Baby bump

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My little baby bean is growing fast and I can hardly keep up. I am finally beginning to show, but I think it still looks like I just ate a giant burrito haha. I guess I’ll have to wait a few more weeks before I take another bumpie. Hopefully we’ll be able to see a difference.

This was taken at our lovely resort in Caramoan Island at Camarines Sur. I was on my way out for a swim when my husband took these photos. I love this colorful bikini from Soak Swimwear (follow them on Instagram: @soakswimwear)–the fit is perfect!

 

 

Tricks of the Trade: Ways to deal with underarm hair–without the nicks and cuts

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Hi, Kelly! My 12-year old daughter is so conscious of her underarm hair. I can’t advise her on what to do with it because I haven’t got any hair in my armpit. I do not know which is safe and convenient for tweens these days. Please help me decide by discussing the many types of hair removal and their side effects. Thank you.

This subject matter can be quite tricky, as I understand how shy and self-conscious tweens can be about hair removal. But it is never too early to know about their options, especially if she is feeling embarrassed by it.

Puberty hits us at different ages, and for her, it may be a little earlier than her friends. Suddenly, hair seems to grow in places where there was none, and it can be a source of stress for her if she doesn’t know what is happening or what to do about it. The first thing to do is to explain that what she is going through is completely normal. Women have to deal with this sort of thing all the time, and there are many solutions for unwanted hair growth available for her. The next thing to present are the different kinds of hair removal: Each one has its own pros and cons, and it is best to explain each one to her so she can ultimately make that decision, or if you will decide for her, so that she will know what to expect.

These are her options for underarm hair removal. (Note: Please get your family physician or dermatologist’s go-signal first before you allow your daughter to try IPL or laser hair removal. These may be better options for her after a few years, or when she is a teenager.)

Shaving. Using a razor can be cheap, quick and convenient, but over time it can cause ingrown hairs, darkening of the underarms (due to the friction) and if you’re not careful, nicks and cuts. If your daughter opts to shave her underarms, she’d better be prepared. First off, she needs to use a razor that is made specifically for shaving this area. This prevents her from getting ingrown hair and from potentially cutting herself with the razor. Also, using a shaving cream (also made for women) can allow her a smooth and close shave minus the razor burns. As convenient as this is though, she will need to do this often, as hair grows one to two days after shaving.

Waxing. While this is one of the most effective ways to get rid of stubborn hair, it can also be quite painful. It really varies from person to person, but for people who have a lower threshold for pain, it can hurt a little bit. It shouldn’t hurt so much when it is done to underarms though, as compared to your arms, legs or bikini area. The upside of waxing is that it is quick, and hair seems to grow less dense after about a week and a half. The downside is she may experience ingrown hairs (unless she exfoliates the area daily) and she will need to grow out her hair before it is long enough to be pulled.

Depilatory cream. This works easy enough. The cream will kill hair from its base when you leave it on for a few minutes, then she will simply wipe the area down and hair is gone. The downside to this is that hair may grow in two to three days (just like shaving), and some creams may not be suited to sensitive skin, which may cause skin to feel hot and for some, tender. Better look for a depilatory cream that is made for sensitive skin and used for specifically for underarms.

IPL (Intense Pulsed Light). This uses high-speed, pulsing flashes of light that burns hair follicle, but as scary as it sounds it is virtually pain-free. IPL works by targeting the melanin pigmentation of the hair and singes each strand until it stops growth completely. It is basically attracted to darker, thicker hair so it will work better if hair is just that— darker and thicker. Depending on thickness and color of her hair, results can be seen in three to five visits, but there is always a chance of regrowth. This will require a maintenance blast once in awhile to keep armpits hair-free. Price may differ from place to place, but most have affordable packages you can avail yourself of. (Please consult your doctor first if your daughter is old enough to undergo this treatment.)

