Baby Bump Update: 36 weeks

I’m at the point of counting down weeks till our little one arrives! It’s hard to believe that in 4 short weeks we could be taking him home. I am in full nesting mode cleaning the house and preparing his nursery. Not too nervous yet about labor and delivery (though I’m sure that will come) but more so the challenges of breast feeding and adjusting to this new addition to our family. I cannot wait to start this journey of motherhood!

Pregnancy Symptoms

  • Swollen feet. I am hanging in there and working as long as I until my due date. Unfortunelty, this means I’m on my feet 24/7 and can’t avoid the swelling in my feet. It is worse on my right too!
  • Fatigue. Some days I have full energy and others I can lay down all day. I’m still listening to my body and resting when needed.
  • Stretch marks! I got my first one in the last 2 weeks on my lower abdomen. I’m using vitamin E, shea butter, and coconut oil everyday.
  • HOT. They weren’t joking about being pregnant in the summer, let alone in Florida! I am usually cold but being pregnant has me sweating even in the AC.
  • Migraines. They are back! I did so well in the 2nd trimester and now I am getting them every other day. It’s torture that I am so limited in what I can take to treat them.

I’ll be working hard to get his nursery prepared and start packing for the hospital in the next few weeks! So many emotions all at once. Excited to meet our little boy soon <3

 

Good Eats for a Weekend Babymoon in Washington D.C.

My husband took handle of this trip and planned our babymoon to Washington D.C. Due to recent outbreak of Zika virus, we had to skip out on the more glamourous sounding tropical vacations. When I think babymoon, I thought of lounging by the pool with belly out! It goes to show that it doesn’t matter where you go, but who your travel companions are. We also made the conscious effort to put our phones down and enjoy exploring a new city. Limited Snapping and Instagramming! It was a nice reminder before baby comes to stopping worrying about baby details and enjoy each other! This babymoon was everything I needed.

I also hit 31 weeks today! Walking around the city was doable but taking the Metro saved my feet. We visited the Smithsonian and National Air & Space Museum. We walked around the National Mall and visited the national monuments.  Little one doesn’t seem to mind all the waking either (hope he loves to travel). Oh, and apparently baby has developed taste buds by this time. Hope he enjoyed all the good food we found here in the city! Here are our recommendations:

Beef N Bread

750 6th Street NW Washington, DC 20001

This small deli in D.C’s Chinatown was at the top of our list of places to try. Our hotel was very close to Chinatown and we were able to walk a short distance after arriving into town. We got the Cali Roast Beef sandwich and split it. We regret not ordering our own!

Beef N Bread

Chaplin’s

1501 96th Street NW Washington, DC 20001

We’re always in search of good Japanese ramen. Chef Myo Htun’s ramen, “The Chaplin”,  did not disappoint! The pork/chicken shumai was amazing as well as the chicken katsu curry. Roger was also just in time for happy hour and enjoyed a nice diner beer. Baby Chan is craving a lot more sweets than I am used to. My matcha ice cream got a lot of stares from other guests, haha!

Chaplin's

Chaplin's

Chaplin's

Chaplin's

Chaplin's

A Baked Joint

440 K Street NW Washington, DC 20001

Our favorite brunch spot and also in walking distance from our hotel. Roger always gets the cold brew coffee wherever we go and he loved the biscuit sammie. I enjoyed smoked salmon with fried capers! If we are ever back in the area we are most definitely going back!

A Baked Joint

Bon Chon

1015 Half Street SE Washington, DC 20003

Crispy, sweet, AND spicy Korean style chicken wings… all of my favorite things in one. Bon Chon has several locations around the nation but none close to home. We stopped by for lunch and killed 20 wings between both of us! We went during a Nationals baseball game, so not much of a crowd too.

The Dabney

112 Blagden Aly NW Washington, DC 20001 

This little gem was our fancy dinning splurge. We were walking back from Chaplin’s when we noticed the restaurant lights. This was one restaurant we didn’t plan on going to but found it to be a really special experience. The restaurant is tucked away in Blagden Alley. We loved the ambiance and enjoyed watching the chef at work in their open kitchen and wood fire oven. Every small plate we got was packed with flavor and we were in heaven trying new dishes. I think it reminded Roger and me of our spontaneity and adventurous spirit that we love about each other. Who knew food could do that right?!

The Danny

You know dinner is going to be good when the Ciabatta bread and their own whipped butter is tastes amazing!

