Saturday, December 2, 2017

Kal Features: Inay Moments’ Postnatal Shapewear

Giving birth is probably the most “privacy-shattering” experience a woman can go through. From labor to actual delivery to breastfeeding, you will never be the same again (especially if you’re like me who had to endure more than 24 hours of induced labor and still ended up having surgery.) 

Recovery was slow for me, despite not feeling pain initially during the early labor phase. But after everything my belly went through, I needed postnatal shapewear that was not only effective and comfortable, but also friendly for nursing mothers.

For my CS wound, I was able to try three binders: The Persona binder (can be bought at Mercury Drug), the generic blue binder (also available at Mercury Drug), and last but not the least, the Postnatal Tummy Band with Enhanced Belt from Inay Moments (available here).

Right after my operation, I was able to use the Persona binder given to me by my family. 

Persona Binder

The Persona binder, steeply priced at 900+ pesos, had good support and was helpful at the beginning when my tummy was still huge. But I had a hard time nursing my baby and had to make a lot of adjustments because the binder was stiff and had a rough surface. Also, when my tummy got smaller, the binder kept moving upward and sometimes hits my wound when I’m sitting down. Because of this, we decided to buy another one by the time we got home from the hospital.

This time, we decided to use the generic blue binder from Mercury Drug, which was way more affordable. 

Blue Binder

This one was more flexible, but it did not have good back support. It was softer, so it was definitely more friendly for nursing mothers. But at some point, as my tummy grew smaller, it became useless to wear because it no longer gave the support I needed. It was at this point that I started looking online for a better binder.

When I came across the Instagram of Inay Moments, I was very happy to see that they were selling postnatal shape wear.

Inay Moments Postnatal Shapewear

What stood out to me the most was their Postnatal Tummy Band with Enhanced Belt.

Photo from @InayMoments Instagram 

Photo from @Inay Moments Instagram

Judging by the photo alone, I felt like it was the right binder for me. True enough, after using it for a week now, I can safely say that I found exactly what I needed.

The tummy band had good back support but was also flexible because of the garterized back. The velcro enclosure at the front was not stiff, yet it protected my wound very well. (Right now, my wound is already dry and I was given the go-signal by my OB to wet the area.)

The enhanced belt allows you to adjust the tummy band according to which area you needed to trim down the most. (You would need this because after giving birth, your belly area won’t be fully symmetrical.) The tummy band is also barely noticeable beneath your clothes, which is always a plus when it comes to shape wear.

Apart from the binder, I also tried Inay Moments’ High Waist Tummy Control Postnatal Panty Girdle.

 Photo from @InayMoments Instagram

I plan to use it alternately with my tummy band (particularly when I’m wearing form-fitting clothes). Plus, if you don’t mind the extra clothing, you can even wear the binder over it.

On its own, the panty girdle gives sufficient support and is also very comfortable to wear. I love that the panty girdle helped minimize the appearance of the muffin top I gained post-pregnancy.

Overall, I would definitely recommended Inay Moments to all of my friends. (Although personally, I would not use their tummy band and girdle immediately after surgery, especially if you had a delicate pregnancy like I did. But if your CS wound does not hurt anymore, I would definitely recommend using these products.) The best thing about Inay Moments? Their postnatal shapewear is very affordable compared to the other shape wears available here in the Philippines (*ahem* Wink *ahem*).

Here’s the price list for those who are interested to buy:

Post Natal Tummy Band with Enhanced Belt = 450 pesos

High Waist Tummy Control Postnatal Panty Girdle (Available in nude and black) = 380 pesos

I hope the information I gave would be helpful to all the mommies out there who are interested in making a purchase with Inay Moments.

Thank you so much for reading this review. Until the next blog post!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Ways To Cut Costs on Your Maternity Shoot

With a baby on the way, a lot of us cannot afford to splurge our money on a maternity shoot. Thankfully, there are ways to get around that limitation.

1.) Find photographer friends who are willing to take your photos.

In my case, my husband takes great photos! (Plus he knows a lot of people who are into photography) For our photoshoot, he invited his friend, Orland Larsen. 

Having my husband take my photos was not only more comfortable for me, but also very practical. The only down side to this was that there were only a few shots of us together (all taken by Orly.) Granted, hubby didn’t actually want a lot of photos with him in it. (He did not feel like having his photos taken.)

2.) Lighting is key. 

Take outside photos during the golden hour (around 5:00 pm in the Philippines, if it’s not cloudy). A little editing will also make the photos look better. 

3.) Find a good location that does not charge a fee for photoshoots. (Even better if the location is completely free.)

For our first location, we went to Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife because I wanted an outdoor shoot. The entrance fee was only 45 pesos per person and 15 pesos for parking. There are no extra fees for non-commercial photoshoots. (Just don’t lug around big and heavy equipment to avoid any questions.) Those living in the province could probably find better spots without having to pay for anything. Just make sure you don’t need a permit to shoot there!

4.) If you do not want to spend on the location, get creative! 

Shots by the window always look great! Take advantage of the windows of your home or an entryway while there is light out or the roof top of your condominium! You can even use your baby’s new room (or your own room), complete with his/her new things, as your location. Not only would it look extra cute, it would be good for memories too!