Laser hair removal. This treatment uses laser beams to cause long-lasting thermal damage to hair. Underarm hair falls off after the second or third session. It’s said to be more effective as it works for all types of hair and in all colors, is quick and painless, and will see clear results in five to six sessions. This means she will have to be a little patient as hair won’t be gone right away. But rest assured that after the treatment is done, she will be hair-free for life. Again, price can be an issue for this, but it is one of the most effective hair-removal treatments around.

 

Mellow yellow

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Okay, I admit it. This was taken weeks ago, before the baby bump (I am starting to show at four months and I can no longer wear these pants haha). I thought I lost these photos until hooray, I found them in my hard drive! This was taken after attending an event and my husband and I were walking back to our car. We passed through a park so we thought we might as well make the most of the situation and do a quick shoot.

This yellow bird print bow top is from Chelsea Clothing (follow them on Instagram: @chelseaclothingph), black high-waisted pants from Uniqlo, flats from Shoe-Nga (check out their Facebook account: http://www.facebook.com/shoenga and Instagram: @shoe_nga), leather satchel from Rabeanco, and rings from Morellato (puzzle ring) and H&M (stacking ring). My nails are by I Do Nails.

Long black dress

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I finally found an occasion to wear this dress! I got it a few months back from Soul Lifestyle and I’ve been waiting and waiting for the right time to wear it. And so the right time came and I was more than ready to put it on. Now, part of the reason why I was so excited to wear the dress is because this is actually an infinity dress. You can wear it in 20 different ways and still find more ways to style the dress differently. I must’ve spent a good 30 minutes trying out different styles, when I decided to go with the simplest, and this is the result.

I have to say, I love that the material is thick, stretchable and easy to wear. It is incredibly flattering, and super easy to style. It looked classy and elegant, and was a standout at the event. I wore it with crystals earrings, which I got as a gift a long time ago and strappy heels from Suiteblanco. Oh and its a huge plus that I’ll still be able to wear it in the next few months, even as I get bigger. The dress works with any body type–it’s heaven sent for pregnant women like myself.

Soul Lifestyle is available at 2nd Floor, Gaisano Mall of Davao and 3rd Floor, Abreeza Ayala Mall. Follow them on Instagram: @SoulLifestyle. 

 

Surviving the first trimester

As most of you know, I had a really tough first trimester (I’ve mentioned it a few times here in my blog). Like, really miserable. I mean, I was aware of early pregnancy symptoms before getting pregnant, but in a way I always thought it was bearable. I never, never thought in a million years that it would be difficult. Of course, a lot of my mommy friends kept telling me, “oh it will get better, then it gets worse, then a lot worse”, so I really dreaded what’s to come but at the same time kept my focus on the, “it gets better” part. That kept me going. The second trimester.

For me, all-day morning sickness was the killer, which meant having that nauseous feeling ALL THE TIME. I threw up every day, when I was hungry, when I was full, when I smelt something I didn’t like, oh and I always threw up at around 2am (I still don’t know what that means but yeah, it was horrible). With this came bouts of dizziness, a bionic sense of smell and extreme exhaustion. I kind of liked the sleeping part because that was the only time I could escape from the nausea, but other than that it was so difficult. I would wake up tired and zapped of energy, which took a lot of getting used to because I could not work. Thankfully, it was gearing up to November-December-January, when all the holidays happened, so work was somewhat slower than usual. And for the days when I managed to get myself out of bed, dressed and out somewhere, I immediately wished I were home so I could lie down and sleep. It really was quite an experience–showering made me tired!

Now that I am on my second trimester (16 weeks this week) I feel SO MUCH BETTER. I have energy again! Of course, its not like pre-pregnancy energy, but its a huge improvement from these past few weeks. I can now look back at my experience (though its still bittersweet) and kind of make sense of what happened. And it just hit me this week that yes, I survived the first trimester, and really, I am so proud of myself for getting through it.

So I wanted to share with you the little things that made the experience better and more comfortable for me. Because they really made a big difference! I can only hope this will reach another mommas-to-be who are struggling as much as I did. Please know that you will get through this, I promise. Just take it day by day, and soon you’ll be on your second trimester.

