Friday Favorites–May 5th 2017

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Yup, this is what it looks like in New York City today – rain, rain and more rain. I guess even May showers will bring May flowers?

Did this week drag by SO slowly for anyone else?  Now that Friday has arrived, I’m ready to relax big time this weekend. I pushed myself a little harder than expected this week between workout dates, some work projects and nesting. Luckily, this weekend is starting with a fun massage and Target shopping trip with Heather this evening, relaxing at home with Bo tonight and then very few plans for the rest of the weekend other then our friend’s annual Kentucky Derby party tomorrow night. I have no idea what I’m wearing but hopefully one of my stretchy maxi dresses can work for the occasion. We are supposed to have a rainy weekend here in Brooklyn which means I’ll have to delay some of my gardening plans and errands. Oh well, just another excuse to relax, slow down and spend some time reading.  

Now, let’s dive into this week’s edition of Friday Favorites, including recipes, articles, posts and other things that caught my eye this week.

  • Two of my dear friends have had a very tough few months and I find myself often at a loss for words when I talk with them. Asking them “how are you doing” seems so silly  when I know that life sucks right now. Thankfully this article by Shery Sandberg helped me better understand how to talk with grieving friends and reminded me that ignoring their grief isn’t the right choice. Has anyone read her new book, Option B?
  • When Bo and I were in Savannah we went to Publix one afternoon to pick up Publix subs for lunch. Since I can’t go in a grocery store without perusing the aisles, we walked out with our sub sandwiches and two bags worth of things that we hadn’t seen in New York. These Dark Chocolate Blue Diamond Natural Roasted Almonds  have become one of my favorite afternoon snacks since that grocery trip. Luckily, I discovered that I can order these and the rest of their flavors online!
  • When I work from home I love to light a candle and listen to music, especially when I’m focused on a project. This chill, cool down Spotify playlist that Nicole shared has been on repeat all week.
  • I shared a few healthier ice cream alternatives last month but this high protein banana froyo from Self Magazine has 10 grams of protein and just 3 ingredients!

southern charm savannah

  • Can we take a moment to talk about reality TV? Other than Top Chef, Bo nor I have ever watched reality tv. However, that is about to change with the premiere of Southern Charm Savannah. On Monday night our hometown will be the location of Bravo’s latest reality show. It’s crazy to think that one of the cast members was in our wedding and three others went to our high school. I’m sure it’ll be a dramatic, hot mess but I can’t wait to tune in for the drama and to see how they portray these people we know as well as our hometown. 
  • This healthy Mexican Shrimp Salad has recieved a lot of traffic on the blog this week, just in time for Cinco de Mayo! I think I may have to make it next week on one of our non Hello Fresh nights.
  • These colorful drawstring shorts seem like they’d be perfect for Summer and SO comfortable either as a cover-up at the beach or for weekend errands. I may have to order them since their forgiving fit and elastic waistband will allow me to enjoy them after giving birth.
  • I have a thing for stripes, especially if they happen to be navy or pink. This striped boatneck t-shirt is on sale for just $22 and will be the perfect addition to my Summer closet!
  • As you guys know, I’m currently dealing with a case of pregnancy mask or chloasma. When Julie shared this natural, brightening cleanser on her Friday Favorites last week, I decided to give it a try. Thanks to the magic of Amazon, the Amara Organics Vitamin C Cleanser arrived the next day and over the past week I’ve fallen in love with the light citrus scent and how fresh and clean my skin feels after I use it. It even removes my makeup and mascara, which is something I’ve had issues with when trying out different natural face washes.

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  • There are a TON of great fitness events taking place in New York City next week including NYC Fit Week and National Fitness DayNYC FITWeek is an annual event that unites the local fitness community to pay it forward for education. Created by Emily Cook Harris, FITWeek has raised over $16,000 for education to date! During the week of MAY 8 – 13th, 25 fitness classes across NYC will support She’s the First (providing education scholarships and mentorships to girls in low-income countries) and DonorsChoose.org (providing public school teachers with the basic supplies their students need to succeed).  I think I’m going to do my best to make it to the 7 AM rooftop Exhale workout at Refinery Hotel to kick off National Fitness Day on Thursday as well as the Friday evening NYC Fit Week Uplift Strength class.

