100% Whole Mom

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Since becoming a mom I’ve come to realize I am no longer in control of my life. Breastfeeding takes up most of my time, as does taking care of Tristan’s other needs, like changing his diapers, giving him a bath and putting him to sleep. And between all that I need to squeeze in my basic needs like eating and drinking, going to the toilet, showering and sleeping (if I’m lucky). Most of the time I don’t even have a minute to myself (answering emails and blogging is a luxury), which is why I am so thankful Carlos helps me out with Tristan whenever he can (which is why I can blog right now).

I have to admit, three weeks into this mommy life and I am amazed at how other moms do it. Being a mom is no joke. It is a 24-hour job with no pay and no breaks. I mean, I cannot even imagine taking care of more than one baby at a time yet there are so many supermoms out there who do it without breaking a sweat. They take care of their kids and family, find the time to work, keep their houses clean and still look good. Sound impossible, right? Well, not really, because I happen know some real-life supermoms, who have proved they can do it all and more. They serve as my inspiration and I can only hope to be like them–of course, they are my friends Rica Peralejo-Bonifacio, Chesca Garcia-Kramer and Marilen Faustino-Montenegro, incredible women who recently got together to create a passion project called 100% Whole Mom.

What exactly is 100% Whole Mom? Well, it’s basically for moms like me, who want to improve on ourselves while giving our families the best that we can give them. It is a series of workshops that is meant to inspire moms to create an beautiful home, embrace her own beauty and nurture her heart. The trio of supermoms will each share their expertise, with Marilen tackling interior design and home improvements, Chesca showing us how to take care of our skin and how to apply makeup, and Rica advising us how to listen to our heart and spirit, while using faith and prayer to keep the family together. I actually cannot wait for these workshops to start, because like all of you moms I want to be a 100% Whole Mom. I know I’ll be able to learn a lot from these ladies, and honestly, this newbie mom really doesn’t mind getting all the help she can get.

100% Whole Mom did a launch recently where Rica, Chesca and Marilen shared what this project is all about. It was a super fun event, with plenty of support and giveaways from like-minded brands. Scroll down to check out the photos (all photographs are from www.ricaperalejo.ph). Congrats Rica, Chesca and Marilen!!! Excited about 100% Whole Mom!

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The Fireplace

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This can easily become one of my favorite restaurants, only because they serve one of my favorite food quite well. I am, of course, talking about steak, which happens to be the specialty of The Fireplace at New World Manila Bay Hotel. This upscale grill room offers prime meats and fresh seafood, as well as an impressive selection of wine. And let me tell you, from appetizers to desserts, this restaurant did not disappoint. Carlos and I had a delightful dinner, and we have already made plans to come back soon.

You’ll be happy to know they have a fine selection of mouth-watering appetizers–their shrimp cocktail, oysters Rockefeller, seared scallops with bacon crisp and citrus honey dressing are pretty amazing . Tasty soups and scrumptious salads are also on the menu, like prawn bisque, baked onion, creamy forest mushroom with truffle oil as well as a millionaire salad with scallops, prawns, portabello mushroom and foie gras in a raspberry dressing.

As good as the appetizers are, it’s the main course of prime meats that makes it worth the trip. Particularly inviting are the prime meats served hot and fresh from the wood-fired oven. The well-chosen menu includes Certified Angus Beef® dishes like tenderloin wrapped in bacon, rib-eye, t-bone, porterhouse and dry aged rib-eye as well as Australian and American Wagyu beef dishes. These dishes are especially delicious when dipped in the restaurant’s specialty sauces, which includes mushroom and thyme cream, green peppercorn, red wine, béarnaise, garlic-lemon and butter, hollandaise, and barbecue. So good!

To top off this incredible meal, you need to try their signature dessert: hot chocolate soup with vanilla black pepper ice cream. It was created by the hotel’s Sous Chef Bodjie Vergel de Dios and it is so sinful and delightful, you really cannot leave The Fireplace without ordering this. Overall, our dining experience was a happy and memorable one. I can’t wait to go back for more Wagyu steak and that hot chocolate soup.

