5 Minute Makeover Must Haves

**Quick note: this is NOT a sponsored post. I did NOT get any of this stuff for free, and I am definitely NOT getting paid to review any of this. lol

So I love make up.

Like, luurrve it. As in, I love it so much that I am a Sephora Rouge member, which means I’ve spent an OBSCENE amount of money there, and now I get perks for it! Rouge members get free makeovers, free flash shipping with no minimum purchase requirements, a ton more extra freebie offers than the average consumer, and even a special 24 hour concierge line. It’s pretty ridiculous.

But here’s the thing:

I’ve been working from home for the last 5 years and that means that I’ve spent way more days indoors than out. Forget putting on make up, there were days I wasn’t even putting on pants! haha! Being a mom only compounded my tendency to go without make up, as I always felt there were other things I’d rather spend time on than primping up my face on a daily basis. Thus make up was usually just something that happened on special occasions.

Now that Bash is in school though, I’ve had to leave the apartment every day to pick him up, and I can’t bear the thought of rushing out without looking at least a little presentable. And yet, even now when it’s just me in the mornings, I’m finding that I am still on a time crunch since I’m rushing to get home from an early morning work out, shower, have a cup of coffee, and then start my work day. A lot of times, I get so caught up in work that I won’t even notice that 3 and a half hours have passed and I have maybe only 5 to 7 minutes to make myself decent and head to school for pick up.

Enter my Sephora addiction.

While I love make up and how it makes me look, I am not going to spend an hour trying to contour my face like a Kardashian. I don’t have the time, the patience, or the confidence to pull it off! So a lot of the money I spend there is for items that make my life easier. Sephora’s very generous sample policy and fairly reasonable return policy has allowed me to find products that I truly love that not only make me feel prettier, but does so in a record amount of time. I’m not even kidding. Mom life ain’t easy, and we don’t have a lot of time, but it doesn’t have to take a lot of time to do your make up if you want to put some on! With just these five products, I can do a simple “my face but better” look in under 5 minutes.

 

Ta da! What a difference 5 minutes can make!

I start first with IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream. Though IT Cosmetics first started out in infomercials, once they got picked up by Sephora, they blew up. And with good reason! Their stuff is LEGIT. The cream is nice, and while it isn’t too heavy, it does have very nice coverage. It ain’t cheap, but one tube lasts a LONG time. The best part? It is SO low maintenance. I don’t need a brush to apply this. I just slap some on around my face with my fingers and then rub it in as fast as I need to. haha If I want a more polished look, I can finish with some setting powder, but I normally don’t add the extra time and effort on a daily basis.

 IT COSMETICS, Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream, $38

 

After a few years of resistance, I’ve gone and jumped on the I love Chrissy Tiegen bandwagon. I love this lady. She’s pretty, she’s funny, she loves food, and her make up is always on point. So of course, when she did a collaboration with Becca Cosmetics, I quickly added her Glow Face Palette to my cart. With some help from my favorite make up artist at Sephora (yes, I have one lady I always go to),  I learned to do a quick and easy application of the bronzer and highlighter. The colors in the palette are super pretty and go really well with my complexion, and I also usually swipe the rose gold highlighter on my lids to be extra efficient.

 BECCA, Becca X Chrissy Teigen Glow Face Palette, $46

 

One of the easiest ways to make me look a lot less tired and a lot more put together is a quick liner around my eyes. I used to spend a lot more money on eyeliner, but found that for every day use, Sephora’s 12 Hr Wear Waterproof eyeliner pencil does the job well. It glides on smooth, is very pigmented, and rarely ever smears under my eyes, which is a problem I have with other high end eye liners. It also lives up to its name, lasting all day, and sometimes, well into the next day, even if I’ve washed my face already! At a mere $10, it is an absolute steal!

 

SEPHORA COLLECTION, Contour Eye Pencil 12hr Wear Waterproof , $10

 

If I’m going to take the time and effort to put some make up on, I won’t leave without mascara. I think lashes are an underrated part of the face and nice, full lashes can make all the difference in defining your eyes. My go-to mascara is Too Faced’s Better Than Sex Mascara. I’ve tried many, many, MANY mascaras over my long history with Sephora, but this is the only one I found that lengthens and volumizes my lashes AND lasts all day. I don’t even have to use the waterproof formula!

