Dec 29, 2013

My Skincare Routine

I am a recovering product junkie.

While some girls obsess over shoes and purses, my guilty pleasure is Sephora. I can spend countless hours online reading reviews, comparing active ingredients, and watching Youtube videos of the latest and greatest beauty products. My husband thinks it's unhealthy, but I think it's smart consumerism!

The friends that know me know how much I care about my skin - I am terrified of wrinkles! I used to suck on cancer sticks from the age of 17 all the way through college, and I'll be completely honest. I only stopped because I noticed some fine lines one day and the thought of having smoker's lip wrinkles scared the nicotine out of me. TOTALLY vain and superficial, I know. But the important point is, I quit, right?

As I'm getting older, it's really beginning to show how much I eat like crap and don't excercise. My metabolism is pretty non-existent, and I am in denial of those cardio sessions that my extra stomach is begging me for. (That's my new years resolution post, I'm sure). The one thing I can commit to is my skincare routine. I'm not claiming to have perfect skin (unlike my friend Wendy who seriously has the BEST skin on the planet. hate you), but these are the products that work for my bi-polar, combination skin with a tendency to be dry on my cheeks. whew.

Step 1: Removing Makeup - I use makeup removal wipes to take off as much war paint first as possible. My favorite is just the regular Target brand. Cheap, effective with exfoliating microbeads, and smells good, particularly the cucumber scent.

Step 2: Cleanse - Cetaphil Cleanser w/ Clarisonic - I've used this cleanser since high school and I love it. Takes off all the left over gunk after the wipes and is still gentle. 3x a week, I use my Clarisonic to exfoliate any dead skin off. This helps all the creams I use to soak into the skin and do their magic. I used to use it everyday, but have found that my skin is more prone to breaking out w/ heavy usage.

Step 3: Tone & Prep - I used to skip this step, but when I started breaking again out after having a baby, I felt like I needed some extra help. I picked up some of the Neutrogena and noticed a big difference. My skin became less oily and became much more balanced. I use the SK2 on most days (it has no alcohol, so it's very soothing and doesn't leave my skin dry or stripped) and only use the Neutrogena on my chin and forehead when I feel an unwelcome visitor coming. It has salicylic acid to fight blemishes. Cheap, and does the job.

Step 4: Treat Problematic Areas after hearing so many people rave about this SK2 Facial Essense, I finally pulled the trigger during Sephora's F&F sale for 20% off. I'll be honest, I was about to return it after using it for a 2 weeks. I was expecting amazing results, but I didnt' see any. But I decided to give it a little longer and it changed my mind and is definitely a keeper in my routine now. After Caden (having a baby really changes things!), I really felt like my skin was so dull, nothing even brightner cream could save. My pores are noticeably smaller, skin has never felt softer and smoother, and there's some health in my face. Makeup application is nicer because of it.

Step 5: Preventing Wrinkles - I've tried so many eye creams on the market, and I'm pretty comfortable saying this is my Holy Grail cream (for the time being, anyway). The skin under my eyes are so moisturized and I can say that the fine lines that were there are gone! I get maybe 6 hours of sleep on a good night with Caden, yet I look like I get much more. Highly recommend.

Step 7: Moisturize - I'm so happy I've discovered another HG product. I was a bit of a brand snob before and so anti Clinque for some reason, but decided to give it a try after the girl at Sephora gave me a thumbs up and free sample. My cheeks get so flaky dry as soon as it goes below 60 degrees. This gel cream absorbs so well and has kept my face incredible moisturized without any extra oilyness. LOVE. I'm on my 3rd jar.

         [ makeup removal wipes ] [ Cetaphil ] [ Clarisonic ] [ SK2 Toner ] [ Neutrogena Toner ]
         [ SK2 Facial Essense ] [ Shiseido Serum ] Shiseido Eye Cream ] [ Clinque Moisturizer ]

What are some favorite skincare products you can't live without?

Dec 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

Happy Holidays from the Ngu Family!

I've been blessed to have 2 weeks off at the end of the year for the holidays and I am loving every minute of quality time with this little dude and family. Tonight, we are all getting together for an awesome dinner (salivating just thinking about it) and gifts. Then it's off to see friends and have a few drinks!


Dec 17, 2013

Christmas Present Pretzels

I can't bake.

I am unable to mix together simple ingredients, stick it in the oven, and make it edible. I've manage to mess up boxed brownie mix. True story. I swear I follow the directions to the T, but something ALWAYS happens. I blame it on my oven. That thing needs to be calibrated or something.

