Our little coffee brand, Shophouse Coffee, is more a passion project than anything. When we began it as a business, we wanted to grow it while learning the ropes, in the same way that the shophouse culture of the Orient ties in family values with a homebased business. It wasn’t until we decided to try doing pop-ups that we really saw how our brand could grow.
Spectrum Fair Manila was actually the best choice we made for Shophouse Coffee in terms of leveraging on a great community of merchants and small businesses that have heart and soul. When my friend and Spectrum organizer Aly (of Aly Meets World) launched the concept over a year ago, it was new and exciting. It was also an event after my own heart, because everything was intentionally meant to be beautiful and meaningful. I don’t know about you, but having beautifully styled booths and an interesting curation of products appeals to me. I liked the approach of the entire event being an indoor “outdoor fair” concept, where you could shop, dine, lounge and meetup with your friends.
This time around, Spectrum will be this weekend, March 18 and 19, at the fabulous Whitespace. Expect the fair’s signature experience of fun-loving brands, chill-out live music, an array of food choices that will definitely have you asking for seconds, and the kindest, hands-on organizers you’ve ever met in Pia and Aly Arellano, the inspired mom & daughter duo that launched this much-awaited shop ‘n’ dine event of the year.
We are particularly grateful to Spectrum for having trusted us as a specialty coffee company that has found a home of sorts in this fair. It really is very close to our hearts, and it means so much when we get to popup here. Look for us; we are at our usual spot beside the stage. (Photo below from our last popup in September.)
Our little coffee bar will be there to serve up our bestselling Cold Brew Iced Mocha, Cold Brew Tonic with Lemon, and our very satisfying hot coffees. We’re serving coffee from the Philippines’ no. 1 coffee shop, El Union Coffee, so if you want to get your Elyu fix without going the distance, then you know where to head this Saturday and Sunday.
Bring your family and friends, have a cuppa with us and leave your troubles behind our colorful ribbon curtains. See you there!
Spectrum Fair Manila • March 18-19, Whitespace, Makati, Pasong Tamo Extension • Follow on Instagram @spectrumfairmanila
As a working mom, it’s easy for me to simply say that it’s my family that drives me to work hard. When we got married, my husband and I both decided that we would live a dual income lifestyle, until one of us could afford to stop working and be a full-time stay at home parent.
It seemed like a good plan. After I had Vito, we were living quite comfortably. I had just begun my side hustle as a blog coach, and was gainfully employed as a department head in a marketing startup. I remember thinking, “Wow, I love being a work at home mom,” and I wrote about it passionately. It was around this time I also started experimenting with workshops and creating offline events for my readers, sold-out learning events that really boosted my brand.
Almost five years into this somewhat ideal lifestyle, I thought, “Hey, this is pretty great. Let’s have another kid, shall we?” and I got pregnant with my daughter, Krista. All the while, I thought “No sweat.” Vito was old enough to take care of himself in terms of self-care, and we were financially secure (or so we thought). Meanwhile my pregnancy was moderately publicized through my blog and social media channels because, well, that’s what bloggers did when they got pregnant. Krista’s birth was met with heaps of support from readers and supporters, and everything seemed pretty and charmed. It was the same old, same old. Work hard as working parents, earn our keep, make sure the family is provided for, saved up for, clothed, fed, and happy.
It wasn’t until one day, when Krista was two weeks short of her 9th month birthday, that we were stirred up out of our comfort zone. Ton got a phone call from his boss in the U.K., — that dreaded call no employee wants to hear — that the company was shifting gears, and redundants would have to force-resign. In short, our lifestyle as a dual income family was — in two short weeks — reduced to one: mine.
It was then I realized something important. My “why” for working so hard was so small and basic: provide for our lifestyle; make sure the bills could be paid; make sure we have food on the table and a roof over our heads; set savings aside for whatever might come up. I never aspired for anything else, and so our level of capability stayed at that comfort zone.
Our savings were OK but even if we could find another job for Ton and maintain our lifestyle, our state would still be the same. What if he or I lost our clients? What’s more, what if one of us gets sick and we can’t work? Savings and investments alone couldn’t and wouldn’t assure us. So when 2016 rolled in, I started to read books and listen to podcasts, but different from those I had listened to in the past. In the past, I would listen to podcasts and read books about blogging or freelancing, but hardly any on mindset, abundance and wealth. Having seen that my freelance pursuits alone would never be able to afford my family the true lifestyle I believed they deserved, as knew I had to do something different. It was during this time I learned about the power of clarity of the “why.” I’ve talked about having a “why” before as a blogger, but having an ultimate “why” as an individual in this world? That is something I hadn’t touched on.
