Friday Favorites & A Giveaway – June 16th, 2017

Happy Friday! Today is supposed to be my last day of work before beginning maternity leave but if Baby Girl Diamond decides to take her time, I’ll be working and blogging next week until her arrival. I have a few more posts that I am working on unrelated to the baby such as my Savannah and Brooklyn recommendations and a virtual coffee date where I share some of the things on my mind as well as some of our plans post baby. Until then, I’m trying to stay busy with work, some last minute errands, and workouts. I am skipping today’s Orangetheory workout since it is a very fast-paced tornado workout and opting for prenatal pilates and swimming instead.

We may get to participate in our first neighborhood block party as tomorrow our street is being transformed into a block party complete with bounce houses, face painting and more! A popular Brooklyn tradition, we are looking forward to meeting more of our neighbors if Baby Girl Diamond is still nice and cozy. Otherwise, the weekend should be pretty relaxed as things are growing pretty uncomfortable these days. Since there is very little space left for her I have a dull, constant pain in the back of my right ribs and am having a hard time sitting in chairs.

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 as well as a GIVEAWAY!


  • I loved Slightly South of Simple and finished it within 24-hours this week. If you’re looking for a fun, Southern read this is a great option. Now, I just hope that she releases the next books in the series sooner versus later.


  • After seeing many friends and fellow bloggers rave about Banza pasta, I picked some up at Whole Foods last week. This will definitely be a staple in our house moving forward as Bo and I were both very impressed with the flavor and consistency of the Banza Rotini chickpea pasta. The nutritional stats are pretty impressive as one serving includes 14 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber!
  • We paired the pasta with our favorite, store-bought pasta sauce – Rao’s Garden Vegetable Sauce. I love that this chunky sauce has actual chunks of mushrooms, peppers, and onions and only has 3 grams of sugar which is far less than other store-bought sauces.
  • If you love potato salad, this Serious Eats German Potato Salad recipe was easy to make, delicious and kept perfectly as leftovers!
  • If you are like me and love creamy popsicles versus icy, fruit ones then these Whole Foods 365 Everyday Organic Greek Yogurt Strawberry Dessert Bars are a perfect freezer staple. Now, if only they had more flavors than just blueberry and strawberry.

Beauty & Fashion

  • A few weeks ago my friends at Brooks sent me the new Women’s Glycerin 15 to enjoy in my new, pregnancy shoe size 11. While I typically don’t run in the Glycerin, these have felt like walking on clouds during the past few weeks of workouts, errands, and walks.  The super soft cushioning has provided my sore, swollen feet with some much-needed support and cushioning while the air mesh and stretchy fabric kept my feet comfortable during this week’s heat wave.
  • I know that elastic will be my best friend this Summer so what better time to invest in Lilly Pulitzer’s Kat Shorts? I ordered two pairs of these this week and can’t wait to wear them all Summer long!
  • Because I’m nothing if not reliable, I couldn’t order just one thing from Lilly Pulitzer so I may have added the Essie Top in my cart at the same time. The fun colors and forgiving fit will bring some life to this exhausted momma.
  • I can rarely find Jack Rogers on sale in colors that I love but this metallic pair are 33% off and gorgeous!


  • As you guys know, I’m having a pretty horrible time with melasma aka pregnancy mask. My favorite foundation no longer matches my skin tone and while I hate to spend money on buying a new foundation, I think I may have to go to Sephora this afternoon. This round-up features the best foundations for melasma, many of which are paraben free and have SPF!
  • If you’re pregnant and still finalizing your registry, a number of friends recommended the Skip Hop Grab & Go Stroller Organizer. We were debating between a number of them including the one that is made by our stroller company but in the end, we figure if more than 50 friends and local moms recommend this one it will definitely work.
  • Experiencing pregnancy pains? Find it impossible to get comfortable in a regular chair? A local mom gave me her large, exercise ball today and it has provided INSTANT relief for my rib cage pain and pelvic discomfort. Why didn’t I get one weeks ago?

GIVEAWAY ENDED — WINNER IS Congratulations! 


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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Spring Florals and A Giveaway

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It’s so ironic. Over the past 36 weeks, my body has done one of the most feminine acts possible, growing a child, though I for most of the time, I have not felt very feminine. As I began my pregnancy, I spent time reading multiple books, blogs and perusing baby apps. Every single one promised me the same thing – an incredible pregnancy glow. While my face has enjoyed a bit of a glow and tan thanks to chloasma, this glow and artificial tan has not left me feeling pretty.