Stock up on crackers. I survived munching on SkyFlakes all-day, all-night. My stomach was super sensitive and acidic during the first trimester so I needed something to calm it down. Crackers helped, big time. I would keep a stash of it everywhere: on my night table, in the car, in my purse–I would seriously start to panic when I didn’t have a packet in arm’s reach. This was my security blanket for anti-nausea.


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Get yourself a set of acupressure bands. I found this when I was shopping online. A friend of mine was coming home from the States and asked me if I needed anything, so I immediately researched on what preggy ladies use to combat nausea. Search results led me to these amazing acupressure bands. These bands use pressure to stimulate the P6 acupuncture point. This point is located about two finger-widths from the crease on the underside of the wrist. The one I got is called SeaBand (I purchased it from Target), which fit snugly on both wrists like sweatbands. When you look inside the band, it has a raised surface that applies pressure on the wrist. Practitioners of acupuncture and acupressure believe stimulation of this point may stop nausea and vomiting. This worked especially well for me when I travelled. I would usually get carsick or seasick, but when I wore it I didn’t feel dizzy or nauseous. I wore it on most days, though I have to admit there were some days when my morning sickness would hit me hard and I would still get a little dizzy. The sad part is that I only discovered this during the last few weeks of my first trimester. This would’ve really helped in the beginning of my pregnancy, like the first few weeks.

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Sweet-sour candy is your friend. I discovered this from Patty Laurel-Filart, who is also expecting (can you believe, our due dates are BOTH first week of July). We were on our way to an event when she offered me the most amazing candy ever–its called ICE BREAKERS SOURS. It was sooooo good. I don’t know what it is about being pregnant, but I suddenly love anything sour. Anyway, this saved me from nausea so many times, I had to stock up on this. Like whenever I would start to feel dizzy, I would pop one in my mouth and immediately I forget about the dizziness and zone in on the sour goodness. Sour Skittles also did the same for me, as well as sampaloc. The Ice Breakers was more handy though–I always left a pack in my purse so I can suck on it whenever I needed it.

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Hydrate. I confess, I didn’t drink enough water before getting pregnant. I don’t know why I didn’t. I guess I just forget when I’m zoned out with work. So of course I found out you cannot do this when you’re pregnant. Your body needs water now more than ever, because you’re making a person and that requires A LOT of water! Of course, I had to learn it the hard way and found out I wasn’t drinking enough through some tests my OB/GYN made me take. As I found out, not drinking enough water did contribute to my nausea and dizziness and when I drank a lot more I felt better. So, don’t forget to drink water, ladies.

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Instead of big meals, snack throughout the day. As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I could not finish a plate of food. So instead, I portioned my meals into snack sizes or kiddie meals, which I would eat every 2-3 hours. I tried to be creative, but you really can’t when you’re pregnant. Its either you love a certain food or you hate it with a passion, so find out what you’re craving for, stock up on it and eat it in small, frequent meals.

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Immerse yourself in a good book or television series. This is the best kind of distraction because it takes up a lot of your time, and for the next few weeks that’s all you have on your hands. During my first trimester, I got into Downton Abbey, Scandal and Breaking Bad; I also watched a lot of movies and read books. These made me forget about my morning sickness, and it made snacking more fun.

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Take Vitamin B6 and B12. Before anything, you will need to get the okay of your doctor for this so you get the proper dosage. I found that taking this really helped me with my morning sickness. It gave me some energy and allowed me to get out of bed and do a little work.

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Go to YouTube and watch feel good videos. I remember there was this one night when I felt incredibly dizzy, nauseous and emotional and nothing seemed to work. I needed to lift my mood so I got on YouTube and searched “laughing babies” and found hundreds of adorable babies laughing. I began crying and laughing uncontrollably while watching the videos and you know what, I felt better after watching them. Now I make it a habit to watch a feel good video a day. Puppies, kittens, babies, you name it–I suddenly love watching these videos (and mind you, I never used to watch these before).

