It's all about family and home right here.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

We Just Discovered Lipstick!

THIS..... just happened!

My baby girl figured out how to uncap and twist up the lipstick in the tube.

Haha!  My husband and I are going nuts falling more in love with her every day!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Empties: November 2014

Well, this is a long time coming but we managed to finish a couple things in November!  Whoo-hoo!

Aveeno Baby Calming Comfort Lotion
This has been with us since the Bean was born and lasted about 11.5 months!  There is very little fragrance in it so I like it a lot better than any lotion with baby powder smell.  I think it moisturized her skin really well.  Didn't leave any sticky residue and was gentle enough to use on her face as well.

Sesame Street Baby Shampoo
This lasted a couple of months as well.  Jellybean probably didn't have any preference as long as it was gentle on her eyes.  I liked the baby shampoo smell but in the interest of not having too many things clutter up our shower floor I have not replaced her baby shampoo.

Murad Rejuvenating Lift for Neck and Decolletage
This was a meh.... product for me.  It was a sample from a Sephora purchase a while back.  Maybe it was too small or I'm not quite at the age where my neck and decolletage would benefit most from it, but I didn't notice any difference anywhere.

Let's hope we'll finish more products in December, right?!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Early New Year's Resolutions


                This is it!  

                                                       I've had it!  

I've been so wrapped up in being a Mommy that I have let myself go.  While I loooooove every moment I get to spend with the Bean and my hubby, I need to spend a little time on ME, too.  My basic skincare routine has literally gone down the drain.  Sometimes I don't even wash my face before I pass out on the bed nursing the Bean or helping her fall asleep on her own.  And if I am awake, I'm just noticing how my fat is hanging off my body while I nurse her.  My husband says I'm still beautiful (such a sweetheart!), but I know where I could be and where I should be.

Personal Resolution #1
Stick to a skincare routine morning and night, even if that skincare routine is just washing my face!

Personal Resolution #2
Lose some flab nutritionally.  Eat less fatty foods, eat more healthy foods, drink more water.

Asking me to work out right now is difficult.  I get up with the Bean in the mornings and we're all getting ready for the day as a family between 6:30am and 8:00am.  Our wonderful nanny gets in between 7:45am to 8:00am and that's when I'm heading out to work.  After a 1.5 hour commute (I LOVE LA!) I get home at 6:30pm.  It's family/dinner/play time from 6:30pm to 7:00 pm.  It's the Bean's bath time at 7:00pm.  It's her bed time at 8:00pm, but she usually doesn't fall asleep until 8:30pm to 9:00pm.  And I'm constantly near exhaustion because she keeps waking up at night.  I don't have time to work out with this schedule.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Mommy Confessions: "Mommy, don't you love me anymore?"

This is a hard post for me to write but I want to put this out there as a reminder to myself of my decisions regarding disciplining my child(ren), and why I arrived at these conclusions.  Also, I know there must be another first time mom out there, somewhere, who must be struggling with this and it might make them feel a little bit relieved to know she is not alone, and that she's only human.

The Bean is going to be 1 year old soon and will officially be a toddler after that.  She's hit every milestone with flying colors and my husband and I are so incredibly proud of her.  I feel so humbled by how giant my love is for my daughter and husband.  I am truly blessed.

It is sometimes difficult to maintain a state of utter awe and happiness when the structures of daily life need to insert themselves.  Sometimes I am so intent on getting things done that I don't have the patience for anything that prolongs the task getting done.  After several attempts at getting the task done and failing, I have snapped.  In between her 8 and 10 months, I have tapped/spanked/basically brought a hand to her 5 times in her very short life here.  Each time I did it, it didn't hit me until after the act of how much it wasn't worth to do.  In the short term, it helped me get a task done.  But the long term was agonizing for me.  I hated, and still do hate, myself for these moments I let myself lose control.  I can't tell you how heart-breaking it was for me to know my daughter was crying or confused about me because of me.   

