Weekly Links 08.17.14

Happy Sunday, friends!

Today will be spent running errands, relaxing, and enjoying a backyard barbecue with my husband and dad. While my mom is out of town, we thought we’d be nice and feed my dad at least one night.

I hope everybody’s weekend is going well. Yesterday Mark and I ate lunch at Spring Hill and took Iggy on a short (it was HOT!!!) walk around campus before doing some grocery shopping and cleaning/purging the guest bedroom closet. I’d wanted to go to the beach, but I did NOT want to fight the traffic and crowds at the Florabama for the free Kenny Chesney concert. Too many people for me!

Before I go, I leave you with some weekend reading.

weekly links header

.Recipes.

Watermelon Salsa via Coordinately Yours

This looks so fresh, summery, sweet, and perfect. And the colors! My mouth is watering…

Black Bean Enchiladas via Imma Eat That

I’ve never been an enchilada fan, but something about black beans and squash appeals to me. This seems like it might be a good freezer recipe, too (for making before Baby M arrives).

Matcha Cheesecake Bars via Devour

I have a barely-used bag of this same matcha in the cupboard (barely used because I prefer coffee over tea and don’t want to over-do it with the caffeine, not because I didn’t enjoy the product), and I love me some cheesecake (especially no-bake). These sound like a winner.

Hummus Gazpacho via Kitchen Treaty

Since I could (and have) eat hummus with a spoon, why not try it in soup form?

Salted Caramel Brownie Cookies via Inside BruCrew Life

I love how easy these seem (I am NOT above store-bought mixes), and they’re just soooo chocolaty!

.Health & Wellness.

Why it really is harder for women to lose weight via The Washington Post

There definitely seems to be a lot of truth to this, though it shouldn’t be discouraging to those who are trying to lose weight.

.Food & Nutrition.

Your Guide to Getting Your Vitamins from Food via Huffington Post

A helpful graphic…

Are Egg Whites or Whole Eggs Healthier? via Huffington Post

If you’re one of those people who eats egg-white omelets, then I’m sorry for offending you, but: egg whites are garbage! Just eat whole eggs, for crying out loud. The yolk has so much nutrition (and it just tastes better).

.Body Image & Mental Health.

Why the ‘Real Woman’s’ Body Image Debate Is All Wrong via elephant journal

I agree with much of this. While seeing bare-faced and un-photoshopped women of all sizes is a vast improvement from being bombarded with airbrushed super models, it does still objectify our bodies. Plus, am I the only one who sees an “empowering” image of a gorgeous girl without makeup and still manages to feel negatively because I don’t look that good without some mascara and lipgloss? It’s fine to enjoy looking beautiful and striving to better our appearance, but we have to remember our bodies don’t define us.

Why Is Mental Illness Such A Stigmatized Condition? via Huffington Post

A good read, with a good point. Until we treat mental illness, particularly depression and substance abuse, the same as we do other “more acceptable” illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, etc., then we will continue to see too many preventable deaths and tragedies.

Robin Williams didn’t die from a disease, he died from his choice via The Matt Walsh Blog

Before you get angry and state “what an idiot!” because of the insensitive title (like I almost did), do read this post with an open mind. I ultimately disagree with Walsh (and definitely disagree with a lot of his other blog posts), but he makes some great points and does seem to be sympathetic to those suffering from severe depression. My main disagreement with him is his assumption that anybody can be cured 100% into making the “right” choice (e.g., life); I believe that therapy, medication, support from loved ones, etc. can be and are extremely helpful, but I do think that some people are so sick that they just can’t go on. It’s difficult to understand if you’ve never been at that lowest of low points (fortunately, I haven’t, so I just have to be as empathetic as possible). What we need to agree on is that depression and other mental illness are real, life-threatening diseases (affecting all walks of life) that should be taken seriously, de-stigmatized, and given the attention they deserve.

There’s Nothing Selfish About Suicide via Huffington Post

“People who say that suicide is selfish always reference the survivors. […] What they don’t know is that those very loved ones are the reason many people hang on for just one more day.” This is a great article, and it should be a wakeup call to all of us. Connect with others. Smile at somebody and genuinely ask about his/her day. Check in on loved ones who’ve been suffering, especially if they show any signs of suicide.

.Fitness.

The Awesome Effect Exercise Has on Your Pain Tolerance via Women’s Health

Interesting! And a good reason to continue exercising, even if it’s only a 30-minute walk or jog.

The Top 5 Reasons Your Workout Isn’t Working via Eating Bird Food

Although I’ve never followed an exercise regimen with the goal of losing weight or truly changing my body, I can definitely relate to the “workout rut” point. I’d also argue that not changing one’s diet is probably the biggest reason people don’t see any changes when they start exercising regularly and vigorously.

.Pregnancy & Parenting.

