Xavi Turns One: 3,2,(1) ONE…BLAST OFF!

ONE….. I cannot believe my little boy tuned one. Even before celebrating Xavi’s birthday I already felt bad. They say second born children don’t get as much ‘attention’ as the first but Marco and I wouldn’t really know coz we both are the first from both sides. I would beg to differ but looking back, Cassie had things she didn’t even need until she turns 4, Xavi on the other hand gets stuff when he needs it (desperately), you get what I mean. It’s not necessarily bad but its the truth, we have the tendency to go all out on the first.

Xavi's Invite
All edited on powerpoint

For Cassie’s birthday, Marco and I DIY-ed a bunch of things, we planned her first birthday at least 6 months in advance but then again we still lived in Houston, we knew a lot of people, Marco was still reviewing for his USMLE, I was working part time and we still lived with my parents so we had all the time and all the guests to invite. This time around it was different, it’s only our 2nd year here in Muncie and we’ve only started establishing relationships and meeting people with kids like us. Marco is busy working and I stay at home with both of them so that doesn’t really give us any time to prepare but then again we don’t really have a lot of people to invite so we opted to do it at a play place, Escapades. It’s simple, easy and convenient, I wouldn’t have to think of what to serve the guests since we had to order from their menu, I don’t have to figure out how to entertain the kids, plus they had beautiful murals in their party rooms and I said “hey, since we don’t have a theme for Xavi’s birthday yet let the mural be the deciding factor” , so outer space it was. Escapades had three party packages to choose from but since most of Xavi’s guests were little like him we opted for the simplest one. The cake was already part of the package but I wanted that to be extra special, I approached my go-to local cake maker but Chef Maggie had a lot of things going on and she referred me to her friend another local cake maker and the cake, the cupcakes and the sugar cookies were a hit. Not only did they look pretty but they were De-lish-shooooos!

For party favors, I’ve learned from my mom how important it is to somewhat be in theme with the party so I ordered a bunch of stuff online, I’ll link some of the ones I got from Amazon on here: Rocket Ship Bubbles , Outer Space Stamps, Outer Space Rubber Duckies and then I got some the Outer space bouncy balls and small green alien from our local Party City.  I threw in some Milky Ways, Pop Rocks anything that would somehow give out the ‘Outer Space’ vibe and added just a bunch of other random treats for the kids. I figured I’d leave it up to the parents to figure out which ones NOT to give their kids.

The blue paper bags I got from our local Dollar Tree and I browsed online for an astronaut image I could paste on it, the little “Thank You” labels I also got online, I edited it to make it small and added the ‘Thank You’ caption on it and there you have it, personalized party favor bags.

And then we ended up adding more kids and I didn’t have enough party bags so I had to make a different set of goodies since I was too scared the party favors might not make it on time even if we ordered them with prime so here’s the other set. Thank God I still found some alien squishies from Party City, I had to get regular bubbles and make do of whatever treats were available.

The first time I made a DIY piñata was for Cassie’s first birthday and I said to myself I was going to make that into a ‘party tradition’ of mine, somewhat like ‘Mommy’s Labor of Love’ . So far the only time I’ve missed was for Cassie’s third birthday and the only reason why I didn’t make one was because we decided to do a trip instead of having a real party so I don’t know how I pulled it off but here it is, I know it looks easy but it’s been more than a year since I’ve made one and this shape is probably the most complex out of the three I’ve made.

Without further ado, here are some photos from his birthday at Escapades. I wish I could’ve taken more pictures with the guests but we were at a play area so the kids were busy running around and enjoying the place.

The simplest and quickest dessert table I’ve set up, a good 10 minutes or maybe 7. hahaha. The moon cake, stars/alien cupcakes and moon sugar cookies we ordered from a local bakeshop called Concannons as back up for the galaxy set I ordered. Actually if you get a party package from Escapades, you get a Concannons birthday cake with that and I thought that would be great for Xavi’s smash cake. And since we were getting a cake from them I figured why not order a different set of cupcakes and sugar cookies so they ended up making the stars/alien cupcakes and the moon and star sugar cookies ( I decided not to display the stars).

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Did I not say that Escapades has awesome murals? It’s more impressive up close and the best part is you don’t have to worry about your party backdrop, its already built-in.

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My little astronaut enjoying his balloons, we got his costume on Amazon too and it fit him perfectly. I’m also linking it here.

Quick family photos before the kids started to reach in for the goodies. I love it when the guests enjoy the dessert table, even if this was just a simple one.

Thanks to my parents for flying all the way from Houston just to celebrate their 1st grandson’s First Birthday, that meant a lot to us.