The Fireplace is located at the fifth level of New World Manila Bay Hotel.  For inquiries and reservations, call  +63 2 2526888. Dinner is served from 6:00pm to 11:00pm.

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Meet Tristan Antonio Fernandez

Carlos and I are so happy and proud to introduce you to our little munchkin: Tristan Antonio Misa Fernandez. He was born on July 2, 2015 at 8:45am–he arrived 39 weeks into my pregnancy and weighed 7.6 lbs and was 52 cm long. We were praying for a normal delivery, and I am so glad I was able to do it (thank God I was able to draw up a birth plan, which I discussed with my OB-GYN). I labored for 12 hours and pushed for an hour before he finally came out. It was the longest day of my life, as my water broke before I felt any contractions and I had to be induced to speed up labor. I struggled for five hours before getting an epidural, and seven hours after I was ready to push. It all seems so simple now that I am putting it into words, but let me tell you, that day was a crazy mix of emotions and many levels of pain.

The past three and a half weeks have been challenging, to say the least. Tristan had to stay an extra week at the Newborn ICU because his blood work indicated that he had an infection (white blood cell count spiked to 3x the normal number). My OB-GYN and Pediatrician said it was likely because he swallowed meconium while in my tummy. At first I didn’t think this was anything to be concerned about, because Tristan looked perfectly normal when he was delivered. But I was told this could be life-threatening if he was not treated with antibiotics, so Carlos and I extended our stay in the hospital to be with Tristan.

The hard part about it was being away from him. Having just given birth, I wanted my baby with me at all times. Having to go down to the 3rd floor to visit him was heartbreaking. I cried uncontrollably for a few days because I wanted so much to be with him. Thankfully, I had to breastfeed, so I was required to visit Tristan every three hours, ’round the clock. This was so tiring because feeding usually takes 30 minutes to an hour and I have to be back at the NICU after two hours, which leaves me hardly enough time to eat, sleep and freshen up. But I did it for a week. As did Carlos, as he had to wheel me in for the first five days since I had a hard time walking long distances. I am very thankful for the kind nurses at the NICU for helping me take care of Tristan–I learned so much from them, from changing diapers to giving baths. They kept me company during long nights when all I wanted was to be in bed, resting.

Looking back, it was good practice for Carlos and I as new parents because now that we have Tristan with us at home his schedule hasn’t changed. I still need to feed him every three hours. Thankfully, I got used to sleeping (or napping) for an hour or two and having to wake up to nurse soon after. I am just grateful I don’t have to take an elevator to see my baby. Being sleep-deprived has been the most challenging thing for me, but overall everything has been good. Tristan is a good baby–he only cries when he is hungry or when he wants his diaper changed, though there are some nights when he gets fussy. But it’s nothing we cannot handle (Carlos and I are trying to do this without hiring a nanny or yaya). The only thing is that we can’t leave the house whenever we want, but there’s really no place we’d rather be than home (at least for these next few months).

Breastfeeding was a little difficult in the beginning, but St. Luke’s Global has an excellent Lactation Department so I didn’t have to struggle with it so much. Their lactation consultant was very accommodating, and visited me throughout my week-long stay in the hospital. She saw my progress and corrected my mistakes early on, so now I don’t have so many problems nursing Tristan. I am still exclusively breastfeeding at the moment and have only introduced cup feeding (Carlos is in charge of this). I’m thinking maybe in two or three months I can introduce the bottle, just so I can sleep longer but I haven’t decided yet.

And so, finally you get to meet my Tristan! I’ll be blogging more about him and my crazy life as a momma in the future, so I wanted to make sure you met him. Honestly, I can’t believe I am able to find the time to blog again as I am so tired all the time. But I missed you guys A LOT! Thank you for continuing to visit my site, I really appreciate all your clicks.

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The Gourmand Market

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Some weeks ago (while I was still pregnant) I got to check out The Gourmand Market at Bonifacio High Street in BGC, Taguig. I don’t usually get to go to these kinds of food events, but it was a Sunday afternoon and Carlos and I had time to spare before attending a kiddie birthday party. So we dropped by to see what it was all about.

Best. Decision. Ever!

