Take a trip to Tristan’s favorite city: Singapore

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Traveling with a toddler is no joke. I mean, don’t get me wrong, my husband and I love our little boy to bits and we bring him with us everywhere we go. But going on a trip (especially a long haul one) can be challenging, to say the least. From packing, to preparing your baby for the airplane ride, getting used to a new city, making sure you have all the conveniences like a changing/nursing room, ramps and sidewalks for the stroller, a highchair at the restaurant you’re dining in, a crib and baby bathtub for the hotel room–bringing your baby with you will definitely change your itinerary and slow down the pace of your trip.

Not that I’m complaining. We’ve gone on quite a few family trips since Tristan was born and these trips have been wonderful. Tiring on most days and a little difficult on some, but so worth it as it brought our family together and we got to create all these amazing memories with our lovey. It’s funny, whenever I blog about my experiences as a mom I always, always contradict myself. But there’s no better way to describe it: parenthood is wonderfully difficult if that makes any sense, and going on a family vacation with your baby or toddler is just that. You might need a vacation from that vacation as it can get pretty hectic and crazy, but then you have all those memories that make it all worth it.

Okay, so right now I am actually majorly jet lagging, as we just got back from a month-long vacation that involved a 15-hour flight and disorienting timezones. I’ve actually been meaning to write this blog post for awhile now but had to postpone as this trip has been major in all aspects. Hard to explain as a mom as all the days seem jumbled in my head but yes, I cant describe it other than it was wonderfully difficult, which is why I look back at our recent trip to Singapore with happy nostalgia. It was one of our best family trips to date, as Singapore is such a family-friendly place to visit. And when I say family-friendly, I mean you will actually get to relax because your child will be safe, there are so many yummy places that have amazing kid menus, there are changing rooms in every corner, and there is plenty of room to run, play and be a kid!

I have to admit, I never really cared for these things before, but when you become a parent, all of these things become so important. We’ve been halfway across the world and we haven’t found a place as family/child-friendly as Singapore. It is THE place to take your child to make wonderful memories together, and nope, I assure you the trip wont be wonderfully difficult. Just wonderful.

Let me share with you the fun family-friendly things we did in Singapore so you can include them in your itinerary on your next trip.

1.) We tried the Sesame Street breakfast buffet at Universal Studios. Who knew breakfast could be so fun? My family and I loved this experience–we ate the yummiest breakfast with Elmo, Oscar the Grouch and Ernie. What a treat! Of course, Tristan was a wee bit too young to recognize them, but he was definitely intrigued. Also, he ate so well–there are so many delicious choices for your little ones. Oh, and this breakfast comes with plenty of freebies, be sure to ask about it. You get a gift bag that includes coloring materials and many more Sesame Street merchandise. Then, spend the rest of the day at Universal Studios! *This is available every Saturday from 9:00am to 10:30am at Loui’s NY Pizza Parlor.

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2.) Tristan learned about art at the Keppel Centre for Art Education at the National Gallery Singapore. I know, he is one, you would think how can he understand art at this age? Well, he did because he learned it through imaginative play. This art facility is the first of its kind in Singapore (and the region) as it offers a dynamic environment that will stimulate a child’s creativity and curiosity. The place features four vibrant spaces conceptualized by artists and a digital interactive playscape. And it presents an exciting line-up of programs for kids and families for free. We actually discovered this place by accident. We were having lunch at the National Kitchen by Violet Oon (I’ll be blogging about this soon) when our tour guide suggested she bring Tristan there while we had lunch. It was the best idea because Tristan loved it–he didn’t want to leave! And while you’re there, check out the nearby art galleries and the baby/kiddie store just around the corner–they sell the cutest things!

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3.) We spent the day at the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands. This is something the whole family can enjoy. There is so much to do and to see here, especially for the kids–FUTURE WORLD: Where Art Meets Science is such a wonderful place for them to learn and play. They have interactive giant cubes, balls and projector displays. Kids can color and play, along with their parents–we spent hours here and we had a blast. Tristan loved the huge interactive digital projection of an entire city that was colored entirely by the kids (the kids can color images and these can be submitted to be part of the projection). It was pretty amazing—it had buildings, houses, moving cars, helicopters and airplanes! My little guy has a fascination for cars so he was staring at that exhibit for a long time. Oh, and he absolutely loved the giant balls that changed color when you touch it. He made friends with the other toddlers while playing—they had so much fun.