Things I Learned About Having A New Born via Healthy Tipping Point

Aww, I love this. These are great tips/things to know. And LOL at the grey shirt and father-in-law (good thing I got my free—ok, S&H only (I fall for the gimmicks)—10 pairs of breast pads in the mail yesterday!).

A Letter To My Pre-Mom Self via Coffee and Crumbs

This is a good one, too, and it left me a bit misty-eyed. “You will learn to love fiercely and wildly without expectations, and for the first time in your whole life, your heart will default to selflessness—a part of you that always existed but was buried deep down inside.”

Last Month of Pregnancy Checklist via Pregnant Chicken

I am bookmarking this for September!

Pregnancy: Week 31

Boy, am I glad this week is almost over! Although I haven’t been extremely busy at work, it seems like every little thing has set me off. I’m ready for some relaxation this weekend and perhaps a movie, some ice cream at Old Dutch, and shopping for new tennis shoes.

Sounding like a broken record, I can’t believe I’m 31 weeks (+ 4 days) pregnant! Monday I can officially say I’m 8 months pregnant, with 2 more to go (since pregnancy is generally counted from the first day of your last period, it comes to 40 weeks, or 10 months). I’m still feeling pretty blissful and anxiety-free right now, but I don’t think the reality of “OMG! We’re having a real, living HUMAN BEING in 8 weeks!!!” has hit me yet. I’m sure I’ll be in full-blown panic mode when it does.

Anyway, I’m excited for this week’s update, so let’s get to it. 31-week-bump What’s Baby M up to this week?

  • He is about 16 inches long and weighs between 3.3 and 4 pounds (around the size of a coconut)
  • He’s heading for a big growth spurt; from now until 2 weeks before birth, he will gain around ½ pound each week
  • His arms and legs are plumping up and developing fat, making those kicks and prods feel even stronger (I’ve noticed this; rather than fluttery, it feels much slower and snugger when he moves, and sometimes a little bulge will just stay there for a while)

How am I feeling this week?

Weight Gained:

Maybe a pound since last week (which would be 26 total)

Workouts:

I tried this week to get in more—and I did succeed, somewhat. (For the record, I’m still walking around during lunch, but I’m not making any loops around the park. Just keeping myself moving in the shade.)

  • Sunday: rest (we walked all day in NOLA the day before, and the heat and humidity were draining)
  • Monday: prenatal Pilates (3 10-minute segments) while trying to keep Iggy off my face
  • Tuesday: barre (a tough one)
  • Wednesday: a super short walk with Iggy/Mark
  • Thursday: a walk with Iggy & Mark
  • Friday: might do a DVD, might take it easy
  • Saturday: not sure what we have planned…

Symptoms:

Honestly, I’m still feeling pretty good at this point. I am having occasional lower back pain and heartburn (can’t pinpoint any specific food or spice that causes it), some moodiness, leg cramps, and a dry/stuffy nose, but I still feel pretty energetic. I’ll take it!

Food Aversions:

Still none. Apparently my appetite is indestructible, even during pregnancy!

Food Cravings:

Cold things: yogurt bowls, overnight oats, ice cream, smoothies, etc.

Sleep:

The first few days this week were fine, the last couple of nights I’ve been waking up often because my hips and/or shoulders hurt. I never thought I was a big back/stomach sleeper, but apparently I was, because I just get sore staying on my sides.

Stretch Marks?

I still haven’t found any (and I’m not sure the few that I found months ago on “the girls” were actually stretch marks, because I don’t see them anymore). I guess I just have good genes (and have maintained a steady, rather than rapid, weight gain), although I’m starting to fear that if I lose weight too quickly postpartum, I’ll get stretch marks from weight loss.

Swelling?

Not really. My ankles were a tiny bit swollen after walking around outside in New Orleans Saturday, but I think I stay hydrated enough to ward it off (for now at least)

Wedding rings—on or off?

Still on, no problem unless I get really hot

Belly button—in or out?

About the same as before—still in, but tiny/flat. The edges sometimes protrude a little.

Happy or moody?

Mostly happy, but I think I’m beginning to feel the surge of hormones because Wednesday afternoon and most of Thursday, I was cranky, anxious, stressed with work, and on the verge of tears! I don’t know if it’s pregnancy or just my normal job frustrations—maybe a combination?

Maternity Clothes?

Yep, it’s not like I’m shrinking! But I don’t think I’ll buy anymore unless it’s a pair of yoga pants and/or leggings (I noticed at the gym Tuesday night that my yoga capris are super snug).

Baby Purchases:

Nothing this week, but we have baby showers coming up on August 30 and September 13.

Looking forward to:

  • THE WEEKEND. I just need to relax a little.
  • Grilling out Sunday afternoon with Mark and my dad (my mom is in West Virginia this weekend)
  • Maternity pictures next weekend!!!
  • Mark’s birthday (so I can rub it in his face that he is also 30) ;-)

Miss anything?