We got to try the most amazing food, drinks and ice cream at the event–like, premium food selections you wouldn’t normally find in the usual stores. I love discovering new and delicious things and this really was the perfect venue. It is every foodie’s dream come true, and it was set in such a relaxed and rustic ambience you can easily spend a few hours trying one food stall to the next.

The Gourmand Market is mounted by Trish Panlilio of nawwTy’s kitchen, Dara David-Roa of Collab Contessa Brand Events and Dong Ronquillo of Uniqlo, with support from Globe Platinum. This is such a yummy event to look forward to (it only happens on a quarterly basis), and I am definitely keeping myself updated for the next one.

P.S. My top is from maternity clothing brand Elin (www.elin.ph), skirt from Cotton On and ballet flats from Butterfly Twists, watch from Daniel Wellington and bag from Kooba.

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Tricks of the Trade: Hide white eyebrow hairs with makeup

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Hi Ms Kelly, my problem is I have white hairs starting to appear on my eyebrows. Is it dangerous to dye eyebrow hairs because it might cause blindness? If I pluck them my eyebrows will appear distorted in shape. Do you advise eyebrow tattoo? What should I do? Please help! –CELO

Before you do anything drastic, like dyeing your brows, plucking them or resorting to eyebrow tattoo, you should know that there are many ways to hide your little problem. Being one to constantly fuzz over her brows, I understand how you must be feeling. Our eyebrows not only add definition to the face, they strategically frame and highlight our eyes. Any change, no matter how minor, can make a big difference, so great care must be taken to properly groom and care for them.

Dyeing your eyebrows can be dangerous, especially if you get any of the hair dye in your eyes, so I don’t suggest you do it yourself at home. But if you really want to do it, I know there are some salons that offer this kind of service. And since I just cannot imagine committing to any kind of permanent makeup (it is just more fun to try new and different looks), I don’t suggest you get your brows tattooed. Anyway, your white hairs are just beginning to grow so maybe you should try safer, less permanent alternatives first.

Luckily, makeup can do wonders to camouflage those white hairs. You have a wide range of eyebrow products to choose from, many of which create that perfect arch, fill in gaps or simply keep your brow hair in place. More importantly, these products can hide your grays, and even change the color of your eyebrows to lighter shades of browns, like taupe, caramel or sand. Come to think of it, lighter brows may be a welcome change to you, as it will soften your features and open up your face. Not to mention, it will also make your white hairs less obvious.

Now, I know the usual reaction to applying eyebrow makeup is that you will need to wear a full face of makeup everyday. You really do not have to, unless you want to. Admittedly, some brow products can be a little high maintenance, and require some practice in order to do right. But there are also some great products you can use that require little to no makeup (and it takes only a few seconds to apply). Let me run you through the best eyebrow products that will help hide your problem, and give your brows great shape and definition.

Eyebrow Pencil. This is probably one of the most common and familiar eyebrow products around that most of us know how to use. This is used to fill in sparse areas while giving eyebrows a fuller shape.

What most of us forget though is that not all eyebrow pencils are the same. Aside from brand and price, each kind of pencil delivers a different shade or color that may look too harsh or too light depending on its wearer. It is important to try the pencil on your eyebrows to see if it blends with the color of your hair and to test its consistency and texture, as some pencils tend to be too waxy. Its application is another important consideration, as some pencils glide on thickly while others take more than a few strokes to get some color in.

Remember that eyebrow pencils take practice to draw on right. Always use soft strokes following the growth of your eyebrow hairs. If you have unruly brow hair, use a wand to brush your hair in place before using the pencil. Most importantly, steer clear of dark shades, like black, deep brown and mahogany and look for lighter shades of brown and dark blond instead.

Brow Powder or Kit. If you want softer, less defined eyebrows, you can opt to use brow powder, a matte eye shadow or a brow kit. For this, you will need makeup brushes that will give you more precise application. A stiff eyebrow brush with a flat-angled tip (some brow kits already provide this) and a brow wand are what you need to use these correctly.