Having a clear, big “why” that drives you as an individual is and must be so much more than just the basic needs of food, clothing, shelter, and savings.
We’re not talking about the ability to pay the bills or buy a house here. A “why” that drives us must be much more than having an “emergency fund” to fall back on (which we had, at the time). It must be so much more than “so I can afford tuition for the kids next year” or “I need to build my emergency fund.” These things are a given, we should be able to afford these things without aspiring for them anymore. Why are philanthropists able to help charities, for instance? Why can some people afford a high quality of life but at the same time make a difference in the lives of others, without compromising their own families’ lives?
“Don’t build a business to make money. Build a LIFE,” said one of my mentors and business partners.
When we start a business, do we stop and think of our ultimate “why” in starting it? Not the profits it will bring in, but the quality of life we will have while we grow that business? Most times when we start a business, we are laden with stress, just to make ends meet. We are burdened with lack when we don’t see results (and the payables are stacking up). We lose time with the ones we are working for.
Don’t work just to be able to pay the bills.
If we just worked for money, then we could very well do any job we wanted to. This is what I realized was doing with freelancing and setting up my own small business. While it has been good, I have always been trading off time for work. While we as a family could save, make some investments, Ton and I could never do so at a rate that would help us to free up more time for our kids NOW. I realized as my son Vito grew older, his needs were changing, too, and required more of my time. But because I have always been working, always in front of my laptop or phone or in a workshop, I missed out on lots of his needs. I wasn’t thinking bigger, beyond our obvious needs: tuition, living expenses, holiday fund, doctor’s bills. These were all for present value only.
I had to think bigger, think beyond just working for present value.
Last year, I began growing my third business. An angel in the form of a former blog client, sent me a proposal and I decided to partner with her in building this business with a solid passive income stream. It was a business I’d never ventured into before, at least with a success rate. But out of every business I’ve begun, it’s the business that’s given me and my family the best results financially, health-wise, and in terms of self-development. It’s made me a better person, wife, mother. It’s made running Make it Blissful even more purposeful, because I can see myself eventually doing my workshops for free, because this brand won’t have to be my entire source of income.
One of the best things that’s happened lately is that my husband even became a business partner, and we’ve been growing this new business together. I love it more than anything else I’ve started, including my brand, blog and all the wonderful things I’ve done in the past. Why? Because now I’m really doing a business that isn’t just paying the bills, but enabling Ton and I to create a good life, one that our kids can truly enjoy that is free of concern.
The goal is to DESIGN A LIFE we love where money is just a tool for us to be able to DO what we want, not what we work for. A life on our own terms means doing what we want — a business, or early retirement — with the people we want to do these things with, whenever we want to,” said Anthony Robbins.
That’s my ultimate why.
We are all going to work hard anyway.
So if we are going to work hard anyway, doesn’t it follow that we should consider WHERE our hard work is going to take us? Are we going to work til we’re too old to enjoy our lives? Do we glorify the “hustle” so much that we forget to consider creating a passive income, which can enable us to stop working so hard, so that we can truly live instead of just make a living? Do we just work for Friday nights and the next vacation?
If we are going to work hard anyway, doesn’t it make sense to work on what will give us future value, so that we can really enjoy LIVING, without worrying? I hope we all are able to look at our lives down the road and really answer the question: “Am I working just to pay the bills, or to really design the life I deserve, that my family deserves?”
I’m excited for where we are right now as a family. My new business is a solution for everything Ton and I have planned for the future. We’ve learned to go beyond the paycheck-to-paycheck life. It’s all new, unfamiliar, challenging and we are constantly unlearning everything we thought we knew about having a business and working in a job. We are really finding our bliss, doing a meaningful business that is really helping others, not just ourselves.
Because in the bigger scheme of things, designing a life is really about being able to live it on your own terms.
