Category Archives: Skin Care

21 Week Bump Update + GENDER REVEAL!

Sharing my pregnancy journey and 21 week bump update from symptoms, appetite, and products that’s been making my life so much easier. Plus, GENDER REVEAL of our baby!

21 week bump update

I can’t believe I’m already halfway through my pregnancy journey! During my first trimester, when I was feeling so nauseous and tired, it felt like my pregnancy would go on forever. Now that I’m finally out of that stage, time is flying by and I feel like we have so much to get done before the baby comes.

My second trimester so far has been easy peasy. Of course, there are some minor discomforts that come with pregnancy, but so far, my energy and general mood and wellbeing is how I felt pre-pregnancy.

Now, at 21 weeks, we finally know the gender of the baby (scroll down to the bottom for the reveal!) and I’m feeling more and more comfortable in my growing body and all the changes it’s going through.

21 Week Bump Update: Symptoms

  • Bacne, weird rashes: Thankfully, I’m not getting any acne on my face, but I am getting some on my back and weird bumps and rashes on my side boob. Thank you, hormones. Primally’s Pure’s Everything Spray and Beautycounter’s SOS Acne Spot Treatment have been very helpful in reducing those when used twice a day, but it’s been quite annoying with summer just around the corner!
  • No cravings/reduced appetite: I was a bit concerned about this one. I thought I was supposed to be MORE hungry during pregnancy, but I don’t have any kind of cravings and I’m not really that hungry frequently. And when I do eat, I can’t eat that much. I get full way too quickly and if I eat my normal amount pre-pregnancy, I’m uncomfortably full and it’s just not worth it. Thankfully, my recent ultrasound showed that the baby is growing healthily, and all my health markers seem fine, so my midwife said not to stress out about it too much.
  • More energy at the gym: I’m loving this. I feel like I’m pretty active these days and I can last way longer in my workouts. I only workout 3 times a week, but I feel amazing afterwards. I rotate between HIIT workouts, cycling, and yoga, and all of these have been so great in helping me feel like myself as my body changes. In the beginning of my second trimester, I was so out of breath with any little exertion, and I love that I have so much more energy these days.
  • Backaches: As someone with slight scoliosis all her life, I’m not unfamiliar with backaches and shoulder pains. However, it’s been way worse recently, especially in my upper and lower back. I massage my back nightly, take epsom salt baths, go to my chiropractor, and rub CBD cream on the pain points, and the combination of these seem to make a tremendous difference, in addition to my pregnancy pillow,
  • Sneezing and nasal congestion: This is probably the worst part of my pregnancy, and some days it’s way worse than others. From what I’ve been reading and researching, it seems that only 20% of pregnant women suffer from these symptoms and I happen to be one of the lucky ones. Personally, I’ve been noticing that it worsens if I’m stressed out or if I consume too much carbs or sugar, so I’m managing it by reducing these things in my life.
21 week bump update

Products That I’ve Been Loving Throughout My Pregnancy

In the beginning of my pregnancy, I told myself I wouldn’t buy a ton of unnecessary items that I see marketed constantly toward pregnant women. However, as my body changes and I experience different symptoms, there are some necessary items that have helped so much in providing comfort and easing some of those symptoms.

For stretch marks

I know stretch marks are genetic, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to do everything I can do keep them from coming. These are my 2 favorite products are safe and effective without harmful ingredients.

  • Beautycounter Body Oil in Citrus Rosemary: This just feels sooo luxurious and smells amazing! It contains both grape seed oil and rosemary oil, both of which are known to be awesome for stretch marks. Although the price does seem high, it lasts a really long time because it spreads so well!
  • Primally Pure Baby Balm: I rotate between this one and the body oil I previously mentioned. The combination of emu oil and marshmallow root in the Baby Balm are so incredible for stretching skin and so many women love this product during pregnancy.

