Tuesday, July 28, 2015

You're the Obi Wan for me


Thanks to this cool gift guide, I got Sung these cute mugs for Father's Day:


They were such a big hit! :^)

(Yes, we can't wait till Episode VII comes out...! Just four more months! Haha.)













Friday, July 24, 2015

Infant car seat with alarm feature


With vehicular heatstrokes rising at an alarming rate every year, it is a true relief that a major baby product manufacturer came up with this genius idea at last: To sound an alarm to alert the driver that the baby is in the back seat whenever the driver turns off the car's ignition.

(And the other great thing is that the alarm also goes off if the chest clip is unbuckled mid-ride.)


This is truly the first-of-its-kind car seat and I believe it will change lives in big, big ways.

Walmart’s director of corporate communications put things into perspective in this interview: "Our hope is that no one would ever need the SensorSafe system, but the reality is that one child dies every nine days” from being left in a car. :-(

Well, I'm so hopeful that this brilliant feature will prevent numerous fatal accidents involving infants and young children (especially when they're so young and nap frequently, which is usually the case of babies getting forgotten) and I so so highly recommend this to anyone out there shopping for a baby car seat!

A big yay for Evenflo and Walmart!

(And thank God also for women who do this for other people's children!!)




Monday, July 20, 2015

Potty training too early


As a mom who wasn't too worried about potty training early, I was so happy to see that there were some major benefits to not pressing my children to be toilet trained by 3 (or even by 2, which seems to be the most common age among the moms I've met over the years... Yes, I was shocked.).

If you never thought that chronic constipation or UTIs are something your young child might suffer from, please think again.

Here is an eye-opening revelation over at Babble that really put things into perspective for me a few years back and if you think you and your child might need some help, here is the website of the article's author, Dr. Steven Hodges.

(Yes, constipation and UTIs are all treatable. Please do not worry!).

As for the boy who looks like he's fully potty trained by now (because he's so old at 4 years and 2 months) but still wears nighttime diapers when going to bed at night...


I'm not too stressed out about Aaron because even though Collin potty trained late at 33 months AND still wore his nighttime diapers to bed till over a year after that, he was/is totally fine.

As in, I just waited and waited for Collin to give me the go... Then one day out of the blue, he was totally game and never, ever looked back. He never had an "accident" since so naturally, I don't mind repeating the whole process with Aaron.

Oh, and both of them poop daily. It's pretty cool. (Sorry for the TMI but if you've read the above article, you're probably wondering...! :-)

Also... I might have been the only nutty mom but here is a good read on why we must not freak out at the thought of our kiddos using the public restrooms.











Friday, July 17, 2015

What your tummy really looks like after giving birth


Have you seen these pictures that a brave new mom posted on her blog, to show that women's bodies don't just bounce back right after giving birth?

What tummy looks like at 37 weeks and 24 hours postpartum

Julie Bhosale, a nutritionist mommy of two little ones told The Huffington Post UK:

"I really struggled with all the body changes I went through after the birth of my first son. I felt a lot of pressure to get my body back -- and expected that because I was fit and healthy it should be easy"...

..."I also struggled to breastfeed my son and so my confidence in myself and has a women and as a mum was really low. So after the birth of my second son I did this as I thought it may help just one mum not feel so alone."

Isn't Julie a phenomenal woman?! What a brilliant and courageous idea was it to document her post-baby days this way and share it with other women around the world who might be struggling out there? (And how beautiful is this mom!)

As I've shared in my previous post here, I have strong feelings about the media falsely portraying and promoting what post-baby bodies "should" look like. News moms everywhere are not only overwhelmed by the challenges of caring for a newborn but are also flooded everyday with the pressure or are judged negatively to look a certain way (unrealistic is the word that comes to mind) soon after giving birth and this must be stopped. I've always told my girlfriends that it is OK to not look like you've given birth right after you've given birth; that it takes time to recover from all the changes that your body has gone through over the course of 9 months; that you do not need to take unnatural, extreme measures to repair your body the second your child comes into the world. Your baby needs you to be the mommy!

OK. I'm getting carried away now... :^)

Please do read Julie's full interview with The Huffington Post UK here.



(Images from Julie's personal blog; her two boys are just so so so adorable!)

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Best store-bought cookies ever





Hands down, these goodies from the Dancing Deer Baking Company are the best cookies ever.

I don't buy packaged cookies unless I really must (I usually bake my own, thanks to all the awesome recipes around the web, such as this and this and this :^) and even when I do, I only try to get those Whole Foods cookies that are freshly baked in-house, but oh boy. These Dancing Deer Baking Company cookies really, totally rocked my world.

I stumbled upon them by chance because they came with Delta Airlines' in-flight Luvo meals and I was truly surprised+impressed by how soft and chewy they were. In fact, I'm running over to Whole Foods after this post so I can stock up on these yummiest cookies!

