little things

Savvy Tips and tricks learned along the way...

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Welcome to little things

This web site is a culmination of things I have learned during various experiences in my life. I hope some of this information will be useful to you. There are a broad range of topics I have written about here. I have also included some things I made or found that I would like to share. Enjoy!

Beauty Blog (58 more articles.)
Lancome Audacity in Paris Eye Shadow Palette

Lancome Audacity in Paris eye shadow paletteThis Lancome Audacity in Paris eye shadow palette makes me feel so sophisticated. But not just that, the colors are all so pretty and not overly bold. So I feel pretty and made up without feeling like I've overdone it.

Again, I have to admit. It was the purple and rosy colors that drew me in. But all the colors are so great for every day looks, that I knew it would be a palette that I would enjoy using on a regular basis.

This versatile palette has a nice mix of matte, metalic, and shimmer eye shadow shades. You could really take this palette from day time casual looks to night time dressy looks.

In my photo of this palette, I forgot to replace the brush that the palette comes with. I took it out because I don't really love it. It is a fine brush, but I love my Ecotools duo eye brushes more for applying eye shadows.

Lancome Audacity in Paris lookThe palette has 16 different shades. (The reflection of this compact mirror makes it look double.) The mirror is large and very nice. However, I don't use the mirror much since I don't travel much. I'm usually at home doing my makeup in front of the large vanity mirror.

In the look I created here, I used the colors Zip Me Up (purple) and Exhibition (dusty rose) colors that are right beside to each other in the palette. I used the Exhibition shade for the overall lid color and Zip Me Up for the outer corner of the eye and a little into the crease.

I did use the color It List (matte black), the very last shade on the top right, as an eye liner, using my e.l.f. small smudge brush. I prefer to use black eye shadows for eyeliner these days because they don't tug on your skin like regular eyeliners do. And the powdery eye shadows seem to apply easier to the wrinkles around my eyes too! ??

And finally for mascara, I used Lancome Definicils Mascara for length. And then layered Lancome Hypnose Drama Mascara on top for volume. I find using a combination of lengthening and volumizing mascaras give me the best results.

For the lips, I used Laura Geller lip liner in Spice. It is a really hydrating lip liner that I use to fill in my whole lip color. It dries matte and doesn't smudge. The Spice color is one of my favorite nude lip colors.

So do you think you have the audacity to try this Lancome palette? I didn't think I did. I just put it on my wish list, and I guess Santa had the audacity to give it to me.

Health Blog (16 more articles.)
The Most Important Meal

Belvita Breakfast Biscuits

Do I Deserve Breakfast?

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day and that even when dieting, you should never skip breakfast. I get that. After starving for 8 or so hours throughout the night, I'm famished when I wake up in the morning. Skipping breakfast would be torture for me. How would I conduct Homeschool in the morning when I'm hangry?

I usually try to workout in the morning before breakfast. And this morning, I was wearing short workout shorts since we've been having a heatwave here in Seattle. As I was doing my side plank, I saw how my thighs hung down like big blobs of goo. And I thought, for that, I don't deserve any breakfast!

But remembering the old adage about breakfast being the most important meal of the day, I decided it was best to eat breakfast, but I would cut it in half. And I actually found it easier to do than I thought it would be. Lately I've been eating Belvita Breakfast Biscuits for breakfast. They are whole grain, not to sweet, contain a little protein, and not too high in calories. Plus, my son and I think they are pretty yummy.

Cutting Meal Portions

I've been eating one pack of these biscuits in the morning. They come 4 biscuits to a pack. It used to be that I would eat two packs. But I've since cut it to one. And today, I ate only half a pack. Will I survive? I think so. My plan is to just cut my meal portions at the same time as eating healthier foods. I am noticing my stomach capacity is shrinking as I am no longer cramming it full with everyone's leftovers. That way, I am feeling more satisfied with less.

I imagine Matt Damon on "The Martian" rationing out 1 small potato per day. Not that that's all I want to eat. But it's all about the caloric deficit. Eating a little less than what your body needs causes it to start using the energy stored as fat. That was really hard for me when I first started trying to do that.

Eating Until I'm Sick

My loose, stretched out tummy would be craving to be stuffed to the max. That feeling would bug me all day long. And honestly, I would break down at dinner and stuff myself a little. But then I would get that opposite feeling of being too full. A sick bloated belly suffering from food gluttony. I realized that feeling was almost worse than hunger.

