Getaway home living with Serin.

Getaway home living with Serin.

Nautical Theme

Ah, Tagaytay! I love that I did my Avida workshop there last October, because I always like escaping to this holiday city (despite its recent reputation as a traffic-riddled weekend getaway). Sadly this is true, because this hilltop city is filled to the ridge on weekends with vacationers from Manila, who all want the comfort of a searing, homey helping of authentic bulalo with a side hot rice and some tawilis, capped off with a cozy cup of coffee while enjoying a view of Taal and a clear sky.

But what if you could live here, right? The thought has certainly crossed my mind. Friends who have made Tagaytay their permanent home have advised us to consider it, because the traffic isn’t as bad on weekdays, and the city is just an hour’s drive from the beach on good days. Plus, who doesn’t love the nippy mountain air, especially when the cool season comes around this time of year?


The new Serin development in Tagaytay offers prospective homeowners a home that feels “like a holiday, every day.” After living in mega cities all my life, I can appreciate this thought! I’d love to wake up everyday with a view of leisure farms, pine trees, and that huge world-famous lake! With the right condo space on the ideal side of the city, I can.


During my Home Gatherings Workshop, I talked about how we should be able to design the lifestyle we want our families to have. I like to believe that we who work hard and provide for our families have earned the right to design our lives, right? Avida understood this when they created their Serin property, a hilltop, mid-rise condo residence with a strategic view of Tagaytay’s ridge and world-renowned lake, situated across the convenient Serin mall, right in the heart of the tourist city.

“What if you could wake up and every morning felt like you were on vacation?” I mused, as my blogger guests and the invited media converged in the Serin showroom suite. “Here in Serin, we can achieve that.”



Thank you to Avida Land Corp for this opportunity. For more details on Avida’s options for homeowners, please visit their website and Facebook pages to talk to an Avida associate. 

Make it Blissful at Avida Serin, Tagaytay

Make it Blissful at Avida Serin, Tagaytay


I’ve always wanted a home in Tagaytay! So when I collaborated with Avida Land Corp on the second Home Gatherings event in their Serin location in Tagaytay, I secretly wished and added to my vision board that I would one day own a holiday home there. (It can happen, right?)

For the second event, I tied up with my lovely stylist-cake master-“party-in-a-box”-friend, Maricel Mendoza of A Sweet Cottage, and with Gourdo’s for the dinnerware that would be used for the table styling tutorial. Maricel’s portion was super helpful! She shared her home party styling tips with us, using her handy “Party in a Box” as her tool. “It’s handy to have a box of decorating tools so you can make simple decors when you need to,” Maricel advised. She went on to demonstrate how to set a table for an intimate part of four people, and used a variety of dinnerware and props to create a charming tablescape. “These make your guests feel special, like, ‘Wow, this place was really prepared for me,'” she added.


A full house listened intently to Maricel — around 30 or so bloggers and media — as she gave her talk on homemaking and making home gatherings beautiful. Such practical tips! Her party in a box was part of the “challenge” for participants that afternoon, who were all tasked to make tablescapes using the props that were laid out for them by our sponsor and partners, Gourdo’s, a household name in home gatherings, naturally!



In addition, Ton and Shophouse Coffee team did a full coffee demo for everyone, especially the media who had never been introduced to the specialty coffee scene. (They sure had lots of questions, which Ton gamely entertained — good job, babe!)


We generally followed the same format as the previous Nuvali event for the workshop portion, with the addition of a short talk by me on “creating a meaningful home.” I shared three tips that I learned from my own mother on how to make a home, at least to my mom. I see how much sense her wisdom makes now that I have my own family to make a home for.

(By the way, here’s me assisting the hubby in his coffee demo.)


Basically, my mom’s tips are:

1. Your family should be the real “guests of honor” in your own home. We always had nicely-kept homes growing up. Not fancy, not luxury homes, but comfortable homes where things all seemed to come together nicely. That’s because mom always believed that the “nice things” in our home should be for us, those who lived there. Things weren’t meant to be kept in glass cupboards, to be viewed as decor or untouchables. We always had nice plates and flatware to use everyday, because what’s the point of keeping them locked up for company or for show? “Nice things are meant to be used,” Mom says.

