Most of you know that Grace Baja (thespoiledmummy.com) was one of my blog coaching clients some years ago, for the first and second edition of her blogs. We’ve remained good friends through the years, too, and have always looked forward to our catch-ups and coffee dates in between our busy schedules. In fact over a month ago, we met after several months, and it happened to be on the same day that she held her press launch for her business, Grace Home, which is now a year old.
Can I just say how amazed I am by this woman? She has successfully nurtured and grown her personal brand through her blog, into a job that she absolutely loves. As you know, I am all for utilizing the blogging method as a way to launch a life you love, and Grace is consistently able to do this as a blogger, and now as an entrepreneur. I believe it’s because she is true to who she is, unapologetic about who she is, and dedicated to her craft.
Speaking of blogging and what it means down the road, Grace invited a few of her blogger friends for an intimate launch soirée of her new products — throw pillows! — aptly named “Pillow Talk.” We talked about blogging, it’s evolution and what we thought of its future. Such fun! True to form, the event was everything a spoiled mummy should be: classy, elegant, well-appointed from the food to the ambiance — like being in Grace’s gracious home, actually.
I’ll let Grace tell you more about the gathering in her words over on her blog, The Spoiled Mummy. All I really want to say is that I am super proud of Grace and what she has done through her blog and her business. I think that she would make an excellent guest speaker at my next blog workshop, right? I mean, we can all learn so much from how she has used her blog meaningfully as a launch pad to her passions. It can be done, people! With lots of hard work and dedication, of course… and if you know Grace, she has both in volumes!! She is one of the hardest working blog personalities I know, and she is well-reputed for it.
Don’t let me keep you, watch the video of our “Pillow Talk” on Grace’s blog, and then make sure to hop on over to Grace Home for some of those gorgeous pillows!!
For more information on Grace Home, visit The Spoiled Mummy blog, follow Grace on @thespoiledmummy and @gracehomemanila on Instagram.
The Blissful Box isn’t a brand new concept, really. All gatherings have some sort of hostess gifts or souvenirs for guests to take home with them, right? But I think what makes the Blissful Box just a little bit different is that each item inside is a product of thought and concern for the recipient. Will they like receiving this — really? Will they be able to really use this in their lives? Will it make them feel special when they receive it? Will they smile when they open the box and see what’s inside? These are just some of the questions we ask anytime we hold an event and prepare a Blissful Box for those attending.
For the Parenting Emporium’s Blissmakerie, each product was thoughtfully picked by the two co-founders, Beng Feliciano and Maricel Cua. Each of the brands in the box are also partner brands of the Parenting Emporium, which is a leader in the local active parenting scene as a hub for thoughtful, intentional products for mothers, babies and children. We’d like to tell you a bit about each of the brands who generously sponsored the Blissful Box, and more importantly blessed the moms who came to the gathering.
DoTerra Therapy (Essential Oils)
DoTerra is known for its certified pure therapeutic grade oils. As a brand, DoTerra believes in individuals pursuing all-natural and holistic approaches to healthy and wellness, to improve the overall quality of life, and even make wellness enjoyable, not a bore or burden.
As a treat for the moms, DoTerra sponsored massage oils in Ylang Ylang and Wild Orange. They were chosen for the Blissful Box because these variants are said to trigger feelings of happiness, positivity, and pure bliss. This specific sampler included fractionated coconut oil into the mix, so that moms can keep the vials in their purses and give themselves a soothing temple or neck massage whenever they feel stressed throughout the day.
Find DoTerra on Instaram www.instagram.com/doterratherapy and also on Facebook facebook.com/thedotspa
SoYoung (Sweat-Proof Ice Packs)
SoYoung is a lifestyle brand from Canada that celebrates the beauty in everyday family life. In the Philippines, it is distributed by Honest Ventures Corporation (the same company behind exclusive brands RuMe Bags and Real Kids Shades). SoYoung is known and loved by international celebrities for its eco-friendliness, multi-functionality and clean, minimalist design. Locally, SoYoung’s core products are its insulated lunch boxes, cooler-bags and backpacks for the modern family. (Check out the whole line in The Parenting Emporium).