Downing half a bottle of wine after bad days? Haha, just kidding. (Or am I?…)

Funny/Odd Moments:

Well, it was pretty funny Monday night when I was balancing on my side for leg lifts while Iggy was licking my face and legs! It was also quite amusing when I managed to squeeze my rotund self through the gate and a truck at work. I joked that in a few weeks, I probably wouldn’t be able to accomplish that! Also, after our walk Thursday night, we were talking to our neighbor and he asked, “any day now, huh?” Err, well, I hope not! I am certainly growing each week, but I do NOT think I look 40 weeks pregnant yet! Baby M, don’t get any ideas—you stay in there!

Questions for moms & moms-to-be:

  • I’m beginning to think about packing a hospital bag; what were some of your essentials?
  • When did it really set in that you were going to become a mother? And what were you most anxious/worried about?

Thinking Out Loud: Pregnancy-isms

Happy Thursday-aka-almost-Friday, you guys! The weekend is so close, we can almost taste it. And, after somewhat of a stressful week, you can bet I’m ready for it.

Today I thought I’d link up at Running With Spoons for some #ThinkingOutLoud.

Thinking-Out-Loud

I actually compiled this list months ago after having a near-tantrum at work, but I thought it was fitting since I’m nearing the end of this incredible journey called pregnancy. I’m enjoying being pregnant, I truly am, but every now and then I feel like a freak or a living garbage disposal and am overwhelmed with the burning desire to strangle my coworkers or random passers-by.

Below is a compilation of “pregnancy-isms,” or thoughts that have crossed my mind at some point during the past few months (usually several times a day), TOL-style.

For the record, please don’t judge me until you have a loveable alien being growing inside your belly! I promise I’m a lady—most of the time.

1. It should be illegal for a pregnant woman to have to work with stupid people!

2. Oh, good! Nobody is walking behind me. Inconspicuous fart FTW!

3. My boobs are amazing. No, really, they are amazing!

4. Would so-and-so even notice if I ate her string cheese out of the mini-fridge?

5. Will I ever stop thinking about pizza? Maybe I should just marry pizza.

6. OMG, did Mark hear that?!! …shrugs shoulders… I can just blame it on the dog.

7. Has anybody ever died of ‘peeing too much?’ Is my tombstone going to read, ‘She lived a fulfilling life, then literally pissed it away?’

8. I’ve got to be nicer to Mark; I don’t have it in me to be a single mom!

9. Do that again and I will sit on you!

These are just a few of the irrational/gross/remarks I’ve made silently to myself. There will inevitably be more (especially postpartum), and they will likely be worse! But…I’m pregnant. Everything is forgivable, and there’s always an excuse. ;-)

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Muffins

Bananas are quite simply one of my favorite fruits. They’re cheap, they’re portable, they’re satiating, and they even satisfy a sweet tooth when chocolate, cake, cookies, or muffins are nowhere to be found.

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Throughout my pregnancy, though, bananas and I have had a rocky relationship. After I realized I was pregnant, I noticed that bananas started leaving this awful aftertaste in my mouth. If they were too ripe, the smell was quite unappealing to me. I never got sick, but I had to take a break from my beloved bananas for several weeks.

Lucky for me, bananas and I patched things up during the 2nd trimester. I sliced or mashed them into yogurt or oats, spread them with nut butter, and just ate them as-is for a snack. I didn’t care if they were slightly under-ripe or a little too freckled and soft. I just ate them with my typical banana-loving gusto.

Don’t you just love that word, gusto?

Anyway, now that I’m in the 3rd trimester, I just can’t handle the mushiness or overt sweetness of over-ripe bananas! I’m fine eating them otherwise, but when I had 3 extremely brown bananas wasting away in my kitchen, I knew I had to do something.

One of the bananas I mashed into a refreshing jar of overnight oats, and the other 2 were joined together in holy muffin matrimony.

chocolate chip banana bread muffins

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Muffins

makes 12 muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (mine was heaping!)
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 2 large, ripe bananas
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup maple syrup (or honey, agave nectar, etc.)
  • ¼ cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I prefer mini chips)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and prepare a muffin tin with butter, coconut oil, or spray.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
  3. In a smaller bowl, mix together the mashed bananas, egg, coconut oil, liquid sweetener, yogurt, and vanilla until thoroughly mixed and no longer lumpy.
  4. Pour the liquid mixture over the dry ingredients, gently stirring until combined, but being careful not to over-mix.
  5. Fold the chocolate chips into the mixture.
  6. Spoon the mixture into the muffin tin compartments till each is ¾ of the way full.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes* until a toothpick inserted into the muffin comes out clean.

