Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Passed!

It is that time of the pregnancy where I had to have my Oral Glucose Tolerance Test.  I had to endure 10-12 hours of fasting plus two hours of blood drawing and icky orange juice drinking last Saturday at my OB's clinic.  It wasn't really as bad as it sounds but the most challenging part was finding a vein for the nurse to extract my blood from.  My veins were hiding underneath my fats, lol!




I wasn't worried that I won't pass because I never had gestational diabetes with the first two pregnancies.  But still, I was conscious of the result just in case. Thankfully, all went well and that the results came back normal (my favorite adjective whenever my doctor or nurse talks to me!) 

And to treat myself, I had this for dessert last night.  I had to wait until the kids were asleep because sugar is not good for them before bedtime (spell H-Y-P-E-R!!)




It was so satisfying I am thinking of getting another tub for tonight.  Eeepp!!  Must. Resist. Temptation.  

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Preggy Kikay Me

Call me late bloomer but my serious love affair with make-up had only begun just a few months ago, and coincidentally, while I am a few months pregnant. 

Dear husband has been quite complimentary with my looks lately and I must say that I love how he is very vocal with his positive feedback on my exerted efforts into looking pleasant and presentable.  Compared to my past pregnancies, I could say that this time, I am at my best.  Ryan gladly supports me with my cosmetics indulgences from time to time, and is very happy that I am glowing as he is hoping for.  He had finally succumbed to the truth that when I am happy, his life gets a lot more relaxed and happier, too :) 

During our company’s anniversary celebration last November, Ryan said I looked like a Kardashian the moment he saw me with my fully made up face.  I asked my female Arab colleagues what he meant, and I was assured that coming from a guy, it is definitely a compliment.  I guess I scrubbed up nicely because at the gala dinner, my clients barely recognized me.  It was funny how they were handing me out their business cards and I had to tell them it’s me, haha!

lace evening dress from Mango

My make-up was done by Shiseido, and my hair was pulled up in a nice French twist bun by Nancy Salon.  Feeling great about myself even though I am heavy with my pregnancy helped me gain confidence to experiment and put on heavier than usual make up to highlight my face’s features. 

with Maricel from Shiseido.  this woman is now in her 40s, can you believe it???

As my youngest sister is into beauty blogs and vlogs, she had influenced me to try out certain ‘holy grail’ cosmetics that I should invest in since I am a working Mom with a job that is client-facing and requires me to socialize a lot.  Trust me, I do love lipsticks and I do buy them from time to time.  My go-to brand is Chanel which works well with my lips.  I also adore my powder, eye shadow palette & blush from Shu Uemura.  I started going for the brand since my wedding day because that is what my hair and make-up artist used on me, and I loved it since!  But in late 2014, I have decided to try out new brands as my sister had suggested, and bought these to add to my ultra-cute Beauty Box train case that my hubby helped me pick out:

my lovely St. Tropez Beauty Box

Nars blush in Orgasm

my favorite bronzer :)

best mascara everrrr!!

smokin' hot red

She had also suggested 2 brands of make-up brushes to try and I am so glad I listened to her! 

I ordered the Real Techniques Core Brushes from the US through Amazon for about USD 14 each set.  In our local Lifestyle shop, they are being sold for AED 175, which is ridiculously overpriced.  I decided to gift my sister with a set, too, so for a total of AED 154, I got two sets from Amazon including the shipping fees. 



The brushes are super soft and are definitely worth the wait.  They got shipped by Amazon Prime to Aramex who sent them from my New York warehouse address to Dubai.  For its price point, these brushes are truly bang for the buck!  I use them every day now, and I love their supple feel on my skin!  I wish I had known about them sooner!



I did splurge on another set of pro-make-up brushes and have set my heart on Zoeva Luxe Complete Set, much to the prodding of my little sister.  I bought it for myself as a Christmas present and was giddy happy when it arrived albeit past the holidays.   It was a toss between Zoeva and Sigma but thankfully, my practical side got the better of me.  With the price of Sigma Make Me Classy Essential Kit (12 regular brushes), I was able to purchase the Zoeva Luxe Complete Set (15 luxe brushes), and I am very pleased with this decision.  I also asked a friend who is into make-up brushes, and she did say that if it was her to make the choice, she would opt for the Zoeva set because it is more value for money.  So yes, thank you Mandy for helping me out, too!  I am now a proud owner of this plush set of make-up brushes which has earned rave reviews by make-up enthusiasts including Zoella





Now the most recent cosmetic splurge I made is this tube of lippie from Tom Ford:

my first tube & I love it!

My bestfriend got it from Dubai Duty Free last week, and boy, was I really thrilled when I finally got hold of it last night!   This hydrating creamy lippie is perhaps the best I have ever tried, and I must agree that it is worth its price tag (USD 50 for a lippie is not cheap, huh!)  I have long wanted to try TF but couldn’t find them here in Dubai, and when I finally did, I could not see myself coughing up that amount of money.  Thankfully, I got a tip that the brand is available in Dubai Duty Free and is about AED 55 cheaper than Harvey Nichols and Paris Gallery where they are being sold at AED 240 per tube.  It really pays to research first as not everything in this part of the world is cheaper!



