January 30, 2015

Satisfying Those Pregnancy Cravings

The most common question I get from friends and family members is, "How are you feeling/doing?" This question is typically followed by, "What are you craving?"

I have no idea why I feel awkward but for both of these questions, I don't have a riveting response. I have felt, for the most part, really good. As I have said before, I truly did not suffer from morning sickness, extreme exhaustion, and have yet to reach the point of complete discomfort. I know those days are nearing me sooner than I would like to anticipate. However, I can't really say that I have had crazy pregnancy cravings or desires for indulgent foods anymore than I did before I was pregnant.

I have always been a person with a HUGE sweet tooth! As a youngster, I loved going out to eat. I would get an appetizer as my meal and then get dessert. Then as a teenager, you know when you are all body conscious, I would opt for a salad and then a huge dessert! I no longer do this when dining out, but I would much prefer a blondie brownie ala mode over any exquisite steak dish any night (I'm salivating just thinking about it!)

I guess the truth is that I do have cravings, on a daily basis, but I try not to indulge in them. But, this is no different than prior to being pregnant.

I have let up on a few things. For example, I now indulge in ranch dressing and croutons on my salad! (Gasp) We have those in the house for when the players are over for dinner, but I have now claimed them both as my own, lol. I occasionally will water down the ranch, to lessen the calories, but more often than not it's full blown ranch and I am sticking to it! I too do not limit carbs for early in my day, and I stopped trying to limit my cheese/dairy intake. If we have a baked potato with dinner, I use sour cream & butter, and am loving all the fat! However, we really do not consume white starches, well potatoes, but no white breads, white rice, or noodles. We continue to use quinoa noodles, quinoa instead of rice, and Ezekiel bread/muffins.

Just watch Fed Up, and you will not want to consume any fast food chain items. Over the last year and a half, Coach and I have slowly transitioned to a more Real Food philosophy on eating. Well, Coach really does not have a choice in the matter, lol. I do the grocery shopping, and cook many of the meals so he is transitioning out of necessity, rather than desire. But, he does feel a difference when he is eating well-balanced and natural foods vs processed foods. I do not know how the guys do it being on the road. I mean, they kind of have to eat all that processed food on a regular basis. Coach habitually gains 10-15lbs each basketball season, which he loses after the season is over, because of the eating out and his decreased workout sessions.

We definitely are not consumers of all local, organic, and non-processed foods but we make a conscientious effort to not consume lots of crap. I recently read "Real Food For Mother and Baby" and highly recommend the book to any woman who wants to conceive (TTC), is pregnant, or just interested in books about eating 'real food.' My mother read the first few chapters and found them very interesting. I am very grateful to one of my cousins who sent it my way!

Now please do not think I am over here saying I eat broccoli and grilled chicken every day all day because that is untrue! When my mother was in town a few weeks ago she made some scrumptious brownies and cookies for Coach's office. Please believe I made a plate just for me!

Or, the other night when I consumed 75% of the pint-sized So Delicious Soymilk Turtle Trails frozen dessert. Coach was a little miffed so he went out to Whit's Frozen Custard and got himself a desert. I have actually never eaten Whit's even though Coach sings its praises. He let me have a bite, and I was so elated when I decided that it's not as good as Handel's in Toledo! Now, do not even get me started on Insomnia Cookies! O-M-G, those cookies are beyond divine, but surprisingly we haven't eaten them in a couple of months. If you are in Athens, you must try the Peanut Butter Cup Cookie - pure chocolate-peanut buttery goodness.

What sweet & salty, fun things am I consuming on a regular basis?

Banana Ice Cream: One of the easiest home-made desserts that only requires 3-ingredients - banana, peanut/nut butter, and almond milk! Now if you want to get fancy you can add vanilla, cinnamon, and any other toppings that your heart desires! Coach enjoys this when I add chocolate chips to the mix or even coconut. Yum, here is a simple Vegan Banana Ice Cream Recipe.