(Speaking of nice things, I’m so glad Gourdo’s was our partner for this run, because my mom is a huge Gourdo’s fan and shopper! So appropriate!)


2. Always make sure you are ready to welcome people in to your home. Growing up in her family, my mom’s siblings were used to welcoming people to their homes. During her teen years, she recalled their home always being the place of choice for family reunions and get-togethers, mainly because it was fairly large. (She was the fourth out of 11 siblings.) Their home would host all kinds of barkadas, naturally, and was always ready with merienda for guests. When my mom made our home in Hong Kong and got heavily involved with women’s counseling in church, our home was often visited by Filipinas who came for sessions, or by other fellow expats. “Always have something to offer, even if it’s just biscuits and water,” mom always instilled in me. So today, I always have something small to offer to those who want to visit us. I may not have much, but you’re always welcome to drop by my teeny-tiny home! It’s what my mom taught me.


3. Teach your family tips 1 & 2, and they will be prepared for life. This is more about passing on a mindset of giving and gratitude. I can’t say I’ve done this perfectly, especially in they days I went through my “hermit phase” as a mom and homemaker, when I would escape into my home and not really want to see anyone. (I still struggle with those days sometimes, honestly.) But mom said that if we learn tips 1 & 2 and really live them out, we’ll be able to get through life and put up a decent home. I believe her!


Want to see what the guests that afternoon came up with?

Wine & Cheese Night theme

Wine & Cheese Night theme

Tea Time Theme, using powder pink and floral

Tea Time Theme, using powder pink and floral

Filipiniana Theme

Filipiniana Theme

Nautical Theme

Nautical Theme

We’d also like to thank our Blissful Brands & Businesses Group on Facebook, for their gift contributions for this special media event. Here are their Instagram handles so you can look them up!


Shophouse Coffee (bottled cold brew): @shophousecoffee | Neutra Organics (skincare): @neutraorganics | KSigns & Designs (acrylic trinket trays): @ksignsanddeisgns |Chunky Chewelries (custom necklaces): @chunkychewelries | Blooming Hobby (succulents/flower buckets): @bloominghobby |  Nanay Dulces (cookies): @nanaydulces  |  Treen Manila (tealight blocks): @treenmanila  |  A Vanilla Story (room spray / bug-off spray): @avanillastory  |  The Paper Menagerie (postcard/print): @thepapermenagerie  |  The Drunken Florist (fragrance diffusers: @thedrunkenfloristph  |  Gourdo’s (small vases): @gourdos

Thank you to Avida Land Corp for this opportunity. For more details on Avida’s options for homeowners, please visit their website and Facebook pages to talk to an Avida associate. 

Make it Blissful at Avida Nuvali

Make it Blissful at Avida Nuvali


Make it Blissful had the fine opportunity to collaborate with Avida Land Corp this latter half of the year, on two Home Gathering events that brought together homeowners, and bloggers & members of the press. I have to admit, I was intimidated by the thought of mounting two events for such a trusted name in real estate!

The first of the two events was the Nuvali Home Gathering last August. For this, I partnered with my good friends Lady and Steph Badoy of Boqueria Lifestyle Market, who would be doing the table styling tutorial. My husband Ton and his coffee catering biz Shophouse Coffee provided the specialty coffee beverages for the afternoon, too. Together, we joined forces to create a simple afternoon workshop entitled “Home Gatherings at Avida.” We would be mounting this event for the preferred clients and homeowners of Nuvali, and I also invited some of my blogger friends who lived nearby.


We began the afternoon with a talk on home gatherings, naturally, and how Avida homes encourage this type of coming-away and quieting down with family and friends for simple home parties and get-togethers. I personally love how the Avida homes in Nuvali are conducive for entertaining. (Have a look at some of the options, over on their official website,

Lady and Steph focused on the theme “work with what you have.” They made use of their collection of props and tableware, which resembled what most small households might already have on-hand in their storecupboards. The girls demonstrated how to work with a very basic dinner setup using mostly white dinnerware and tablecloths, and then how to build on these using a “mix & match” method of combining different types of dinnerware. It was amazing to see them take their tablescape from simple to stunning — very doable, indeed!