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A moment with my little boy before blowing his candle.

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Thanks to the Rousseaus for always being there for us.

Xavi with Tita Ditas, missing Tito Steve in the picture.

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Poker face with Daddy, someone’s getting sleepy

His sister had to help him blow his candle. Happy Birthday Xav!

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We also did the piñata before the birthday boy fell asleep. I designed a pull-a-string one to avoid any injuries with the kids. We know how crazy it can be with that piñata stick.haha

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He fell asleep as soon as grandy carried him, he was sleepy alright.

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The gift table, spot the ‘Under the Sea’ mural from the other side of the room

We had to open gifts at home.

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…but this little boy didn’t want to get messy, a few icing on his mouth and the rest were just in his hands and he refused to lick them. Haha, Smash Cake FAIL.

Again, thanks to everyone who made it to our little boy’s First Birthday, your presence made his day extra special!

~Rhea

 

 

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INFLUENSTER: Smashbox Studio Skin Concealer Voxbox

*DISCLOSURE: I RECEIVED THESE PRODUCTS COMPLIMENTARY FOR REVIEW PURPOSES. ALL THOUGHTS AND OPINIONS ARE MY OWN.

Let’s be honest, the past few months I haven’t really splurged on any makeup since stay-at-home moms activities involve house chores, watching the kids and doing groceries for the most part so I feel like there really is no need for makeup other than those cheap drugstore ones I get for my daily look (yes, some days I still try to not look like a “mombie aka Mom+zombie). So you could just imagine how pleased I was to make it to the Influenster Smashbox 24 hour concealer campaign.

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This concealer retails at $24 in Sephora so its a little bit over my budget for daily make up, the ones I get from the drugstore are less than $15 so it would be something I’d use on special occasions maybe, the coverage of this concealer is commendable though. The shade that I received to try out was LIGHT MEDIUM WARM OLIVE and at first I was unsure that it would work out well for me since I usually get something ‘WARM BEIGE’, surprisingly it matched my skin perfectly fine. The petal shaped applicator makes it easy to apply especially under the eyes and its easy to even out the concealer .

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With my drugstore concealers, it normally takes a lot to mask my dark circles since they are very pronounced but I literally just needed a dab on both sides to cover them with the Smashbox 24 hour concealer. I made sure to try it out early morning to test the 24-hour coverage claim and although I did not leave it on for exactly 24 hours, I observed it from morning till night and it stayed on without needing any retouches, it also did not accumulate any build up through the course of the day. And before I end this short review let me just put it out there that this product is VEGAN and CRUELTY-FREE, so it’s definitely a TWO THUMBS UP for this mama!

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Without Makeup

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With Smashbox 24-hour concealer

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Late night Target Shopping and I haven’t found the need to retouch it since I put it on this morning.

 

~Rhea

 

Welcoming 2019 with a BIG SMILE…

…and a LOT of LOVE.

*DISCLOSURE: I RECEIVED THESE PRODUCTS COMPLIMENTARY FOR REVIEW PURPOSES. ALL THOUGHTS AND OPINIONS ARE MY OWN.

This time of the year is probably the busiest—holiday travels, christmas shopping, family get togethers and endless holiday parties. I don’t know about you but for me, its also the time when this mama gets to drink just coz we end up going to two (sometimes even three) parties a day. You just can’t say no to ‘Holiday Cheers’ (pun intended) and red wine is my alcohol of choice so I guess you can say welcoming the new year with my red wine stained teeth is inevitable (and yes, I’m still an avid coffee drinker so you can add those stains on there). Yikes!

I’m BIG on New Years resolutions but no way am I making ‘Teeth Whitening’ as part of that list, why wait for the new year when these stains can be addressed right now. A few months ago, I was blessed enough to come across SMILE BRILLIANT and their at-home-teeth whitening customized trays, before that I would have never considered whitening my teeth (at home) for a couple of reasons I’m stating below:

#1. As a stay at home mom, I don’t have the TIME to do it. I cannot afford countless trips to the dentist especially with two children tagging along. It is just tedious.

#2. Teeth whitening (when professionally done or when done right) is EXPENSIVE. I’m not about to spend hundreds of dollars for something I know I will be staining again. #coffeemom

#3. I was SKEPTICAL. Let’s face it, any procedure that’s normally done at a professional setting and is now presented to you as something that can be done at home would leave you doubtful.

