Nessas Loves – Mommy, Baby, Home

This is a long time coming, but as promised, here’s the mommy, baby, and home edition of Nessa’s Loves.  Enjoy!

Mommy & toddler loves

MOMMY/TODDLER

Disposable Placemats – I previously talked about it in my baby’s first year must haves post.  My sister in law even grabbed some for my nephew (who is a couple of months younger than Eva).  They’re just convenient for a toddler who is learning how to feed themself and easy for clean up.  Plus it keeps eating in public restaurants for the little ones somewhat sanitary.  Side notes:  If you’re going to Chick-fil-a, they have these in stock for the little ones.  At some locations you have to ask for it.  At other locations they’re in the same area as the napkins and condiments.  Random mom tip.  😉

Organic Baby/Toddler Snacks – I can be a bit crazy when it comes to Eva’s food (I’m sure the teacher’s at her daycare think I’m crazy).  When she started eating, I started buying organic dairy products, some meats, and fruits and veggies (trying to follow the dirty dozen rule to save some money).  I will stand in food aisles and read labels for several minutes to make sure what I’m purchasing is good for her to eat.  Not too salty.  Not too sweet.  I try to stay away for artificial flavoring.  When she was first starting to eat, I only gave her homemade baby snacks or organic baby snacks.  Now that she’s older, we give her a mix between toddler friendly (of course reading the labels to make sure there’s not too much sugar or salt) and adults snacks (yes, she can have that cookie if she’s good).  Everything in moderation.  We keep her own set of snacks in a drawer of the kitchen (which she constantly runs to when she’s hungry).  Some of which are Ella’s Kitchen, such as Puffits or Nibbly Fingers (which are strawberry and apple granola bars), or Earth’s Best, such as the Sesame Street crackers, cookies, and graham crackers, or graham crackers, or Plum Organic Teensy Fruit Berries.

Toy chest – Eva originally had a crate that her former Nanny made her.  Of course, she outgrew the crate and her toys were spilling out of it (she has way too many stuffed animals), so we bit the bullet and bought a toy chest/bin.  Originally I wanted a bookshelf and toychest in one; however, after much researching we decided on this.  I’m not a huge fan that everything is out in the open, but it makes it so much easier for Eva to see all of her toys and grab them to play plus all the toys get equal playing time.  Of course, she still has her favorites.

FOOD/HOUSEHOLD ITEMS

Blendtec blender – This is my splurge item.  After making so many smoothies in the Magic Bullet and replacing the rotar multiple times, I decided it was worth it to purchase a nice high quality blender.  We have a Cuisinart blender and it works well, but I wasn’t satisfied that it left my smoothies chunky and at times leaving some fruit whole (ARGH!).  I was going to take the Vitamix blender my parents purchased several years back, but I saw a deal for a refurbished Blendtec blender during Black Friday that I couldn’t pass up.  I have been LOVING IT.  It makes my smoothies sooooooooo much smoother, almost juice like.  I’m OBSESSED with it.  I make green smoothies or regular fruit smoothies or fruit smoothie bowls almost everyday with this thing.  I’ve definitely gotten my money’s worth.

Green Smoothies/Smoothies/Smoothie Bowls – Last year I went on a green smoothie kick and I’m still loving them, especially after I bought my Blendtec blender.  It’s such a great way to get both fruit and vegetables into your body.  Eva loves them too.  She’s been drinking green smoothies/smoothies since she was 1, so she’s gotten used to the semi-grassy taste (which I try to mask with bananas or lemons or other fruit when possible).  Side note:  Eva doesn’t drink anything but water, milk or mommy’s smoothies.  She doesn’t know what fruit juices/boxes taste like, so she’s not familiar with the taste.   Salad in a cup or multivitamins in liquid form.  I’m still experimenting with several recipes and hope to post a couple here soon.  Smoothie Bowls are my new obsession and addition to my breakfast menu.  I follow a ton of healthy food/fit instragrammers and saw that some of them were doing smoothie bowls.  It’s thicker than a regular smoothie and can sometimes be sorbet like.  Top with some granola or fruit and you’re good to go!  I’m still experimenting but I’ll be sure to post those recipes soon as well.  

