July 2016 favorites: maternity, beauty, snacks, pregnancy & iPhone apps

Hey guys!  Today, I’m sharing with you some recent favorites.  I’ve got a couple maternity must haves, some snacks, a couple iPhone apps, and a few beauty items.  I am 25 weeks pregnant, so a lot of my favorites are influenced by my pregnancy.  I will try to provide links to items where I can.

Maternity “fashion”  

I am by no means a style expert.  I wear a lot of basics & what’s comfortable.  I am also highly influenced by this 100+ degree weather here in Texas.  (I am sweating in places I’ve never sweat before, LOL!)

ahsang july 2016 fave 4

  1. I got to choose a dress from PINKBLUSHMATERNITY.com for review, and I chose the Navy Blue Short Sleeve Fitted Dress.  There are a ton of beautiful dresses on the site, but I decided to choose something that I could wear more than once or twice.ahsang july 2016 fave 2ahsang july 2016 fave 1My husband and I recently celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary, and I wore this dress for date night.  I felt cute, but comfortable.  Win Win!  I also love how versatile this dress is!  It can be dressed up with pretty shoes, accessories, and a red lip, or it can be dressed down with a pony tail and chucks.  Love!ahsang july 2016 fave 3
  2. Maternity tanks.  Any brand will do.  I happen to come across a really good sale at Motherhood, so I grabbed 3.  I live in these tanks, along with full panel maternity denim shorts.
  3. Maternity swimsuit.  As I mentioned, the heat in Texas is unbearable, so the girls and I go to our neighborhood pool at least once a week.  A maternity swimsuit was a must buy for me!  I love this striped one from Motherhood.  It came as a 2 piece, but the bottoms were huge, so I had to buy a separate bottom.  I ended up buying a plain navy bottom from Target.  No big deal.  Here’s a pic I posted to my instagram a few weeks back.  ahsang july 2016 fave 8

 

Beauty

My “beauty routine” is really simple, especially now that I’m pregnant.  On a day to day basis, I’m usually good with moisturizer, brows, and under-eye concealer.  If I want to put in a little more effort, I’ll add a pretty lip color and just a little color on my eyes.

ahsang july 2016 fave 5

  1. Kate Somerville Goat Milk Moisturizing Cream.  I purchased mine at Sephora.  I normally have extreme combination skin…I have a very oily t-zone, but super dry cheeks.  During my 1st trimester however, I was really dry (probably due to all the morning sickness).  My normal gel moisturizer wasn’t enough, so I went to sephora and asked one of the employees for help.  I was also conscience of ingredients since I know some skincare ingredients are not good for pregnancy.  The girl I talked to was super nice, and told me to try the KS goat milk moisturizer.  Even though it was more pricier than I like to spend, I decided to give it a try, and I absolutely love it!  It works really well at moisturizing my dry cheeks, but doesn’t make my t-zone oilier.  The only con I have is that I am almost out, and I’ve only had it for a few months.
  2. NYX micro brow pencil.  I have mine in taupe & ash brown.  I picked it up at Target.  This pencil makes filling in my brows fast and easy.  It’s not too creamy so it doesn’t smear, and has the perfect amount of wax.
  3. Maybelline Better Skin Concealer.  I have mine in light medium, and I picked it up at Target.  This has been my favorite concealer all summer, and I believe I’ve featured it in a monthly favorites before.  It’s creamy, blends easily, and lasts all day.
  4. Bite beauty Matte Creme Lip Crayon in the color Tatin.  I got mine at Sephora.  I love this brand, especially since I’m pregnant, because it’s made out of food grade ingredients.  You could literally eat this lipstick, and you’d be a-ok.  I picked mine in a fun pink shade for summer.
  5. Laura Mercier Caviar Stick eye color.  I have mine in Rose Gold, and I got it at sephora.  This eye shadow stick is such a pretty color!  I like to add it to my inner corners for a little highlight, but it’s great for adding a little pop to your lids.  It blends easily, and doesn’t budge once it’s set.  Love it!

