Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Remember my post about how I win stuff? Well, I won some new things lately. I promise I don't enter giveaways all day long. I might enter once a week, maybe. It takes about 60 seconds and I don't look for giveaways, I mainly enter if they are posted on blogs I'm already reading and its a giveaway for something that I'm interested in. I never enter jewelry giveaways for example since I always wear Stella & Dot. I also don't enter giveaways where I know there will be a TON of people entering (like if the giveaway is for a $100 gift card to Amazon).

So a couple months ago, I won this cream (valued at $48):

L'Occitane 'Almond' Shaping Delight Gel Cream

And last month, I won some skin care from Darphin Paris valued at $150! Here is what I got:

Defying Lip Balm

Intral Soothing Cream

Azahar Cleansing Micellar Water

I haven't tried the products yet but I am excited to test them out!

And in the spirit of free stuff, I just heard that Julep has a promo code where you can get your first month of nail polishes for one cent. Enter promo code PENNYINTRO here:

I just did it and will probably cancel my membership on July 24th so I'm not charged on the 27th for July's box.

Hope you got some good deals lately, too!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Perhaps I Need Breast Pads?

Just got back from the mall and Rob pointed this out to me. Oopies.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Birchbox - April 2012

This month Birchbox used products that take inspiration from nature.

What's inside...

Pangea Organics Lip Balm
Retail: $12

What Birchbox says: Organic oils, vitamins, and essential fatty acids sink into your lips to provide a moisturizing shield.

What I say: I was happy to get a full size lip balm and this stick is big. I have full lips and with regular sized balm or chap stick I have to swipe it over my lips a few times to get full coverage. I like it but I don't love the scent enough to make me buy it after it runs out. I will definitely use it though.

BENTA BERRY G-1 Exfoliating Facial Cleanser               
Retail: $16

What Birchbox says: This creamy gel exfoliator gives pores a deep cleaning while leaving skin’s natural defense barrier intact. Miniscule ground apricot seeds banish tired cells, revealing the new, youthful skin underneath. BENTA BERRY’s signature botanical complex of burdock, jasmine, and mandarin helps regulate oil production, while white dead-nettle and zinc leave skin smooth, matte, and better able to absorb moisture.

What I say: I really liked this. I will probably purchase a full size. I like that it did exfoliate my skin and left my skin softer but it wasn't harsh and abrasive like some of these scrubs can be.

Wonderstruck Taylor Swift              
Retail: $60

What Birchbox says: The fragrance is a gourmand floral; a charming and sparkling surprise of vibrant fruits, kissed by a bouquet of soft petals and a touch of sweet indulgence.

What I say: Its light and youthful smelling. I do wear it but I don't think I'd buy a full bottle. I feel a little tween-ish wearing it. If I am to buy a sweet smelling scent, like for Mother's Day (Rob), I would opt for Candy by Prada.

Weleda Pomegranate Firming Day Cream               
Retail: $33

What Birchbox says: Organic pomegranate seed oil is rich in antioxidants and punicic acid, a compound known to speed up cell renewal. Together with golden millet seed extracts, pomegranate helps increase skin’s firmness and elasticity while shielding it from free radicals. An infusion of organic argan and jojoba seed oils softens skin. Plus, this nutrient-rich day cream doesn’t contain any artificial preservatives, and its subtle fragrance comes courtesy of natural essential oils.

What I say: I couldn't really tell a difference in my skin. Will not be buying but will use my sample.

I also received a couple other Pangea Organics as a "bonus" but the samples were so small that I didn't get to see if they really work so I won't write a review. Overall, this month I was happy to get a full size sample of the chap stick and happy to find a nice exfoliator.

Learn more about Birchbox here:

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Pregnancy Quiz - Week 25 Baby #2

How far along are you? 25 weeks (actually, I'm 27 weeks but this post was supposed to be done a couple weeks ago)

Total weight gain/loss: 21 lbs (I gained 9 lbs in 4 weeks. The nurse said "that must be a mistake" and I said "I'm pretty sure its not" :(

Maternity clothes? Yes

Stretch marks? No

Sleep: I know I'm not supposed to sleep on my back but I keep waking up on my back. I did this with Charlie, too, and would just roll over to my side. I still do this but now when I wake up on my back, I feel gross and nauseaus. Not good! I know its my body telling me to roll over but its kind of scary that I always feel like crap when I wake up on my back.