Silk Almondmilk: Nothing too fancy about this rich, chocolate drink. I do prefer to buy the individual packs of the Silk Dark Chocolate Almondmilk to control my portion size. I have a tendency to desire a beer glass size when I purchase the half gallon size.

Nachos with Cheese: As you can see, there is only one salty indulgence that really calls my name and it is quite simple - nachos with melted cheese! Then all you need is a side of salsa and your snack is complete. And, quite well-rounded if I do not say so myself (veggies, protein, and carb [ Kidding; not kidding lol. I honestly do not consider salsa a vegetable unless it is home-made!]).

Gluten-Free Banana Bread: We do not follow a strict gluten-free and/or paleo diet, but I do tend to cook with many recipes that qualify as one or the other. Recently I found this delicious One Bowl Gluten Free Banana Bread and know it will be on high rotation. I may also whip up this Sweet Potato Bread for Coach for when I am out of town!

Peanut Butter & Chocolate: This is a concoction that I have been doing since I was young. I first melt chocolate chips in the microwave and then stir in peanut butter or any type of nut butter. If I want to be fancy, I use crunchy nut butter and eat away. Because of my affinity for this snack, I try not to keep chocolate morsels readily available in the house!

SoDelicious Frozen Desserts: Hands down some of the best frozen, non-dairy stuff that I have ever had is the SoDelicious line of frozen deserts. Now, these pint-sized delicacies are not inexpensive by any means. I believe the soy line tends to be a little cheaper than the coconut or almond varieties, but they are absolutely scrumptious!

Oatmeal with Nut Butter: This one isn't so fancy and many would qualify this as a breakfast, which I would agree, but I do love the days when which I add a scoop of peanut/nut butter to my oatmeal. I too have used PB2 and enjoy it just as equally.

Follow my pinterest board, Healthy Snacks & Sweets... Is that Possible, for a host of other tantalizing desserts and snacks that are healthier than many of their store-brand and fast-food counterparts!

Happy Snacking!

Michelyn Cynthia

January 28, 2015

Bump Watch: Week 18

We take bump pictures on Sunday, when I am technically Xweeks 2days along, and my grey shirt was in the laundry basket. The grey tank will return next week! 

How Far Along:: 18 weeks

Size of Baby:: Miss Kemp is the size of a sweet potato!

Gender:: It's A Girl!

Stretch Marks:: I believe we are good! Remember, I am using a combination of oils + lotions plus lots of water drinking!

Sleep:: Going good. I am making a conscientious effort to sleep on my side more, and have begun investigating various pregnancy pillows. But overall, I sleep like a rock, and only remember my 2-3 nightly bathroom visits.

Question: Which pregnancy pillow would you recommend?

Exercise::The cats out the bag - this lady truly feels pregnant when working out! I know, I've been pregnant for 5 months, but it truly hit me this week, Saturday to be exact.

Saturday's WOD was one of the infamous benchmark hero WODS, Carse. And well, it kicked me in my A*S! I scaled down the weights to 45lbs for the squat clean and 95lbs for deadlifts; I too only used a 18" box for the box jumps, but the shear mass of the workout- holy moley! My mantra was "You're pregnant; you're not out of shape! Keep moving and breathing." I honestly payed no attention to the clock as I did not want to add that pressure of a time component. There are no PRs (personal records) while pregnant. As long as I am staying active, then I am one happy camper!

Cravings:: Tomorrow I plan to compile some of my healthy eats that have been lessening my urge for crappy foods, but the other night I did have a dream about Taco Bell! I can't even remember the last time I consumed Taco Bell, but I was eating it during my dream, and then thought about it for a good portion of my day. Luckily, it is clear across town, and the thoughts of the repercussions (i.e., stomach ache) prevented me from hopping in the car and heading that way.

Miss Anything::Saturday's game was a nail biter - see the winning dunk from my MAC Mania post. Well, while the game, ok towards the end, a headache returned and I neglected to bring my peppermint oil with me. I now know that I need to travel with it in my purse; it's not called "essential" oil for nothing. I am attributing my headache to the game, but it too made me yearn for a post-game cocktail! We went out to dinner, and the restaurant only served Pepsi, which I am not a fan of, so I stuck with water; rather than splurging on a diet coke.