Here are the instances that have tested me and where I've failed my daughter:

Diaper changing and rolling over
In all the diaper changes I've done (nearly every one of them since birth), I've lost my composure twice and tapped her leg.  She didn't, and still doesn't, stay still enough for the diaper to be changed and put on.  Normally, I can accept this as part of her being a curious almost-toddler who wants to stand, walk, and play more than she wants to attend to diaper changes.  But I lost my composure these 2 times when every diaper change those days were a struggle and we had peeing accidents on the bed.

Meal times and spitting/blowing food out
I've been feeding her solids since she turned 5 months.  It was great for a while, then around 8 months she started spitting out nearly every spoonful.  I had already begun the process of weaning her at 7 months so if she wasn't breastfeeding as much and she wasn't eating, then I was worried if she got enough food for the day.  It wasn't just one day that she did this and the next day she didn't.  It came and went in weeks and I was worried if she was getting enough to eat, if she was hungry during the day or while she was sleeping.  I tapped her arm to make her focus on eating but all that did was to make her cry one time, and look at me confused the other time.  Once on a different occasion, I held the spoon at her lips until she opened her mouth to take the food.  I fed her 2 spoonfuls of food that way.  I didn't know if it was worse to force her to eat a few bites (knowing she can guzzle up to 6 oz of solid food in a sitting) just to have something in her stomach or to take away her food because she didn't want to eat.

Each of these instances are burned into my mind as a source of shame because this is not how I want to treat or bring up my child(ren).  I don't want this to be a part of the legacy my child(ren) will remember me for.  I don't want my child(ren) to distrust me.  I can't forget the look of confusion in my daughter's eyes when I tapped her arms or refused to move the spoon away from her lips.  

It's the look that asks, "Mommy, don't you love me anymore?"  

It's the look that asks, "Mommy, do you love me only if I am good?"

When my confidence is shaken by my own actions I go online to the Babycenter forums to see what other moms are going through.  I'm relieved to know I'm not the only one struggling with these issues.  I'm relieved to know that I'm not the only mom who slipped and messed up.  I'm relieved to know that there is still time to correct my actions.

My conclusions are:

When it comes to spanking/tapping/raising a hand to a child, NEVER EVER EVER EVER do it in anger or impatience.  Otherwise it is an adult having a temper tantrum and taking it out on their kids.

When it comes to spanking/tapping/raising a hand, it should NEVER EVER EVER EVER be the first line of punishment or reprimand.  Utilize time-outs for the child and for the adult so that the situation doesn't have to be escalated.

Model the behavior you want your child to exhibit.  It's not fair to my daughter to tell her not to throw a tantrum when she can easily see me losing it and throwing a tantrum.  I want her to be kind and compassionate, so I need to model that behavior so she knows what kindness and compassion are.

At work, we have policies that state how offences will be dealt with.  Maybe it's not a far fetched idea to have policies like these at home.

It's been 2 months since that 5th time I lost my composure.  It's been hard to maintain calmness when my buttons are being pushed but I want to be a better mom so much more that I've had to take a hard look at myself and force myself to stay calm and collected.  At first, it was so hard not to lose it when she peed on the bed because I couldn't get a diaper on her in time.  At first, it was so hard not to throw (like a baseball) the spoon in the sink when she pushed her food out and mashed it in her fingers and wiped her hands on me.  I've had my nostrils flared like a raging bull and my lips set so grimly it was just a line, dragging in deep breaths and letting them go, counting my breaths until my frustration subsided in time for me to remember why I was not going to lose it.  But it's getting better and easier to handle.  I tell myself the bed can be replaced later and we can put a towel over the wet spot for the night.  I tell myself that she'll swallow if she's hungry; she's only exploring her food and textures; she's (very importantly) communicating to me what she's in the mood for and what she likes and dislikes.

I hope I will be able to continue making good on my wish to be a better mom each and every day!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Mommy Confessions: We are a Co-sleeping Family

Good morning, World!!

One of the hot topic issues around starting a family and raising an infant is SLEEP, the lack of it, how to get it, and how much is necessary.  When you go online to look up baby sleep schedules you are inundated with techniques on how to get baby to sleep.  What I'm about to write in this post is based on my experiences, my beliefs, and is my opinion.  This is what works for my family.  What works for the next family may be similar, completely different, or somewhere in between, and that's OK!

