It's all about family and home right here.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Birthday Gifts from my Husband

I like to keep my birthdays pretty low key.  Just a "Happy Birthday" and maybe a kiss from the hubs would have been fine.  But he decided to get me two skincare items to try out.  


I've only tried the Dr. Brandt Dark Circles Away so far and I like it!  It's moisturizing but doesn't leave any tackiness behind.  It has a slight tint to it that blends perfectly with my skintone.  I think it might self-adjust because when I use it on my husband, he at first comes away looking like I put concealer under his eyes, but then it just blends in seamlessly with his skin in a few minutes.  We both love rolling that cooling silver ball around our eye sockets.  It makes my scalp tingle delightfully!  LOL!

I put the Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector in the fridge for safe keeping.  I probably won't get around to using it until after I get through my current after-shower serum and several other sample serums.  I'm really excited to see if the Clinique Dark Spot Corrector will work like they say!  These are great presents my husband got me and just at the perfect time too!  I'll post up reviews later.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Getting Ready for Baby: Cleaning up my Makeup and Skincare Stash

I'm definitely doing what I can to prepare for the birth of our baby.  Sometimes I get demotivated thinking about the amount of stuff I need to sift through and the space our baby will need for diapers, creams, powders, and clothes.  But then I remind myself that I will thank myself for doing this now.

So, I started out with sorting through my skincare and makeup collection, figuring that if I consolidate, I can make a space in the bathroom linen closet for the baby's things.  So far, the goal is half complete.  There is still no dedicated baby shelf, but at least I have all my things where I need them to be.

The top left shows the entire collection of stuff that I currently have, stopped using, forgot to use, or didn't throw away.  I got it all sorted so that large body-related items, random hair and nail items, and lotions fit into an ice cream bucket.  All my brushes can fit into the rolls they came in and a container for everyday use.

Face lotions, moisturizers, serums, eye creams, masks, and samples, as well as BB creams, foundations and tinted moisturizers got put into containers in the fridge in order to preserve them for as long as possible.  It may take me years to get through them but I will try!

Finally, I do have items that I tossed out.  Most of them are already empty, but some just needed to go because I couldn't remember how many years ago I got them and didn't want to risk putting something that old on my skin.

Not pictured here are actual makeup items.  Powders and compacts can last a while, so I'm not too worried about them.  They all have a space in a drawer.  

So, this weekend will be phase 2 of the big clean up.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Home Improvement Project: Central Air and Review of Bryant Heating and Air Conditioning Inc.

My husband and I knew that when we bought our house we were not getting A/C, central or otherwise, or even a moderately updated kitchen.  We considered the inconvenience for a moment, but what mattered most was location, location, location.  Our neighborhood makes us happy! 

However, being pregnant in summer and in a house that gets hotter than the outside temperature just would not do.  My husband and I agreed that this is our house and we should be comfortable in it.  Also, we needed to be able to provide our future baby with a comfortable place to live, too!

And so, at 25 weeks preggers, we called 3 local companies to come quote the job.  We had them quote for the removal of the forced air furnace in the basement, the removal of the ducts beneath the home, and the installation of a brand new dual speed, hybrid Carrier system that would provide centralized cold air and heat and be controlled from 1 thermostat.  Our stipulation was that it needed to have a bit more juice because we planned to add another room or two to the house at a future date.

We decided to go with Bryant Heating and Air Conditioning Inc because of 3 major factors.  

1.  They had a lot of good reviews of Yelp, and most of the reviews centered around customer service.  Also important is that the reviews span multiple years.

2.  They were the first ones to call me back to set up an appointment for the quote and they were the only ones who provided a same-day quote (very considerate and convenient for quick decision making).  

3.  And the owner/president Matt McConaughy (not related to the actor, I asked!) personally came out to do the walk through.  He was very thorough, sat with us and explained what our options were, and gave us his recommendations without being pushy about it.  He even encouraged us to get other quotes for comparison.  He did add that Bryant didn't do under-the-table stuff and that his company pulls permits for the work they did.  

Matt quoted us a price that was higher than expected but fell within a reasonable range of the other quotes we got.  He also said it would take 4 business days to complete the work.  After some consideration, we decided to have them start work as soon as possible, which was Wednesday morning.

His crew of 3 men came when they said they would, between 8:30am and 9:00 am, and got to work right away.  They answered any questions I had very courteously and professionally.  They took really quick lunches then got right back to work.  They cleaned up after themselves at the end of each day, even bringing a vacuum to pick up the bits of debris that fell from the attic or got dragged up from the basement.  They didn't half-ass anything from what I observed.