5.) If you want to make an impact, choose the right dress. 

A dress that is flattering to your body shape or an infinity dress with a chiffon trail like the Monica Infinity dress from Cruella & Co would be a great option. But if budget is really tight, you can always opt to wear the cutest maternity clothes you own.

6.) Go bold (literally) and just come as you are. 

Show off that pregnancy body, mommy! You can use a fancy robe (maybe your wedding prep robe?) or a big piece of lace or a nice blanket to cover parts that shouldn’t be seen. You can even wear an oversized sweater! But of course, this is best done in a private location. (This one’s not for me though! I’m too conservative for boudoir types of photoshoots.)

7.) Do your own make up. 

As long as the lighting is good, even mediocre make-up skills would do. YouTube tutorials is a good place to learn how to do maternity shoot make-up. (And if you mess up, you can always use make-up apps for Instagrammable photos. Lol!)

8.) Use your baby shower gifts as props.

If you can’t spend on your outfit or the location, then use baby’s gifts as props and just wear the nicest maternity clothes you own (make sure they look good up close)! There are a lot of cute maternity shoot ideas out there that involve the use of props. Try it out!

9.) Edit your photos!

A little editing won’t hurt, especially if you’re going for a certain look. Plus you can be as creative as you want to be!

10.) Just be yourself.

A beautiful dress or cute props or even a picturesque location are all nice to have. But the best way to get great maternity photos is to just let yourselves shine through and have someone capture those beautiful moments.

I hope some of these tips would be able to help you get really nice maternity photos! 

Do you have your own maternity photos that you would like to share? Please leave the link in the comment section below, I would love to check them out!

For more maternity photoshoot ideas, you can follow me (Kalq Calaquian) and my Maternity Shoot Ideas board on Pinterest.

Friday, October 13, 2017

5 Pregnancy Symptoms Nobody Warned Me About

Before you read this list, please be forewarned that I have a tendency to traumatize people whenever I talk to them about pregnancy. (Children like asking me about a lot of things, and since I am pregnant right now, they like asking me what it was like to have a baby in my tummy. Our conversations usually end with a "I don't want to be a mom anymore!" or "I never want to get married!") So I thought maybe this happens because I talked about pregnancy in such a way that would make people scared of it. So if you are quite sure you still want to continue, then read on!

1.) Morning sickness is a joke. (More like all day sickness!)

I don't really talk to my mother about things like this, so I had this silly impression that nausea only happens in the morning. (Probably because of all the movies I watched.) Turns out it wasn't true at all! The nausea can strike at any time of the day (particularly during the first trimester) and I had a hard time eating as a result.

2.) Gas or baby?

Being a first time mom, it was hard for me to tell at first whether I was already feeling my baby move or I just had a bad case of gas. It took some experience for me to be able to tell the difference. (Speaking of gas... well... let's just say you would need to master the art of releasing gas discreetly.)

3.) Seeing your lopsided tummy for the first time.

One of the experiences that freaked me out the most was seeing my belly literally rise like a mountain whenever I stretched. It was bizarre and I had to show this to my husband the first time it happened (just so we could share the weird moment together.)

4.) The belly gymnastics doesn't always hurt. But it can freak you out sometimes.

Now that I'm in the last stretch of the third trimester, it is not unusual for me to see my belly moving on its own. Kicks, punches, short vibrating pulses (baby's hiccups), crawling sensations and small waves (baby switching positions inside). It literally feels like (and actually is) another living being thriving inside my belly. But the movements can get a little freaky, and sometimes, can even look like something that came out of a horror movie.

5.) Feeling like your baby is always messing with your internal organs (especially the bladder!)

Yes, it just literally feels like that.

To be honest, I was not really prepared for pregnancy. And somehow, I feel like such an amateur. But experiencing pregnancy gave me the emotional perspective of a parent that I lacked before and made me look at babies differently.

The journey to motherhood is tough, but what they say IS true - everything is truly worth it. It was only now that I fully understand (and even felt) the emotions trying to be evoked during that scene where Arwen (from The Lord of the Rings) saw the future where she and Aragorn had a son.

Thinking about my own baby, it was a feeling that the risk would be worth it, especially if it meant meeting and giving life to that child in the vision.

Pregnancy changed my perspective.

Now, thinking about fetuses and how it must have been for them (and how helpless they really are) while they are being aborted turns me into an emotional wreck.

Now, I could empathize how difficult it must have been for women who did not have the support of their family because their pregnancy was not planned.

Now, I could fully appreciate just how bad ass the pregnant lady in Train to Busan was.

The journey to motherhood is not yet over for me, but it changed me for the better and I would always be grateful to God for giving me and my husband this little one at this point in our lives.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Kal Features: Harry Potter - Hogwarts Deluxe Stationery Set

I was in high school when the first Harry Potter book came out. And just like any other Potterhead my age, we literally grew up reading this book series.

