Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Reflections on God's timing

This isn't really a "review" of anything, but just something I wanted to write about with regard to an important realization of late. 

God's timing is perfect.  As much as "during", when things are happening, it feels like things are all going wrongly, or I've made the wrong choices somehow, or somehow things aren't happening the way I'd like them to, when in the end I reflect, God's timing was perfect.

This is my reflection on our first child. The pregnancy wasn't particularly "planned" by my husband and I, and at times I felt like I didn't really want the child. Overall though, I knew that children are gifts and blessings from God, and knew that regardless of how I felt that we would continue the pregnancy.  We received much support during that time.  When it got more to "crunch time" (ie, late 3rd trimester), my husband and I were still not very prepared with regard to nursery stuff and getting all the baby stuff together.  God also blessed us during that time with many hand-me-downs and gifts from friends which later proved very useful. We were also blessed with my parents.  Who decided to come about 10 days before my due date to help us "set up".  Turns out they came at the most useful and perfect time.  They not only helped us clean up the whole house, but also set up the nursery and my study space.  As if somehow the baby knew we were ready, I went into labor just after midnight, after the day we had gotten most things "ready".  The support from my parents during the immediate post partum period was also an incredible blessing from God (my husband and I may have been starving without it, and certainly our beloved dog would have been much neglected without them).  I know my mother went through much of her own difficulties with her pregnancy and postpartum period, and for her to be there for me may have brought on her own traumatic memories. My dad, being incredibly hardworking by nature, went right to work on all sorts of odds and ends in the house that were super helpful. 

How full of grace and love and blessing our God is...  We now have a beautiful little girl to love. There is nothing I can offer in return that is worth anything compared to what God gave me already, which more importantly than all the supportive people and material things in this life, is the eternal life with Him through the sacrifice of His son Jesus Christ. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

How to be More Helpful to Moms

A post Mother's Day blurb... Due to some recent experiences, I've been inspired to write something different today, something about being a more beautiful person.

Since becoming a mommy  almost a year ago (where did the time go?!) I have had much more appreciation for little "helps" from friends or random strangers. This is a collection of the helps I have either received or really wish I'd received, so think about doing some of these for the moms you know or randomly see :)

1) hold open a door

This simple and polite gesture we extend to others who are very capable of opening a door themselves, is inifitintely more appreciated by the mommy with the big stroller. Not that us power super moms aren't capable of opening a door and push a stroller through (we damn well are and do it all the time), but it is just so much easier when someone holds it open... We are talking 5 min struggle vs 5 sec breezy walk through. I have especially appreciated it when this help came from someone who wasn't immediately infront or behind me, and took special effort to come help.

2) offer to keep an eye on the baby at a party (just for a minute)

I usually only go to a party when it's a mommy/kids party, or when hubby is going too. Why? Cuz I just don't have enough hands to be dealing with the baby, try to socialize, and somehow try to fill my grumbling hungry tummy.  Regardless, I somehow ended up at a cocktail style event where I barely knew anyone other than the hosts, on my own with the little one in tow, and as I feared, ended up standing around awkwardly tending to her while everyone else ate and I looked on with envy. I did finally grow a thick skin and asked an acquantince to please just stand by the stroller and watch my kid while I quickly filled my plate with some nibbles and quickly returned to her side. So please, if you see a mommy looking awkward on her own at a party, offer to keep an eye on her kid for a minute so she can get something to eat. Then, I don't know, maybe say hi and start a conversation, she'll appreciate it :)

3) help lift a stroller (over steps, puddles, etc)

Downtown Toronto collects some big water puddles when it rains, and they are hard to avoid! I came up to a very deep one once, and paused for a second wondering how I'm going to get across without getting the bottom of the stroller and the diaper bag wet. There really wasn't a way around and I was literally stuck until a kind stranger came up behind me and offered to help me lift the stroller across. My shoes got wet as expected, but the diaper bag and stroller bottom was saved! I have carried the stroller myself before (luckily I have a light one) up stairs, and have had random strangers help me up the stairs as well, the difference is phenomenal. Believe me, though we moms might look like we're trying to exercise our biceps, we are not and help is hugely appreciated.

4) don't judge

There are some things in life we can do without, and we mommies would be much helped by not having people we barely know make judgemental comments about how we are raising our children.  Yes, if we are doing something dangerous that warrants a call to Children's Aid or the like, then please judge us and call someone.  Outside of that, if you think we're feeding the baby too little, too much, or dressed the baby too warmly, or not enough, please keep it to yourself. We moms judge oursevles the most harshly and are already prone to feelings of guilt and worry about what we're doing. We would be most helped by your encouragement, not your criticism. 

Overall, be more aware. When I have been offered help from random strangers versus having strangers walk on by without a glance, I believe a big difference between the two groups starts with  just being more aware of what's around them (then a kind heart that wants to help to make the act comes net). You can't help if you don't see it. So be more aware of what's around you next time you go somewhere, and see if you might be able to help someone!

Battle of Blue Kohl Pencils: Sephora vs Lancome

When Lancome launched their Spring collection this year, there was a lot of hype about the Kohl in Love pencils. I bought the blue version called "deepwater blue" as it seemed to be the most wearable for day to day, and it has come to replace my previous loved blue kohl liner from Sephora.  Click the jump for swatches and more detailed comparison!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

DIY Avocado Face Mask

There's lots of recipes out there for homemade face masks, this is one that I have been using that has been working great for my skin (combination/sensitive, early signs of aging). Read on to see how easily it's made and why I love it!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Julep Maven May 2013 Boho Glam

It finally arrived! As much as I love living in Canada, our postal system is not the greatest... for that I'm thankful that Julep is one of the few companies that doesn't charge extra $$ to ship to us up north, so thank you Julep! This is my 2nd Julep box now (first being the intro) and I'm loving their Maven program. Such a good deal for fantastic polishes. Click the jump for more info and swatches )

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Swirl Quick Bread

A break from the makeup stuff...I realized I had some overly ripe bananas today (brown with spots, hubby and I only like to eat yellow with green tips... we have become more particular as we age...), so looked up some banana bread recipes and added couple more things from my pantry/imagination to make this delicious bread (more like a cake, cuz it's not healthy, you've been warned!). Recipe after the jump!

Friday, May 10, 2013

DIY Homemade Lip Scrub

I have chronically dry, sensitive, and peeling lips that don't respond much to all the different balms/moisturizers/ointments I've tried.  Then I heard about the simple honey + sugar lip scrub from a recent cosmetic counter visit (thank you mua from YSL), and added a couple more ingredients I thought would be beneficial. I'm sharing this recipe now because I have been using it for the last couple months and it totally works! My lips still peel from some lip products but at least it doesn't peel all the time anymore!  Click the jump to see how I made this super simple yet super effective lip scrub!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Dr. Jart+ BB Creams Part II: Renewalist vs. Premium

Now that the warm sunshine is out, I've started to pull out higher SPF products, and thus it's time for part 2 of my Dr. Jart+ BB cream review!  I reviewed and compared the Water Fuse and Black Label Detox BB cream in an older post.  I've really been loving the Renewalist and Premium BB creams, so click the jump to find out why!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Enkore Pro Ultra Brush Soap Review

Yay I finally got ahold of one of Enkore's brush soaps! There's been much buzz about these, and after trying to find a good way to get them here in Canada, I finally bought one from FTB. I chose the pro ultra version since it has antibacterial ingredients as well ("clean" isn't clean until it's sanitized!). Click the jump to see what I thought ^_^