I baked a strawberry cake once for the husband....and it ended up looking like this: Someone asked me why I topped it off with condensed milk and peaches.

When I had C, I envisioned myself being super PTA mom, baking cookies and treats for the kids. I know my skills are severly lacking, but I'm determined to bake some decent chocolate chip cookies by the time C is in kindergarten. There is this one guy at work, whose mama makes amazing baked everything. People seriously almost knuckle up for some of her cookies and peanut brittle. Maybe I can work out an apprenticeship w/ her! LOL.

Anyway, I tried to make something easy for C's class as a treat for the last day of school before Christmas break. I found this cute treat on Pinterest, and thought to myself, "this looks easy! small steps, it's just melting chocolate and sticking an M&M on top!"

 great treat for holidays

Lies!!!! I couldn't get those damn Hershey Hugs to melt. 30 minutes in the oven, and those damn things were pointy as ever, mocking my chocolate melting abilities. Calibration totally neccessary right??

So I moved onto Plan B. Cute, right? All you need is a bag of pretzels, some melted chocolate, and M&M's split in half. I showed my coworkers, and they thought it looked like monster toes instead. *sigh*


Dec 14, 2013

Caden's Christmas List

We're all guilty of over-buying our kids STUFF. I can't help myself. What's a little toy here and there when I'm at the store? With the amount of times I find myself at Target, those one or two hotwheels can definitely add up.

I'm not sure where I originally came across this idea, but I loved it and it stuck w/ me. The idea is simple; only 4 gifts for each child.
  • something they WANT - he is obsessed with puzzles right now and I love how proud he is of himself when he completes one. Melissa & Doug make really quality wooden toys and I never mind splurging on these 
  • something they NEED  - I'm dreading this one, but it's gotta be done. Potty training is upon us. 
  • something to WEAR - it's like underwear, you can never have too many. and bc kids looks so darn cute in jammies. 
  • something to READ - C's Godmama got him the LeapFrog Leapreader last year and he is now starting to really love books. These are so awesome so bc your child can move the reader around many different points on the page for different interactions.

I've seen a few variations online and I think once C gets a little older we will incorporate these traditions:
  • something to MAKE
  • something to SHARE
  • something to DO

Dec 11, 2013

Christmas Wishlist

We're alive!!!! We braved the frigid temperatures of Icemaggedon '13 and lived to tell the story. Of course, with our luck, we were one of the almost 200k people who lost electricity during the coldest weekends in Dallas, EVER. Hubs and I both thought we'd be extra cautious and slick (no pun intended) and took that Friday off to avoid icy road conditions. I had glorious plans to cook more pho and a bit pot of chili to last us all weekend, veg out in bed and start a new TV series, and spend hours shopping online. But come 1pm, we all heard a loud POP, and everything went dead. And dead it was for 48 freaking hours!!! It wasn't so bad the first day, but once C's nose started running, we made like refugees and treked an hour away to take shelter at a dear friends.

How cute is this? Caden was in heaven during his 2 day sleepover with his buddies.

I, for once in my life, have gotten most of the shopping for the holidays completed for our family and all the kids. The husband and I agreed that we wouldn't exchange Christmas presents this year since we have been all sorts of willy nilly with our savings (I'm not the only one who can't control themselves at the mall)  and we have a big year coming up, but that doesn't mean I can't make a wish list right? How else is Santa going to find out? 

Dec 3, 2013

And it Begins...

Christmas in less than 3 weeks! I SWEAR I'll get all my shopping done before Christmas Eve and will NOT take the easy gift card route this year!

Thanksgiving came and went in a flash. I came home from work on Wednesday and literally did not step foot outside until Sunday evening -- and that was because we were out of  food and we had to go on a grocery run. My food coma lasted almost 4 days, yall.

I love cooking for my family and I spent most of my holiday break in the kitchen. I'm no Julia Child, and my husband never complains, so it must be decent if they keep coming back for more at dinner right!?

After all that turkey, some [some what] lighter Vietnamese food was what we needed to detox from butter overload. (definitely not from sodium). Anyone care for the recipes?

I wanted to get C a little tree for his room and thought it would be cute to have it in the corner near his reading nook. I envisioned us reading Christmas books together at bedtime, but of course he hates it and refuses to let us turn on the star. What a little grinch! That's his "hurry up woman!" fake smile at it's finest.

It's ok, at least we are ready for the holidays at work! Check out our newest pod mate, Bumble! Yes, he's 5 ft tall and lights up and sitting on top of our desks. We are aiming to be the tackiest house in neighborhood this year. I am so grateful to work at a company that allows us to do ridiculous things like this: