Author: Stephanie Jaya

Remembering the Bump: Celebrating Our First

I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t pregnant. I’d watch in envy women in body-hugging dresses and skirts and be reminded of my own collection that I haven’t been able to touch for months now. And probably won’t for the many months to come. And now that I’m nearing the end of my third trimester, with an ever sprouting bump, I find myself wearing the same few pieces over and over. Just because nothing else fits comfortably anymore. And being a size petite, I won’t lie this freaks me out a little bit. But I pat myself on the back for having gone this far without buying any maternity clothing. People I meet would always comment how “small” I am, surprised to hear that I’m this far into my pregnancy, and how I have a “belly-only pregnancy.” I suppose my belly is still relatively manageable, despite bumping into the fridge door on a daily basis. Every woman experiences pregnancy differently, and I’m grateful for a relatively smooth ride so far. No serious cravings, impulses, …

Pregnancy Post: Monthly Update – July

It shouldn’t come as a surprise but I’m amazed by how kind strangers are to pregnant women. Just last week I was waiting for R to pull up at Ikea and haul our shopping, when a father of three with his wife offered me their seat on the bench after he’d asked his daughters to stand on the side. He offered me the. entire. bench. I thanked him but didn’t take the seat because I knew R would drive by any moment then. And by the looks of me he clearly thought I needed the whole bench – ha! R joked that once baby is born I should strap a pillow around my belly so we’d continue benefitting from special treatment. Speaking of looks, it’s insane how big my bump has grown this third trimester! And it’s even crazier how more and more active baby is getting. While baby’s smooth dance moves are my daily entertainment, they are keeping me up at night (and waking me up from my morning sleep). And in general I’ve …

My Morning Routine

I’ve always been a morning person, so mornings are my favorite part of day. It’s when I feel most active and alert, in anticipation of the day ahead. Back in school, my mornings used to be hectic and I’d be running around the house scrambling, grabbing things as I went, and eating breakfast on the go. But now that I operate on my own schedule, I ease into my mornings with calm. I get to do the things I want and need to do, which mostly involves taking care of myself, R, and our home. I take comfort in my morning routine as it helps set the tone for the rest of my day which I try to make the most of, everyday. So here’s what my current typical morning routine is like. I wake up: typically before 7. The first thing I do is drink a tall glass of water before emptying out my loaded bladder and brushing my teeth. I feel: energized and ready to start the day! The sun is up but …

Pregnancy Post: Monthly Update – June

I can’t believe I’m now in my third trimester! That means no more flying, which means mentally preparing for months of hibernation ahead, which I don’t think I’ll mind that much since I’m more of a homebody anyway. I finally got around to putting on some Mozart for baby! And baby noticeably responds to the music, dancing and bouncing in my disco of a belly. This now has become the highlight of my evening right before going to bed. Just several days ago I started noticing my swelling legs. At first I flipped out but quickly found the remedy by resting my feet on a stack of pillows when sleeping. Beyond the elephant legs, I’ve accepted my ever aching lower back as normal. And it doesn’t help when I’m sitting at the computer most days of the week and neglect to periodically alternate between sitting and standing. R sympathizes and gives me a serious back massage from time to time (unacceptable—he should be doing it every day). I’ve also now created a barricade of two …

Dental Musings

When it comes to electronics, I live by one simple philosophy: I have what I use and use what I have. On top of the unnecessary spending, I absolutely hate accumulating things in the name of accumulating things. With the exception of shoes, maybe. Ha! But even then I’d make sure to get plenty of wear out of them instead of just having them around. The same thinking applies to my dental care. I’ve used traditional toothbrushes all my life, up until about a couple of years ago. When my parents and brother started using the electric brush, they suggested I do the same, telling me that it made such a difference. I wasn’t convinced. The traditional brush has worked for me all this time, and I didn’t see the point in spending the extra money for a simple tool to clean my teeth. Plus I really didn’t mind the arm workout. It wasn’t until my parents bought me an extra one and insisted I use it that I finally gave it a try. Talk …