*15 minutes was perfect for my oven, but I often need to under-bake most other recipes slightly. Set your timer for 15 minutes, but if they’re not quite set, go ahead and bake another 2-3 minutes.

muffin

I love these muffins because they are just lightly sweet. They’re perfect for breakfast, dessert, or a snack and are relatively healthy. Chopped walnuts or pecans make excellent additions, too!

Weekly Links 08.10.14

After a long, hot, and tiring day in New Orleans yesterday, I almost skipped putting this post together, but then that would negate the whole “weekly” thing.

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We had a lot of fun yesterday, although I did have a cranky pregnant lady moment whenever the hostess at Stanley, our usual lunch spot, supposedly texted us when our table was ready, though we never got the text. We expected a wait, and were perfectly fine walking up by the river, getting my non-alcoholic Bloody Mary at Muriel’s (just as good as the regular version!), and people, but when she told us it would be an additional 20 minutes and couldn’t prove she sent the text, I just got really impatient (I know stuff like that happens all the time, and she couldn’t do much else than what she did). Oh well, our meal was tasty, and we enjoyed the rest of the day when we met with some friends to walk through Audubon Park.

Our walk was cut short when the rain moved in (I got soaked, but it was actually fun; I love summer storms like that, so long as lightning and thunder aren’t involved!), but a delicious tiramisu and coffee at Brocato’s made up for it. So did Bud’s Broiler on the way home.

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Today was spent cleaning and doing some stuff around the house (hanging paintings & shelves in the nursery!). Tonight the hubs is cooking fillets, homemade mashed potatoes, and green beans for dinner. Yum!

Here are some good reads for the rest of your Sunday. Enjoy, and have a great week!

weekly links header

.Recipes.

Banana Bread Cookie Sandwiches with Cream Cheese Greek Yogurt via Imma Eat That

These sound delicious. Because who doesn’t love cookies?

Blackberry Chocolate Chip Crumble via Love & Olive Oil

Oh, wow. This looks like the perfect dessert! I just love crumbles/crisps/whatever you call them.

Pesto Squash Noodles and Spaghetti via Cookie + Kate

I love how fresh and summery those burst tomatoes look! I’ve made zucchini noodles a couple of times, but they always left me wanting more. Mixing the “zoodles” with whole grain spaghetti sounds perfect.

Ultimate Chocolate Macaroons via Cook It Up Paleo

I don’t care if these are paleo, vegan, or any label you want to put on them; they’re full of chocolate and coconut and that’s enough for me!

Cream Cheese-Filled Pumpkin Bread via Averie Cooks

Nope, it’s never too early in the year for pumpkin. One time a coworker shared some pumpkin roll that was essentially pumpkin bread with a cream cheese filling, and I’ve never tried to recreate it, despite how delicious it was. This filled version looks fantastic (and better suited for my kitchen skills).

.Health & Wellness.

What Makes Us Fat: Is It Eating Too Much Or Moving Too Little? Via NPR

It’s definitely not one or the other. Sure, the quality of calories we consume today is vastly different than what we consumed decades ago, but the fact that we spend hours a day at desks is just as bad, if not worse, for our health (in my clearly non-medical opinion). This is why I try to move around at least hourly! It’s absurdly hot right now, but I’m so grateful I’m able to move around throughout much of the day, even if it’s just taking from my car and office building in the mornings and afternoons.

10 Ways to Recognize Orthorexia via New York Magazine

I don’t think enough attention is paid to this eating disorder, which, if left unchecked, could be every bit as dangerous as anorexia or bulimia.

.Food & Nutrition.

What I Learned After Taking a Homeless Mother Grocery Shopping via Babble

This really opens your eyes to how we take simple things, like filling a grocery cart with whatever looks good in the moment, for granted. It’s shameful how pre-packaged garbage stretches somebody’s food stamps or grocery budget much further than fresh fruits and vegetables, and I admire this woman for trying to bring awareness to the situation.

.Body Image & Mental Health.

Cultivating Happiness via The Lunchbox Diaries

A great post! I’ve learned lately that happiness isn’t something you chase, but something you create each and every day.

.Fitness.

A Do-Anywhere, Full Body Resistance Band Workout via Greatist

I really need to buy a resistance band (and some of the other gizmos we use at barre class). I love workouts that don’t require fancy equipment or a gym membership!

Pregnancy: Week 30

Even though this week is almost over, I’m still having a hard time accepting that I’m already 30 weeks pregnant. Every time I tell somebody who asks “how far along are you?” I find myself in disbelief when I reply.

It’s getting real. Very, very real. But with every momentary freakout and feeling of apprehension, I feel the same amount of excitement for the future.

Here’s my 30 week update.

30-weeks-update

I’m not a huge fan of this picture, by the way. The way my undershirt and t-shirt fit, it makes “the girls” and my belly look like one giant, mountainous entity. Sure, the bump is getting bigger (it’s supposed to!), but there’s a lot more definition between the bump and boobs, I promise!

What’s Baby M up to this week?