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Ask your OB/GYN about your prenatal pills. It might be your prenatal pills that are making you nauseous. I’m not sure if its the iron in the pills or another thing that might be causing it, but these tend to be a little strong and can cause these symptoms. Talk to your OB/GYN about it–she might be able to prescribe milder prenatal pills for you.

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Avoid caffeine. I never really drank tea, coffee or soft drinks before I got pregnant, because they always seemed to trigger my vertigo. But I would have it once in awhile when I felt like it, and during the times when I would indulge I would have to throw up after. I’m not sure if this is applicable to just my pregnancy or to everyone else’s. Anyway, you’re not allowed to have a whole lot of these as these are bad for the baby. But for me, it caused nausea.

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Best of luck on your pregnancies–I hope these tips help. I will be updating you on mine as the weeks/months go by. Sending good, happy vibes your way!

 

 

Aruga by Rockwell

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This was definitely a welcome break for Carlos and I. For weeks we have been cooped up at home as I struggled with my first trimester. I didn’t feel like going out most of the time, so we really needed this mini stay-cation. So of course, when Rockwell invited us to an overnight stay at their newest residential hotel, ARUGA, we couldn’t resist. We desperately needed to get out of the house and be pampered.

To be honest, I was curious about Aruga. This is Rockwell’s foray into hotel and leisure, and they’ve done such an amazing job creating quality living with Powerplant Mall, the Rockwell Club and their exclusive condominiums. I wanted to see and experience it for myself, and see what set this apart from all the other hotels in Metro Manila.

Well, one thing’s for sure, Aruga maintained Rockwell’s signature brand of exclusivity and luxury. The 114 apartments are fully furnished and come complete with all the appliances you may need for a long or short stay. For instance, the one and two-bedroom apartments have a kitchen and dining area, where you can cook and prepare meals and entertain guests (they have pots and pans for you to use, also plates and utensils). They even have a washing machine and dryer, so you can do your own laundry. The apartments are spacious and comfortable, its interior design sophisticated but functional. It’s really your home away from home, which was quite perfect for me because I like staying at home but at that time I also needed a change of scenery (classic case of cabin fever haha).

While I was there, I tried to picture myself as a traveler. Like, what would I need to make my stay comfortable? Of course, the basics: an amazing bed, cable television, strong WiFi connection come to mind. But there are also other factors to consider, like accessibility (Aruga is right in the heart of Makati), having a mall nearby with a great selection of shops and restaurants (there’s a walkway from Aruga to Powerplant Mall and they provide golf cart service to go anywhere within Rockwell area), amenities like a gym and pool (Aruga has these), spa and massage services (these too) and it won’t hurt to have a 24-hour concierge and reception to answer to my every beck and call (and this, which is a win for me). Like most of you, I like to be spoilt when I travel, especially when I’m on vacation. And if it means paying a little extra to get excellent service and perks, why not?! So of course, Aruga passed all my requirements, and more. I have since recommended it to family and friends from abroad who are looking for a place to stay in Manila. And to friends who need a relaxing getaway without buying a plane ticket. Their units range from studios to one and two-bedrooms, which really depends on how big your family is and how comfortable you want to get.

Needless to say, Carlos and I enjoyed our stay here. We relaxed in our one-bedroom executive suite, walked to Powerplant Mall when we were hungry (I think I also did a little shopping haha), I booked a facial in the morning after our yummy breakfast at the Rockwell Club, we did a mini shoot for my blog and spent the remaining hours relaxing some more. It was a pretty productive weekend for us–we were energized by Monday when we had to go back to work.

To know more about Aruga by Rockwell, go to their website: http://www.arugabyrockwell.com. Scroll down to see more photos.