Everyone was then given a chance to finish their own tables. There was no theme assigned, as groups were challenged to consider the buffet of props first before attempting to create their tablescapes. The results were impressive!


A tip from Steph: Be inspired by the things you already have and just add to them, as needed. This means starting already with good quality basic dinnerware and flatware. I agree! When we first started our home, one of the things we agreed on as husband and wife were that our table would always be nicely set, because eating together as a family was important to us. Isn’t it much more pleasant to eat together when things are set out nicely?


Details! “Details make guests feel a little more special,” said Steph. Things like printing out a simple meny card are a nice touch. (I highly recommend for this!) Placing fresh greens (even if you don’t have flowers) add a bit of life to the table, too, while glasses can be mixed & matched as vases or candle holders. It’s these little things that elevate a table setting from everyday to special.


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I’m so happy that our little workshop here enabled our participants to slow down, appreciate the possibilities they can create at home and really enjoy making meaningful get-togethers with the people they love, both friends and family. Thank you to my Southern blogger belles for being at the event, and for sharing also what they love about living the chilled-out suburban lifestyle away from the metro.

Thank you to Avida Land Corp for this opportunity. For more details on Avida’s options for homeowners, please visit their website and Facebook pages to talk to an Avida associate. 

Storage Solutions.

Storage Solutions.

Screen Shot 2016-09-06 at 3.54.19 PM

Our first shopping trip as a couple was to SM Home in Mega Mall in April of 2008, to buy a dish rack for our kitchen. It was a memorable trip for us, because we invested in a stainless steel dish rack that looked modern and also had a cushy price point (well, at least back then for us penniless newbies!) The dish rack is still with us after 8 years; a good investment since it’s never rusted. (You can see it on the front-right of this photo of my teeny, tiny kitchen!)

SM Home has always been our go-to place for affordable homeware. If ever you’re thinking of something you need for your home, then go and check out SM Home’s Sale this September 1st to October 16th. Like our 8 year old dish rack, they have a wide variety of on-sale storage items, organizers, bath & laundry aids, as well as kitchen carts. Well, stop by soon, because there are limited stocks during sale periods like these, and you’d want to be sure you get what you want (and what looks good in your home!)

Right now if I were going to catch the sale, I’d go straight for the kitchen carts, like this Jaden cart:


We sure could use one in our kitchen now to shuttle items in between the dining area and back again.

Upstairs, I need baskets in the kids’ play area to corral everything:


In the bathroom, these metal bins are nice too, especially since I like stainless steel:


And for the living room or around the bedroom, who doesn’t love all-purpose baskets like these:


OK, see you at the checkout line!

Check these out and more at
FB: SM Home
 IG: @smhome 
Twitter: SMHome_Ph 
Snapchat : sm_home

Storage Sale 22x28

Schooled in styling.

Schooled in styling.


Photo by Kaizer Photography

Each Blissmakerie is decorated by a partner event stylist. For the Parenting Emporium edition, Maricel and Beng were able to get the participation of styling fairy godmother Indy Ycasiano of The School of Styling and She Dreams in Ink, to style the gathering. It was so exciting to think of what Indy might create, seeing as she is one of the most sought-after stylists in Manila. Her parties and projects have been featured in websites, loads of magazines, and her clients are among some of today’s classiest mompreneurs, too.

Perhaps you’ve never met her because she’s often quietly observing from the sidelines, especially during her styled events. Here’s snap of her in action at the TPE Blissmakerie.


Photo by Kaizer Photography

The theme that Indy worked on for this particular gathering was a sweet mix of feminine rustic chic. Each of the three large tables was set in a banquet style, with lots of room in the center of the tables for a carefully laid-out arrangement of tealights and candles, mismatched glass vases with field-inspired flowers (my favorite kind of arrangement), and charming wooden log risers, atop which were succulents or small bouquets of flowers and ferns, and cotton flower boughs (which I’d never seen before until this day!). It was befitting an afternoon party for girls, which everyone absolutely loved. In fact, the first part of the Blissmakerie consisted of everyone snapping vignettes and tabletops, because everything came together and transported us to some sort of bower of style.