TOO FACED, Better Than Sex Mascara, $23

 

The final item to complete my 5 minute make over every morning is Yves Saint Laurent’s new matte lip stain. I have several lipsticks in so many different shades that I COULD use, but lately, I find myself defaulting to this lip stain. The color I bought is a warm mauve, which is fairly close to my natural lip color but colors my lips out a little more evenly. Its got so much going for it! It smells really  nice, applies very smoothly, and feels very lightweight. The color payoff is great, and stays on for several hours without drying my lips out. The best is that there is not much transfer once it dries, which is awesome, because Bash won’t let me kiss him if I’ve got lipstick on! It’s also a little pricey, but well worth the money since I’m using it on an almost daily basis.

YVES SAINT LAURENT, Tatouage Couture Liquid Matte Lip Stain, $36

 

What about you? What are your go-to make up products? Comment below! I’m always looking to try new stuff! 🙂

 

Quick and Delicious: Mom’s Chicken Adobo With Dumplings

Between getting my work done, being at home with Bash, and taking care of the usual household stuff, things can get pretty hectic around here. This is why I generally try to plan dinners for the family that are easy to prepare and can be ready to eat within an hour.

One of our favorite dinners here in our home is my mom’s chicken adobo. Adobo is a traditional Filipino dish, usually made with chicken, braised in a soy and vinegar mixture. Filipino food is starting to gain a following here in NYC, but while I have no problem plunking down money for other Filipino deliciousness at these establishments, I will almost never pay to eat chicken adobo. This is because I truly have never found one that is as good as the kind my mom’s always made. It’s not too soupy, as the sauce is reduced and thicker than most adobos I’ve had elsewhere. I learned how to make it in the 6th grade for a home ec class, and since then, it has never steered me wrong. It’s so simple and so good that even my rice-averse son will gladly eat every last bit of chicken and rice in his bowl and then ask for seconds.

Mom’s Chicken Adobo with Dumplings 

INGREDIENTS:

2lbs chicken wings and drumsticks

1/4 c. oyster sauce (I usually use Lee Kum Kee, but any kind of oyster sauce will work in a pinch)

1/2 c. Kikkoman low sodium soy sauce

3/4 c. apple cider vinegar (*don’t be scared of the vinegar!)

1 1/2 c. water

2-3 bay leaves

4-5 cloves of garlic, minced

fresh ground pepper, to taste

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 package of Trader Joe’s frozen dumplings (we use chicken but pork is also fine)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a large bowl, mix oyster sauce, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, and water. Add bay leaves and a sprinkle of ground pepper, then place chicken in the mixture.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet pan over medium high heat. Sauté garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute. Drop the chicken and sauce mixture into the pan, cover, and let it simmer. Set your timer for 15 minutes.
  3. When your timer goes off, add the dumplings to the pan, do a quick stir, and recover. Set your timer again for 15 minutes.
  4. At this point, the sauce mixture should be reduced to about half and a little bit thicker in consistency. If it is, it’s done and you can enjoy! If you’d like it a little thicker, you can simmer for another minute or two, stirring the chicken and dumplings around to ensure it’s all covered in all that deliciousness.
  5. Serve over a nice helping of sticky rice, or sautéed cauliflower rice or zucchini noodles, if you’re feeling like ditching the carbs. The sauce makes anything you put over it taste amazing! 🙂

 

 

The Best Kept Secret In Parenting A Toddler

Some parents love and look forward to when their kids get older. It means they are more independent, and more expressive, so they can essentially entertain themselves and also tell you what they want using actual words.

Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed when my son Bash was a baby. He’s a lot of fun to hang out with now too, but before he could crawl or roll over, I could leave him under his little play gym for a few minutes without worrying he would go anywhere without me and possibly hurt himself. It was so much safer! Not to mention, when he cried, there were only a handful of options as to what could possibly be wrong. He was basically either hungry, sleepy, lonely, or had a dirty diaper.

A toddler, on the other hand, is a whole new ball game. Suddenly, you have this little person, who has so many new thoughts and feelings that they haven’t quite figured out how to control yet. And if they can’t control themselves, how the hell are you going to try and reign them in??

The answer is likely going to be BRIBERY! I, like millions of other parents in the world, am not above bribing my kid to do something he probably wouldn’t ever think of wanting to do for himself. Say, for example, potty training. Some kids DO decide on their own to stop wearing diapers, but I think it’s safe to say most kids don’t. (My own mother claims I essentially just stopped wanting to wear diapers at 17 months, started going to the potty, and never looked back…I still don’t believe it!)

