A THIRST FOR LIFE + sangria & juice

While most newlyweds arrive to their hotel room on their wedding night to a bed strewn with rose petals, mine was romantically scattered with Skittles. Don’t get me wrong, my morning workouts are my lifeline, but when it comes to food, I live like I’m on death row. Truthfully, if they covered our nuptial bed in a heart made out of bacon strips, I would not have felt slighted, but rather satisfied.

In recent years, my sister-in-law has been on a crusade to save me from myself. She’s one of those healthy people with radiant skin, shiny hair, and bright eyes that uses the word “juice” as a verb. As in, “Do you want to juice with me?”

“Is ‘juice’ code for Peanut M&M’s? Then no.”

Aunt Jo Jo, as Sweetlips and The Bean call her, has now made a career out of promoting this healthy lifestyle and I’m becoming her cause célèbre. But I’ve attempted to curb my eating habits before.

You see, as a designer and style editor, I am supposed to be known for being chic, stylish, and sophisticated, not salivating over a meatball sub. So, a few years ago, after so many fashion events watching women put up a manicured hand with a polite, “No thank you,” to the waiter passing out fried cheese balls, while I poshly stood by, tearing satayed chicken off a stick with my teeth, it started to dawn on me that my habits could use an overhaul.

After hearing my plight, a friend suggested I take a go at a new epicurean fad. Apparently, with good proteins at its core, it would leave me feeling energized, fit, and ready to hit the gym. The only catch was that I had to trade in sugars and sweets for a yogurt-based smoothie, which I would need to make myself. I am never opposed to smoothies since they are basically one tequila shot away from a frozen margarita. How hard could this be?

Everything started out fine. Since I could enjoy many of my favorite foods, like olive oil, cheese, and even the occasional sausage link, I didn’t feel like I was giving anything up. Besides, I was becoming quite adept at a variety of blended drinks and figured if the whole magazine and design thing didn’t work out I could always franchise a Jamba Juice.

About two weeks into my culinary adventure, I decided to make a romantic dinner for my husband. He is particularly fond of my marinated salmon recipe that calls for a spoonful of sour cream, which in moderation, happened to be an allowed condiment in my new healthy lifestyle. I sent Hubby an email, letting him know that I would be cooking dinner that night and went about my cupcakeless day.

At about 7 pm, I began setting the table and pulling things out of the fridge to prepare for my little lovefest, celebrating the healthy new me.

“Hmm…That’s odd,” I thought to myself, noticing that the sour cream container was ¾’s empty. “I just bought a brand new thing of sour cream this morning. I didn’t think that we had any in the fridge.”

I figured that since I had just bought a fresh container I might as well use it, and began to move things around the shelves, trying to find the new one.

“Where the heck did I put that thing?,” I wondered, hoping that I hadn’t left a container of sour cream to congeal on the backseat of my car all day. Just as I was about to go check, I grabbed something unexpectedly heavy in the refrigerator. Removing the fat-free yogurt container, I fearfully checked the seal.

“You must be kidding me,” I now said to myself out loud, almost too mortified to be in the same room as myself. “No way. It can’t be,” I shouted, now ransacking the fridge, hoping that I would find another half empty container of yogurt in there. Not a chance. In my heart of hearts I knew that I had also been out of yogurt that morning. I had gone to the store and bought a fresh container of sour cream and a fresh container of yogurt so that I could have my smoothie at snack time and use a tablespoon of sour cream marinade at dinner.

Oh, say it ain’t so. But it was. That afternoon, I drank a thirst quenching … mouthwatering … lip smacking … sour cream smoothie! And I liked it. I liked it a lot. When I had gotten what I could from the straw, I had pressed the glass to my face and, spinning it, tried to lap up the excess cream with my tongue like a dog with a peanut butter jar. I had even thought to myself it was the best smoothie I ever made.

The worst part was that I am such a junkie I didn’t even notice the difference. And it wasn’t like this was just a spoonful either, it was the main ingredient. I drank eight ounces of sour cream. Why so much? Because I had been guzzling double the recommended portion, not realizing until weeks later when my clothes were getting considerably tighter that the smoothie recipes were for two servings.

I should have known that I was doomed from the start.  I was literally subconsciously drawn to the sour cream like an addict going through lard withdrawal. It was as though my stomach and brain were giving me some sort of intervention. “This is who you are,” they were shouting. “Be comfortable in your clogged arteries!”

I realized that in my attempt to be someone I’m not, my plan backfired, leaving me no more healthy or sophisticated, but self-loathing and licking the remains of 40 grams of fat from my lips.

So, I went back to my regular diet of black coffee and Sour Patch Kids, having seen the error of my psychologically damaging healthful ways. The fact of the matter is that I’m happy with who I am – a designer-clad persona that’s a tad out of my league, but hoping to ride on a whole lot of character.  I’ll drink to that.

I love preparing and setting up for cocktails and hors d’oeurvres. Here is my go-to cocktail, as well as a “greener” option from my sister-in-law + some inspiration for a decadent display:


(I serve this at all of my parties, even at Sweetlips and The Bean’s first birthday (not to the children, obviously!) It’s possibly the easiest “recipe” under the sun and it’s shockingly delicious!

In a very large pitcher or preferably buffet beverage server pour:White Sangria

1-2 bottles of citrusy white wine (An inexpensive Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand is my preference)

1 bottle of orange liqueur (You can use Cointreau, which looks pretty on a bar, but frankly, orange triple sec will do just fine).

A whole bunch of strawberry, green apple and orange slices thrown in…

Please note: The “measurements” on the “ingredient” list are quite hasty. Basically, just pour things into the bucket “to taste.” Trust me. It will be delicious!

That's the Spirit Board



1 head of romaineJoanna's Green Juice Pic

5 stalks of lacinato kale

5 stalks of celery

large knob of ginger

juice of 1 lemon

1 green apple or stevia to taste for sweetness

In colder months: add sprinkling of cayenne pepper

Wash and dry veggies. One by one, run them through juicer – watching as the liquid is extracted on one end and the pulp is deposited in the waste bin.  Even the whole lemon can go through the juicer (peel and all), or you can squeeze lemon juice by hand on top of the freshly made juice at the end.
Tip: to get more out of your produce, run the pulp through the juicer a second time to squeeze out more liquid.
Want to add sweetness to your greens? Mix in drops of NuNaturals stevia, to taste.
For more information about Joanna’s work and program, please email her at: joanna.novick@gmail.com

2 thoughts on “A THIRST FOR LIFE + sangria & juice

  1. Pingback: SMOOTH OPERATOR – The real strawberry & banana smoothie | UP CHIC'S CREEK

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