Despite being a huge Harry Potter fan, I am rather picky when it comes to buying collectibles and memorabilia. I do not buy just anything with the Harry Potter name attached to it. After all, I'm a cheapskate. :P But when I first saw the Hogwarts Deluxe Stationary Set, I instantly fell in love! I simply could not let go of the box, so I decided to just let go of my money. Hihi.

This is what the unopened box looked like.

After unwrapping, you will immediately notice how nice the exterior of the box is.

Inside, you will find 1 Hogwarts leather journal, 1 Hogwarts wax seal, 2 gold wax candles, 1 paperweight, and of course, a 10-piece Hogwarts seal stationery + envelope set.

In my opinion, the best part of the set is the Hogwarts wax seal. The handle feels (and looks) like wood, giving it a rather authentic feel.

The Hogwarts leather journal is lined on the inside (I believe this retails for approx. 800+ on its own), and the illustration pages are pretty amazing as well! I love it!

The paperweight is okay, but I would have liked it better if it came in a different color. (Maybe gold, copper, or burgundy?)

The stationery + envelope set itself is unremarkable, but I think that's okay. It's something you'd want to actually use (and not just keep). So I guess that's a good thing, if you wanted to be a more pragmatic collector.

The entire set costs around 1600+ pesos at National Book Store, but I was able to get it at 10% off during a book fair. However, if you are a Potterhead like me, you wouldn't really mind paying for the full price.

Overall, I would totally recommend this to anyone who is considering to buy it.

My Rating: 10/10

I hope you enjoyed reading my blog post! Are you a Harry Potter fan too? Please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Kal Visits: Sofitel Philippine Plaza

I don't know why, but for some reason, my need for material things diminished after getting married. I guess part of it is because everything that I need, I still have (and are working pretty well or in good condition.) Because of this, Gerald and I decided to make things different by celebrating our wedding anniversaries like we've never done before. Instead of giving each other material things like we used to do as girlfriend-boyfriend, we decided to give each other new experiences.

Gerald and I always wanted to dine in Spiral but never found a good reason to splurge on such an expensive buffet. So we took this opportunity as an excuse to finally try the Spiral buffet. Added to that, we never had a staycation in a luxury hotel. So we stayed overnight at Sofitel as well.

Overall, our Sofitel experience was surreal. It provided us with the much-needed R&R we had been craving for all year.

We started our day by getting the Power Deal vouchers we ordered on their website. For 3,900 pesos per person, you get the ultimate pampering experience: 1.) Spiral lunch buffet valued at 2500 pesos; 2.) Le Spa massage valued at 3000 pesos; 3.) Vietura Diamond Peel Treatment valued at 2500 pesos; 4.) Philippe Tordjman hair cut valued at 1200 pesos; 5.) Nail Artisan manicure or pedicure valued at 550 pesos. This deal is actually still at their website. Click here to check if you could still book the Power Deal vouchers.

The Spiral lunch buffet was good, but not something I would pay for at full price.

It was easy to feel overwhelmed by the food selection, partly because some of the dishes available were not offered by other buffets. However, objectively speaking, the food choices weren't as many as people made it out to be.

We were both underwhelmed by the quality of the food available at the Asian cuisine section. Don't get me wrong. It was good. But it didn't really justify the price difference. I guess our standards were pretty high, especially for Filipino food. However, I did like the food from the French-Italian cuisine. It was really good, as buffet standards goes.

We LOVED the cheese room though. As wine lovers, Ge and I indulged ourselves by eating the varieties of expensive cheese and cold cuts. THIS, I think, made the buffet totally worth the price we paid for in the promo.

After enjoying our lunch buffet, we checked in and waited for our Le Spa massage appointment.

Le Spa had a very relaxing vibe to it. It reminded me a little bit of The Spa but without the private jacuzzi and sauna. So it's safe to conclude that without the discount, 3k pesos was too steep for the amenities you would get. (I guess it's okay if you're a dollar earner.)

The massage room we used was equipped with a shower room and a mini vault to store your valuables. The masseurs were really strong so I was able to get the hard massage I needed for my aching shoulders. I'd say the experience was really good for me. (Plus the free-flowing ginger tea they offered was delicious.) But would I pay 3,000 pesos for it on an ordinary day? Most likely not.

Our dinner at the Sunset Bar was nice and romantic. The food was really good too (even though they were expensive af). I do think we got the best value though, since we ordered food (salmon and lamb) that was expensive in supermarkets and restaurants anyway.

The next day, Ge and I enjoyed the rest of our Power Deal vouchers.

The breakfast buffet at Spiral (included with our overnight stay) was really good. There were plenty of choices (almost the same as the lunch buffet), and it's safe to say the price of their rooms seemed worth it because of this.

Our haircut at Philippe Tordjman was okay. The stylists were friendly and accommodating, but that's about it.

We then got our nails done at Nail Artisan and experienced our very first diamond peel at Vietura Aesthetic Lifestyle.

It was both very nice. I loved the color of my nails! Plus, it was our first time getting a diamond peel. That makes another new experience taken off our list of firsts. 

Funny enough, we ended our day at a supermarket. Lol! A little anti-climactic to an otherwise lovely anniversary celebration. :P

I hope you enjoyed reading my blog post! Till the next one!