I decided to try to pay better attention to my body and eat each meal until my body felt it was enough. Rather than eating until I was stuffed, beyond full. This was a little hard to get used to. I noticed that about 30-60 minutes after a meal, I felt like my tummy was empty again. But I fought through it until the next meal.

The Incredible Shrinking Stomach

After a few weeks of this, I started to get used to it and actually welcomed the feeling of hunger. It told me that I was doing my part in cutting down on my portions. Soon, my stomach started to shrink and required less food in order to feel satisfied. I still crave desert after dinner sometimes. But now, I'm noticing myself eating just a few cookies rather than the half the pack or the whole pack.

I think working out during dieting is very important. The body also uses energy stored in muscle tissue during your caloric deficit. Keeping the muscles toned keeps the muscle tissue building. Once I lost the bulk of my body fat, the weight loss slowed down. I'm sure part of it is a battle between burning stored muscle tissue verses fat tissue. The last several pounds of fat are probably the hardest to loose.

Preschool Blog (10 more articles.)
Magna-Tiles Building Set

Magna TilesThe Magna-Tiles building toy is made up of geometrically shaped magnets covered in brightly colored plastic. 

It is a great hands on toy that allows the creative brain to develop as children use their imaginations and sharpen their spatial awareness to build countless structures. 

It also wakes up the logical side of the brain as the child studies the shapes and internally calculates how they line up and compare with each other. 

And then you've got science, magnetism, in this toy as well. What doesn't it have? 

You could take a little break while your preschooler plays with this. You'll be amazed at what you come back to when your child says, "Come look what I made!" Older children love this as well! In this photo, our 7 year old made a castle.

This particular set is a little pricey, but you can find other off brand sets that are just as fun. 

You might even be tempted to take a crack at building something cool yourself. Or it could turn into one of those priceless moments where you sit and play with your kid. 

Clean-up is fun and easy too. Our son loves sticking all the like shapes together, and it makes putting the stacks in the box that much easier.

"If you build it, he will come" - Field of Dreams

Toddler Blog (82 more articles.)
Painted Horsey Craft Project

We tried this particular arts and crafts about 3 months ago with no interest on baby J's part. But this time, he did it from start to finish. It was his third attempt in the past 3 months, and I guess the third time's the charm.

From Michaels craft store, I just got an unfinished wooden horse shape (they had many different shapes like butterflies, flowers, etc.), some kids washable paint, foam star stickers, and craft gems.

He painted it all by himself. And when it dried, he stuck the stickers on (he chose only green stars, his favorite color) and told me where to put glue drops so he could stick the gems on.

I was so proud of this accomplishment that I had to document it! I guess I will put magnetic tape on it and stick it to the refrigerator.

Baby Blog II (20 more articles.)
How to Make Diaper Rash Cream

I have tried several different diaper rash creams and have not really found one to work perfectly for me. I have used Aveeno, Desitin, Butt Paste, Vaseline, Triple cream, and Aquaphor. None of them really did the trick. They would help a little, but not totally. After spending lots of money on them, I tried to find a "better" brand, and found them to be super expensive. So I started developing my own diaper rash cream.

After experimenting a bit, I ended up with a cream that works better than anything else I have tried. Our son is prone to eczema and is alergic to certain baby wipes, like Costco's Kirkland wipes, and to his own poop. Whenever he poops, he gets red around the rectum and I always need to put cream on. He also gets diaper rashes during really hot weather. This rash cream I developed works well for all those conditions. So I'll share it with you now, and you can make it yourself if you so choose.

The ingredients are not expensive, and once you get them, you can continue to make batches and batches of this cream, along with other types of creams you might want to make. The main ingredient is castorlatum, which is similar to petrolatum, but it is made from castor oil. It seems to be the thing that really makes this diaper cream work well. It creates a barrier to protect against wetness, which is a major cause of diaper rash.

The virgin coconut oil is very healing and conditioning. The sunflower oil is great for the skin and adds softness and spreadability. Tamanu oil is very healing to the skin. (I also use straight Tamanu oil on mosquito bites, and they are healed permanently within 20 minutes. No more itching all week long.) You may be able to get away without the ground oatmeal. I heard that oatmeal is good for the skin, but mostly after it has been cooked. The oatmeal I used was raw, and I bought it in colloidal form (superfinely ground). ROE is to prevent the oils from going rancid, which they seem to do quickly in hot weather. But you can use a liquid capsule or two of vitamin E.


