Mar 6, 2014  •  In Aerin, Parenting, Personal

Mega-Update on the Girls, Part 1: Aerin

A few weeks ago, Aerin had her 6-month evaluation by the state’s early intervention services.

To be completely fair, it hasn’t been 6 months since we started therapy — it had taken a month to find our therapists, and we had missed a lot of sessions in the months of December and January due to all the crazy stuff that was going on in our household. So when we finally held the review, we had just started to have regular sessions again.

For this reason, I believe that Aerin could have done a lot better at her evaluation. Nonetheless, I was satisfied with the results, which is that we will continue the current schedule of therapy (developmental intervention 2x a week, speech therapy 2x a month), except with a new developmental interventionist.


Both of Aerin’s therapists agree that she has made tremendous strides. I have lost count of the number of words she says a long time ago (I never paid too much attention to the exact number for either girls), but she is comfortable with simple 2-word sentences and has started to say 3-word sentences. She knows her alphabet and has been identifying both letters and numbers for a couple of months now. She knows her colors, body parts, animals, and everyday objects, and is quite a singer. :-)

That being said, she’s not a very chatty person. It’s obvious to everyone in her life that she understands practically everything she hears — she just doesn’t like to, or prefers not to talk much.

The reason we have decided to change to another developmental interventionist is due to her stubborn personality (and a good, stern DI may help her more in the long run). Although it is obvious that she is a very bright child — both therapists frequently tell me that there are concepts and activities she grasps that are a year or two ahead of her peers — sometimes she just flat-out refuses to do what is instructed.

A good example of this happened a couple of weeks ago, when her therapist wouldn’t let her do something she liked. She immediately clammed up and refused to cooperate any further. The therapist brought out a bucket of Mr. Potatoheads (one of her favorite activities) in an effort to win her back, and it seemed to have worked…at first. But when the therapist asked, “Aerin, can you give me the mouth?” she handed over every part, one by one, except the three mouth pieces. It was quite comical, actually, to see this passive rebellion at such a young age — although I may regret saying this later down the road!


Another reason we had collectively agreed to continue with the current line of therapy is because Aerin will be turning 3 in November. Our state has a separate set of criteria for early intervention starting at this age, and both our therapists are confident that she will not qualify for these services (she’s now only slightly behind her peers). So we want to milk the therapy sessions as much as we can in the next few months; while the sessions are expensive ($200-$300 a month), they are still partially subsidized by the state and have been tremendously helpful. Not only to Aerin but to me as well — I’ve been learning so much about childhood development, how to deal with undesirable behavior patterns, and how to most effectively talk to young children.

I only wish I had learned this stuff before I had kids! 

We’re still in the process of finding a new DI. We love our current DI and have developed a good relationship with her, but she is a speech therapist who does DI occasionally, and she believes a strong DI who is a trained child behaviorist will be more beneficial for Aerin.

Additionally, we all believe that her progress will accelerate even more when she enters preschool in the fall. We’re thinking of enrolling both girls in Claire’s school’s “summer camp” program (which has a bit less academic learning and more outdoor activities) for a few weeks so that the transition will be easier on her.

To be continued…

Feb 28, 2014  •  In Art/Design, Entertainment, Infographics

All the Dresses Worn by Every Best Actress Oscar Winner [On One Poster]

In light of this weekend’s 86th Academy Awards, I wanted to share with you this poster by Media Run. It’s not only fun to remember each dress and reminisce back to that person/show/year, it’s also interesting to see how women’s formal fashion has evolved over the years.


Which is your favorite? Mine hails from last year’s Oscars: Jennifer Lawrence’s white Christian Dior. Maneuverability be damned — it was a dress that epitomized classic couture gowns, and the girl rocked it.  :-D

Via Flavorwire.

Feb 26, 2014  •  In Beauty, Giveaways

Giveaway: Urban Decay Naked Palette [Your Choice!]

Because it’s a Wednesday…

Because just when it was starting to get warmer, the polar vortex decided to plot a comeback

Because the terrifying threes are no better than the terrible twos, and I have one of each…

And, you don’t really need another reason for a giveaway, do you?  ;-)

Up for grabs is the wildly popular Urban Decay Naked Palette.

