Friday Favorites–June 30th, 2017

pig beach

Happy Friday friends! I am in shock that I have the time to blog today, but thanks to Katie sleeping well last night I am feeling rested and energized today. I have no clue whether last night’s sleep pattern will work again tonight, but I’m thankful for the cumulative seven hours of sleep that I enjoyed in between her feedings last night. This weekend is going to a one filled with friends, family and love as we my in-laws arrive this afternoon and my best friend Amy arrives with her son and husband later this evening. Tonight our plan is a casual cookout in the back yard to welcome everyone and hopefully enjoy some time with Katie in between her naps.

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.


  • While I was in the early stages of induction, I had time to relax in the hospital bed and read Jojo Moyes’ One Plus One. The story of a single mom and her crazy family as their paths cross with a wealthy, quirky entreprenuer who has troubles of his own, I really enjoyed the story and found myself not wanting to put the book down. The main character’s bad choices were sometimes hard to read, but by the halfway point of the book I was looking forward to seeing how it would all unfold.

Chocolate Chip Almond Butter Bars


  • My sweet friend, Julie, sent the most adorable care package for Katie which included a onesie and sweet book for Katie, some pampering items for mom, and her delicious Chocolate Chip Almond Butter bars. We devoured the bars within days as everyone, including my parents, loved them!
  • Since my breast milk has still been very slow to come in, I’ve been eating every food that is recommended for lactating mothers, including flax seed, Mother’s Milk tea, a Goat Root supplement and my personal favorite – oats. I’ve been having Quaker Oats at least 2-3 times a day either in the form of morning oatmeal, blueberry lactation bars, or banana muffins.  My mom and I have made two batches of our favorite Maple Sweetened Oatmeal Banana Muffins this week since they are perfect snacks for everyone!
  • Last night we headed to Pig Beach for barbeque, frose and fun with my parents and Katie. This popular Gowanus spot has increased in popularity recently due in part to it’s inclusion in Eater’s popular restaurant list as well as their incredible barbecue, fun atmosphere and specialty drinks.

Beauty & Fashion

  • The exhaustion that comes along with a newborn baby is very real. A few days this week I basically looked like a walking zombie until I washed my face, put on some cream and makeup. My favorite eye cream right now is Olay Regenerist Eye Lifting Serum which I put on after wearing these hydrating, cooling eye patches.
  • I hear that Parisian mom’s secret to looking rested is to wear a bright lipstick. Yesterday I swiped on Lipstick Queen’s Medieval lipstick which is a vibrant, hydrating, sheer red lip tint that is easy to apply while providing a much needed pop of cover. I can understand why this is my mom’s favorite lipstick as it instantly gave me a boost and made me look more put together.
  • After receiving the pair of Lilly Pulitzer 5” Katia Shorts that I ordered two weeks ago, I fell so in love with the elastic waist, perfect length and comfortable fit that I ordered two more pairs! I’m loving the Resort White, Multi Purrfect and Indigo Night prints!
  • These JCrew White Seaside pants are perfect for Summer and the elastic waist will hopefully make them forgiving for my post-baby body.
  • This red and white flounce sleeve top is perfect for the Fourth of July and may just coordinate perfectly with Baby Girl Diamond’s Fourth of July red and white romper.

Your turn – What are you loving this week? Any big plans for the long weekend?

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!

Share Button

Reflections on The First Week As A Mother


It has been one week since Bo and I became parents. In some ways it feels like just a few hours has passed while other moments it feels like an eternity. It has truly taken a village this week to help us through the process of adjusting to life with a newborn and navigating challenges, including keeping her healthy and growing.

While I have shared a great deal on Instagram and Instastories, I wanted to share a few highlights and reflections on our adventures during the first week of parenthood. I do not expect that I will maintain this as a series, sharing weekly reflections, but for now, as I sit here hooked up to a pump, I thought it would be a great way to share some honest, raw thoughts on what we’ve experienced as well as some laughs along the way.

Week One of Parenthood

I have so many thoughts regarding this first week of childhood. While it definitely doesn’t come with an instruction manual, I am thankful that Bo and I spent time in advance reading about soothing techniques, habits and what to expect during the first few weeks. However, no book could prepare us for the emotions that come with the week’s events.  I have cried more this week than I ever imagined, due in part to the raging hormones as well as some of our challenges.

Image may contain: 1 person, sleeping, sitting, baby and closeup

What are some of the challenges you all faced this week? While Katie’s delivery was smooth and quick, unfortunately she lost a significant amount of weight between the 24 and 72 hour mark, surpassing the 11% guidelines. Her weight decreased from birth by 13% while she also dealt with jaundice. This combination resulted in multiple pediatrician visits, a chance of being readmitted to the NICU and an overall feeling of failure and helplessness on my part.