I finally understand why Indy’s creations are indeed, dreamy. Her signature style has the ability to transport guests into a whole new experience. Talking to some of the moms that afternoon, I heard sighs of delight and witnessed genuine smiles, because the place was so beautifully prepared, specially for them.




KAI_4355 (1)

Photo by Kaizer Photography


Photo by Kaizer Photography


Photo by Kaizer Photography



Photo by Kaizer Photography

Images from #TheBlissmakerie hashtag on Instagram

Images from #TheBlissmakerie hashtag on Instagram

Thank you, Indy, for touching the Blissmakerie with your vision and generosity. You made everyone’s afternoon! It was a memorable day because of the beautiful setting you created, which inspired everyone to have a beautiful day, make new friends, and basically kick back and just “be with the girls.” It’s an honor for the Blissmakerie to have been a recipient of your life-work. May the blessings return to you a hundred-fold!

The School of Styling Workshops

Every month in Glorietta 5, Indy’s styling company, together with Gamechanger’s Em Sulit, hold sold-out classes on anything and everything to do with styling. Dubbed “The School of Styling”, the classes are interactive and hands-on workshops where Indy teaches participants different aspects of styling: tablescapes, home parties, bouquet-making, tassel garlands, bridal showers, floral boxes, and so on. Down the road, she will also branch into floral wreaths, calligraphy, Christmas & holiday decorations, kids birthday parties, vignettes, and more!

Thanks to the expertise of Em’s company Gamechanger, the workshops are not just learning events, but potential skill-training for those looking to start businesses within the niches of these workshops. That is why the School of Styling is perfect for start-up entrepreneurs (e.g., those in food business and those joining bazaars, expos and fairs, who are looking to beautify their displays and improve their visual merchandising); homemakers and moms, who love to entertain at home and would like to build their skills.

school of styling phils 1

Each School of Styling workshop consists of an expertly-taught, hands-on workshop by Indy Ycasiano of She Dreams in Ink, a Basic Photography Workshop by LightKeepers Studio, a Business Portfolio Making 101 Workshop by Em Sulit: a powerhouse combination of value! Plus, all students leave with a School of Styling Bag, a Certificate of Attendance, Workshop Modules and are given professionally-taken photos of the event, which they can use on their blogs (if they have them) and social media).

Here’s a snippet of their recent workshop on Home Parties, which featured Indy teaching different techniques and hacks to make the styling process easy, even for those who’ve never had styling experience at all.

Thank you, Em and Indy, for making the Blissmakerie: Mom’s Edition a special one, and for treating it “like a child,” so to speak. I really felt your love, Indy, and I can never repay you for the beauty you created, for the hours spent in conceptualizing, sourcing, setting-up and clearing out. Your gift is that you give, and what you give is life, light and happiness. May School of Styling prosper even more and reach more and more women all over the country and beyond!

Bizu’s blissful pleasures 

Bizu’s blissful pleasures 


For any Blissmakerie to be really successful, there has to be great food. We’ve had some very gracious restaurants and caterers contribute to this gathering, and all have been supportive of the event.

During the recent one, “A Mom’s Blissmakerie at the Parenting Emporium,” our food & catering partner was a true dream-come-true to work with: Bizu Catering Studio. Their cafe, Bizu in Greenhills Promenade, has a special place in my heart because it’s where my closest girl friends threw me my bridal shower in 2008. (Wow, that’s a good 8 years ago!) It was the first time for me to taste their macarons (they were notably one of the pioneers of that foodie trend), and I remember going to the cafe often just to get a box for myself when I could afford it. Fast forward to today, and my family and I sometimes find ourselves hopping over to the Le Petit Bizu near our house when we’re craving breads (love their ciabatta) and, of course, more macarons. (My son must have the green pistachio flavor, as it’s his favorite color.)

