey, I’m sure I’ll chronicle daily struggles  – time management with THREE kids, energy, physical endurance, emotional struggles? etc. My goal in all this is to keep myself accountable with my ultimate end goal – as seen in my post here of getting into the BEST shape of my life in 2014!

So, anyways…..here’s to the beginning of this journey. Follow along with me!

So this is paradise…

I’ve lived in Hawaii for most of my life. Growing up in the islands, it’s so easy to take for granted things that you’ve come to accept as “normal.” A fresh flower lei, a beautiful scenic drive around the island, a lazy afternoon spent watching the sunset while sitting on a cool sandy beach, attending a luau, going parasailing, swimming with the dolphins…all these things are so easy to do living in Hawaii yet oftentimes get overlooked. I’ve fallen into the trap of “oh that’ll always be there for me to do” or “I can just do that later” and literally YEARS have gone by.

With Marv being back home now, we’ve been soaking up family time (of course) and decided that we’re going to live each day in 2014 as if it were our last. We’re going to accomplish things we’ve been putting off, experience things with the kids that will build fantastic memories, and live with no regrets.  First up on our list: spur of the moment (literally purchased our tickets 2 hours before the show on a whim….) LUAU! We live just 15 mins away from Paradise Cove Luau and have driven by many times in the past on our way to the beach at Ko’Olina, yet have both never been. Tickets were a bit pricey for our budget minded selves, but – having money saved up in my own personal “spend” account, and being Marv’s BIRTHDAY(!) – I decided to treat us all 🙂  **For Military out there, make sure to visit your local MWR ticket office! I saved $50 PER ticket just by purchasing through their ticket office… **

We arrived right when our invoice told us to – 4:45pm and were literally one of the first families in. It turns out that although the gates open at 4:45, the actual luau show doesn’t start until closer to 7:15, so that leaves you about 2.5 hours to do all their activities – there’s only so many activities that can keep our kids occupied and 2.5 hours worth was a bit much for us! Backtracking though, we were greeted by beautiful fresh flower leis (and shell leis for the kids), a welcome drink (Mai Tai for Marv and Guava juice for me – YUM!) and a welcome picture. What a nice inviting entrance! We then were able to spread out and do all sorts of activities: make flower bracelets and headbands, get tribal “tattoos”, play traditional Hawaiian games, outrigger canoe rides, learn how to hula, watch a man carve tiki statues, and perhaps MOST importantly for the kids – play in the sand…

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Once the beautiful sun set over the beach – the “pre” luau festivities began! First up was watching Chief Ma’eva (the future fire knife dancing guy) husk a coconut, followed by a coconut tree climbing demonstration and a shower of fresh tropical flowers from above, followed by a net fishing demonstration, some live Hawaiian music, and finally the ceremonial removal of the pig from the imu (underground oven). FINALLY – the LUAU!

Dinner was a delicious spread of a variety of salads, taro rolls, poi, lomi salmon, fried chicken, kalua pig, macadamia nut crusted fresh island fish, and a HUGE desert table! Needless to say, we were all stuffed. This all in addition to my 2 (virgin) lava flows shared with the kids – they just love those parasail umbrellas – lead to full, satisfied bellies ready to be entertained…  Next, onto the show! (Did I mention we literally had the BEST seats in the house? Front row and center, directly in front of the stage. Didn’t even have to zoom in for any of these picture – they were all taken one handed while holding Maya on my lap…which is probably why they’re a bit crooked… 😉 )

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It was a good 1.5 hours of non-stop dancing, singing, and overall entertainment with so many fancy costume changes! I thought for sure Maya would fall asleep, but nope. She stayed awake the ENTIRE time watching them. Not bad for a 2 year old 🙂

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What a great way to start off our pact to live each day to the fullest.  LOTS more tasks to accomplish and memories to build…

Shake-a-what?