Symptoms:: Not only have I been deflated during my workouts, but also during work. I was really beginning to think that I would escape momnesia (aka pregnancy brain), but it hit late in my 17th week and now strong for week 18. I am a notorious note-taker, but have ramped it up lately.

Belly Button In or Out:: In

Movement:: On Sunday I was nearly certain I felt some movement, on the left side of my uterus. It was as if some part of her body was "stretching" along my insides. Not sure if it is a hallucination as I haven't been still since Sunday night when I was watching Miss Universe

Looking Forward to:: Non-pregnancy related, but I get my hair done on Saturday in Columbus! I will post a few pictures on Instagram, hope you are following me!

On My Mind: Not pregnancy-related, but more blog-related in nature. With the new year, and the fact that I do not consider myself a fashion blogger, I am wavering on my continuation of my game-day posts! I will be gone for a stretch of home games coming up, so I will mull it over, but I honestly love bargain shopping at Nordstrom Rack, TJMaxx, DSW, and the sale section of ShopBop. 95% of my attire come from those shops, and many have been purchased months ago! I have never been a person who can go shopping for one item. If I am going shopping, it is a "throw it in the bag" type of fiasco; hence my love for discounted stores. The only time bargain and/or sale becomes non-existent is when I am shopping for a new purse. I still follow the "throw it the bag" mentality but at Louis Vuitton which HAS gotten me in trouble!

So back to the A-Game Attire series... Is it even worth doing game-day attire posts if my followers can't actually go out and purchase those items today!?! Ok, there are bigger fish to fry, but just something I have been wondering about and a reason why those posts have diminished. Let me know your thoughts.

Another issue, is the fact that I have not been able to sync my getting dressed with Coach Kemp's departure time so that too has made it a little difficult.

After our game on Saturday, and a win nonetheless, a very jubilant Coach obliged for some picture taking.

Cardigan: The Other Place (local Athens store on Court Street)
Tank: Target
Pants: Nine West via TJMaxx (old); similar, similar
Boots: Gifted

Best Moment of the Week::Coach having a last-minute schedule change, and being home on Sunday, rather than out recruiting!

Michelyn Cynthia

January 27, 2015

Miss Universe: Predictions & Thoughts

Watching Miss Universe while 18 weeks pregnant was not the most ideal thing to do!

I realize that I am not that huge right now, but the stomach is only getting bigger by the day (Are you following my weekly Bump Updates?), and we still have another 22 weeks to go. I thought perusing some of my pictures as Miss Wisconsin USA would abate my anxiety of only getting larger or providing some hope that I, at one point, was thin!

Unfortunately, it only did the opposite!

Luckily, I thought ahead and ate a relatively healthy diet the whole day, which was one very small consolation for my misery. Since Sunday, I have killed, as much as a pregnant lady is advised, my CrossFit workouts on Monday and Tuesday! Oh, the struggles of body image while pregnant.

Early Sunday morning, Prince and I got up and reviewed all the 88 candidates vying for the title of Miss Universe. Ok, Prince just sat in my lap while I did all the decision-making. Every once in a while he would wiggle or squirm but he agreed with all of my decisions - smart dog.

Coach enjoys watching the pageants with me, and typically joins on my prediction game but he decided that narrowing the contestants from 88 to 15 was too daunting.

Here is my top 15, picked before the show, in no particular order:

Brains, Beauty & Basketball's Top 15 Predictions
Dominican Republic
Puerto Rico
Costa Rica
Great Britain

As you can see from my asterisks, I did pretty damn well with predicting the Top 15 for Miss Universe 2014!

I was most bummed that Miss Guam, Brittany Bell, did not make the cut. She actually competed at Miss USA in 2010 as Miss Arizona! Love her natural curly hair too (not pictured in any of her 'official' Miss Universe photos!)