Acai bowl topped with banana, strawberry, and granola

Aladdin mason jars – So they’re not real mason jars.  They’re insulated tumblers.  They’re large enough to put my smoothies into.  They’re definitely not travel friendly as they’re wide but when I’m at home they’re perfect.  I am able to pour most of my smoothie in one cup and any extras go into Eva’s Take and Toss cups.

LifeFactor water bottle – I’m in LOVE with a glass water bottle as I HATE how plastic water bottles give somewhat of an after taste (even the BPA water bottles).  I liked the metal water bottles, but I have yet to find a bottle brush that can really clean the bottle.  I previously broke my other glass water bottle, so when I saw that this water bottle had a rubber case, I had to get it.  During work days, I use this to store my green smoothies and run out the door.  When I’m done, I rinse it out and place water into it for the day.

Fruit infused water bottles.  Let’s face it.  Drinking water isn’t always fun, so infusing your water with fruit is a nice refreshing change.  I take this water bottle with me to work every other day.  Combinations I like to put into the infuser:  lemon and strawberry or raspberry, strawberry and basil, mint cucumber and lime, lime, and lemon.  I’ve even made Dr. Oz’s fat flush water using this water bottle.  The best thing about it, no added sugars to your beverage!

Life…

As usual, I went on a semi-blogging spree and then MIA for months.  What have I been doing?  Not much.  Trying to get use to my family’s daily routine with me working out of the house (for 7 months now!) and Eva going to daycare (since February!).  Here’s my daily routine as of lately.

6am  – wake up and work out ((This just started three weeks ago, so this is still a work in progress. I try to workout 3-4 times a week, at minimum, either at the gym to run or in our living room with the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred DVD.  When I wasn’t working out I’d wake up between 6:30 – 7:00.  )
6:45am – eat a light post workout meal (usually greek yogurt w honey or a banana)
7am – hop into the shower and get ready
7:15am – wake up Eva if she hasn’t woken up on her own
7:30 – 7:45am – head downstairs and make myself a green smoothie and coffee, feed Eva breakfast, put everyone’s lunches (made the night before) into bags
7:45 – 8:15am – head out the door and drop Eva to school
8:45ish – 9am  – work
5:30pm – head home and start dinner
6:00pm – if I didn’t work out in the morning this is when I try to squeeze in a session.  The hubs goes to the gym at this time, so if I do workout it’s in our living room with Jillian Michaels and Eva running around trying to copy me (It’s quite entertaining but it can be a bit difficult because she tries to ride me like a horse when I’m doing pushups!).  At this time I may be making dinner while working out (multitasking mama).  It’s usually something that doesn’t require too many steps..
6:30ish – 7pm – dinner
7:30pm – play with Eva
8:00pm – bathtime, storytime, bedtime
9:00pm – hangout with the hubs
10:30pm – make lunches for everyone, snacks and breakfast for Eva and myself
11:30pm – go to bed

This varies day to day but this is pretty much the jist.  There are days where the hubs will drop off Eva and I’ll pick her up from school, sometimes both.  Especially if I have an early work meeting or need to stay later than usual and vice vera for him.  But usually I do drop offs and he does pick ups.

Working out.  The post breastfeeding weight has piled on with a vengance.  Hello GUT and jiggly thighs.  It was a struggle trying to find the time to work out when I started my job.  I really didn’t want to get up early given that I go to bed late and working out after work is difficult because I have to make dinner.  But let’s get real these are all excuses.  I finally bit the bullet and started waking up early to work out.  It’s still a work in progress (I even slept in today!  But I’ll work out later this evening or tomorrow).  Baby steps.  Like I said earlier my goal is a minimum of 3 times a week and if I get to work out more than that, even better.  I won’t lie, sometimes I just want to give up because I don’t see results right away, but I won’t!  I’m trying to strengthen to tone certain areas and build my endurance to keep up with Eva (man, that kid is fast when she runs).