The ArtScience Museum features 21 gallery spaces, that has been home to some of the most renowned exhibitions including: Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition, Andy Warhol: 15 Minutes Eternal, Harry Potter: The Exhibition, Dinosaurs: Dawn to Extinction, Da Vinci: Shaping the Future, The Deep, DreamWorks Animation: The Exhibition, Singapore Stories: Then, Now, Tomorrow and Collider. The ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands was awarded TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence in 2015. This recognition places the museum amid a select group of attractions that have been recognized by worldwide travellers for providing outstanding tourist experiences.

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4.) We had a lovely dinner at Jamie’s Italian (their kiddie menu is worth the trip). Rustic and delicious, with huge portions, this restaurant was one of the highlights of our trip. Carlos and I enjoyed the amazing dishes we ordered, but what stood out for me was the impressive kiddie menu (you can check out their menu here). I love that Jaime Oliver really took the time to come up with a delicious menu for kids, which is a rarity in the restaurant industry. This means the kids can eat healthy food and expand their palate. No doubt, this is one of the most family friendly restaurants in Singapore, which is why you need to make a reservation here when you’re in Singapore.

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No doubt, Singapore is Tristan’s favorite city. He had so many places to go, things to do and restaurants to eat. We will definitely be back when he is a little older. I’m sure he will love it just as much!

Watch out for more blog posts about Singapore—I have more places and tips to share.❤

Happy 90 years, Colgate Philippines!

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As I was brushing Tristan’s teeth last night before going to bed, I tried to recall the first time my parents introduced me to brushing. Of course, I could not remember much–what used to be fuzzy, blurry memories have now faded into nothing. I can only recall bits and pieces of our old house, and part of that memory is that we always, always had a tube of Colgate in my parents’ bathroom, and later on in our own bathrooms.

Colgate is one of the first products I used as a child, and has remained a staple in our household until today. It has been such a huge part of my life that sometimes, instead of asking for toothpaste, I ask for Colgate! It makes perfect sense, as practically every day of my childhood and adult life, I’ve brushed my teeth with this toothpaste brand. And it doesn’t matter what variant I use, seeing that logo gives me comfort, as it has become such an essential part of my day.

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Come to think of it, all my important milestones include this toothpaste brand, and it has not only kept my teeth clean and my breath fresh, but it has given me the confidence to start my day. On the day of my wedding, I brushed my teeth with Colgate right before my makeup was applied. And up until that first kiss as a married couple I didn’t worry or even think about whether or not I had fresh breath. I just knew I did.

It is moments like these that make all the difference. It is when you can happily live in the moment and not have to worry about the little things (like white teeth or fresh breath). And for that I congratulate Colgate for reaching 90 years! Happy, happy birthday COLGATE PHILIPPINES! May we have many more years and milestones to come.

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Website: http://www.Colgate.ph,

On Facebook/Youtube: Colgate Philippines

On Instagram and Twitter: Colgateph

Available online via Lazada: http://lzd.co/Colgate

The Parent Files – Activities for Toddlers on a Rainy Day

We’ve been staying home a lot this week which has been a nice change from all the traveling we’ve been doing (time to catch up with those blog posts). It’s nice to be at home and all, but we are never really in relax mode because we have a toddler in the house! Apart from the house being a perpetual mess, we are running out of activities Tristan can do with us. I’m glad I found this episode of The Parent Files (perfect timing, really) because now I am ready!🙂 Click play and watch if you have a toddler in the house!