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  • After receiving these Brooks Go-To Running Capris at their Fall Preview event last week, I’ve worn these fun, neon pink crops non-stop. They are stretchy enough to grow with my body, the wide waistband stays upduring workouts and the lightweight material is perfect for any workout, even the sweatiest Orangetheory class or last night’s Uplift Strength class.
  • While I won’t be enjoying a glass of rose wine until Baby Girl Diamond arrives, it’s not too early to stock up on some of these “best rose for your buck wines right?

Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored and instead is a list of the things of my favorite things this week. As normal, it includes lots of beauty and fashion items which means there are a few affiliate links via ShopStyle. It takes time and money to maintain a blog so I thank you for the support and few cents that come from clicking through the links!

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Mother’s Day Gift Guide

 

Mom and MIL

This year, more than any other year, both my mom and mother-in-law deserve lovely Mother’s Day gifts from Bo and I as a gesture of our appreciation. They have each provided us with such support as we started the path towards becoming a family of three. Since Mother’s Day is twelve, short days away, I thought it would be fun to put together a Mother’s Day gift guide, including products across different price points.  If you’re like me, holidays like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day always catch me off guard so I end up calling or sending flowers last minute. With a little bit of planning and preparation, it’s easy to show her you care, regardless your budget.

For those of you on a budget, a hand-written note and a phone call can be a very inexpensive but meaningful way to show her you care. Versus buying having a Hallmark card share the message, take a piece of paper or blank card and write a note that shares some of your thoughts on why she is so important to you and how she’s supported you this year or over the years. Make sure to mail the note early enough so it arrives before Mother’s Day. Then, on Sunday, take a minute to call or Facetime her to catch up in person.

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If you’re looking to spend money to show her your appreciation and gratitude, here are some of my favorite gifts ideas, a few of which include spend and save options. 

Candles –  Personally, I love how inviting a candle can make a home or room feel and therefore love receiving them as gifts. These luxurious candles, especially the Baies scent, are a perfect gift, whether you go with the votive size or the larger, longer lasting candle or room spray. If you really want to treat her, their boxed set features their three, top-selling scents!

Hand Cream –  I gave this luxurious hand cream to my baby shower hostesses and they loved it so much that I bought it for myself. If you want to get a bit more bang for your buck,  then The L’Occitane Hand Cream set is a good choice as it features three different scents in a cute gift box.

Books –  Whether your mom still reads physical books or downloads her latest novel on a Kindle or iPad, this is the perfect time to support her love of reading. My mom and I have a book club together which simply consists of reading at elast a few of the same books throughout the year. This can be a fun way to connect with your mom or you can give her a gift card or buy her a few o fhte latest books you know she’d love.

Wine – Especially if you live locally and can deliver your gift in person, a bottle or two of your mom’s favorite wines is a perfect way to help her celebrate. I mean, really, who doesn’t love opening a bottle of their favorite wine or bubbly? Also, make sure to buy the wine SHE likes versus the wine you like since it’s her day after all.

Pampering – Most moms tend to focus on taking care of others before themselves. Help your mom out by giving her a gift that will force her to pamper herself. If she’s a do it yourself type of lady, then a gorgeous Spring nail polish and bath salts could be a great idea or if she likes relaxing at the spa, a gift card for a manicure or facial can help her relax and release any tension.

Jewelry – If your mom likes jewelry, this Kate Spade initial necklace can go with any outfit or any of these Kendra Scott necklaces can add a fun touch of color.

Pajamas – My mom loves pajamas, the softer the better. These pink pajamas look soft and feminine while these dreamy cotton pajamas have been my favorite for the past few months.

Perfume – After years of working in the beauty industry, I firmly believe every woman should have a signature fragrance. If your mom has one, this is the perfect excuse to get her a fresh bottle or even a travel size such as an easy to use rollerball or fragrance pen. If she doesn’t have a signature but enjoys fragrances, either this deluxe Sephora sampler pack or the less expensive Sephora Favorites pack makes a great gift.

Workouts – Does your mom have a workout that she loves? If so, Mother’s Day is a great time to get her either a gift card to her favorite studio or the perfect accesory such as a fresh, new yoga mat or a vibrant top for Summer walks.