Potty training is pretty foreign to a kid when you first introduce it to them. Imagine you’ve gone your whole life, taking a dump in your diaper, and all of sudden, your parents want you to sit on a seat with a hole in it, and try to drop a deuce where it falls out of you, in mid air into this pool of water? And then you push a button and it magically disappears down another smaller hole?? Inconceivable. You can imagine that it might take some time for a kid to get used to the idea. It could take a few days, weeks, or months even! Oh god, months??? No one has time for that!

Well, I have good news! You can significantly cut down the amount of time it takes to train your kid simply by bribing them to do it! Wanna hear even greater news? Here is, what I feel is the best kept secret to parenting a toddler: your secret weapon is STICKERS. Toddlers don’t need to be bribed with large things. You don’t need to bribe your kid with toys, or trips to the ice cream store or to McDonalds every single time you want them to go potty. You simply post a chart, and you give them a sticker to reinforce their behavior. They fricking LOVE stickers and it NEVER gets old.

Toddler jackpot!! Be sure you keep them hidden though!

We did it with Bash when we started potty training and he was fully trained in 3 days.

We also do it every time we have to re-train him to sleep in his own bed after he’s spent some time sleeping in our own bed because he was sick or we were on vacation.

I love stickers because not only are they relatively inexpensive, but kids are generally not sticker snobs and are genuinely excited receiving stickers. Getting stickers from Trader Joe’s is a treat, as is getting generic stickers at school from the security guards. With Bash, he gets super pumped about if we use “special stickers” for his chart. (Those are usually Star Wars stickers, or Avengers stickers, or some other character stickers that are too nice for me to allow him to stick on a piece of paper willy-nilly.) Those stickers ARE the reward. It may sound silly to those of us who have been in the world long enough to know that there might be better rewards out there, but I have never met a toddler who would ever say no to getting a sticker. In addition, stickers on a chart are tangible proof of a child’s accomplishments. You can instill a sense of pride in your kid for being so consistent by showing them all the times they did something good, which will then also positively reinforce the good habits you’re working on with them.

Aside from using as a training tool on a chart, they’re also great for distractions. Bash will happily spend some alone time sticking stickers on a piece of paper and making what he calls “a masterpiece.” A couple of good friends of ours have also tapped into the sticker love and given him a bunch of sticker activity books, which he absolutely loves doing. At the doctor, he had to get shots, and he started tearing up, and immediately stopped once the doctor offered him a sticker. Bash’s babysitter won him over very quickly just for bringing a sheet of happy face stickers. Stickers are so powerful!

They are your be-all and end-all.

If you want to potty train your kid: use stickers!

If you want to coax your kid into sleeping in his own bed: use stickers!

If you want to start giving your kid small chores: use stickers!

If you want 5-10 minutes of quiet time: use stickers!

If your kid is crying and you just want him to stop because it’s giving you a headache: use stickers!

When in doubt, USE STICKERS!

Do you use stickers for your toddler? What works for you? Sound off in the comments!

 

 

Ten Best TV Dads Of My Lifetime

In honor of the Fall TV Season (finally) starting up again, I decided to make a list of the ten best TV dads in my lifetime. I know you’re probably wondering why I’d highlight dads when I’m a mom and all, but while I do believe that moms don’t get the credit they deserve, I think dads as a whole also get shafted. Oftentimes, they are seen as idiots who need directions for even the simplest things. It’s unfair to moms, who get judged for every little thing, but it’s also unfair to dads, as it seems society’s expectations of them are so low that they are celebrated for getting the tiniest things right.

These dads, though, have put in the work. They’re by no means perfect, but they love their kids, and do their best to do right by them.

So without further ado, I give you the best TV dads from my lifetime (in my humble opinion).

10) Marvin Eriksen Sr., How I Met Your Mother

Marvin Eriksen was Marshall’s dad, and over the course of his brief appearances in the show, it was clear how close he was to Marshall, and how Marshall saw his dad as his best friend. Marvin was always there for Marshall, and they spoke every single day until the day he died. While he may not have been a main character in the show, I included him because when I think of good guys in tv shows, Marshall always comes up. Marshall is a loving, caring, and confident husband and father, and that, I think, is in no small part thanks to his dad.

9) Adam Braverman, Parenthood

This is a dad who, like most of the dudes on this list, will do anything for his family. This can include teaching his nephew Drew how to dance, or dressing up like a pirate to connect with his son, or punching someone out for being derogatory towards his son, or even trying to dress hip to win over a rapper’s business so that his business can survive and he can continue to support his family. He may be a bit overprotective and resistant to how his children are growing up faster than he is ready for, but he is, at his core, a passionate, devoted and loving dad.