 

Snacks

I have been loving ice water in my 20 oz stainless steel RTIC tumbler (you can find it on Amazon).  I love fruits, especially watermelon.  I have also been loving beef jerky.  Surprisingly, I haven’t had too much of a sweet tooth, but I do like to have a bite or two of something sweet, which is why I have been loving thin cookies.  I was walking the isles in Target one day when I spied Brownie Brittle.  I picked one up on a whim and raved about it on instagram.  It’s like a brownie flavored thin cookie.  If you haven’t tried it yet, I highly recommend that you do!  I also have been loving Mrs Thinster’s Cookie Thins in toasted coconut, after trying a sample at SAMS club (You can find it on Amazon).  Cherry ICEEs…not the imitation icees, but the real deal ICEES!  So soothing for my hot flashes and heart burn, LOL!

ahsang july 2016 fave 6

 

Misc Pregnancy Must haves:

ahsang july 2016 fave 7

  1. I have been taking the Vitafusion PreNatal gummy vitamins.  I usually pick mine up at the grocery store or Target.
  2. TUMS…because I have heartburn…really bad…
  3. Lots of pillows!  I am currently using 4.  That may sound excessive, but it’s hard to find a comfy position when you’ve got a basketball sized belly!
  4. Deodorant.
  5. Flip Flops.  I live in Texas, it’s summer, and I’m pregnant…enough said.

 

Pregnancy iPhone apps

  1. What To Expect App.  You can read about each week; how the baby’s developing and how your body is changing.
  2. Baby Story photo app.  This is the app that I use to put the weeks/fruit size on my belly pics (like the one in my swimsuit shown above).  I think it’s a really cute way to document my pregnancy.

 

That’s pretty much what I’ve been loving lately.  What about you?  What have you been loving lately?  Do you have any pregnancy recommendation?

Happy Friday y’all and enjoy your weekend!

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September 2015 crafty and beauty favorites

Hey guys, I’m here again to share with you what I’ve been loving in the month of September!

ahsang sept faves 1

For my crafty faves, I have been loving:ahsang sept faves 2

  1.  Sandy Allnock’s Copic marker Hex Chart.  This chart is awesome!  Not only does it easily allow me to find colors that blend well together while coloring, but it helps me out when shopping for colors as well.  It’s easy to see what colors I “need.”  You can easily see that I NEED more markers, lol!  I take a picture of my hex chart on my phone, so that I have it handy when I’m shopping.  You can find the hex chart on Sandy’s website here.
  2. Strathmore Bristol 100 lb paper.  I first learned that this paper is great for zig clean color real brush pens through Nichol Magouirk.  I also tried it out with copic markers, and it works great!  I love how thick this paper is!
  3. Versafine onyx black ink.  I love how dark this ink is!  It’s great for stamping sentiments, water coloring, and for heat embossing with clear embossing powder.
  4. American Crafts Zing gold embossing powder.  I have had this embossing powder for years, and it’s my favorite gold for sure!  I love the tone of gold this embossing powder produces.  The powder looks dark, but once heat set, it’s beautiful!

For my beauty faves, I have been loving:

ahsang sept faves 3

  1.  pixi Glow Tonic.  They recently released this product at Target.  I have heard a lot about this toner, and have always wanted to try it, so I was excited to find it at target.  (I got it on sale: 15% off through the cartwheel app.)  I have raved about pixie products before in my favorites, and I love this toner as well.  It’s gently exfoliates, and prepares your skin for moisturizer.
  2. Ofra long lasting liquid lipstick in Mocha.  I love lipsticks that I don’t have to reapply…I’m kinda lazy like that.  This one lasts a really long time.  I’ve only tried a few brands of liquid lipsticks, and this Ofra formula is my fave by far.  It kind of has a moussie texture, so it’s comfortable on the lips, but it is not transfer resistant.  When I just want a little hint of color, I put a little on and blend it out with my finger.  For more intense color, I can build up layers easily.

That’s it for me!  What are some of your faves?

Thanks for stopping by!

Happy Monday!

June 2015 craft & beauty favorites

Hello all!  Hope you’re having a great day so far!

