Baby

I’m Obsessed with Freshly Picked Moccasins

Hi everyone, if you have been following my IVF journey then you would know that hubby and I have been trying for a baby. And needless to say, I’ve been obsessed with baby shoes since hubby used to own an online shoe company, it runs in our blood. I came upon Freshly Picked when I was searching for a diaper bag (funny because I’m not even pregnant yet) and fell in love with their adorable soft sole moccasins. I personally think they are much cuter for babies than they are for toddlers but knowing that I won’t get the best bang for my buck buying a $60 pair of shoes for my future 6 months old baby since their feet would grow so fast, I decided to research for the shoe size that lasted the longest for other parents who have experience with the brand, and the magic number is size 4 (18 months old average). Size 4 would last you anywhere between 6 – 9 months before you have to upgrade to the next size up. The idea of these soft sole moccasins is that baby’s feet develop much better barefoot while they are learning how to walk so Freshly Picked is the next best thing to protect their feet at the same time with giving them the most freedom. Along with the stated benefits, these moccasins are arguable the cutest things to mankind with an array of leathers and gorgeous colors/patterns. They also appeared on Shark Tank before and was able to market themselves for a business expansion. Little did I know, today happens to be their Half Yearly Sale where you would find items up to 37% discount. I scored 2 pairs of moccasins for my future son or daughter and I felt like I did pretty good in terms of picking out the best deal/value that’s also the most versatile where they will match with almost any outfits.

For my future daughter, I picked out a pair of Gold Mary Jane. This newer style is super adorable and very girly, perfect for my little princess. They usually retail for $60, on sale for $37.80 (37% discount).

Gold Mary Jane

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For my future son, I wanted something neutral (a brown earthy tone) so I went with Zion City Mocc. I wish the classic moccasins were the same cost but they are 10% more expensive since they are more popular so I settled on this new style (less fringe) but almost equally as cute. They usually retail for $60, on sale for $48 (20% discount).

Zion City Mocc

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The sale will last until next week while supplies last so hurry up and make your way over. They also offer complimentary shipping over $75 purchase. Have fun shopping!

***UPDATE: Both of these items were sold out within a day, there are other styles/colors still available***

Baby

My IVF journey – The Injections

Hi everyone, so this is the first time that I’m opening up about my IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) journey. Hubby and I have been married since May and we’ve been trying for a baby since March without any success. A friend recommended that we should get him a semen analysis since it’s only $125 (insurance doesn’t cover) and it tells you the quality of the sperm including count/volume, motility, morphology, etc. We went and got that done in July this year. While at the appointment, the reproductive doctor mentioned that she should give me an ultrasound to see how many follicles I currently have. And if anyone of you has seen the episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians which aired Khloe Kardashian at a fertility center where the doctor told her she had fewer follicles than he would expect for a woman her age. Well, that wasn’t my issue either because the doctor told me I had 19 follicles and I’m 30 which is well in the expected range. So they sent me to go get an HSG, which is short for hysterosalpingogram, never in a million years I would know how to pronounce that so we will just stick to HSG. The test is basically a type of x-ray examination of the Fallopian tubes and uterus by injecting this harmless dye that allows the radiologist to see how it progresses/moves through the reproductive system. It turns out from the “dye-test” that both of my Fallopian tubes are blocked. The right is entirely while the left is partially blocked and the only way for hubby and I to get pregnant supposedly would be going through IVF.

We heard the breaking news on Friday 10/12/18 and things couldn’t have happened any faster. According to the doctor, at the start of my next cycle, I needed to be on birth control (only active pills) for a minimum of 10 days. My cycle began the next day and I called the clinic in which they put me on the pills starting from day 3 which was Monday 10/15/18. I was told to have the last pill on 10/29/18. During the mean time, I had to order my IVF meds. I researched and called 7 different “speciality” pharmacies, both online and local (regular pharmacies do not carry IVF meds). From what I’ve seen, different pharmacies have certain products that are cheaper than the others so the smartest way to do is to order them all separately.