For back pain:

  • Pregnancy pillow: At first, I thought, “Is this really going to make a big difference??” And heck yes. I can say that now after sleeping with it for over a month. Pregnancy pillows are 100% worth the investment and it makes sleeping on my side so much more comfortable (I’m usually a back sleeper). It provides support at all the right places and I’ve been sleeping so much better. I do love the U-shaped one, but it does take up half of our king-sized bed. There are various shapes and sizes if you prefer a smaller one.
  • Electric massager: Probably the most budget friendly but effective purchase ever to give yourself a massage at home. I actually bought this before being pregnant, but I use and love it SO MUCH MORE now! I use it every night, and it feels amazing while getting out all my knots in my shoulders and back. It heats up and changes directions as well!
  • CBD cream: If you are uncomfortable with using CBD during pregnancy, then this may not be for you. I’ve been loving this topical cream, and I can feel the difference immediately. I’ve tried many CBD creams before and this one is truly the best and the purest!
  • Epsom salt baths: If you follow me on Instagram, you know I’m obsessed with baths. Epsom salt is amazing for relaxing your muscles and replenishing your body with minerals, and I take a bath almost everyday because it’s so helpful for my back, as well as my anxiety.

For bacne and random bumps/rashes:

  • Everything Spray: This is my go-to product for any kind of skin issues, and it’s works so well for acne, rashes, or any kind of inflammatory skin conditions. It’s calms down irritation, reduces blemishes, and I’ve been spraying it all my of my back morning and night.
  • Countercontrol SOS Acne Spot Treatment: Anytime I see a hint of acne, this is my lifesaver that kills it in just 2-3 days. I have always had it on hand for emergency pimples, but I’ve been using it way more with my annoying bacne popping up. It contains squeaky clean ingredients that are safe during pregnancy.
  • Cleansing Balm: When it comes to any kind of rashes or inflammation on the skin, the Cleaning Balm heals and protects the problem area quickly. I’ve been using it as a spot treatment on my random rashes, and I can see the difference with just one application. The nutrient-rich raspberry and cranberry seed oils, as well as the vitamin C in it work together to create this healing formula!

For sinus congestion:

  • Nasal strips: I was a bit skeptical about if these will do much to reduce congestion, but they actually made a huge difference! I could feel it working as soon as I put it on, and it’s so helpful during my sleep. I used to wake up in the middle of the night because my nose was so stuffed, but that doesn’t happen anymore with these. Plus, they look crazy sexy.
  • Nasal saline spray: If you have a Neti Pot, that will work as well, but I just love the convenience of this nasal spray. It clears up my nose right away, keeps my passage moist, and contains clean, drug-free ingredients that are safe during pregnancy.

For constipation:

  • Squatty Potty: This is another one of those products that I bought a while ago, but I appreciate it so much more during pregnancy. Constipation is quite common during pregnancy, and although I never got it too badly, I do love the Squatty Potty for regulating my bowel movement. It seems like such a simple product but works extremely well (trust me!).

GENDER REVEAL: It’s a….

21 weeks bump update

We are having A GIRL!

I couldn’t be more excited. I wanted a girl from the beginning so I can teach her to be strong and bossy as hell, and let her know she can be anything she wants to be in this world. I would have been totally happy with a boy, but I just leaned toward a girl more.

We Almost Didn’t Find Out the Gender

At our 20 week ultrasound, we were so excited to find out if we were having a boy or a girl, but we almost walked out without knowing because the baby was crossing her legs until the very end!

Our ultrasound technician told us this sometimes happens so we might not be able to find out at that appointment, but thank goodness, the baby showed us at the very last minute. It was such a magical and happy moment, and we are busy picking out names and clothes already.



Hope you enjoyed reading my 21 week bump update! I had so much fun writing this post, and I tried to address the most common questions I’ve been receiving on social media. If you have anything else you are curious about, leave me a comment below! I’ll probably do another update post before the baby arrives, and I hope sharing my experience is helpful for other women who are or will be going through this beautiful journey of creating a human. As always, thanks so much for your love and support!!

What Great Grandma Ate / Jean Choi is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Regarding other affiliate links and affiliate relationships: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Thank you for your support and understanding.

