It's all about family and home right here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

K-drama! The Scholar Who Walks the Night

I am totally addicted to this show!

Thank goodness this show came on right when I had Baby Gummybear!  Spending sleepless nights with Lee Joon Gi sure helped me feel less exhausted.  I watched because I love historical dramas and I like vampires (not a Twilight fan, though: vampires need to have fangs and die in sunlight, plain and simple), and all the actors look great!

It's primarily a romance between a sophisticated and educated vampire on a mission, and simple, good-hearted bookseller who cross dresses as a man.  I'm only going to say that this cross dressing thing is not a commentary on society or any of that social crap.  It's part of the plot.

I'm not going to analyze or critique the show either.  It's purely entertainment and It was worth the 20 hours I put into it (20 episodes, 1 hour each).

You can watch it on Dramafever or Viki.  
You can read reviews and critiques on  

Beauty note: these guys....  these GUYS have better eyeliner than most girls I've seen!!!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Postpartum Weightloss: 10 days postpartum

Who-hoo!  Down to 166 lbs from 182 lbs!  I still haven't done anything special or specific to weightloss yet. Physically I'm still just hanging out with my toddler and newborn (and it's getting easier to hang out with her as my muscles gain back their strength). I'm eating food from the food service but have dealt with 2 bouts of gastroparesis. So I've gone about 4 days without eating. 

Don't get the wrong idea. I'm not not eating to lose weight - I love food too much. Gastroparesis is a condition I've had since college where my stomach spontaneously stops digesting food, leading to increasingly awful stomach pains that eventually lead to vomiting. It happens randomly for me. I'm not sure exactly what sets it off because if I did know I'd stop that behavior.  It can be set off by bad posture while eating, tight clothing like bra bands, stress, eating too fast, not chewing enough, being too hungry...the list goes on and on. When I do have to deal with my non working stomach I usually don't eat anything the day after to "reset" my stomach. Filling it up too soon can just lead to more gut clenching pain for me. 

Anyways, this wasn't supposed to be a post on gastroparesis but I just don't want anyone to think I'd do something as extreme as going on a starvation diet. 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Postpartum Weightloss: Immediately After Giving Birth

On the day I gave birth to Gummybear I was weighed at 182 lbs. Of course, this is with clothes and shoes, so I'm going to say I was really 181 lbs. Its been a few days since Gummybear blessed us with her birth and filled our house with newborn baby scents (and it is so intoxicating!) and I'm down 7 lbs. I'm not doing any exercises. Truthfully, my back and groin muscles still hurt from pregnancy so I'm pretty limited in my movements. It doesn't help when my toddler wants to be picked up but I can't resist her when she actually says "bao bao". 

All of my physical activities center around coordinating time between my toddler and newborn, as well as my parents who are visiting for a few days. It isn't easy chasing after a toddler when you're pregnant and it is not easy doing it when your body still aches. 

I suspect I haven't dropped the weight faster because my breasts are engorged right now because I've made the decision not to breastfeed Gummybear. More on that later. Don't judge me. Maybe once my breasts go back to normal I'll drop another couple of pounds. I'll take it even if the weightloss is not from an area I want, "Ahem, back fat, thighs, gut, upper arms."

Abdominal workouts are a no-no for me right now.  My abs separated during pregnancy and my doctor said not to do anything for 6-8 weeks. 

So the key to postpartum weightloss is to be confident in your body (you housed and birthed a tiny human being for 40 weeks!) and to take it a day at a time (because each day is different with kids, you can have good days and you can have bad days). 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Diaper Review: Pampers and Huggies

I wanted to do a diaper review a long time ago as Jellybean was outgrowing some of her diapers and we ran into leaking problems but I never got around to it. Well, now I can!

We bought some Newborn diapers as we continue to wait for Gummybear's arrival (38 weeks now) and I was shocked at how small Newborn diapers are, as well as amazed at how much Jellybean has grown!  I mean, look at the size difference!  Wow!!!  Anyways, let's start the review!

Pampers Swaddlers

1. The Yellow Line
What I really like about Pampers Swaddlers is that (for a premium) you get the diapers with a yellow line. In the first couple of days after your baby is born everything revolves around the number of pee and poop diapers you change in a day. This is to ensure that your baby is taking in enough breastmilk and is growing. The yellow line turns blue whenever it gets wet with pee. So since babies pee and poop a lot it's a great way to see that the plumbing is working. 

2. Smells Like Baby Powder
I like that Pampers smells like baby powder. It makes a baby smell like a baby. Other than that I don't really like any other artificial baby smelling products. 

3. Dry Weave Technology
The weave on this diaper wicks away moisture from the baby's bottom to keep baby comfortable and dry. I'm not saying to leave the diaper on for more than 1-2 hours but it's helpful to know that your baby isn't going to be too uncomfortable. 

Side note 1:  I unfold diapers like this (above picture). I don't know how nurses and daycare teachers can change a baby's diaper without unfolding it first. Does anyone else do this?

4. Velcro Tabs
These Velcro tabs are easy to use and stiff so they don't flop all over the place. They secure the diaper nicely. 

5. Space for Umbilical Cord
I love that Pampers made a little space for umbilical cord stump care. Yes, you can always fold the top of the diaper down but it's just nice knowing that the diaper engineers thought of it too. 

6. Overall Design Works for Infants
The overall design of this diaper works with infants who can't move around too much. We tried to be a one brand family with Jellybean as she grew up and started walking and running but we found that this style of diaper works best with mostly immobile infants. That said, let's move on to Huggies. 

Huggies Lil Cruisers

1. No Scent
So, even though I love the baby smell of the Pampers diapers, I'm also ok with no scent on the Huggies diapers. This actually works for Jellybean because she's starting to hold her pee more and her poop cycle is regulating itself. She's not yet at the potty training stage yet so sometimes she does not tell us when she has pooped. She's still happy to cozy up with the warmth of her poop for now. That this diaper has no scent helps us adults know when she has pooped and to clean her up right away as to prevent diaper rash. 