My sister had shared this link to me just a couple of weeks back.  So far, I now have 5/26 ‘holy grail products’ but I don’t intend to purchase everything on the list.  These are the only ones I am keen to get little by little:

photo c/o Sephora website
photo c/o Sephora website
photo c/o Sephora website
photo c/o Amazon

photo c/o Urban Decay website
photo c/o Tarte website
photo c/o YSL website

I am delighted as to where I am now in terms of self-care.  I have never been so conscious about how I look or how I present myself in the past 30+ years of my life.  Now that I have kids who look up to me, I always make it a point to look good in front of them especially when we are going out as a family or when I am in school for an activity or programme.  I want to set a good example to my daughter so she would value the habit of good grooming later on in life.  I don’t ever want to each a point where my children would call me as “losyang” because truth be told, that would really, really hurt.   

Monday, January 12, 2015

First Gift for Baby A

As the Dubai Shopping Festival is now in full swing, we have begun buying stuff for our home that we actually need.  We patiently waited for the start of the promotions to be able to buy them at cheaper prices.  We had on our list a heavy duty home/office printer, a transformer (from 110v to 220v), a mouse to replace my busted one, and a new bread toaster. 

As we were at the mall looking around for some really good deals, I chanced upon this baby carrier in Mothercare slashed at 50% off its original price:




I couldn’t believe my eyes as I know ErgoBaby Carrier is a bit on the expensive side.  They sell for USD 115 on Amazon, and locally, Mumzworld sells them for AED 425 at their online shop. It was just the right timing as I was planning on getting a new baby carrier with better user reviews.  I immediately sent a question to the Mommy forum where I am a member of (n@wie here!), and got good feedback so off we went to buy the original carrier last night.  I did change my mind, however, after bumping into another Filipina Mom at Carrefour wearing the Sport one with her baby as she did say the Sport is a lot lighter and is more appropriate for the climate here in the Middle East.  I dashed back to Mothercare and had it exchanged, and luckily, the last piece of Sport was still there!

red is a good, happy color!

The thing I liked most about ErgoBaby Carrier is the comfort it provides the baby and the wearer.  Its signature padded shoulder straps and waistband guarantee the most comfortable ride for both parent and baby.  The baby can also sit on the carrier safely and easily without his/her legs dangling from the carrier, and his/her weight is evenly distributed to give the parent a much easier time moving about (and less backaches, too!)  The carrier can also be used in 3 positions (front, back and hip) and when used in front allows the Mom to nurse discreetly. 

The best news of all is that dear bestie has paid for the carrier, and it is officially the first present our little one has ever received.  The only thing we need to buy now is the infant insert which I can locally source or purchase from the US at USD 25.  Hubby tried the carrier last night with Lexie, and here they are modeling our new baby carrier:

my little ones super excited with the new contraption :)

We will now ditch the Baby Bjorn which we’ve used for Lexie.  I plan on selling it through Dubizzle to at least get a portion of my money back.  

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Preparing for Baby # 3

I have adamantly told friends and family that I don’t want a baby shower for this pregnancy.  First of all, I find it tacky because this is our third and we still have the things we need to care for a baby.  Having another party to welcome gifts doesn’t sit well with me, and I am embarrassed just by the thought of it. Besides, Ryan and I have invested on sturdy and long-lasting baby stuff knowing that we planned on having more than just one child.  The furniture that we have are still very much intact and solid. 

Having said that, I am more open to celebrating when the baby is out though.  And celebrating for me means having a private get-together at home after delivery where we could have a few drinks and nibbles to welcome the newest member of the family.  That is appeals more to me!

With the third baby, I am still inclined to buy a few new pieces here and there so as not to dump all hand-me-downs to our precious one.  The new baby is as important as its big bro and big sis so I am still thinking of getting brand new items for its use.  On top of new mittens, booties, bodysuits and PJs for the baby, I have a few things in mind that I'd like to get for our wee one. 

My first purchase was actually a pair of tops from H&M.  I will not post the photos here because that will give away the gender.  But they are super cute, I tell you!  :) My second purchase was a new set of cot bedding from Pottery Barn.  They are currently on sale and luckily, they have included some items that I am eyeing for baby popcorn on their marked down section.  I got a new crib bumper, a matching pillow sham and a fitted sheet.  I will have the pillow sham embroidered with the baby’s name once it’s out.




**Photos courtesy of Pottery Barn website

I have also just recently bought a crib bale for the baby which I scored at Babies R Us.  We still do have the yellow safari design we’ve used for Lexie but thought I’d get another one. No photos available, too, as it will reveal the gender, haha!