My Eyelash Extension Experience

I’m no beauty expert and I consider myself conservative when it comes to beauty regimens. Not one to perch for hours at the salon, I always try to fix myself up at home on my own, which isn’t hard since I try to keep things basic, minimal, and simple. But even a traditionalist like me isn’t completely temptation-averse. And just last month, my uncharacteristically adventurous self took the plunge for a set of fluttery, wispy lashes to inject life into my otherwise dull strands. Oh, and of course to awake with that “I woke up like this” air that’s got everybody obsessing about. And for this, I have lash expert Everlash and makeup artist and friend Yuli of Lilac Beauty Studio to thank. The first step of the process involved choosing the type of curl I wanted. I went with the recommended C-curl, one that would give my lashes a lift while still looking natural (enough). The extensions were applied directly on top of my natural lashes and almost to the roots, but not on …

Peanut Butter Banana Oat Blender Muffins

It’s no secret I’m obsessed with peanut butter, and bananas are a fruit I always have in my fridge. They make for such a quick and easy snack, and they are so sweet, creamy, and delicious. And the blend of peanut butter and banana is a beautiful thing, a matchless union. Muffins. Another favorite of mine. And while I love those oversized greasy ones you get at the store, I decided to make some of my own that are hearty and healthy (so I could eat more of it). Working with ingredients I already have in my kitchen, I also made good use of my trusty blender. So instead of whisking and mixing in seven different bowls, I took the shortcut of simply dumping all the ingredients into one blender. A word of caution: fill your blender starting with the wet ingredients, followed by the dry to prevent the machine from overworking. You can also add a splash of milk or water to help ease the sticky and thick batter. Blend everything expect for the …

Pregnancy Post: Monthly Update – May

This month has seen the most drastic changes in the pregnancy so far. My belly is growing rapidly, along with my appetite. At home we eat healthy, home cooked meals. And while I’ve taken the doctor’s advice to slow down the weight gain, it wasn’t easy to resist the ice cream, scones, fries, and noodles during our travels to Australia. For the first time in my life I avoided going near the scale. We’re a week away from the next doctor’s visit, and hopefully my routine workout is paying off. Woes aside, my highlight this month has got to be feeling baby’s first kicks! At week 21, they were subtle and sporadic. Now, they come at me very eager, day and night. I would even feel baby dashing from my left, then to my right, top then bottom belly. R would feel them too, and would quietly tell baby to move gently in my defense. The first night we arrived in Sydney we watched fireworks from our hotel overlooking Darling Harbour, and R and I …

Melbourne

/exploring the woods and sampling local mineral waters at Hepburn Springs/ Over the past ten days, we’ve made our way from Melbourne to Sydney through notably Albury and Canberra, and back to Melbourne, our final stop from where we’d fly back home. R and I don’t remember the last time we went away on such a long vacation and we were glad to squeeze Australia in before the baby’s arrival. My highlight of the trip is easily the time we spent outdoors in the nature admiring the beautiful flowers and foliage, smelling fresh lemon trees, and noticing the strange, amusing things animals do in their natural habitat. On our very last day we spent the afternoon at a winery just a little outside of the city, with red wine (sadly none for me) and cheese and crackers. Brie is my absolute favorite, but I had just a taste since I couldn’t have much while pregnant. At our last dinner, we were served kangaroo steak at Tosaria cooked in three different ways with three difference sauces. …

Sydney

/coastal drive on Grand Pacific Drive/ Call me countrified, but the only images I’ve had of Sydney were either painted on canvases or printed on postcards. While we initially only planned to visit Melbourne, I proposed driving to Sydney since it’s only about 9 hours away by car. The perfect weather made for delightful walks in the city and through parks. We caught a matinée featuring the Australian Chamber Orchestra at the Opera House and wandered through the Royal Botanical Gardens. On our drive back heading for Melbourne, we cruised by the coast and stopped by for some gelato. In the evening we even spotted a fox! /late-night pancakes at Pancakes on the Rocks/ Note: the chocolate pancakes, which were really more like brownies (go ahead, multiply the guilt), were to die for. /striking plum carpet at the Sydney Opera House/ /passing through the Sydney Conservatorium/ /St. Mary’s Cathedral/ /nut-cracking at a nut farm/ /berry pie and pancakes at a berry farm/