Why gut health is important

 

 

lifescience tileLifeScience Center for Health and Wellness. They’re no stranger to me. I’ve done the Food Intolerance Test years ago. And I’ve hosted a segment for them during ICanServe Foundation’s annual breast cancer awareness events.

Because we were (and still are more or less) on lockdown, we did everything digitally. I was so pleased with the entire process of testing and online consultations especially since I am still not comfortable going out to public places. Each consultation was a learning experience. Because of what I learned about nutrition and gut health, I have read more about the subject. My supplements are specifically targeted to my needs — no more guessing about what vitamin or mineral I need. And to top it all off I was able to get an Immunity Booster supplement… something I know we all need now.

Here’s my diary of my wellness and nutrition journey with LifeScience.

 

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It started with a phone call and online consultation with a medical doctor and nutritionist with LifeScience.

 

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My Doctor, Denise Herrera-Lavilles, MD, FPCP walked me through the process. Told me what to expect – blood tests, analysis of reports, a 3-week elimination diet, a food and nutrition plan after the Elimination Diet, culminating with her prescription for my supplements specifically targeted to meet my needs. Dr Denise is a medical doctor specializing in Internal Medicine, focusing on health promotion and disease prevention for adults. I loved talking with her.

 

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After my online consultations with Dr Denise, LifeScience scheduled my blood extraction. We were still in ECQ then, so we had to wait for the next phase of quarantine when people were allowed to move around. This was when I had my blood extraction in my garage at home. LifeScience came to take a few blood samples for my Food Intolerance Test, FABER Food Allergy Test, and Vitamin D test.

 

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The medical attendants were geared with masks and safety measures. They were the first people I’ve seen outside my bubble. This was in June 2020.

 

Why I did the LifeScience programs

I have always been conscious about our nutrition, level of exercise, and overall well-being especially during quarantine time. I’m pretty religious with our annual medical exams. But this was the first time I’m consulted a nutritionist and functional medicine doctor.

I was pleased that I seemed to already be on the right track with my nutrition, pilates, spirituality, and over all optimistic mindset. I am even conscious about my sleep quality. But of course there were some tweaks to be made with my diet. They set me up with an Elimination Diet based on the Food Intolerance Test. It’s basically a tool to see how your body reacts or improves with the elimination of certain foods. In my case, I had specific issues and symptoms I wanted to understand. Others have hormonal imbalance, skin reactions, weight, bloatedness, migraines, low energy etc., which can be addressed through a dietary approach.

We all have different goals. Mine wasn’t particularly weight loss but I wanted to know what caused some inflammation, bloating, and other allergies I thought I had (but had not yet confirmed). These tests will further assist my doctor and nutritionist to see if I am eating the right kinds of food to optimize my nutrition.

 

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The result of my Food Intolerance Test came out as couple of weeks after blood extraction. The FABER Food Allergy test took longer. This was just the first page of my food intolerance test just to give you an idea. Please note that this does not mean I am allergic to the food identified as red. The red flags were the items I had to eliminate from my diet for three weeks. Forever, if you want. But I just committed to three weeks.

 

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After I got the results of my Food Intolerance Test, I spent some time online with the nutritionist from LifeScience who analyzed my results. It makes a huge difference getting this kind of support from a licensed nutritionist. This way, I didn’t just focus on what I should eliminate from my diet, but I was also able to take advantage of the food items that are good for me. I loved the personalized nutritional plans she made for me, especially the recipes!

 

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The Food Intolerance Test is different from a food allergy test. Food intolerance doesn’t always manifest in immediate symptoms and it may not be life threatening. But knowing your food intolerance can help you avoid potential health issues in the future.

 

Screen Shot 2020-06-26 at 11.12.36 AMWe all know about our “gut feeling”, “gut instinct”, or “gut reaction”. 70-80% of our immune system is located in our gut. So what we put in our gut matters.

 

The Elimination Diet

The biggest challenge for me during the three week period was eliminating gluten, rice, and dairy. I was already eating brown rice and adlai for years. I am naturally not attracted to sugar. I love vegetables, to the point that I have been growing veggies at home for years. And my body doesn’t react well to dairy milk, so I drink almond milk. But I love cheese too much. So after the 3 week period, cheese is back in my life. Oops.

July was actually the best time to do the Elimination Diet. I welcomed it because honestly, after 100 days of being home and eating all that bread and sugar, I knew I had to get healthy again.