Castorlatum - 3/4 cup
Coconut Oil (virgin) - 1/4 cup
Sunflower Oil - 1/8 cup
Zinc oxide - 2 Tblsp
Tamanu Oil  - 1oz
Oatmeal (ground) - 1 Tblsp
Rosemary Oeloresin Extract (ROE) - 2 drops


1. Melt coconut oil by placing a container of it in a warm/hot water bath.

2. Mix in the Zinc powder until it fully dissolves.

3. Add Sunflower oil, tamanu oil, oatmeal, and ROE

4. Place castorlatum into a mixing bowl.

5. Slowly add the oil mixture to the castorlatum, a little at a time, mixing it in with a fork.

6. Beat the mixture well until it becomes like a diaper cream texture, making sure that the coconut oil re-solidifies.

7. Place into a jar, and use liberally as needed. I usually apply it using a Q-tip.

Baby Blog (63 more articles.)
Last Baby Blog

This is my last baby blog, and I thought I would list all the unexpected little surprises that I encountered in the first year of raising a baby. I will continue to add more of these as comments as I think of them.

I have also started a Toddler Blog to continue tracking baby's milestones and my ramblings about her. So you can read more about her there.

You can often distract a crying baby with a toy or talking to them to get them to stop crying. I always thought there wasn't much you can do about a crying baby other than feed them or rock them.

I didn't know they hated getting their diaper changed. The newborn and 1yo age seem to be especially so. I didn't realize that they wriggle so much during the change. I heard that newborns hate it because they get cold. But maybe the 1 yo hates it because they don't want to lie there.

They are fascinated by seeing themselves and their loved ones in the mirror. This trick can be a great distraction from crying, too.

Baby Gear Blog (12 more articles.)
Fisher-Price My Little Snugabunny Cradle 'n Swing
Baby J has slept in the Fisher-Price My Little Snugabunny Cradle 'n Swing since he was a newborn. I try not to rely too much on the swing, but its been a really good tool for getting him to sleep sometimes. We started out putting him in the bassinet, but it resulted in lots of spitting up. This cradle swing puts him at a little incline to combat the reflux that many babies often have. Plus it has nice music and white noise and a cute mobile.
Pregnancy Blog (14 more articles.)
Baby J is Born!

Turns out I didn't have time to make many posts here. I found myself involved in so many other activities such as entertaining the toddler, getting things ready for the new baby, doing Christmas shopping, etc. I was going to post lots of other pics of his 3D ultrasound and my growing belly. But alas, time flew by, and at 37 weeks, Baby J arrived, yes, 3 weeks early. But he is healthy and doing well. A little jaundice, but nothing that required the home installation of the blue lights.  

His birth story was goes like this:

It was about 10pm on a Wednesday night, and I had just put Bel down for the night. I got up and walked into the kitchen and got a really bad cramp. I walked into the bedroom to go down for bed myself and got a couple more breath-taking cramps. I could barely get onto the bed. When I finally did get on the bed, I started to feel fluid flowing out. My hubby called the doctor, and we went to the hospital, still leaking fluid.

The fluid was quite bloody, so they weren't sure if my water broke or if I was just bleeding. So they admitted me. Oh, and I was having contractions 2 minutes apart. At that time, I was still 36 weeks and a few days along. He would have been considered premature.

We spent that night at the hospital and waited the whole next day for something more to happen. My contractions had slowed to about 5 minutes apart, and they became less intense. But, the doctor didn't want to induce me until we were past the premature stage, which was just one more day away at that point.

So late that night, they induced me with pitocyn. That sped things along, and I got an epidural. They finally could feel that my bag of water had not yet broken, so they took care of that. That sped things up quite a bit (same as last time but even faster). In less than an hour, I was ready to push.

Pushing lasted about 2 contractions and he was out. It didn't take much, especially since his head was already visible by the time I started to push. Wow, what a difference from my first baby. It took at least an hour trying to get her past my pelvic bone, let alone crowning. But being more than 2 pounds lighter than his sister, he effortlessly slid right out. They plopped him on my belly and it was done.

It was love at first sight, of course. My sweet little boy. I love him so much. I am so happy to have him here. I can't imagine life without him. I feel so much more mommy-like having two children now. Sometimes I have one in each arm, and I don't feel myself anymore. I feel like somebody else. I feel more like a family. I feel like there is so much more love circulating around me.

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