Creamy Açaí Smoothie

Creamy Acai Smoothie 3

Throughout my pregnancy I’ve been asked all of the standard food questions you might expect from friends and family. Unfortunately I haven’t had an insatiable appetite to boast about or great craving stories to tell–except for the time I binged on strawberries in the middle of the night. Now that my first trimester food aversions are long behind me, I’d say, by in large, my diet hasn’t changed all that much.

The one thing that has changed big-time though is my appetite for breakfast in the morning. While I used to be able to fit in an early workout on an empty stomach and be totally fine not eating breakfast until mid-morning, these days I find I need a little something to nibble on while on my way to the gym followed by a more substantial breakfast immediately after I shower.

There are only so many locker room-friendly breakfasts though and after burning out on breakfast bars I started seeking other options which is how I discovered this ingenious idea on Pinterest the other week.

Smoothie Cubes 1

Yes, friends, that is a make ahead breakfast smoothie, with milk, all thanks to an ice cube tray.

Smoothie cubes for the win.

Never have smoothies been so portable! The beauty of smoothie cubes is that they defrost while you do your thing in the morning. The days I want to hit the gym before heading to the office, I simply let some cubes defrost for a few minutes on the counter, mash them into a to-go mug and grab a straw on my way out the door. An hour or two later I have a nutritious (and locker room-friendly) breakfast waiting for me the moment I step out of the shower. Plus, it’s made with milk, which instantly boosts any smoothie’s nutritional value. In each 8 oz glass of milk, you not only get 8 grams of high-quality protein, you also get calcium and vitamin D. Talk about a quick breakfast to power up the morning.

After making several rounds of these I have a few smoothie cube tips:

1. If you have ample ice cube trays, blend up at least 4-5 smoothies-worth so you only have to deal with cleanup once.

2. They look pretty but I’ve found that square cubes aren’t the best shape since they take up so much real estate in the to-go mug, at least when frozen solid. Stick with skinnier cubes or just let larger cubes defrost a bit while you get yourself together. Then, mash them into your mug right before you head out the door.

3. Once frozen, transfer cubes into a plastic freezer bag. They keep better this way if you’re not planning on using them all up within a week or so.

Lately I’ve been all about this Creamy Açai smoothie. When I take it to go, I pack a little granola, coconut flakes and a few fresh berries to mix in just before sipping.

Creamy Acai Smoothie 4

This smoothie is also a quick and easy breakfast to whip up in the morning, if your schedule allows. Whether you decide to make ahead of time or blend and top in the morning, eating a breakfast with protein, like this smoothie, will help get your day off to a good start.

Enjoy!

Creamy Acai Smoothie 5

Serves: 2 | Serving Size: 12 fluid ounces

INGREDIENTS
1 cup 2% milk
1 (100g) Frozen Açaí smoothie pack
1 medium banana, sliced and frozen
1 cup mixed berries, fresh or frozen

Garnishes & Mix-Ins (Optional)
Fresh berries
Granola
Coconut flakes

DIRECTIONS
Run frozen açaí smoothie packet under warm water for 5 seconds. In blender, combine with milk, frozen banana, berries and blend until smooth. For a quick makeahead breakfast, freeze into cubes. Then, transfer half of the cubes to a large travel cup and allow to smoothie to defrost for 1-2 hours. Garnish with granola and coconut flakes, stirring in just before enjoying.

A special thanks to MilkPEP for sponsoring this delicious post. For more protein-packed breakfasts made with milk try this Nutty Blueberry Quinoa Oatmeal or Savory Oatmeal.

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First Trimester Reflections

14 Weeks Pregnant

At 24 weeks, I can hardly believe I’m already more than two-thirds of the way through my second trimester. Clearly I’ve been a bit slow to start the pregnancy updates but I wanted to share some of what I experienced those first three months.

Bumpdate

I feel like a tiny baby bump emerged the week after I found out I was pregnant, and stayed the same for the remainder of my first trimester. Of course I immediately reorganized my closetloose tops front and center, clingy ones off to the side–and started perusing Pinterest for maternity fashion inspiration!

So far the hubs and I have done 2 silhouette photo shoots to document the growing baby bump. This one was shot at 14 weeks, the tail end of my first trimester when the baby was about the size of a lemon. Weight gain-wise, I was up 3-4 pounds at my 12 week appointment which is on par with the recommendations.

Symptoms

I feel very fortunate to say that most of those dreaded first trimester symptoms were generally not an issue for me. Other than the paralyzing exhaustion and wanting to crawl under my desk for a nap every day, I really only had to cope with excessive burping (literally after eating or drinking anything) as well as the occasional dull headache and fleeting moment of nausea, both of which seemed worse the days I didn’t have the time or energy to exercise.

Eats

With the exception that I’m now avoiding certain foods like sushi and only savoring the occasional sip of wine, my overall approach to nutrition and eating a well balanced diet hasn’t changed a bit in pregnancy. I did experience a few common food cravings and aversions those first three months, though. For a couple of weeks I could not look at a vegetable, except for mushroom pizza, and had zero desire for coffee. Of course my latte aversion seemed to pass just as I had weaned myself off of caffeine– good for the baby but, I will say, those were a tough few weeks for mom! Though not a food, toothpaste would also randomly make me gag. Not fun!