Prior to working out everyday I did the color run a couple of months ago in an attempt to get fit.

Meal Prep.  The hubs and I eat salads for lunch, so I try to pre-chop everything on Sunday or Monday night.  When I first started my job in October, I pre-chopped everything (for lunch and dinner) for the entire week on Sundays (anywhere from 1-2 hours), but then I lost some quality weekend time with the family.

Pre-chopped veggies for salads.  Any leftovers (minus the cucumbers) are used for stir fry at the end of the week.  The leftover cucumbers and sometimes carrots are used for smoothies.  

I was also pre-cooking some of our meals on Sunday (another 1-2 hours) to ease the dinner making process during the week, but it got exhausting.

Prepping bacon bits and hard-boiled egg for lunch salads and Filipino soup for dinner.

For the past two months, I stopped prepping so extensively (I still pre-cut veggies most weeks but don’t prep dinner at the beginning of the week anymore).  I planning to do it again (just not as intense) because I’d like Eva to have dinner earlier than we are now (no later than 6:30 as opposed to 7) and spend more free time with her and the hubs in the evening.  Lunches are relatively easy but depending on how much I’ve prepped and how tired I am, it can be an exhausting task.  I can do it as quickly as 20 minutes to as long as an hour.  BUT I don’t mind it because 1) we’re eating relatively healthy food (Salads for hubs and myself as I mentioned early; Fruit as a snack for me; 2 fruits for Eva’s snack and 1 treatish snack, which are toddler puffs, crackers, or cookies; Eva’s lunch, which is usually leftovers)  2) we save money and 3) I’m taking care of my family.

Hubs salad.  I pack salads with the heavy items on the bottom and the greens on the top so they don’t wilt as quickly.  

Top row (L-R):  My overnight oats; ingredients for my green smoothie
Middle row (L-R):  Fruit as a snack for Eva (she has the two middle containers) & myself
Bottom row (L-R):  Hubs’ salad; Fried Rice for Eva’s lunch; Curry veggie & tofu quinoa salad for myself

There are days when I plop on the couch after putting Eva to bed and pass out for the rest of the night. On those days, I try to quickly whip up lunches the next morning.

There are days where I’m burnt out and all I want to do is relax, hence the reason of lack of posting.  I do think about opening my laptop and posting but I get caught up sitting on the couch with the hubs watching shows together, prepping meals, spending time with Eva, or if I’m lucky going to sleep early.  I’m going to try to find the time.  I really do love writing.

I’d like to add that this blog is going to shift to more of a mommy blog (even though it’s been like this for some time, I guess I want to make it official because I didn’t want to say I had a mommy blog before).  I’ll still talk about fashion and food, but perhaps more mommy and me or baby girl’s fashion and quick and healthy family meals (as much as I love it, I don’t have time to make time consuming meals, like Julia Child’s boeuf bourginion, anymore).  I hope you continue join this journey with me.

Happy Friday.

 

Nessas Loves – Beauty and Fashion

I should probably do a Valentines’ Day post, but for my longtime readers, you probably know we don’t do anything really big.  For the last 6 years (minus one year I was away for travel), the hubs has served up some yummy dinner and wine.  We try to stay away from the crowds on this day.  Last year, Eva was teeny tiny and fell asleep early so we were able to enjoy a romantic dinner.  This year she’s more rambunctious but thankfully her daycare does a “Parent’s night out” (for a fraction of the price of hiring a babysitter) and it so happened to be held TODAY!  We won’t be out til midnight, but we will be taking advantage of that and wait for it… GOING TO THE MOVIES!  And no we’re not watching anything romantic like Winter’s Tale.  We’ll be watching The Mounument’s Men.  Can’t wait.  We never go to the movies anymore, so this will be a great treat!  Then we’ll probably go to a bar or a diner and enjoy a later dinner.  No mainstream restaurants for us.  If you need ideas for Valentines, see my post from last year.