From the Bizu Catering Studio on Facebook

From the Bizu Catering Studio on Facebook

Anyway, back to this post! As you can see, Bizu’s been a part of our family life since even before I had a family. It’s poetic that my first-ever experience in a Bizu was a celebration with other women (my bridesmaids and besties), and that this Blissmakerie was also among women, but a bigger group of new friends specifically in the mompreneur world here in Manila.

The Bizu Catering Studio, our catering partner, is a separate entity from the cafes we’ve all been familiar with. The objective? To bring Bizu experience into personal, intimate gatherings and also corporate events. Since launching the company, Bizu has catered everything from birthdays to baby showers, corporate to celebrity events. They are a “studio” to differentiate themselves from just an ordinary catering company. The “studio” does imply that Bizu designs each of their catering experiences differently: They consider the profiles of their clients very carefully so that they create truly unique, artisans experiences.

(You can see their current events and photos on their official Facebook page.)


For the Blissmakerie, we got to savor the exquisite food that the Catering Studio has to offer. The studio prides itself in its thoughtful concepts, from their motif to their menu. Not surprisingly, since the entire team behind Bizu consists of highly-trained chefs, event artisans (floral designers, tablescape artists, stylists), and an incomparable wait staff which, for me, is a refreshing thing. My glass of strawberry-basil cooler was never left empty throughout the entire afternoon.

I personally appreciated the details in each menu item for our TPE Blissmakerie. Ms. Audrey Tanco Uy specified that each item on the menu was served in small portions, but very hearty still (as we all soon found out!)

The feasting experience began at-table, even before the buffet was open, with carefully crafted terrines and crackers, and welcome drinks of strawberry basil coolers. I couldn’t eat the soft-shell crab hors d’oeuvres (allergic, huhu), but I heard they were absolutely exquisite. I was addicted to the coddled eggs—my first time to ever try such a preparation—that I had two servings. (Shhh.) I went back for thirds of the gnocchi and shrimps, which were as buttery as I expected and just right to the taste. I didn’t get a chance to taste the roast beef, which I heard was out-of-this-world good.

bizu catering studio

From the Bizu Catering Studio on Facebook. Center photo from @martinedeluna on Instagram

So what kind of gathering can you expect when you work with Bizu Catering Studio?

  1. A classy event: I’m sure if you’ve been to any Bizu bistro or cafe, you’ll notice a unifying quality: Class and beauty. That’s why everyone at the Blissmakerie kept saying “Wow!” over and over again upon seeing the gorgeously appointed buffet spread and the thoughtful trays of cheeses and terrines that wove into the vignettes at each table. Every element of the experience is meant to elicit this “wow”, and Bizu does it marvelously. (For this event, of course, they worked hand in hand with The School Of Styling.)
  2. An intimate experience: The name “Bizu” was derived from one of my favorite French words “bisou” or “kiss.” Just like a kiss (which excites and inspires both the giver and the recipient), each Bizu catering experience excites the party guests and inspires them to have a wonderful time. Judging by those who were constantly Instagramming, I’d say Bizu did an awesome job at this.
  3. A proudly Filipino, world-class brand: Bizu is one of the first homegrown companies to introduce the “Parisian Patisserie” concept to the Philippine market. Thanks to their bistros and cafes, the Philippines was introduced to authentic French pastries and breads, and later on, hearty and wholesome continental dishes and meals. The Bizu Catering Studio brings this unique twist to its private catered events, too.


I hope you can consider Bizu Catering Studio for your next inspiring event. Thank you, Bizu, especially Ms. Audrey Tanco Uy of Bizu Patisserie & Bistro, for being our very generous, beautiful banquet director and who worked so hard to make everything seamless. You and your team are amazing. Thank you for blessing the moms who came to be refreshed and filled — We’re forever grateful!


With Ms. Audrey Tanco Uy of Bizu, who is a joyful and creative soul.

For bookings and inquiries, please visit Bizu Catering Studio’s online portals.

Bizu Catering Studio
Telephone: (02) 845-05-90 to -93
Instagram: bizuph
Twitter: bizuph

Taken from the Bizu Catering Studio on Facebook

Taken from the Bizu Catering Studio on Facebook