So many times, I’ve been asked “What is Shakeology?” I finally figured, why not put as much detail into a post as possible so everyone can be better informed and fully understand my love for this product? Below is my  list of pros and cons of Shakeology 🙂

PROS:
1. Nutrition – has 23 Vitamins and Minerals, ensuring you’re getting your daily supply in!
2. Convenience – who has time to find/put together 70+ quality ingredients from all over the world into one simple shake? If you do, then great…if not – reach for a Shakeology shake!  How easy is it to scoop your shake powder into a shaker cup on your way out the door? Seconds….and you have a nutritionally dense meal in your hands.
3. Quality Ingredients – mostly non-GMO and organic ingredients! Also 2 vegan options for those who don’t want lactose, soy or dairy in their diets. NO artificial ingredients including NO artificial sweeteners (i.e. sucralose) as found in most other shakes on the market.
4. Digestion – has prebiotics, probiotics and digestive enzymes which aid in improving digestion, regularity, and nutrition absorption (GREAT for pregnancy digestion!)
5. Immune System – Adaptogens , antioxidants and phytonutrients (plant-sourced ingredients) help to promote strong immune systems. Since starting Shakeology 3.5 months ago, I haven’t been sick one single time!
6. Helps to reduce food cravings – I can personally vouch for this one – I used to be an ALL day and ALL night snacker. Since starting Shakeology, my snacking cravings have all virtually disappeared….seriously.  I’m therefore able to focus on adding quality meals to my diet vs. empty calories via snacks all day long – resulting in very healthy weight gain during this 3rd pregnancy.

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I could go on and on about all the great things I LOVE about Shakeology but lets get to some cons as I’m sure some of you are thinking about some of those too:

CONS:
1. PRICE – yes, a month’s worth of Shakeology may lead to an initial sticker shock. At $130 for a 30-serving supply, it’s definitely not the “cheapest” thing on the market. HOWEVER, you get what you pay for, and, at roughly $4/shake (meal) this is so do-able! Compare this $4 dose of dense nutrition to a calorie filled Starbucks Frapp, or a fast food meal, or a bag of chips on the run….what will come out ahead in terms of health/nutrition value AND price? Sometimes those Starbucks drinks are $5+!?!  Yes there’s an initial investment involved, BUT if you’re committed to putting quality ingredients into you body, you will find a way! (and your body will thank you for it)  We are on a budget, but every month, we specifically set aside money to purchase enough enough Shakeology for us both. Our health and nutrition is something we will not sacrifice! We always make it work with our budget 🙂
2. The scary MLM appearance – Yes, Beachbody is, by definition, a MLM (multi-level-marketing) company. However, this company rely’s on primarily word-of-mouth marketing to get their products out there, recognized, and sampled. Who would want to sell something that they didn’t 150% believe in and live by? Beachbody encourages to “Be proof the product works.” In personally using Shakeology, I can vouch from 1st hand experience that it works – it works in boosting my immune system, energy level, reduce cravings, and make me feel all around GREAT and HEALTHY. Through my personal experience, I’m therefore more than willing to share my experience and thoughts on it through word-of-mouth.

Sometimes, as much as someone can “talk” about a product, it’s best to “watch” a short video about it. Heard of Tony Horton before? (founder of P90X, P90X2, P90X3, etc) – here’s his take on Shakeology 🙂

Interested in more info? I can talk days on Shakeology….I feel it’s done so much for my personal health, nutrition, and overall well being.  Leave a comment or
click here—–>   www.myshakeology.com/AmberYamada

Operation: Surprise the heck out of your wife and kids!

A few days back, I was approached by a good friend, Malika (Dudley) Judd (who used to be a weather reporter for a local Hawaii news station) on doing a brief morning news interview about life as a spouse of a deployed service member.  My immediate thought was honestly that there were so many other spouses out there – why me?! But of course I was happy to do it and felt so touched that she thought of me of all people!