I did well and felt the positive effect halfway through. I didn’t feel bloated. I felt lighter. I slept better.

Still I wondered about my food allergies. I come from a family with severe food allergies. So much so, that my sister Pauline has become one of Canada’s biggest proponent of food allergy safety. She has an allergy-safe restaurant in Toronto. More on that in another post.

Since I had been reacting violently to certain food (namely shellfish and farmed fish), I swore I knew I was allergic to them. They have not been in my diet since 2013. Then the result of my FABER Food Allergy Test came in…

 

FABER Food Allergy Test

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The results of my food allergy test came in. And it totally surprised me.

 

I finally figured out what I am allergic and not allergic to. All along I thought I had food allergies because of some severe reactions. But based on my FABER Allergy Test, my allergies are all environmental and not dietary. And to top it all off, I have very minimal reaction to the items I am officially allergic to. Wow!

The FABER allergy test measures specific antibodies against bacteria, viruses, and allergens. It uses molecular allergens and allergen extracts using only minimal blood samples from the patient.

Because I also took the Food Intolerance Test and had undergone an Elimination Diet as well, we were able to zero in on inflammatory food that affects me specifically. Now I can really address my digestive issues. And my favourite part of all this, my supplements were specifically targeted to my needs.

 

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After consultations and analysis of my tests, I got my supplements delivered to me by LifeScience. Dietary Enzymes are specifically for my digestive system based on antibodies and deficiencies measured by blood tests at LifeScience. Immuni-3 is a combination of Vitamin C, Vitamin D3, and Zinc to boost my immunity especially during this time.

 

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Supplements from LifeScience.

 

For more information on LifeScience Center, check out their website www.lifescience.ph, follow them on Instagram @lifesciencephil, and on Facebook LifeScience Center for Health and Wellness. You may inquire about the same tests I’ve done. You may also book your home-service blood extraction.

LifeScience Center for Health and Wellness: 8th Floor, ACCRALAW Tower, 30th Street corner 2nd Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City, 1634, Metro Manila.

 

 

How I reduced our electricity bill by at least 40%

 

 

It’s been a while since I last blogged. Like many of you, most of my updates have been taking place in Instagram. But I wanted to share this story in detail, and it goes beyond the confines of Instagram and Facebook. So I’ll do it the old fashioned way, by writing an entire blog. It has been a while but this is so worth the comeback: I will tell you how I was able to reduce our electrical bill by at least 40%.

First, a little update about my life. My daughters have grown a lot, and so have their needs and interests. I used to blog about cute mommy things for toddlers and babies. I now have a teenager, soon another teen, and a tween. With all the things I do at my work, my small business, my humanitarian work, volunteer work at school and more, the central and most important thing in my day-to-day life is actually managing our home and our family.

It has been a very blessed life so far; I can’t complain. I am grateful for everything that has happened and continues to unfold, even if sometimes life gets overwhelming and out of control. One thing I know we can all relate to is when the monthly household expenses go haywire. What, I spent that much on coffee? The Skyway? Gas? And our Meralco bill? You all know what I’m talking about. Thankfully, these days, I am now a much better planner, and that barely happens. I use tools and new technology that are efficient and convenient in order to help me become more productive and progressive. I think women who balance career, social obligations, and family life may find this helpful too.

 

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This is our guest room at home as photographed by Celebrity Living in Dec 2009 (Photo by Cyrus Panganiban, makeup by Carmel Villongco). Look at how tiny my girls were! We still like hanging out here because it is the coolest place in the house.

 

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This is the guest room now.  It is where I like to relax in the afternoons during the summer months. This is where I like to nap, read, and catch up on my shows. It is the coolest part of our house because our walls in this room are made of old adobe blocks. So it feels cool like a cave. And since June 2018, we upgraded our old air conditioner here to a Carrier Smart+Cool Window Room Inverter Air Conditioner.

 

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That is what the Carrier Smart+Cool Window Room Inverter Aircon looks like in our guest room. Yes, I know I need drapes. Working on that.

 

We live in a traditional antique-style Filipino house built in the 1960’s. It is constructed like an old “bahay na bato” with the ground floor made of adobe walls and the second floor made entirely of wood. Our windows are like museum-pieces, made of capiz shells intricately framed by lattice-work wood. Despite all the architectural features that make it a very cool tropical home – cross-ventilation, high ceilings, ventanillas on our second floor, our modern lifestyle required us to install an air-conditioner in all parts of the home. Mind you, we barely turn on everything at the same time, except maybe when we have a party.