No compromise parenting

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I remember there were more than a few nights when I was still pregnant with Tristan when I would reflect and really think about what kind of mom I will be (yes, those were the kind of thoughts that went through my preggy brain). Will I be a strict and controlling mom, like always on top of things and never letting anything slip by me? Or will I be a chill and relaxed mom, which is on the other end of the spectrum–always saying yes and just allowing things to take its course. As I pondered on these thoughts, my husband said something that made a lot of sense: you can never really decide on what kind of mom you will be, you will still be you, but then, you will also be a mom. That put a lot of things into perspective–I don’t have to lose who I am just because I will become a mom, I can be my own version of a mom (thank you Carlos, for once again calming down my crazy brain).
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No doubt, being a first-time mom can be really scary. All of a sudden you are responsible for the life of this other person, and he is totally dependent on you for food, clothing, love and affection. And there’s no break from being a mom, no vacation, forever and ever–you will always be a mom no matter what and that means that part of your brain is always switched on. From what people tell me, it never goes away–the caring, the worrying, the love. For the first few months, I remember being so scared to make mistakes that I was afraid to be hands on with my baby. I mean, I did it–I breastfed and changed diapers and cuddled and loved my baby, but there was always that fear in the back of my mind that I might mess it up and do something horribly wrong. And that’s why I didn’t sleep well for the first six months.
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Of course, now it’s much better as I am now one year and four months into motherhood. I have learned a lot of things about myself, my husband, and most definitely my baby in this short amount of time. And looking back, I still cant define what kind of mother I am other than I am myself, but now also a mom. There are certain things that I allow and just let it take its course, and there are also things that I will not allow to happen. In a lot of ways it feels like a juggling act, going back and forth with my rules and principles. However, when I really think about it, there are some things that I will not compromise, and the number one thing is SAFETY.
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I will do just about anything to keep Tristan safe, healthy and happy. So I make sure all the products he uses are safe and effective. Some of my favorite brands include Cycles, Cradle and Cycles Sensitive, which have a wide range of products that I use on Tristan everyday. This includes Cradle Baby Bottle and Nipple Cleanser, which effectively cleans my baby’s bottles, plates and utensils (it is also great for washing fruits and vegetables) and is safe as it is made from natural and edible ingredients; Cycles Mild Laundry Detergent Liquid and Powder, which are hypoallergenic, super mild and baby friendly, as they are free from fabric softeners, optical brighteners, bleach, dyes and enzymes; Cycles Stain Soaker, a mild yet tough stain soaker for baby’s clothes, linens, fabric accessories and toys (this is super effective, especially for removing poop); and the entire line of Cycles Sensitive, like the Baby Head to Toe Wash, Baby Lotion, Non DEET Insect Repellant Lotion, Protective Diaper Cream, Anti Mosquito Patches and Laundry Detergent. 
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I am very happy to announce that the Baby Barangay moms are now the new endorsers of these wonderful brands! I am so kilig about this, as I really have been using Cycles, Cradle and Cycles Sensitive since I gave birth to Tristan, and I can attest to its effectivity and safety. We always have these in our home, and I always recommend these to new moms I meet. And like the Baby Barangay, we can all be part of a community of no compromise parenting. Moms, I am sure you are just like me and will not compromise your baby’s health and well-being, that’s why I am inviting you to join this great community of moms! All you have to do is click on to http://www.nocompromiseparenting.com, and when you sign up you get loyalty discounts and discover more about the mommy community. I’ll be making more announcements here soon, so watch out for it!

Flashback to our first home

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Since getting married and having a baby, my definition of shopping has changed drastically. Shopping is no longer just limited to clothes, bags, shoes and makeup but to furniture, home accessories and appliances. Come to think of it, I am so much happier knowing I’ve found the perfect refrigerator or stove than buying myself an expensive pair of designer shoes. I guess I’ve finally grown up, as I’ve become more practical and domesticated. I’ve come to realize how important is it to invest in our home, as this is where we spend our everyday lives. This is where we eat, sleep and relax–saving up for all the conveniences like furniture and appliances is worth it as these ultimately make our lives easier.