Your turn – What’s your favorite way to show your mom how much you appreciate her?

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Second Trimester Favorties

 

It seems like just yesterday I was sharing our news on social media and beginning the overwhelming research project that is having a baby. But, it has somehow been more than five months since we shared our news and at 33 weeks, I am solidly in the third trimester. I’ve started to feel almost all the pregnancy symptoms I read about for so many months but luckily didn’t start experiencing until recently such as foot and calf swelling, bach aches, heartburn and shortness of breath after walking up our flight of stairs. While part of me feels like I’ve been pregnant forever, another part of me isn’t ready for this journey to end.

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Since I’ve finished the second trimester, I wanted to share with you all the things that I found very helpful throughout this “honeymoon” phase of pregnancy. Like many people said, these weeks were filled with energy and overall excitement though I did start to look and feel more pregnant as each week progressed due to my growing bump.  The first section are the items that I swore by during my second trimester while the second section are items that multiple friends and readers have recommended and loved.

SECOND TRIMESTER Favorites

Snoogle Pregnancy Pillow – By the time I hit 20 weeks I was desperately seeking pillows that would help me transition from a back sleeper to a side sleeper. My friend Amanda lent me her Snoogle and it was love at first sleep. I have used it both ways, wrapped around the front of my body and back of my body.

Tums – I’ve had mild heartburn and acid reflux through my pregnancy and have found that once I feel it coming on, I can take 1-2 Tums to relieve the pain. Luckily, I only need to do this 2-3 times per week.

Dr. Teal’s Epsom Salts – My favorite way to relax during the second trimester was with long, soothing baths. I made sure not to make the water too warm, as this can be bad for the baby. Instead, I added Epsom Salts and filled the bath with tepid to luke warm water before soaking and ready for 20 to 30 minutes. These Epsom salts are my favorite as they are inexpensive and can be found anywhere ranging from Amazon to CVS!

Xtend Barre, Orangetheory Fitness and ALine Pilates or barre and prenatal pilates classes – As I figured out how best to listen to my body’s needs, I had to take a break from certain workouts. But, luckily, throughout my entire second trimester I was able to enjoy classes at Xtend Barre and ALine Pilates. These studios feature classes that are catered to pre and post natal and/or teachers who are certified in prenatal fitness and know how to make perfect adjustments to keep me safe. If you’re not a Brooklyn or Manhattan local who can enjoy these studios, I recommend going to Yelp and searching for prenatal pilates studios or calling local barre studios to see if they have instructors who are certified to work with prenatal students.

Belli Fresh Start Scrub and belly oil – A few friends sent me their favorite belly butters and I spent most of the second trimester working my way through each one. The only one I bought more of was the Belli Fresh Start scrub, which I can use on my entire body and their belly oil. I loved that the belly oil provided me with lots of moisture but absorbed quickly.

Burt’s Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter and Palmers Coconut Butter – While both of these worked well and were recommended by many of my friends, they were a bit too greasy for my liking and left me feeling like I had a sticky mess on my stomach, pajamas and hands after applying.

 Motherhood Maternity rouched v-neck t-shirts in multiple colors – By the middle of my second trimester, I was craving a few shirts that I could wear with jeans or workout pants for errands, relaxing, sleeping and even workouts. I found these on sale at Macys and bought two (black and white) initially but now own five of them. They are so comfortable and flattering that I’m tempted to wear them daily. During the cooler months I wore them under cardigand and wraps, but now I’m pairing them with shorts or jeans.

Workout Gear for a Growing Belly – I quickly outgrew my tigher workout tanks and had to purchase a few that would grow with me during pregnancy. These are my three favorite styles that I wore throughout my second trimester and continue to love during the third trimester. I found the Mumberry Activewear to fit even better as I grew larger whereas the For Two and Brooks fit perfectly as soon as I put them on since they were closer to my normal size and fit.

For Two Fitness Tank

Brooks Pick-Up Tank

Mumberry Activewear (Use code HEALTHYHAPPIER20 for 20% off)

Reader and Friend Recommendations

I hope any of you who are trying or newly expecting find this helpful. I’ll continue to share tips and tricks throughout pregnancy while also trying to have content that resonates with all my readers.

In case you missed it, here are my first trimester favorites.

Your turn: What did I forget?

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