What is co-sleeping?
Co-sleeping (a.k.a. sleep sharing, bed sharing, family bed) is the practice of having the baby sleep with her parents in the same bed.  This is practiced in many cultures around the world. It is not recommended by medical professionals in the U.S., but seems to have a following among attachment minded parents.

How we started co-sleeping
Our plan was to put the Bean in her crib from the get go. We wanted her to learn the fundamental skill of putting herself to sleep from the very beginning. We had read that babies slept most of the day (19+ hours) so how hard could it be?  Haha, we were so naive!  A lot of how hard it can get depends on your parenting style and the temperament of your baby. Our baby cried a lot in her early weeks and my husband and I don't like to hear her cry. 

Three weeks into being new parents, my husband and I were sleep deprived, cranky, and felt like we were wallowing in misery even though we were so in love with this tiny little human with strong lungs. Sleep deprivation is no joke!!  Just keep in mind that sleep deprivation is an "enhanced interrogation technique" used by the military. 

In the first few weeks, the Bean would sleep through most of the day. Getting her to sleep after her waking up was a breeze in the day time but was so difficult at night. My husband and I would take turns holding and rocking her to sleep at night, only to start the process over when she woke up the second her back touched the crib. We were so exhausted that we'd fall asleep holding her in our arms.  My husband was going back to work after two weeks and I was so worried about his driving in to Downtown LA in his condition. 

I had observed that the Bean slept best when she was on or near us. So at 3 weeks, I took her into bed with me. That night, she slept through 4 hours and my husband got to sleep through 4 hours. Every week after that the length of time she stayed asleep got longer and longer. By 2 months, she was averaging 8-10 hours straight! 

The Bean likes to hear my heartbeat and smell my scent when she sleeps.
It makes her feel protected and comfortable, almost as good as being in the womb!

A few friends jokingly asked if we were still sleep deprived. When I told them that we weren't because we were co-sleeping they voiced their disapproval. It wasn't recommended, the baby would never leave our bed, it was dangerous, what about SIDS, etc., etc., etc.  Even though our friends meant well, I did feel a little under attack for our personal decisions.

What are some co-sleeping pros and cons?
On the plus side, co-sleeping helps our family get sleep at night.  The Bean sleeps better next to me, where if she fusses or gets hungry, she merely needs to turn her head and open her mouth without waking up!  Experts say co-sleeping promotes children's independence by making them feel more secure and strengthens the parent-child bond that'll last throughout their lives.  The Ask Dr. Sears website suggests that co-sleeping can help reduce incidences of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), although it has yet to be proven.

On the minus side, co-sleeping can be dangerous if the parents are heavy sleepers or sleeping under the influence.  They could roll over and onto the baby, suffocating him/her.  Experts say co-sleeping prevents a child from developing their own sense of independence until much later, and/or make the transition from parents' bed to their own bed more difficult.

Wait, what?  Co-sleeping can help a child be more independent and less independent at the same time?  I know, I scratched my head on that one.  I admit, I have my reservations about co-sleeping.  I do worry about how I will teach her to sleep in her own bed but I honestly believe that every child will learn how to do it in their own time.  I look to my brother as an example of co-sleeping.  He co-slept with my parents until he was five or six years old and he turned out fine.  (In talking with him about his experiences, he suggested making the kids' room be so awesome that they won't want to leave it.)

For our family, I love helping the Bean go to sleep at night.  I know there are steps I need to take to help her continue developing her independence.... but it doesn't have to all happen right now.

Besides, when I wake up to this....

...I realize that we don't need to be in a big rush for anything.

How to safely co-sleep with baby
There are ways that you can safely co-sleep with your infant, if this is the route you choose.  You can buy an infant co-sleeper, which is essentially a crib with one side lowered or missing so that you can put it right up to the adult bed.  The baby gets his/her own little space and gets to sleep next to Mommy.

There's another type of co-sleeper that lets you put baby on the adult bed. It has railings so the parents can't roll over onto the baby.  It looks like a bassinet to me.