When the lead was asking me where I wanted the thermostat placed, he told me it was their "goal" to finish the job on Friday, and they delivered!  It took 3 days for us to get our central A/C and it was great!

After the work was completed, we needed to get the HERS inspection before the city inspection for the permits.  Margie coordinated the whole thing, got documents to the appropriate parties, and even loaned us a ladder for the inspection.  She basically took all the guess work out of it for us, even if it meant she was stuck on the phone with the city.

Matt came by again to personally deliver the warranty information and tell us how the warranties worked and how our review would be considered by the execs at Carrier.

All in all, my husband and I are very satisfied with the work Bryant did.  Our HERS inspection found that there is less than a 1% leakage of air in the work that was done and we passed the city inspection!  I would recommend Bryant to family, friends and strangers in So Cal.  They might not be the cheapest company around but the quality of their work, workers, and customer service is off the charts.  If you want a company you can trust, choose Bryant Heating and Air Conditioning!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

24 Weeks!

I won't lie.  I'm really concerned about my weight gain.  I'm supposed to gain 25-35 pounds during my pregnancy, and my doctor says I've gained 20 by now.  I have 15 more pounds to go and definitely more weeks to go in this journey.  Our next appointment will also include a glucose test for gestational diabetes.  I may need to go easy on my cravings for cold and/or sweet stuff.....

                                                           ......But it's so hard to say no to OREOs and ice cream!!!!

My husband took this picture of me holding our baby when I asked him if he saw any growth in the baby/tummy.  It's hard for me to see the growth sometimes because I study my body in the mirror every day.  What do you think?  Definite growth since 17 Weeks?  

Second Trimester Complaints

Hot flashes and sweat - I have always preferred being cold over being hot, but it's just unbearably hot.  I'm hot all the time and almost always breaking a sweat.  It could also be from my weight gain where body parts that rarely rubbed each other are now rubbing each other all the time, such as inner thighs, under arms and arm pits, and boobs resting on my ribs. 

Swollen feet - Luckily, my feet aren't swollen enough to be considered fat and puffy, but they are swollen enough to make wearing shoes a painful thing.  I don't know about other mothers-to-be, but it feels like the fleshy padding under my feet bones are thinned out so it just hurts to stand, even for short periods of time.

Can't bend over anymore - I lose my breath now when I'm in a sitting position and try to bend over to try to take care of my feet.  It feels like I have a small beach ball on my lap when I do.  I had to finally go in for a pedicure so they could cut my toenails for me.

My back is starting to feel the strain - I feel it most when I have to get in and out of the car.  It feels like a small pressure on the tail bone.

Walking is more like waddling - I feel part of it is due to our baby growing so much and part of it is due to my weight gain.  I definitely sway more from side to side.

The Blessing

There is a distinction now between the baby moving and gas.  My husband, for the first time, felt the baby kick his palm and it was such a special moment!!!

I know I put a lot of my physical complaints online, but nothing takes away from the fact that I wouldn't change a thing.  I've been worried this entire pregnancy about the health and development of the baby.  I sometimes don't voice them out loud, even to my husband because I don't want him to worry.  But, for the first time in the last 6 months, I've started to be more optimistic and hopeful about our little treasure soon making an appearance.

I know parenthood is an endless march of worries and precautions, but I don't think my husband and I are going to let that get us down.  We're looking forward to meeting this new life we created and our next chapter as a family of 3 humans and 4 cats.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Taiwan Haul: Watson, Cosmed, and Sasa

I've completely been slacking on the blogging front, but here are some items I hauled while in Taiwan.  I wanted to go crazy with it, especially at the Sasa and Tony Moly stores in Taipei, but I just can't justify spending so much on "want" purchases when I know we'll have to spend money to prepare for the baby.  So, I settled on a few items.

Purchased at Sasa: Eyebrow razors, stiff smudge brush, and a roll of eyelid tape (I can't get the eyelid tape right!).

Purchased at Watson's: Majolica Majorca blush and eyeshadow quads.  Two free bags for the purchase.

Purchased at another Watson's: Majolica Majorca Lash Expander something Meister.  Could not find the tried and true Lash Expander Frame Plus mascaras at Watson's or Cosmed or anywhere else!  Is it discontinued??

Purchased at Cosmed: Sofina Primavista Ange foundation, by recommendation of my brother's GF.  She works as a flight attendant for Eva Airlines so I must trust her when she says this is light weight and long lasting!  The little book/diary came free with the purchase.

I'm giving most of these items away as gifts so they won't be staying at my home for long.

How hard do you have to fight your urges to splurge?