Seared Scallops is always my jam. Indulging in seafood is always a treat. The Dabney

Loved the flavors of their Autumn Olive Pork with roasted strawberries.The Dabney

Soft Shell Crab is always a hit or miss for me but they prepared this dish so nicely!The Dabney

Of coarse we had to get dessert!! Delicious bourbon ice-cream :P.The Dabney

Busboys & Poets

2021 14th Street NW Washington, DC 20009

Before heading home on Memorial Day we stopped by one more brunch spot. I had the sweet potato, kale, and poached egg with rice and a small latte (less than 250mg of caffeine don’t worry!).

Overall a relaxing mini-vacation with filled bellies (for me x2!). Hoping for a smooth 2 month prep before our little one arrives!

 

Pregnancy Journaling & Maternity Pants


I knew I wanted to write down my thoughts and keep track of how I was feeling throughout my pregnancy. I found this beautiful journal and have fallen in love with it: Expecting You – A Keepsake Pregnancy Journal. It has prompts every month of your pregnancy as well as a lot of space for free writing. Writing down how I’m feeling, what I’m feeling, and keeping track of baby’s progress has kept be grounded!

Buying maternity pants is like a rite of passage into motherhood. I finally gave in. I gave in and bought maternity pants and it feels amazing! At the start of my pregnancy, I thought I could get away with wearing the belly band and dresses. And the thought of buying maternity pants and wearing them for only a short period of time annoyed me.  But as baby grows and as my belly grows, my regular pants were simply not comfortable!

My second trimester has been smooth and I am embracing pregnancy as much as I can. I am grateful that baby is growing and healthy. No food aversions, no morning sickness, and I am definitely eating for two! I am allowing myself to be present in this pregnancy and enjoying all the changes and challenges.

Pregnancy has taught me:

  • To listen to my body. When I’m tired I rest or nap. Sounds like common sense, but I’m on constant productivity mode that it makes it hard for me to relax.
  • To spend QT with my husband. There’s going to be a big change in the house soon and we are soon going to be a family of three! Quiet nights alone with my husband will soon be no more!
  • Be present & enjoy my pregnancy. Those baby kicks, I just can’t get enough! I love knowing that he is growing in my belly. I love knowing that he’s so close to me. I can’t wait to meet him but I want to soak in the pregnancy experience as much as I can (including the back pain and heartburn!).
  • That being a mother is going to be the ultimate life change. This feels different than past life events like starting my career, getting married, buying a house. I have never wanted anything so bad than to start a family and at the same time I am a nervous wreck on the inside!

Japan Travel Diary: Kyoto Travel Guide Part II

Kyoto Travel Guide | She's Charmed Blog

Osaka was our home base for the first week of our Japan trip. For the next 2 days we took day trips to Kyoto. If you missed the first post about Kyoto, click here. Again, the best way to get around Kyoto is to buy the local bus pass at Kyoto Station.

Fushimi Inari Shrine

The second day of Kyoto we spent almost the entire day at the Fushimi Inari (Inari = Shinto God of Rice) Shrine. I say this is a must when in Kyoto, Japan and probably our favorite landmark we visited! The Shrine is known for it’s thousand vermillion tori gates. We did the entire hike which took about 3 hours, but so worth it! As you get closer to the top of the mountain there less people, beautiful views overlooking Kyoto, local shops and restaurants, and multiple smaller shrines.

Fushimi Inari Shrine | She's Charmed Blog

Foxes are known to be messengers to Inari, God of Rice

Fushimi Inari Shrine | She's Charmed Blog

Fushimi Inari Shrine | She's Charmed Blog

View overlooking Kyoto. There are food vendors and Roger enjoyed a refreshing Japanese beer!

Fushimi Inari Shrine | She's Charmed Blog

Fushimi Inari Shrine | She's Charmed Blog

We reached the top!

Fushimi Inari Shrine | She's Charmed Blog

Fushimi Inari Shrine | She's Charmed Blog

Highly recommend walking the entire hike. The top of the mountain had the best views.

Fushimi Inari Shrine | She's Charmed Blog

At the exit of the shrine, there are street food vendors as well. Perfect after the long hike for a snack or meal!

This is a little fried cake with red bean paste.

Taiyaki | She's Charmed Blog

Kinkaku-ji – The Golden Pavilion

We just made it to The Golden Pavilion before the sun setting. The lighting was perfect against the gold leaf!

The Golden Pavilion | She's Charmed Blog

 

The Golden Pavilion | She's Charmed Blog

Our Favorite Meal in Kyoto!

On our way back home to Osaka, we got dinner at Katsukura in Kyoto station. Bookmark this NOW … on the 11th floor of Kyoto station you will find our favorite meal we ate in KyotoTonkatsu is deep fried pork cutlet usually served with sauce and thinly sliced cabbage. Perfectly cooked and quality meat, we still think about this meal.

Tonkatsu | She's Charmed Blog

Next stop is Nara, Japan!