2. Dry Weave Technology
Same as above, this wicks the moisture away from her butt really quickly. But since she's been in daycare we've been battling bouts of diaper rash. So even though the liquid holding capacity of this diaper is awesome, rarely do I test its limit. I change Jellybean's diaper as soon as she pees, as soon as I see its puffy, or as soon as we start or end an activity. We go through a lot of diapers.....

3. Elastic Back Waist Band
This is perfect for a toddler on the go!  The elasticity holds the diaper in place while giving the toddler freedom of movement. 

Side note 2:  I really do unfold every single diaper like this. Tell me I'm not the only one!

4. Extra Velco Tab
That extra purple Velcro tab helps secure the diaper in place for an active toddler. It creates 4 points of contact that hold the diaper up while the toddler in walking, running, climbing or scooting around. However, I am insistent that there be a huge amount of material between the bottom of the purple Velcro thing and the top of the opening of the leg. Any shorter than what I've drawn in the picture and you run the risk of the Velcro rubbing and chafing the baby's leg. And trust me, seeing such an angry red mark on the baby should make the heart of any parent weep. 

5. Large Capacity for Pee and Poop
When you put a diaper like this on an infant who can't really move the diaper looks baggy or saggy. It's not necessary for an infant because you're going to change their diaper before it reaches capacity. But this diaper is perfect for a toddler. The bagginess of the diaper allows for more airflow to keep her little butt dry. But bigger kids put out bigger poop and bigger pee. The bagginess of this diaper is extra room for all that waste so it catches blowouts better. 

6. Stretch Tabs
The white Velcro tab itself is not stretchy but the blue piece it's on is stretchy. Again, I appreciate it for the security while allowing freedom of movement. My only gripe with this is that when I change Jellybean's poopy diapers while standing up the tabs, no matter how I fold the elastic waist band back, almost always fall into the poop!  It's like they're drawn to it!!  No one wants to work with a diaper with poopy tabs!  However, as I only change 2 poopy diapers a day, I can live with it considering that everything else about this diaper is perfect for my toddler. 

That's it for my thoughts on diapers. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

June Empties

I don't anticipate finishing anything else for the month of June so here are my empties for this month!

Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash
Bought this as a set of 2 from Sam's Club last year. I think it got tossed in with a whole bunch of crap during our kitchen renovation and my husband just found it earlier this month. Anyways, it's an ok product. It does the job it's supposed to do and smells like grapefruits while doing it.

Dr. Brandt Dark Circles Away
I don't really have problems with dark or puffy eyes so I can't say this did much for those issues for me. On my husband, this product did lighten his dark circles.  Anyways, as the summer got hotter and my face got oilier, I ended up using this all over the face as a facial moisturizer. It was light, absorbed well, and didn't feel heavy on my skin. While I liked the product itself, I would not repurchase this  in its current packaging because the quantity is too little for the price to be used as a facial moisturizer. 

That's it for now!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

It's really any day now!

First order of business, I have decided on a name for Baby #2!  From here on out, she will be known as Gummybear!

So I went in for my routine visit with my ob/gyn and while I'm still more than 2 weeks away from my official due date, today's exam really surprised me. Gummybear's head is totally engaged  in my pelvis and cervix. I'm, as you can see, 80% effaced and 3-4 cm dilated. This time last time with Jellybean I had already been in pretty painful labor for 10-12 hours getting from 2 to 4 cm. So I'm grateful that it hasn't been painful getting to this point with Gummybear. 

But it makes me wonder when will I go into labor?  I've been searching forums and reading up on when I might expect to go into labor being this far along and all the results are the same. I could give birth tonight or in another one to two weeks. Not very helpful. 

It makes me a little sad too, that pretty soon we won't be able to devote 100% of our energy and attention to Jellybean, who is hitting language milestones right now. 

But on the other hand it makes me pretty happy that Jellybean is going to be a big sister. She and Gummybear are going to be lifelong friends and I really do hope that they cultivate a relationship that is just as strong, if not stronger, than the relationship they each have with their parents. I cannot imagine a Jellybean without a Gummybear and vice versa. 

Are we ready for this?!?!  It's too late to back out now!!!  But seriously though, we recognize that some things are going to be like an old hat. We'll just know what to do and have experience getting the tasks done. But other things will be uncharted waters for us. I think we're just worried about family life dynamics and how to navigate that with authority so that the children don't see us falter. 

And lastly, yes, 181 lbs. I am definitely carrying a lot of weight on my feet. I already have my workout plan on Pinterest and will start on it after I give myself a break and relax after the delivery. 

Wow!  I'm bouncing off the walls with excitement!  It's any day now!!  Yay!!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Gearing up for post pregnancy weight loss

Today was my last every-2-weeks exam and first every-week-prenatal exam. I weighed in at 179 lbs. It's a little challenging knowing how much weight I've packed in this 2nd pregnancy. And when you factor in the fact that I never quite lost the baby weight from the 1st pregnancy the idea of weight loss becomes both daunting and motivating. 

This 2nd time around I want to do it differently. I want to take weight loss more seriously because I have to. We're going to have 2 under 2 and I can't afford to be sidelined because I'm not fit enough to play with my girls, or not be fit enough to tend to both their needs. Jellybean is still a baby and I certainly don't want to feel like I have an expiration date when it comes to caring for my kids.  I do plan to breastfeed for 2 months while I'm home on maternity leave but I don't know if I can or want to keep it up for a year. We'll have to see how our nursing relationship turns out.  

So based off the birthing, recovery, and first few weeks experience the 1st time, I've come up with starter workout plan for the first 8 weeks. 

Weeks 1 thru 2
Absolutely no working out.  It's important to give yourself a break to adjust to the baby and the healing process after birth. 

Eating decently. My parents ordered me the 月子餐 (yue zi tsan) same as last time. This is a special diet for post pregnancy recovery. It's very healthy and packed with Chinese medicines. 

Wearing a postpartum belt. This helps shrink your uterus since it'll be harder for that organ/muscle to bounce back to original size after 2 nearly back-to-back pregnancies. 

Weeks 3 thru 4
Walking outside (good for baby's circadian clock, good start for Mommy's new fitness routine) or walking on a treadmill (if we bring back that relic of my husband's bachelor days from my MIL). 

Continue eating the 月子餐. I'm going to try to document the foods they deliver because I'm sure I can make some of it myself. 