Best moment this week: The best moment of week 25 was when I passed my glucose test. I do have low iron like I did with Charlie.

Movement: Yes! He is very active.

Food cravings: No huge cravings right now.

Gender: Boy

Labor Signs: Nope

Belly Button in or out? In

What I miss: I've pinning some cocktails on pinterest that look amazeballs

What I am looking forward to: Our 3D/4D ultrasound on Saturday

Other Updates: We spent Sunday morning cleaning out the garage so we can move stuff from the baby's room to the garage so we can then start the nursery! It should be done by this Sunday then we can start painting, etc.

At 25 weeks, Calvin was 1.5 lbs (about the size of a rutabaga), length 13.5 inches

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Another Successful Pinterest Recipe.

Last night we went to our friend Sarah & Mike's house to have a playdate with their daughter Anna & Charlie. They made a yummy dinner and I offered to bring dessert. There are a ton of recipes on Pinterest I'd like to try so I try to take advantage when there is an opportunity. Everyone liked them which made me happy. :)

Lemon Crinkle Cookies

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

New Recipes to Try.

I've been trying to cook more and thought I'd post some recipes I've made that I found on pinterest. There were a couple duds so I won't waste my or your time writing about those.

Orzo with Chicken & Lemon
This one was really good - my sister told me about it then she pinned it and the rest was history.

Chicken Crescent Roll Casserole
Total comfort food and total delishness.
Source: Tastebook
Happy cooking!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Help Me Pick a Wreath, Please!

For our front door, we have a Valentines Day sign, Easter wreath, 4th of July sign, Halloween sign and we get a REAL (fancy!) wreath for Christmas each year from a family friend. We do not hang a wreath or anything on our door for the off months and I've been keeping my eye out for one but haven't found any I love...except for today!

I stumbled upon an etsy store named Wreathink Gifting. I'm a big etsy fan but haven't bought anything from etsy in many months. So anyway, I found some super cute wreaths on her shop that I want but I only need 1. Please let me know which one you like the best!




I think I'm leaning towards #1.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Birchbox - March 2012.

I signed up for Birchbox and just got my first box in the mail! For $10 a month, Birchbox sends you a box of deluxe beauty samples to try out. I love getting mail and its sort of like getting a present every month in the mail. :) The only negatives are 1.) its not free (but its only $10/month) and 2.) you may get someting you don't like. I've heard of really great Birchbox months and real duds of a month via blogs but I'm doing the month to month so if I decide I don't like it, I can opt out at any time.

Presenting....the March 2012 Birchbox!

What's inside....

Annick Goutal - Eau d' Hadrian (retail: $85)

What Birchbox says: The ideal warm weather scent, Eau d’Hadrien is a symphony of glistening, refreshing citrus notes orchestrated through the Sicilian lemon.

What I say: I actually like citrus scented perfumes but I'm not feeling this one. This perfume is not my style. I promised to let Dorothy sniff it and if she likes it, its hers.

Color Club - Nail Lacquer in Age of Aquarius (retail: $8)

What Birchbox says: these ‘60s-inspired polishes are right up our alley. They come in seven neon shades that channel the decade’s exuberant vibe: think mod girls, painted buses, and the advent of color TV. The coolest of the bunch, Age of Aquarius is a greenish turquoise.

What I say: I'm liking the bright nail color trend going on right now so my heart skipped a beat when I saw this fun polish color in my box. As soon as Charlie was napping, I put the fun color on my hands. This is a great color to wear on St. Patrick's Day but it was a few days too late but thats ok. I think if I had a full-time corporate job, I wouldn't wear it to work. I'd feel silly and unprofessional but since I'm not working, I feel I can experiment a little more. The polish is a bit bright. Rob noticed my nails right away and said something like he wouldn't expect me to wear this color and "oh, is that 'Stella & Dot green?'" He was right, it was similar to Stella & Dot's color - maybe thats why I like it! I decided to never wear it on my hands if I have a trunk show that day - I think I would look a bit cheesy.