I had a LOT of questions concerning the product especially regarding teeth sensitivity and it being breast feeding friendly since I’m still currently nursing Xavi so it was a relief to come across their detailed FAQs, and that is how I got convinced to try it out.You can read about my at-home-teeth whitening journey with Smile Brilliant in here. Currently I am working on my refills of whitening gels making sure that me and my pearly whites are ready to take on 2019.

 This year has been quite a year with the coming of my second born and me learning to embrace the struggles and the perks of being a Stay-at-Home mom but the most important thing I’ve learned is to ‘ALWAYS LEAVE SOME FOR YOURSELF’, I know as mothers it is our instinct to put our children and family first but we need to take care of ourselves so we don’t burn out and we can continue to take care of them.  Spoil yourself a bit, get a haircut, have your nails done, get a wax, get your teeth whitened— I don’t know but the point is show yourself some love.

Before and After Results

To celebrate motherhood and the New Year, I’ve partnered with Smile Brilliant to give one lucky winner a FREE Smile Brilliant Teeth Whitening Kit, just click on the link below:

SMILE BRILLIANT GIVEAWAY

or

If you want to purchase the kit right away here’s a 15% off coupon code that you can use upon check out. Coupon: socialtumbleweed15.

  • Giveaway is for a $149 Smile Brilliant credit and will run for 2 weeks (after blog post date). It is open to USA, UK, Australia and Canadian residents.

Happy New Year everyone and Good luck!

~Rhea

Personalized Hair Care with FORMULATE

*Disclosure: I received these products complimentary for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

For the most part of my life, I’ve enjoyed my hair in its natural state. Sometimes I’ll curl it, other days I’ll straighten it but I never got into coloring my hair except that one time in college where it completely dried it out. So yeah, my hair is the typical wash and wear type which made it perfect when I transitioned to motherhood. I didn’t really have to make any grave adjustments with my hair care although my hair issues did change so the shampoo and conditioner that worked for me before had to be replaced.

“All I use is shampoo and conditioner”, I loosely say but when you come to think of it theres a lot of factors that contribute to your hair issues. How many times do we shampoo/condition our hair? Do we live somewhere cold, hot, humid? What is the length of your hair—long or short? Is it straight, wavy or curly? So many things we need to take into account so how is it it so easy for us to just go to the grocery or a Beauty store and select a set off the rack, based on what the labels say? based on the scent? based on packaging? How many times have you wasted time and products looking for the perfect set? I know there have been times when I have to just rough it out until I finished the bottles just because I didn’t want to waste it.

Now, what if I say that there’s someone willing to take all of these details into account and create a shampoo and conditioner set that will (try to) aim to cater to all of your hair needs. Impossible?

NOT REALLY. Not with FORMULATE.

Why try FORMULATE?

√Good for US

– it saves us time, money and bottles of wasted shampoo and conditioner that don’t work for us

√Good for our Hair

– it aims to address ALL our hair issues with a personalized kind of care and NOT generic

√ Good for the Planet

-Preservative free. Sulfate free. Paraben free.Cruelty free. Need I say more? On a side note, ‘Hi, VEGAN friends!’

If you’re not satisfied with the current formula then let them know and their chemists will work on a new formula and send you a second set completely FREE of charge. If you’re still not happy with the second set, let them know and they will give you a full refund.

How it Works

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Sam, my personal contact from Formulate sent me an invite code and it directed me to their website ( FORMULATE ), if you don’t have an invite code it’s okay, you can still go their website and they will ask for your name, an email address to reach you and then direct you to the Hair Wizard who will ask you a bunch of questions regarding you hair. These questions will include what type of hair you have, hair color, hair tools you use, hair products you use, hair care routine, hair problems you want to address, preferred scent and also where you live because they try to factor in the climate and weather conditions of your location. Talk about PERSONALIZED.

Give them a few days (mine, literally came in less than a week) for your personalized set  to come in the mail. With it is a guide that contains an overview on the type of hair you have, a summary of the top 5 hair issues that you want to address and a set of instructions on how to use it (don’t worry its just telling us how many pumps of the shampoo and conditioner you’ll need, not rocket science ), the scent you selected and the ingredient list with a short description on what every single ingredient is for and what it does. So they do want you to be in the know and they want you to be aware of what you’re putting in your hair.

My FORMULATE Journey

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So for my hair, I wanted to focus on Hydration, Replenishing it, Strengthening it, Anti- Frizz and Improving Scalp Health. I gave it a week and a half to see some changes with my hair and noticed that it looked less dry and it felt healthier, more moisturized rather than damp and I also experienced less hair breakage. I wasn’t sure if my formula was supposed to address hair loss but I noticed less hair fall since I started using my set. I normally don’t have dandruff but on occasion I experience some flakes especially when my scalp is dry so with this set I’ve noticed very few flakes close to none.