Continue wearing my postpartum belt. I may even consider getting a postpartum girdle. 

Weeks 5 thru 6
Add arm and shoulder exercises. There is a 6 week ob/gyn visit where they check up on your recovery. This is the best time to get the doctor's approval to work out and see if she has any recommendations on workout intensity. 

Keep walking. 

Keep eating the 月子餐. 

Keep wearing postpartum belt/girdle. 

Weeks 7 thru 8
Add light abdominal workouts. I'm pretty sure my abdominal muscles have split by my belly button (diastasis recti) so crunches, sit-ups, and workouts of that nature are out. There is a gentler version of ab workouts that can be done to slowly strengthen the abs and bring the 2 sides back together. 

Keep doing arm exercises. 

Keep walking. 

Enjoy the last week of the 月子餐 (my parents bought 2 months of this yummy food) and get ready to make the foods on my own. 

Keep wearing the postpartum girdle. I actually plan to wear it 4-6 months if not more. 

Pinterest has so many workout ideas that it's hard to choose just one. Everything is motivating!  The biggest challenge here is making time for myself a priority!  I didn't really do that the last time and felt so "mommied out" a number of times. So I want to focus some energy on myself so that I can be a better mom and wife. 

If anyone has any tips on post pregnancy fitness I'd love to read about them. Leave your tip in the comments below and how that worked for you.  Thanks for reading!

Friday, June 5, 2015

FOTD: Went to work without going to work

So this was last Tuesday, when I got dressed and made up for work, then started driving and turned around to go back home mid-commute. Jellybean was sick and couldn't go to school so I went back home to take care of her. 

Here, I'm experimenting with a Lancôme travel palette that I bought on the Duty Free shop on an international flight a few years ago. I realized that in my rush I did not line my eyes or apply mascara. 

Side note about eyelashes and mascara:
My eyelashes are actually shorter than ever before!  They are falling out and baby eyelashes are growing in as my pregnancy progresses. So even if I apply mascara, and with my monolids, they're so short that they're really difficult to see. 

But going back to the original topic, I am going to make more of an effort to "complete" the look and line the eyes and apply mascara. 

One thing I'm enjoying about Lancôme is that their makeup doesn't budge on me. I have not been using primer on my eyes and have found that their shadows don't travel southwards as the day progresses.

What I don't like about this particular palette is that the concealer (above blush) and the lip sticks/glosses are are located so close to the powder products. I have to be careful about the fallout from powder falling into the creamy products or accidentally dipping brush hairs into the creamy products when I'm trying to go for the powder or blush. However, that said, this is a fantastic little palette to take when you're traveling. You can pull off a complete look with just this palette and not have to bring anything else. 

Lancôme is a brand that does sell in China and therefore does submit their products for animal testing. Not too thrilled about that but I already bought the palette so will use it. 

Jellybean update:
She's doing fine now and returned to school most joyfully!  I hope she continues to have that attitude towards school. 

Friday, May 29, 2015

Honeydew, Honey Do!

I thank God and the Higher Powers for this blessing. Being a woman able to give life to a baby is such a miracle and a humbling experience. I know my husband has gone through his own transformation being Jellybean's father, but sometimes I wish he could feel the things I feel. 

That said, I just want to write this post to remind myself of the joys and challenges of pregnancy the second time around. 

I think part of the challenges of being a pregnant woman is that most people will say we're so lucky to be able to be pregnant as opposed to having fertility issues. For the most part I feel lucky and blessed. But I think it creates a societal pressure to feel happy, grateful, and positive 100% of the time. Truthfully I feel great about being preggers 70% of the time.  I feel anxious 25% of the time for Jellybean and the big changes that are coming her way, how she's too young to know what exactly those changes are, and how to make this transition as seamless as possible for her.  I spend the other 5% of the time struggling with all the aches and pain of being pregnant. 

I'm in my 33rd week this week and Baby #2 is the size of a honeydew melon. I'm getting menstrual-like cramps in conjunction with Braxton-Hicks contractions, about 55%-45% relatively speaking, and this makes me worried. I always think that it's related to preterm labor because I had menstrual-like cramps prior to going into labor with Jellybean. I hope I'm just worrying over nothing and that Baby #2 can stay in until full term!

As for the typical Honey Do list, I've thrown that out for a Honey Do Prepare for Plan A and Plan B list. 

Plan A
I go into labor during daytime. We'll call our awesome nanny to watch over Jellybean so that my hubby and I can head over to the hospital. 

Plan B
I go into labor during the night or when our awesome nanny won't be available. We'll have to take Jellybean with us to the hospital and have our awesome nanny meet us at the hospital as soon as she can. 

Six more weeks to go!  Time to me feels like it's speeding up and slowing down. I can't believe that we're going to have a baby in 6 short weeks!  I can't believe it's another 6 long weeks to become a family of 4 plus 4 cats!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Researching Cruelty-Free Skincare and Makeup Brands

I'm just getting in some research right now about cruelty-free skincare and makeup brands and am actually surprised by the variety. I thought there would be only a handful but I'm really excited and pleased that so many companies/brands are committed to being cruelty-free!  I'm not going to be fanatic about it but at least it's a start to being better educated about the philosophy behind certain brands. 

PETA's website has a list of skincare and cosmetics brands that are cruelty free. Paula's Choice website also has a comprehensive list of companies that do and don't test on animals. But I think it's just easier to remember that if the company or brand is sold or available for retail in Mainland China, the company or brand does have to submit their products for animal testing. It's required by law over there.

I'm a little sad because brands that I've always wanted to try, like Laneige, Cle de Peau, Sisley Paris, or even brands that seem so natural and good for you like Aveeno all do animal testing. 

I guess it's good that I've got a few cruelty-free brands lined up, such as:

100% Pure
Avalon Organics
Burt's Bees
Yes To
Tom's of Maine

Just to name a few off the top of my head. Additionally, I could always go to Whole Foods and pick up the ingredients needed to make my own skincare. 

I'm getting really excited about this!  I'll post more on this new adventure of mine as I learn more. 