Jouer - Luminizing Moisture Tint (retail: $38)

What Birchbox says: Allure recently gave the product its coveted "Best in Beauty" seal. The oil-free formula feels positively weightless on but gives you plenty of even coverage. Skin looks soft and dewy and, thanks to SPF 20, you’ll be extra protected from the sun.

What I say: They sent me this in "bronze" and I think its a bit too dark for me. I like how tan I look but my face doesn't match my throat/neck coloring so it looks funny. It does work though so I'm thinking I might buy this in a shade or two lighter than bronze. They call it a "moisture tint" but moisturizer it is not. Today I blended it with my moisturizer and my skin felt better. If I put this moisture tint on my skin and then my makeup, my skin felt tight and dry.

One Love Organics - Skin Savior Waterless Beauty Balm (retail: $68)

What Birchbox says: A three-in-one makeup remover, cleanser, and head-to-toe moisturizer, it’s the only product you need to keep your skin pure and unbelievably soft. The faint tropical scent comes courtesy of organic oils and other natural ingredients. Bonus: it’s made without a single drop of water, making it ultra-rich and concentrated (look Ma, no fillers!).

What I say: This product is pretty cool. You can use it a ton of different ways. You can clean your face with it, moisturize with it, use it to tame fly aways, use it as a lip balm, use it as a primer over your mineral powder or mix it with broken shadows or blushes. I used my moisturizer after I cleansed my skin but the cleanser is a little greasy so even after you wash it off, I think it still has a little bit on you skin. This morning I woke up and my face felt softer than usual. I probably won't buy the full size version of this product.

Orofluido - Beauty Elixer (retail: $30)

What Birchbox says: This serum relies on a triple-treat of standout oils: argan oil strengthens strands; linseed oil smoothes cuticles to leave hair shiny; and Cyperus oil fortifies and boosts manageability.

What I say: I like this. Its similar to Morocan Oil - you just apply a small amount and your hair feels silky and smooth. I like this scent better than the scent of Morocan Oil.

And this month, there was a "lifestyle extra" added to the box:

Tea Forte - Skin-smart Teas (retail: $6 for 16 bags)

What Birchbox says: Teatime just got a makeover. Not only do these fruity green teas taste amazing, they contain mega-high levels of antioxidants to repair your skin from the inside out. Each flavor addresses a specific concern, from fighting oxidative stress (a major source of wrinkles) to restoring skin’s youthful glow. Certified organic and fair trade, the beautifying blends will help you look as great as you feel—and who can say no to that?

What I say: Not sure yet. I'm not a big tea girl and since I'm pregnant I need to be careful with teas. I'll try this after the baby comes or after breastfeeding. Or maybe never. :)

I was happy with this month's box and looking forward to the next one!

If you are remotely interested in trying this, I would recommend signing up now. They usually have a wait list - I didn't get to join until about 2 weeks after I requested to sign up. My guess is they have limited quantities of samples so they wait for people to drop off their subscription before they add new members. Once you get the email from Birchbox saying you're "in" you hand over your credit card info. So you can send in your request today and have time to think about if you really want to sign up. I wish I had known this because I FINALLY decided I wanted to try it then realized there was a wait list...buzzkill!

Click here to learn more about Birchbox.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Are you Prepared?

So I'm part of a few "mom boards" on Facebook and someone raised the topic of emergency prepardeness. People chimed in about how they are or are not prepared. I would say a majority had a plan or at least some supplies handy like excess water, many canned food items, flash lights, fire extinguishers, guns (with lots of ammo) and stuff like astronaut food.

I didn't chime in because we aren't prepared. At all. Its not unusual for us to order pizza because we have "nothing to eat." I'm sure if we were in a real state of emergency, the "Great Northern Beans" in the pantry would be much more appreciated. Some women on the board were even talking about building bunkers and to be honest, the whole thread was kind of creeping me out!

I think about "the big one" (earthquake) about once a month. Being a California native, I've been through my fair share of earthquakes but we have not had a big one in a while and we're due for one. Its science, people! But I just have this feeling with all these weird tsunami's, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc. that we're just going to experience an earthquake (or worse) that is beyond what we in the bay area have experienced before. It just seems lately natural disasters just keep happening and I don't like it.