Onward with this post. So I haven’t done a Nessas Loves post lately.  I thought I’d share some of the products I’ve been loving these past several months.  We’re playing catch up here so I was going to break this up into two posts:  Beauty and Fashion and Mommy/baby/household loves.

BEAUTY

Nessa's Beauty Loves

Dove dry shampoo – This is so much better than the Tresseme dry shampoo.  It actually removes the oils from my hair and leaves it pretty voluminous.  Plus it doesn’t smell as bad.  I’ve tried Suave and L’Oreal Everstyle dry shampoos, which are better than Tresseme but not as effective as the Dove dry shampoo in my opinion.  The smell of the Suave dry shampoo is a bit too fruity and too strong for me.  The smell of the Dove dry shampoo is much more subtle.  The L’Oreal Everstyle dry shampoo was as close to the Dove dry shampoo; however, I do think it’s on the pricier end of drugstore dry shampoo and you don’t get as much product.  However, with that said, all these are cheaper alternatives to my trusty Stila Dry Shampoo.  What are you favorite dry shampoos?  Drugstore or high end?  I’ve been interested in trying out higher end dry shampoos, such as Bumble & Bumble’s Pret a Powder or Oribe (I heard it sprays clear).  I’m currently trying out Herbal Essences Naked Dry Shampoo and it’s okay.  Again, not as great as Dove.  I’ll probably check out Pantene’s next.

Side note/tip:  As a mommy on the go, dry shampoo is my best friend on days that I don’t want to wash my hair and need to get out of the house quickly on days off or on work days.

Rimmel Kate Moss lipstick – While the hubs isn’t a fan of colored lips and won’t kiss me if I have anything but a nude lip on, I’m really loving colored lips.  The Lasting Finish Matte in 110 (Coral) and Lasting Finish in 01 (red) are gorgeous colors.  I’d love to try a fuschia color like MAC’s Candy YumYum, but I’m kind of worried how it would look on my lips.  I get really self concious when I wear a colored lip. This red and coral, well more so the red, is a bit bold for me, but I love the vampiness of it.

Revlon Color Burst Lip Butters/Maybelline Color Sensational Whisper – I LOVE how moisturizing these feel.  I’m in love with Revlon’s Pink Truffle, which is a perfect my lips but better color (the appropriate color description would probably be nudish mauve), and Candy Apple which is a reddish orange.  I also love Maybelline’s Made-It Mauve.  I’m obsessed with a mauve lip because for me, it’s a my lips but better lip color, plus it’s very wearable for a conservative work environment.  But if I need to switch it up a sheer application of Candy Apple does the trick.

Revlon Just Bitten Lipstain/ColorBurst Matte Balm – OBSESSED with THESE too.  I can’t help myself.  At any given time I have 2 of these in my purse plus 3 lip butters.  I love that it’s a jumbo stick so I can put it on like a lip pencil, plus it stains my lips and I don’t have to reapply for a couple of hours.  Of course, I have these in mauve (Honey for Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain and Sultry for ColorBurst Matte Balm), in addition to a red, plum and pink.  The Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stian is more hydrating than the Color Burst Matte Balm, but neither is as moisturizing as the Lip Butters.

Side note:  I know just talked about a ton of lip products, but as a mom sometimes I don’t have the time to take the extra 5-20 minutes to do my eye make up (yes it can take me that long to put together an eye look), so a quick fresh no make-up make-up look does the trick.  Add on a perfect lip color or a color punched lip and I’m out the door looking a tad less frumpy.  

Elf brow kit – I’m not being boastful here, but I was blessed with decent eyebrows.  Thankfully, plucking them in the 8th grade didn’t ruin the growth (My parents were SO MAD at me when they realized what I had done.  They were REALLY big on natural beauty even though I was going through my ugly duckling adolescent stage.  😦  But now that I have a daughter, I see where they’re coming from.   Oh the irony.).  Every for weeks, I get them shaped by my trusty aesthetician Danielle at The Green Room.  I try not to touch them, if possible, in between wax sesions.  While they’re a nicely shaped and relatively full, there are some days I do need to color them in, depending on how much make up I have on.  The Elf brow kit matches my hair color right (I got it ombre’d last summer!) now; not to mention, you can’t beat $3.  However, when I don’t have this in arms reach I use a dark brown eyeshadow.