There comes a point in pregnancy when nothing starts to fit and getting dressed, even for a work from home job, becomes a battle and teary-eyed breakdown just waiting to happen. I’ve experienced this during three different points in pregnancy:

  • Week 15 or so, when I felt bloated and as if I’d had a giant burrito for lunch that kept my pants from buttoning.
  • Week 26 or so, just when Spring and multiple trips and celebrations were about to take place.
  • Week 35 when I started retaining water and even my maternity clothes started to feel uncomortable.

These days, I find myself only wanting to wear my 25 year old XL boxer shorts (Yes, I typed the number 25 next to years and it’s true, I’ve had these Jockey boxer shorts for 25 years. I realize that in itself is a topic for an entirely separate post.) and an oversized long-sleeved t-shirt because these are the two most comfortable articles of clothing I own. Even though I have built a wardrobe of 10-15 different maternity pieces, at this point in pregnancy, many of them no longer feel comfortable. The t-shirts are getting a bit too small, the dresses a bit too short and the leggings a bit too tight, especially in my calves.

Since the pregnancy weight gain has made me revert back to some of my high school and college fashion tendancies, when I was over 200 pounds, I realize now that I spent much of my pregnancy trying to camoflauge my body. Part of this was due to being pregnant in Winter when almost all New York Women dress in head to toe black. But, even beyond that, I’ve done little to draw attention to my bump or new, round shape.

It wasn’t until Pink Blush reached out to me, offering to send me a dress for my upcoming bridal shower, that I realized many pregnant women opt for vibrant colors and prints even during their third trimester. The pictures I saw of real women on their site gave me hope that there was a place for Spring florals in my wardrobe.


For those of you who haven’t heard of Pink Blush previously, it is not only a maternity brand. In fact, their site is filled with Women’s, Women’s Plus and Maternity clothing ranging from their famous dresses and tops to shoes, active wear and even accesories. Their large selection of reasonably priced maternity dresses and tops have made them famous within the maternity clothing scene as their quality, selection and price point is beyond your imagination! Their variety of styles, patterns and prints allow any woman, regardless their shape or size, to find something that will make them feel feminine and pretty.


I fell so in love with the Pink Blush Mint Floral Sash Tie Dress that I have worn it for multiple occasions over the past six weeks.  The v-neckline flatters while also allowing for this dress to transition into a nursing-friendly dress after pregnancy. Even with my growing bump, the long length allows the dress to skim my ankles. But, my favorite part of the dress was the way the vibrant aqua and pink colors finally helped me find that elusive pregnancy glow.

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Inspired by their 25% of Memorial Day Sale email, this week I ordered a few things to enjoy in the coming weeks and months:

Your Turn –  CONTEST OVER – WINNER IS #27 – Sarah. Want to enter the giveaway for a $75 PinkBlush gift card?  Leave a comment letting me know what ONE topic you’d like to see more of on the blog. The giveaway will end Monday at 10pm EST. 

Thank you to Pink Blush for sponsoring this giveaway and for the gorgeous dress. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Baby Diamond–Weeks 24 through 29 & A Giveaway


bump pic

Happy Thursday! Today I have a bump update and giveaway for you guys. As you can tell from the picture below, now that I have entered the third trimester, I am definitely starting to look and feel very pregnant. There is no denying that I am expecting! In fact, each morning this week passengers on the subway have kindly offered their seats which has been such a sweet and appreciated gesture.

This past month of pregnancy was a whirlwind including some travel, some pain and a wonderful weekend with some of my closest friends and family celebrating Baby Girl Diamond. I want to do a separate post highlighting the wonderful shower as it was such a special day. So, for now, let’s focus on some of the feelings, cravings and thoughts around the past few weeks of pregnancy.  Don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the end of the post, especially if you live near NYC!

Baby Size: Over the past few weeks Baby Girl Diamond has grown and progressed from an eggplant, to a papaya and now a butternut squash.  At 29 weeks she is approxiamately 2.5 pounds and 15 inches in length! She’s doubled in size since week 24 which explains why my bump is growing so rapidly. The above picture was taken two weeks ago during a photo session with the lovely Alexis, and I feel as if I’ve already grown a great deal in just these two weeks.