For the Blissful Box, SoYoung provided sweat-proof ice packs, which safely keeps food and bottles cool for up to 4 hours. (Great for breastfeeding moms who need to express milk on-the-go, you can use the ice pack in your cooler bags!). I personally love this because they don’t encourage condensation, which are a nuisance. The icepack is BPA, Phthalate and Lead-free, and it can be placed in the freezer without removing the casing.
Find SoYoung at www.gatherph.com and on Instagram: instagram.com/soyoungph
The Green Company (Honest Wipes)
A family-owned business, The Green Company has been passionate about love, health, and life since 2009. They have been bringing in organic and natural products to discerning Filipino parents, trying to keep prices to a minimum while doing so, so that healthy living can be possible for more families. As a family business, each product they carry has been carefully selected and personally tested. Their credo “Live healthy. Be Green. Go Organic”, is a mantra for parents to invest in their family’s wellness for lifelong benefits.
And that’s why for the Blissful Box, they sponsored a big pack of Honest Wipes (the company famously pioneered by green mom, Jessica Alba). The wipes are plant-based, chlorine-free and have no harmful chemicals that can harm both adults and babies.
Find the Green Company on Facebook facebook.com/thegreencompany and Instagram- instagram.com/thegreencompany
Nature to Nurture (Multi-Purpose Cleaner)
“I swear by this,” is what Beng told me about this next product, so I was intrigued as to why. As a brand, Nature to Nurture believes in minimizing the harmful chemicals that we are being exposed to in our homes because it must be a safe place for our children to live and grow. Therefore they create meaningful products for everyday cleaning needs. Parents can use their products without worrying about harmful chemicals, so that they can focus on nurturing their families instead. (I love it!)
Now their star product, the Nature to Nurture Multi Purpose Cleaner, is just as effective as popular cleaners but completely safe. So safe, that if you use it to clean your floors, you won’t have to worry about your kid picking up germs or harmful chemical residues if they happen to pick up and eat some food they drop on the floor (like my baby!). This is thanks to the Tea Tree essential oil used as the cleaner’s antibacterial agent. It kills 99.99% of E.Coli and Salmonella, and 99.92% of Staph bacteria (as tested by SGS Phils, Inc.). It can be used to sanitize any surface (including wood) or even used as a room spray to get rid of odours. You can’t beat that.
Find Nature to Nurture on Facebook facebook.com/naturetonurtureph and Instagram instagram.com/naturetonurtureph and at naturetonurtureph.com
Indigo Baby (Assorted body care)
When I first read up about Monica Manzano and Denise Bernardo back when I was pregnant with my first children, I thought they were absolute rockstar moms. Their journey as a brand reflected their journey as mothers, making them true “karmic sisters”, as they like to say. As soon as I found out about their brand Indigo Baby, I stocked up on their Shoo Fly Don’t Bother Me mosquito repellent, their Jar of Hope soothing gel, their Sleep Like a Baby oil, and got myself an Indigo Baby sling to complete my “yummy mummy” arsenal for my then-baby Vito.
Celebrating its 9th year as a pioneering mom brand in the realm of mindful motherhood and attachment, Indigo Baby continues to create “life saving products to enrich you and your baby’s life.” And they certainly have: Just look at their very active social media feeds to see the thousands of mommies whose lives have been touched by their products.
For the Blissful Box, Indigo Baby gave an assortment of best-sellers, including Shoo Fly Don’t Bother Me Insect Repellent, Dance of Life Massage Oil, Sleep Like a Baby Massage Oil, Sleepyhead Room & Linen Spray, Divine Intervention Room & Linen Spray and Jar of Love Healing Balm. “I chose these all natural bestsellers for the yummy mummies to get to try them and enjoy them by adding some all natural goodness to their lives,” said Denise.
Find Indigo Baby on Facebook www.facebook.com/indigobb/ and on Instagram instagram.com/indigobabyshop
Seve’s Mom (Assorted breastfeeding aids)
Seve’s Mom is a solo-mom business by Kia Ferreras. Though she is a full-time working mom, Kia is an advocate of active parenting, breastfeeding advocate, homeschooling, and sustainability. She professes she has “a love for all things cloth,” which is what gave birth to the concept of her Seve’s Mom line: Nursing Infinity Scarves, Cloth Liners and Pads, Cloth Wipes, Cloth Nursing Pads and Cloth Bags. For the Blissful Box, Kia gave each mom either an infinity scarf or cloth wipes.