I remember when we first moved into our house. We had just gotten married and the place was so bare and empty. I think the only things we had was our bed, a small television, my L-shaped desk (which we shared) that had our computers, laptop and gadgets, a small refrigerator and an electric stove. We survived with just that for a couple of months, until we got to slowly save up for the big ticket items like a big refrigerator, a gas range and stove, a washing machine and dryer, inverter air-conditioning, and eventually a couch and a big LED television. The reason why we didn’t buy everything all at once was because we wanted to save up for the best, so that we wouldn’t need to upgrade for a long time. We are more practical in that sense, and in a way, we already knew what we wanted (and we knew we couldn’t afford to buy them all in one go).

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As so, we waited. We got the refrigerator first, because we needed the space for our food as I was already learning how to cook. To be honest, it was such a relief to get an upgrade as our tiny refrigerator could only store water, a few fruits and veggies and some leftovers. Then, we decided to fix up our living room. So we got an LED television and a couch and Carlos set-up the sound system so we could watch movies at home. Then of course, we got inverter air-conditioning for the living room (we already had one for the bedrooms), which really improved everything! After that we loved staying at home and relaxing.

After a couple of months we got the big gas range and stove. We waited a long time for this and after I realized it was such a relief to have it. I couldn’t believe we lasted all that time with just an electric stove! The last big purchase we made was the washing machine–a must for every home, btw. We were having our laundry done outside and it’s not the same. We could finally take care of our clothes by washing them properly, and nothing was lost anymore. (Okay, so after I shared all that now I cant believe we endured all those months without the conveniences of these appliances. Wow. How did we do it?)

There is one trusted store we frequented during those many, many months, and that was SM Appliance Center. Seriously, we spent practically every weekend there just looking and comparing brands and models until we found the perfect one for us. I remember how helpful the salespersons were during these trips. They were knowledgeable and patient with my hundreds of questions, and they gave it to me straight so I can make the right decisions. They also have one of the lowest prices, which meant everything to us since we were really saving up for these appliances. Every peso counts, and with them I was able to shave off a few hundreds with their low prices. Lastly, what I love about them is they offer awesome terms like 0% interest rates for 3 months/6 months/12 months which to be honest, allowed us to purchase the appliances without hurting our monthly budget so much.

I visited the store again recently as I was looking for a slow juicer and I saw so many new appliances that any newly-wed (or any couple for that matter) would love to have in their home. I took the liberty of taking photos of these appliances, and had flashbacks to those days when we were still deciding whether we should get these or not. Ahhh, how time flies! I never thought this day would come when my house would finally be complete (well, not exactly complete because I still need that juicer). Here are the items on my wish list–they are all available at SM Appliance Center.

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Soooo, as I found out, SM Appliance Center is celebrating their 25th anniversary this year and HOORAY, they have an anniversary promo that offers up to 25% off for SMAC members/BDO credit card holders and Prestige card holders! This is super exciting, because hello, this means HUGE savings! And those of you who have the Frequent Shoppers Card, well, SM Appliance Center is giving away shopping credits, Vikings vouchers, and staycations to Taal Vista, Park Inn and Radisson. For more information about these promos, check out this LINK.

Visit http://www.smappliance.com for more details and LIKE SM Appliance Center on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SMAppliance.

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Eat, Drink & Be Married – Making your relationship work

The girls and I delve into relationships for this episode. We ask ourselves, what compromises are you willing to do to make a relationship work? Press play to watch this episode and type your comments/suggestions below.❤

Gifts They’ll Love at National Book Store

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Like most of you, National Book Store and I go waaaaay back! I was a serious bookworm in elementary and high school, and I had a large collection of books that ranged from Choose Your Own Adventure, Nancy Drew and Sweet Valley, to comics like X-Men and Archie. During those days you were very likely to find me in only four places: a bookstore, comic store, library or in my room, reading. So really, it comes as no surprise that one of my favorite places in the whole world was (and still is) National Book Store! I swear, I even spent my 12th birthday there with my friends and I have photos to prove it hahaha!!!

I used to spend hours there. My parents would leave me there for 2-3 hours and when they came back I would still be reading (and I already had a stack of books for them to buy). Reading was my favorite thing to do in the whole world (it still is but I have zero time for it) and I treasured all my books like they were my friends.