Have a great Memorial Holiday!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Renewing interest in YouTube beauty channels

Is it cosmic irony or what?  Jellybean is 18 months and I finally feel like I'm getting a good beauty and skincare routine going.  In 2 more months this is going to change and I'll probably revert to being a frazzled new mom all over again. 

Anyways, I've been getting back into watching makeup and skincare videos on YouTube lately after maybe a 3 year hiatus. I even found my old channel and learned a trick from my old self!!  

The reason I got off the YouTube beauty wagon was that I felt compelled to keep buying all the newest palettes or limited edition stuff. The people I followed then were always ALWAYS buying makeup and I was jumping in on that. And honestly, it got to the point where I was getting fed up with it. I was spending a lot of money on makeup I would rarely or never wear, and hundreds of dollars on high-end skincare products and I still broke out. Watch the old videos of me and you'll see what condition my skin was in using expensive skincare.  My beauty habit was not supporting our (my husband's and my) goal of buying a house, getting married, and starting a family so I cut YouTubing out of my life and have only kept up with certain blogs. 

I'm now rebuilding my subscriptions to my favorite YouTube personalities but I don't think I'll fall into the same trap of spending much needed money on superfluous stuff. I've got my children's future to save up for and I need to set an example of saving money and spending wisely.  We'll see how it evolves, I suppose. 

My old YouTube channel is KusanagiGirl1. Wow!  I was much thinner then. Got to lose this baby weight, but that's another battle to fight... Later. Haha!

32 weeks! 8 weeks left!

Last night we got out Jellybean's infant car seat and got it ready for Baby #2. I'm telling you seeing it all set up brought back memories of Jellybean as a newborn as well as making the upcoming arrival of Baby #2 seem a lot more real!

I'm carrying out 2nd daughter a lot lower than I did with Jellybean. Baby #2 is already head down and her crown is right on my bladder. So the torture of drinking liquids is that I have to go to the bathroom almost every 30 minutes. 

I've been getting contractions every day yet at my last checkup I'm still good (not dilated or effaced). So the waiting game continues!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Middle of May Empties and Purged

I'm in nesting mode!  I went through and sorted my makeup and realized that some things have got to be purged because they just don't work for or suit me. There's a lady at work who is really into makeup so I'll let her have first pick.

First, my Empties!

The above are products I've used up. 

Swisspers Cotton Rounds
They're ok. They do the job but are far from perfect. They do leave cotton fibers behind that are caught on damp skin or my hair. 

Wen Replenishing Treatment (spray)
I like Wen!  If it weren't so darn expensive I'd be using it regularly. This leave-in spray makes my hair feel soft and shiny and hydrated for a day after using. If using this by itself with other shampoo/conditioner brands, I think this is the best you can hope for. But I think if you use this spray in conjunction with the Wen Cleansing Conditioner, your hair would look and feel so healthy probably for 2 or 3 days. 

Onto the purged items:

Lip products (above, left)
After having a baby I realized that I just don't like lip glosses anymore. They are too sticky and wearing them prohibits me from kissing my daughter whenever I want. 

Stila Lip Glazes
I'm going to have to find a way to use them up when I'm not around my daughter(s). I don't want to kiss them and leave sticky gloss residue on their faces and hair. 

Merle Norman
This was super pigmented, which was amazing!  But maybe it was the sample size or maybe it was the formula, it dried my lips out. 

I'm not tossing this one but will figure out a way to incorporate it into my life. It's very moisturizing and glossy, although the color is sheer, which is ok. 

Eye Products (above, top right and bottom right) 
I have tossed all of the eye products into the garbage. 

Physicians Formula Kohl Kajal Eyeliner
It probably works the worst on people with monolids. Even with eyelid primer on, these eyeliners (if they didn't break) would start smudging, smearing, and giving me the appearance of raccoon eyes within ONE hour. 

Neutrogena (Healthy Skin?) eyeshadow
I bought this so long ago and depotted it so long ago that I can't remember it's exact name. This was the very first eyeshadow I bought and obviously didn't know what I was doing. It's too cool for my skin tone and ends up looking frosty on me. It exacerbates my monolids and makes them look hooded or tired. 

Wet n' Wild (Lust?)
Again, bought this a long time ago, and depotted it a long time ago and don't remember the exact name. It was part of a 6-shadow palette.  Out of all the shadows, this is the chalkiest and frostiest shadow. I just didnt know where to use it so I never did. 

I'm keeping everything in the pictures above to see if I can make them work for me. 

Tarte eyeliners (above, top left)
These came as part of a special edition palette set that Tarte had in the winter of 2009 or so, if I remember correctly. Maybe it's the length of time but these eyeliners are not as easy to apply as I remember back in 2010. Additionally, I feel that they don't have good staying power.  Maybe they'll last a morning but by the afternoon I start looking like a raccoon, even with primer. I'll still give them a shot just to see if I can make them work. 

Hard Candy eyeshadow in asteroid
I think I've used this less than a handful of times. It's nice and pigmented and is royal blue... But it has glitter in it which makes it flakey, dusty, and a general pain to apply dry. I'm going to see if my coworker can use it. 

Murad  Absolute Bronzing Boost
Also finding it a new home. This gives your skin a beautiful summer glow but it doesn't work for me because I'm using products for brightening skin tone. 

That's it for now! 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Lotion Purge

I have had these lotions for a long while but I've been opting for jojoba oil, almond oil, Vaseline, petroleum jelly, Egyptian Magic, and several other lotions with no fragrance. I keep telling myself that I will use my stash of lotions but I never do. 

Side note: there is a naked pursuit suspect rescue in the waters at Redondo Beach right now!  Haha!  It took 3 lifeguards to bring in this naked 300 pound man.

Anyways, back to the post. :-)

So, I think I figured out that the stronger the fragrance the less I'll use it. My nose has always been sensitive but pregnancy has made my nose more sensitive. I don't like strong fragrance as much anymore because it will give me headaches or set off feelings of scent aversion. Secondly, the more fragrance is in the lotion the less I enjoy the end texture of the lotion. I find that those lotions leave some sort of gritty residue in the grooves of my fingerprints. 