  • Baby M is about 15.7 inches long now and weighs around 3 pounds; in other words, he’s the size of a large cabbage! Mon petit chou!
  • A pint and a half of amniotic fluid surrounds him, though that will change in the next weeks as he gets even bigger
  • His eyesight continues to develop, though it’s not very keen; even after he’s born, he’ll keep his eyes closed for a good part of the day. When he does open them, he’ll respond to changes in light but will have 20/400 vision — which means he can only make out objects a few inches from his face
  • Lanugo, the fine hair that covers his body, begins to fall off this week

How am I feeling this week?

Weight Gained:

Per the scale at the doctor today, 25 pounds. I’m still at the top of the “good range,” but my doctor says my weight gain, blood pressure, measurements are all wonderful.

Workouts:

I don’t even know why I have this question in here anymore. Although I manage to get a good bit of walking and moving around in every day, my only real work-out lately has been barre on Tuesday nights. My goal is to continue the class till 35 weeks, and, if I’m still feeling good then, till 37. I’m going to make it a point to start doing my pregnancy barre and Pilates DVDs, even if it’s just one 10-20 minute segment each time. I’m not worried about my fitness by any means, but I feel better (physically and mentally) when I get some kind of workout in.

Symptoms:

  • Heartburn
  • Tiring more easily (not quite like the fatigue I felt in the 1st trimester, but I definitely don’t have the energy I did earlier in the summer)
  • Gassiness (sorry, but it’s true)
  • Leg cramps at night (but I usually flex my leg/heel and catch them before they become full-fledged cramps)
  • Clumsiness (I drop everything!)
  • Luckily, I can still say that I’m feeling pretty good overall. Most of my pains/discomforts are minor; I’m simply aware of them rather than troubled by them.

Food Aversions:

Nothing really.

Food Cravings:

  • Overnight oats (they’re my breakfast of choice lately)
  • Fruit, especially berries
  • Trail mix
  • Almond milk (I’ve been drinking glasses of it lately, whereas I normally just use it in cereal, oats, etc.)

Sleep:

I wouldn’t call it bad, but I’m definitely not resting quite as well as I normally do. Even with my snoogle, I just can’t stay comfortable. I wake up hot or with a sore/tingling shoulder and have to roll over (which is getting much tougher to do lately!)

Stretch Marks? 

I still haven’t noticed any. Hooray for (what I assume are) good genes!

Wedding rings—on or off?

They’re still on, though I might stop wearing them to bed

Belly button—in or out?

Roughly the same; still in, but extremely tiny/almost flat

Happy or moody?

Happy. I’m enjoying the attention and nice comments from strangers and non-strangers and just taking everything in. I’m still trying to make the best of this experience.

Maternity Clothes?

Is this question even necessary? Yes. And I’m really excited about my dress that I ordered for photos. It’s cute and super comfy!

Baby Purchases:

Nothing this week (our showers are coming up soon, though)

Looking forward to:

  • NOLA
  • Our showers
  • Hanging my paintings that I made last weekend in the nursery
  • Finding a pediatrician

Miss anything?

I don’t think much has changed here, either. I just miss having a lot of energy, being able to roll over without using deep concentration and physical strength, and eating/drinking whatever I want. It’s all worth it, though.

Funny/Odd Moments:

In one day (yesterday) I was asked by 2 different people if we were keeping (or moving outside) our sweet dog, Iggy, when Baby M arrives. %$&#!!!!! He’s our fur-child, so of course he’s staying. He’s anything but aggressive, and while he’ll have a lot of adjusting to do, he will get along fine with Baby M.

And I felt kind of stupid asking the doctor about my “cone-belly” yesterday, but she assured me that my weird-shaped tummy (when I laugh or contract my abs) is completely normal. I need to stop reading the internet, as I thought it was a sure sign of diastasis recti (when your abdominal muscles separate more severely than usual), which had me completely bummed out.

Questions for moms & moms-to-be:

  • How did you choose your pediatrician? Any advice?
  • Did you suffer from diastasis recti or any conditions that took time to heal or still haven’t fully healed?

Thinking Out Loud 08.07.14

Hi, friends! Today I’m linking up with Amanda at Running With Spoons for some Thinking Out Loud.

Thinking-Out-Loud

1. I had big plans for a blog post yesterday—and they fell through (story of my life). You know how seemingly every day is a food holiday? Well, yesterday was National Root Beer Float Day, and I was so excited I’d heard about it several days before (instead of after the fact, like usual). I bought my favorite vanilla ice cream, I had every intention of offering praise to Abita (one of my favorites, as it’s made with pure Louisiana cane sugar—instead of HFCS—and is naturally caffeine-free), and I even made us yummy floats…last night, well after dark, and far too late for typing up a post. Here’s a crummy picture to prove that I was almost on my game.

photo 2-12

2. I guess I’m not too upset, though, because I discovered I really don’t like root beer floats that much. I like ice cream in its purest state—in a bowl, with a few toppings, or scooped generously into a waffle cone. The root beer, while delicious, just messed up perfection.