Homemade Beeswax Lip Balm (All-Natural and Toxin Free!) + 5 Ingredients to Avoid in Store-Bought Lip Balm

Learn how to make soothing and nourishing homemade beeswax lip balm (Burt’s Bees copycat) that’s made with natural and toxin free ingredients!

Homemade Beeswax Lip Balm

A good lip balm is one of those must-have items for me. I have dry skin and have always had trouble with chapped lips along with it. I think I might have a lip balm in every room of my house, as well as in my car. Trust me, it’s necessary.

Homemade Beeswax Lip Balm Recipe

I’ve been making my own homemade beeswax lip balm for about 3 years now and I love it so much. Not only does it smell amazing (peppermint, always), but it’s actually so nourishing and effective. I used to use Burt’s Bees lip balm all the time, but I actually prefer my version better and it also makes a great gift as well!

With a soothing combination of shea butter, beeswax, coconut oil, and peppermint essential oils (or whatever scent you like), this homemade beeswax lip balm is so easy, costs pennies, and takes less than 15 minutes to make.

Homemade Beeswax Lip Balm

5 Harmful Ingredients in Conventional Lip Balm

I actually started making my own homemade beeswax lip balm after learning about some shady ingredients in drug store versions that are known to cause a host of health issues. It’s especially important to be aware of these ingredients because we are putting these products on our lips and we can easily consume them!

These are some common ones to watch out for and avoid:

  1. Parabens (also known as other ingredients that end in -paraben like methylparaben and butylparaben): Used as a preservative, parabens are widely recognized as endocrine disruptors. They are known to increase the risk of breast cancer and other reproductive issues.
  2. Petroleum jelly: Yes, the main ingredient in Vaseline! Petroleum jelly is a highly refined oil made from fossil fuel. Not only does it block our pores, it also contains carcinogens and chemicals known to cause estrogen dominance.
  3. Synthetic colors and dyes: These are especially common in tinted lip balms. Synthetic colors are composed of heavy metals that cause allergies and irritation, and if accumulated for a long time, are even known to cause cancer!
  4. Chemical sunscreens (also labeled as avobenzone, homosalate, oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate, and octocrylene): All of these chemicals help the sunscreen be absorbed in our skin fast, especially when our skin is exposed to sunlight. They are estrogen mimickers and are associated with endometriosis in women and lower sperm count in men. If you want a lip balm with SPF in it, look for ones with non-nano zinc oxide instead.
  5. Fragrance or flavor: Companies are not legally required to disclose what chemicals make up “fragrance” or “flavor” on ingredients labels. Those words can mean absolutely any chemical, whether or not it has been tested for safety. Usually, it is a synthetic concoction that includes phthalates and synthetic musks, which are known hormone disruptors.

Don’t Want to Make Your Own?

There have been times that I’ve been busy or lazy and ran out of my homemade beeswax lip balm. In those cases, I ended up buying safer option that are free of the above toxins. Here are my favorite brands that smell amazing without chemical fragrances and work really well:

  • Beautycounter’s Lip Conditioners: Beautycounter is probably my favorite skin care company that has banned over 1500 ingredients that are known or suspected to be harmful in their products, when the US has only banned 30. Their lip conditioners come in peppermint or calendula and these products are so soothing and hydrating with clean ingredients! If you are looking for something that’s tinted or has a light color, I highly recommend their sheer lipsticks which are also made with coconut oil and are extremely moisturizing.
  • Primally Pure Lip Balm: Primally Pure has amazing, natural lip balm made of all the soothing oils like coconut, beef tallow, and beeswax. They come in 5 different flavors, scented with organic essential oils, and the peppermint is my favorite. You can get 10% off your first purchase with them with code: JEAN10.
  • Perfect Supplements Lip Nutrients: These come in 2 flavors, lemongrass and tangerine, and I prefer tangerine. These contain all organic ingredients that nourish you lips you coconut oil and beeswax, along with jojoba oil, essential oils, and vitamin E. You can get 10% off with my code: GREATGRANDMA10

Perfect as Gifts!