The two cheapest online pharmacies are both international, one is from Europe called ivfmeds.com and the other is called towndrugstore.com (a UK company that ships directly from Israel), with the latter being slightly less expensive. I decided to order with towndrugstore even when they guarantee expedited shipping within 6 – 10 business days vs. ivfmeds delivery time frame of 3 – 5 business days). I ordered my meds on Wednesday 10/24/18 and they were delivered by Friday 11/2/18 via USPS Express, within 7 business days. The medicine came in a styrofoam box with an ice pack since they need to stay refrigerated. Please note: due to European regulation, IVF meds shipped by ivfmeds.com will not include needles/syringes. Apparently mine did because they were shipped from Israel.

Baseline ultrasound was done on Wednesday 10/31/18 and I started my first injections (Follistim and Menopur) on Saturday 11/2/18 and have been doing it for the past 4 evenings. This morning 11/7/18, I went in for the first ultrasound since the injections and the nurse said I’m responding well to the medication. She told me to start my AM injections of the Cetrotide which will prevent me from ovulating too early, while continuing on Follistim and double the dosage for Menopur. Each time you go in for an ultrasound, they draw your blood; I don’t know what for but I will have 2 more ultrasound appointments to go before egg retrieval. At this moment, egg retrieval is scheduled between 11/14/18 – 11/17/18.

Hubby is out of town on a business trip so it’s the first time I’m doing the injections all by myself tonight. Wish me luck!

Deals

Deal of the week – Costco

If you know me well enough, you will know that I have a major sweet tooth. And at every one of my parties, I would always have French macarons because I think they are super cute and make such great props for decor. The only problem is they are super expensive, costing between $1.60 – $2.50 each. I tried making them at home before but mine turned out without feet *sigh*. Thank Goodness Costco is giving me a solution especially for the holiday season. They are selling for a limited time a box of 36 French macarons in assorted flavors for ONLY $15.99. The flavors are always different each year but this year, they are milk chocolate, pistachio, cherry, dark chocolate, orange chocolate, and vanilla. ***$4 additional discount between November 16 – 26, 2018, while supplies last***

Happy Holidays!

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Home

Update on IKEA closets

Hi guys,

So I wrote an article about the IKEA closets the other day and wanted to give everyone an update on my closet that I just installed. The entire process was a tedious 2 1/2 days but it was well worth it. I’m very happy with the result, not to mention it only costed me under $2000 for the entire project (and that includes tax).

I’ve attached a couple pictures here:

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The good thing about these closets is that you get to design them however you’d like them to be. I need longer hanging space because I have longer dresses, but my fiance wouldn’t have the need for it, so we customized his side a little bit differently.

Notice the “centerpiece” in the middle is a row of smaller drawers, a glass drawer, and a jewelry pull-out tray. The glass drawer/shelving cost just a tad bit more than the regular wooden material but it transforms the closet into something more luxurious (a bit of an upgrade). I will be adding crystal pulls to the drawers so make sure you come back for more pictures 🙂

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Above is a picture on the right side of the closet, we tried to keep the design as symmetrical as possible minus some minor differences.

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And lastly is a picture of the remainder side of the closet. This side was strategically designed to fit our 2 hampers on the bottom but still has even functionality with the drawers, hangers, and a shelf on top.

Baby

Designer Diaper Bag?

Today’s topic is about diaper bags. Since my soon-to-be hubby and I have already began trying for our baby (even before our wedding), I started having an obsession of looking at diaper bags, or I should say “purses that can double up as a diaper bag when the baby arrives”. Being a first-time mom, I didn’t want to have a “mommy bag (for me)” and a “baby bag (for the baby)”, the last thing I want to remember is picking up 2 bags every time I leave the house. I also didn’t want to have to sacrifice fashion when I’m being a stay-at-home mom so I wanted something “nice” A few choices that I have in mind after doing some research and read a lot of blogs, here are the contenders:

Louis Vuitton Neverfull GM with the ToteSavvy insert $1400 + $72 USD

https://us.louisvuitton.com/eng-us/products/neverfull-gm-monogram-007652#M41180

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ToteSavvy®

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Gucci Diaper Bag $1250 USD

https://www.gucci.com/us/en/pr/children/baby/newborn/gg-plus-diaper-bag-p-211131KGDIG8588?utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=US%20-%20Desktop%20-%20PLA%20-%20All&utm_term=1100316444597&utm_content=All

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Or something else that I haven’t thought of 🙂

Please leave me comments as I’m open to hear what you have to say, talk me out of it or talk me into it, I welcome them all!