3. This weekend we’re spending the day in NOLA. I’m excited to walk around the Quarter and eat at my favorite lunch spot, Stanley, but I’m kind of dreading the fact that it’s Red Dress Run. As a pregnant lady who misses my beer and wine (and has little patience, though you can’t blame that on Baby M), I’m not sure I want to be surrounded by a bunch of drunk people. It could offer some great entertainment, though, so I guess I’ll look on the bright side.

4. Speaking of pregnancy, I just can’t keep track of my cravings these days. On the way home from work yesterday, I was dying for something salty (chips + guacamole would have been a dream!), but then I devoured way too much of this Monster trail mix I impulsively bought at Super Target this past weekend. That stuff is dangerous.

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5. On the way to work, I heard (part of) a fun segment on the duo “Garfunkel and Oates” on NPR. Of course the song “Pregnant Women are Smug” caught my attention—and now I’m convincing the hubs to add this to our weekly TV rotation.

6. So, I think I owe it to myself (post-baby) to buy one of these JELL-O University molds for the upcoming football season. I’m sure my husband would agree. And not to poke fun at Baptists (ok, maybe a little), but this article made me chuckle a bit—because of course I’m going to make jello shots with them! I just wish these had existed when I was in college.

7. Today was incredibly hot, like usual, but it was so breezy and nice when I went outside for lunch. I’ve decided this week that my usual laps around the park just aren’t happening anymore (too hot for this waddling pregnant woman), but I still walk down to the pier for some fresh air. So far, so good, and at least I’m getting a little exercise walking to and from my car each way.

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8. I’m cutting things a little short because I still have my Week 30 update to write up for tomorrow. Holy. Effing. Cow. I have less than 10 more weeks left! I’m freaking out just a teensy bit!

Have a happy Thursday night! Till tomorrow…

Babalu Tacos & Tapas Review

Remember when this used to be a food blog and not just a pregnancy update + link round-up excuse for a blog? Yeah, I’m struggling to remember, too.

I’ll talk about how busy I am and what future plans I have for foodiEcology another day, however, because I promised a restaurant review a month ago, and I’m here to deliver.

The weekend before our Memphis “babymoon” trip, we visited my in-laws in Jackson. That first evening, we had dinner at the awesome Babalu Tacos & Tapas, located in the historic Fondren district of the city.

babalu-dining-room

 [image source]

Much like the restaurant’s name suggests, Babalu is a Cuban/Latin themed restaurant with creative, fresh food and an airy, relaxing interior and patio.

While it offers many typical Latin dishes (tacos, tortas, tamales, empanadas, etc.), it also has a variety of other dishes such as hamburgers, shrimp and grits, crab cakes, and salads. Most of the menu consists of small tapas plates, but they’re perfect for mixing and matching and are always served fresh from the grill/pan/etc. Many of the small plates can be upgraded to “large” for an additional $5 if you’re especially hungry.

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After ordering our drinks (they have an impressive bar; both my husband and father-in-law ordered craft beers, while I briefly lamented being pregnant and settled for a non-alcoholic pomegranate lemonade, recommended by our friendly and attentive waiter, Mike), we shared 2 appetizers: the house-made guacamole and the black-eyed pea hummus.

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The guacamole is made tableside, and it was some of the best I’ve ever tasted. The black-eyed pea hummus was wonderfully creamy, and the light drizzle of cilantro oil on top was the perfect touch. My pomegranate lemonade was an enjoyable balance of sweet and tart, though next time, I’m all over their house margarita!

photo 2-12

Although the seafood dishes and authentic Cuban sandwich sounded extraordinary, I knew before we even walked into the restaurant that I wanted tacos. I opted for the 3-taco plate (we all did, actually), which was deceptively filling.

After much pondering and advice from our waiter, I chose the lamb barbacoa, taco of the day (I believe it was amberjack), and pork belly tacos.

Don’t even ask me to pick a favorite! Each one featured incredibly fresh and flavorful ingredients, some things I’d never have added to my own taco (like whole blackberries with the fish).

photo 4-3

The pork belly was perfectly tender, and the lamb was bursting with flavor. I could tell the fish was a fresh catch and not something that had been sitting in the freezer or refrigerator for days. Each taco featured a variety of ingredients that married together perfectly when eaten inside their homemade blue corn tortillas.

Though a bit pricier than your average Mexican/Latin restaurant (the guacamole/chips was $9.95 + $2.00 for the vegetable slices we added), it is well worth the extra few dollars. The food is innovative, and they source local ingredients when possible.

I think Babalu would be the perfect place to enjoy happy hour after a long day at work, especially since they often offer live entertainment.