If you are wondering what to get for someone special in your life, or if you are looking for stocking stuffers for the holidays, I highly recommend these homemade beeswax lip balm, because there’s nothing better than homemade gifts. I’ve gifted them myself before and all the recipients have told me that they love them. My mom actually insists I make her 20-30 of them every year so she can use them throughout the year. Good thing they are so easy to make!

Because these do not contain any water or moisture and only healthy oils, they actually last indefinitely so you don’t have to worry about them spoiling or going bad!

Homemade Beeswax Lip Balm Recipe (All-Natural and Toxin Free!)

Makes 18 lip balm tubes

Ingredient

Instructions

  1. In a double boiler, or a heat-safe bowl nestled on top of a pot of simmering water over medium low heat, combine beeswax pastilles, shea butter, and coconut oil.
  2. Heat for about 10 minutes until the mixture is completely melted.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in peppermint essential oils.
  4. Pour the mixture into a glass cup or a measuring cup with a spout.
  5. Carefully pour into the empty lip balm tubes and fill them up to the top.
  6. Let them cool for 30 minutes before putting on the cap.

Notes

If you don’t like the peppermint flavor, you can use other essential oils like grapefruit or lavender. Avoid them altogether if you prefer unscented!

What Great Grandma Ate / Jean Choi is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Regarding other affiliate links and affiliate relationships: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Thank you for your support and understanding.

Black Friday/Cyber Monday Deals + Healthy Holiday Gift Guide 2018

Check out some amazing Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals you don’t want to miss out on, and the ultimate 2018 healthy holiday gift guide, where you can find something for anyone special in your life!

Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals are HERE, and I’m so excited to share some discounts and promos with you guys. I love a good deal just as anyone else, so I do a lot of holiday shopping and just regular shopping for myself during this time.

Hope you take advantage of these awesome deals, and check back often since I’ll keep updating these deals until Cyber Monday!

Black Friday Deals

Food/Cooking

  1. $5 off on Korean Paleo cookbook with code: NOVBOOK18. My book will be released on December 11th, and now is the perfect time to preorder it! Make sure to save your order confirmation since I’ll be having preorder gifts real soon.
  2. FREE bacon for life with your ButcherBox subscription.  Butcherbox delivers 100% grass-fed and grass-finished beef, free range organic chicken, and heritage breed pork directly to your door, and shipping is always free. Each month, ButcherBox curates a one-of-a-kind selection of the tastiest meats, humanely raised and free of antibiotics and hormones. Go check out all the delicious selections.
  3. My favorite bone broth company, Bare Bones, is having a “buy more, save more” deal until 11/30. Their broth varieties are super high quality (organic, grass fed, and pasture raised) and I use them in cooking often. Here’s their current deal: Buy 2 pouches for 15% off, buy 5 pouches for 20% off, 9 pouches for 25% off, and 12+ pouches for 30% off. Stock up on these now and freeze them until you are ready to use them!
  4. BIG SAVINGS on the Instant PotIf you’ve been waiting to get your hands on this amazing electronic pressure cooker, now is the time! This 6-qt smart Instant Pot with WiFi is only $89.95 (down from $149.95) which is a $60 saving just for today. Not only is it a pressure cooker, it’s also a steamer, slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, and you can even make cakes and casseroles in them. I use mine pretty much everyday, and I have a bunch of  Instant Pot recipes on this blog as well!
  5. Get 14% off + FREE SHIPPING on 8 cartons of high-quality, organic Pique TeaPique tea is one of my favorite tea companies (I’m obsessed with their matcha and here’s why), because their tea crystals are organic, packed with antioxidants (12x than other teas), and also triple screened for toxins, pesticides, and molds. Their limited edition holiday bundle of teas contain 8 flavor cartons and a glass cup, and it makes a perfect gift for the tea lover!

