MCLV Mange | Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Dates

I love an easy dessert. Combine simple ingredients with a seriously delicious end result, and I’m a happy, happy girl.

These date-based dessert bites are a winner. Sweet date-y goodness mixed with rich chocolate and salty nut butter. What could possibly be better?

{Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Dates – Vegan, Paleo & Gluten-Free}

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Dates – Ingredients:

  • 12 whole dates
  • 1/4 cup of nut butter
  • Bag of chocolate chips or chocolate bar
  • Sea salt for finishing
  • Optional: Coconut oil

Directions:

  • If you’re using dates with the pits, remove the pits – Using a small knife cut a slit across the top of each date. Place the dates on a parchment paper or tin foil lined baking sheet, or in a large freezer safe dish with a lid.
  • Fill each date with your nut butter of choice and place them in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  • While they’re cooling down, it’s time to melt your chocolate. You can microwave it, but I personally think it turns out better if you pop them on the stove top in a small pan with a teaspoon of coconut oil. Stir until smooth and even.
  • Once the 15 minutes is up, take your dates out of the freezer and dip them one at a time into the melted chocolate. Coat each date completely before returning to the baking sheet/container.
  • After they’ve sat for a minute or so, sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt.
  • Let them set for 10-15 minutes in the fridge before eating.
  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge. If you don’t like to eat them cold, you can let them “thaw” for 5-10 minutes before enjoying.

Enjoy!

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MCLV Pregnancy | First Trimester Exercise & Workouts

I recently referred to the first trimester as the best three month nap of your life and that really is an excellent description. I can say, without a doubt, that fatigue was the biggest symptom of my first trimester. More so even than nausea or headaches or nasal congestion.

As someone who has had trouble sleeping on and off for years, the first trimester was a glorious return to easy, no effort sleep. But as someone used to working out and cooking dinner every night after work, I was shocked by how little I felt capable of for the first three months of my pregnancy. I routinely fell asleep in the car on the way home from work at 4:30pm, could barely manage to reheat leftovers for dinner, and passed out cold well before 7pm for a sold 8 weeks.

So what did that mean for my workout routine? It meant that I had to be gentle with myself, listen to my body, and take a step back my workouts. I went from two workouts a day 5-6 days a week to one workout a day, 7 days a week.

I have done a midday workout for years, since I’m lucky enough to have an office gym, and have had a calendar reminder set up in my Outlook for years to ensure that I don’t schedule things during that window. It’s a habit that really paid off, because that workout window became my only time to workout during the first trimester. I was awake, still had energy, and was usually excited to move my body. Sometimes I was tired or busy or just plain not in the mood, but I went anyway. If I wasn’t up for much, I’d just walk on the treadmill.

But, for the most part, knowing that time was my only chance to stretch, move, and break a sweat, meant that I looked forward to it.

When I found out I was pregnant I immediately started Googling workout modifications and prenatal workouts and started a long list of questions for my doctor. Her response? Do what feels good and when it becomes uncomfortable, stop. Simple right?

Note: Be sure to talk to your doctor about your individual needs and chat about changes you’d like to make in advance. What worked for me may not work for you, so it’s always best to discuss with your doctor prior to making any shifts in your lifestyle and activity levels, especially during pregnancy.

So, since I was physically feeling okay and didn’t have much nausea at 9:30am, I turned to the Tone It Up app. I started an 8 week weightlifting and strength program almost as soon as I found out that I was pregnant, and loved it. I felt strong and empowered. And on days that I felt bored, I supplemented with whatever other types of workouts sounded appealing.

I also ran and took Mighty Pilates classes on weekends for most of the first trimester.

With the fatigue and nausea of the first trimester, staying active was a great way to show my body some love and I’m glad that I kept myself motivated.

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MCLV Style | Easy Summer Dresses

I love a good Summer dress. Well, to be fair, I love most dresses. I mean, what’s not to love? One piece and you’re done. Easy peasy.

But I have to say, after months of leggings, I’m especially ready to break out the warm weather frocks this year.

So bring on the easy Summer dresses! {Some of these are on SUPER sale, so be sure to check them out!}

Floaty Florals:

Casual & Easy to Wear Frocks:

Midi & Maxi Madness:

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MCLV Pregnancy | Pregnancy Safe Skin Care

When you get pregnant there’s a lot to worry about. There’s a lot to learn. There’s a lot to do. There’s a lot not to do. It can be overwhelming.

Luckily, I have been interested in skin care for years and had already started to transition over to clean brands and products that are better for both myself and the environment.

A few of the no no’s that I read about that pregnant women shouldn’t use are: Benzoyl Peroxide, Fragrances, BPA, Hydroquinone, Formaldehyde, Parabens, Phthalates, Retinoids, Salicylic Acid, Thioglycolic Acid, Chemical Sunscreens, and Botulinum Toxin.

Some of those I expected – Botox & Retinol – Others were more of a surprise, like Benzoyl Perioxide. Others I don’t think should be in any products and you should throw away bottles if you see them on a label (Formaldehyde, BPA).

Luckily, my core skin care routine, minus the retinol, was in the clear. Below are the pregnancy safe skin care products that I used, and loved, throughout my pregnancy:

Eyes:

Serums:

Moisturizers:

Sunscreen:

Cleansers:

Masks:

I was pretty happy with what I found and I’m sure that I’ll keep using these brands and products for years to come!

What’s on YOUR beauty shelf?

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Mood Boosting Dance Cardio

Whether you’re still sheltering in place, don’t want to renew your gym membership, or have just started to enjoy working out from home – I’ve got a fun, mood boosting workout for you.

Dance Cardio!

Upbeat workouts, great music, and an instant smile. I’ve come to really enjoy these workouts over the past few months and I mix a few into my workout routine every week.

Below are a few of my favorite YouTuber’s that are sharing free dance cardio workouts that I think you’ll enjoy!

The Studio by Jamie Kinkeade:

An amazing round-up of different styles of dance cardio-based workouts on their YouTube channel. And if you love them as much as I do, you can also buy on-demand classes on their website.

MadFit – The workout channel for YouTuber Maddy Lymburner

Her 90’s and 2000’s dance workouts are EPIC, such great moves and music. And she has a bunch of shorter one-song workouts that you can pick and choose from.

Pamela Reif

This YouTube legend has started adding dance cardio to her repertoire and they’re such a fun way to mix up your workouts.

What’s YOUR favorite workout right now?

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