August 31, 2016

#SupportLokalPH: The Leather Company

Recently, I've been discovering a number of local (i.e. Filipino) independent businesses. Some of them I've discovered online (on Facebook or on Instagram), others in bazaars. I realize how challenging it is for them to compete with the global market--just look at the shops in our malls and you'll see that most of the brands are from foreign companies ("local" businesses are usually re-sellers na lang)--so in my own little way, I would like to help promote their brand by featuring some of my favorite purchases in this blog.

The Leather Company

GENUINE LEATHER 100% HANDMADE

(Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/theleathercompany/)

Über delayed review, as I bought this bag for my mom's birthday last May. Life got in the way, and caused me to push back writing this entry for a few months.

But as the saying goes, better late than never.

Roam Tall 2 Way Bag in Black Pebbled. Base price is 4,295 PhP

My mom wanted a leather bag for her birthday, but the current bags I have did not completely cater to her specifics. She wanted a roomy bag, with shoulder-length straps, zipper closure, and some sort of lining. Most of the bags I have are unlined, and without closure. So I had to look around for other makers that sell the type of leather bags that my mom wanted to have.


August 30, 2016

How to Use Liese Creamy Bubble Color

I'm not much of a DIY Hair Improvement kind of girl, as I am extremely low-maintenance when it comes to my hair. I barely know how to self-braid, and my past attempts to cut my bangs often end up in failure. Thus, plans to cut or color my hair are always executed in the salon.

Alas, boredom can make you do things you don't normally do, like attempting to dye your own hair. Earlier today, I tried out Liese Creamy Bubble Color, a Japanese brand I bought yesterday at The Landmark Makati.

I also bought a salon cape just in case things get messy.

Salon Cape - 49.75 PhP
Liese Creamy Bubble Color in Marshmallow Brown - 449.00 PhP

Since at-home hair coloring is WAY cheaper than the salon alternative, I decided to have a go at this experience. How did I do, you ask? Read on.

Step 1: Doing My Research


There are many other brands to choose from, but I picked this one for the following reasons:
  • Liese is an Asian brand, so the product's formula should be hiyang for the Asian hair
  • More specifically--Japanese brands, by reputation, make high-quality products
  • Supposedly, foam-type formulations ensure that the hair is colored evenly

I chose the color Marshmallow Brown, because I wanted to try out a brown shade that has little or no red, and isn't too light or too dark. Liese's website has a Personal Color Diagnosis Section where shades are chosen for you based on your features and your skin tone. I took the test and got a "Kiwifruit Type," and one of the featured shades was the Marshmallow Brown. Match!


Also, Liese's website provides How-To images and videos that show step-by-step application of the hair coloring product:


August 17, 2016

Pregnancy Journal: Completing my Miscarriage [UPDATED]


Previous posts from this series include the following entries:




My last consult with the OB was two weeks ago, when my ultrasound was not able to find the heartbeat of the baby. Knowing that first trimester pregnancies are very risky, we were able to accept the loss better than we expected.

However, there is still the case of a dead baby inside me, and how we can safely remove it as not to affect my future chances of getting pregnant.


Option #1: Wait It Out


In hopes of inducing the bleeding naturally, the OB gave me two weeks' worth of waiting period. During this time, all food and activity restrictions are lifted. I can eat raw food again, same for canned goods, preservatives, and alcoholic beverages. I am also allowed to do physically strenuous activities like exercising and lifting heavy objects. In short, I can now get my life back to normal.

The thing is, my life isn't exactly back to normal... and not just because I have lost a baby. Because of the miscarriage, I have been advised by my company to avail of the government's maternity benefits, which included a 60-day leave. Which means, I will not be going to work until October 2016. Because of this, my "normal" routine has greatly been affected, and now a typical normal day involves getting up from bed at around 11 o'clock in the morning, eating, going back to bed, getting up at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, watching TV or surfing the net, cooking, eating, then going back to bed. During my first few days I was still able to do a bit of exercise, but now... the bed beckons.

Suffice to say, I haven't bleed throughout this period. Sometimes I think that maybe, maybe my baby isn't dead at all, but considering all the *bad* stuff I already ate and did, adding to the fact that I have no pregnancy symptoms at all, perhaps it is best to complete the miscarriage and try again.