NYC Bronzer – Previous to finding this bonzer, I was using a darker foundation as a bronzer as I wanted a matte yet natural bronzed and contoured look.  I heard YouTube Gurus raving about the NYC bronzer, so I figured I’d give it a try.  And at a $2 price point, why not?!?  I’m so happy I did.  It gives me just the right amount of natural glow.

Benetint – When you open this up, its a bit daunting to use because its a very liquid red formula.  If you work fast enough, it’s relatively easy to use.  I love it because it gives that natural flush look.

Side note: anyone noticing a trend with my natural makeup holy grails?  😉  

Real Techniques expert face brush – I love how flawless my foundation looks when using this brush.  I’m really interested in trying the other brushes in this line.  They’re decent quality and pricepoint.  Definitely alternatives to MAC or Sigma brushes.

Cle de peau concealer – Previously, I was using the Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Concealer, but I noticed that my undereyes were still looking dark.  After testing other drugstore products and the Tarte Maracuja Creaseless Concealer, I bit the bullet and tried something highend.  Youtube gurus, magazines, etc. raved about this concealer so I bought it.  You see, when you’re a mom, who is dealing with a child who is teething, sick, going through some major change, etc. and is not sleeping well, concealer is your best friend in the morning.  I LOVE this.  It highlights yet conceals like a dream!  I can fake not looking tired!  The Tarte Maracuja Creaseless Concealer is wonderful; however, it was a bit too heavy and creamy for me.  I still use it on days I don’t have the Cle de peau nearby.

FASHION

Nessa's Fashion loves

Philip Lim by Target purse – Yes, this purse has been out for a while, but I still LOVE IT.  I can fit my laptop in here and still have room for so much more!  So spacious… maybe too spacious sometimes because I have trouble finding stuff.  😛

Longchamp Large Le Pliage Tote – Yes, I’ve talked about this in my baby’s first year essentials post.  I actually need to get a new one.  I’ve had mine for the last 4 years and it’s starting to show some evidence of wear and tear on the bottom.  But that’s what’ll happen when you use it as a diaper bag, an overnight bag, and a laptop bag.  I love how versatile it is, compact, and its so easy to clean.

Madewell leopard flats – I’ve been SEARCHING for leopard flats to replace my Target leopard ballet flats.  It took me a while to find THE pair.  I wasn’t happy with the texture of the leopard spots or the color or the shape of the shoes I was finding.  Finally, I came across these and Madewell was having a sale on shoes PLUS an extra 40% off.  SCORE!  They’re the perfect neutral alternative to a black, brown, or nude shoe.

Alex and Ani Bracelets – I LOVE these.  My SIL got the E and I initial bangles for my birthday and completed the set with a V for Christmas.  While my husband has gifted me with lovely jewelry in the past that I still wear, I wanted something in my jewelry collection that would represent our little family.

DogEared Initial Necklace – I was thinking about getting a necklace with Eva’s name on it for myself; however, I’m so paranoid about that stuff.  (Blame my mom and the news for all the stories of kids getting snatched because their name was on their backpack or shirt  I wish I was kidding.  That plus SVU gets me all paranoid.)  So instead I asked for a DogEared necklace with the Initial E and was gifted it from my sister for Christmas.

RoseGold Sideways cross – I don’t think I’ve shared this with you, but my sister got this for me last christmas.  She’s always getting me necklaces, which I’m so happy about it.  I LOVE THEM ALL.  She actually got me a Virginia pendant (similar here), so home is close to my heart.  😉  I made that up not her.  She’s not that corny.  🙂

So we’ve caught up with my beauty and fashion loves as of lately.  Stay tuned in the next couple of days for my mommy/baby/household favorites post.

HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!