Find Seve’s Mom on Facebook facebook.com/sevesmomph/ and Instagram instagram.com/sevesmomph
Mustela Baby (Skin Freshener Spray)
This brand needs no introduction since it’s a well-known global brand, but I have to say the Mustela Philippines makes you feel cared-for because of their personalized approach and service. I’ve been using the Mustela barrier creme ever since Vito was born, and stocked up on it for Krista (who still uses it). We use their Dermo Cleanser as our kids’ bath soap and shampoo, too. Their sensitive skin line has also been useful for me in managing my atopic dermatitis of the hands.
For the Blissful Box, each mom received a premium size bottle of the Mustela Skin Freshener Spray. It is a life-saver for me as a busy mom. I keep it in the kids’ day bag. So when we’re out, I use it on both of them whenever they get sweaty and need a clothes change. It’s like an all-in-one instant shower, so I spray it all over them, especially their hair, and they come out smelling so fresh.
Find Mustela Philippines on Facebook facebook.com/MustelaPhilippines and on Instagram instagram.com/mustelaphilippines
Photograph by Kaizer Photography
Thank you to all the Blissful Box contributors for your generous support of the moms who received these goodies. Surely your brands are not only going to be used in their homes and families, but they are also an important part of these families’ journey to a more whole, healthy and happy quality of life. Be blessed!
We had such a great time at our first Gathering Table: Table Styling & Home Gatherings Workshop! It was the third in a series of workshops we’re doing about “The Art of Homemaking,” and quite possibly the most fun of them all! Once again, Mateo’s Garden Cafe was our lovely venue for this afternoon workshop with Boqueria Lifestyle Market, who have collaborated with Make it Blissful in the past for our Blissmakerie and our Francophile lunch with some Instagram friends.
My reason for asking Steph and Lady Badoy to collaborate on this workshop was really because they started their business out of passion and a natural skill for entertaining at home. I remember visiting their family home in Cotabato waaaaaay back then, and it was so well appointed, and we were so pampered and taken care of as guests. Their mom, Tita Pennie, passed on her knack for home decorating and hostessing to her daughters, and their styling business has just grown from all this.
We started the gathering in the afternoon, since we were also thinking it would have the best natural light for all the photos we’d be taking! Thank you so much to Jonathan Justin Keh of Oak Street Studios (@oak_st_studios on Instagram) for taking our photographs for this gathering.
For the workshop, Steph and Lady taught us the basics of a “wabi-sabi” style of table decorating, which is a Japanese method that has risen in popularity thanks to design blogs and Instagram. You may recoginize it as being a minimalist, earthy style, with a focus on imperfect objects coming together to form a pleasing table setting or vignette.
The girls used an assortment of plain, ordinary pieces found in most home storecupboards: white plates, old soup cans (which they sprayed gold), odd-shaped tumblers and glasses (you know, the old kind your grandmother keeps in her dining room display?), everyday utensils, and foraged greens from the garden. The result was a simple yet eye-catching and intimate table setting for a casual dinner. Wonderful, simple, yet inviting!
When the demo by Steph and Lady was over, we had a chance to view the finished product, make our observations, ask questions and get tips on how to style our own tables for our home gatherings. Some tips we learned were:
- Start with what you already have. You’d be surprised at what’s lying around in your home that can be used for decorating your next home gathering. For example: If you keep those amber-colored beer bottles, you can reuse them as vases for ferns and flowers. You don’t need to buy new vases. Same with old jam and mason jars, you can use them as tealight holders and dot them around the dinner table (just make sure to use smokeless candles, which are a bit pricey, but hey, you’re not buying new candle holders!)
- When purchasing everyday plates and utensils for your home, plain and simple is best. Plain colored ceramic or milk glass plates in neutral and plain colors can go a long way in home entertaining! You can get inexpensive yet good quality ceramics in flea markets and bargain sections inside department stores. It’s good to get those in one color, so that you can play around with other textures.
- Have a signature style in mind, so that you can easily work with what you have. When you buy a set of plates, make sure you’ve thought about the different ways you can work with it. The simplest way to
know how to work with your basic dinnerware is to keep them within a style. An easy style is the wabi-sabi style we learned, which is to start with a blank canvas, like a set of white plates, good quality utensils, and plain colored, neutral table cloths and napkins. Then you can add a theme using minimal accessories, like a fancy candle holder or tealight holders, or napkin rings and flowers.