To give you an idea of our set up, here are the air-condition units we have in our home:

Bedroom 1 – wall-mounted, split-type inverter aircon
Bedroom 2 – wall-mounted, split-type inverter aircon
Study – window-type aircon (not inverter)
Kitchen – wall-mounted, split-type inverter aircon
Living room – standing, split-type inverter aircon
Family room – standing, split-type inverter aircon
Guest room – window-type inverter aircon

The most used aircon units are the ones in the two bedrooms. We use them every night continuously for around 10 to 12 hours long. Then we often use the one in the family room and the guest room. During the school-year the kids use the study room a lot. For that one, I am always on their case about not using the a/c too long because it is not yet an inverter. Our refrigerator is also an inverter. But our washer and dryer are not.

So let me show you our energy consumption in terms of peso cost. The highlighted parts in green indicate the time when we switched our aircon units into Carrier inverter air conditioners. The blank parts mean I lost the bill.

 

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As you can see, in 2015 and 2016 our Meralco bill would go up as high as P17,000 to P18,000 per month! I could not imagine how on earth we thought that was okay. When we had our two bedroom units switched to Carrier wall-mounted inverter air conditioners (XPower Gold) in February 2017, you can see that our electrical bill went down dramatically to P9,418.

For comparison, I added up all the bills and got a monthly average. In 2016 before we had inverter air conditioners, our average monthly bill was P15,498. But in 2017, it went down to P11,011. And in 2018, even lower at P9,919. So basically in 2017, on average our monthly bill went down 29% from 2016. And by 2018, it went down another 10% from 2017. And if we compare our bill in 2018 to 2016, our average monthly consumption went down 36%. I hope these numbers are not confusing you. Basically, our monthly electrical bills have gone down immensely even though we use our aircons for extended periods, if not even longer than before.

Here is the other chart that tracks our energy consumption for the past three years. It is an expanded version of the chart I posted above. For some reason, our house has always had two Meralco bills. For purposes of keeping things simple, I have indicated one bill as “Up” and the other one as “Down”. The total monthly expense are highlighted in yellow, as are the energy consumption rates shown as “KWH” or kilowatt per hour.

 

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We can compare July 2017 at P9,740 to July 2016 at P17,010. That is a 42.7 decrease in our electrical bill, on a same month comparison.

 

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The process of drafting our monthly expenses in to a chart was really hard. It took me days. I felt like I was in school again. But I did it. Good thing I kept most of our bills.

 

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To show you how meticulous I was, here are the bills for February 2017 on the left, and February 2016 on the right. The total for February 2017 is 6081 + 3337 = P9418. And the total for February 2016 is 12,770 + 2325 = P15,095. That is a 37% decrease on a month-to-month comparison.

 

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Last year, I wrote a blog about how I use the Carrier Smart+Cool system to help me manage and track the energy consumption of the Carrier inverter unit in our guest room. The Carrier Smart+Cool system is a free downloadable app that you pair with the Smart plug that comes with the Carrier Window Room Inverter Air Conditioner unit. By using the Carrier Smart+Cool app on my phone, I am able to control my electricity bill, monitor my aircon’s power consumption, schedule when I want it to turn on, and have the convenience of turning it on and off from anywhere. There is a real time Live Chat that allows me to get help whenever I need technical support. I can even schedule maintenance, like cleaning, for my unit and all our Carrier units.

 

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I can turn on the aircon using the Carrier Smart+Cool app on my phone, even while I’m away or just working outside in the garden. That way when I get inside, the room is already cool.

 

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With the Carrier Smart+Cool, I can set a budget for our aircon consumption, either in peso value or kilowatt measure. And Carrier Smart+Cool system actually lets me know when I’ve reached my limit.

 

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When my parents were visiting Manila, they were staying in our guest room. They loved that I had the aircon set on a schedule. I set it to turn on every 8pm and to turn off at 6am the next day.

 

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In addition to tracking my aircon unit’s consumption in real time, I can also set a reminder for maintenance. I have to admit that I sometimes forget to have our aircon units cleaned. With the maintenance reminder of the Carrier Smart+Cool, I can make sure our Carrier inverter aircon units are regularly cleaned. A well-maintained aircon will continue to perform efficiently.