8) Ned Stark, Game of Thrones

His sense of honor is what got him killed, but you can’t deny that Ned was a good dad. He also was a good father to Jon Snow and to Theon Greyjoy, two kids who he knew were definitely not his own. But I think the best about Ned is that he saw all his children for who they were, and never tried to change them, while also instilling the same sense of honor and loyalty in them. You can see this especially in his relationship with Arya. In a world where noble girls are supposed to just grow up to be ladies, he knew that’s not who she was and helped encourage and cultivate that. He didn’t stop her from learning how to shoot an arrow, and also got her a “dancing instructor” to teach her to use her sword. He was supportive and loving until the very end (you know, when a-hole Joffrey had his head chopped off).

7) Jason Seaver, Growing Pains

There was a plethora (relatively speaking) of really positive Dad role models on tv in the 80s: Steven Keaton from Family Ties, Tony Micelli from Who’s the Boss, and Cliff Huxtable, the reigning TV dad on most “Best TV Dad” lists. But to me, Jason Seaver was the cream of the crop. He moved his psychiatric practice home so that he could be a stay at home dad while his wife Maggie went back to work, and he was great at it! He wasn’t your stereotypical idiot dad who didn’t know how to run the household when his wife was away. He was a fully capable dad who was always there for his kids. He was a perfect balance of that lovable fun dad who gave his kids guidance and help when they needed it. When his kids made mistakes, he wasn’t just quick to punish them. Instead, he showed concern and exhibited grace and patience. It is those qualities that made it easier for his kids to turn to him when they needed help. And quite unlike Cliff Huxtable, he wasn’t always trying to get his kids out of his house.

6) Phil Dunphy, Modern Family

The fun dad! He is goofy, and cheesy, and loves his children fiercely. He is not afraid to be silly or affectionate. He would do anything for his kids, like going into a crawl space to get Luke’s favorite truck, even though he’s terrified. He shows through example that his kids can be confident and true to themselves, and is always there to support them in their endeavors. At the same time, he is also not afraid to give them a reality check when they need one, and he is capable of being a parent instead of a friend when necessary (as evidenced in the episode where he punishes Haley and Alex when they try to take advantage of his niceness, or when he yells at Haley after she gets arrested in college).

5) Louis Huang, Fresh Off the Boat

Out of all the dads on this list, Louis Huang is probably most like my own dad. And it’s not just because he’s Asian….hahaha! It’s because he immigrated to the US in early adulthood and worked really hard to give his family a better life than the one he had. Like my own dad, Louis wanted to give his children the American dream. At the same time, he teaches his children the value of hard work, instead of just giving them what they want so easily. He gives them the means to achieve what they want, like when he gave Eddie a job to earn enough money to buy the overly hyped Shaq Fu game. Like a lot of dads on this list, he also lets his kids be who they are and appreciates their differences. He lets Eddie be the hip hop obsessed slacker, Emery be the sweet and gentle one who is naturally good at most things,  and Evan be the star pupil, precious angel mama’s boy without comparing one to the other or trying to change them.

4) Alan Matthews, Boy Meets World

Yet another dad who wasn’t the forefront of the series to make this list, Alan Matthews is arguable the best of the TGIF dads. (Suck it, Danny Tanner!) He made sacrifices for the good of his family, getting work at a grocery store when he ended up starting his family young. At the same time, he was always there to give wise advise, support, and tough love to Cory, Eric, Morgan (both of them! lol), later Joshua, and even Shawn and Topanga.  But the main reason he’s one of my favorites is how his children turned out. If you’ve watched any of Girl Meets World (which I, a 30-something mother with a grown up job and stuff, am now freely admitting that I have watched ALL OF IT) you’d know that Eric is still goofy, yet unusually wise; Morgan has finally been released from the confines of her room; Joshua turned out to be a sensitive, caring young adult; and most importantly, Corey became an amazing dad and teacher to his kids Riley and Auggie. This is largely due to Alan Matthews (and obviously Fee-heee-eeee-ney!).