Fast forward to yesterday, Jan 14th 2014 (Tuesday). We all woke up early for the 8:10am interview – kids were groggy – I was nervous as heck….I mean how often are you on TV?! Here’s the kids and my mom (helping me with the kids) in the waiting room:

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I wasn’t given any “talking points” for the interview so went into it completely clueless. Hopefully my answers to Steve Uyehara’s questions didn’t seem too random or strewn together!….remember….NERVES! Well…..I’ll stop trying to “explain” the interview and let the video speak for itself (click below):

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COMPLETE SHOCK!!!  I didn’t fully break down but I cried many, many smiley happy tears yesterday! Kids have been ALL OVER THEIR DADDY!

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And I feel SO incredibly blessed that we’re whole again…

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Dearest Baby “M”…once we get a few more days of family bonding time in, and take Milo and Maya to the water park, you have permission to come! (Due Date in 9 days and counting!)

Operation Surviving Deployment

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Deployments are hard. No matter how you look at it, there’s no getting around the fact that your sister, brother, husband, wife, cousin, mom, dad, etc – will be gone for an extended period of time. Now, I fully understand that deployments “today” are MUCH easier than deployments say 5-10 years ago when the mail system wasn’t as reliable, internet connections were spotty, and fighting was much more intense, and for that, I am beyond thankful.

Nearing the end of our 1st deployment, I thought I’d make a short list of things that we’ve done to survive during this time – I shall call this the Operation Surviving Deployment list:

* disclaimer – most of these apply to spouses with young children (just FYI)

1) TAKE LOTS OF PICTURES!  Every single day, I tried to take “at least” 1 picture of the kids. I tried to chronicle our daily routines, activities, kids playing together, my growing baby bump, things that I was doing around the house, etc. My husband has told me on numerous occasions this made him feel as if he were still there and he felt he was able to watch our kids growing and developing. (even tho he was clearly thousands of miles away) We both have iPhones and via our shared photo-stream, he was constantly able to see all the photos I took (versus me emailing or printing them out and sending them to him). SUPER simple!

2) Facetime or Skype as much as possible! Now, I know that this is not always an option for everyone, but we were fortunate enough to get to Facetime about once a week. My husband was able to have real conversations with the kids – and they were able to remember him: his mannerisms, his voice – things that just can’t be translated in picture.  Here’s my husband and at the time 1-year old daughter playing peek-a-boo with each other via Facetime

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3) Get on a BUDGET! Yes, the paycheck during a deployment are nice. But if you don’t budget appropriately during this time, at the end of the deployment, you’ll have nothing to show for it and will be overwhelmed trying to adjust down to a financially fitting life again. We are huge Dave Ramsey fans and used this deployment as a financial blessing and challenge. We immediately started an online budget via www.mytotalmoneymakeover.com where we could both input our income and expenses. We each had real-time access to it so we could see where we were in our monthly budget. This has been a powerful tool in helping us stay on track with our budget, be accountable to ourselves and each other, and save a set amount of money each month.

4) Don’t be afraid to learn how to fix things and do things for yourself. Inevitably, the moment your spouse gets on that plane,  the fridge will break, your microhood will stop working, your ceiling fan will die, and you’ll decide you just need to move around all the furniture to “fit” better.  Although sometimes you need to suck it up and call the repair man, YouTube has also become my new best friend. From learning how to hang shelves through the drywall, to figuring out the right way to refinish a chest of drawers, to figuring out exactly how to work all those fan remotes that have individual codes when they all get mixed up with each other….when you set your mind to something and you TRY, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish. In this deployment, I’ve definitely become more independent and self reliant.   Sink or swim people, sink or swim.

