The Gathering Table: A tablescape workshop

The Gathering Table: A tablescape workshop

blissful with boqueria lifestyle market

There are so many restaurants about town beckoning for our attention. Sometimes the art of entertaining at home has been lost to these places, and we want to bring back that art, that love for opening up our homes to the people that matter to us the most. This was the inspiration for our next workshop in the Art of Homemaking Series. I’m so happy to report that our next gathering in May will be a truly lovely one!

ArtOfHomemaking-Mateo's MAY

We’re teaching you how to create simple tablescapes at home, and to acquire basic knowledge of table styling, specifically for your at-home gatherings. This is not targeted at event stylists (who already know how to do this for a living), but this is meant for homemakers. Teaching us will be noted space-prop-and-table stylists, Boqueria Lifestyle Market. These women are amazing! Here’s a bit of a tease as to what you can expect from this gathering.

Boqueria Lifestyle Market

Boqueria Lifestyle Market

Boqueria Lifestyle Market 4

Boqueria Lifestyle Market

You can already register for The Gathering Table: Table Setting and Styling for the Home, on our Make it Blissful Shop. Slots are limited, so hurry and pay for your seat as we are on a first-paid, first-served basis. We also need time to prepare your workshop materials, so payments must be made strictly by May 16, 2016. Buy Tickets: The Gathering Table, May 28.

Tidy home living.

Tidy home living.

Martine de Luna - A Day in the Life Shoot - Photography by Lianne Bacorro-16

Recently, the girls from Dyson Philippines came over to our house to demo a new unit. I’m unabashed about my love for Dyson, especially since owning one has made life so much easier. I’ve no time to clean because I’ve got two kids to care for, and no time or a monthly budget to hire a helper to stay with us full time.

Having this vacuum in my life has saved me a lot of time and effort in cleaning. We live in Metro Manila, and the dust in our neighborhood is something else, because there’s always some kind of construction going on.

Martine de Luna - A Day in the Life Shoot - Photography by Lianne Bacorro-156

Martine de Luna - A Day in the Life Shoot - Photography by Lianne Bacorro-161

Dust mites are the number one cause of allergies in our home. Well, in ALL homes, actually! But Dyson has this concern in mind, so when they engineered their vacuums, they made sure that allergens would be the number one target for their line of cleaners. (Did you know that in the microbiology lab, Dyson scientists grow their own dust mite cultures? Having their own culture of mites enables Dyson scientists to study the allergens they produce. This means that they can help the design engineers develop products to combat them better! Source: Dyson)

Ordinary vacuum cleaners (or worse, the dustan and broom we used to use!) allow lots of dust to escape right back into the air. Not our Dyson, though! It captures microns (which are approximately 200 times smaller in diameter than human hair) like pollen, mould and bacteria, and seals them in. This explains why we’ve had less incidences of allergy episodes since we got our Dyson Fluffy.

Martine de Luna - A Day in the Life Shoot - Photography by Lianne Bacorro-160

Pricing for the Dyson Fluffy DC74 is at Php 38,500. It is available in Century City Mall (Dyson Concept Store), Rustan’s Makati, Rustan’s Shangri-La, Rustan’s Cebu, Rustan’s Gateway, Abenson Ascott, Duty Free Philippines, Anson’s Makati, Robinson’s Appliance Magnolia, True Value Rockwell, True Value Estancia and True Value 8Forbes.

Learn about the full features of the Dyson on their website: Dyson Vacuums


Florals and coffee, please: A workshop

Florals and coffee, please: A workshop

Shophouse Coffee Co. manila

As Make it Blissful shifts gears towards being a calendar of events for inspired learning, we bring to you two new workshops that are aimed at making you make the most out of your homes. I’ve been working in particular with our gorgeous event partner for the next two Art of Homemaking Workshops, and am pleased to be collaborating again with Mateo’s Garden Cafe & Restaurant. Their “glass house” will be the venue for the next two Art of Homemaking gatherings, which are surely to be feasts for our tummies as well as our homemaking know-how.

For April 30th, we will be doing a special Blooms & Brews Workshop: Floral Arranging and Coffee Appreciation. During this event, we’ll be teaching you how to do a lovely afternoon-themed floral arrangement using a combination of local and imported blooms. We’ll also show you how to brew specialty coffee at home, like those kinds you see in fancy “third wave coffee” shops.


You may already purchase tickets for this workshop on our Make it Blissful Shop. Tickets are P2,000.00, and already include materials, food, and flowers: Tickets for Blooms & Brews, April 30, 2016

Easy Recipe: Mushroom Pasta

Easy Recipe: Mushroom Pasta

mushroom pasta recipe

Contributed by Mariel Uyquengcio of The Learning Basket

The excitement of looking up recipes on All Recipes and whipping up hearty and good-looking meals for my husband during the early days of our marriage waned as soon as I had my first child. I realized early on that I’d rather give messy baths, wipe smelly bottoms, read endlessly, dance like crazy, and sing off-key with my kids than chop, mince, sauté and stir.