Some makeup artists use a darker shade of powder from the middle of the eyebrow until its tail and blend it with a shade that’s lighter from where the eyebrow begins to produce a softer effect. Choosing which shade to use is again, worth the extra effort, as you’ll find that some powders that look light on its packaging may actually appear darker when applied on your eyebrows. So don’t skip on these lighter powders as they usually blend well with your natural brow color.

If you haven’t noticed, many makeup brands now carry eyebrow kits that incorporate two to three shades of brow powder you can use to blend, shape and fill-in your arched pair. This can be your go-to product for your eyebrow needs, but just remember to try them first.

Eyebrow Manicure or Gel. To give your eyebrows a finished look, to soften or lighten them and keep them in place, try using a brow manicure or gel. Personally, I like using this product after filling in my eyebrows with brow powder. My brows just look fuller and defined when I combine the two products. Another thing I’ve learned is that you need to use very little of the product. Directly using the wand applies too much product on the brows, making it look messy and clumpy. Use a clean wand to get a little of the product from its wand and lightly brush it over your brows to distribute the color. If you want to skip wearing makeup but want to camouflage your white hairs, lightly brush some of the brow manicure on your eyebrows. This works really well to blend your eyebrows into a soft, uniform color.

Good luck, and hopefully you find the eyebrow products to solve your problem.

 

Cordlife moms

I’m back! Finally, I am able to sneak a little blogging time in my busy no-sleep baby schedule. If you have been following me on Instagram you will know that I gave birth to a healthy and happy baby boy last July 2. His name is Tristan Antonio Misa Fernandez and he is the most beautiful thing I have ever laid my eyes on. Carlos and I are so happy to welcome our little boy into our lives, and these past three weeks have been the most crazy, tiring, nerve-wracking, exciting and fulfilling time in our lives. Our daily schedule has changed drastically, having absolutely no time for ourselves, being completely sleep-deprived and just head-over-heels in love with our child.

Now I get it. I now know what all the other moms have been talking about. Having a baby is life-changing. All of a sudden life is no longer about you, or you and your husband, but about this little innocent person who is completely dependent on your love and care. This person needs you to survive, and will continue to look to you for nourishment, comfort, life lessons, values and support. It is an overwhelming and incredible feeling to bring someone into this world. Every single day is a wonderful journey that’s difficult and scary but also incredibly fulfilling and beautiful.

As new parents, Carlos and I made a vow to take care of our little family, and do whatever it takes to safeguard our health and keep everyone happy. This is why we decided early on that we would look into cord blood banking. We believe in its potential and we see it as a gift we could give our baby, Tristan. Great strides have been made in the science of cord blood banking, as cord blood (or placental blood) has been known to help nurture life, long after a baby’s birth and provide a source of stem cells should there be a need for a stem cell transplant. Cord blood is a rich source of stem cells known as haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) which are responsible for replenishing blood and regenerating the immune system. It can be used in the following ways: to replace and regenerate damaged or diseased bone marrow, treatment for blood cancers, to correct genetic defects and potential for cellular therapy and regenerative medicine. For us, these are very good reasons to sign up with the program. And of course, as more studies and research are made, its benefits will only be greater.

And talk about timing (and good luck), a few months ago Cordlife Philippines invited me to be one of their ambassadors, along with my good friend Patty Laurel-Filart. As you know (I’ve mentioned it many times here in my blog) Patty and I got pregnant and had babies at around the same time. This propelled us to be each other’s cheerleaders and support group, as we went through very similar experiences in the course of these 10 months. I have to say, we are very lucky to find this kind of encouragement and strength in each other as going through the hurdles of pregnancy and now motherhood has definitely not been easy for us. Our late-night conversations about pregnancy cravings, hormonal changes, aches and pains, giving birth and now breastfeeding, have been an incredible source of strength for us. It is great to know we aren’t going through this journey alone, and that we have each other to depend on for support. We’ve probably talked about everything related to pregnancy and babies, including making the decision to sign up with Cordlife Philippines.