The above are lotions that are still brand new. I received these as gifts but never used them.  The lotion on the right was a gift from Linh (Blushology) and smells like peppermint candy. The other 2 on the left are from my best friend in San Francisco. They have seals on them but I can smell the rose scent through them so I'm sure the fragrance is stronger than my nose can handle. I'm going to take these to the office and give them to my colleagues. They seem to like fragrances lotions better. 

The above are lotions that I have used and have gotten to the half-way point on these but can't seem to finish. I used to enjoy baby scented things like baby lotion and baby powder but I just can't handle the fragrance anymore. During this pregnancy it seems that the perfume is just a little sharper than I like. The middle is a hand lotion that I bought from Sephora.  I don't think I ever liked it. It's a perfect example of a lotion that is more of a perfume than a moisturizer. My hands always feel just as dry after using it but the scent lasts forever and gets transferred to whoever I hug or touch. I'm not sure what to do with the baby lotions exactly but I'm taking the Thai Lily hand lotion to the office to leave in the ladies' room. 

The above are lotions I'm on the fence about. The Bodycology lotion has a very mild scent and actually feels moisturizing without leaving a gritty feeling in the grooves of my finger prints. I think maybe I'll keep it.... Maybe. I'm not sure if I'll keep the Body Shop lotion. I like the scent of peaches and apricots, but this lotion doesn't moisturize very well and leaves behind a gritty feeling. I'm really on the fence about the Burt's Bees lotion. I used to like its scent but can't seem to handle it during this pregnancy. However, it is quite moisturizing and Burt's Bees is a brand that doesn't test on animals... So it's definitely got that going for it. 

If I purge everything pictured here you can rest assured that I've found new homes for them. I think most of these products are good products, but I think pregnancy may have made my nose too sensitive. I guess it makes it all the easier to smell a poopy diaper. Haha. 

Family Updates

Jellybean is finally sprouting her canines and molars!  She's just started saying "bye" when she waves goodbye and gives us kisses when we ask for kisses. She's also very expressive when she's trying to talk, even though she's still using baby language. 

I'm in my 3rd trimester and somewhere between 31 and 32 weeks. So only a few more weeks to go before we welcome our newest addition!  I've been getting PMS-like cramps along with Braxton-Hicks contractions for a while, but not regularly enough to warrant a visit to labor and delivery. Something different from my last pregnancy is that I've been losing bits of my mucus plug for several weeks already but my doctor doesn't seem too worried. 

My husband really is the best!  I've lately been enjoying McDonald's Oreo McFlurries. My husband will buy two, one for me and one for him, but he'll purposefully eat it slower so that he can give me what's left of his when I'm done with mine. That's love!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Empties: April

And the reason I got this post up at the beginning of May instead of the end is that I prepared for it in April!  Yay!

Aura Cacia Jojoba Oil
Love this stuff. It's perfect for moisturizing right after a shower. Jellybean loves it too!

St. Ives Blemish Control Apricot Scrub
I loved this at the beginning but then got bored with it. It's great for exfoliation. I guess the packaging just isn't that exciting even though it's a solid product. I'll probably repurchase this again. 

Boudreaux's Butt Paste
Yep, finished more of it.  It's her holy grail even if a bit expensive.

That's it for now!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

There's No Easy Way Out

Life before children was a breeze. We did whatever we wanted, when we wanted, and had plenty of money to do it. And now that we have children we can only look back fondly at a time when life seemed too idyllic to be real. Real life now is scheduled around our kids' schedules and routines. 

As I'm in the final stretch of pregnancy with Jellybean's sister I am trying to recall a lot of things, from what the hospital check-in process was like to the sleeplessness and overwhelmed feelings  of the first few weeks. 

I can't help but laugh at certain memories, like how I didn't realize that labor pains only increase in strength until the baby is expelled from the body (or a miraculous epidural).  Or that the pushing stage is considered separate from actual labor. I had gone online to read (big mistake) about labor and delivery from real women and all I retained were the horror stories of a multi-day delivery process. 

Eventually, the reality that every labor is different sank in. In reality I was in labor for 20 or so hours but half of it was menstrual cramp level pain, which was totally and voluntarily bearable (the other half, I had no choice but to bear it).  In reality I pushed three times in 15 minutes to birth Jellybean and change our lives forever from that moment on. 

So, going into the home stretch I wanted to recall some memories that will make me laugh this time around. 

There is no easy way out #1
The pain of labor will only increase in intensity and frequency over time until the baby is ready to be delivered. Do not expect the two dinky pills you get from the nurses to do anything for the pain. Do not expect the nurses to be completely sympathetic to your pain because this is their business and they've seen it thousands of times and they have more faith in you than you have in you at the moment. 

There is no easy way out #2
Glorious, glorious epidural!  It comes with a catheter to catch your pee because you will no longer be in control of your bladder. 

There is no easy way out #3
An elective C-section can spare your lady parts from stretching and tearing but recovery time will be one or more weeks. What no one bothers to tell you is that you still need stool softeners because that first poop is going to hurt, and you still need a lot of thick maxi pads for all that blood and lochia after birth. 

There is no easy way out #4
Vaginal birth is the old fashioned way to go. Some ladies will experience tearing of the perineum and will need stitches down there. The first poop is still a fearful and painful process no matter how many stool softeners you take, so eat fiber rich foods now! There is no getting around afterbirth bleeding and lochia. But you do recover so much faster, yay!

There is no easy way out #5
Having a baby is a freight train. There is no slowing it and no stopping it. I am blessed to be a woman who can experience childbirth. Nothing inspired as much confidence in myself as becoming the mother of my husband's children. Don't mind the next few years of lost sleep. Just enjoy these nights when all you do is kiss them and blog. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Empties: March

It's very slow going in the skincare department in my house. I'm still struggling with finding enough time to get my face done between all the things that need to happen to stick to Jellybean's routines. 

At least there is still progress!

Stila Lip Glaze in Grapefruit
At first I didn't like the brush feature of the pen. Then it grew on me. I really enjoyed how long the glaze lasted and kept my lips moisturized. But then I realized the immensely sticky texture of the glaze was awful for kissing babies, husbands, and drinking from travel cups. 

Koh Gen Do Moisture Spa Gel
I really liked using this product. It's not greasy at all. It's perfect for summer for my skin type (combo/oily). It needs reinforcements in the winter. 