But Jenny, there are THREE Naked Palettes. Which one do I win?

That, my dears, is for YOU to decide.


That’s right — the winner gets to choose which Naked Palette to receive!

You can choose the original Naked Palette, which happens to be my favorite of the three for its widest range of shades (including 2 blues). It is the best-selling eye makeup palette of all time, and there is a reason it launched an entire line of Naked products.


Perhaps you find that the bronze shades in the original Naked Palette do not suit your cool skin tone? Then the Naked2 Palette, with its range of taupes, may flatter you better:


The Naked3 Palette was released late last year and features mostly rose-colored hues. It has more shimmery shades than the previous two palettes, and can work for both warm and cool skin tones. 


Now, I can go into the pros and cons of each, share swatches and tips and tutorials and whatnot, but this isn’t a beauty blog and there are many others better qualified than me whose pictures and opinions can easily be found via a simple web search.

Besides, I’m sure you just want to get to the giveaway part already. ;-)

To enter this giveaway, simply use the Rafflecopter widget below. Not sure how to use Rafflecopter? Watch this 52 second video for a tutorial on how to enter a giveaway using Rafflecopter. There are 5 methods of entry, with the first method (commenting on this blog post answering the question “Which Naked Palette would you choose if you won?”) being mandatory while the third method (Tweeting about the giveaway) can be used once per day:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway will end on Thursday, March 6th, 2014, at 12:01am EST, at which point a winner will be randomly chosen and announced here. If the winner has won the drawing via a fraudulent or illegitimate entry (i.e., not commenting on this post, using different accounts to enter multiple times, using a Twitter account that is only used to enter contests on a frequent basis, using the same Tweet URL to enter multiple times) I have the right to choose another winner.

Sorry, this giveaway is open only to residents of the U.S. and Canada who are over 13 years old.

Please use a valid email address and/or Twitter handle so that I can contact you if you win! If the winner fails to respond within 48 hours of my contacting them, another winner will be selected.

Good luck, and thank you for entering!

Feb 11, 2014  •  In Beauty, Personal, Reviews

3 Budget-Friendly Products I’ve Been Diggin’

Each of these items run less than $10. They’re all used and loved by yours truly, and I will definitely be making repurchases when they run out. I can’t recommend these enough!

Palladio Rice Paper, $4

palladio_rice_paperI’ve used blotting paper in the past — all the popular ones like the Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets, Shiseido Pureness Oil-Control Blotting Paper, and Boscia Blotting Linens —  and I can’t for the life of me figure out why I’ve never tried these before.

Not only is the Palladio Rice Paper less than half the price of the ones mentioned above, they hold up better (i.e., less likely to tear) and REALLY ABSORB THE GREASE!!! Without disturbing my makeup!

These blotting papers are double-sided, with only one side having a dusting of powder, so that you have the choice of only mattifying, or mattify with a teeny bit of coverage. That being said, I personally can’t notice any difference when I use the powdered side (it comes in three shades: Translucent, Natural, and Warm Beige, and I use Natural).

Another plus is that these papers are HUGE. Most users say that they tear or cut the paper in half (as I also do), so a pack of 40 sheets are bound to last a while.

The easiest way to get these would be to stop by your local Sally Beauty Supply store. I’m actually planning on buying them in bulk when I run out of my latest pack — Amazon sells 6 for $20.95!

Milk of Magnesia, $3-$4

mlik_of_magnesiaDid you know that milk of magnesia can be used as a beauty product?

That’s right — those suffering from oily skin and/or acne has been using the stomach aide as a skin product for decades, and for the past couple of months I have been using it as a makeup primer. :-)

Just check out this article on Makeup and Beauty Blog. Or read the glowing reviews on MakeupAlley.

This $3 bottle, purchased from my local grocery store, has become one of my favorite beauty products. After cleansing and moisturizing, I shake the bottle, and use a cotton swab to apply a thin layer over my t-zone. The stuff dries pretty quickly and you can immediately tell that your skin has become softer, matter, and smoother. (If there is any white residue, you can go over it with your fingers and it easily blends right in.)