Honestly, it was an easy decision to make. And the process of signing up was even easier as the good people of Cordlife Philippines gave us all the information we needed to know, answered all our questions regarding cord blood banking, and gave us the necessary documents and paperwork to secure our slot. At the hospital on the day of Tristan’s birth, we were required to bring our Cordlife Philippines blood and urine collection kits which were sent to our house early on. We gave these to my nurses who gave them to my OB-GYN in the delivery room. My OB took care of the whole thing–I didn’t even think about the collection until I was wheeled into the recovery room. That was how easy and non-invasive it was, I mean when you’re giving birth you don’t really want to think about these things. I got a text a few hours after giving birth that a Cordlife Philippines representative had picked up the cord blood and it was immediately going to be processed. At that point, I was just glad it was all handled, no stress, no fuzz and no tiring back and forth with the company.

As part of our job as ambassadors, Patty and I did a shoot for Cordlife Philippines, which I am so excited to share with you. It was a couple of weeks before we gave birth and I really loved the way it turned out. It was shot by Jaja Samaniego and the guys at Happy Folks Studio, styled by Margaux Alampay, makeup by Czari Domingo and hair by Marie Tan.

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THANK YOU again, Cordlife Philippines for taking care of our babies, Tristan and Theo! 

39 weeks

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I can practically see the finish line! I can’t believe I am going to meet my baby boy in a matter of days. Carlos and I are beyond excited, we are so ready to begin this new adventure and embrace parenthood. As much as I enjoyed this roller coaster journey of pregnancy, I don’t want this to last forever haha. I can’t wait to say goodbye to swollen feet, constant back and pelvic pains and numb fingers!

Time to come out, my baby love!

Photography: Mayad Beginnings // Top: Mango, dress (worn as skirt): Vero Moda

 

 

Globe Platinum x Samsung S6 Edge

I am so happy. I am now one of Globe Platinum’s ambassadors! I’ve been excited about this since the launch of the Samsung S6 and S6 Edge a couple of weeks ago (which was when I officially started), not only because I got first dibs on the coolest phone in the market. But I am finally able to experience first-hand the kind of service I’ve been looking for in a telecom company. Globe Platinum is awesome. Can I just tell you what a difference it is to have your own Platinum Relationship Manager take care of you and your specific needs–it makes life so much easier!

First of all, whatever phone or unit you want can be delivered straight to your home. There’s no need to pick up the units in Globe stores or even wait for its availability, because you’ll be priority. I’ve had the privilege of experiencing this, as I had my Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge delivered to my house the day before it was launched. The delivery even came with fantastic surprise treats that included tickets to a blocked screening to Avengers: Age of Ultron (great movie, btw) with free popcorn and drinks, JBL Micro-II Ultra Portable Speakers, a Samsung wireless charger, and discount vouchers to Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge accessories. I felt like a VIP, which was wonderful. And it didn’t end there.

I got the first-rate treatment at the official launch event of the S6 and S6 Edge at the SM Megamall Fashion Hall last April. My husband and I were picked up by a VIP car service (c/o Volkswagen) and we enjoyed refreshments while comfortably sitting through traffic (it was a Friday night after all). Once we got to the event, we joined other Globe Platinum ambassadors and enjoyed the launch. Among the new ambassadors are: food and travel writer, chef, and TV host Stephanie Zubiri-CrespiGrabTaxi Acting General Manager Natasha Bautista; businessman Marc Soong; first Filipino astronaut Chino RoqueTonet Jadaone, blockbuster director, scriptwriter and Palanca awardee; LA Aguinaldo model and host and photographer, lifestyle blogger, Robbie Becroft, and myself. Columnist and society darling Tessa Prieto-Valdes also graced the event as Globe Platinum’s honorary guest.

I have to say, Samsung’s newest phones live up to its reputation. And I think the excitement around it are built around its superior features, starting off with the smartphones’ innovative design and glass-like metal finish. Other device highlights include the  remarkable 5.1” OHD Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen display, advanced photo technology powered by 16-megapixel rear and 5-megapixel front cameras, as well as the fast-charging battery with wireless charging capabilities. It is a beautiful, intelligent phone, and I am happily using mine thanks to Globe Platinum.