Previous Japan Travel Guides:

  1. Osaka Part I
  2. Osaka Part II
  3. Kyoto Part I

Pregnancy Skin Care Routine + Favorites 

I hit 24 weeks this week and so grateful my pregnancy has been pretty smooth! The nausea has gone away and I am certainly eating for two! Nonetheless, I am enjoying the changes my body is going through. It brings me so much joy to feel baby boy move. It’s a constant reminder to me that my life is going to change. That we’re about to start this new life chapter. When I am having a bad day his little kicks and movements comfort me that everything will be okay.

My body is changing and so is my skin. My skin type is normally oily/combination, but pregnancy has made my skin more on the dry side. I’ve had to find new products to keep my skin more hydrated. Here are some of the products I have been reaching for and a few pregnancy favorites!

  • Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip Cleanser. I am enjoying this cleanser as it uses French and Moroccan clay to remove makeup and oil. It’s gentle on my skin and the calming oils and vitamin C make my skin brighter.
  • Derma-e Overnight Peel. I had to ditch my retinol cream (a no no during pregnancy) and be consistent with something that would keep my skin smooth and clear. This overnight peel with alpha-hydroxy acids helps exfoliate my skin overnight and remove dead skin cells.
  • Caudalie Micellar Cleanser Water. Love using this to remove makeup. It’s oil free so I am able to use around my lash extensions. It’s effective, gentle, and does not dry out my skin.
  • Embryolisse Lait-Creme Moisturizer. This is my holy grail moisturizer and I continue to use it because it really is that good. It the perfect consistency and keep me moisturized without being oily.
  • Shea Moisture Mommy Stretch Mark Body Butter. My favorite belly butter! No matter what the product claims… you cannot prevent stretch marks by using topical lotions. But I love the natural ingredients in this product to keep my growing belly moisturized. The scent does not seem to bother me either.
  • Belly Band by Ingrid & Isabel. This belly band has been a life saver! I have been able to wear most of my regular pants open with the belly band holding it place. You can wear it throughout your pregnancy.

Hope you all enjoy my recent favorites. I really love doing these! Share below your must have products!

Japan Travel Diary: Kyoto Highlights Part I

Kyoto quickly became our favorite parts about our trip to Japan. We loved exploring the temples and hiking its scenic routes. We spent a total of 2 days in Kyoto. It was an easy day trip from Osaka. Once we arrived at Kyoto Station, we did have to purchase day passes for bus routes to get around the city.

Kiyomizudera Temple

We first stopped at Kiyomizudera Temple, a Buddhist Temple at the foot of the Otowa Waterfall. To get to the temple you walk through steep hills of the Higashiyama District where you can shop local venders and snacks. It is quite a hike and Roger and I did not hesitate to get another green tea ice cream!
Kiyomizudera Temple

I loved the scenic forest in the background!

Kiyomizudera Temple

Kiyomizudera Temple

At the foot of the falls are three streams that are said to bring good luck.

Nishiki Market

The Nishiki Market is close to the Kiyomizudera Temple. They have japanese delicacies… sweets, pickled vegetables, spices, seafood, and more sushi! We seriously loved sampling all the picked vegetables.

This is mackerel sushi, or Sabazushi. It is special to Kyoto’s culture as back in the day they had a hard time getting fresh fish to the city. The fish is lightly pickled, salted, lightly filleted, then wrapped.

Sabazushi

Poor us, sushi just isn’t going to be the same. Otoro, or tuna belly, is our FAVORITE.

Otoro sushi

Gion

Gion is Kyoto’s geisha district and in between Kiyomizudera Temple and Nikishi market. It is a whole different world with the traditional wooden houses. We didn’t get to see a real life geisha but enjoy walking through this area of Kyoto.  Gion

Gion in Kyoto, Japan

Gion in Kyoto, Japan

Gender Reveal Recap

Gender Reveal

As soon to be new parents, we knew we had to have a fun gender reveal party to share our excitement with family and friends. I know back in the day they did not know the gender of the baby until he/she was born. Now these parties are all the rave. I believe it is important to celebrate life as much as you can!

It’s A Boy!

My sister thought of the creative idea to do something that would also be a keepsake. Roger and I did two separate canvases of our handprints in pink and blue. My sister was the only one who knew the gender of the baby. While we head up a sheet and counted down, my sister changed the canvas to Baby Chan’s gender! We hope to add his little hand-print or foot-print at his arrival. Roger was especially excited as he thought baby was a girl the entire time!

How I Sped Up My Beauty Routine

How I Sped Up My Beauty Routine

I mastered my everyday look over the years. I’ve learned to embrace the natural face! I still love going full glam on the weekends, but not putting on a full face of makeup means more time. That means more sleep. More time also means more time to make myself a quick breakfast. Especially important for growing baby! Here is how I’ve managed to speed up my get ready routine.