Let me leave you with this thought from Warren Buffet, who said it perfectly:
One of the best decisions I’ve made is to try new methods and systems to get to different results. For example: I want 2017 to be the year when I firm up our family’s passive income stream. I’ve set up different investment tools in the past, of course, but this year I am going to dedicate much of my time to building a solid system for us. It’s different, but I am expecting a different (and very good, yes!) result, of course. I have been attending training, coaching sessions, and learning new methods, some way out of my comfort zone. The thing is, I’m willing to do this because I want a different result.
Try something different
At the start of the new year, it’s normal for many of us to feel “wired” to change things up. That is why we make resolutions, set new goals for ourselves, wishing and hoping this year will be “the year” we achieve what we’ve set out to do. We try on our own to make things work, but let’s face it: most of the time, we’ve failed on our goals and good intentions, even before we’ve started working on them!
Well, I’ve seen in the past that the things I achieved my favorite goals when I deliberately did something about them. Let me cite some examples:
In 2011, I took up my first blogging course and started to monetize my blog. It was the first course I ever paid for, which proved successful in helping my blog earn a national award (Best Home & Parenting Blog for 2011 Philippine Blog Awards).
In 2013, I started being coached by Jess Lively, intention & business coach, to help me beef up my services as a “blog coach.” Simultaneously, I did two blog branding courses with Blogging Your Way, which helped me to professionalize my brand. Both the coaching and the courses were a hefty investment, but instrumental to me setting up a thriving coaching business that has lasted to this day. They also helped me build the confidence to do my own writing workshops for bloggers.
It’s important to note that when I tried something different for my blog — courses, coaching, accountability, mentoring —, I achieved different results. Each course or coaching I went through helped me to level-up in my brand and business, and they also helped me change my mindset so that I would keep going towards my desired outcome. As a working mom, I wanted to keep on working from home, do something I enjoyed (if possible) and create something sustainable. Did all of those, thanks to trying something different.
You can try something different, too.
Our workshops this January may be different for many of you. You may have not tried doing a vision board in your life, or you may not have ever had any life coaching. I get it, but, I also know that some of my biggest breakthroughs have been during times that I tried something different than just doing things on my own. Who knows? It might be the same for you.
What’s the difference between our #makeitblissful Workshops this January? Here is a short low-down:
JANUARY 21, SATURDAY: THE VISION BOARD WORKSHOP
The main purpose of this workshop is to teach the actual science, mindset and purpose behind a tool known as a “vision board.” Vision boards are actual tools to help us achieve goals, desired outcomes, and generally have a positive, proactive mindset towards your life. They are used by leaders, high achievers, and professionals in many fields. You can learn how to make your own, too! Sign up HERE to get our early bird rate: Vision Board Workshop, Jan 21st, 8:30AM-12NN
JANUARY 25 (W) & 28 (S): GET BLISSTIFIED WORKSHOP
The main purpose of this workshop is to help you launch a “passion project.” This could be a business, a blog, a book, an advocacy, a health goal or whatever it is you are feeling strongly about. Whatever passion project your declare to begin during this workshop will have a timeline of 12-months, in which you will receive monthly tips &a encouragement, as you get closer to fulfilling your project. You will be part of a 12-month long private Facebook accountability group, after completing the workshop.
Sign up here for the weekday run at the Henry Hotel, Pasay: Get Blisstified, Jan 25th, Wednesday
Sign up here for the weekend option in Local Edition, Makati: Get Blisstified, Jan 28th, Saturday
I sound like a broken record when I say the word “resolution,” but I still believe in making them. I mean, what could be better than purposely setting aside the first few days of the year to actually plan for some changes, right? But most of us (myself included) give up because we have told ourselves “I’m going to get distracted” or “I’m not going to lose that much weight, so why try?” or “Resolutions are stupid, nothing ever changes.”
The key to making resolutions that actually pull through? CHOOSING. If you choose to succeed in what you set out for yourself to do, then you have already chosen to be that person, you have already chosen to be in that place or situation that you desire in your heart.
Let me explain what I mean, inspired by my “quote addiction” (!):
In my first year offering my blog coaching sessions (as a “side hustle” to my regular job as a digital strategist), I remember deciding to simply “make it my full-time hustle.” I knew I wanted to create a job that I enjoyed doing, doing something that was both fulfilling and fun for me. So even if in the beginning I had to juggle the side hustle and work double the time, it was because I had decided I wanted to make this job sustainable enough for me to replace the income I was making in the company I was employed in. Eventually the hustling paid off after a year or so, when I was able to resign from employment and do my blog coaching and blog sponsorships on a full-time basis. It wasn’t without the long hours, the time and effort invested in courses and trainings to help me in the areas of branding, consulting and coaching. But that’s because I had already decided where I wanted to be. All the hours put into making the side hustle work, in the end, paid off. (And here I am still, going on five years!)