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Those who subscribed to the recently launched Platinum Lifestyle Plan 4999 (which is what I am now subscribed to) got their Samsung S6 Edge for FREE along with new perks such as unlimited calls and texts to ALL networks, 15GB of mobile internet with two days unlimited data roaming monthly, unlimited access to Facebook, Viber, Yahoo Mail, and Gmail on top of the 15GB mobile internet allocation, plus an additional premium app of their choice: Spotify Premium or HOOQ. All of these services are first to be offered only by Globe Platinum. Apart from enjoying first and exclusive access to products and events, Globe Platinum subscribers are also entitled to an international 24/7 concierge service, personal relationship managers, priority in Globe stores, a dedicated Platinum hotline, and perks from partner establishments. Interested customers can get their own Samsung S6 and S6 edge with Globe Platinum by visiting the nearest Globe store, logging on to http://www.globe.com.ph/platinum, or calling the Globe hotline at (02) 730-1888.

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Sacred Pregnancy & Conscious Birth

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I have to admit, I never seriously thought about the specifics of giving birth up until I reached my third trimester. Looking back, this sounds crazy. Not knowing my choices can be a scary thing, and the last thing I want when it’s my time to give birth is to not know what is going on. It’s no wonder why the very thought of it scared me (which is probably why I refused to think about it in the first place). I didn’t know a thing about birthing, other than you check in the hospital and come out with a baby. I didn’t think it was up to me to decide whether I should have a normal or cesarean delivery, or that gentle, natural birthing was even an option. I assumed the best way to do it is the “normal” way, which is at the hospital and all decisions are made by doctors.

Well, in case you didn’t know (like me), there are other ways to give birth. As I learned at this workshop, a gentle, natural birthing is an option to consider, and you can do this at home or at a birthing center. Of course, you will need to get educated first, and would have to consult with a midwife, doula and doctor (your OB-GYNE has to be supportive). You will also need to prepare yourself mentally, physically and spiritually, since this is a different birthing journey, with the most beautiful and enlightening results. I am not speaking from experience here (I am now on my 39th week and I plan to do a normal delivery). The workshop was hosted by Irina Otmakhova of Conscious Birth Manila, Monica Eleazar Manzano of Birthing Beyond, and my good friend, blogger Cat Juan-Ledesma (www.catjuan.com), who each imparted invaluable knowledge that honestly, banished all my fears and misconceptions about giving birth.

We covered a lot of ground during the intimate workshop–we learned about healthy pregnancy, gentle birth and postpartum care. We tackled the importance of nutrition during pregnancy, as well as exercise through prenatal yoga. But what really caught my interest was the idea of gentle birth and using different methods (like Hypnobirthing and Spinning Babies) to achieve a wholistic birth experience. Overall, it was reassuring to know that this kind of birth was possible, and I can actually welcome my baby in the most peaceful way. Honestly, because of this class all my fears were laid to rest, and I am now looking forward to giving birth.

IMG_6691Monica taught us prenatal yoga exercises that can help ease labor.

IMG_0556Cat explained her reason behind hosting the workshop: to help educate soon-to-be parents about the joys of gentle birthing.

IMG_6692We learned to embrace our inner goddesses, and to trust in our bodies when giving birth.

IMG_6697Irina showed us the proper position the baby should be in to have a smooth delivery.

IMG_6703Irina felt the position of the baby and told me what exercises to do in order for him to be in the right position.

IMG_0529This was one of the exercises Irina taught us. We do this every night to get our baby boy in the right position. For more information about this, look up Spinning Babies.

IMG_0532Another exercise to get baby into position.

IMG_6706Irina taught us some hypnobirthing exercises to help us ease through the process of labor. 

IMG_6694Another exercise we did was decorate candles to place in sacred spaces in our homes. These candles are supposed to bring positivity and light into our pregnancy and even after our babies are born.

IMG_6687These local brands were so generous to give us these goodies! Thank you, Indigo Baby, So True Naturals, Saya Baby Carriers and Souq Organics!!! Oh and our yummy lunch was sponsored by Edgy Veggie!

IMG_6739Thank you, Cat, Irina and Monica!

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There will be another Gentle Birthing seminar this August! To find out more about it, email consciousbirthmanila@gmail.com. 

(Photos are from http://www.catjuan.com and Monica’s camera.)