There are many different types of co-sleepers out there with varying degrees of awesomeness, so enjoy the search!

Another tip for safely co-sleeping: cut down or eliminate any drinking or drugs that would cause you to sleep more heavily than usual.  If they can impair you while awake, they can certainly impair you while asleep.

That's it for this post!  I'd be happy to answer any questions for anyone interested in co-sleeping.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Empties: Summer 2014

I'm typing this as Jellybean is napping on top of me. I love these moments when it's just her and me and the cats. Would love it even more if the hubs was home. But I'll wait for the weekends. Hehe!

Here's a long awaited Empties post for the summer. I've scaled back my skincare routine so I actually don't go through a lot of products anymore - well, significantly less than before. 

Boudreaux's Butt Paste
Jellybean went through another tube. We love this stuff!  My religious use of it has, I strongly believe, contributed to Jellybean never having a diaper rash in her 9 months on Earth. Jellybean has started to roll over and crawl away during diaper changes so I sometimes have to skip the butt paste in the interest of getting her diaper fastened. 

Neutrogena Oil-free Acne Wash
I love the grapefruit scent but I feel like Johnson's Head-to-Toe Baby Wash does an equally good job of cleansing. I got bored with this as a facial cleanser so I kinda started using this as a body wash. I gotta say, I love this more as a body wash. It smells so fresh and it foams up a lot so a little goes a long way. 

Bioderma Crealine H2O
Received a long time ago from Linh at Blushology and have loved it for the removal of eye makeup. I sometimes used it all over my face to remove makeup, dirt, and grime because it left my skin feeling so refreshed. I stopped wearing makeup for several months after Jellybean was born because I was a stay at home mom and didn't have anyone to dress up for. But now that I'm back at work, I started to wear makeup again (when I have time to apply it). 

AER Witch Hazel Pads
I received these from the hospital when Jellybean was born. They're originally used for your lady parts after childbirth to reduce the swelling down there. I didn't get around to using these for that purpose so when I finally got around to it, I thought, "Hey, I could use it as a witch hazel toner!"  It didn't end up being that great because it had other ingredients in it that made my skin sticky. So I used them as makeup removing pads. The Moral of this story is: Use these witch hazel pads as prescribed by the hospital. 

Marula Facial Oil from The Leaky Collection
I guess it's ok. I've been wanting to get back into natural skincare and this jump started that process.  I probably won't go out and buy it because I'd rather haunt my local Wholefoods' skincare aisles for oils and essential oils. There's something much more fascinating about making your own oils. To me, the marula oil smelled a bit like sesame oil. I used it on Jellybean's chapped cheeks and chin when she was teething and it soothed her skin well enough.

That's it for my Empties post. Wow... 5 products in 3 or 4 months. I need to step it up!!

Here's an updated picture of the Bean.

She's been cruising and learning to walk. She's eating solid foods and learning to say "Mama" and "Dada".  She can peng tou, touch her forehead to mine. It's part of our good morning ritual. I can't believe how much she's grown!  Since birth, she's grown 10 inches and gained 11 pounds in 9 short months. What a champ!

Monday, July 7, 2014

June Weigh-in

I weighed-in at 152.8 lbs throughout June.

Nothing dramatic to report, other than I all but stopped working out.  We don't even go out for walks anymore.  It's too hot and sunny in Southern California.  No.... scratch that.  I'm getting lazier the hotter and sunnier it gets.

Let's see how July goes!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Workouts to do with Baby

Jellybean is so much fun now. She's engaged, playing, wants to know everything that is going on, and wants to play all the time. My old way of working out, putting her in a bouncy and working out in front of her for 20 minutes is making her bored.  Beware a bored baby!!!

So, I've been on the hunt for exercises I can do with the Bean - playing exercises, if you will. I love the following workouts.  Jellybean loves her play time and I get a pretty good workout.  We're both equally engaged in the activity. 

I carry Jellybean in the Ergo when we do this one. It's just an added layer of security that I won't accidentally drop her when doing lunges or squats. 

I don't think this workout is meant to be completed at once but hurrah if you can!  There are only pros with this workout: you play and bond with baby, your baby is your workout weight and they only get heavier, and you can continue doing these even after baby can be more independent.  