So would you say you are prepared? Please reply with what you have done to prepare yourself and your family. I feel like at a minimum I need to by a 72 hour emergency prepardeness kit on Amazon. Thoughts?

Stella & Dot - FAQs

As most of you probably know, I sell jewelry and handbags through a company called Stella & Dot. They are a direct selling company and the goods are sold at in home trunk shows/parties or online through each stylist's e-boutique.

I started selling it in June 2011, just a couple months after leaving my corporate job to be home with Charlie. I found myself wanting something that gives me little goals to accomplish but didn't want to go to work full-time or even part-time. I basically wanted to work for myself and work whenever I wanted. I also thought extra cash would be fun and I liked the idea of having a new jewelry wardrobe. Enter Stella & Dot!

I have a couple people on my team and often have a couple people "thinking about" being a stylist so I thought maybe some of my readers are interested to know what its all about.


How much does it cost to be a stylist?
The start up cost is $199 and this includes your business supplies and $350 in free jewelry or handbags of your choice. If you want to purchase more jewelry, you can do so at 50% off the retail price. There are limited times a year where you can buy at 50% off (i.e. when you join Stella & Dot or during product launches, etc.). If you want to buy something during an "off" time, you get 25% off. I try to stock up on the jewelry during the big launches but its tough because I always want it all!

How many trunk shows/parties do you do a month?
Its totally up to the Stylist. Some Stylists choose to take the summers off to spend with their family. I took off mid December through January because I was tired from being pregnant plus it was around the holidays and I just wanted to be home. I personally strive to do 1 trunk show a month but some months I have 3-5 trunk shows a month.

How much do you make?
Stylists make 25% commissions on all trunk show orders and online orders. If you sell more than $2300 a month (about 2 trunk shows) then you earn 30% for that month. The average Stellla & Dot trunk show is $1,000 so you typically make between $250-300 at each party. This is the company average and this is my average as well. The lowest trunk show I've had (not including catalog parties) was $700 and the highest was $2,400). In addition to the cash, Stella & Dot also gives you jewelry and business supply credits based on how much you sell.

Is this a pyramid scheme?
No. You can choose to build a team and make commissions from your downline but to earn commissions from your team you must sell X dollars worth of jewelry that month. This is the only time where there is a "quota", when you have a team. The minimum number you must sell to earn their commissions depends on what level you are at (there are multiple levels: Stylist, Sr Stylist, Star Stylist, etc.). If you didn't sell enough to earn commissions from your team, you still earn your own 25-30% commissions. This just make sure the upline isn't sitting back by the pool drinking pina coladas and reaping the rewards of their team. :) And they expect the upline to lead by example and to support their downline. Stella & Dot pay their Stylists a portion of their downline's sales instead of hiring another person at the home office to answer questions. They do have great support at the home office for us Stylists to answer general business questions but if you need strategic help to boost your business, your Sponsor/Upline is the one to help you out.

Is the jewelry expensive?
I think its priced fairly. Before I was a Stylist I thought it was expensive because I thought I could go to Target or Macy's and get something similar. The big difference is the quality. Some people are perfectly fine spending $7 at target for earrings that are cute but will tarnish or break after a season's worth of wear. Stella & Dot's jewelry has superior quality over places like Target and Macys (not talking the fine jewelry!). The more I learned about the jewelry, the more I appreciated it and the price point. If you compare it to other higher end jewelry, you will see its priced fairly (i.e. Tory Burch, Coach, etc.) or priced very well (compared to Tiffany's silver line). I think those that appreciate good quality jewelry think the price is fair and most people don't care about the brand of their jewelry. I think handbags are another story. Stella & Dot's handbags (specifically the lambskin Waverly 3-way that retails for $258) have been selling really well. In my experience, this isn't the case I've only sold 1 Waverly and a couple of the smaller leather good bags. Our bags are superior quality as well - we use premium leather lambskin and its made using the same leather selection process and made in the same factories as Coach, Prada and Michael Kors but it doesn't have the big name brand on it. You will pay at least $500 at Coach for a bag like our Waverly but again, you're paying for the label. I'll admit, I looooove handbags and love Coach and the like so I totally get it when people say "$258?! Its not like its Coach!" Well, it actually is.... :) I find its the women who don't care about the labels but can feel the quality when they touch the bag are the ones who buy it or lust over it.