And that’s it! My makeup lasts just as well as any high-end primers I have tried in the past…and it controls oil better than my former primer of choice, the Hourglass Veil Mineral.

Even if it doesn’t work as well for you as a makeup primer, you can still keep it in the medicine cabinet for stomach ailments. :-)  Just be sure to get the original formula, not flavored kinds like cherry or mint.

Connoisseurs Diamond Dazzle Stik, $8.50

connoisseurs_diamond_dazzle_stikI read about this portable jewelry cleaner in an issue of InStyle a few months ago, and it really lives up to the hype!

I don’t own or wear much jewelry, but being a neat freak, it bugs me to see others wearing dirty gems — especially diamond rings, because 90% of the time a good cleaning will make it look soooo much better.

The Connoisseurs Diamond Dazzle Stik amazes me every time I use it. Seriously…I never thought my engagement ring and wedding band could ever be this sparkly. I thought I had a pretty good method for cleaning my rings too (dishwashing soap with a tiny brush), but the Dazzle Stik blows this out of the water!

And because the brush is small and stiff, you can get to every nook and cranny of your jewelry. I plan on gifting this to every newly-engaged friend!

Feb 7, 2014  •  In Personal, Reviews

At-Home Try Ons: Warby Parker vs. Classic Specs

I was incorrect in guessing that my glasses frames from Warby Parker hadn’t yet shipped, because they arrived yesterday!

Once again, I apologize for my sucky selfies.

My favorites are the ones on the top two rows.  :-)

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, I also ordered at-home try on frames from Classic Specs:


The frames from both companies seem to be of comparable quality. (Although I’ve worn glasses since my early teens, I’ve only owned one pair of designer frames — Giorgio Armani — and I personally don’t believe the markup of a high-brand name is worth the extra $$$ in the case of glasses frames.) All the frames I received were of high-quality acetate with reinforced hinges, made in China.

As of this writing, February 2014, here are some basic comparisons between Warby Parker and Classic Specs:

warby_parker_logo classic_specs_logo
includes prescription lenses, additional $30 for high-index lenses (strong prescription)
includes prescription lenses, additional $20 for high-index lenses (strong prescription)
anti-scratch and anti-glare lenses with 100% UV protection anti-reflective and anti-glare lenses with UV coating
free shipping & free returns,
30-day return policy
free shipping & free returns,
30-day return policy
offers at-home try ons
up to 5 pairs for 5 days, CC authorization of $1 total (shows as a “pending” charge until return)
offers at-home try ons
up to 6 pairs for 7 days, CC authorization of $1 per frame (shows as a “pending” charge until return)
for every pair of glasses purchased, they will give a pair to someone in need for every purchase made, they will donate 6% of the purchase price to New Eyes for the Needy

To me, there doesn’t seem to be anything that really sets one above the other — at the end, it’ll come down to the style of the frames! So here are my top 4, side-by-side:


Which is your favorite? I’m still undecided, but I’m slightly leaning toward the top right because these frames fit the bridge of my nose and the contours of my temples and ears the best. (Not that the other frames are uncomfortable. Additionally, if you need any adjustments made to the frames after your purchase and you get charged for those adjustments, both Warby Parker and Classic Specs will reimburse you for those costs.)

Also, I like the little dots on the top corners of these frames.  :mrgreen:

Because my vision is bad and I require high-index lenses, my total would come out to $125 if I order from Warby Parker and $109 if I order from Classic Specs. Either way, this would be the least amount I’ve ever paid for a new pair of glasses — even when I had kickass vision insurance at my old job (and I chose frames that were 100% covered), I still needed to pay about $160 out-of-pocket.

There’s also the fact that I get to try multiple frames for days at a time, from the comfort of home, with free shipping both ways…

Yeah, you can say that I’m very satisfied with the new era of internet prescription glasses thus far. :-D

If you would like to read up on additional places where you can purchase glasses online, check out Where to buy cheap eyeglasses online, for $99 and below from Brokelyn. I would have loved to try out the other online retailers listed on that kickass rundown, but I needed the assurance of at-home try ons. ;-)