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All photos by Craftsmith Living, unless otherwise stated. 

Slow living is a rather new term for some here in Manila, but for me, it’s something I’ve been studying and trying to master since the day I dropped out of the workforce five years ago to pursue “WAHMdom.” Back then, all I knew were two things: (1) I wanted to have ample time to be a hands-on mom, and (2) I still wanted to work and contribute to the family income. Simple wants; deliberate intentions.

I really made it work, though, and I can say that the last five years have been the happiest and most fulfilling times of my life.

Still, there have been some periods where I still felt like I was getting sucked into the madness of work.

Add blogging to that, and it was common for me to feel rushed, even unfulfilled at some points. I’d say I had a major breakthrough midway through my blogging journey, when I decided keeping up and trying to grow my blog the “usual” way (i.e. events, brands, etc.) was tiring me out, emotionally and physically.

When I entered 2013, my intention was to make blogging slower, a fit and a complement to the work I wanted to do: to help women build their personal brands online, through blogging. It was work that “F.I.T” me: fulfilled, invigorated and transformative.

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Which brings me to a very important realization about “slow living”:

Slow living means structuring your life around what is meaningful, blissful, and gives you fulfilment.

Slowing down is always a choice. It’s not easy, especially when we’re so used to things being accomplished for us instantly, either by technology or other people. But it is essential, because slow living leads to a better appreciation for life and a deeper kind of happiness for us.

Here’s how we can all give it a shot.

1. Say “no”, and do less.

“Slow living? Who has the time for it?!”

If this is your reaction to the idea of “slow living,” then friend, you will really benefit from slowing down!

Call it “voluntary simplicity” or something of the sort. Slow living emphasizes a less-is-more approach, a quality over quantity way of life. Our personal motivations for slowing down vary, but they often come from a place that is dissatisfied and tired of the toxic, overwhelming and stressful aspects our our fast-paced, highly-connected and current-event-heavy culture.

When did I opt to slow down? I liken it to the way I blog. I’ve often been told that my style of “unblogging” is refreshing, and there’s a reason for that, I believe. Before I slow-blogged, I was always trying to keep up. OK, I’ll go to this big event. Yes, I’ll work with all the brands who want to work with me — it’s good for my blog, anyway, right? 

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Make time to say “no” on your schedule, so you can say “yes” to the things that give your life meaning. Photo by Martine de Luna on Instagram @martinedeluna

To simplify the long story, let’s just say I admitted I would never be an ideal lifestyle blogger and focused on just creating my own style of lifestyle blogging, one that F.I.T. my lifestyle of being a homebodied, working mom. I have to say, it’s been working out for me….

… going to less events, be they appearances, PR events, and things that might take time away from my priorities (or not attending at all);

… saying “no” so that I can say “yes” to things like family, rest, and slowing down (like now — pregnant at 31 weeks as I write this);

… doing less work, but focusing on a few projects I feel connected with and passionate about (so that I give them my best)

Once I applied this to my life, as much as I did to blogging because it was such a major part of my life, things became more F.I.T — fulfilling, invigorating and transformative. I was able to zero in to a type of work that kept me blogging and working with blogs and bloggers, but in a pace and style that enabled me to really love the work I do.

2. Stay in more.

As a homebody, I appreciate my home as more than just a place to crash after work and at the end of a busy work day. “Making a home” is something I take to heart, and for me, being a “slow living dweller” isn’t about sparing luxury being intensely frugal, when it comes to nurturing and making my home. I will spend for a nice sofa that encourages my family to cozy up in the evenings, and lots of throw pillows for lounging and cuddling. (And, being the person I am, they have to be color-coordinated. Hehe.)

Actually, one of the reasons I love shops like Craftsmith, for instance, is that it’s like stepping into a place that understands the language of my soul. They also have wonderful items for meaningful, beautiful homemaking. (Visit their Instagram feed to see their stocks: Instagram.com/craftsmithliving)

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I love Craftsmith’s approach to living well. Photo by Martine de Luna.

Being able to stay in and love being at home also means making my home conducive to slow living. It is about applying a new set of values for my son (and soon, my daughter), whom we homeschool and whose lives revolve around chores in the house, like how to properly set the table or pour a cup of water for a visitor. Having a “let’s stay in” mentality allows my family to enjoy living in the present, to appreciate we could easily neglect, because of routine.

So if you find me saying “no” at times to going out, to attending an event or otherwise, it’s because I don’t want to leave home. And that should be OK for you, as it is for me.