 

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This is how the Carrier Smart+Cool plug looks like. It comes with our Carrier Smart+Cool Window Room Inverter.

 

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Once the Carrier Smart+Cool app and plug are paired, you can also use the remote or manual controls.

 

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It took me a few days to organize my charts based on all our Meralco bill records. It was difficult, but it was a very good exercise. It made me even more aware of our energy consumption. With the Carrier Smart+Cool system, my life has gotten so much easier now. No need to make charts and graphs because the Smart+Cool app does it for me.

 

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Here is an example of how I tracked one week’s energy consumption in my Carrier Smart+Cool app.

 

And here is a conversation with a friend a few days ago. I am confident whenever I recommend this product to my friends.
wenger

 

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In our family room, our Klarwind from 2017, a floor mounted inverter aircon from Carrier, continues to give our family comfort without me having to worry about our electrical bills. Since it is also a Carrier inverter, I know that it is energy efficient. The kids love doing their art projects in the family room.

 

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Not only has the Carrier Smart+Cool given me a comfortable and cool home, it has given me the peace of mind knowing that I would not over-spend on our monthly budget. I am confident that my family is comfortable and safe at home.

 

With the convenience and efficiency of our Carrier Smart+Cool system, I spend less time worrying about our bills and have more time to pursue other aspects of my life. And because we were able to drop our monthly electricity bills to up to 40% less, it is much lighter on our family budget. We are able to travel more and do what we love as a family. I also get to go about my business outside the home without worrying too much.

 

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I have since returned to TV, with a new show called CREATE. It is produced by Cignal network and airs on Colours and ONE News. So even while I am away taping my episodes, I can turn on and off the Carrier Smart+Cool and set budget limits.

 

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I have a travel show produced by an airline, and it takes me around Asia. Sometimes I am able to bring a daughter, which is such a huge gift. In Cambodia, I was able to bring Sophia. She learned so much about their history. I love it when my work gives me a chance to also be hands-on as a mom.

 

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And we have been busy as weekend farmers. This our little place where we get fresh air, and fresh produce right on our land.

 

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Patrick and I are working on our little farm shed. We have a long way to go. Like, we need walls. And as early as now, I am planning to put a Carrier air conditioner in that shed. Haha. Farm life, Daphne-style! So whenever we are on our way home from our little farm, I usually turn on our Carrier Smart+Cool Window Room Inverter Aircon while we are about 15 minutes from our city home. By the time we get in, the room is nice and cool.

 

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And whenever we can, we travel as a family. I especially love our extended summers in our other home in Canada. Grateful for the reduction in our electricity bills!

 

Many of us women are balancing our roles at work, in school, in our communities, and most of all in our families. Having tools and new technologies that help us perform our roles more efficiently does wonders for our overall frame of mind. For me, the Carrier Smart+Cool Window Room Inverter Aircon has given me less worry, less time planning and making charts and lists, and the confidence in knowing that my aircon is working efficiently and costs less than before. With that, I am able to do more with my time, and I literally can have long and peaceful sleep at night.

 

If you are looking for an upgrade or a new air conditioner, check out the Carrier products at www.smartcool.ph

 

Belo Collagen Melon Smoothie

 

 

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Belo Collagen Melon Smoothie

 

Collagen is the most prominent protein in our body. Collagen makes up 75% of our skin and is the main component of connective tissues that make up our tendons, ligaments, skin, and muscles. It has many functions, including strengthening our bones and giving our skin firm structure. When we’re babies, our collagen levels are at the optimum 100%. By the time we are 30, we have 20% less collagen, at 40, it’s 40% less and by 50, our body’s collagen supply is tapered off by half.

As we get older, our body produces less collagen, making our skin lose firmness and elasticity. When collagen is depleted, wrinkles appear. We do not want that, of course. One of the ways to increase of collagen in our body is through food intake, like pork skin and bone broth. Not everyone is okay with that kind of diet. Thankfully there are supplements that can help restore collagen in our body.

Belo Collagen Melon Smoothie is a food supplement that comes in a packet. You simply mix it with 250 ml of water and you get yourself a refreshing smoothie that tastes just like a melon milkshake.  It is made up of marine collagen. Each sachet is packed with 5000 mg of high-absorption collagen, perfect for a daily collagen refill.

 

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Each sachet of Belo Collagen Melon Smoothie has 5000 mg of collagen.

