On Cravings, A Growing Belly, and Greece

We’re over half way there to meeting our baby boy! The first trimester seemed to inch slowly and since we’ve announced, time has flown! I can honestly say this has been a dream pregnancy and I’m so grateful that I’ve felt this good. I’ve definitely added more naps in my life, because well, naps are life! I’ve kept up with my normal exercise routine, mostly to balance out the teenage boy appetite my son has. Boy loves pizza :-). And Costco ice-cream swirl. Ok, and their hot dogs. At least Michael and I split the ice cream???

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I’ve definitely had some strange cravings—things I haven’t eaten in years. I usually crave something for a week and once I have it, it’s on to the next craving. Early on in my pregnancy, I told Michael, “At some point this week, we have to go to Buffalo Wild Wings and get garlic parmesan wings.” Let me tell you, those wings were perfection! Other foods have included cabbage soup, salads for breakfast with a lot tomatoes and some goat cheese, whole milk, and fruit, such as pears, kiwis, and Cara Cara oranges.

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Mommas, what were some of your cravings when preggo?

It’s strange to watch my stomach grow and not fit in my zip-up & button pants. I have a few pairs of pants that are stretchy, so those are my go-to’s until I land in maternity clothes. I have a feeling those days are coming soon!

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20 Weeks Preggo!

One of the coolest parts has been feeling him move around every once in a while! It feels like little paint brush strokes on the inside of my belly. And no, we don’t have a name yet. We have one name we keep going to, but nothing official.

Another sweet part of this season is my sister-in-love, Abby, is also pregnant and due a day before us! We just found out this week that they are also having a boy! BOY COUSINS! How fun is that?!

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Since we found out that we are pregnant, I’ve been reading and writing in a devotional for expectant mommas. It’s called Waiting in Wonder by Catherine Larson and I’ve loved doing it. I highly recommend it for other mommas-to-be!

Other than growing a human, things have been pretty low-key for us. I can’t believe we are almost in April. On our calendar, we have a fun trip planned to Greece that we are calling the babymoon! Quality-time with Michael, gyros & stuffed grape leaves, and Santorini pathways?! I can barely contain my excitement!

Anyone else have any spring break or summer trips planned?

I’ll close with this adorable onesie a friend gave me!

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Xo.

Five Favorite Foods for Friday: Edition 2

Last FFFFF was a hit, so I figured another one would be welcomed!

First though, my parents came to visit us last weekend and we had such a good time with them! We showed them around our new house and all of the renovations we’ve added. I loved watching their faces as we did our own version of an HGTV reveal! We also went out to eat at a few of our favorite spots (Don Taco, Old Ebbitt Grill, & Landini Brothers), and I even managed to convince my dad and Michael to paint an accent wall behind our bed. I kept saying to Michael that we needed a bold color…like really bold, but he wasn’t convinced. I even had a dream one night that the wall was painted and I woke up convinced the wall had.to.be.painted. Plus we had a great coupon from Sherwin-Williams for 40% off! That alone is worth pulling out the brushes! Am I right or am I right?! Look, I’m just a girl with a dream and a coupon!

So on Saturday after the guys hit the gym and mom and I explored the farmers market and did a little shopping on King Street, they tackled the wall and an hour later, voila!

The before:

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The after(!):

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When I meant bold, I really meant bold! This color is a dark charcoal called “Peppercorn.” Normally I abide closely with my whites and greys, but oh I’m so obsessed with this wall. Almost nightly I exclaim, “I love this wall, don’t you love it!?”

Anyways, more pictures of our home to come!

Now on to the new foods you gotta try.

  1. Just Beets {aka Beet Chips} from Trader Joes ($2.99): These babies have ONE ingredient. You guessed it, beets! The crunch and flavor factor are perfection. unnamed-4
  2. The Best Ever Lentil Salad: I’ve made this twice now and I am already planning to make it again this weekend. The flavor combinations work so well together and the abundant leftovers hold great in the fridge. This is going to be my go-to at the next dinner party or potluck!
  3. Grilled Squash Prosciutto Skewers with Mint Sauce: This was a new recipe I tried this past weekend with my parents and it was a total success! Since we already had the grill going for steaks, we added these for an easy side dish with the lentils. YUM AND YUM.
  4. Figs: It’s no secret I’m a fig lover, especially this recipe using fresh figs!  But when my little darlings aren’t in season, dried figs come to the rescue. When I saw this huge bag of dried figs for $9.99 at Costco, I almost gave the bag a little hug as I put it in my cart. I love a fig or two with a small handful of almonds or cashews before a workout or for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up. Throwing one in a protein smoothie bowl is also a great addition!
  5. Double Chocolate Ice Cream with Peanut Butter Swirl: I decided to break out the ice cream maker and try this healthy (yes!) ice cream earlier this summer. With summer ending too soon, I’m thinking one more ice cream creation is a must.