Kate Lorraine Eye Cream
I used it all over my face as a moisturizer. It was really nice to use. It's something between a cream and a lotion. It's hydrating yet doesn't feel greasy. It feels heavier than the KGD Moisture Spa Gel but it absorbs and dries just the same. 

That's it for now!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Mommy Confessions: What message will my skincare send to my daughters?

This might be a temporary thing or it might change once our second daughter arrives.  I've been trolling Sephora and Sasa for whitening skincare products. This isn't my first brush with whitening products and this isn't any sort of subconscious or conscious wish to be white/Caucasian. I have dark spots on my face brought about by age and a very lax sun care regimen. A more deeply rooted reason is that I've been under the influence of Taiwanese beauty culture for several years (since 2003), that paler is more desirable. 

Luckily, I'm married to a man who loves me for me and will be ok with my skincare choices. 

But now that I'm a mother to a beautiful tri-racial daughter and her soon-to-arrive sister, I've been having these thoughts that maybe I should ease up on the whitening aspect of skincare.

My toddler's skin tone is between my husband's and my skin tone. She leans more towards my husband's side, actually. If I continue on this path of using whitening skincare products for my own sense of vanity I need to ask myself what message I'm sending to my children. If the message is the same as what I've internalized, that paler is more beautiful, then we have a problem. I don't want my girls thinking they need to change the color of their skin in order to feel beautiful to other people, or that they aren't beautiful in my eyes. This "paler" thing is Mommy's issue, not their's. 

Look at this face!

Everything about her is beautiful. All she knows is that she's loved and safe with Mommy and Daddy. Why would I want to be the person to introduce self doubt to her through my own actions?

Or, I could be wrong on this whole thing!  Maybe she won't even care because we've done our best to raise a self confident person. 

But now that I've come face-to-face with this concern of mine, maybe it's time to revise my own way of thinking. Maybe the message I should be sending to my daughters is to be conscious about their beauty regimen (when they finally develop one). "Protect your skin from the sun's UVA/UVB rays and choose from brands that don't do animal testing."  That's a better message in my opinion and needs to start with me. 

So, I'm now making the following statements and want to be held accountable for them:

1) I'm going to use up what I currently have in my stash, which might take a while, but...

2) When I replenish any skincare or makeup item, I will choose from brands that do not do animal testing. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Jellybean's Daycare Update: One Month In

Jellybean has been going to daycare for a month now and she's doing great!  Here's a list of all the things daycare has had a positive effect on:

1.  Her napping and sleeping schedule is now predictable. It makes me wonder what the heck was I doing for the first 16 months!

2.  Her eating schedule is solidified!  She eats so much for dinner that I can be confident she's not waking up in the middle of the night because she's hungry. And she drinks milk now!!

3.  She talking more and using words purposefully. So far she can purposefully say "ba ba" for ball, "mama" for me, and she can answer yes or no when we ask if she would like a food or not. 

4.  She's becoming more independent and willful. She's still a pretty easy going kid but she will definitely let us know when she doesn't want to be taken away from something that interests her. 

5. She can wave bye bye to people now, especially to us, her nanny, and her teachers.

6.  She's started playing with kids of her own age and enjoys it!

The one negative thing about daycare is that Jellybean got her first diaper rash while attending daycare. I'm not sure if it was inevitable or if it is the nature of daycare (1 teacher to 3-4 kids and therefore a lack of individual attention) but we've been battling her first bout of diaper rash. 

The first day of daycare went as expected. She was so excited by her new environment that she ignored me when I dropped her off and tried to say bye. 

The second day she realized daycare is a place where she has time to make new friends and play WITHOUT mommy. She cried during drop offs for the next 8 school days. 

By the middle of the second week, she was ok at drop off. She didn't cry but she clung on to us tighter before letting a teacher take her. 

By the beginning of the third week she was good at drop off. She recognized her teachers and was happy to play with her buddies at school. 

If we had to do this again we'd still put Jellybean in daycare. The positive effects of daycare made me realize that some of the things I considered challenges were not permanent. They only required a more solid and structured routine. Jellybean is learning so much that I know this was the right decision 10 times over. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

FOTD: Getting back into the groove

Pigs can fly or hell froze over!  I've actually managed to apply makeup for 4 days straight. What's even more amazing is that I've actually managed and succeeded in taking my makeup off for 4 nights straight, like, in a proper wash-my-face-with-cleanser-and-water way!

Ok. My FOTD may not be glamorous but it's what I can do in 10 minutes and it's a little more polished than how I've been presenting myself for the past year (no makeup at all).  After all, small steps. 

On my face I have Bare Minerals mineral foundation in fairly light.  It's medium sheer coverage on me. I think you can build it up but I don't have time to be perfect about it. 

On my eyes I have my Lancôme travel palette shadows (also blush on the cheeks). I tried using a sponge one day and a brush the next day for my eyes. I've found the best eyeshadow applicator is my finger. My finger gets the e/s right up to where I can see it when I open my eyes. 

On my brows are Maybelline brow pencil in brown. I never gave brow pencils much of a chance before (before Jellybean was born, that is) but I'm really liking how simple it is to apply. It definitely takes less tools than powder and brush. 

One day I will get around to doing my hair. Until then, I'm just a wash and go type of person. 

Lips: nothing but petroleum jelly. All the better to kiss Jellybean with. 

That's it for now!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Cough-pee and the Sneeze-pee

You know what that is. It's the pee that comes out when you cough or sneeze. You can't hold it in even if you stopped walking and stood with your legs crossed. 

For the first time in a long time my husband and I are both sick at the same time and at the same rate. We're comparing notes on how we feel.  "My throat is scratchy and hurts when I swallow."  "Me too!"  "I cough because I feel a tickle in my throat that won't go away."  "Oh my god, you too?!"

And that leads me to the main point. Im fed up with having a cold during pregnancy. I can't do my usual thing of jumping into a sauna to cook the virus out of me. Nor can I take meds for the cold without my doctor's approval. So I'm toughing it out. Every cough and sneeze is an accident that happened. 

I just had to vent.  

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Second Trimester Second Time Around

We're in the home stretch of the 2nd trimester with Baby #2 and I have a couple of words:

I feel everything earlier!