I'm supposed to be recovering from my week-long trip to California but all I can think about are these yummy cookies...

Did I also mention that they're non-GMO and free of preservatives and artificial flavors/coloring? :-)

(Images from Dancing Deer Baking Company website and Vine.com, my "online Whole Foods")



Sunday, July 5, 2015

Make your own animation in 5 minutes!


I'm sure you all know, but you can make your own "animation" (ahem) using any one of the many, many GIF makers out there.

Sung made this for the boys one lazy weekend and they could not have been more psyched. People were jumping joyfully at the idea and there were shrieks to be heard when it was time to view the finished product.

It was quite life-changing, I must say:


We were happy, too, because this animation took mere 3 minutes to "film" and 1 minute to "edit."

You can even add your own "musical score," if you wish... (Thank you, Internet!!!)

The director/producer and his fans...
...Enjoying the best fish & chips
at A Salt and Battery in West Village!




Thursday, July 2, 2015

Best way to cuff jeans


I got this trick a couple of years ago from who else but the folks over at Real Simple, my most favorite magazine! :^)


Here are the very very simple steps:
  1. Grasp a bottom hem and fold it vertically so there’s a ½-inch tuck in front.
  2. Hold the tuck in place while you roll up the hem by about two inches twice. 
  3. Repeat with the other cuff.

This quick trick basically creates this nice, stylish look:

Park Overalls in Dixon Wash

Think of a bit puffy pegged (or rolled-up) jeans vice folded jeans, which can totally look awkward, IMHO...

It probably doesn't sound so right now, but once you try this trick, you will know that the difference is huge! :o)


(Top image from Real Simple; bottom image from Madewell)





Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Organic Nutella


Yes, there is such a thing.

This is all we ever eat because when on sale at Whole Foods, it's only $4.99.

It is so soft and creamy and spreads like butter, which makes it a total winner. :^)


As for what else you can do with Nutella... Here is a great 3-ingredient cookie recipe. You read that right -- just three ingredients and all this serious, fantastic goodness!



(Bottom image from SheKnows.com)







Saturday, June 27, 2015

A song for today


I can't believe that June is almost over... Just how time flies.

Just to share... Here is one of my most favorite songs ever, a song I first heard at a friend's wedding and fell in love with.

It's such a beautiful song that makes me get teary eyed every. single. time I listen to it.




.....15 there's still time for you
Time to buy and time to lose
15, there's never a wish better than this
When you only got a hundred years to live.....









Wednesday, June 24, 2015

How to arrange flowers at home




If you love to pick up flowers from your neighborhood grocery store but never know how to arrange them yourself...

Well, Ms. Gwyneth Paltrow has graciously shared some really great tips here, complete with a step-by-step guide with pictures. :^)

(Image from Goop)





Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Amazing posters for children's room decor


How cute are these $8 nursery prints from this amazing Etsy shop By Samantha?

An 11 x 14 poster for $8?

It's just unheard of! :^)











Oh, what would we do without Etsy.

(All images from Etsy's By Samantha)




How to roast vegetables




According to Bon Appetit, I've been roasting my veggies wrong.

Click here to find out the 6 commonly made mistakes.

My personal tips, if you would like:

I prefer not to coat the veggies with a whole lot of herbs and spices (simplicity almost always wins! :^), so I use only salt and pepper when tossing the veggies in olive oil. Well, I do like to add a splash of balsamic vinegar, because it makes a world of difference...

If you have some fresh lemons on hand, sprinkle the roasted veggies with lemon juice and also toss in some grated parmesan, as in this recipe by Jamie Oliver.

By the way, for a crispy finish, don't forget to remove the pan of veggies out of the oven as they start to look slightly charred.

(Image from Bon Appetit's roasted and charred broccoli with peanuts recipe -- it's totally amazing!)




Monday, June 22, 2015

Brothers


Back in the day, Aaron would nap for 2-3 hours straight and when Collin was home, he would be bored waiting around for Aaron to wake up...

So when Aaron woke up from his nap one afternoon, Collin was so happy and relieved to see his little bro come down the stairs that he decided to take some pictures:

The Aaron Man with his bed hair...
...And equally happy to see his big bro!





Sunday, June 21, 2015

When kiddos wake up at 5 am


This is what Sung and I used to do back in the day when the boys would wake up at 5 in the morning every day: Go to Whole Foods for a second round of breakfast, because we would get hungry again by 10 am -- a.k.a. the time when most people woke up on the weekends -- especially because our first breakfast was at like, 6 am.

And here is Sung passively playing with Collin while enjoying his much needed dose of caffeine...

Please look closer and note his enthusiasm:


Collin didn't notice and didn't care how tired daddy was. (Aaron was also watching happily -- letting out shrieks and all -- from across the table. They didn't care.)