  • Your holy grail (HG) products are your best friend. Know which products work best for you. The products that you know match your skin tone and last all day. Avoid testing out new products. The last thing you will want is a bad reaction or an orange face from oxidized foundation!
  • Put your most use products in one area of your vanity. Designate your everyday products in one place that is easily accessible. Your everyday brushes and products in arms reach prevents you from shuffling and searching for your favorite eyeliner.
  • Products with wands and pumps make it easy. It makes for easier application and you won’t have  to reach for multiple brushes. Foundations especially with a pump make it easy for me to apply with clean fingers and blend with a stippling brush. Products with wands make it easy to apply directly to skin.
  • Less is more. Skip the eyeshadow. There are certain steps I can skip in the morning. I don’t always have to have eyeliner or eyeshadow. Ladies, you do not always have to contour your face or “bake” everyday. Do what accentuates your natural face and conceal any trouble spots.
  • Easy to apply lipsticks. I love the chubby stick lipsticks and the traditional tube lipsticks for everyday. They are easy to control and you often don’t need lipliner. Liquid lipsticks are my all time favorite, but they usually are not the easiest to apply when you are in a hurry.
  • LASH EXTENSIONS. Yes, I am obsessed with lash extensions!  And completely justify maintaining them because it saves me so much time getting ready. I don’t need to apply mascara to my top lashes or eyeliner.
  • Take care of your skin. Last but not least, take care of your skin. The more you take care of your skin, the less you have to cover up!

I cut my time down to 10 minutes for makeup in the morning. I still feel put together AND well-rested. Leave your comments on how you speed up your beauty routine!

Pregnancy Announcement & First Trimester Updates

She's Charmed

If you missed our most exciting news yet… here it is. Roger and I are expecting this July 2017! I always knew I wanted to be a mother. It was a moment I prayed for, that in God’s timing we would start a family.

Pregnancy announcement

How did I tell my husband?

I am the worse when keeping things from my husband. I told him right away that I felt like I should take a pregnancy test. He was overjoyed when that test was positive! I was in a bit of a shock that I took 2 more the next day.

How did we announce the news to our family?

The first person I told was my sister! We quickly made a plan to announce the news to our parents. My creative sister decorated 2 Christmas ornaments that said Lola and Lolo on it (means grandmother and grandfather in the Filipino language). A few weeks before Christmas we told our parents that we had gifts they could use to decorate their tree. They were so surprised and we got the whole thing on video. For Roger’s parents, we wrapped a gift of newborn baby boots and they were both excited too. This will be the first grandchild on both sides! So little Baby Chan will surely be spoiled.

We announced to the rest of our family on New Years Eve at our home. We were not planning to tell everyone yet but thought it would be fun to announce right at midnight!

First Trimester symptoms

  • Nausea. Shortly after learning I was pregnant, I noticed my nausea was worse on an empty stomach.
  • Always hungry. I noticed my appetite increased and I always had to have something in my stomach. Luckily, I had no food aversions! I especially craved fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Fatigue. I was more tired than usual and taking naps. I was never a nap person but I listened to my body when it needed more rest.
  • I did not gain any weight during my first trimester. This was a big concern to me but my OB reassured that it can be normal.

First Ultrasound

She's Charmed

I had my first ultrasound at 10 weeks. The feeling of going into your doctor’s office for your first appointment is one emotional roller coaster. Hearing the baby’s heartbeat and seeing our baby move around was the best feeling in the world. It really hit us that day that it is not going to be just be the two of us any longer!

New York City Eats

Food is almost always the reason we travel. While our stay was limited, we still got to enjoy the diversity of food in New York City!

The Halal Guys

Walked through snowfall to get Halal Guys on 6th Ave. We got the combo plate with chicken and gyro. The red sauce is no joke! Spicy and warmed us up as we huddled from the snow to eat our bowl.

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Motorino

510 Columbus Ave NY, NY

Pizza in the city is a must. We ordered in one night and got our pizza fix!

The Mermaid Inn

96 2nd Ave NY, NY

We stayed in the Upper West Side and Roger was excited about happy hour oysters. I watched him eat his dinner completely jealous. I still to to indulge in calamari and fries!

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Senn Thai

452 Amsterdam Ave NY, NY

They DO NOT serve pad thai. I actually loved that, it makes guests explore other options on the menu. I got the Pad Gai and Roger got the Tom Yum soup!

Levain Bakery

167 W 74th St. NY, NY

YOU HAVE TO TRY IT. If you’re in the Upper West Side, Levain Bakery has the best cookies, the best! We got the chocolate chip walnut and the dark chocolate peanut butter.

She's Charmed