Friday Favorites–July 28th, 2017

It has been a busy week in our home as we’ve been blessed to have three visitors! My mother-in-law Mimi left Tuesday afternoon and my parents arrived yesterday morning. Having extra help and company is such a blessing while it’s also so fun to watch the grandparents evolve and fall more and more in love with their first grandchild. Overall, it has been a good as Katie continues to thrive and now weighs 9 lbs 7 oz and her personality is starting to really shine.  

Katie July 27th

Our plans this weekend are to relax and enjoy the gorgeous weather. We are thinking that a trip to Prospect Park or the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens may be a great activity while we’re also looking foreard to trying out the new electric smoker Bo received for his birthday yesterday. On Sunday my aunt and uncle are coming from New Jersey to meet Katie and enjoy a birthday lunch with us since my uncle’s 70th birthday is on Monday!  What are your weekend plans?

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 this new study may have you scared to take a spin class, at the end of the day it’s most important to ease into workouts and LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.
  • We can’t remember why these delicious toffee cookies are only made at Christmas as they are my family’s favorite and were a perfect birthday treat for Bo’s birthday. If you like toffee cookies, these are an easy-to-make bar cookie that is perfect for any occasion.
  • I’ve started having podcasts on in the background while I’m nursing and feeding Katie. This week I’ve really enjoyed listening to a few of the The Stuff You Should Know podcasts including one about Amelia Earheart and Food Fads.

  • This article discusses the effects football’s hits and tackles have on player’s brains.  The research results, which includes all levels of players including high school, is scary to say the least. After years of debate, I think the results of the NFL portion of the study, which found 110 out of 111 players had C.T.E, is enough proof to end the debate.
  • I ordered this knot-back tank top in two colors and have already worn both of them this week! It’s comfortable, flattering and available in six colors!
  • Speaking of NFL, I loved reading this article about John Urschel, a Baltimore Ravens player who has decided to pursue his PHD in Math from M.I.T versus continuing playing in the NFL.
  • In case you missed this post last year, striving for healthy left me exhausted.
  • I’ve been using ALOHA protein powder the past few weeks and have especially enjoyed their vanilla and banana flavors. Want to try it for yourself? Use the discount code HEALTHYHAPPIER20 on their website.

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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Post-Baby Workouts

Walking with Katie

Now that five weeks have passed since giving birth, I’ve started to crave a daily workout. While I am still sticking with my plan of waiting six weeks before working out, that doesn’t mean that I can’t start doing some research in advance. While my daily walks with Katie have provided me with fresh air and endorphins, I’d like to focus on regaining strength over the next few months.

One of the things you will not see on this blog is a body after baby series where I detail my weight and measurements. I’ve thought a lot about how I want to share my journey with you all and one of the most important things is that I’m a healthy role model. It takes nine months to gain the weight and therefore I fully expect and recognize that it will take at least that long to lose the weight. Moreover, I am not focused on the number on a scale. Instead, I want to focus on building strength and, eventually, my running speed and endurance. Workouts will be different this time around as I no longer have the luxury to workout as often as I’d like, nor as long as I’d like. Yesterday, while pushing our daughters in their strollers, my friend Elizabeth and I discussed workouts after baby. Since she is a month ahead of me, she has already started working out again and shared her perspective during our walk. Throughout life, our priorities change. Right now, my priority is to spend as much time with Bo and Katie as possible. His work schedule means that the precious early morning, evening and weekend hours are the only time we have as a family of three. The last thing I want to do at this point is head out of the house for a workout.

Therefore, I am currently researching two types of post-baby workout options to enjoy during the 13 weeks remaining in my maternity leave.

    • Workouts that I can do at home while Katie is napping.
    • Workouts in our neighborhood that I can do during the day with Katie.