But we still have to cook, don’t we? And preferably healthy and easy-to-prepare meals that will allow us to blissfully and quickly go back to what we would rather be doing. So, I’m giving you the easiest pasta recipe that you’ll ever make. It’s from my kitchen wizard of a mother-in-law who was cooking gourmet at home way before everybody else was taught by television chefs.

I had to learn this recipe because it’s my daughter’s absolute favorite. She even gave it its name in our home… Black Pasta. (And there’s no squid ink anywhere.)

mushroom pasta recipe - mushrooms

Here’s what you need:

  • 1/2 cup garlic
  • 1/2 cup black mushrooms (rehydrated)
  • 1/2 cup champignon mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup black fungus mushrooms (rehydrated)
  • 1/2 cup black olives
  • 1/2 cup capers
  • Olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

mushroom pasta recipe

What to do:

1. Mince your garlic, mushrooms, olives and capers into almost the same size and put in separate containers.

2. Heat up your pan and olive oil.

3. Sauté garlic, add the mushrooms and stir occasionally until cooked.

4. Add the black olives and capers.

5. Add the red wine and simmer. Add olive oil if it dries up.

6. Season with salt and pepper as needed.

I’m not going to tell you how to cook your pasta, which may be penne, spaghetti or the thinner angel hair. What’s really great about this olive oil-based pasta sauce, though, is that you can keep a lot in the fridge and use it on things other than pasta! My husband likes it as a dressing on his sandwich or as an omelette filling. You can also put it on crackers for some fancy hors d’oeuvre.

mushroom pasta recipe

Once you’ve tried making this once, feel free to experiment and use any mushroom that you have on hand, in any measurement. I just had to include measurements here so you can try it, but really, I just chop, mince, and eyeball how much I put in it. If you want it salty, add more capers. Really, no matter how I play around with it, it still comes out delicious every time!

I hope you’ll enjoy this tasty and healthy mushroom pasta recipe. Though all that mincing might take some time, storing it in the ref will be a lifesaver especially on those days that you’d rather focus on what you love to do.

What’s your easiest pasta recipe? Do share!

(My friend Chiqui of Delight Food Styling & Photography was by our house for a playdate when I cooked this. Thank you, Chiqui for taking the photos!)
Florals, food and fellowship.

Florals, food and fellowship.

michi calica flowers workshop

All photos by Camille King Photography

Those of you who know me know how much I enjoy anything to do with home, homemaking and making a home a more meaningful place. Growing up, I was always in a home filled with plants and growing things, and also with flowers. My mom would actually buy flowers each week when we were living in Hong Kong and Singapore, so that she could bring them to church for our Sunday gatherings. We’d bring the arrangements home, and they’d become the decor for different parts of our house. I always thought it was smart, because the flowers served several purposes!

Recently when I sat down to plan the Make it Blissful workshops for this year, I planned to include floral arranging as one of them. (It is actually part of a series called The Art of Homemaking, which are all workshops that celebrate the lost arts of making a home. Stay tuned for more workshops!) One of the first people I had in mind to collaborate with on the florals was my good friend, Michi Calica, a noted bridal designer and also a floral designer. We also connected with Alessa Lanot of Hillside Cafe, which was our partner venue for this first installment. Florals, food and fellowship were the order of the day for this gathering.

michi calica alessa lanot martine deluna

For the first floral workshop of the Art of Homemaking series, we also launched Michi’s new website, Michi Calica Flowers. The business is a partnership between Michi and her sister Rissa, and is one of the premiere floral delivery services in Metro Manila, with a guaranteed next-day delivery service, bank, credit card and PayPal payment options, and a wide selection of bouquets, arrangements and couture florals to choose from.

michi calica flowers hillside cafe

The workshop participants were free to browse the new website during the workshop, at a special table where we also displayed goodies from our sponsors: Michi Calica (who gave away two floral tunics from her ready to wear collection); So True Naturals (who provided scented candles and diffusers to be raffled), and Hey Jow (my collaborator for their Follow Your Heart Collection, who also raffled off a statement necklace).

michi calica flowers workshop

michi calica flowers

so true naturals soy candle

hey jow

The Hillside Cafe was booked to the seams, because we had 17 ladies who joined the event (when we originally only planned for 12). We actually had to seal off workshop slots because the venue would be too crowded! (I suppose it means we should do a re-run?)

Each participant had a workshop kit with an apron, scissors, tape, and a keepsake menu for the day, handpainted by Alessa earlier that morning:

michi calica floral workshop hillside cafe floral workshop

michi calica flowers workshop

After doing introductions, Michi gave us a short talk about florals and their purpose in the home, and in life. We were all greatly amused by the fact that flowers are one of the few things that can elicit a genuine smile (or what is known scientifically as a “Duchenne smile“). “When someone who loves flowers receives them, the smile with which they receive them is a truly genuine smile,” said Michi. I couldn’t agree more; just ask my husband! I love receiving flowers!