Enjoy the fun!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Mommy Confessions: The Big Scary World

I don't mean for this post to be a downer but given the tragedy that happened over Memorial Day weekend I just had to write something down.  The incident that happened at Isla Vista reminded me of Sandyhook Elementary and I felt like crying for all the victims who lost their lives, for their families and friends who lost someone precious. Why do people take their rage out on the innocent?

It's a scary world out there and I hope nothing like what happened over the holidays ever happens to my daughter or anyone else.  I can't imagine the grief the parents are going through.  I don't know how I could ever move on if anything like that happened to Jellybean.  I want my children to live good, long lives!

I believe every person is someone else's miracle.  If everyone believed that, maybe there would be a shot at world peace.  Maybe?  What do you think?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

May Weigh-in

My weigh-in came in at 153.6 lbs, which is a 3 lbs reduction from last month. Yay!  

What worked:

Not over eating. I'm not portioning out my meals but I am being more conscious about not eating beyond feeling full. 

Limiting junk or fatty foods. I've cut back on cookies and pizza. 

Drinking more water. I actually am cheating on this a little because I'm actually drinking larger quantities of watered down coffee rather than straight up water. 

What didn't work:

The 30-day abs and squat challenge is failing me. I'm not disciplined enough to actually do the workouts as planned every day. I skip doing them for a few days then catch up on all the missed workouts at once.  This is defeating the purpose of a 30-Day challenge. 

Things to do differently in May:

Finish up the 30-Day Challenge but have it be complimentary to my regular Jung Dayeon and Pilates workouts.

Don't let cookie eating get out of control. 

Do good quality workouts every day. Quality over quantity!  

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Reply to Gummy Vision's Beauty Thoughts

Gummy Vision posted a "real conversation" on her blog regarding some thoughts she's been having about being beauty obsessed (read her post here).  I have definitely been there and done that.

When I first got serious about beauty and skincare (way back in 2008 or 2009 - can't remember which year anymore), I was soaking this stuff up like a sponge!  I didn't know anything about anything and I couldn't get enough.  The more I watched YouTube, the more I "needed" something "absolutely essential".  YouTube was the door to other avenues of getting my beauty fix.  So, in late 2009 when I started blogging, I had ideas about posting product reviews and maybe dabbling in YouTube videos.

1. I'm kind of tired of being beauty obsessed, and I don't know what to do about it. (Gummy Vision)
From my own personal experience, I had to let go of my beauty obsession because I just did not want to afford it.  I didn't want to shell out HUNDREDS of dollars on a skincare line for the hope that it would whiten, brighten, anti-age, whatever I wanted, only to be sorely disappointed that I had spent that much money on stuff that didn't work.

I'm no student of accounting but I believe in the FIFO principle: First In, First Out.  At the rate that I was buying makeup and moisturizers and cleansers and all that jazz, I wasn't using them up fast enough and was collecting a stash of skincare products with expiration dates!  When I realized I had moisturizer that was 5 years old, it make me stop to think if any of these skincare lines actually worked.  And if you read my old blog (here), most product claims are fluff.

As for makeup, I love looking at palettes and limited edition compacts and what not.  I was always on the lookout for the "perfect palette" that I could live out of at home or when I traveled.  And even if there was a palette that answered my desire to cover face, eyes and eyebrows, I was always intrigued by the next "perfect palette" that would be more perfect than the one I already owned.  It got to a point where I realized that I was buying up palettes with all sorts of different colors for the just-in-case-I-feel-like-it moment but I only ever used neutrals.  What good is a palette where the neutrals (colors used daily) had already hit pan and brand new exotic colors wouldn't ever get worn?

Realizing this much was enough for me to get off the wagon about 2 years ago.  Now that I'm a mother, I put it in perspective: ONE Guerlain LE eyeshadow palette upwards of $40 can buy me ONE box of 188 diapers PLUS a small tube of diaper cream.  The diapers and diaper cream will get used up within a month.  I cannot say the same about the palette.