Today, I’ll be sharing the few things that I have loved in the month of June!

ahsang june fave 1

First up, are my crafty favorites:

ahsang june fave 2

1.  The 2nd 30 day coloring challenge hosted by Kathy at thedailymarker.com.  I have loved taking part in this coloring challenge!  Coloring is really a great way that I have been able to de-stress, be creative, and meet new friends on instagram.  I was able to color 21 out of the 30 days…not bad, but maybe I can do all 30 days the next round?!  If you haven’t heard about this challenge, you can go to her website, or check out the hashtag #thedailymarker30day & #thedailymarker30day2 on instagram.

2.  Zig Clean Color real brush markers by kuretake.  These little water color brushes are so vibrantly awesome!  You can color with them like regular markers, full strength, or you can put a little color down, and use water to blend them out.  At first, I wasn’t sure what I thought of them, but it took a little practice before I got comfortable using them.  I like to put a little color down, then blend out with water (or a different color), and then repeat in small sections.  I find working in small sections works best for me.  I bought a 12 pack, and then purchased a few individually.

3.  Circle dies by spellbinders.  These are perfect for shaker card windows!  I have also been loving circles in my scrapbook layouts lately.  You can see an example in my previous post.  As I said in that post, I used to use circle punches, and I traced and hand cut circles for my layouts.  Now that I have circle dies, it has been so much easier!

Next up a just a couple of beauty favorites.

ahsang june fave 3

1.  First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads.  I have been loving this product because it is such an easy to use all-in-one type of product!  In each container are 60 round pads already soaked with product, like lactic and glycol acids and cucumbers and lemons, that serves as both a gentle exfoliant and toner.  I use one of these pads every night after cleansing and before moisturizing…love it!  It has been perfect for my sensitive skin!  (I saw they are having 20% off on their website through July 4, 2015)

2.  Urban Decay all nighter makeup setting spray.  This is like hair spray for your face.  Since it’s been so hot here in Texas, I use this product to set my face on occasions when I have spent a little more time on my makeup.  When I take more time with my makeup, I don’t want it melting off my face in an hour or two.  This spray helps with that.  I usually purchase the travel size, because I don’t do a full face of makeup very often, and this bottle will last me all summer.

That’s it for this month!  What products have you been loving lately?

Happy Thursday!

May 2015 craft & beauty faves

Hello all!

It’s now June, so I figured that I would share with you what I’ve been loving in the month of May.

ahsang may fave 1

May is a super busy month for us, with dance rehearsals and recitals, and winding down toward the end of the school year for both the girls…but I did have some favorites.

First up, crafty favorites:

ahsang may fave 2

1.  Lawn Fawn Flirty Frames stamp set with the matching lawn cuts (dies).  I usually don’t buy the matching dies; I am perfectly fine with fussy cutting, and dies can get expensive, but there are just some stamps that look better with them, and these flirty frames dies cut out the stamps perfectly.  I will be posting some projects that I’ve used this set for on my blog soon.

2.  Martha Stewart Iridescent Hearts & Stars Glitter 12 pk.  I have been loving these tiny hearts and stars for shaker cards.  Any time I make shaker cards, I use a little bit of these.  You can see them in my blog posts: “DIY birthday…& a birthday shaker card too,” “Cards featuring Mama Elephant Carnival Cupcakes stamps,” and “my very first shaker card.”

3.  Doodlebug Design Rainbow Pack Sequins.  This is such a cute little set of sequins, and I love that there is a variety of colors for me to choose from.  I use these for shaker cards, as well as glued to the front of non-shaker cards for a little somethin’ somethin’…  You can see them on my cards in my previous blog post “cards for my pen pals.”

On the the beauty favorites:

ahsang may fave 3

1.  Colourpop Cosmetics:  I got into this brand, because I was looking for affordable, long-wearing, cream makeup for my girls recital makeup.  Quickly, the products became a favorite for me.  They have an interesting creamy/ gel-like texture, and lasts a really long time.  Another big perk: affordability; each item is either $5 or $8, unless you get a set.