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Warm & cozy

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I really love January weather. The temperature drops just enough (at least in Manila) that it is comfortable to dress up and wear warm clothing. All my leather pieces (tops, skirts, shorts and jackets) have been on heavy rotation since December, and I hope to continue to wear them until February (hopefully I still fit in them by then). One of my favorites is this black leather skirt from H&M that seems to work with everything in my closet. It’s so easy, super comfortable and garter-ized so I can still wear it for a few more weeks. I paired it with this chained wool top from Sfera and black booties from Forever21. For my accessories, I wore a gold watch from Morellato and a gold ring from BCBG Max Azria.

 

Tricks of the Trade: How to make your signature scent last longer

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Good day! I would like to ask how to make fragrance last on my body/skin throughout the day. Thanks.—Diane Torino

While more of us have already decided which particular fragrances appeal to us, the matter of how to make our favorite scents last longer always comes to mind. That’s because no matter how good your favorite perfume smells, if it lasts only a few minutes, that bottle may not be worth it. We want bang for our buck, which we hope we get in the form of fragrance that lasts six to eight hours.

Of course, most perfumes are made to last this long, but because of our humid weather, or a few other reasons, their life span may be cut short. You must know that fragrances are made differently, and some may last longer than others. I think that in order to know how to extend the scent life of our fragrance, we must first know how it works.

Let’s break down the fragrance: A perfume has at least 150 ingredients in every bottle; when sprayed, they create a symphony of smells. Each scent is made up of top, heart and base notes, and these deliver complementing smells at different times. The top note, which is the first scent you smell when you spray on your perfume, is the lightest and sweetest. This lasts around five to 15 minutes. Then, the heart note takes over, which is typically composed of flowers, herbs and leaves. This will last for about two to three hours. After this dissipates, the scent of the base will be left, which is generally made of amber, musk and wood. This will stay on for about three to four hours.

So, you don’t just smell one scent when you spray on your favorite fragrance. You might actually be running after the scent of your fragrance’s top note, which doesn’t last so long. Still, there are ways to make your fragrance last longer. You can follow these easy tips.

Go for perfume rather than eau de toilette. When shopping for your go-to fragrance, you may notice how it comes in eau de toilette, eau de parfum and perfume, all of which have different prices. Its price depends on the strength of the perfume oils used to create it, which makes the least diluted formulation of fragrance more expensive because it has higher staying power. Buy eau de parfum or the perfume version of it. This will guarantee your fragrance will stay on longer, as it has the highest concentration of oil.

Know when to spray your scent. Humidity is the vampire of fragrance. The moisture in the air robs you of your scent as it absorbs it quicker than your skin can. This makes it ideal to wear your perfume in a dry environment, like an air-conditioned room, or maybe inside your car or office. You can keep a little bottle in your handbag to make it easier to spray when you arrive at a place. Doing this also ensures you smell great at the right place and time so you don’t waste your fragrance.

Never rub your fragrance when you spray. You know how you’re supposed to rub your wrists together when you apply perfume? Well, that isn’t the right way to do it, apparently. Fragrance should be left to dry on its own when you spray it, so you don’t disrupt how it’s supposed to smell. Perfume smells different on different skin or people. Rubbing your fragrance may cause it to have a different smell.

Moisturize. You know how humidity can absorb fragrance faster than our skin can? Well, this is especially true when you have very dry skin. Scents will never last because there is nothing for your perfume to grab. The fragrance will simply evaporate in a matter of minutes. Using a moisturizing soap or shower gel helps, as will using body lotion after showering.

 

What to wear at 14 weeks

I’m in a bit of a predicament here, because I am just realizing I am getting bigger and I have no idea what to wear every day. I know, I know, this shouldn’t even come as a surprise because I’ve had three months to really take it all in and plan my pregnancy into the next few months. Well, no. The past few weeks have been all about the morning sickness and the cravings and the exhaustion and the “hey, I’m feeling okay again, umm no I’m not (throws up)”. I’ve really had it rough from the beginning so maternity fashion was the farthest thing from my mind. I couldn’t even work, let alone plan my wardrobe.