3) Philip Banks, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Strict, but ultimately loving, Uncle Phil is an amazing father to not only his children, but to his nephew Will. He was patient, hard working, and an excellent provider for his family; but more than that, despite his surly demeanor, he loved his children, and was always there to comfort and protect them. This was especially evident in that unforgettable episode where Will breaks down after his deadbeat dad leaves him (again). Uncle Phil showed us that being a father meant more than being someone’s flesh and blood; it meant being there for everything: the good times, the bad times, and, for Will, all the crazy schemes in between!

 

2) Bob Belcher, Bob’s Burgers

Yet another dad on this list who will do literally anything for his children, Bob Belcher is quite possibly the best ever “average” dad. He does whatever it takes to provide for his family, which includes taking on a second job so he can give Tina a kick ass birthday party. He waxed his legs with Tina when she was too afraid to do it. He helped Louise get through her fear of the dentist by distracting her with an elaborate spy-themed game. He helped the kids put on the “Nice-capades” to help them try to convince Santa that they’re good kids, even if it meant paying a premium on felt at the craft store because they always jack up the prices on Christmas Eve. But aside from his willingness to do all the crazy stuff, Bob is a great dad because he gives his kids the freedom and the confidence to be themselves, in all their weirdly awesome glory.

1)  Jack Pearson, This Is Us

The only reason Bob Belcher is not No. 1 on this list is because Jack Pearson is not your average dad. In fact, he’s so far above average that he was almost perfect. Obviously not completely perfect, as he DID have a drinking problem, and still made mistakes, but, according to his own wife, he was “pretty damn close. As close as they come.” This is a dad who, after finding out they were having triplets, knew he’d have to step it up and provide for his family. He sold his sweet ride to try and make some extra cash; and he set aside his pride to ask his dad for financial help when selling the car was not enough to secure a down payment for a home. He gave up his dream of owning his own home construction company in order to continue to provide for his family. He continually stepped it up for his family. This is a dad who made his daughter Kate feel beautiful when other girls were being mean to her about her weight. This is a dad who recognized that his son Randall was an exceptionally smart kid who was hiding his smarts to try to fit in, and encouraged him to be himself. This is a dad who showed by example how to be strong, loyal, and compassionate. If he had been any less, Randall would not have been able to open his home and heart to his birth father William. If he had been any less, Kate would not be as vulnerable and passionate, or as loyal or supportive of her twin brother, Kevin. If he had been any less, Kevin would not have realized in a random phone call that Randall was on the verge of a mental breakdown, ditched the opening night of his play, and run off to support his brother. Jack Pearson, for the win.

If you did not shed a tear during this scene, you are a robot.

Joining the Club

Almost four years ago, I peed on a stick at 5 in the morning, and when that fateful plus sign showed up in the window telling me I was pregnant, I had unofficially joined The Club. You know, the Mommy Club. At least, I mark that moment as when I technically joined. My membership has been confirmed over and over again with each new milestone from that point on: the first time I saw my son’s heartbeat; the first time I felt him move in my belly; the day my husband and I found out we were having a son and not a daughter and needed to come up with a boy’s name since we only had girls’ names picked out; the day I started washing all the teeny tiny clothes and socks in anticipation of this kid’s pending arrival; the day I walked into the hospital and 72 hours later, gingerly walked out holding a tiny human. My son is 3 years old now, and there is no denying it: I am a legitimate mom. From now until forever, I will be in the Mommy Club and there is no getting out. (Not that I’d ever want to!)

Initiation complete!

Being a mom isn’t all I am; I WAS a fully formed person before I became a mom. I still love reading books from the YA section at the library, crafting random things if I can’t find exactly what I want in stores, going out for walks in the city just for the sake of walking, and finding good food to eat. That person is still there, but being a mom is a huge part of who I am now. It kind of has to be, since I’ve been with my kid roughly 95% of the time since the day he was born. In short, I’m just a lady, who moms a lot. 🙂

For the last three years, I’ve been able to stay at home while also employed at a company that lets me work remotely. It’s been awesome because not only is daycare in New York City ridiculously expensive, but I have been able to spend a LOT of time with my son. I feel really lucky that I’ve been able to do this, but being at home all the time means I don’t interact with a lot of people, and it can get a little lonely to find other people to connect with. Maybe this blog can help me, and maybe it can help you, dear reader (readers? I hope there will be more than just one of you!). I’d love to be able to share some of my thoughts and experiences on life (as a lady and as a parent), as well as some insights, tips, and tricks I’ve learned along the way! I’d also love to hear from any ladies in this lovely, crazy club with me ! Let’s celebrate, let’s commiserate, let’s discuss anything and everything!

Here’s to a future of happy beginnings!