Candy + Bagel

Responsibly Handmade Fashion by Jean Chung


Life Things: Products I loved during pregnancy

Life ThingsJean Chung2 Comments

I still have a couple more weeks to go in my pregnancy, provided that Logan will arrive close to his due date, so I thought putting together a list of things I loved during this pregnancy would be helpful. As a first timer, there were a lot of things I didn't know in the beginning, so I did a lot of research. And although I have NO PLANS to get pregnant again ANY TIME SOON after this one, I think it'll be a good reminder/list for baby shower gift ideas too!

1 Mama Bee Belly Butter $13.00  | 2 Aura Cacia Organic Sweet Almond Oil $13.65  | 3 Belly Bandit Flawless Belly  $49.95  | 4 Maeband Maternity Band $21.95  Maeband Etsy Store  | 5 Julep Oxygen Nail Treatment $18.00  | 6 Organic Peppermint Tea $4.49/box  | 7 MegaFood Blood Builder  local WholeFoods stores  

1 Mama Bee Belly Butter $13.00 | 2 Aura Cacia Organic Sweet Almond Oil $13.65 | 3 Belly Bandit Flawless Belly  $49.95 | 4 Maeband Maternity Band $21.95 Maeband Etsy Store | 5 Julep Oxygen Nail Treatment $18.00 | 6 Organic Peppermint Tea $4.49/box | 7 MegaFood Blood Builder local WholeFoods stores 

1. Mama Bee Belly Butter

When I first learned that I was pregnant, the main thing I was worried about was changes I would be going through appearance-wise. So many times have I heard, "I used to be _____, but 'ever since I had kids,' I am now _____. Oh.. you'll see when you have kids yourself." type of complaints from so many older women and I just did NOT want to be like that. Shallow? Perhaps. But it was important to me to feel like myself even though I am becoming a mother.

I wanted something natural and fragrance-free, and this product had very good feedback on Amazon's review page. I ended up going through the entire tub and got a second tub just a few weeks ago. I started using the product at Week 10 (I know, a bit too early), and yes, my belly never really grew that big -- at the end of 37th week as of now, I'm still measuring 30th week -- but I never had to deal with itchy skin or stretch marks. I used this in the morning and sweet almond oil at night, put on the Flawless Belly wrap to keep the moisture in, and my skin was indeed flawless all throughout this pregnancy.

2. Aura Cacia Organic Sweet Almond Oil

This one wasn't a new addition to my skincare routine. Since I was in high school, I used this Sweet Almond Oil with rosemary, tea tree, or lavender essential oil, depending on my needs. I use rosemary oil as anti-wrinkle blend on my neck area. 

There are a lot of people who stay away from essential oils during pregnancy, I've since learned. The decision has to be yours, but I used essential oils throughout my pregnancy. There are almost no research showing any dangerous effects of topical use of essential oils   during pregnancy; the popular tonic oil from Clarins that many pregnant women swear by also contains herbal essential oils, including rosemary. For the first 35 weeks of my pregnancy, I didn't even know that some people are cautious with herbs like rosemary during pregnancy (rosemary, in medicinal quantity, is said to cause contractions; the quantity used in cooking, like rosemary chicken, is perfectly safe), so I used rosemary oil and sweet almond oil on my stomach almost every night with no problem. I am taking it with me in my hospital bag, along with the lavender oil.

Whenever I use oils on my body, I try to stick to the organic oils, to be on the safe side. Because it's definitely more oily than the Belly Butter, I put it on before bed.  

3. Belly Bandit Flawless Belly

This one was absolutely the most frequently used item during this pregnancy. From about Week 15, I wore it EVERYDAY. I didn't show much until Week 30, so I didn't need it to "lift" or "support" my belly, but I could definitely tell the difference when I wore it with Belly Butter or the oil. My stomach felt so much more moisturized and soft. 

It even came with 1 oz Mama Mio stretch mark butter, but unfortunately it contained wheat germ oil, and I'm Celiac, so I had to give that away. 

Now at 38th week, the Flawless Belly also serves as a belly band for those shirts that became too short for me to wear alone. I wear this and then wear my regular tops like shirts or tshirts, so that my belly won't show. :D 

4. Maeband Maternity Band

Did I mention that I was super worried about my appearance in the beginning? (I still am) I bought this Maternity Band on Etsy in Week 8 or something. I just assumed that my belly will start growing exponentially and that I won't be able to wear any of my clothes very soon.

Well at Week 38, I am still wearing my regular jeans with the button closed and fit into some of my dresses with zippers as well. But sometimes when I have to sit for a long time and Logan starts hiccuping, the skin around the jeans button feel very very weird. So starting around 36th week, when I know I'll be sitting in the car for a while or something, I zip up but leave the button undone, and use this band instead. It's easily covered with the Flawless Belly wrap or long cami tops I wear under t-shirts. 