Home

IKEA Closets

Today I’m writing a blog about the IKEA closets. Just a bit of a background, David and I are moving into our new home. This is the home that we want to spend the next 15 years of our lives raising four kids so everything has to be perfect. I’ve gone to California Closets and the Container Store to get a quote and although their designs are nice, the materials that they use were either too thin/feels cheap for the amount of money that I would like to spend. Still, they were quoting me upward $10K for my new closet. And then comes IKEA!

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Our current IKEA kitchen cabinets

David has used IKEA before for our current home, everything from kitchen cabinets to bathroom vanity and we’ve been very pleased with the appealing factors (clean lines, modern, sleek design). So I decided to give it a try with our new closet. To my own disbelief in a good way, my quote came out to be $1,800 and I was adding so much more extra stuff to it (glass drawers for example) that I couldn’t with the other closet companies due to their steep prices.

IKEA also makes your life easy by allowing you to save your work on their user-friendly planning tool called “PAX planner”. You can even access this from home with your own login and make any changes as necessary.

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My 3D rendering closet design

All you need to do next is to go to a local IKEA store, they usually have most items in stock so you would just pick everything up in one day. Have fun installing!

P.S. I will post pics of the final product once we’re done installing the new closet.

Cooking

Oven-baked Catfish

I’ve never cooked before my whole life but since I’m getting married and my fiance loves the home cooked meal, I decided to venture into this scary yet fun realm that I’ve never stepped foot into.

Last night, I made one of the hardest dishes and surprisingly it wasn’t even hard at all. It’s a traditional Vietnamese oven-baked catfish that you normally see at a restaurant that specializes in it. My favorite restaurant in San Diego for this dish is called Anh Hong Bo 7 Mon which locates in Linda Vista. You can even call to order ahead of time since it takes 45 minutes to make.

Ingredients: catfish, fish sauce, honey, olive oil, black pepper, salt, ginger, garlic, shallots, lemongrass, scallion (green onion), vermicelli (optional), rice paper, peanuts, herbs (mint, perilla, lettuce, basil, cucumber, pineapple, pickled daikon) depending on what you like, and mam nem (if you’re not making it from scratch).

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First you will need to get a whole catfish from the supermarket. I recommend getting a live fish because you can taste the freshness in the fish. I bought mine yesterday at the Asian supermarket for $4.99 a pound. Mine was a small fish so it was roughly 3 lbs. You can ask them to make the fish white, clean the inside and butterfly it for you.

From here, you will make a couple small incisions on the outside of the fish, this is to allow the marinade to soak in and for the skin to not tear apart due to heat and pressure (you will notice the fish curls up inside the oven as it’s being cooked).

To make the marinade, we will need:

  • 2 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoon honey (I use raw organic honey)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon minced lemongrass

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine all of the above in a small mixing bowl. Take the fish and lay it on a tray with the skin facing upward, then use 1/4 tablespoon of honey to lather all over the skin of the fish (this is to make it crispy when broil). Once done, spread the marinade over the fish and allow it to soak in either overnight or at least 3 hours in the fridge.

When ready, pop the fish in the oven on a rack that sits on top of a tray. This is for the juice from the fish to drip down and not soak back into the fish, which will end up making it soggy. For my 3 lbs fish, I baked it for 40 minutes and then switched it over to “broil” and let it broil for another 3 minutes. Make sure you stand there and watch it as it could easily burn at this step.

While waiting for the fish to bake, we can make the scallion oil and the peanuts to garnish the fish when it’s done.

To make the scallion oil, we will need:

  • 4 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of chopped scallion
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced shallots
  • a pinch of salt

First, we pour the oil onto a pan and allow it to heat up on medium heat. Once it’s hot, throw all the ingredients above onto the pan and turn off the heat. You just want it to slightly cook, not burn; the hot oil will do just that.

For the peanuts, I generally just use raw peanuts and roast it on a pan (no oil). When you see the skin starts peeling, then the peanuts are ready. Remove the skin by squeezing the peanuts lightly and then crush the peanuts with a nut grinder.

Once the fish is nicely cooked and crispy, remove it from the oven and drizzle it with the scallion oil and the crushed peanuts.

I get lazy so I didn’t make the “mam nem” sauce that was supposed to go with it. I just buy it from a restaurant near my house called Pho Ban Mai. But if you would like to make it from scratch, there are a lot of recipes online for that.

Enjoy!