When I was pregnant with Jellybean, I didn't really feel aches and pains until the 3rd trimester.  With this pregnancy I started feeling every ache and pain in the 2nd trimester.

Pelvic / Round ligament pain
This is the pain that occurs in and around the pubic bone.  It feels like there is no muscular support for the weight of the baby and uterus.  For me, the pain brings to mind of my body starting to stretch out before it should.  When the pain is particularly sharp, it conjures images of my body splitting apart from the groin.

Back pain
Extra weight, extra strain.  Also sometimes I get a pinched nerve and can't straighten out.

Swelling feet
My feet are retaining a bit of water and have been a tad swollen for a couple of weeks.  But I never regained my pre-pregnancy feet size after Jellybean was born.  So I need to wear shoes that are wider than normal.

Like with Jellybean's, I show early.  My tummy was normal one week and the next week it just seemed to balloon out with Baby #2.  But the difference was that when I was 20 weeks pregnant with Jellybean, it was a smaller baby bump than when I was 20 weeks pregnant with Baby #2.

Feeling the baby move
Hands down this is the best part of being pregnant.  I started feeling Baby #2 move at 18 weeks (Jellybean was at 24 weeks). Every time our daughter moves I feel assured that everything is progressing fine.

I really can't wait to meet our daughter.  I hope that our hospital will let us take Jellybean into the delivery and recovery rooms so she can be present for the birth of her sister.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

End of a breastfeeding era

Today is April 1, 2015 and it marks 1 week since Jellybean last nursed. I feel a bit sad that she and I don't have that special time together to bond anymore, but I also feel happy at the same time. She's growing up beautifully and my boobs are now my own. It's a win-win!

My original plan had been to exclusively breastfeed her for 6 months then wean her off at 12 months. But, as I have learned, the best plans don't always work out the way you want. 

Jellybean's weaning was a long and gradual process.  I gave up on the plan to wean her at 12 months because I thought it was a pretty sucky birthday gift to take away the one source of pure and complete comfort to an infant. So our weaning journey took a bit longer and was a collaboration between mother and child. 

The first weaning
A natural weaning begins around 6-8 months, after the introduction of solid foods. Jellybean started showing interest in solid foods at around 4-5 months. At the time, solids were just an appetizer to the main course of boob juice. But by 6-8 months, we were substituting a nursing session or two with solids. At the time, we were probably nursing about 6-8 times during the day and 6-8 times at night. 

The second weaning
The 2nd stage of our weaning process happened around 7-10 months when I went back to work. Going back to work was another weaning opportunity just by schedule and location alone. I didn't bother pumping at work because I wanted my milk supply to lessen gradually. During this stage, I was nursing her 4-5 times a day and an average of 4-5 times a night. A mother can tell when her child is nursing for nourishment and comfort. At this time, I started sensing that Jellybean was night nursing more for comfort than nourishment. 

The third weaning
From about 10-13 months, Jellybean really started getting into solid foods. This was a natural weaning opportunity so we encouraged her to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner and rely less on breastfeeding. It worked!  During this time, we were down to 1-2 nursing sessions in the day and 3-4 night nursing sessions. 

The fourth weaning
From 13 months on and for this attempt, I took the lead on weaning her. We were down to one day nursing and one night nursing. During the day, we'd eat enough solid foods so I knew she wasn't asking to nurse because she was hungry. I'd tell her that Mommy's "nana" were going to sleep. During the night, I offered her water and her pacifier, which she took most of the time. If she didn't, she'd throw a sleepy tantrum for a minute or two, then realize she wasn't getting her way, then would reach for her paci and settle back down to sleep. I'd let her nurse after the 2am hour. At this point, I knew that any nursing a before 2 am were just for comfort but the nursing a after 2 am were because she was hungry. 

The fifth weaning
This stage is the final stage and happened at around 14.5 months and onwards to present. We were down to one nursing session in a 24-hour period, which was between the 3 am - 5 am hour. To substitute that nursing session, I'd offer her water, her paci, or just help her go back to sleep. And it worked!

I'm really proud of Jeallybean. During this whole weaning process I always tried to let her tell me when she was ready to take the next step. She'd let me know if I was moving too fast with the weaning process and I'd slow down. I think this worked really well for us. I do have to add that I'm a proponent of the path of least resistance. I'm always interested in hearing about how other mothers handled everything and what techniques they used. 

Mmm!! Bananas are her favorite fruit!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Jellybean is starting daycare!

We finally got a call 11 months after putting Jellybean on a wait list for a top notch NAEYC accredited daycare.  I'm anxious, nervous, excited and hopeful. I've been reading blog posts by other moms about their experiences with daycare. 

First of all, we have the awesomest nanny for Jellybean and much of Jellybean's 1st year milestones were reached under her supervision.  

But Jellybean is getting older and getting to that point where I think she needs more social and cognitive stimulation. Socially, she meets kids at the park and playground when her nanny takes her, but those kids are seldom of Jellybean's real and/or developmental age. They never meet the same kids more than one or two times so Jellybean hasn't had a chance to make friends with other kids yet. 

Cognitively, Jellybean is learning how to talk, how to categorize and group things, and how cause and effect work. I personally feel that even though my husband, I, or her nanny can teach her these things, she might benefit more and faster from watching her friends model these things. 

So yes, I am very excited to have her start daycare. 

But where I'm anxious and nervous is of course with daycare. Kids get sick and germs spread so easily in daycare. I don't want her to spread anything or be the recipient of some other child's spreading germs. I'm worried about her hitting or biting someone, or being hit or bitten by someone else. I'm worried about her watching her friends model bad behavior (like throwing long tantrums, cuz Jellybean's tantrums are super short). I'm worried that a ratio of 1 teacher to 4 kids means Jellybean won't have the attention she's used to in the one-to-one setting. I'm worried that she's going to cry herself sick when we drop her off for daycare.

Other mothers write on their blog posts that they experience the same thing, but after several weeks they've seen their children thriving in daycare. So I have to wonder if this is another rite of passage of sorts that all mothers and fathers
go through? 