Without commitment, all we have are wishes and dreams, no plans. I saw this on one of those Facebook quotes some time ago and it stuck. We can say “I’m going to do this, one day,” but if we never commit to actually doing what it takes to see the dream come true, then we will never be more than just dreamers. (And dreamers are, well, asleep.)
I was watching a viral video on Facebook about Martin Strel, a 60-something year old who holds the Guinness World Record in long distance swimming in open water. This man is a total animal who has some kind of surreal, innate power in him, I believe! He has defied all limits when it comes to swimming in open water (yes, including the most polluted bodies of water on earth). Just watch:
“Water usually kills people. Not me,” Martin says, after sustaining sickness, life-threatening diseases and all sorts of bodily challenges during his torturous swims. (He has at times swum for sixty days straight!) What struck a chord with me most was when he talked about the water being his strength, particularly when he’d escape his abusive father by swimming off. (That, and getting attacked by flesh-eating fish while on a swim!) The biggest deal? It’s that each river or sea he committed to swim across or through, he’s done it.There’s a reason he’s been able to withstand the most awful conditions and limiting beliefs.
“It’s in your brain,” Martin says simply. “I am still a simple man, and I can change the world.”
Commitment to being what you want to be is what takes you one step closer each day to your goal. Like Martin! He would like to swim the Grand Canyon one day, maybe even swim across the planet. I’m sure he’ll be able to do one or both, because heck, this guy is all about dreaming and doing what it takes to meet his goal. We can have all the pretty dreams in our heads, but wouldn’t it be a whole other level to LIVE them?
I’m not yet where I want to be, even though I am doing work that I enjoy, or I have “made my passion my paycheck.” To be honest, my passion isn’t something I want a paycheck for: I want to be a full-time mom. Sounds big coming from a known work-at-home mom like me, a promoter of women empowerment, right? I know I’ve often written about and talked about making things work, and they can, but I’ve dared myself to dream bigger and plan better so that I can design my life a better way. I’ve been a mother for seven years now, and to be honest, I don’t want to be a working mom my whole life. I’d like to do other things, too, and find solutions to how I can activate income streams, without trading hours for time. That’s what 2017 will be about, and I have decided to work on priming my new passive income streams. I know it is hard in the beginning, but like one of my favorite people says, “Work hard now so that you can reap the benefits later” (Pat Flynn). I’ve decided I will succeed in setting up successful passive income streams. I’ve seen what life can be when that goal is reached, and it is too good to pass up the opportunity to really design my life the way I want to, the way my family deserves.
Bottom line? Everything that will go through when we run for our goals — the hard work, the perseverance, the mistakes and failures, the progress — are chapters in our success stories. I don’t consider my becoming a full-time housewife, or an established blogger, or a small business owner a “success.” As another famous man said, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success. Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts” (Winston Churchill).
I hope this new year, you will CHOOSE for yourself what you would like your life to be like. That you would shift your mindset to one that says “I can and I will,” because once you have chosen, you have already decided to succeed.
Make Your 2017 Happen with Your Own Vision Board!
I say that one of the best ways to help you CHOOSE and live intentionally this year is to join our Vision Board Workshop on the 21st. I have teamed up with Vision Board Coach Trixie Barretto Esguerra for this event, who has conducted successful Vision Board coaching all over the Philippines, parts of Asia and the United States.
Doing a Wish Grant with Make a Wish Philippines is something I’ve been wanting to do ever since I understood the positive effect it has on the children. So before the holidays set in, a few of us from the Blissful Brands & Businesses Group started a simple chat thread on Facebook and started to plan a wish grant for two preschool aged kids — Ezra and Krystel, both with life-threatening illnesses — who wanted to have their wishes granted.
The “wish grant” by the Make a Wish Foundation is an experience that brings hope, strength and joy to children with life-threatening illnesses. According to their website, 89 percent of health care experts around the world believe that the wish granting experience can influence a “wish kid’s” health in a most positive way. Eighty-one percent of parents of wish kids also observed that after wish grants, their children were more willing to comply with their treatment protocols. Most of all, 99 percent of parents affirmed that the wish grants give their children increased feelings of happiness, which has often resulted in a turning point for the children during treatments (i.e., some get well or start on the road to wellness).