Weight Gained: As of last week’s appointment I had gained 17 pounds. Even though both my doctor and I are comfortable with this healthy amount of weight gain, it is definitely starting to make me feel a bit awkward as I’ve reached the point where I can feel the burden of carrying the extra weight. By the time I go to bed each night, my legs and feet are swollen and my lower back has started to ache a bit. Based on advice from fellow mothers, I’ve started elevating my feet more often, asking Bo for nightly foot massages and taking more baths.

ashley stretch

Workouts: As I shared earlier this month, I’ve decided to take a break from running. Since I stopped running, about 75% of my pubic pain went away overnight which has allowed me to continue working out six days a week. While many people keep telling me to slow down, I feel best when I workout, especially in the mornings. Now more than ever before the workouts give me an extra boost of energy. Over the past month I’ve been able to maintain my habit of two Orangetheory Park Slope workouts, 1-2 Pilates classes at A-Line Pilates, 1 barre class at XTend Barre, 1-2 swimming workouts at our YMCA and 1 long walk each week. Now that I am in the third trimester, I am being very careful to work with instructors before class to get the modifications needed to stay safe and healthy. I can definitely feel the positive effects of these workouts as I’ve been able to increase the weight that I lift at Orangetheory during pregnancy and am finding each of these workouts to become easier with time, even while I am becoming larger and more awkward.

Cravings: While I’m still constantly thirsty and craving fruit,  some of my other cravings have defintely started to resemble those of a sterotypical pregnant woman. Each night I find myself enjoying a small bowl of ice cream or frozen yogurt. I also craved turkey burgers this week as well as gummy or fruit flavored candy.

Food Aversions: Similar to last month, I’m not having strong aversions except to food that typically induces heart burn as I’m still fighting daily heartburn.

Symptoms: As I mentioned earlier in the post, I just feel large. Even though I know I still have another eleven weeks of growth, I’ve started to feel very awkward and pregnant these past few weeks. I’ve had leg and foot cramps a few times the past week and, depending on where she’s positioned, I feel like my stomach is stretched to it’s edge especially after eating or if I have to go the bathroom. It’s a crazy feeling! I am starting to force myself to slow down a bit, making fewer evening commitments and plans as I grow more tired each week.

Sleep: After a few weeks of frustration with the Snoogle, I switched to using multiple pillows to support my body. I sleep with a long, king sized pillow behind my backside, one pillow under my head, wrap my arms around another pillow and put a fourth between my knees. I’m not sure why, but this has allowed me to sleep far better than the Snoogle as of late. Now, getting in and out of all these pillows is quite a different story. It’s hilarious to watch especially in the middle of the night when I wake up to go to the bathroom.

Wearing: As the belly continues to grow, I’ve found it impossible to wear pre-pregnancy size bottoms, even stretchy workout pants. Luckily, I had one pair of large Nike tights and a few pairs of Brooks bottoms which were previoiusly too large. These have become my go-to workout bottoms while I’ve been living in my Seraphine clothing at work. 

Other Random Thoughts: I can’t believe that in just 11 or 12 weeks we will FINALLY get to meet Baby Girl Diamond. It feels like pregnancy has flown by, but at the same time we are so excited to meet her and can’t wait. It’s crazy to type those words as I still feel like we have SO much to do these next few weeks. Bo and I finally got our act together and made a shared list in Wunderlist so we could keep track of the things we have to do. Here are just a few of the things on our list:

  • Interview and decide on a pediatrician
  • Finish the nursery (install new light/fan, touch-up paint, finish book shelves and hanging art)
  • Organize closets and cabinets in kitchen and upstairs to make room for everything
  • Work with our insurance to order the breast pump
  • Wash all her clothing and organize in drawers/closet
  • Take Baby CPR and car seat class
  • Decide if we’re going to do a maternity photo shoot

Giveaway Time

Now, for any of my readers who are based in the New York Area, I have a great giveaway – free family ticket to the New York Baby Show.

ny baby show

The 2017 New York Baby Show, on May 20 & 21 at Pier 94 will once again be the largest show for new and expectant parents in the country. Now in its 7th year, no other event provides a better experience for thousands of expectant and new families from New York and neighboring counties, seeking a family-friendly jamboree of top brands, great speakers and seminars, big giveaways, and lots of learning, support, bonding, and fun as you make your way into parenthood. I am giving away tickets for you and your family to experience the show. Normal ticket price is $30 per family (for 2 adults and up to 4 children), and $20 per individual. Click here to enter!

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