Health/Nutrition

  1. 35% off ALL Perfect Brand products + 10% off with my code: GREATGRANDMA10 (45% total!). This is an amazing deal and opportunity to stock up on some the highest quality supplements out there! Some of my favorite supplements from them include their grass-fed gelatin for making yummy gummy snacks, their grass-fed collagen to put a scoop in my matcha every morning for better skin, hair, and nails, and their desiccated liver capsules for a bit of nutrient boost and liver detox. Don’t forget to use my code GREATGRANDMA10 for that extra 10% discount on top of the 35%!
  2. 25% off ALL Everlywell at-home health tests with code: CYBEREverlywell is a company that makes various health tests that you can take in the comfort of your own home. I took their food sensitivity test before and wrote a blog post about it, and I recently also took their women’s health test which I will share my experience about as well soon. These tests aren’t always affordable for everyone so now is a great time to take advantage of them!

Safer Skincare

  1. 15% off your entire Beautycounter order + FREE SHIPPING on orders over $50! My favorite safer skincare company is having a sale until Cyber Monday (11/26) and this is super rare for them. Make sure to stock up on makeup, skin care, something for kids and babies, and some gorgeous holiday sets that you can give out as gifts! They have some of best products that seriously changed my skin for the better.
  2. Primally Pureone of my favorite safer skincare companies is having an insane BUY ONE, GET ONE deal on 3 of their kits! These make great gifts, and I’ll be stocking up on them as well: 
    • Starter Kit – the most popular products in one kit, including a deodorant of your choice and the Everything Spray!
    • Spa Kit – the perfect kit for a spa treatment, with a dry brush, body oil, sea soak, and flower bath
    • Baby Kit – all natural baby products that are safe and gentle for sensitive skin
  3. 45% off on grass fed collagen. I already mentioned this above, but Perfect Supplements’ grass fed collagen has done wonders for my skin, hair, and nails. My hair and nails have never been so strong and grown so fast. You just dissolve a scoop in to your morning coffee or matcha, and you can’t even taste it at all! Make sure to use my code GREATGRANDMA10 for a total of 45% discount, and check out their travel packets as well!

Healthy Holiday Gift Guide 2018

My healthy holiday gift guide is here! As I do every year, I tried to include almost everyone on your list and within various budgets, and these are some of the items that I truly love. I hope you’ll get some fun ideas from this holiday gift guide!