Babalu has another spot in Memphis, TN, and a Birmingham, AL location is set to open in the future. As for me, I’m counting down the days till we visit the in-laws again and can return!

Weekly Links 08.03.14

I hope everybody is having a great weekend!

Yesterday, Mark and I didn’t even leave the house. We did accomplish a lot of work in the nursery, however, by hanging the decorations above the crib and dresser and working on some paintings. It already looks great, and I can’t wait to see the finished product.

Today we’re grocery shopping, buying diapers (they qualify as tax exempt this weekend for the sales tax holiday) for stock, and taking Iggy out for a nice walk.

I promise next week I’ll have some actual food-related posts (and not just another pregnancy update), but until then, here’s some weekend reading.

weekly links header .Recipes.

Sour Cherry Fro-Yo Ice Pops via Take a Mega Bite

I haven’t bought any cherries this year despite my undying affection for them (they’re always so expensive!), but these look so refreshing that I may revisit that conundrum (if I can find the sour version, that is).

Sweet Corn, Zucchini, & Fresh Mozzarella Pizza via How Sweet It Is

Everything, I mean everything, about this screams “eat me!”

Whipped Strawberry Cream Cheese and Cucumber Tea Sandwiches via Peas & Crayons

I’m totally making these for our baby shower—except I’m thinking blueberries instead of strawberries for boy! I love how light cucumber sandwiches are, and a little fruit makes everything better.

Cucumber Ribbon Salad with Peppers, Radishes, & Thai Dressing via Kalyn’s Kitchen

This looks so refreshing; perfect for summer!

Peach Bourbon Ice Cream Sandwiches with Lemon Cornbread Cookies via Edible Perspective

I’m speechless. Peach. Bourbon. Ice cream. Cookies. Yum!

.Health & Wellness.

Slow Walkers May Be On Their Way to Dementia via NPR

This may be true with some people, but I think others just naturally move more slowly. As for me, I’m a speedy walker (even while pregnant), so I guess this is one less thing for me to worry about!

.Food & Nutrition.

Fruits and Vegetables Are Trying To Kill You via Nautilus

Fascinating stuff, especially since I’ve always heard that fruits/veggies that “struggle” so to speak (surviving a hard freeze, for example) are more nutritionally dense and beneficial when consumed. Regardless of how fruits and vegetables help my body, I’m going to continue eating them like a mad woman. Particularly fruit, because it’s just so darn delicious!

What The Government Got Wrong About Nutrition—And How It Can Fix It via Huffington Post

Why must it be so complicated? I do think the plate is much better than the pyramid, and I agree that we need to reverse the demonization of fat. The best advice is to eat as close to the source as possible (less processed food, although there’s a time and a place for packaged cupcakes, crackers, and potato chips). In the wise words of Michael Pollen: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

.Body Image & Mental Health.

The Case Against The ‘F’ Word via Huffington Post

I tend to agree with the author’s perspective. On one hand, I can be extremely self-deprecating (it’s how I laugh at myself and it’s just part of my humor), but on the other, I try to avoid using negative words to describe myself. If we cut ourselves down and draw attention to our flaws, that only opens the door for others to do the same. Then again, if we’re comfortable with said flaws, then maybe it won’t hurt as badly when others point the fingers and we can react assertively and with confidence? I don’t know…

.Fitness.

How Fit Are You, Really? via Huffington Post

Hmm…maybe I’m not as fit as I thought! Those last few tests sound killer.

New Research: Big Benefits From Running 5 Miles A Week via Runner’s World

I can’t wait to start running (jogging + fast walking, who are we kidding?) again postpartum. I’m dreaming of the crisp, cool fall days where I will take little Baby M out in his stroller. It’s going to be glorious, and I know my body (+ mental health) will truly benefit.

.Pregnancy & Parenting.

Realities Of The Third Trimester via Mommy’s Me Time

Ha! I’m just at the beginning of the 3rd trimester, but already I can vouch for most of these. Pregnancy is no joke (although it’s often pretty darn hilarious).

‘Put Your Boobs Away, This Is Amsterdam!’ via Huffington Post

I’m planning to nurse, but I still don’t know how I feel about doing it in public. I don’t think it’s offensive by any means, but I’m also a rather modest and self-conscious person who generally appreciates my privacy (then again, I’ve never been at my wit’s end with a hungry, screaming infant). Regardless, I agree that it’s important to respect other cultures and that it’s also impossible to know where to draw the line with respect. Somebody will always make a crude joke or act offended when a woman is nursing at a museum or other public venue, but is it worth inconveniencing that woman and her hungry baby because of one person’s misguided beliefs (especially when there are scantily clad women—and men—adorning subway walls, storefronts, etc)? I think not.