3. General makeup rules are really starting to annoy me. (Gummy Vision)
Haha!  General makeup rules amuse and confuse me.  The thing that gets under my skin in the most annoying way is when I watch tutorials on how to put makeup on monolids.  Most videos I've seen are made by people with full out double lids, or partial monolid.  I absolutely HATE (and I will use this strong word here) when they say "tight line your eyes and line your upper lids, it will make a difference."  When I open my eyes after doing that, all that is visible is eyeliner on the lower lash line.  Seriously, you can put about a centimeter of eyeshadow on my upper lids and when I open my eyes all that is visible is 1 mm, if any at all.

Like said, I've developed my own way of doing things and I've just about stopped watching tutorials all together and I feel so much less stressed and less obsessed.  It's a great feeling!

Some techniques I've used to find my balance

If you feel like you're caught up in something that is starting to consume you alive, just remember that YOU are in CONTROL.

1.  You can turn off the devices that are enabling the behavior, such as computer, smart phone, tablet, etc.

2.  You can structure your time in ways that you can devote an hour or two to only one activity.

3.  You can find an additional interest/hobby or just something else to do.

4.  Ask yourself if you need it or if you want it?

5.  You've found a new product that you really want to buy.  Sit on it for a week and then see if you still really want to buy it on the 8th day.

6.  You are not alone!  A lot of bloggers have a New Year's Resolution to shop less and use more.  We can relate and support each other!


Monday, April 14, 2014

30-Day Abs and Squat Challenge

I was inspired by Linh (Blushology) to get a planner to organize my life. I've identified that I'm a habitual scratch paper and post-it's girl, which is odd because I was a Planner girl back in college. What happened to me??

Anyways, in addition to all the things I need to or want to remember about my family and all the things I need to remember for work, I also wanted to keep track of my fitness progress. 

I bought a cheap planner from Target to try my hand at organizing myself this year. I get lost when there is a full month calendar at the start of each month followed by the weekly schedules behind it. I wonder if I should put everything I do or need to remember in the weekly section as well as the monthly section. I paralyze myself with the process of how to organize that I just don't organize anything at all!

But then I figured the monthly calendar is the perfect size to record all my workouts!  My fitness progress at a glance!!!  *light bulb ON!*

So, I'm actually getting a little bored with the Jung Dayeon Figure Dance workouts I've been doing for the last 3 or 4 weeks. They're good but I just need to insert a little change into it. So my hubby and I are going to start a 30-day fitness challenge. 

I'm loving it because it's something my husband and I get to do together, and it's low impact so we don't injure ourselves. 

I'll be back with an update later!!

Any one else trying to keep a fitness routine fresh and exciting?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Figure Robics by Jung Dayeon: Figure Mat

My most favorite workouts are those that require minimal equipment, like this new one from S. Korean fitness guru Jung Dayeon. Her workouts are becoming my new favorites because I can do them just about anywhere and any time. I think these would be perfect for when you travel. No need for extra clothes or shoes, and especially no extra equipment!  

Ok, enough of me raving about this workout. Here it is!

Top: pictures go left to right. Of all the warm ups I've seen, the above are some really neat moves I've never seen done before. 

Above: pictures go left to right

Top row (Figure Mat 1): up and down leg lift. Do 8 full leg lifts, then pump leg up and down 16 times. Switch legs.

Bottom row (Figure Mat 2): stretch out the leg to the side 8 times. Switch legs. 

Repeat the entire sequence. 

Above: pictures go left to right. 

Top row (Figure Mat 3): these are like sit ups but you only go back as far as the starting position. Do 8 of these sit ups, then 16 half sit ups.

Bottom left (Figure Mat 4): from the starting position, lift your arms straight up. Do this 8 times. 

Not shown (Figure Mat 5): do a Mat 3 sit up followed by raising your arms like in Mat 4. This is one rep. Do this 8 times. 

Bottom right (Mat 6): keeping your body in starting position, twist torso side to side 8 times. 

Do this entire sequence 2 times. 

Above: pictures go from top to bottom

Top left (Figure Mat 7): crunches, do 8 regular crunches the 16 quick little crunches. 