 

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It is so easy to make. Just mix one packet with 250ml of water. And you get a melon smoothie that is good for your skin.

 

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Here’s to restoring my skin’s elasticity and smooth out lines with the Belo Collagen Melon Smoothie. It’s so yummy and refreshing.

 

The Belo Collagen Melon Smoothie is available in Lazada. If you like iced coffee or milk tea, this is a good alternative because it’s actually good for the skin. So drink your daily collagen refill.

#BeloCollagen #BeloCollagenMelon.

 

K&Company Holiday 2018

 

 

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The K&Company Holiday 2018 Collection is another beautiful set. I saw the pieces trickle in gradually in the Powerplant Mall, Shangrila Plaza, and Rustan’s shops, and each time left me breathless. I have been wearing K&Company since the first year they opened in Rockwell. It is a sense of joy and pride for me, to have a very long and continuing relationship with a homegrown brand I love. (And on a personal note, being their muse for almost 18 years forces me to maintain my weight and shape so I can keep wearing all my K&Company dresses.)

This season expect an even more elevated use of lace in their otherwise classic shapes and cuts. Kathering Cheng, the woman behind K&Company, pushed lace to take on a deeper dimension with laser-cut silk appliqués. New silhouettes include the emphasised butterfly sleeves in diaphanous materials seen in long and cocktail dresses. Colours range from classic fiery red to a delicate dove grey.

The 2018 Holiday collection was launched in the newly renovated shop in Rockwell designed by Ivy Almario. True to the brand’s identity, the new interiors are elegant and understated. The new K&Company shops have sleek brass fixtures and delicate materials such as padded walls in pale blush, a luxurious velvet couch in sage green. The curved counter is made of Volakas marble and is framed by a wall of brass cutouts lit in soft LED lights.

The evening was catered by BIZU with pretty hors d’oeuvres such as beef tenderloin, wagyu, salmon canapés topped with flower petals. To complement the beautiful and luxurious atmosphere, cocktail drinks and tea were infused with flowers as as well.

It was a beautiful evening attended by K&Company’s longtime, loyal friends and family. Congratulations K&Company!

All photos by Medal Elepano.

 

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Follow K&Company in the Instagram and Facebook. You may also shop online at their webshop.

 

 

Gingersnaps Holiday 2018

 

 

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I was so happy to have hosted the Gingersnaps 2018 Holiday Preview. It’s becoming a wonderful tradition – to ring in the holiday season at Gingersnaps. I love planning my daughters’ outfits for Christmas dinner and for the various parties we have lined up. The clothes are always so pretty. And this season is no different. Lot’s of east-meets-west inspired outfits for boys and girls.

The preview event allowed the guests to shop for the holiday collection in advance. By now the items are starting to trickle in to the stores. So you may find these pieces at your favourite Gingersnaps branch.

It was also a good time to meet the winners of the Gingersnaps Model Search. Five thousand kids joined. 50 made it to casting call. 10 were chosen as winners. To us, all the kids are winners. All the kids are adorable.

Check out some of the pieces from the Gingersnaps 2018 Holiday Collection…

 

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Lace, tulle, embroidery.

 

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Blue and white ruffles and separates.

 

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The cutest fashion accessories at really affordable prices.

 

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Ruffled top and skirt in tulle. And that sweet cupcake bag.

 

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Headbands and jelly wallets.

 

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Trinkets like pens that light up.

 

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We will always see red in holiday collections, but Gingersnaps does it with a twist. Loving the patches and pins.

 

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This is the sweetest blue cardigan. Definitely getting this for Stella.

 

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I’m sorry I am obviously biased when I post too much about girls’ clothes. But Gingersnaps boys’ fashion is really on point too. Loving that preppy little man outfit, complete with a tennis cardigan.

 

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Separates for boys

 

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The lovely invitation

 

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So honoured to have been asked to host the Gingersnaps Holiday Collection.

 

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Gingersnaps’ Sabrina Uy at the lovely “enchanted garden” setting.

 

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Gingersnaps 2018

 

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Gingersnaps 2018

 

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Gingersnaps 2018

 

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Gingersnaps 2018

 

26Fashion Stylist Pam Quiñones styled the children during the model search and fashion show.

 

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Gingersnaps 2018 Model Search

 

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The Gingersnaps casting call.

 

 

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Website www.gingersnaps.com.ph