August 02, 2016

Pregnancy Journal: Documenting My Nine Weeks of Pregnancy

[Link to previous post]

I was debating with myself, whether or not to publish this post, considering that I wasn't able to go full-term. I can very well discard this post and pretend that the last two months never happened, and just psyche myself up to try again. But then I realized that it wouldn't be fair to my unborn child to deny its existence.

We gave our best efforts, my husband and I, but not only us. "It" also tried its best, growing almost as big as an inch. It grew a beating heart, a human-like head, and was starting to grow little limbs. It wasn't fully human (or human-like) just yet--a week shy from being officially called a fetus--but it was ALIVE.

I was only pregnant for nine weeks (8 weeks and 6 days according to my last ultrasound), but I cannot deny that this experience has changed me in many ways. Physically, I was introduced to a lot of new sensations unknown to me before. Emotionally, well I'm still in grief (as I rightly should be), but now I know how it feels to hope, and to long, and to lost, and to (hopefully) hope again. Mentally, my scientific curiosity drove me to learn and to understand what I was going through. I believe that because of this I am able to stay strong throughout the process. Spiritually, I realized that "praying for the best" does not necessarily mean getting what you want, but doing so prepares you to accept the circumstances happening to you, allowing them to build your character. I still believe that everything happens for a reason, and in God's time. Financially, I admit that I have already invested a lot in this quest to have a baby, but at least there's government and company benefits to aide my financial needs.

I didn't want this to happen to me, but I don't want to think of this as something unfortunate. Hindi kami malas. I'd like to think that this is God's/nature's way to prepare me for the real thing, so next time I know what to expect and how to act. Demo version, kumbaga.

Publishing this post is a way for me not only to cope with the loss, but also to acknowledge that THIS happened; that we MADE something. It wasn't perfect, it wasn't successful, but it lived long enough for me to appreciate the complexity of life in a whole other level.

Pregnancy Journal: From PCOS to Pregnant to Missed Miscarriage

Blogger's Note: As an attempt to make this post as informative as possible, I will be using terms that may be scandalous to the conservative mind. I tell you now: There is no shame in using the proper terms for the human reproductive system, and whatever actions associated to it. We are only able to understand something by accepting it first for what it is. 

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GLOSSARY

PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome): Polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS, is a condition in which a woman’s levels of the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone are out of balance. This leads to the growth of ovarian cysts (benign masses on the ovaries). PCOS can cause problems with a women’s menstrual cycle, fertility, cardiac function, and appearance. [Source]

Pregnancy: See video below.

Missed Miscarriage: A missed miscarriage, also known as a missed abortion or a silent miscarriage, occurs when a fetus dies, but the body does not recognize the pregnancy loss or expel the pregnancy tissue. As a result, the placenta may still continue to release hormones, so the woman may continue to experience signs of pregnancy. [Source]

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Blogger's Note: The text below was written during the early stages of my pregnancy, before I knew the demise of my baby. As I want to document my emotions as accurate as possible, I will not be editing anything below (except for linking to the Part 2 of my story); I want to acknowledge my happiness no matter how short-lived it was.

Six months ago, I wrote about my Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). In a nutshell: For the last half of 2015 I was under birth control pills to balance out my hormones, as a means to control my PCOS. Then at the start of 2016, I was given fertility pills to aid in my ovulation, as a means to get pregnant.

Six months since then, I did get pregnant. Finally, after a year of medically tweaking my hormones, My husband and I were able to create life. Huzza!

BUT FIRST!!! HOW DO HUMANS GET PREGNANT?

For this, let me direct you to Crash Course Anatomy & Physiology Episode 42:


It is important to note, however, that there are a LOT of prerequisites for a successful conception:

  1. The female should be in her fertile phase, i.e. she has ovulated within two to five days since copulation
  2. The male should have produced good sperm quantity and quality, ejaculated into the female during copulation
  3. The sperm should fertilize the egg no later than 48 hours from ovulation, ideally in the Fallopian tubes. Anything after that is a risk to implantation
  4. The fertilized egg should be able to travel down the Fallopian tubes to the uterus, and implant itself securely

What is even more challenging is that, as we age, the body starts to lose its hormonal balance, negatively affecting the chances of a successful conception. This is why you see a lot of young couples getting pregnant, albeit accidentally, and older couples unable to produce an offspring.

Having said that, I would like to make kwento about my journey for the past six months. Some of you might be going through the same thing as I; these insights might help you in your own journey to pregnancy.