Bottom left (Figure Mat 8): hold your final crunch with arms extended upwards for 8 counts. 

Top right (Figure 9): these are reverse crunches for lower abs. Start with legs out just above the floor, the lift them straight up. Keep your tummy tucked in and back on the floor. Do this 8 times. 

Middle right (Figure Mat 10): lift pelvis into shoulder bridge position 8 times, followed by 16 little lifts. 

Bottom right (Figure Mat 11): this is like Mat 10 but with one leg lifted. Lift pelvis up into a one-legged shoulder bridge 8 times, followed by 16 little lifts. Switch legs. 

Repeat this entire sequence. 

Figure Mat 12: lift leg 8 times, followed by 16 little lifts. Switch legs. 

Figure Mat 13: same as above. 

Repeat the entire sequence. 

Figure Mat 14: I guess this is kind of like waving as if your tall grass blowing in the wind. Do this 8 times, with the key being to also roll your hips. 

Figure Mat 15: a windmill stretch sitting down. Do this 8 times. 

Do the sequence twice. 

Figure Mat 16: swimming. Do this 8 times, alternating sides.

Figure Mat 17: Superman lift. Lift 8 times, then hold the lifted position for 4 counts 4 times. 

Above: pictures go left to right. 

Top row (Figure Mat 19): a classic butt exercise. Lift leg 8 times, followed by 16 little lifts. Switch legs. 

Bottom row (Figure Mat 20): this is a sideways version of Mat 19. Do this 8 times. Switch legs. 

Repeat Mat sequences 16 through 20 twice. 

Above: pictures go from top to bottom. 

So, If you want to see the video do a YouTube search on Jung Dayeon's Figure Robics. Someone in the world will upload it. If you want to buy her DVDs from Amazon, do a search on Chondayon (I don't get how the spelling of her name can be so different). 

I haven't done this particular workout yet but I am planning to incorporate them into my weekly rotation. I'm a new fan. Lol!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

March Empties

I mentioned in a previous post that I didn't finish much in March. It's true, I didn't. 

I received the Skin & Co Truffle Serum and Philosophy Daily Oil-free Moisturizer from Linh at Blushology a while ago, and the Murad Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum as a free sample with purchase from Sephora. 

Skin & Co Truffle Serum
I think I would have liked this serum in my 20's. It was very emollient and felt very watery (which I love in a serum), but it also absorbed so well that my skin felt dry afterwards and I had to follow up with a thicker moisturizer. 

Philosophy Daily Oil-free Moisturizer SPF 30
This, I loved!!!!!  In fact, when I'm through with my current SPFer, I will be getting this in the full size!!!  It went on smooth and was non-greasy. Best of all, it didn't smell as strongly of SPF like most SPF products do. 

Murad Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum
(Do any of you think some of these names for products are ridiculously long?)  I thought this serum would have worked to lighten some of my age spots and was really disappointed that it didn't. I was also disappointed with the goopy texture of the product. It was thick and blended into my skin like glue. Not only did I not like the product for the product, but it went bad during my use of it. It changed from a light orange to a dark orange color, developed a growth in the serum, and started to smell bad. That was the nail in the coffin. 

Jellybean finished a lot more product than her mommy!

Boudreaux's Butt Paste
We love this product so much that we bought her 3 backups!

Baby Magic Lavender & Chamomile Calming Baby Bath
We love anything that is tear free for Jellybean because she recently discovered the joys of splashing. I really like this baby bath because it had a very soothing scent that didn't come on too strong. I categorize this product as a "repurchase if nothing else new catches my eye".

Baby Magic Hair & Body Wash Soft Baby Scent
I really liked this product much less than the Calming Baby Bath. The soft baby scent was really strong and assailed my nose. However, I give props to the tear free formula. I most likely won't be getting this again. 

That's it for March!

Friday, April 4, 2014

April Weigh-in

I will get around to my monthly Empties post later. I didn't finish all that much anyways. But for now, a weigh-in! 