Pregnancy: Week 29

Earlier this year I left behind my twenties, and now the end of my twenties in pregnancy is rapidly approaching. Although I feared leaving 29 behind, in my heart, I was ready to embrace 30 and see all it had to offer me. While I’m not rushing my pregnancy by any means (it’s already moving much too quickly!), I’m just as ready to see what the passing of week 29 will bring.

I’ve definitely felt more pregnant this past week. I’m feeling more tired during the evenings after work (and on busy, hot weekends like this past one) and don’t really feel like exercising (except for barre class). Although I still get around pretty well, every now in then the waddle kicks in (mostly when I’m about to pee on myself!) or my balance is completely off (like when I almost fell trying to put on my, err, undergarments this week!). But more so than physically, I’m starting to feel more pregnant, and dare I say, motherly, in the emotional and mental sense of the word.

I’m well used to Baby M’s movements by now, and I’ve talked to the childbirth and lactation consultant to schedule classes in the next couple of months. Although I haven’t really done much singing, reading, or talking to Baby M yet, I am more aware of his presence and his pending arrival into our lives. Yesterday afternoon I found myself “apologizing” to him for my road rage. This poor child is going to recognize my voice as the “angry woman” instead of finding it to be comforting. After a string of ugly words to cars that think they’re too good to wait in traffic like the rest of us, I quickly told him that I wasn’t angry all the time and started saying sweet, calming things. Drivers in neighboring lanes probably thought I was nuts, but I felt truly awful.

With that said, here’s my 29 week update. Not a whole lot has changed, but I’m sure the “super pregnant feelings” are just beginning.

29-weeks-pic

What’s Baby M up to this week?

  • Baby M weighs around 2 ½ pounds, is slightly over 15 inches long, and is about the size of a butternut squash
  • His muscles and lungs are maturing, and his head is growing to accommodate his brain (which can now control his body temperature)
  • His bone marrow is now producing red blood cells, and fat continues to develop under his skin
  • He is beginning to settle into the proper birthing position (I hope this is the case, as he was breach during my last ultrasound; based on how his movement is all over the place, I think he is switching things up in there!)

How am I feeling this week?

Weight Gained:

About the same as last week (22-23 pounds). (By the way, doesn’t my belly look odd in the photo? I think the band on my pants contributed, but it lacks that cute, round quality that most bumps have!)

Workouts:

  • Sunday: nothing, but we did a lot of walking around Saturday
  • Monday: just my lunchtime walk
  • Tuesday: lunchtime walk + barre class (a good one!)
  • Wednesday: lunchtime walk
  • Thursday: lunchtime walk
  • Friday: planning a walk and maybe a workout DVD
  • Saturday: planning to take Iggy on a walk at Spring Hill

Symptoms:

  • some lower back and rib pain (mostly when I have bad posture)
  • leg cramps at night
  • slight heartburn (but nothing too bad)
  • still peeing all the time

Food Aversions:

Overripe bananas just don’t appeal to me (if I can smell them, they’re not going to be eaten) and raw vegetables are a necessary evil I force down; other than that, food is still awesome!

Food Cravings:

  • fruit
  • cereal, waffles, and breakfast-y things in general
  • ice cream
  • salads (so long as there’s lettuce and a variety of toppings)

Sleep:

Mostly good, but I still wake up and have trouble staying comfortable. I’ve learned to taper off my water drinking before bed, so I’m not getting up to use the restroom (for now).

Stretch Marks? 

Still looking clear

Wedding rings—on or off?

On for now

Belly button—in or out?

Not much change; it’s still in, but sometimes more flat than anything

Happy or moody?

Mostly happy, but I feel like my moody moments are increasing, unfortunately

Maternity Clothes?

Despite my desire to refrain from buying new clothes, I ordered 2 dresses from ASOS last week; I’m hoping they fit (I read mixed reviews about sizing and just ordered per my measurements) so I can wear one for my maternity pictures. I also got measured for a new bra (it fits like a dream!).

Baby Purchases:

I purchased 2 books: Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth (it should arrive today) and Husband Coached Childbirth: The Bradley Method (since it’s too late to take the classes). Plus our glider delivered yesterday! :-)

Looking forward to:

  • Just relaxing and doing some house-cleaning this weekend
  • My maternity pictures; I’ve finally worked everything out with the photographer
  • Putting the glider together

Miss anything?

Not too much: just having more energy and more flexibility (I noticed I’m so stiff at barre; I thought all my joints and ligaments were supposed to loosen in pregnancy!). And wine, of course. ;-)

Funny/Odd Moments:

I had somebody tell me how great I looked and that “pregnancy really perked me up” (as opposed to dragging me down). For a second I thought he was talking about the girls, but I’m pretty sure he just meant that, overall, I looked like I had a lot of energy and was feeling good.

Questions for moms & moms-to-be:

  • Did you take childbirth classes? If so, what part benefited you the most during actual labor?
  • What pregnancy/childbirth books did you find most useful?