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Sam closely monitored my journey and explained to me why my hair felt a little bit greasy during the first few days of my transition and he made sure that everything was still working fine that was why it was easy for me to tell him that I noticed my hair feeling a little bit heavy after we experienced a cold front. I’m not sure if I should blame it on the change of temperature but my hair was fine when let down but as soon as I’d tie it up it would frizz on me and appear stiff, not to mention hard to comb. Upon hearing this he quickly took note of my issues and sent it to their lab so they could tweak my formula based on my hair observations and Formulate sent me a completely new set free of charge.

I am now on my second week of using my second set from Formulate and so far they’ve addressed the issues I was facing with the first set; no more frizzing and my hair is so easy to comb even after getting out of the shower (when my hair is all tangled). Most importantly I’d say we’ve achieved 90% of my hair goals : Hydration, Anti-Frizz, Replenish Hair, Improve Scalp Health and Strengthen. I am at ease knowing that there are people out there willing to help me out and willing to take part in my hair journey.

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And since it’s the holidays, I’ve partnered with FORMULATE to give one lucky person a chance to win his/her very own PERSONALIZED hair care set. To join the giveaway, just click on the link below:

FORMULATE GIVEAWAY

This giveaway will run from December 11- December 31, 2018 and if you can’t wait that long to find out if you’ve won, all entries will automatically give you a $5 discount off your purchase and free shipping as well.

Enjoy the Holidays with personal hair care guys, its close-to life changing, if you know what I mean and if you have any questions feel free to send me an email. Good luck!

~Rhea

Cassie Turns Three: Mini Minnie Party

I had different plans for Cassie’s 3rd birthday but this little lady is starting to have a mind of her own. She was obsessed with Minnie Mouse for a while but I thought she got over that, boy was I wrong. Her obsession came back with a vengeance only to be validated by a trip to Disneyland. September was a busy month for us not only because it was Marco’s and my birth month but because I did a lot of out of state traveling with the kids. So Marco and I decided that throwing Cassie a party was out of the question since I already took her to Disneyland plus we got her a lot of presents from Ollie’s and also Toys R’ Us when it closed down. But Cassie had different expectations, she really wanted a Pink Minnie Mouse Party with her ‘Friends’ (the kids who go to the play place at Chick-Fil-A), emphasis on the PINK. I explained to her the situation and she agreed to just visit the Indianapolis Children’s Museum on her birthday and have a small party with just me, Marco and Xavi.

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“Mommy, my wish came true”- Cassie

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There were days after that conversation when she’d ask if we were having cake, or if her friends were coming or if I was going to decorate so I figured she must really want this party so why not throw her an actual party with her Minnie Mouse friends and our family of course. So I ordered a small cake, cupcakes and sugar cookies in theme from our local go-to chef, Chef Maggie of Simply Patisserie, I wrapped all of her gifts in Minnie Mouse wrapping paper, I ordered a Minnie Mouse Balloon bouquet, I manually blew up 30 pink and white balloons that we bought from the dollar store and with the help of a pink table cover and a bunch of lace paper doilies (also from the dollar store), I turned her play area into a small Pink Minnie Mouse Party.

On the day of her birthday, we surprised her with a Peppa Pig bike (yeahhh, that was before she wanted a Minnie Mouse Party) and you could see her face light up when she saw the mini set-up we prepared for her. Daddy had to go to work after that but she asked to go to Chick-fil-A for lunch and after I dressed her up in her pink Minnie Mouse costume that is exactly where I took her so she could play with her ‘friends’. Fortunately, Marco was able to get out of work early so we took her to Chuck E. Cheese’s, ordered some pizza and she went crazy with her game card, with Daddy’s help of course. She was so exhausted, she took an untimely nap after leaving that place and when she woke up from her nap, we sang her birthday song and opened the rest of her presents.

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We bought the Peppa Pig bike before she decided on the Pink Minnie Mouse Party (in case you were wondering)

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While ‘Ate’ was busy with her bike, this one went crazy with the balloons

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The next day we had another birthday party to attend to and the day after that we made a trip to the Indianapolis Children’s Museum as promised. In celebration of the month of Halloween, they had a Grim-nasium set up over there where kids could also trick or treat and of course she was dressed up as Minnie Mouse again (red version this time) and was happy that we dressed up her little brother, Xavi as Mickey Mouse. I guess you could say she was in Minnie Mouse Cloud 9 the whole weekend. Happy Birthday our little Threenager. We love you so much, Cas! You’re growing up too fast.

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