    Photo Curtesy of Against All Grain

    Photo Courtesy of Against All Grain

That’s the top 5! Have you discovered anything new recently in the grocery or new recipes? Please comment and share!

Happy Weekend!

Oh Hello There!

Folks. We are 45 days away until I’m Shea Hawkins Smith. WOAH!

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Daylight savings has finally arrived now that it is March (THANK THE LORD). In one week, it will be April 1st. No joke! Really though, where has the time gone? This time last year I was in Bali with Steph and we were having fish suck our feet…life is weird.

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Michael and I went to Charlottesville last week to do a whirlwind of wedding thangs. We walked through our venue a few times (it’s official, I’m obsessed with it!), tasted our wedding food…and let me tell you…it is drool-worthy amazing and not your typical dinner :-)…and also met with our videographer (fun surprise coming there!) Oh…AND took our engagement pictures! Y’all, it was busy (as well as cold and rainy). Amidst the busy, Michael and I had a lot of fun spending some time together. We squeezed in a pre-martial counseling session with our Pastor and also had a fun date night in Charlottesville to one of Michael’s old favorite college spots. Let me brag on that fiancé of mine for one second. He was such a trooper going patiently through all of the wedding to-do’s…as well as changing my flat tire with the spare…and then changing my flat spare tire. He was willing to do any and everything to help me get what needed to get done. I’m smitten with that boy! 45 days!! 45 days!!

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In other news, I tried this cauliflower sauce recipe a few weeks ago and it was amazing. I didn’t think it was possible but since I’ve stolen my parents Vitamix, I gave it a swirl and was so pleased with the result.

Another food point of interest comes from my yahoo news: Taco Bell’s Biscuit Taco. First of all, I cannot tell you the last time I ate at Taco Bell. Someone please try this and let me know what you think. It’s not exactly in the “pre-wedding dress food plan” or really the “stay alive and healthy plan” so Imma need you to describe it to me in full details so I can live-eat vicariously through you. Thank you oh so much!

What else is there to report other than big life changes are on the way…you know…like getting married? For someone who tends to resist change, I’m always surprised with how the challenge of change excites and strengthens me. Not to mention, God’s peace is beyond my understanding and I get to do this new adventure with Michael. Pure bliss.

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Just a little hump day hello and a little love your way.

XO,

Shea

26: Trips, Food, & Love

I’m going to make a bold statement: Age 26 was the best year of my life thus far. I mean…it was epic.

26 was a year of continuing to become the person I’ve always wanted to be. There were a lot of disappointments, but some incredible lessons in love. I’m learning daily how to clumsily love better, both God and others…and trying to receive daily grace and love from God and others. It’s been a beautiful year and I am eager to see what 27 will bring. I have a feeling there’s going to be a lot of change and growth. I truly believe the years are just getting better and sweeter!

A few highlights from being 26:

1. I shredded some “extra Shea” through Advocare and being really passionate about exercise and the science of food intake working for the body.

2. On my 26th Birthday, I started Pure Barre took a total of 210 classes within one year! Lift, Tone, Burn, baby!

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3. I could eat raw foods, salads, veggies, and protein alllllll day long but have had a slight obsession with bourbon pecan pie, french toast, and TCBY Fro-Yo this year.

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4. I went to my first (and probably last) night club in Miami, FL. I think I had the gist of it within 30 seconds!

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5. My family and I took a mountain side vacation together to Lake Lure, NC

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6. I celebrated my one year Charleston anniversary with lots of friends and food

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7. Ice and snow shut down Charleston for a couple of days!

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8. Helen and I went skiing for the first time for one of our girls’ weekends!

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9. Stephanie and I ventured to the other side of the world to Bali, Indonesia and had some incredible experiences!

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10. Saving the best highlight for last… being reunited with my high school sweetheart, Michael! We dated 10 years ago and after a lot of growing up for the both of us, I am so grateful to call him both best friend and boyfriend.