Who wouldn’t want to give these children all that?
Each wishgrant is more about creating an magicalexperience for each child, giving them a day that they will remember forever. As sponsors, we were encouraged by the Make a Wish team to think out of the box to make magic happen for Ezra and Krystel.
First in order was the venue. Earth Kitchen in Bonifacio Global City let us use their venue without needing to meet the regular rate for events (Thanks, Melissa, Pinky and the EK team!). To create a “magical” effect in the venue, we had the gracious support of White Box PH, a company that specializes in ready-made party paraphernalia that are hard-to-find or make. For this party, the ladies of White Box went with the colors of Make a Wish (white and blue) and created a “winter wonderland.”
With the White Box PH ladies, and our wish kids
Once the venue design was in place, we sounded a call for volunteers who would want to give through talent, so that the wish kids and the party goers would be able to enjoy some entertainment. For this, we were blessed to have volunteers from among the Blissful Brands & Businesses members. The first performance was by our youngest volunteer, Yanthy Dumadag, the son of my friend Teresa Gumap-as Dumadag of the Hands-On Parenting While Earning workshops and consultancy. Yanthy is a talented keyboardist who is also a homeschooler, and has been playing the piano during daily Mass, so for this wish grant, his offering was a number of Christmas songs. So impressive!
The next set of volunteer entertainers was Make Believe Philippines, a company dear to my heart that specializes in creating magical storytelling experiences and events for children (owned by my cousin-in-law, Lesley Leveriza). The first Make Believe experience I ever had was when they came to do a Very Hungry Caterpillar-themed birthday craft party for my son Vito’s 2nd birthday, and I remember everyone loving it so much! So for the wish grant, Make Believe prepared a moving story about Juanito, who learned how to make the world a more colorful and happy place. Both the adults and the kids in attendance were super psyched and involved during the performance, which is really a trademark of the Make Believe team’s interactive stories.
The Make Believe Team also brought with them their trademark face painting station, so that the kids could have some colorful fun. Our wish kid Ezra had them paint his favorite superhero emblems on his arm, to his delight. Meanwhile little 3 year-old Krystel wanted lots of flowers.
Last but not the least, the talented indie artists of World Extravaganza, led by Ms. Crystal Lin, rendered some acoustic tunes for us, including an original song. “World Extravaganza is a community arts organization dedicated to organize events and design programs with the mission to promote, advocate, and communicate music and the arts to the general public.”I suddenly remembered my days in youth group band, while listening to these guys and girls. I can’t explain how much music has an invisible power to touch the heart, especially when the musicians making it truly love their craft, as these young men and women do. (You’ll find them on weekdays at Frank & Dean’s at Burgos Circle during Open Mic sessions — check out their Facebook page for schedules!)
We transitioned from the last song by WorldExPH into the actual Wish Grant portion, which Ezra and Krystel were not expecting. As it is done during wish grants, the wish kids were led to sit in front of the party crowd, facing the people with their eyes blindfolded. Everyone scurried to get the gifts in place while I gave some instructions on what was to happen.
Once the gifts were in place, we counted down before the kids were instructed to take off their masks and see all the presents before them. They were in shock at the pile! The Make a Wish team had gone to great lengths to make sure our donations from the Blissful Brands & Businesses group would go into getting Ezra and Krystel the toys on their wish list. For Ezra, a “big remote control car,” and for Krystel a Barbie and Barbie house. They ended up getting all that they wished for, and more!
Both Ezra and Krystel suffer from blood thalassemia, a blood disorder caused by the body’s lack of hemoglobin, which is a crucial component of our red blood cells. It’s a treatable disorder, which means that both wish kids will be undergoing blood transfusions and chelation therapy for the rest of their lives. While it’s hard to imagine these two beautiful kids have such a condition to live with, it’s possible to keep helping them on a regular basis. You can contact Make a Wish Philippines on how to donate and how to organize a wish grant for other wish kids. Trust us, it’s totally worth it.
We hope you enjoyed this recap of the Ezra – Krystel Wish Grant! You can view all the pictures from the event over at our photography sponsor Amari Moments’ Facebook Page.