My own personal frappy hour

almond mocha smoothie

Years ago, when Jamie and I used to work out of various cafes around San Francisco, one of our regular haunts was the Starbucks on Fillmore. Wifi, seating, and available outlets were our main criteria.

sweat pink laptop skins starbucks

We’d usually begrudgingly order the same old tea with steamed soy, day after day, so sick of drinking tea but so aware of what a steal it was, in terms of rent cost.

I’ll never forget the day when, at the usually quiet-ish hour of 3pm—3:13pm to be exact—the store started filling up with all sorts of people. And these people behaved very strangely. Instead of going up and ordering, or avoiding eye contact with the baristas and grabbing a seat or an outlet without plunking down at least $1.85 for a tall coffee, they just stood there, near the counter, but not close enough to order.

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Image Source

They coagulated in the open area where a line usually forms, all of them just… waiting. No one stepped up; no one elbowed through to be first in line.

We watched this bizarre group coalescing until 3:30pm on the dot, when suddenly the horde rushed for the counter. Moments later, they left, one or two at a time, with giant, frothy, whipped-cream topped beverages and satisfied grins on their faces.

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We later learned that was the first day of Frappy Hour, and we soon came to know that every day, eager sugar-hungry people would arrive just before 3:30 and wait, counting down the seconds until their blended concoction was available at half price.

Naturally, we took great delight in the spectacle of frappy hour. Who were these people, and why did they care so much that they arrived early to wait for frappy hour? Was this the best part of their day? And why, oh why, did so many people LIKE frappuccinos?

We took turns coming up with the most ridiculous sounding beverage, and threatening to order it for one another. We’d say, “I’m going to get you a venti mocha orange creamsicle mint cookie blast with apple caramel crumble and make you drink it!”

Mockery and juvenilia aside, I secretly wished I liked frappuccinos, especially as I ordered my boring hot tea day after day. I love the idea of an iced blended treat, and of adding in some variety into how I paid my rent; I just hated the taste and how the sugar content turned my stomach into a roiling queasy mess.

The fact is, I’m super boring when it comes to food and beverages. (Maybe purist is a kinder word). I like my coffee strong and black. I’ll take my nut butters without the sugar and oil and other additives. I think flavored yogurt is a crime against nature. I stick to a tried and true smoothie rut: frozen berries, spinach, plain yogurt, plain protein powder, almond butter. I know, I know, it’s almost criminal how much fun I am. 😉

mackenzie with berry smoothie

Done and done.

raspberry smoothie selfie

The other day, I was out of all those things. No yogurt in the fridge. No berries in the freezer. Nothing in the house but a fussy baby and a hangry me. I decided to improvise a smoothie without berries or yogurt (SAY WHAT?!).

I’d been using, and loving, Bob’s Red Mill protein powder—the unflavored one, thankyouverymuch—and scoured my pantry for anything, anything, I could add to turn plain ol’ protein powder into a meal.

berry smoothie bob's red mill protein powder
Did I mention I ONLY drink berry smoothies?

I found, first, the cute little card that Bob’s Red Mill sent with the protein powders, with various recipes on it. I happened to have all the ingredients for their oatmeal cookie smoothie (well, no dates, but hey, close enough).

Bob's Red Mill smoothie recipe card

Hmm, I thought. That sounds like something I’d hate. But maybe it’s worth a go. What do I have to lose?

Answer: half a cup of oatmeal, a cup of almond milk, and a scoop of chai protein powder that I had not yet opened and already decided I disliked. 

In went the ingredients, with some almond butter to make up for the missing dates, and some peanut butter granola on top for an extra crunch.

oatmeal cookie smoothie

Guess what, guys? I fucking loved it. It was a fucking perfect afternoon treat that made me feel all yummy inside and kept me full until dinnertime. It tasted exactly how I wanted a frappuccino to taste, only so much better. It tasted like a grown up, balanced, healthy frothy beverage that just happened to have protein powder in it.

I loved it so much I had a second one for dessert later that night.

And then I tried all the other Bob’s Red Mill flavors that I had so judgily decided I didn’t like, and I fucking love those too.

almond mocha smoothie
This one’s called an Almond Mocha. I should categorically HATE it, but I can’t get enough. I would totes show up early and wait in line for this.

 

That plain flavor that I swore by when I first got my package is sitting, lonely and abandoned, in my pantry while I celebrate healthy frappy hour in my kitchen on the daily.

 

bob's red mill chocolate smoothie
With cacao nibs and hemp hearts on top? Hellz yeah.

 

I’m revising those frappy threats into a way more positive version:

I’m going to give you a chocolate peanut butter / oatmeal cookie / vanilla frappy and be jealous while you drink it.

