Happy weekend! How are you? It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these posts so I figured I’d bring them back for more of a personal connection to all of you. Many of you might remember that I used to do weekend favorites every friday. We’d chat about life updates, changes, my favorite things and of course, I’d share a bunch of links.
Admittedly, I’ve been feeling less connected and involved on my blog for various reasons, so I’m challenging myself to bring writing and storytelling back into the picture. Even if it’s starting small with these weekly updates & shares; it’s been something I’ve wanted to do for a while.
By now, most of you know that I’m pregnant (18 weeks!) so part of that story-telling will be talking about my pregnancy journey.
Don’t worry, I won’t bombard you, but it is a big part of my life right now and I definitely want to share as much as I’m able to because I’ve found that a) most people don’t talk about this kind of stuff, b) it can be overwhelming; and finally c) I want to help support other women who may go through a similar journey.
This past month: I spent a good amount of time in LA with two of my best friends. We hiked, ate the most delicious healthy food and chocolate cake from Costco on the beach (ha!). I recently updated my LA guide so if you’re planning a trip, definitely check it out.
Hmmm what else happened in July? Oh, I know! I recently fell back in love with Trader Joe’s and all their deliciously fun snacks. My best friend Callie is officially the Trader Joe’s queen and she convinced me I need to head back there and check it out. The other day on Insta, I asked for your favorite TJ’s products, and because of that, we’re planning a post with all your recommendations. Whoo hoo! But right now I’m seriously obsessed with their jerk seasoned plantain chips. THEY ARE RIDICULOUSLY GOOD with hummus or crushed up on top of a salad.
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from the moment I found out I was pregnant, I knew that I’d have to be resilient in advocating for my needs and mental health. on and off throughout my life, I’ve set perfection level standards for myself, struggled through depression and felt inadequate when I didn’t meet my own standards. when you are naturally a perfectionist, it’s hard to let the unexpected just happen, but that is exactly what pregnancy has forced me to do. surrender and allow it to happen. let go of the anxiety. embrace the unknown. i knew that I’d have to aggressively take steps to take care of myself in order to create a peaceful pregnancy that felt grounded. exercise has been a great form of mental therapy for me as my body goes through the natural changes of creating a human (from 6 weeks to 17 weeks now!). it makes me feel AMAZING. truth be told, I’ve gotten a lot of message of concern telling me what I should and shouldn’t do while pregnant, but the facts are that exercise is almost always safe during pregnancy unless you are directed otherwise. for me, it’s keeping my body AND mind healthy and sound and I FEEL LIKE SUCH A BADASS EMPOWERED WOMAN. p.s. I also drink kombucha and eat turkey sandwiches. Sue me! I decided a long time ago that fear or self-criticism should never prevent me from living my life how I want to. and no matter if you are pregnant or not, neither should you. xo! #ambitiousbaby #ambitiousmama
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I’ve also been getting back into a really good workout routine that makes me happy and challenged both physically and mentally. I’m hoping to start incorporating pre-natal yoga as well since it’s been quite a while since I’ve done my beloved yoga.
This week: we’re currently going through a kitchen renovation with a fun design that Sabriah from Nestled Home put together! The above kitchen is one of the first rounds of mood boards we did, but you get the overall theme. White and bright with earthy elements. We’re doing different tile and still on the search for the perfect champagne gold hardware, so let me know if you have any recommendations of places that carry amazing hardware (I haven’t had any luck with Amazon!).
Admittedly, doing a kitchen reno has created utmost chaos in our house. I mentioned this in a previous post, but basically our house just looks trashed haha. All kitchen appliances, utensils, plates, cups, etc are in our living room. Our cabinets have no doors (they’re getting repainted) and I can’t find any of our knives or spoons. At the same time all of this is going on, we also recently decided to redo our small laundry room closet with the help of Tony’s dad. It’s been a fun adventure, but also exhausting! I can’t imagine being Chip and Joanna.
Next week: Tony’s sister is getting married next weekend and this is the bridesmaid dress I’ll be wearing. So pretty! We’re excited to celebrate with her; you can find me on the dance floor with my bump rocking out with a kombucha in hand.
This weekend: We have no plans! We’re probably going to try and tidy up our house as best we can, hit up the Container Store for shelving options in the laundry room, and of course, enjoy the beautiful August weather with a bike ride or two along the lakeshore.
We’re also heading to Portland later this month for our babymoon, so I’m also planning on doing some research on the best places to stay, eat, etc. Let me know if you have any great Portland recommendations (or hikes along the Oregon coast!).
Okay, enough talking — let’s move on to the things I loved around the internets. I hope you enjoyed the little updates from me, and I’ll see you back here next week for more!
Zoe Organics Pregnancy Kit: I basically am obsessed with slathering this all over my belly at night.
OMG, Sarah made this flatbread for me the last time I was at her place and it was insanely delicous
Sur La Table kindly sent me their new Staub Caviar Cookware Set and I am beyond in love with the color and quality. Check out this 5.75-quart Coq au Vin and this 12″ Square Grill Pan. GORGEOUS and seriously will last you a lifetime.
These adorable pants are on sale and I’ve been living in ones very similar all summer.
I made you a new playlist called cold cereal on a summer night. It’s called that because I basically just ate cold cereal everynight before bed during my first trimester.
I just got these new shoes for running and training and am LOVING them. I do recommend going up a half size.
I’m IN LOVE with these heels from Target. They’re very comfy, inexpensive and I mean, who doesn’t love leopard pattern.