*Colourpop blush in “between the sheets.”  This shade is a very wearable, everyday mauve-pink.

*Colourpop eyeshadow in ” Desert.”  This is a really nice crease color.

*Coloupop lipliner in “pony.”  Love this color; bright, cool toned, purple-pink.  It’s so creamy, I use it as a lipstick.

2.  Real Techniques makeup brushes:  These makeup brushes are my all time favorite brand.  They’re super soft, very affordable, easy to wash, and don’t shed.  I usually get them at Ulta using a coupon, but I have seen them at Wal-Mart and Kohl’s recently as well.  They are in my favorites this month, because of Colourpop.  Since the Colourpop eyeshadow & blush are a cream texture, a synthetic makeup brush works best.  I have been using the “stippling brush” for the blush, and the “shading brush” for the eyeshadow.

That’s my May faves!  What are some of your favorites?

Happy Monday!

2015: the return of the “No FRUMPINESS” New Year’s Resolution

For the past few years, my New Year’s resolution has been the same, and I made the same one this year too.  NO FRUMPINESS.

After I had my second daughter, the baby weight didn’t slide off as it had with my first.  I was 30 and trying to get used to life as a mother of two, and it was showing.  My appearance, and therefore my self-confidence, was not high on my priority list.  I didn’t buy any clothes, because I was waiting to “loose the baby weight,” I had dark circles from lack of sleep, my hair was falling out by the fist-full, and my hair was forever in a ratty pony tail.  This was what greeted my husband upon returning home from work on any typical day towards the end of 2010: me, in my husband’s t-shirts and yoga pants (because that’s the only thing that fit), dark circles, and my hair in a limp pony tail…not pretty…and not exactly a role model for my girls either.

So… a few years ago I decided that I would try to change.  Even though my husband says I’m beautiful no matter what, I wanted to be better for him and my girls.  My New Year’s resolution has been to reduce my “frumpiness,” even if just by a little.

The first year of trying this, I always had my nails and toes perfectly manicured (I did them myself at home once the kids were asleep)…surely that’s a bit less frumpy, no?  I have to say that such a small act made me feel better.  I’d take advantage of the coupons at my local grocery store and bought nail polish in all different colors.

The next year, I stepped it up a bit, and tried to take care of my skin.  I guess my hormones were trying to balance itself out, and my skin was going crazy, not to mention I was officially in my 30s.

Then I started getting into makeup.  I don’t wear a full face of makeup on most days, but I at least have moisturizer, lip balm, under-eye concealer and usually eyebrow product on.

Since I have started my “no frumpiness” new year’s resolution, i feel like I have been getting better.  I take care of my skin day and night, I get a haircut and my gray hairs dyed a few times a year by a friend, and I’ve bought a few wardrobe staples specifically for my size now, and not the size I’m waiting/wanting to be.  I’m by no means a beauty queen, but I can volunteer at my daughter’s school without feeling embarrassed of my appearance.

With that said, here are some beauty-related tips for you and some of my favorite products of 2014.

ahsang 2014 faves

Tip #1:  Taking care of yourself can be EXPENSIVE!  Take advantage of coupons, annual sales and promotions, and look for discount codes.  At H-E-B, my local grocery store, there are always several different brand coupons.  My favorite drugstore brand is Revlon, and at least once a month, there is a $1 or $2 off coupon.  There is usually a $3.50 off $10 purchase coupon at Ulta, and both Sephora and Ulta have a 20% off entire purchase coupon every year during the holidays.

Tip #2:  Know your skin type and your skin tone.  Is your skin dry or oily?  I have classic combination skin.  I have an oily t-zone; my forehead, chin, and especially my nose is oily, while my cheeks are dry.  I also have dehydrated sensitive skin.  Knowing what type of skin you have will help you choose what skin care to use.  Do you have neutral, warm, or cool undertones?  I am Asian, and have yellow/warm undertones.  Knowing your skin undertone can help you choose makeup colors that are flattering on you.

Tip #3:  Perfect a 5-10 minute routine.  When I’m in a rush or running late, I apply moisturizer, under eye concealer, brow product, and a pretty lip color.