Cravings-wise, fruit tasted unbelievably good those first few months and still does to this day– all things citrus and strawberries in particular. At one point during my first trimester I woke up famished in the middle of the night, quietly tip-toed to the kitchen and ate a half-pound of strawberries in the dark.

Exercise

Early on I realized exercise made a huge difference in how I felt. It’s hard to describe but the days I didn’t work out I felt incredibly hormonal. Not necessarily emotional–just off, almost always headachey in the morning and queazy in the evening. Being active, even if it was just a power walk around the neighborhood, seemed to offset almost all of that though, which was a major incentive to keep moving despite feeling chronically fatigued. Running started feeling tougher when I was just 6 weeks in–both in terms of breathing and that tiny baby perched on top of my bladder!

Emotions

Emotion-wise, the first few weeks were somewhat of a roller coaster–exciting and overwhelming all at the same time which, of course, was probably only amplified by the onset of paralyzing exhaustion.

As I mentioned before, the hubs and I knew there was a possibility we had a bun in the oven but for some reason we were still a little bit surprised! Something about seeing that positive pregnancy test (or in my husband’s case, pregnancy spoon) seemed a little surreal for us both, at first. It wasn’t until my first ultrasound at 8 weeks that the reality started to sink in. We then shared the good news with our parents on Easter Sunday the following week.

Purchases

Just weeks after finding out I was pregnant, Shopbop conveniently had their bi-annual friends & family sale. Anticipating my growing baby bump, I took advantage of the 25% discount and ordered myself 2 nice pairs of maternity pants–a great pair of J.Brand dark wash jeans and these Citizen black skinnies, both of which I absolutely love now that my belly is bigger. (Note to my fellow pregnant ladies: I ended up ordering one size down in the J.Brand jeans if you decide to get a pair too!) I also picked up a couple of maternity jackets–a beautiful, gray, knit bomber on sale from HATCH (sadly now out of stock) for cooler days, and this light, army-inspired jacket from H&M. Oh and lest I forget… I also had to invest in some bigger bras. Pregnancy tatas are real, my friends!

Mamas, what are some of your first trimester memories? 

P.S. Here’s a peek at the bump from just last week!

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5 Minute Face Favorites

When it comes to makeup, I admit I don’t often leave the house au natural–but on the flipside I also rarely spend more than 5 minutes with my cosmetics each morning. Today I thought I’d break down my 5 minute face by sharing my all-time favorite products with you ladies. Here goes!

Favorite Cosmetics 5 Minute Face Foundation

Tarte’s Amazon Clay Tinted Moisturizer

Years Used: 2+
Favorite Hue: Ivory
A great base is important, and this tinted moisturizer from Tarte is everything I could ever want in a lightweight foundation. I’ve found a lot of tinted moisturizers and foundations seem to sit on the surface of my skin, but this one is both moisturizing and blends right in, offering just enough coverage to even out my complexion and camouflage minor blemishes. All Tarte products are also formulated without parabens, mineral oil, phthalates, sodium lauryl sulfate, triclosan, synthetic fragrances and gluten, so you can feel good about the ingredients.

Favorite Cosmetics 5 Minute Face Bronzer

Lancome Star Bronzer

Years Used: 2+
Favorite Shade: Sunkiss
I could never quite find a truly natural looking bronzer for fair skin–that is until a makeup artist at Sephora introduced me to this one at my bridal consult more than 2 years ago now. For my fair-skinned friends, the shade “Sunkiss” is matte, making it great for day or night, and I find it looks so natural it’s almost difficult to over-apply.

Favorite Cosmetics 5 Minute Face Blush

Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush

Years Used: 1+
Favorite Shade: Tipsy
Behind mascara, this beautiful coral blush is the second most important thing inside my makeup bag. A little bit on each cheek instantly adds life to pale cheeks. In lieu of eyeshadow I’ll also swipe the brush over each eyelid to bring out my green eyes a little bit.

Favorite Cosmetics 5 Minute Face Eye Liner

Stila Stay All Day Liquid Eyeliner

Years Used: 1+
Favorite Color: Black
Pencil liners never seem to stay put on my eyelids, hence I’ve been wearing liquid ever since high school. Of all the ones I’ve used, Stila’s is by far the easiest to apply and longest lasting.

Favorite Cosmetics 5 Minute Face Mascara

Almay One Coat Mascara 

Years Used: 13+
Favorite Color: Black/Brown
If there’s one thing I gotta have it’s mascara, even on days I’m giving the rest of my face a break. I tend to go back and forth between the Thickening and Lengthening mascara–both are great but I actually think I prefer the brush on the lengthening mascara more. I’ve tried several other brands over the years and, while Diorshow is another favorite, I’m not convinced it’s worth paying more than three times the price–except maybe as a splurge for the odd special occasion every now and then.

What are some of your fave cosmetics? 

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