The only major thing that we need to purchase is a new electric breastpump.  Even though this is the last baby we intend to have, I still want to get a dependable breastpump especially when I head back to work.  I have asked my fellow n@wie sisters for their opinion and was suggested that I go for this:



**Photo from Medela website

Thankfully, father dear had promised to get me this as a present to the baby.  Such a big relief especially since this machine does not come cheap!

I also intend to try the Earth's Best toiletries for the baby, which by the way are now available in town through Life Pharmacy.   I plan on giving this organic brand's body care line a shot.  I'll use it on the new baby, as well as with Lexie because until now, she is still using California Baby which is hard to source as it's only available in the US.



**Photo from Earth's Best website

I have also grabbed a bottle of Mustela foam shampoo for newborn which I swear works on cradle cap based on our experience.



**Photo from Musetela USA website

For our baby swaddling needs, I am thinking of getting a 3-piece set of Aden & Anais muslin swaddling blankets.  Hubby and I are into swaddling, and I am excited to try this product for our third.  We did get a pack a few days ago from Baby Shop that are also made of Muslin and are 120 cm x 120 cm in size.  For its price & quality, it seems like a good buy.

While going through Babies R Us, I also chanced upon Koala Baby which quite similar to the quality of Carter’s apparel.  I am a huge fan of Carter’s and both Dade & Lexie used them when they were babies but they are just so expensive now.  Luckily, Koala Baby has the same make, material and style as Carter’s (Carter’s dupe, I say!) and their 4-pack onesies are currently on sale at AED 20-27 ($5.50 to $7.50) each.  Even their washcloths are amazingly priced at AED 20 ($5.50) for 12 pieces, and are made of the same terry cloth material as those of Carter’s.  So yes, Baby A will be strutting with new stuff, too. 

Of course I haven’t forgotten to look after myself so I did write down a few bits and bobs for my post-delivery needs.  First on my list are a few pieces of nursing bras from Bravado.  It was a toss between Bravado and Mamaway but the reviews of Bravado are quite stellar so I am giving the brand a shot.  Plus a lot of breastfeeding celebrities swear by it so I thought I’d purchase at least 3 pieces – 2 Body Silk seamless nursing bra and 1 Women’s Bliss nursing bra.  The ones I’ve used before didn’t really live up to my expectations & were very uncomfortable so even if each bra would set me back to at least $50, I would still make the investment.

In addition, as I plan on getting a Freestyle breastpump, I will get myself a Simple Wishes hands-free nursing bra from Amazon.  With a newborn to look after plus a pre-schooler and toddler to care for, too, I would need all the hands I could use to juggle all my Mommy tasks.  You wouldn’t believe who found this one of a kind and highly rated nursing bra to suggest to me.  Yep, it was my husband who is my biggest cheerleader and breastfeeding supporter.

As I plan to be fit this time around after delivery, I will also invest on a good belly binder that will help me get back into shape (or at least help me reduce my tummy’s size).  My first on the list is The Cinch Belly Wrap. 



**Photo from Cinch Tummy Wrap website

I also intend to get a Wink Shapewear for when I need to step out of the house.  I promise to be diligent in wearing a belly wrap with this last delivery -- it's either now or never!  The belly wraps are a bit on the expensive side, too, so that will encourage me to use them to justify their costs.

Other than these items, I cannot think of anything else to add because as I’ve said, we do have everything we need for the baby. 

After the shopping spree is over, the next thing on the agenda is my maternity photo shoot.  Now that will be super exciting!


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

9 Years of Married Bliss

I’ve been officially Missus de Gracia for 9 years now and I couldn’t believe how time flies!  I remember arriving just in time at the Mayor’s office, hoping that Ryan and his family are already there because my golly, it would’ve been embarrassing if I had gotten there before him! 

We celebrated our anniversary  with a relaxed and quiet breakfast at The Farm in Al Barari.  Nothing fancy – just my man and me. 

on the way to The Farm

here we are!

the menu

outdoor seating with a view of the pond

Luckily, our anniversary fell on a Sunday so it was easy to book a table for us at our preferred time.  The drive from our place was smooth, and only took us less than half an hour to get to the restaurant.

Both of us ordered The Farm Breakfast Set and a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice each.  We also ordered a Classic White Flour Waffle with strawberries, maple syrup and chocolate drizzle on the side.  But my most favorite of all was the plain croissant which is the best one I have ever had here in Dubai.  It is flaky on the outside and super soft and buttery on the inside – just the way I like it. 

outdoor view

me taking photos of the tranquil place

happy breakfast eater

ready to dig in!

carbs no care!

happy 9th, my love!

I washed down my meal with a cup of cappuccino that was just the right blend. 

coffee & me

The indoor sitting area is also nice and quaint.  And they also have a small grocery inside the shop where you can buy some bread and other stuff for the kitchen. 





I would love to go back again while the weather is glorious and I might just bring the kids.