So last month I was lamenting that I hadn't lost the baby weight since Jellybean was born. Some mothers are blessed like that, I suppose.  At the start of my weight loss journey, I was 160 lbs. I vowed to do some form of physical activity every day. I have stuck with it for the most part. I'm not gonna lie, doing at home workouts is really hard when you work from home and care for a baby at the same time. But, hey, sometimes 7 minutes is good enough. 

One of the activities I started doing was a 7 Minute Pilates exercise. I bought the app and love it so far. Each move is broken down into 30 seconds with a 10 second break in between. It's perfect for those days when Jellybean wants more attention. I could not do Rolling Like A Ball at first. My lower back couldn't curve like it used to to roll backwards. Instead of a nice round curve, I had a flat spot like a flat tire. I kept at it though and can now execute a nice roll!

I really like this app because it has a timer for each exercise and it tells you what exercise is coming up. You can even post your workout on social media, if you like. The only 2 things I would like is if 1) it had other Pilates moves that I can exchange, and 2) if there was an option for 50-10 second workout and rest breakdowns.

The other activity I began was Jung Dayeon's Figure Dance workout. I honestly don't have enough time to do the entire workout so I selected 4 sections to do that would cover a total body workout. I'm not going to post a link to YouTube for the video because it might get taken down again. But if you keep searching for it, someone somewhere in the world will post it again. Here's my shortened version:

I warm up first then start with the 12th move.

There's a "Bridge" after the above set which is the equivalent of a 16 count break, then...

There's another "Bridge" here. 

Another "Bridge". 

The final "Bridge" here then a cool down. When I first saw this workout, I scoffed at the idea that this would burn any calories. But when I try this workout and try to make it look easy and sexy like Jung Dayeon, there is a surprising amount of burn!

My husband is also trying out a new workout challenge. I think his arms and chest are starting to look more toned. 

I think he might be doing around 65 push-ups now (at the time of this post). He was also showing me this other workout he found on Instagram, called the Batman Workout. 

This looks interesting. I don't know if I'll try it, after all, 10 sets of 10 reps of 9 exercises might take up a lot of time. But we'll see how things go in the future. 

So, at my April weigh-in I am 156.4 lbs!  I lost 3.6 lbs!!!  Whoo-hoo!!!

I think the important thing to remember is to stay positive and not beat yourself up when you fall off the wagon. Just get back on it and keep going!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Home Improvement Project: Upgrading our Bathroom!

Sure, my husband and I could have bought and moved into a house that had already been brought into the 21st century, but where's the fun in that?  On the one hand, our house has a lot of character having been built before the Great Depression.  On the other hand, there are some things that really need updating.  With our savings, we decided to tackle the bathroom first.

Here's the floor plan for the old bathroom.  There was a wall in the middle of the room.

The wall in the middle of the bathroom ate up a lot of space in the bathroom and wasted precious square footage.  Additionally, there was a very small sink in such a large bathroom.  For a one-bath house, this made mornings a "my turn, your turn" routine.

The construction phase of the renovation lasted 3 weeks.  But look at how open our new bathroom is now!

I feel like these pictures adequately portray the vast improvements in the "after".  

My husband likes to tell people I designed the bathroom but that's not true.  My husband advocated for the faucet fixtures to be separated like you see in the picture above to draw attention to our granite vanity top.  He also selected our wall color (Silver Sage, for those who are curious), and had the original idea for subway tiles in the shower.  We waffled back and forth on the wall tiles in the shower and ended up getting a subway tile styled wall with large 9" x 13" glossy tiles.  And for the tiling details, we agreed on this rectangular one because it looked American Indian.  

We might have changed our minds several times on the tiles for the floor and wall, but the one thing we were adamant about was that this bathroom was going to stand the test of time.  We didn't want something that would look dated 30 years down the line and we wanted it to blend in with the theme of the house.  

We are planning to rehire this contractor for future work to the house.  If any of you are in the Los Angeles, Orange County or San Bernardino area and are looking for a contractor for your home renovations, let me recommend ours.  He's really committed to quality and is so easy to work with.  He will work with you on design ideas so that your house is truly your house.

Innovative Builders & Design located in Long Beach, CA.
Ask for Edgar!  Email: innovativebd (at) hotmail (dot) com