I got my love of books from my dad, who is a voracious reader. And I hope to pass this on to my little boy, Tristan. I’ve been reading books to him since he was born as so far he likes them. I’ve been adding more books to his collection, and his library is quickly growing as I tell his titos and titas to give him books when they want to give him gifts. Naturally, the best place to buy children’s books is National Book Store. They have an impressive selection to choose from!

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What I love about National Book Store though is how it has evolved with the times. These days, you will find more than just books but also art materials, office supplies, toys/games, magazines, party favors, gift wrappers, and many more. You can definitely do your Christmas shopping there–they have the best presents for the favorite people in your life!

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And that’s exactly what I did when I visited the newly renovated branch at SM City North Edsa. I was invited to do my Christmas shopping (along with other bloggers and influencers) but we had to do it all in 10 minutes! Of course, I happily took on the challenge. National Book Store is like my second home–I’ve memorized it like the back of my hand. I have to say though, the store never looked better. It is now bright, spacious and so well-organized. It was done by French interior designer Malherbe.

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Was I able to do my shopping in 10 minutes? Hell, yes! I had so much fun shopping, and I was able to get the best gifts for the Baby Barangay. The kiddos will love their Christmas presents!

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And now you’ll be able to do your shopping in minutes, too! Because National Book Store will soon be launching its new “Gift Generator” APP! By simply answering a few questions, this app can help narrow down your choices and provide great suggestions.

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Oh, and for added convenience, you can now have your purchases delivered straight to your home or office. I am soooo excited about this! National Book Store now has its own delivery service via their hotline 8888-627. You can find out all about National Book Store’s latest offers at http://www.nationalbookstore.com.

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CONTEST ALERT: National Book Store is giving away the cutest and most functional gifts to my readers this Christmas! The campaign is called PROJECT LOVE, and yes, it is all about spreading love to everyone through your posts! It’s super easy to join:

  1. Post a PROJECT LOVE photo on Instagram. It could be any photo of you showing lots of LOVE to your family, friends, girlfriend, wife, dog, cat, etc!
  2. Share a brief story about this photo in the caption.
  3. To qualify as an entry, add the hashtags #GiftsTheyllLoveAtNBS #ProjectLOVEKelly and tag me @kellymisa and@NBSALERT.
  4. I will be selecting SIX WINNERS who will each be receiving a SPECIAL GIFT PACKAGE with well-curated premium products from National Book Store (I’ve posted the photos of the items you can win below)! The winners will be notified directly via DM by the end of the month.

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Oliver & Maude

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If you’re looking for unique and personalized gifts this Christmas, well, this might just be the brand for you. Oliver & Maude Home (O&M) makes monogrammed home accessories–from beautiful trays and wooden boards to fine porcelain, ceramics, flatware, crystals, glassware and even linens, candles and perfume bottles. I’ve seen some of their products at a friend’s house and I just fell in love. These make such great gifts, and they look so classy and chic. I think their monogrammed plates and glassware are the perfect addition to any home–I am already thinking of ordering a set for my family. And they also make the cutest teddy bears that make great presents for your kids (or inaanaks)!

O&M is owned and managed by Kat Gonzales Aenlle-de los Angeles. She is a wife, mother and businesswoman who loves to travel with her family. I love that her background in Interior Design and her great personal style reflects on her products–they are so chic! But my favorite thing about her brand is that you can personalize and make these items your own. You can choose from the featured artwork by different artists like Tracie Anglo Dizon, Alex Madrigal Eduque, Vicky Tensuan, Emil Wright, Meng Hua Shen, Alessandra Lanot, Christine Rocket Vargas and Maxine Ramirez Lagdameo.

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To order from Oliver & Maude Home, email: info@oliverandmaude.com or go to http://www.oliverandmaude.com.

You can also follow them on Instagram: @oliverandmaude

Sunday family lunch at Applebee’s

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Just how it is with most families I know, our Sundays are reserved for family. It is usually when my parents and brothers would come over and spend the entire day with us. They would either come over our house or we would go to them, or sometimes we eat out or go on a quick out of town trip. The important thing is that we are together.