We were to learn two arrangements during the workshop, which we could easily replicate at home with the same variants or similar flowers. After talking a bit about the different shapes and color palettes of the arrangements, we got to work! Michi demonstrated each arrangement with her floral assistant, Larry, who has been creating the Michi Calica arrangements for the past 8 years under Michi’s design direction.

michi calica flowers workshop

michi calica flowers workshop

Our first arrangement was a “tussy mussy,” which is a Victorian-style bouquet or arrangement, designed to be carried. (The word “tussy mussy” is derived from Old English, from an ancient word “tus” meaning a cluster of flowers.) Tussy mussy arrangements make great all-occasion decor for the home, because they are low-lying yet bountiful. We used Peruvian lilies, button mums, asters, and foraged greens for this one.


michi calica flowers workshop

michi calica floral workshop

1 michi calica flowers workshop


michi calica flowers workshop

michi calica flowers workshop

floral workshop michi calica


michi calica workshop floral

michi calica flowers workshop

michi calica flowers workshop

The second arrangement was a tall arrangement using local flowers. This was a simple, minimalist arrangement suitable for a console or foyer. I love simple arrangements, and I believe they are quite harder to pull off because you need to know which flowers go with which! Michi only used three elements for this: river stones (to secure the base), a single flower stalk, and green flourishes.

michi calica flowers workshop

michi calica flowers workshop

floral workshop at hillside cafe

michi calica flowers workshop

michi calica flowers workshop

michi calica flowers workshop

Perhaps what I enjoyed most about this workshop (aside from the learning) was how Michi truly remembered each participant’s name and found time to go to each person and commend them for their take on the floral designs. There were no two bouquets alike, really, because everyone had their own expression. Loved it!

And, we also loved the food! Hillside Cafe prepared a menu of some of my personal favorites: free-range beef tacos and black bean rice; pumpkin soup, and a selection of healthy power smoothies.

hillside cafe organic food


art of homemaking workshop 1

Thanks to all the ladies who made it for our first run! We had such a great response from everyone, that we’re holding another floral workshop this coming April and May! Stay tuned for our schedules, to be announced here on Make it Blissful. Meanwhile, you can check out our hub, #flowersByMichi and #MichiMakesitBlissful on Instagram, to see photos of the workshop. You can also visit Camille King on Facebook to view the entire album.

Thank you to Michi Calica, for sharing her expertise. Thanks to Alessa Lanot and Hillside Cafe for the venue & food! Thank you, Camille King, for the stunning photography.

Would you like to host a flower arranging workshop in your home or restaurant. Email me, and let’s work something out! Contact me through my Contact Form.

Pure Air.

Pure Air.

luva pure air purifier

Living in one of the busiest, crowded cities in the world comes with its share of worries, especially when you’re a mom. I live in Metro Manila — the capital of the Philippines — which isn’t the prettiest or cleanest of our cities. Sure, we have a lot of countryside, mountainous and seaside destinations to be proud of (like the best island in the world, according to this article). But when you live in the capital, Manila, you don’t get to enjoy the clear skies and clean air that the rest of our countrymen enjoy.

I was chatting with two of my mommy friends about how I would panic sometimes when my children are sick — like last week, when Vito had a bout with the stomach flu. Seeing him throw up and feel helpless made me angry inside, hurt in my heart as a mother. I’m a wreck when any of my kids are sick! I feel like I’m a bad mother every time they aren’t well. And so I feel like I need to double up my efforts to care for them, to make sure our home and our surroundings won’t make them feel any worse than they already do while they are sick.

luva pure

Our new home companion: The Luva Pure 4-in-1 Air Purifier

I learned years ago that viruses like the stomach flu were airborne and transferred more easily via unwashed hands and dirty surfaces. So I went on a cleaning fit the whole time Vito was ill and recovering. As soon as I learned he had the awful virus, I also put our Luva Pureair air purifier into full blast, all over our little house. We’d run it wherever the children were, so we’d move it from the bedroom into the living area.

The Luva Pure Air Purifier has been a wonderful addition to our home. Being surrounded by lots of development and real estate projects in our side of town, it’s inevitable that dust levels are high, the 4-function Purification (thanks to the E-Nano Filter,  which collects 99.7% in fine dust under PM2.5.), Sterilization, Deodorization and Aromatherapy make the air that my babies and I breathe safe and clean. It is the only 4-in-1 function purifier here in the Philippines that also helps in preventing the spread of disease. Inside the Luva PureAir Purifier is an Ultra Plasma Ion Filter (UPI) for Sterilization.  This is where viruses and bacteria such as as Influenza virus, H5N1, N7N9 can be removed. It also has a Customized 3D Carbon Filter that filters food odors, smoke odors.

luva pure

luva pure

And by the way: Doesn’t it look great, too? It blends in well with our home’s design. During the day, it runs all day in our living area while the kids play. I know it’s useful in filtering all that dust that gets blown our way from the condo and townhouse developments happening in our neighborood. When we bring it into the bedroom in the evenings, it quietly hums through the night, cleaning the air we breathe as we sleep. (I never even notice it’s on, and it’s safe to leave on for hours and hours.)

Thanks, Luva Pureair, for helping make our home a safer, healthier space for my family. 

For a detailed demonstration of its features, I invite you to watch The Luva Pure Video.


Luva PureAir
Instagram: @luvapureairph