1625630_10201720682290211_4899466001597001571_nCheers to another year ahead!

 

A Girl’s Heaven: Shopping, Eating, Spas, & Yoga in Bali

Day 5 March 25

The day started off a little like this…

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And a little of that…

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With a whole lotta shopping, eating, and spa treatments!

We went into town to explore some other areas we’ve never been to. Starbucks and gelato happened right away to eat as we went store to store. There just so happened to be a cremation ceremony happening today that gave us a little entertainment. Imagine a parade!

We moseyed to a restaurant called Down to Earth (yes, you guessed it! another raw/vegan/vegetarian café!) and I think I’ve had my favorite meal thus far!

-Fresh coconut to drink

-beet/fennel/pear salad

-rice spring wraps

-annnd I finished off Steph’s quiona salad that was the best mix I’ve ever put into my mouth! I’m going to dedicate an entire post to that recipe!

This pic is for you, Deborah!

This pic is for you, Deborah!

Those rice wraps. GOREGOUS right!?

For the daily spa treatment, Stephanie chose to get a honey cucumber facial. I had to get something from my purse and noticed she must have really felt relaxed because she was in a deep sleep letting that mask dry!

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Steph Spa(Yes, she did give me permission to post!)

I chose a milk cream deep treatment for my hair and the Angel (massage therapist) massaged my scalp/hair/neck. At one point I thought I would accidentally propose to the girl because it was that good. Afterwards, we found common ground in our long hair and she gave me a pretty little braid before going to yoga.

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I had read before the trip to take a class at the Yoga Barn. I’m so glad we did because it was an incredible setting to get our zen on. We chose a restorative 6pm class as the sun was setting. Taking a yoga class…in Bali…in an open air studio…I mean come on! The class itself was pretty good. We held “relaxing” positions for ten minutes…each. It was actually pretty difficult to fully relax and not focus on my wandering thoughts that went a little like this: move the leg here…no go back, breathe in deeply, hmmm where will dinner be tonight, exhale fully, that quinoa lunch though…stop holding your breath, ok move the leg back…

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Perhaps the best “take away” from the class was what the instructor said about those wandering thoughts. She said, “Thoughts come and go. Don’t be harsh on yourself for simply thinking. Just drop them and come back to focusing on your breath.” Then she went on to say, “Sometimes the hardest part of yoga, meditation, and life in general is simply getting out of the way of your self.”

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Is that so true? I’m usually the one who is telling myself negative things or too hard on myself. I really just need to get out of the way of my own self. “Breathe it all in, love it all out…”

The day ended at a restaurant called Kafe where we took our shoes off and ate some more healthy eats. Duh. A great day if you ask me!

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FOOD: A Few Thoughts & a Few Recipes

I love holidays. Especially when they fall on Mondays and I can stay in bed for as long as I want and pinterest and reminisce about all of the great food I’ve cooked up over the weekend. So…I’ve been MIA here on Bird’s Nest. Between work, a last-minute weekend trip to Miami, and keeping up with my workouts, I’ve been living! Oh yeah, and A LOT of scouring Pinterest for healthy food recipes.

It’s clear by my facebook, twitter, and instagram that I love to post pictures of the food I’ve been eating. You probably roll your eyes and think, “Another one?” every time I post a food pic, but…sorry, I can’t help but post about what I love!

Some of you know that I’ve made some signficiant food changes over the past 5 months. I’ve up’d my workouts, and have followed Advocare’s 24-Day Challenge as a companion to my intentionally healthy lifestyle. The end result? I’ve lost 23lbs! And mom is on board…she’s lost over 20lbs herself!

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I’ve never felt better, stronger, and healthier. If you’re interested in the 24-Day Challenge, comment or email me! I’ll give you the deets.

In any healthy lifestyle, it’s seriously 75% of what you put in your mouth. Processed & refined foods are killings us, people! And before they take our last breath…they’re making us fat. Our diet should mostly consist of lean protein, vegetables, fruit, healthy carbs (black beans, quinoa, etc.), and healthy fats (pure nutbutter, nuts, avocado, etc). White pastas, breads, sugar, oil, salt, alcohol, sodas, sugary juices, chips, crackers, packaged box meals, canned foods, freezer meals…or basically everything in the center of the grocery store that has a label…those are toxic “food-like” substances.