This post was sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill. All opinions & strong language are my own. I really do love this stuff, and I also love it when you support the brands that support the Sweat Pink community.

Our get out of the house morning routine

Nathan and I have split up childcare by time of day, meaning I take Mackenzie in the mornings and he takes her in the afternoons, so we can each get some work done. (More on how that’s working, or not working, in an upcoming post!)

I’ve found that for the sake of my sanity, we have to get out of the house in the mornings. Otherwise I end up still in pajamas, with makeup creased down my face, and the crazies in my head spinning out of control.

alyse mackenzie warrior 2 zilker park
Yay, we made it to the park!
tigger stick at zilker
Tigger loves this routine, too.

Of course, getting out of the house with a baby is an art that for first time moms, takes some practice to get used to. Some mornings, just brushing my hair feels like a major accomplishment—forget loading up the baby, stroller, and diaper bag into the car and getting ourselves somewhere else. My sunglasses and keys always seem to be in different rooms, and I never have enough hands to pacify a screaming baby, find my stuff, and get out the door.

That said, over the last few weeks I’ve been consciously working on a routine that seems to ease those roadblocks to getting out. Here’s what’s helped us:

Collect your belongings the night before

alyse mac tigger with diaper bag
I learned the hard way you always, always need your diaper bag with you. Whoops.

Every night after Mac falls asleep, I spend about 10 minutes collecting all the rogue items that have scattered around the apartment: pacifier, my wallet, headphones, diaper bag, water bottle, baby carrier, etc, and load them back into the diaper bag so that’s ready to go in the morning. I also restock  the diaper bag with diapers, burp cloths, and backup outfits.

Have a get-everyone-fed routine

We start the morning with Mackenzie’s (fourth) breakfast, then after a diaper change, I put her in her bouncy chair so I can make coffee and a smoothie. Feeding and caffeinating myself is so important and really affects the rest of our day.

alyse mackenzie smoothie

My smoothie is a protein explosion that also includes oats and spinach to help with milk supply.

manitoba harvest hemp protein smoothie ingredients

manitoba harvest hemp protein smoothie and baby

I’m super in to the new Hemp Protein Smoothie from Manitoba Harvest – the berry flavor is delicious, and it includes greens. One less ingredient to pull out of the fridge!

Just fucking go

It’s really easy to get caught up in “oh, maybe I should wait until after her next meal / diaper / nap before I go” decision fatigue. Whenever I find myself waffling, I remind myself to just fucking go. Nursing, diaper changing, and naps can all happen in the car / in public / wherever they need to happen.

mackenzie napping postnatal yoga
This nap happened during our postnatal yoga class. She’s so good at savasana.

 

alyse mackenzie at zilker
This is also a nap. Funny thing, we get way better nap results when we’re out and about.

 

So that’s how we’re doing it, so far. It’s far from perfect; it still takes us an embarrassing amount of time to leave the house and also to come back in. But at least we’re out and about. 🙂

Getting out of a rut

The last few weeks have been very much a time of transition. I’m watching my body shape shift before my eyes, and Moonshine has been kicking up a storm. She wakes me up in the morning with her ferocious little jabs, then celebrates with a happy dance after every meal and in every savasana.  (She’s clearly my and Nathan’s daughter; eating is already her favorite activity).

All this movement, and the increasing proportion of clothes in my closet that just don’t work anymore, is making this whole baby business a hell of a lot more real.

Cue freakout.

I had a moment, last week, while I was walking the dog. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, wearing what had become my uniform for the last two weeks or so: branded cotton tank, wrinkled maternity shorts, and birkenstocks.

Because every bump photo needs some duck lips.
This was literally my uniform for nearly a month.

 

I have this rule for myself. Basically, the ONLY real rule I have for myself: don’t go outside looking like a homeless person. Just because pajamas are my default state of being doesn’t mean the rest of the world has to experience my tattered sweats, sleep creased face, and crazy hair.

I had drifted really, really close to breaking my cardinal rule. It’s a slippery slope, y’all. And while I could push the boundaries while we were in Tahoe—where dusty outdoor gear is the universal uniform—it doesn’t blend in so well in downtown Austin.

More than that, my clothing complacency was just an index for what was happening in the rest of my life: I was slipping. Meal planning and grocery shopping was basically nonexistent. Planning for the baby (and maternity leave?) was something I had been avoiding. My exercise was getting haphazard (and occasionally offensive).

Something had to change. Many things had to change. I had to get my butt in gear and start owning this big thing creeping up on me and my waist size.

I started with the clothes: I went and got myself some maternity-friendly tops so I could pretend to be more put together when I left the house. I even invested in a maternity LBD that will carry me through a couple fall weddings and the holiday season.

sweat pink
More on this dress later – it’s magical.