I have a full-time job. Can I also be a Stylist?
Of course! About 70% of Stylists have full-time jobs. This is a fun way to make a little extra money on the side.

If you have any other questions, I'd love to answer them for you! You can comment here or email me at:

Or if you just want to browse, you can do so at my e-boutique:

And finally, don't forget to be a fan of my page. This is where you will hear about new releases, sales and giveaways!

Happy Weekend Everyone!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Pregnancy Quiz - Week 21 Baby #2

How far along? 21 weeks, 4 days (pic below taken at 20 weeks)

Total weight gain/loss: 12 lbs

Maternity clothes? Yes

Stretch marks? No

Sleep: Hips are aching already. I know this didn't start as early with my first pregnancy. I'm sure it has to do with me starting this pregnancy at a higher weight than I did with Charlie's pregnancy.

Best moment this week: Yesterday morning, I woke up feeling human. I had an insane stomach flu - it wasn't pretty.
Movement: Yes! Finally started feeling him 2 weeks ago.

Food cravings: This week: strawberries & powdered sugar

Gender: Boy

Labor Signs: Nope

Belly Button in or out? In

What I miss: Caffeine

What I am looking forward to: Going on a triple date with some neighbors tomorrow night.

Other Updates: Scheduled my c-section for July 12 at 9:00 am!

This week, Calvin is currently the length of a carrot -- weighs about 3/4 of a pound. (Length: 10 1/2 inches, head to heel.)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Colorado 2012 & Charlie's First Plane Ride.

A couple weeks ago, we flew out to my parents lake house in Colorado with Charlie and his cousins. Even though it was a bit crazy at times having 3 little ones together, I think it made it a little easier. They were able to entertain themselves a bit by chasing eachother around. I think if it were just Charlie, it would have been a bit more challenging to keep him happy.

Overall, Charlie did better than we thought he would. There were times where we wanted to pull our hair out (especially around take off and landing where the attendants insisted on having him in a seatbelt even though we'd be taxing for awhile). Often times we would let him not be in the seatbelt and then when the attendant came by, we'd try to put it back on so we wouldn't get in trouble. After we landed in Colorado we rented a big car and the 7 of us drove 2 hours to the cabin. It was a looooong travel day. Did I mention we also had a 2 hr layover in LA?

We stayed in Colorado for 4 nights and did a lot of hanging out and playing in the snow. Getting Charlie to agree to wear snow clothes just didn't happen so we had to stuff him in the clothes. By the time we were done, Rob and I were sweating and swearing. It was awesome! ;) I think the highlight of our trip was sledding. My dad bought 3 sleds for the kids but the adults had fun with it, too. There is a little hill by their house that we walked to and played for awhile. Charlie didn't want to sit in the sled but I held him down and went - he looooved it.

I love this one. Rob accidentally went over a bump and they totally went airborn. Rob is trying to slow down with his hand, and Charlie has his hand over his forehead as if to say "geez dad, what are you doing?!" I think I might frame this. It makes me laugh whenever I see it.

The day we came home, we had to leave the house at 5:30 am. It was snowing and super windy so it took us 3 hours to get to the airport (almost 3.5 after getting gas). In the morning when we left, Rob checked the flight and it was on time. We pulled into the area to return our rental car around 9:00 am and Rob checked our flight status again and it said, wait for it...CANCELLED. WTF? Rob called the airline and they said they could get us on a 1:00 pm flight but we wouldn't land until 8:00 pm in San Jose. Rob told them that wouldn't work so they ended up getting all 7 of us on a non stop flight to San Jose and ended up landing hours before our original flight was to land (our original flight had a 3 hr layover at LAX). It caused some stress for a short time but in the end, the travel gods were working for us.

All in all it was a good trip but its always nice to come home and to come home to almost 80 degree weather was wonderful. There's no place like home!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Some of My New Favorite Things - Skin Care Edition!