On a side note, this is why I want to tell you if you're a expecting mom for the first time, don't go buying maternity clothes too soon. You might not need to buy any, because nobody knows how big you'll get, and when. If you buy maternity clothes too early, they may never be worn before the weather changes. I still have not bought any maternity clothes. I still wear my regular jeans, and I can still find some dresses to wear in my closet for more formal functions. I am small, but I was always the one to gain weight very easily, so I just assumed I would gain a ton of weight on this pregnancy too. I never knew I would only be gaining 16 lbs by 38th week.  

So definitely, wait till you really need maternity clothes before you go shopping. You may be able to just get through with some modification. 

5. Julep Oxygen Nail Treatment

Last week, I noticed my nails were peeling. I've always had brittle nails before finding out about my Celiac disease, and they have gotten much better since I found out and changed my diet. But I needed something for my nails and the bottle of Nailtique Formula was too old to use (I hadn't needed to use it since the dietary changes). 

I just joined Julep Maven club in the beginning of this year, so I added this Nail Treatment to my box in the February box. I started using it last week, and I really think this is as good as the Nailtique Formula one that I swore by before, but I like this one better because it has pink shade and makes my nails look very well manicured.

6. Organic Peppermint Tea

Again, there are some people who will tell you about some dangers of herbal tea during pregnancy. There are almost no research showing that drinking herbal tea is dangerous during pregnancy (medicinal use is different because they use herbs in much larger quantities). 

Peppermint tea has always been a part of my diet. I started drinking it when I was first diagnosed with gastritis, and I love how it helps me digest. I didn't stop drinking it just because I was pregnant. I just changed the brand to an organic one. And I still love it, and think that it's one of the major reasons why I never had morning sickness or heartburns.

7. MegaFood Blood Builder

My doctor recommended that I start taking iron supplement even though my hemoglobin level was still fine.

I did some research and found this brand of supplement. Especially on pregnancy forums, people said this one didn't have any negative side effects such as constipation or nausea like other brands.

I found it at my local Whole Foods store, and am glad that I didn't experience any side effects from it. I am familiar with iron deficiency, since I always got dizzy and weak before getting diagnosed with Celiac Disease, but I'm still feeling fine, no dizziness. Some reviews I've read also said that their hemoglobin level went from low to normal within a month of taking this! I haven't done any blood test since the 2nd trimester so I don't know but I'm thinking it's a good sign that I haven't experienced any typical signs of iron deficiency.


So these are all my favorites. And some of these, I am going to be using even after the baby. And now I have to ask, if you've been pregnant before, were there any products you really loved or found very helpful? 


Disclaimer: I purchased all the products mentioned in this post. The opinions in this post and blog are entirely mine, and I was not otherwise paid, compensated, contracted, or obligated to review this product.

Review: Allure fiber wash by Bijou Basin Ranch

ReviewsJean ChungComment

As someone who knits and sews all the time, my closet is now full of things that I treasure, and carefully maintain. I don't trust the washing machine with my knits, especially. Even if it's knitted with superwash yarns, because I've had a couple of incidents where my superwash knit socks have felted or shrunk after being in the washing machine.

With the right products, and good timing, washing knits by hand doesn't take that much time or effort. I especially love products that let me wash without rinsing; the less I have to do, the better! 

Allure Wash is a new fiber wash product in the market this year. You're probably already familiar with Bijou Basin Ranch company, the one that makes beautiful, delicious yak yarns as well as other luxurious yarns. The company website promises that Allure effectively removes soils and odors but gentle enough to guard colors on delicate fabrics. The formula is all natural, no-rinse wash that leaves no residue.

The sample Allure fiber wash came in three bottles: in "Woodland Mist," "Prairie Breeze," and "Fragrance Free" version. 

I knew that I wanted to try one of the fragrant ones. The name, "Woodland Mist" really pulled me in. Other fiber washes I have tried had names that simply identified the fragrance as "Lavender" or "Citrus." The names on Allure bottles were somewhat mysterious. I imagined smelling pretty flowers in a romantically misty, foggy morning. 

I filled a medium size bucket with warm water first, and then put my short-sleeve version of Lady Mary cardigan in the bucket to soak it. Then I added a capful of the Woodland Mist fiber wash in the bucket, shook it around a bit to make it foamy. 

I like to do washing when I take a shower at night, because that way, I wouldn't forget about the knits soaking in water. Since natural fibers get weak in warm water, I don't like to keep my knits in water longer than necessary, but I often forget to check on it after waiting the recommended 10-15 minutes. So I just put it in the sink, let them soak while I take a shower, and then when I get out of the shower, I drain the water immediately. (Yay for no-rinse formula). 

How about the fragrance? So while I was washing the cardigan, I didn't actually notice any strong scent, which was a bit disappointing at first. Other products I've used before would immediately start smelling like perfume once I put it in the water. But then when I stepped out of the shower, I noticed that the entire bathroom was smelling so fresh, so light, and feminine. I was pleasantly surprised! It reminded me of luxurious spas or something.

I drained the water and squeezed out excess water before carefully putting it on a large bath towel and roll it gently to remove more water. Then I laid it out on the mesh sweater drying rack overnight.