I started grocery shopping, and actually making myself delicious, nutritious things to eat. Moonshine is doing all sorts of happy dances.

I’m also diversifying my snacking opportunities (since I find myself needing to eat every couple of hours, I was in a serious snacking rut). My Bulu Box provided just that opportunity to change it up without having to commit to new products at the grocery store.

sweat pink lovebulu

The chicken jerky, especially, is rocking my damn world. I haven’t been much on the meat train, for whatever reason, but for some reason this salty savory jerky is the exception to my meat aversion rule. Probably because I fall immediately in love with anything that involves basil. Hooray for lean protein! (Happy dances are happening).

My Hemp Heart Bites are making a regular appearance in my purse, too. I love having little protein rich snacks handy at all times, and these are chock full of omegas (so good for Moonshine’s brain development!).

sweatpink hhbites

I’m doing better on the exercise front, too. I’m recommitting to yoga, and even found a prenatal class I like.

sweatpink yoga

 

I’m also rocking out my home workouts on my BOSU.

sweat pink bosustrong

Then I tackled the work thing (or at least, started to). After reading a ton on the internets, trying to find other moms-to-be who run their own businesses, and trying to figure out just how they managed TWO babies without letting either one suffer, I decided I just need to create my own reality.* I made myself a Do-or-Die-Before-Baby list so I can make my absence easier for my team, and I’m actively trying to make myself dispensable so that as few people as possible are depending on me.

I’m feeling so much better already. So much more in control of my life, my health, my career. There’s still a lot of opportunity to improve – but all trends are pointing in the right direction.

In closing, I leave you with this:

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p.s. You can get 50% off a 3-month subscription to Bulu Box with the code SWEATPINK.

p.p.s. You can get 15% off Hemp Heart Bites with the code HHBitesLaunch15. You can also enter to win a case of Hemp Hearts by sharing a photo of how you and your family stay active and tagging @manitobaharvest #hhbites!

* That said, if you’re someone who had a baby and runs her own business, and wants to keep running her own business, I would LOVE to hear how you did it. I’m really struggling with this, and my online searching was pretty unfruitful. 

I received the BOSU, Hemp Heart Bites, and the Bulu Box for free. All opinions and life plans are my own. 🙂 Thanks for supporting the brands who support the Sweat Pink Community. 

Walking away from MSG and judgers

I just got back from our annual conference, Blogfest, and have a ton of things on my mind, some pregnancy related, some not.

sweat pink blogfest fun
LOVE these Cory Vines jackets we had made for Blogfest. I’m still living in mine.

 

blogfest sweat pink best fitness conference

We had an amazing weekend at the conference, and I must say, traveling during second trimester is much, much easier than during the first. I’m so grateful to my team—Jamie, Dapinder, Liz, here’s looking at you—for taking such good care of me this weekend and doing all the heavy lifting.

I was literally the “sit here and watch the stuff while your team members carry heavy furniture and boxes, and then feed you” girl this weekend.

Post conference, things have been a little… funky. Recovering from the conference has taken a slightly different road than usual, and not just because I’m knocked up. (tl;dr: less sleeping, more eating than usual).

ANYWAY. I’ll be back with more about all that once I have a chance to process and articulate my thoughts.  Here’s what’s happening in pregnancy land.

All the eating.

I am hungry every couple of hours. Debilitatingly hungry. Panicky, can’t think straight hungry. So I’m eating 5-6 meals every day. And it’s pretty fun.

Now, before you get all up in arms about how I shouldn’t really be eating for two, here’s what my midwife told me, and I quote:

Don’t worry about calories or weight gain. Just eat when you’re hungry, and eat smaller meals often, so your blood sugar stays more consistent.

Possibly the best thing a care provider—or any human, for that matter—has ever said to me.

Cravings

second trimester food cravings

I’m all about the hard boiled eggs, the avocado, the yogurt, and the breakfast burrito these days. Siggi’s yogurt, specifically. High fat proteins are where it’s at.

second trimester food cravings

I also had this weird holdover craving from first trimester: Mongolian barbecue. Greasy pan-asian noodles just sounded so.darn.good, but I couldn’t find any close to me in Austin, so as soon as I arrived at my parents’ house, I recruited a willing lunch companion: my dad.

second trimester pregnancy cravings

I suspected that Mongolian Barbecue was not going to be as delicious as I remembered (I think the last time I had it was in high school?!) but rest assured, it was just as salty and greasy and carb-y and perfect as I had hoped. It didn’t even matter that I’m not nauseous anymore; it just tasted good.