Yesterday I asked for advice on Instastories and after receiving so many replies as well as requests to share the information with you all, I wanted to make the same request in today’s post while also sharing the feedback I’ve received thus far. Please keep in mind that these are reader recommendations. I have not tried any of these workouts yet and therefore can’t vouch for them. In addition, if you are pregnant or postpartum, please remember to check with your OB-GYN before beginning any workouts.  The below are listed in no particular order and any comments or details provided are the ones that people left when they responded to my request for postpartum workout suggestions.


Your turn – What are your favorite post-baby workouts?

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Natural Body & Beauty Products

These days, it seems everywhere you look there are articles discussing the number of chemicals we put on or in our bodies. While I’ve focused over the past few years on eating less processed foods, it wasn’t until I found out that I was was pregnant with Katie, that I truly started to think about making changes to my daily routine.

I read numerous articles which shared unbelievable facts regarding the number of chemicals women put on their face and body on a daily basis. There are a number of websites and apps that rank and review products, most notably EWG Skin Deep site and the Think Dirty app.  Keep in mind, my personal philosophy with natural products is to take everything that I read with a grain of salt, realizing that many articles are influenced by other factors. In addition, I am focused on making small changes not a radical change. The change did not come overnight, nor have I moved to a fully natural lifestyle. My favorite under eye cream is definitely not natural and I still believe that a certain level of chemicals are needed to cut through tough grease. I fully believe that similar to diet, the choices we make are very personal. So far, it seems that each month we slowly increase the number of more natural products that we use, ranging from hand soap to shampoo. But, after receiving multiple requests from you all following some Instagram Story posts, today I am ready to share a few products that I personally love.

Natural Beauty

Below are a few products that I’ve discovered through recommendations, meandering through the aisles, research, and friends. None of these products were provided to me through sponsored posts or blogger samples. Since I’ve had a few people ask, I often buy online via Amazon and Thrive Market (save 15% with that link) or I look during my Whole Foods and Target shopping trips as both have a very good assortment of natural products at various price points.

  • Deodorant – Anyone who has worked out with me or followed me on social media knows that I sweat A LOT.  Since giving birth, my hormones inbalances have just made me sweat more. It’s the worst feeling to smell your armpits while attempting to nurse your daughter. At the same time, since my armpits are so close to where she breast feeds, I wanted to find a more natural deodorant option, at least while breast feeding. Luckily, within a one week period three different people recommended Schmidt’s Deodorant. The citrus scent is perfect for Summer and the formula effectively keeps me dry and fresh smelling all day. I’ve been using the deodorant non-stop for the past month and have been very pleased with the results, even in the hot, sticky weather we had last week.
  • Body Wash – Alba Botanica Very Emollient Honey Mango Shower Gel – After seeing this large body wash bottle in Whole Foods and Target’s natural beauty section, I decided to give it a try after reading rave reviews on multiple websites. A sucker for scent, I love the refreshing, fruity smell and the formulation leaves my skin soft and hydrated.
  • Shave Cream – Alba Botanica Mango Vanilla Moisturizing Shave Cream – During pregnancy, anytime I shaved I found that my legs were scaly and dry. Never a fan of using body lotion, I tried to find a more hydrating shave cream instead. This thick cream contains aloe vera and vitamin E which leaves my legs and underarms smooth without irritation. I will admit that some people may get annoyed with how thick it is, but I’m happy to rinse my razer a few times during the shaving process to get super smooth and hydrated skin.
  • Face Wash – Amara Organics Facial Cleanser – Since discovering this natural face wash through Julie’s blog back in early April, I’ve been a loyal fan. The face wash contains 15% Vitamin C as well as aloe, rosehip oil and tea tree oil. It’s strong enough to remove my makeup while gentle enough to use both morning and night without leaving my skin feeling dry. In fact, I found that it has gradually helped brighten my skin especially as I’ve dealt with pregnancy mask or skin discoloration related to pregnancy.  If you don’t believe my review, check out the more than 500 five-star reviews on Amazon!

I’d love to hear your recommendations for more natural products, especially shampoo, conditioner, counter cleaner and mascara.

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