Hahaha.


Oh, how we love you, Sung!

You are the best.

Happy Father's Day!!!

(In case anyone is wondering...: The boys now wake up at 6:30-7 am and believe it or not, they almost always quietly leave the room if I'm still not up yet because they want to go downstairs and play or read by themselves. (Insert "Praise the Lord!!!" here. :^) Yes, things definitely do begin to look up by the third year or so!)














Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Day-old newborns


If you should look at one more website today, you've got to read up on the absolutely precious portrait project entitled One Day Young by a London-based photographer Jenny Lewis.

I'm so touched by how intensely beautiful and empowering these portraits are -- just how precious are these pictures of moms in their homes with their newborns, each less than a day old?













The photos really do perfectly capture the joy and wonder of new motherhood, just 24 hours in. I remember going through so many different yet all powerful emotions in just one day...and then feeling like everything's a total blur just a few days after.

And if I may (for anyone who might be wondering right now)... The belly does not magically disappear after the baby is born. A mom's body is forever altered by pregnancy and childbirth no matter how big or small she carried her baby. This is a fact, no matter what some magazine covers like to flaunt. This applies to everyone -- I mean, it has happened to even princesses, right?

I realize this might be TMI but my personal experience has been that when I checked into the hospital, I was 215 lbs. (yes, I'm THAT lady who gained a whopping 75 lbs. of "baby weight") and when I came home with my newborn (who was 7+ lbs. no less!), I weighed 209 lbs. You can say I had NO idea what had just happened.

(All images from the One Day Young series by Jenny Lewis; click here for the entire gallery)



Friday, June 12, 2015

Why don't boys pose anymore...


This is what always happens now whenever I ask my boys to look at the camera:


Aaron, especially, would always make a funny face/funny noise, pretend to be one of his toys, do an awkward pose, or not look at all.

Anywhere we go, any and every attempt to capture a "worthy" moment on cue always ends with my exasperation+grumbling, basically.

Long gone are the days when he used to be such a happy little man who loved the camera...




But for some reason, just like Collin, Aaron refuses to pose anymore, so these are pretty much all the "nice" pics (where he's looking at the camera at all) I could get lately:



Why, oh, why.








Monday, June 8, 2015

How to tell if you can pull off short hair


Although I like to keep my hair long now (so that I can quickly tie it up into a pony tail when life calls), I actually always, always had short hair.

I didn't know why at the time, but it was just the most flattering style for me. (At least I thought so.)


Pictures of me from 2004. Can't believe it's been so long... 
I still feel like the 90's were like, 8 years ago!


Well, now I know the reason why.

According to a Cosmopolitan UK article, hairstyle guru John Frieda came up with this magic formula that helps determine if a short pixie will flatter your shape or not: The 2.25-inch (5.5 cm) rule.

John studied faces and saw that the angle of the jaw bone determined whether or not someone would look best with short hair or long hair. The result is a trusted, easy but exact, measurement that indicates whether a face (any face) is suited to short or long hair.


So this is what you do: Position a pencil or pen under your chin horizontally, then place a ruler under your ear, vertically. Take the measurement of the height of where the pencil and the ruler meet. Less than 2.25 inches? You will definitely pull off short hair. Longer than 2.25 inches? Longer hair will be the more flattering choice for you.

(Image from the Cosmopolitan UK website)





Friday, June 5, 2015

How to sleep better


If you're like me and suffer from one or more of these pains when you wake up in the morning:

Neck pain
Shoulder pain
Lower back pain
Jaw pain (I have yet to suffer from this... Don't want to know...)
Headaches
Hip pain

...or just would like to sleep better, do check out these sleep position recommendations from the Cleveland Clinic, via SheKnows.


As for my tip for avoiding chronic pains...

Believe it or not, the remedy for my mild yet chronic back pain (2 childbirths are no joke!) has been this memory foam pillow from IKEA.

Yes, you read that right.

The pillow has two heights, for when you would like to sleep on your back or on your side. (I don't know where things went wrong, but although I was fine using down feather pillows most of my life, they are no longer good for sleeping/give me so much back pain in the morning... Sigh.)

By the way, it's on sale for $9.99 right now! Through June 30!

Need I say more. :^)


(Infographic from SheKnows; please head over for an enlarged view)


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Unisex tote


How handsome are these all-American-made tote bags from Topo Designs?





It's no secret among the backpacking folks that Topo Designs offers amazingly durable quality at cool prices...

Don't you love their outdoorsy style yet pared-down, no non-sense, sensible designs!









By the way, what else to love about this tote bag? It's super affordable at $59!



Maybe I should get myself one for Father's Day? :^) Hahaha.
(No, I'm not kidding.)



(Images from the official website of Topo Designs)