So far, I still have two pairs of jeans that fit, but they get uncomfortable after a few hours of wearing them. So I am all about dresses now, because they don’t constrict and they allow me to breathe. I’ve been wearing maxi dresses whenever I need to go out of the house, which are no-brainers. I just wear them and bring a cardigan in case it gets cold, put on my comfiest sandals and I’m good to go. But there has to be more to life than maxi dresses!!!

I’m such a pregnancy newbie and these days I’ve been all about finding ways to be stylish and comfortable while pregnant. It’s challenging!!! Thank God for the Internet, because I’ve been getting so many tips on how to dress for x number of weeks. There are so many great fashion ideas out there and I can’t wait to apply them to my every day life.

I really love this particular fashion video series I found on YouTube which is by designer, blogger and author Joy Cho. Her videos are so fun and colorful, and I love her quirky sense of fashion. She gives great tips on dressing for 12 weeks and 16 weeks, which should be helpful to all you mommas-to-be struggling with your wardrobes.

In the meantime, I promised myself a day of shopping. I’ll be picking out maternity chic pieces that will hopefully extend my shrinking wardrobe. I’ll be on the hunt for maternity jeans and tops that still look young and stylish (I still want to feel like myself). I read somewhere that I should bring something that will mimic a big bump, like a sweater. So when I try on clothes I can stuff my bump and see how it looks when I am huge. I should think that’s helpful, so I can really wear the clothes until my last weeks of pregnancy. Wish me luck! I’ll be sharing my finds soon.

Oh, and if you have any tips on what to wear for the following weeks, I would really appreciate them. Please share your fashion tips, mommas!

Halo loves Amanda

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It was one of the prettiest baby showers I’ve attended, and coincidentally, it was for one the prettiest faces in the modeling industry. Of course, we all know Amanda Griffin-Jacob. She was a top model and host for the longest time until she decided to settle down and raise a family. Today she is based in Singapore with her husband and two boys (Kieran and Kalon) and runs an amazing mommy blog called http://www.glamomamas.com. She is expecting her third baby, and yay, its a girl!!! I can imagine how excited she and her husband must be for this new addition to their family. This is unbelievably happy news!!!

For me, Amanda has always been someone to look up to, not just because of her beauty but because she always supported great causes and has always been vocal about her personal advocacies. “Amanda has always been very supportive of Halo and our advocacy to educate parents about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. This is our way of returning the love,” shares Ives Lim-Esteban of Halo Philippines. Halo Philippines distributes the Halo SleepSack, the #1 brand of wearable blanket that replaces loose blankets which can cover a baby’s face and interfere with breathing. And fittingly enough, Amanda’s first baby shower gift was a set of Halo SleepSack Swaddles to help make swaddling her newborn safer and easier. The Halo SleepSack Swaddle is the only commercial swaddle approved as hip-healthy by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute, and used by over 1,250 hospitals in North America.

I happened to try out the Halo SleepSack blindfolded during one of the baby shower games and I have to say, it is super easy to put on. Of course, we didn’t use real babies for the game, but the teddy bears we used were pretty cooperative and I could really picture myself easily putting it on my baby. Clearly there is so much for me to learn in the coming months, but I’m glad I discovered this particular product because I had no clue that using blankets could actually be dangerous to your newborn.

It was a fun afternoon of games, prizes, gifts, yummy food and more giveaways. Halo lovingly hand-picked gifts for Amanda, which included products from @PigeonbabyPH, @Safety1stPH, @oopsPH, @mothercareph, @hatchandlatch, @i_angel_ph, lassigphils, @modernmamaph, @mamasandpapasph, @mybabydragon, and @babyleafdiapers. We ladies were oooh-ing and aaah-ing as Amanda opened her presents, which was really a lot of fun. I took notes for myself and gladly took advice from the other moms in the room.

Congratulations again, Amanda! We can’t wait to meet your precious little girl.

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Photo Credits: Peas and Pods Photography (www.facebook.com/peasandpodsphotography)

                               Halo Philippines (www.halophilippines.com)