My skin had been looking a bit blah lately and by lately I mean in the past two years since having Charlie. Its dull, wrinkly and saggy. I'd seriously do botox if 1.) I weren't pregnant and 2.) if it were a heck of a lot cheaper.

Rob and I spent a night in Monterey a few weeks ago and I splurged on a massage AND a facial. I hadn't had a facial since I was pregnant with Charlie. The aesthetician told me my skin looked like the average 30 yr old skin. She said it wasn't "bad" but there were a few products I could use (and stop using) that would make it look and feel better.

The first order of business: stop using MAC makeup. I was bummed becuase just three months ago I spent a pretty penny on foundation, powder and concealer. And I loved how it looked, it was a little heavy but it covered like a dream. She said it was really clogging my pores and its just a heavy makeup in general. She told me to go to Macys and ask for a refund. I did and I got one! The only thing I didn't get a refund on was my powder because I had dropped it and it was shattered.

The aesthetician gave me a sample of a mineral makeup called True and I really liked it. A place in town carries it and got myself a full size loose powder.

I also got the skin tint. Its lighter than a foundation and because its made from the same mineral ingredients as the powder, it won't clog my skin.

She assured me these will both last me at least 6 months, probably longer.

Back in Monterey, I purchased some skin care items that I took a chance on. They were a bit spendy but I hadn't invested in my skin in a long time and after having an amazing facial, I felt like I wanted to keep my skin happy.

I bought the epicuren citrus herbal cleanser

and the epicuren colostrum cream

I also bought a pumpkin purifying enzyme peel by naturopathica

and finally, a phytocell detox mask by emerginC scientific organics

If I had to only recommend my absolute favorites, they would be the makeup and the cream. I like the cleanser but I'm not sure how much of a difference it makes vs a regular department store cleanser. And the last two items are only to be used once a week and I've only applied them two times so I'm not sure yet.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Baby #2 - 17 Week Survey

How far along? 17 weeks, 5 days

Total weight gain/loss: +7

Maternity clothes? Yes. I need to stop buying new clothes. Not a smart thing to do since hopefully I won't be wearing them for too long after the summer.

Stretch marks? No.

Sleep: I'm enjoying sleeping on my back and realize this luxury will be gone in two weeks.

Best moment this week: This was a BIG week. Tuesday we found out the sex (more on that later). The day came that I've been (literally) dreaming about. Then that night, we hosted a gender reveal party. Gender reveal parties (I think) are sort of new. I had never heard about them when I was pregnant with Charlie but when I heard about them I thought they were such a cute idea. We invited only my parents and the Strombergs. Rob's family doesn't live too far but they would get in major traffic on the way down so Rob told them the old fashioned way, by telling them "its a _____" in person and by phone. I'm not planning on having a shower for this baby so I thought the gender reveal party would be something special to do to celebrate "it." Here are some pictures from the reveal:

It's a....


Charlie is going to love having a brother. I look forward to watching my boys play together.

And another highlight this week: helping co-host my friend Dorothy's baby shower! Her baby, Ivy, is due April 2nd. She's going to be a great mama.

**Sorry its a bit blurry (trying to protect her identity) ;)
Movement: Not yet. I'm surprised I haven't felt him yet. I thought I felt him a couple times but it was gas. Oopsies.

Food cravings: No big cravings these days.

Gender: Baby boy!

Labor Signs: Nope

Belly Button in or out? In

What I miss: Tummy sleeping

What I am looking forward to: Getting the nursery under way. Oh I've got plans, baby!

Other Updates: I had my blood drawn again and they gave me my revised down syndrome risk numbers. Last time it was 1 in 2600 (with Charlie it was 1 in 10,000 so I was surprised it was such a higher risk, though not "high risk"). The revised number is 1 in 12,000 which is amazing. For some reason my risk for Trisomy 18 actually went up but I'm still not high risk. The dr. said the ultrasound tech would typically be able to point out multiple markers to indicate the baby has Trisomy 18 but my ultrasound came out great so there is no concern.
The other big update: we're pretty sure this baby will be named Calvin, nickname Cal.

This week, baby Calvin is the size of a turnip!