Still in love with this diffuser + don’t forget to check out these easy ways to use essential oils in your home.
My favorite recipe this past month was probably my Healthy Peanut Butter Twix Bars (vegan & gluten free). All of you seem to love them too since they’re already the most popular post in the past 30 days.
I got this Every Mother Counts T-shirt from Anthro and adore it. Every time I wear it I feel supportive and SUPPORTED.
Hope you guys didn’t miss these Cinnamon Almond Butter Protein Energy Bites on insta! They’re so good and perfect for kids, nursing mamas or post workout recovery.
If you haven’t checked out Ambitious Home yet, please do! We’re a small business selling vintage rugs and we’d love your support, readership, suggestion to an interior designer or just sending our website to a friend who loves vintage rugs. THANK YOU!
I wanna know: what have you been lovely lately? Leave your recommendations below. Have a beautiful, healthy weekend. xo!
I just want to say that I admire your bravery in being pregnant in such a visible, public way. Pregnancy always invites advice, comments, opinions, etc., and that must be exponentially more the case for someone in the public eye. I’m sure it takes a lot of mental+emotional strength to field all the messages you get with grace. Keep doing what makes you feel good! Wishing you all the best 🙂
Thanks so much for your note, Wendy. It definitely comes with challenges, but I’m just doing what feels best for me 🙂 Thank you again!
Definitely hit up Canon Beach in Oregon! It’s a little outside Portland but worth it! And any waterfall!
First of all – congratulations!!!! I’ve been following your blog for a long time and am so happy for you. Next – I’m also heading to Portland at the end of the month and would love recommendations before I go – any chance you can publish a list of the info you’re planning on doing? We leave on the 20th and have nothing organized yet!
Thank you Melissa! I’m planning on sharing once we get back from our trip, but definitely let me know if you find some great places on yours!
I love to see these kinds of posts back! I don’t spend much time on Instagram so I feel like I miss out on these types of personal updates from some of my favorite bloggers. So thank you for bringing this back!
So happy to hear that! I’ll keep them coming 🙂 Thanks Heather!
Highly recommend going to Salt + Straw for ice cream in Portland – you can’t miss it and the flavors are so unique and delicious!
Yummm we’ll have to try it!
I’m from Portland and can recommend a few places. Tasty and Alder is our favorite restaurant. We had our wedding reception at their party space on the east side. Any Bamboo Sushi is phenomenal (there are a few locations). The food at Tusk is great, the ambiance is a little scene-y. Eb and Bean has amazing frozen yogurt. If they have the Valencia peanut, just do it. For pizza, Appizza Scholls or Ken’s Artisan are always good. Little T American Baker is one of the best bakeries in town (slightly biased because I’m friends with a bunch of people who worked there). I could name more, but I’ll leave it at that. I hope you have a good time and I will probably be snuggling up with our new baby. My due date is on Tuesday so we are just anxiously waiting!
Amazing! Thanks so much for these recommendations. And thinking of you + the new baby – how exciting!
I hope you have a sweet and fun pregnancy!! Let nothing or no one try and steal the joy of this season for you. It is a miracle and every bit miraculous! Enjoy exercising, kombucha, and sandwiches!!! I had my favorites as well 🙂 so excited for you!
Thank you so much, Julie! It has been such an adventure so far – plenty more workouts and sandwiches to come for me 😉
If you’re a book-lover, you have to hit up Powell’s when you’re in Portland. There’s nothing like it!
Sounds great! We’ll definitely add it to the list 🙂
Thanks Monique for getting back to the basics of your blog; I’ve been meaning to send a note to you for a while. I’ve been following your posts several years now (almost from the beginning!) and really enjoy the positivity vibe you put out there. I’m so impressed with your progress and apparent joy in all that you do. Even though we’ve never met in person, many of your posts have helped me along my own journey with nutrition, exercise and depression to feel connected with the AK community. And, to my friends and family’s delight, I am constantly trying and sharing your delicious recipes with much success. I wanted to send a thank you for all of the above and I wish you and Tony all the very best in your pregnancy and new parenthood journey 🙂 I’m in DC so anytime you have recommendations or trips out this way, I look forward to sharing ideas with you and discovering new ones.
Hi Amanda! Thank you so much for your note – excited to hear that you’ve been following AK for so many years! It’s always my goal to share, inspire, and connect with this amazing community. Hope you continue to find delicious recipes and doses of inspiration here 🙂 and I’ll be sure to share any DC recommendations the next time I’m out there! Thank you again and have a wonderful week!
Congrats on the pregnancy! I was never a consistent yoga person, but I loved prenatal yoga. It became my favorite hour of the week during my pregnancies! Wishing you a healthy, peaceful pregnancy. 🙂
Thanks so much, Krista! 🙂
Tusk in Portland is one of my favorite dining experiences of my life. So good.
Amazing! We’ll have to add it to our list.
Hey Monique! So excited to hear that you’re coming to Portland for your babymoon. You have to go to Ecola State Park on the Oregon Coast, it’s so beautiful there!! For food in Portland some of my faves are: Eb & Bean for the best frozen yogurt & toppings, Harlow/Prasad for healthy cafes, Departure for great views and the best dinner, and Jacqueline for amazing seafood in the cutest neighborhood. I know you and Tony like to bike, so you could also rent bikes and bike along the riverfront. Enjoy! 🙂
Hi Sam! Thanks so much for the recommendations – they sound incredible. We do love to bike, so we’ll have to hop on them at some point! Thank you again 🙂