We gave birth to these tiny little human beings who so completely depended on us for everything. With each passing month we've had to let them become more independent while realizing they are who they are because of us. And now, with daycare, we're faced with the realization that other people will help shape who our babies will become, that it's not only me or her father. Maybe it's a bit of jealousy, but I can't let that outweigh what I believe is the best thing for Jellybean. 

She's curious about everything and it would be a terrible disservice to hold her back from learning everything she can. 

Jellybean, Mommy and Daddy are so proud of all your accomplishments so far. And we are going to love and support you on all your future aspirations and accomplishments. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Big, Big News! Baby #2 on the way!!!

I hope everyone had a fantastic Valentine's Day weekend!  Our little family celebrated by going out for an early morning breakfast, dropping Jellybean off with her grandparents who are visiting from Taiwan, then going in for an anatomical ultrasound, of which finding out Baby #2 is a girl was just one of the highlights of the day!

So, I'm pretty bad an keeping this type of news a secret. How was I able to keep my mouth shut for 19 weeks?  Well, I didn't know I was pregnant for most of the 19 weeks!!!  I actually missed all of the first trimester!

I have a new level of understanding for women who say they didn't know they were preggers. For me, the only symptom of possible pregnancy I had was an acute sense of smell and being turned off from certain kinds of foods. I just thought that it was residual food aversion from Jellybean's pregnancy. I have since never felt the same about tomatoes and tomato sauce. 

The other symptom was the missed period. It should have been a no brainer  but I thought my period was still irregular because I'm still nursing Jellybean. I only got my period twice last year (wish it could be like that all the time!!!!) so I didn't think anything of it. I even took a home pregnancy test in September, which was negative. 

When did I get suspicious?  My brother, mother and father were joking that I've gained a few pounds, of which I've maintained I never lost the baby weight. I told my husband and he bought me a membership to 24 Hour Fitness at the beginning of the new year.  I went for about a month and was getting discouraged that I wasn't losing any weight even though I also wasn't gaining any weight. Then I noticed that my tummy under my belly button was starting to look a bit rounded. There's a "fat" round look, then there's a "structured" round look, and my tummy's roundedness was looking structured. So, I took a HPT and it came back positive. I believe my reaction was WTF?!?!  

But it's all good!  Even though the timing is not what we expected, we're still pretty excited about our addition!  My husband and I both have younger siblings.  For my part, I'm really close to my brother and I just couldn't imagine what my life would have been like without him. This is exactly what I've always imagined my children having... A relationship with each other that is different, but no less trusting, loving and deep, from their parents. 

We haven't settled on a name for this LO yet, but I feel we'll get the right name in time for her birth this summer. :-)

That's it for now!  Have a great day everyone!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

I couldn't sleep through the night even if I wanted to!

I once read a blog or an article back in the day before Jellybean was born about a mom who hadn't slept in in all the years she was a mom (she had tween aged kids).  I thought to myself, "Well, that's not going to be me!"  I LOOOVE sleeping and sleeping in. 

But I'm coming up to 15 months of being a mom and look at me right now. It's 2:06 am and I've been up since 11:45 pm.  I have turned into that mom.

I can't sleep through the night. Once the haze and fog of having a newborn with all her crazy sleep schedule passed, I found that I've been waking up every night and have been unable to go back to sleep for at least an hour (usually between the hours of 1 am and 3 am) for over a year!  I groggily wake up at 6:15 am every morning and have to be on the go from that minute on. Jellybean isn't one of those kids who need an hour to wake up. She is asleep at 6:14 and 45 seconds, and then she's awake and standing up and jabbering away at 6:15 am. 

I hope I don't sound more negative than I actually feel. I do long for the days when I could sleep in, but I think my body has gotten used to it. I think I can operate just fine on 5-6 hours of sleep.  

When I catch up with mom friends, we always ask how we're doing in terms of getting enough rest. I think my friends and I agree that caring for an infant or toddler is not difficult per say, but having to make the adjustment from one lifestyle to another is the hard part. 

Now, see?  Writing this post has made me sleepy. Yay!  Good night, World!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Empties! Winter of 2014-2015

Ah!  It's been so long since I last posted.  I didn't want to have a blank month, but I guess I failed.  *Sadness!*

A couple of beauty-related updates:
  1. I no longer wear makeup.  I actually don't have time (truthfully, I probably do have time to put it on but I definitely don't have time to take it off)  and I personally feel like its a barrier between me and Jellybean when I want to cuddle and kiss her.
  2. My skincare routine is just cleansing, toning, and moisturizing. 
  3. I'm not sure what to do with my makeup collection, but saving them for Jellybean to play with is on the list.

Anyways, on to the Empties!

above: Revlon Superlustrous Lipstick
Jellybean got her little hands on this one and finished it for me.  I was liking this for a while.  It went on a little glimmery but would tone down after a few minutes.  It became a "my lips but better" deal.  I felt it was a little thick to put on, but once it was on it hydrated and stayed on.

above: Dior something something
I thought I had finished it 2 years ago and then realized I could finish even more, so I picked it up and finished it all.  I liked this one a lot primarily because I was immensely pleased with the brand and how easily it glided on my lips.  But I think that the color was a little too bright for my skin tone and it didn't last long on my lips.  It was hydrating but it either faded or dried out a little too quickly for my liking.

above: Dickinson's Original Witch Hazel
Love this stuff as part of a simplified skincare.  My husband threw the empty container away before I could get a picture so the above is the toner I'm currently using.  I sometimes like using fancier toners but when I simplify, I really mean it.  This is straight out witch hazel and nothing else.

Jellybean updates:

As of the date of this posting, Jellybean is 30.5 inches tall and 20.8 lbs.  She's such a champ!  She tolerates her boring days when I drag her to do stuff that I have to do and she doesn't complain much about the boredom.  She still only has 8 teeth, 4 on the top and 4 on the bottom.  She can say a few words when she mimics us, is a pretty good walker and runner, is learning to twirl and walk backwards.  When she shrieks she can probably shatter glass, so I'm thinking about having her start singing lessons with one of her aunties in a few years.

I'm still trying to find some balance (not quite there yet) between working, being a mom, being a wife, and finding time for myself.  I do want to post more but thank you for being patient with me.

Okay, that's it for now!  Have a great day/week/month!