Weight During the Week:

  • Birth: 7 lbs 7 oz
  • 6/21: 7 lbs
  • 6/22: 6 lbs 10 oz
  • 6/23: 6 lbs 7 oz
  • 6/24: 6 lbs 9 oz
  • 6/26: 6 lbs 15 oz

There are so many discussions that we’ve had this week that we never expected to have during week 1. Her weight loss was caused in part to the fact that my milk has not come in at a normal rate. As of now, I am only producing a very small amount, not nearly enough to satiate her hunger during any of the eight feedings. We had to discuss the pros and cons of formula, stock up on bottles, and discuss alternatives to breast milk. As soon as we began supplementing with formula, our daughter became a different person. She was more alert, slept better and begin filling out again as her color also improved. However, adding these steps means that I dedicate more time to feeding than I ever realized possible. A typical feeding session right now is as follows:

    • Massage breasts
    • Have Katie feed/enjoy skin to skin for an average of 10 minutes per breast
    • Have Bo or one of my parents give Katie 2 ounces of formula via bottle   
    • Warm compress and pump

The above process happens 3-4 times per day while the other 4-5 times per day I skip the pumping for my current sanity.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, closeup

How is mom’s recovery thus far from labor & delivery? I am lucky that my labor and delivery was shorter than most, with only 12 hours of labor from induction to delivery. My final stage of labor was 10 minutes, including about 20 bursts of pushes which were very efficient and only resulted in a one degree tear. I attribute the quick labor in part to the prenatal pilates classes I took during pregnancy, which focused on proper breathing, as well as my lack of epidural, which meant I could feel every contraction as it came and push exactly as it arrived. While this form of delivery was not what I expected and will be explained further in her birth story, it turns out that it also allowed for faster reduction in fluid retention and faster recovery. As of now I am still taking things easy, limiting my walks to 1-2 miles a day in total but spread across a few separate walks. I have no plans to return to more intense exercise than walking until I see my doctor for my six week appointment.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, sitting and shoes

Number of Diaper Changes: 55

Number of Pediatrician Visits: 4

Average number of hours Ashley has slept per day: 4.25


Number of days Bo was on paternity leave: One week

Number of diaper changing stations now set up throughout the house: We quickly realized that having multiple changing stations made our life FAR easier. Our  dresser in our master bedroom is the evening and nighttime changing table while during the day we are using this great, portable changing pad that I received in last month’s BumpBox for changing diapers downstairs during the day.


Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, stripes and eyeglasses

Image may contain: one or more people, people sleeping, baby and closeupImage may contain: 1 person, sitting, ocean, sky, twilight, water and outdoor

What were a few of the memorable firsts?

    • Holding her in my arms after the delivery.
    • Calling our parents and siblings from the delivery room to let them know they’d officially become grandparents.
    • Waking up as a family of three for the first time, while enjoying the incredible sunrise over the East River from our hospital room.
    • Katie peeing all over Bo during her first day of life.
    • My mom giving Katie her first bath while still in the hospital.
    • My mom drawing Katie’s blood for the billirubin test when the office’s phlebotomist was having a tough time.
    • Watching my dad tickle her tiny feet.
    • The first night of cluster feeding, when I felt so helpless and clueless but was quickly supported by so many Instagram followers.
    • Seeing my ankles for the first time in months, thanks to decreased swelling.


Share Button

Six Quick, Healthy Filling Snacks


Hello HHL Readers!  My name is Melissa and I am a NYC-based blogger, fitness enthusiast and lover of the delicious food NYC has to offer.  After some time away from blogging, I’m back and excited to share my fresh perspective on fitness, health and nutrition.  Follow me over at FitnessNYC, if you like reading about fitness studios, workout plans and food — both healthy and indulgent! I’m honored to be guest posting on Ashley’s blog, and today I’d like to share with you some of my favorite quick, healthy and filling snacks.


First up are my mini-meal snacks, which are great when I get home from work famished and I know dinner isn’t until 8pm or later.  The three options below are easy to assemble and very satisfying, and they all have fewer calories than your average nutrition bar to boot.

Steamed Vegetables with a Sprinkle of Parmesan


I always have steamed vegetable mixes in my freezer.  When I’m cooking a meal, I almost always use fresh produce, but I find that frozen vegetables are great in a pinch and perfect for a quick, hearty snack.  I just fill a small or medium bowl with whatever frozen vegetables on hand, sprinkle on whatever grated cheese I have on hand, and toss in a few red pepper flakes. Three minutes in the microwave and I have a snack that will keep me full until dinner every time.

Tortilla Melt


Another quick snack that always takes the edge off my hunger is a tortilla melt. I just put a corn tortilla in a skillet and top it with some cheese and salsa (and some TJs cowboy caviar in this case) and warm it up on the stove until the cheese melts.  I find this far more satisfying than a handful of chips and salsa.

Apple and Celery Stuffed Dates

FullSizeRender (1)FullSizeRenderWhen I have a sweet tooth, nothing satisfies like a fresh date.  To make it even more of a treat, I like to stuff the dates with apple, celery and nut butter to add volume and texture.  It’s sort of a grown-up version of ants on a log.

When I’m at work, I reach for grab and go snacks that require no preparation.  Here are my top three go to options:



I love pistachios. They’ve always been one of my favorite nuts, so I keep a big back at the ready in my office desk.  I find these are the perfect option when I’m kind of hungry, but also kind of bored.  It takes a while to remove the shell, so unlike most nut snacks, they aren’t gone in a matter of seconds. An ounce of pistachios is 49 nuts, which is twice the amount of many other nuts, so they are a great volume option.  Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever taken the time to unshell 49 pistachios in one sitting.

Nu-Gu Fiber D’lish Bars


Lately, I’ve been loving these bars when I need something to satisfy my sweet tooth. They are chewy, sweet and packed with fiber.

String Cheese


String cheese is one of my favorite on the go options because it’s available almost everywhere, drug stores, bodegas, convenience stores, it’s my go to when there aren’t a lot of healthy options and I need a small snack.

Share Button
Comments Off on Six Quick, Healthy Filling Snacks