Symptoms

Mostly feeling good! I’ve had a few nauseous moments but nothing to write home about. I get out of breath at embarrassing moments, like walking up the stairs or hustling between sessions at the conference last weekend.

second trimester symptoms
This is obviously not me. When I started feeling lightheaded during conference workouts, I took pictures of other, more awesome people. Pictured: @PowerCakes & @HipHealthyChick, rocking those plank jacks.

 

I also find that my energy gets zapped more quickly, especially in group settings. I’m an introvert by nature and my people-time energy seems to have lost some of its staying power.

The biggest symptom I’ve noticed (besides the uncomfortable pressure along my waistband) are MSG headaches. I’ve never had an issue with MSG; quite the opposite, really. I love nacho cheese doritos and basically anything doused in the salty good stuff. I even own a shaker of MSG, which my husband and I used to put on mac’n’cheese and other yummy things that of course we would never eat because I’m in the fitness industry. 

Unfortunately, my love affair with the much maligned additive seems to be over. I had some less-than-amazing takeout a few weeks ago (see: greasy noodle cravings) and had a crushing headache for the next two days. That delicious bowl of noodles I slurped down unfortunately seemed to incite the same pressure in my temple… so I’m going to try to stay away from MSG (sob) and see if the headaches do, too.

All the judgments

So, now that you’re judging me for devouring that Mongolian barbecue and confessing my love of MSG, let me share the first moment of actual judgment I’ve experienced since becoming a vessel for another life.

I made some offhand comment to an acquaintance about how I was eating fairly healthy now, but I ate only potato chips in my first trimester because I couldn’t keep anything else down. (Which, as you know, is partly true and also partly not true; I also ate a lot of bagels).

The look on her face was the most judgey, withering scorn I have seen in a long time.

It was irritating, to say the least, but I also felt completely at ease walking away from that conversation and not letting her reaction bother me. I own the fact that my first trimester was all about getting through it, any way I could.

Go away, judgers. Ain’t no room for you here.

I’m back, b*tches!

I’m officially on day 2 of my second trimester and wowee! I love second trimester energy so far. I still have random bouts of nausea, mostly at night, but overall, I almost feel like myself again. Never again will I take normal life, energy levels, appetite, or activities for granted.

shredded paper chain
Paper chain: ELIMINATED.

 

Lots of big news around these parts:

sweat pink fit pregnancy

  • I’m eating vegetables. Like, so many vegetables. And fruits. And eggs. And sweets. And basically anything with flavor. There’s a whole new world to explore.

kosmic kombucha

  • I got the green light to drink kombucha. My midwife said all the live cultures are great for me, and the tiny bit of alcohol wasn’t a concern. Her words were, “If you start feeling drunk, stop drinking it. Otherwise you should be fine.”
  • Speaking of… after dating interviewing lots of care providers, from OBs to nurse midwives at birthing centers to the hippiest of the hippie midwives, I’ve made my decision. More on why I’m going with midwives, coming soon.

sweat pink gaiam

  • I went to yoga this morning. My couch potato streak is over. Good riddance. I’m not fully up to speed with exercise—yoga this morning was a relatively low-intensity, not too challenging class, but still rather humbling. Even so, just being there and making it through the hour made me feel like a champion. Also, endorphins. How I’ve missed you, my pretties.

sweat pink fit pregnancy

  • I may have done the impossible and overdosed on my favorite food. I ate so much string cheese, cheese pizza, and grilled cheese sandos during first trimester that I’m kind of over cheese right now. Not so much that it makes me sick to think about or eat, but I am tired of it. I’m not choosing it.

 

  • My jeans feel really uncomfortable. I can mostly hide this bump situation—right now it just looks like I have a beer gut or ate too much queso—but ick, buttoning my jeans feels awful, as does zipping up several of my skirts. As I discovered this morning trying to get dressed for yoga, the same is true for most of my yoga pants/ athletic wear. This is the downside to having been at a more or less consistent weight for the last seven years: I don’t really have any fat clothes to rely on. The wardrobe options are getting more and more scarce. Time to go shopping, obviously. 

 

Now that I have all this energy, I have a few missions I’ve set for myself. First and foremost, get back into regular exercising. It couldn’t be more perfect timing that the #LJInspired challenge starts on Monday: I’m thinking of that challenge as the perfect opportunity to get my butt back into gear, and have some built-in accountability and motivation.

I’m planning to take full advantage of BlogFest next week, namely, some of the sponsors that will be there. One of my favorite yogurt brands, Siggi’s, is bringing us some super delicious yogurt snacks (!!) and I am so, so happy that I’ll actually be able to enjoy all that yogurt goodness.

blogfest sweat pink
I’m also putting together some final thoughts on survival skills for the first trimester (coming soon). Hopefully it will be helpful to someone. If nothing else, I still have some venting to do, and y’all know how I love to vent.

 

Happy Friday, everyone!