Since Tristan was born, my parents have made an extra effort to meet up. Their week is not complete without seeing their grandchild. I know this for a fact because when they cannot see him on a Sunday, they will come over on a Saturday or even a Monday or Tuesday. They miss him so much when they skip a Sunday meet up and demand to see him at the soonest possible time. To be honest, I love seeing this side of my parents. They are extra caring and so involved with their apo. Our little guy is so lucky to have them.

So back to Sunday family day–last Sunday we had lunch at Applebee’s! It was my first time to try the restaurant and I have to say, it was the perfect place to take my family.

They serve happy, comfort food that’s great for sharing. We usually order a variety of dishes and have it served family style (everything in the middle). This way we are able to try a lot of the dishes in the menu so we pretty much know what to get next time.

Applebee’s did not disappoint. The fam bam especially liked the Wonton Tacos, the Fiesta Chicken Chopped Salad, Quesadilla Burger, and the Pork Ribs. And for dessert, the Butter Pecan Blondie and Churros S’mores were hits!

We had an awesome time at Applebee’s BGC. We will definitely be back soon!

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#Downy BoomBoomPow

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Since Carlos and I do our own laundry here at home we are obsessed with keeping our clothes soft and fragrant. We take our laundry seriously, to the point where we try and test different brands to find out which ones really work. Actually, Carlos is a little more into it than I am, and he even does his research to make sure our clothes, towels, bedsheets, etc. all pass his smell test. If you enter our laundry room you will see that our shelves are well-stocked with all kinds of cleaning agents, including liquid and powder detergents, and cleaning hacks like white vinegar.

I have to say though, when it comes to fabric conditioner/softener, we never run out of Downy. It is a staple in our home, as of course, using Downy on our laundry means our clothes smell fresh and clean all the time. And it’s true–since we started adding this to our laundry, we noticed how great our clothes smell even when we’ve been out the whole day!

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I mean, of course, we’ve all experienced it before: wearing clothes with that awful “kulob” smell. It just ruins your day, and you cant wait to go home and shower! This is actually what pushes us to spend a little more time (and money) on our laundry. Carlos and I have been traumatized with this awful, musty smell growing up. We both remember those times in school when unluckily, our uniform didn’t dry well and we would have endure an entire day of wearing that kulob-smelling uniform. Looking back, that was pure torture as no matter how much perfume you spray, the smell would not go away. And so we vowed that when we had our own home, it would never happen to us (we are so meant-to-be together haha). Smell is such an important thing for us–we like smelling good (we both hate the smell of cigarettes, smoke and car exhaust) and we would really go through great lengths to make sure our home, our car, our clothes and everything around us smells fresh and clean.

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That is why I was more than excited to attend the recent #DownyBoomBoomPow event–I wanted to test out this new variant and find out exactly how it works. I was not disappointed, because apart from learning about everyday malodors and finding ways to combat these bad odors, we actually got to see (err, smell) just how effective Downy is! Here’s how they did it: they gave all of us aprons that were washed with Downy. Then, they put everyone in a small kitchen and had celebrity chef JP Anglo do a cooking demo (most of the dishes used ingredients with strong odors like bagoong and fish). After, they made us smell our hair, clothes and the apron they gave us. Okay, to be honest, I had my doubts as to whether I would be able to smell Downy after all that cooking, but wow, I have to say, IT REALLY WORKS! My hair and clothes smelled like ulam, but the apron was like fresh flowers!!! I was even more impressed when we were asked to rub the fabric, because a fresh scent is released when you do that (I didn’t even know you could do that with Downy-washed fabrics).

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So here’s how it works (I swear, you will be amazed): Downy fabric softener has Genuine Malodor Removal that does not just “mask” malodor with aromatic ingredients, but removes unpleasant odors completely through a chemical reaction that prevents odor-causing materials from being released again. This means bad odors are actually removed to ensure your clothes smell great all-day! Plus, it has Perfume Micro Capsules that are embedded on the fabric through washing with Downy. This is an odorless component that recognizes malodors, captures the odor-causing particle and alternates its chemical structure to neutralize the malodor. I mean, how amazing is this technology?!! Downy has serious boom boom to fight malodors and power up the freshness of your clothes! 

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