This post really isn’t to vent about food and what you should or shouldn’t be eating. I am just amazed at the power of “clean eating” of raw, whole foods that are actually food. They’ve changed my body and my life. Of course I crave my chick-fil-a on occasion and enjoy a slice of bourbon pecan pie… I’m human! However, I know how hard I’ll have to work it off and know that it WILL hurt my stomach because my body isn’t used to dealing with all of those ingredients chemicals anymore.

Back to what I’ve been scouring on Pinterest…and have actually tried!

1. This Shaved Apple, Fennel, & Celery Salad was SO good! It keeps well over night, so I was happy to have left overs. Great flavors together…a recipe I’ll be repeating!

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2. My usual go-to protein is chicken. I eat a lot of chicken. I’ve needed to change it up a bit and wanted to eat a “clean” version of Herb & Garlic Pork Tenderloin. I made it last night with the salad above and it was great!

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3. Another raw veggie recpie that I MUST make within the next week: Zucchini Noodles with Basil + Balsamic Marinaded Tomatoes (with garlic and pine nuts!). Y’all, do ya self a favor…make it.

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4. Salad, made by yours truly. I cannot stop eating this:

  • -spinach and spring mix salad greens
  • -sliced red grapes
  • -1 raw fig
  • -1 strawberry
  • -small handful of blueberries
  • -small handful of pomegranate seeds
  • -crumbled goat cheese (just a little!)
  • -a few walnuts, crumbled
  • -1/4 cup of cooked quinoa
  • 3oz grilled chicken
  • -Walden Farms Raspberry Dressing

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5. Healthy “Cake” Pops. I made these last night and I’m still undecided about them…which probably means I won’t recreate them anytime soon considering I have a freezer full on them. However, I liked the strawberry flavored ones MUCH better and will probably make them when I have kids one day because I fully intend to trick them into eating desserts that are healthy! If you make these, try the strawberry ones and keep in freezer…and add a few mini chocolate chips.

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6. Raw Garlic Herb Spreadable “Cheese.” Within the past few months, I’ve come to a new realization about myself: I am obsessed with cheese. I can’t remember a time in my life where I’ve craved soft goat cheese at every meal and had my self control put to test when I’m around manchego cheese. Too much cheese isn’t good…so I tried this recipe that’s made out of soaked cashews (like the cake pops). I like this recipe but need something delicious to put it on. I’m thinking about making these Grain-Free Rosemary Olive Oil Crackers for my spread tonight.

7. Grilled pizza. Ok, no it’s not the healthiest, but it was delicious and I’ve never had grilled pizza before!

-buffalo chicken pizza: buffalo sauce, orange peppers, mozzarella, blue cheese (or feta), & chopped celery

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-whole-wheat dough with spice marinara, red pepper flakes, mozzarella, prosciutto, & arugula

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-whole-wheat dough with goat cheese, figs, honey, balsamic vinegar, & fresh rosemary…because I am obsessed with figs!

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All that food. Within one weekend. Yep…I eat a lot of meals that look like this:

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But I eat a lot of delicious, flavorful meals that consist of REAL, colorful & flavorful food. Healthy, clean eating isn’t done in one meal, nor is one “cheat” meal going to make us fat. Consistency & creativity with food…I’ll cheers to that (with my Le Croix, fresh berries, & mint drink!).

Happy Labor Day!

Weather, Food, & Books: My Life in a Nutshell

Last weekend, the temperature had me grilling out pure goodness.

80 degrees, come back.

This weekend, the temperature hovered the 40s & 50s.

Today, I woke up to it raining and…SNOWING.

What?

80 degrees, come back…please.

In other news, my favorite patient in Hospice passed away last week. That’s never easy, but wow, I am really learning so much about life and death.

I started a new job as an “on-call” receptionist at a local church.

The Help is my new “read” (technically I’m listening to it). On my reading list for the next month or so: The Sacrament of the Present Moment by Jean-Pierre de Caussade, Peace for Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh, Love Wins by Rob Bell, & Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.

I decided to not go to Israel & Egypt this summer (for multiple reasons), but am excited to be planning my trip to California to visit family and friends!

I’m also getting ready for this comming Saturday to do a 10K with my momma! We gunna move it move it.

That’s my life in a nutshell…and I still can’t believe it’s snowing outside……………on March 28.