3. Staycation, whenever you can.

My husband and I can literally bring our work with us on our laptops, and this mobility let’s us have some kind of freedom to go on occasional “staycations” when we feel like life in the city is stressing us out. I keep my eyes open for online notices and alerts for “staycation” deals, so that we can escape for a bit as a family (or sometimes, without my son!). We often like to do Sunday to Monday staycations, to avoid the weekend crowds in hotels and B&Bs. (“Staycationing” is a great way to disconnect from, well, connectivity, if we decide not to take our work with us.)

4. Savor and make things blissful.

This is all about being present and fully absorbed in a moment. Jim Elliot (a famous missionary) once said,

Wherever you are, be all there. — Jim Elliot

He had it right, of course, being a missionary who had given his life (and lost it in the end) to God’s work. But “being all there” can apply to whatever we do: work, chores, creative pursuits. It’s about appreciating every aspect of an activity or moment, and finding the enjoyable, pleasurable things in all we do — cooking, cleaning, the laundry, et al.

One thing that makes chores a bit more pleasurable is having nice things to do them with. Case in point for work-at-home moms like me who don’t have regular household help: Washing the dishes. Personally, I like using aromatherapy liquid detergent, like Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day, for when I do the dishes. A lot of people might say it’s an unncessary expense to spend on a good-smelling dishwashing soap, but for me — the one who does the dishes every day! — it makes the chore more pleasurable for me.

Life can be so much more enjoyable if we could learn to see things blissfully.

Everything — from our daily chores and errands to the work we do for a living — can be savored.

Everything — from our daily chores and errands to the work we do for a living — can be savored and made blissful. Photo by Martine de Luna.

5. Simplify your belongings, your surroundings.

We are focused so much on consuming, that sometimes, we forget we already have much we can use to live well. Part of the reasons why I now dislike sale seasons at the mall, buying “cheap and a lot”, is because I may just be acting on the impulse to get a good deal. Buying sprees on clothing items that are on sale, for instance, used to give me a high but now turn me off because I would to buy things that appealed to my penchant for prints, polka dots, or florals (ha!). My annual purges helped me realize I had lots of random separates that never really went together, haha!

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You can make something beautiful out of borrowed, inherited and found things — much like the interiors and styling of La Creperie, where much of the furnishings and details are from the owners’ bodegas. Photo by Martine de Luna on Instagram.

I’ve since focused on just buying clothes that are uncomplicated, but good quality. Same with things for the house — though, admittedly, throw pillows are a weakness I’m learning to curb! I found that by acquiring less but spending more for quality items that helped the family live more meaningfully, helped to make our lifestyle less filled with “stuff.” I’m still constantly decluttering, because of bad habits I’ve acquired, but I am learning by and by.

These are just some of the ways I’ve tried to apply slow living to the way I live.

What about you? Did any of these resonate with you?

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The photos in this post are from the Unstyling Workshop held in La Creperie Moderne, Salcedo Village, last November 21, 2014. The event was co-presented by The Spoiled Mummy – Luxe Events, La Creperie, and Makeitblissful. All other photos are of Craftsmith Living, located at unit 2-J, Crown Tower, HV dela Costa Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City. Contact Craftsmith at (632) 869-8022. Store Hours: 11 AM – 4PM, Monday-Friday, and 10AM – 2 PM on Saturdays. Email info@craftsmithliving.com for inquiries.

Our Unstyling Workshop Teacher

Kitty Bunag was the teacher and stylist for the Unstyling workshop. More than her impeccable style and talent, what she blesses you with is her heart and soul. Thank you, Kitty, and the Craftsmith team, for that wonderful afternoon.

Kitty Bunag was the teacher and stylist for the Unstyling workshop. More than her impeccable style and talent, what she blesses you with is her heart and soul.

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Thank you, Kitty, and the Craftsmith team, for that wonderful afternoon.

Thanks to our sponsors:

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La Creperie Moderne, Salcedo Village, Makati

Rustan’s The Beauty Source

Town & Country Philippines

Elle Decoration Philippines

Royal & Dandy

Beyond Yoga – Rockwell

Ally’s Cookie Bar

The Spoiled Mummy Totes

These limited edition totes were personal gifts by our gracious host, the spoiled mummy herself, Grace Barbers-Baja. They sheltered all the fabulous loot given by our sponsors. Thank you, Grace, for your luxe & personal touch!

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Thank you to these other blogs who wrote about the event:

Patty Laurel – Unstyling

Bea Marquez – Unstyling with Kitty Bunag

Memet Diaries – An Inspiring Afternoon

YFollow our event on Instagram, using the hashtags: #tsmLuxeEvents #makeitblissfulworkshops #makeitblissful #eventsatlacreperie