5) STAY BUSY!  When you keep busy, I’ve found that you spend less time missing the ones you love. Of course we all still “missed” daddy, but we kept occupied so our days and lives were still full!  During this deployment, here’s a list of some of the things that we’ve done or have started to do:
– Joined the Children’s Discovery Center for fun field-trip days ($150-ish for a year membership for me and my 2 kids)
– Made it a point to visit more playgrounds, have more play-dates, and go to the Ko’Olina Lagoons to watch the sunset as much as possible! Getting out is great not only for the kids to burn off some energy, but the fresh air was nice and relaxing for us all!
– Started purchasing small furniture pieces on Craigslist (or at yard sales) and refurbished them to meet our needs (vs going out and buying new). Saved lots of money too! *Future blog post to come*
– Started a garden with my kids! So far we’ve grown cucumbers, tomatos, carrots, beets, pretty flowers, green onions, chives, and soon to be cantaloupe and strawberries! This is a great way to introduce the kids to a variety of healthy fruits and veggies. I know that they’re not grown with chemicals and pesticides, and the kids were more willing to try them since they physically watched them grow (and helped me water and weed). *Future blog post to come*
– Got more into sewing (learning as I go…no pro-sewer here by any means!) Sewed 5-7 maxi skirts for myself as my belly began to grow and clothes just weren’t fitting right. Also ambitiously struggled through sewing our Halloween costumes!  Trial and Error. My sewing strategy…
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– Focused on crafting – this is what I would do at night and during naptimes once the kids were sound asleep 🙂  I love the feeling of being able to be creative, so I made sure to keep my hands busy! I ALSO ATTENDED A CRAFT FAIR! 🙂
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– I became a coach with Beachbody and focused on my health and nutrition during this pregnancy as well. It’s made a HUGE impact on my overall energy, activity levels with my kids, gaining a healthy amount of pregnancy weight, boosting my immune system, etc.
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For us, #5 – STAY BUSY, was the key to us all surviving this deployment. My husband was able to watch us being active – adventures to the pumpkin patch, zoo, animal farm, all my crafts, kids gardening, playground fun, carnivals, fairs, etc – and he was able to rest easy knowing that WE WERE OK and HAVING FUN!  Yes he was “physically” apart from us and that was sad, but we were still able to carry on, for all of our sake, and this took a huge weight off of his shoulders knowing that everything at the house and with the kids were taken care of. He could focus on work and everything going on where he was instead of having home-life distractions to worry about.

I’m sure there’s lots of other things I’m leaving out, but off the top of my head and in a nutshell, this is how we’ve (so far) managed to survive this deployment!

Go Green

Support Local. Those 2 words seem so simple yet mean so much. Whether it’s purchasing gifts at local craft fairs, or supporting local farmers via Farmer’s Markets. I love being able to exchange cash one-on-one with the person who made the item I’m buying or grew the  produce I’m about the eat.  PLUS, in terms of Farmer’s Markets, the freshness is unparalleled!

Whenever I visit my parents on the weekend, I always try to swing by the local Hawaii Kai Farmer’s Market. Held in the Koko Head Elementary School field, it’s quaint and friendly, and I can always find reasonably priced, locally grown, Organic and/or non-GMO produce.  From fresh-cut tropical flowers to hand-made Kiawe fired pizza, to tropical fruits, to hydroponically grown greens, there’s really something for everyone. There’s even a supervised kids craft area in the middle where you can drop your kids off so you’re able to shop uninterrupted!

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For the past couple of weeks – I’ve been eyeing this booth that makes fresh “green” juice on the spot. I was always either in a rush or had both kids with me and hands full of produce – so I just hadn’t got around to stopping there until last weekend.  After trying a sample (samples are KEY people!) I fell in LOOOOOVE.

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The only thing they make and sell are these green drinks – $5 for a cup or $9 for a jug ($1 off if you re-use your jug the following week) and there’s ALWAYS a line – showing just how popular and in demand these drinks are!  Always wanting to get my money’s worth 😉 and knowing that I already loved the flavor from my free sample, I opted for the 32oz jug and yes, within 2 days finished it all 🙂 The taste is sweet, minty, and fresh. Definitely doesn’t taste like grass as one would be lead to believe from the rich green color and thickness. What drew me into this booth was the fact that they grow all of their own ingredients (w/ the exception of the organic mango pieces) and show you their growing process through pictures. It’s always comforting being able to see this process and know where your food (or drinks) are coming from.  Just look at all these greens that go into every drink!

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I can now rest easy tonight knowing that baby and I are getting all our daily required fruits and veggies.  I challenge you to “Go Green” (or at least try it once). It’s not as scary as it seems, tastes fresh and clean, and your body will thank you for it. :o)