Tip #4:  What works for others may not work for you.  Try different things out.  Know your store’s return policy and keep your receipt.  My local grocery store and ultra will let me return an item if it doesn’t work out, even used, with a receipt.

…and now onto my favorites of 2014.  These are products that I loved last year, and will continue to repurchase.

for SKINCARE:

ahsang 2014 faves -1

Last year, I saved up all my sephora gift cards, and purchased a Clarisonic mia for my birthday.  I love it!  It’s a cleaning tool with a ultrasonic brush head that’s supposed to clean your skin 6x better than your hands alone.  They have different brush heads for different skin types; I use the delicate brush head.  I use my clarisonic in the shower 2-3 times a week and on days when I went heavier with my makeup, with my favorite cleanser fabulous foaming face wash by bliss.

In the morning, after using a gentle cleanser, I follow up with a good light weight moisturizer, Paula’s Choice hydra light moisture-infusing lotion, and eye cream, Tarte’s maraca c-brighter eye treatment.  Then I use a lip balm, and I have been enjoying sweet mint EOS balm.    

For my night routine, after cleansing, I use a gentle exfoliant, Paula’s Choice skin perfecting 8% AHA gel.  I discovered chemical exfoliants this past year, as opposed to physical exfoliants, such as cleansers with little beads.  Exfoliants get rid of dead skin cells on the top layer of skin.  Then I reach for a heavier moisturizer, DERMAdoctor wrinkle revenge.  I don’t know about the wrinkle reducer/prevention properties of this cream, but my skin loves it.  This cream is pricey, but it shows up on hautelook (a flash sale site) every once in a while, and I can pick it up for a lot less.  Then I use the same eye cream and lip balm.

for MAKEUP:

ahsang 2014 faves -2

For my 5-10 minute routine, I use my moisturizer, eye cream and lip balm.  Then I go in with my NYX eye shadow base in skin tone.  Even when I don’t use eye shadow, this will neutralize any redness and any veins showing on my lid.  Then I have to conceal my under eye circles.  In 2014, I used Revlon photo ready concealer in light medium all the time!  I blend my concealer in with my beloved green beauty blender mini.  It’s a sponge that you use wet (squeezing out all excess water), and it blends in makeup seamlessly.  Next, comes my brows.  I have pretty sparse brow hairs, so without brow products, I look like I have no eyebrows.  I have tried out a lot of brow products over the years, but my favorite has been Too Faced bulletproof brows in universal brunette.  Lastly, I’ll follow up with some lip color.  My favorite lip products have been twistable lip crayons.  They’re easy to use, come in a variety of finishes (matte or glossy), and the color payoff is great.  Almost every brand has this type of lip product now.  I love the minty freshness and color of Revlon’s kissable balm stain in cherish.

When I want to go a little further with my makeup, I use a little eyeshadow and liner.  I have to use an eye primer on my oily lids to prevent creasing and to make eyeshadow last longer.  I really like Urban Decay’s primer potion and NARS smudge proof eye shadow base.  Next, I use the NYX eye shadow base, eye shadow, and then a little eye liner.  Stila’s waterproof eyeliner in lionfish has been working out really good for me.  Once it sets, it doesn’t smudge under my eyes.  I also suffer from weepy allergy eyes, and this liner is pretty waterproof. Next is under eye concealer and eyebrows.  I finish with a little face powder (I have been using MAC’s mineralize skinfinish natural in medium plus), and lip product.

For special occasions, I will add in foundation, bronzer, blush, highlighter, and mascara.

Also, I always keep Clean&Clear oil blotting sheets in my purse (or the drugstore version) to blot my oily t-zone during the day.  I can use that to take away the shine instead of constantly powdering my nose.

This may all seem excessive to some people, and I’m by no means a beauty expert, but this works for me and I like it.

Here I am with my version of a full face of makeup on my birthday last year:

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 10.00.21 PM

What about you?  What are your resolutions?  What are some of your favorite products?  I’d love to know!

Happy Wednesday!