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One of the things I enjoy about the work I do is the never-ending learning I need to do because of it. Last week, I was in Singapore for just that: To learn more about successful, authentic blogging. I had the privilege of attending a class at Bloesem creative space + shop, a beautiful shop owned by one of the design bloggers I’ve looked up to through the years, Irene Hoofs. The class was taught by none other than top blogger herself, Erin Loechner of and, two of my favorite blogs.

I’ll get right into what happened during the class.

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Bloesem lab (the venue) was a the perfect setting. There were less than twenty of us during the session, with only a handful of us who actually had blogs. The session would deal with some blogging basics, with a chunk dedicated to brand building and monetization of a blog.

Suffice it to say, it’s not easy to build a blog that matters. For Erin, starting her blog back in 2006 was a way of collecting her creative ideas, “pre-Pinterest,” as she says. After being at the helm of one of the world’s most applauded design blogs, she knows what she’s talking about. Her honesty and vulnerability to share her blogging journey was what really inspired us all.

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Erin is a blogging success because she put herself out there, plain and simple. In sharing her journey, she also shared her successes and failures (and there were a lot), as well as some of her own secrets to moving up and scaling up to make blogging a real business. It was only last year that she launched her collaborative blog, Clementine Daily, as a new type of women’s e-zine to inspire one’s everyday. (In fact, when I told her about Make it Blissful, it was then that I knew I’d truly found a kindred spirit in the blogging world.)

Oh, I should note: Midway through the class, Irene asked what Erin’s forecast was on blogging trends in the coming years, and Erin replied that content series and magazine-format/multi-authored blogs seem to be where the future is headed. So, yay, #blissmakers, we’re on the right path!

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Erin sharing the comparisons between her first blog, Design for Mankind, and her new, multi-authored blog, Clementine Daily.

During the class, I realized that much of what we’ve been taking up in the Blissful Blogging workshops have been focusing on: authentic brand building; close-to-the-heart content; blogging towards your real-life happenings, etc. I felt very much affirmed that the workshops I’ve been doing for the past 12 months are on the right track.

**Breathes sigh of relief here*

Sometimes I wonder if what I’m doing in these workshops is getting through to the right people, and after attending Erin’s session and hearing her speak of her own journey, I’m even more sure my own workshops are doing their job. Whew. (By the way, all current workshops may be found on the “Workshops” page, so click-click if you want to join the next one!)

OK, before I go on, I just need to say: Bloesem has the prettiest workshops ever. Everything from our handouts to our food was Insta-worthy (as you can see from my feed last week! Follow me, by the way @martinedeluna)

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Cold soba and shredded crab & capsicum. Yummers!

Cold soba and shredded crab & capsicum. Yummers!

Some of my key takeaways from Erin’s session:

  • Giving things away — like your knowledge, your talent, your creativity — can lead to your freedom lifestyle.
  • Everyone is an expert at something. Find your strengths and offer your services to coincide with building your blog voice and platform.
  • Traffic building: It’s never about numbers. It’s about the quality of your tribe.
  • Brand partnerships: It’s OK to be selective. Remember your end goal in building up your blog — stay true to it. Only work with brands who relate to your lifestyle and beliefs.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of your life.


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Class ended with everyone taking home some goodies from Bloesem, and with something sweet to part with, naturally. Before leaving, I had a chance to hang out with Erin and talk to her about the blogging scene back here in Manila, about my new studio and event space, about the blogging workshops I’ve been doing, etc. She was the sweetest, most affirmative mentor ever, and we talked about the possibility of bringing her workshop here to Manila sometime. Why not? (Won’t you guys help me make it happen?! You will? Yay!)

I also gave Erin what I fondly called the “Blissful Box”: A box of goodies I’ve been enjoying recently which I wanted her to try. According to her blog post the other day, she loved the Theo and Philo chocolate!

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Inside the Blissful Box: Theo & Philo artisan chocolates; “Live Your Bliss” notecards from PostScript Designs; Vanilla Story bodycare products and a cotton vanilla bear (@avanillastory on Instagram); La Pomme hand-sewn apple (@lapommehome on Instagram); El Union Coffee (@elunioncoffee on Instagram)

So, there you have it! My workshop experience in a nutshell. I’ll be sharing more insights during Blissful Blogging 101 this weekend, so I hope you can all be there. (We’re getting filled up, so secure your spot now — lovely gifts from A Vanilla Story and Juice Hut Manila await! Sign up here: Workshops with Make it Blissful.)

Finally, a parting shot with Erin in front of our favorite shop in Singapore. (Visit for the current listing of classes. They’re all good, I promise!)

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