My cardigan smells so fresh and lovely! It's merino wool and has some metal content that makes it metallic gold, so it was already buttery soft but now it feels clean and lofty. 

The samples came in generous 100ml bottles so I'm going to be reaching for these often from now on.  The actual product comes in 16 oz, 3.4 oz, and 0.23 oz (single-use packet) sizes. 

Product Name: Allure 
Category: Fine Fiber & Fabric Wash, Premium No-Rinse Formula
Manufacturer: Bijou Basin Ranch, Inc.
Washing and Drying Instructions: See the website
To Purchase: Allure Wash or Bijou Basin Ranch website



Disclaimer: This product was sent to me to review by Stitchcraft Marketing and Allure Wash/Bijou Basin Ranch, Inc. The opinions in this post and blog are entirely mine, and I was not otherwise paid, compensated, contracted, or obligated to review this product.

Review: Milk & Honey Lotion Bar & Goat Milk Soap

ReviewsJean Chung2 Comments
Lotion bar from Milk + Honey, in Lavender Rosemary scent.

Lotion bar from Milk + Honey, in Lavender Rosemary scent.

We knitters/crocheters/spinners/fiber artists abuse our hands a lot. We not only use them nonstop while pushing the needles through the loops, and then we handwash our knits in cold water. We dye our yarns and rovings in hot water, or grab and pull on the roving while we spin. Needless to say, after the long sweater weather season, our hands get dry and need extra TLC. 

I was given this lotion bar from Daven at Milk + Honey for this review.  Lately, I have been using my own blend of organic lavender and rosemary essential oil diluted with organic sweet almond oil, so I really appreciated this lotion bar scent. It smelled very natural and not at all perfume-y.

Daven started selling handmade goat milk soaps and beeswax lotion bar in 2005. I saw Milk + Honey's booth at TNNA during summer, and was really intrigued by the scents and the appearance of the lotion bar. The lotion bars and the goat milk soaps are all hand-poured in the most beautiful molds. 

Milk + Honey Lotion Bar, Bee & Sunflower, up close.

Milk + Honey Lotion Bar, Bee & Sunflower, up close.

the owner takes care of the goats and the bees herself, and her children get to play with honey, chew on the beeswax, experiencing what the nature gives everyday! What a life!

Ingredients (lotion bar): Pure beeswax, coconut oil, almond oil infused with certified organic calendula flowers, essential oil.

Ingredients (goat milk soap): Certified organic extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, goat milk, sodium hydroxide (lye), honey, essential oils, beeswax, and Certified Organic calendular flowers.

Calendula flowers have really excellent skin healing qualities, good for dry and itchy skin, and can be used for breast-health massage! As a first-time mom-to-be, and a daughter of a breast cancer survivor, this really caught my eyes. 

Beeswax is also found in a lot of beauty products these days, for its antiseptic, moisturizing and healing qualities. The website even said that the lotion bars were "tested" on their animals and were great for paw-care! I'm going to test it on Candy and Bagel for sure. Bagel's paws get really dry sometimes and sweet almond oil has been great for him. 

My Test:  I used the lotion bar once everyday, after the usual after-dinner dish-washing routine. I kept the tin next to where I keep my wedding ring before doing the dishes so that I wouldn't forget. I just rub my hands over the lotion bar, massage it in, and then inhale the scent from my hands for aromatherapy. I can definitely start knitting right away if I wanted to, since the lotion bar absorbs quickly, but I usually don't because I really enjoy that massage time. :)

I also rub it all over my BELLY, as my belly is growing rapidly these past weeks. It's really easy to use, and WAY less messy than my usual essential oil routine. I can immediately put my shirt over my belly because it absorbs super quickly, and I found myself keep feeling my belly under the shirt because it feels so soft and moisturized without feeling greasy at all. I think Logan really appreciates the massage time too. He sometimes pushes his little feet or hands into mine slowly when I massage my belly.

Goat Milk Soap, Mother & Baby, in Lavender & Rosemary scent.

Goat Milk Soap, Mother & Baby, in Lavender & Rosemary scent.

I also really like the ingredients in the goat milk soap. Since about a year ago, I have been avoiding products with sodium sulfate laureth after learning about its drying effect (especially for my dry scalp!). I've tried other products that say they're all oil-based, with no detergent ingredients, but found them to be difficult to use. This goat milk soap has sodium hydroxide (lye) which makes this a real soap, not a detergent. The ever popular Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap also uses sodium hydroxide. Whenever I wash my hands at the sink, I feel like I'm washing my hands with lotion, not a soap. I've only used the soap for two days but I'm looking forward to using it more often!

Milk + Honey products may be available at your LYSes, or you can order from Milk + Honey website too. Right now, you can save a little by ordering three together from their website!


Disclaimer: This product was sent to me to review by Stitchcraft Marketing and Milk + Honey, Santa Fe, NM. The opinions in this post and blog are entirely mine, and I was not otherwise paid, compensated, contracted, or obligated to review this product.