  1. FOR THE ADVENTUROUS COOK – Korean Paleo ($21.99): Shameless self plug here! My cookbook, Korean Paleo, is coming out on December 11th, and it makes a perfect gift for Korean food lovers enjoy bold flavors. It has 80 recipes that are mix of traditional, modern, and fusion Korean recipes, and make sure to save your order confirmation email because I’ll be having an awesome preorder gift as well.
  2. FOR THE FOODIE – Spoon and Chopstick Sets ($20.99): Great for gifting alone or with my Korean Paleo cookbook! Everyone needs a spoon and chopstick set at home, especially for Asian takeout, or even better, cooking Asian food at home. This set is stylish and fun, and makes a great gift.
  3. FOR THE SKIN CARE FANATIC – Beautycounter’s Instant Awakening Trio ($89): This holiday set is my favorite and has everything you need to look awake and refreshed. It comes with the Overnight Resurfacing Peel (my favorite and you can read more about it here), as well as Instant Glow Illuminating Cream and Eye Revive Cooling Masks (so cooling and great for depuffing).
  4. FOR THE ATHLETE OR THOSE ALWAYS ON THE GO – Healthy Human Water Bottle ($12.99-$34.99) & Stainless Steel Straws ($14.99): Healthy Human products are the best. Their bottles and tumblers are stainless steel, vacuum insulated, and are free of phthalates and BPA. And I love their their stainless steel reusable straws that come in a pouch so you can carry them to your favorite coffeeshop! You can actually get 10% off anything in their Amazon store with my code: GRANDMA10.
  5. FOR THE HOST/HOSTESS – Meat & Cheese Board ($59.99): Don’t show up empty handed to a holiday party. This cheese board is the perfect size for a gathering and also has shelves with a cutlery set! Better yet, bring some cheese, meats, crackers, and fruits with this board for a complete gift.
  6. FOR THE TEA LOVER – Pique Tea Matcha ($58): After trying out various matcha brands, Pique Tea Sun Goddess Matcha is one of my favorites. They are extremely high quality, taste amazing, and are quadruple toxin screened for: heavy metals, fluoride, pesticides, toxic molds, and radioactive isotopes. If the recipient loves other teas as well, you can get them the limited edition holiday tea set that comes with a glass cup!
  7. FOR THE ZEN PAL – Essential Oils Diffuser ($21.99): I love essential oil diffusers that double as a humidifier, especially in this dry California climate. This one is affordable, stylish, and has ambient lighting in 7 different colors. Diffuse some lavender oil in it at night for a better night’s sleep!
  8. FOR THE COLLEGE STUDENT – Immersion Blender ($69.95): The immersion blender is one of my favorite kitchen tools and I use it everyday to make my matcha latte. I also use it to blend soups, make smoothies, dressing, and mayonnaise. College students will love it for their quick meals, and the cleanup is always a breeze!
  9. FOR THE MAKEUP LOVER – Beautycounter’s First Light Highlighter Palette ($49): It’s tricky to get people makeup since you never know what color or shade is right for them. Luckily, this highlighter palette is for all skin tones and it comes in 3 different shades! If you are like me and you love looking dewy and glowing even if you didn’t get enough sleep last night, then this highlighter palette will help you do just that and it’s one of the products I use everyday.
  10. FOR THE COFFEE SNOB – Chemex Coffee Maker ($36.95-$45.12): As someone who has tried all the different ways to to brew coffee, Chemex is my absolute favorite way and makes the best tasting coffee as well! It’s made with nonporous glass that won’t absorb odors or chemicals residues and watching the coffee drip in it is so therapeutic. If you want to complete this gift, make sure to purchase the filters as well.
  11. FOR THE BUSY COOK – Instant Pot ($99.95-$159.95): I’ve included this in last year’s holiday gift guide but I’m going to include it again, because it’s my absolute favorite kitchen tool! It does everything that the slow cooker can do in the fraction of the time, and also functions as a rice cooker, steamer, yogurt maker, sterilizer, and you can even make cakes in it! Make sure to check out all my Instant Pot recipes to see all the things you can make with it and get some ideas.
  12. FOR THE HEALTH CONSCIOUS – GreenPan Set ($58.75): After cast iron skillets, GreenPan products are my favorite stovetop cookware that’s free of harmful chemicals or heavy metals, even if you accidentally overheat it or scratch the surface. They are ceramic and non stick, and they are lighter in weight than cast iron skillets so they are easy to use as well.
  13. FOR THE CANDLE LOVER – Homemade Beeswax Candles: There are so many harmful toxins and chemicals in store bought candles and I like to avoid them at all cost. Instead, making beeswax candles at home is easy, fun, and they actually purify the air! You can even customize the scent by using your favorite essential oils and they make such a great, healthy gift.
  14. FOR MEN WHO LOVE TO TRAVEL – Beautycounter’s Counterman Gift Set ($45): I always find it difficult to find gifts for men, but thankfully this kit contains safe products for him without harmful ingredients, along with a dopp kit to put them in. There’s a daily exfoliating cleanser, smoothing shaving cream, cooling aftershave tonic, and an oil free face lotion and they truly smell so good, I want to use them myself. This set sold out last year so don’t wait to get it!
  15. FOR THE PLANT LOVER – Plants ($2-$50) – As a plant lover myself, I always welcome more plants as gifts as they purify the air and instantly brighten up a space. The price varies widely depending on the variety but for easy growing and flexible lighting, I recommend: pothos, succulents, money tree, snake plants, cacti, and aloe. If you want to splurge and get some beautiful and leafy kinds, my favorite are fig leaf tree and monstera. You can always search for mom-and-pop nurseries around you to look for deals or even look on eBay, instead of paying more at places like Home Depot!

That’s all, guys! Leave a comment below if you have any questions. As I mentioned in the beginning, I’ll be updating the Black Friday deals as they change throughout the week, so check back often. I hope you enjoy the deals and the holiday gift guide, and have a wonderful holiday season!

What Great Grandma Ate / Jean Choi is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Regarding other affiliate links and affiliate relationships: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Thank you for your support and understanding.