I absolutely LOVED that the opening number showcased their National Costumes! I remember hoping that Miss USA would bring back the State Costume competition for Miss USA when I competed, but it did not occur. The last time that this was held at Miss USA was 1993. I would love to see a resurgence of this area, even if it is not weighed in the final standings.

After opening number, the girls changed into Sherri Hill sponsored two piece cocktail outfits – I believe there were three styles for the top and two skirt options. I actually prefer when everyone wears the same outfit, or they are all different. My brain wanders from girl to girl pondering if she chose the right ensemble for her figure. Oh gosh. Just have one dress option or many. Maybe I am a little neurotic!

And from there, our official Top 15 semi-finalists were announced. Here is the official Top 15, with my asterisks by the Top 10 that thought would continue after the swim suit competition.

 Brains, Beauty & Basketball's Top 10 Predictions (in asterisks)
Indonesia *

Excuse me a moment - toot toot! Uhm yes, I was pretty much dead on for the Top 10, with 9/10 of my girls going forth.

I enjoyed the swimsuit portion of the competition except all of the extra accessories that the non-finalist contestants adorned. At one point before that portion of the competition, the camera showed the girls backstage getting ready to enter and I simply prayed that the contestants would not be wearing the gloves, headpieces, and feather boas.

Luckily, the girls came out wearing their Yamamay sponsored swimsuit with simple, silver cover-ups which was great! Of course, the cover-ups were removed instantly, but the effect and movement of the silver material always bodes well for the camera.

After the swimsuit competition, we dwindled down the Top 10 to 5. Here is the Top 10, and my 5 picks!

Brains, Beauty & Basketball's Top 5 Predictions (in asterisks)

Prior to the on-stage question, this was my order for the title!

Jamaica - Miss Universe

USA - Tie for 1st RU

Colombia - Tie for 1st RU
Ukraine - 3rd RU
Netherlands - 4th RU
During the commercial break, I said a few prayers for Miss Jamaica. Actually, I said them aloud because Coach said an “Amen!”

Ugh, I was utterly disappointed in nearly all of the contestants’ responses… However, I also sympathized for the contestants because I could barely understand many of the questions being asked of the judges! Like honestly, you must enunciate and speak clearly. I mean Colombia had a clear advantage since she was able to hear the question in English, and then her interpreter repeated it in Spanish! And I will be completely honest, after Miss Jamaica’s response, I was simply crumbled and got lost in my anguish for what I had just heard. My prayers to the pageant gods had not been heard.

I mean look at this woman…

And many in the stands and Twitter-land agree with me. This Washington Post article discusses many viewers dismay when Miss Jamaica was named 4th runner-up!

At the end of the day, pageants are so hard to predict! Any of the 88 women who vied for the title could have done a fabulous job as Miss Universe, especially the Top 5 from Sunday night. I, along with many others, were simply blown away by Miss Jamaica and disappointed when she did not go home with the title! I am certain that many more doors will open for her, and wish her the best of luck!

* All pictures were taken from the Miss Universe website*


January 26, 2015

MAC Mania Week 12

Only 6 more weeks of MAC regular season games, which amounts to another 12 games for our teams! I was thinking, wow, we are heading down to the home stretch but then when I learned there are 12 more games to play!?! Already folks, 12 games is a lot of hoops to play and there have been a number of nail biters and upsets thus far. We, the Ohio MBB just had one for ourselves on Saturday!

I know, I have been keeping this weekly update so non-bias UNTIL today! Did you really think I would last the whole series without one or two plugs?!?

Let's see how the team's are doing overall... (I am considering adding a column for MAC conference play since that is what will determine the MAC Tournament in March.)

Ball State
Central Michigan
Bowling Green
Eastern Michigan
Northern Illinois
Kent State
Western Michigan

* Includes Exhibition game

Week1     Week 6     Week 11
Week 2    Week 7
Week 3    Week 8
Week 4    Week 9
Week 5    Week 10