Each table was grouped into three or four and were tasked to style their own tables and photograph them for Instagram. Boqueria made available an entire “props buffet” of their own styling materials, flowers, and accessories. It was so much fun!
To keep things fair, each group had three minutes to scour the props buffet for articles they needed for their table setting. Mateo’s provided the utensils (because naturally we were going to use them for our meal afterwards!), and each group was expected to create a theme, based on their choices. Here’s what everyone ended up with:
First, start with a base. Boqueria had provided so many tablecloths, it was a challenge for everyone to pick just one! But the base is super important, because it is the canvas of the entire setting.
Next, everyone gathered their decor and accessories and made them work with the themes they had in mind. This table was a Hampton’s-inspired brunch setting with lots of sea blue-greens and handmade elements. The chalkboard place settings double as ideal party gifts for guests — nice touch!
Next up was a minimalist setting for a holiday dinner. I admired their knack for making several patterns work— that is not easy at all! But they managed to keep things to a color palette, which made things come together.
Lastly, we had a summer-themed “Florida Keys” setting, which was meant for a fabulous party. This one kind of blew us away, because every element was well thought-out and being the last group to select their items from the buffet, they really had to work with what was left. Pretty great, huh?
What a relaxing and fun afternoon! Thank you also to the brands who supported us: Bebeng’s Kitchen for her cookies and cuppies, Origins for the skincare, and NiQua for our custom aprons and on-site embossing. Boqueria Lifestyle Market also sent all the ladies home with a stack of pretty table napkins.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
By Louise Antonette Fandiño-Santos of Mommy Practicality
Do you ever catch yourself trying to fit in a group, by doing certain things that are against your beliefs? Do you sometimes compare yourself to others like your high school batch mates and weigh who has a better job position or who’s successful in business?
I admit to doing this before. I avoided reunions because I was too insecure. I stressed myself in being updated with the hottest showbiz gossips or keeping up with whatever was the popular TV series, for the silly reason of having something to talk about with my lunch buddies.
But I got tired. It got too tiring to keep on striving for the approval of others.
Sometimes we are our worst critic. We always find the faults that no one even notices. This really has to stop, though. In this complicated, demanding, fast-paced, and critical world (thanks to the Internet and social media), the successes of other people are magnified. Why? Because most people on social media only display what they want other people to think about them. People always try to impress other people.
Why would one display her stained life? If today was ten years ago, I would say I am guilty about pleasing other people all the time that I forget to live my own life and appreciate what I already have. When I had enough of that false life, I started finding my center, loving and focusing on myself more. I became happier and more at peace when I started celebrating myself. It wasn’t an instant shift of mindset and situation, it was a process.
Here are some steps that we can all take, if we want to stop comparing our lives to others, stop trying to please everyone.
1. Make An Inventory of What Brings You Joy.
Just like decluttering your home, you can declutter your life and retain only what brings you joy. Make a mental list of people (yes even people) and situations that do not bring value to your life. After you’ve made an inventory, find a way to keep interaction with them (whether online or offline) to a minimum. If they are on Facebook and you are not comfortable unfriending them, you may hide their posts on your timeline or unfollow their feed. I’m not sure if you’ll agree with me, but these people are usually those who rant everyday with so much intensity and foul words on their statuses. Find a prudent way to keep your distance from these people. You don’t need to get affected by them if you decide you don’t want to.
I have a long time friend and we were really close before. Whenever we’d talk though, she would often talk endlessly and negatively about her past, about certain people I don’t even know and her situation. Every time she’d talk this way, I knew I would absorb her negative energy. She’s the type who’d unload her problems to you, ask for advice but never follow any. I just got really tired of this habit of hers: Whenever we’d talk, I always felt sick and my shoulders would fall heavy. I decided I had to let go of her. We’re still friends, but I slowly disappeared from her life.
Today the people in my life are quality people who bring joy, happiness and positive influence. They may be few, but they all bring out the best in me. These are my family, very very few relatives, three to four closest friends, and my life mentors.
2. Invest More Time and Effort On People and Things That Make You Happy.
So you’ve created your list from tip #1 and you’re aware who these people are. Invest time and effort in also making them happy, letting them feel loved and important. These are the people who — when you invest in them — will return a thousand-fold of positive reinforcements to your own life. Exude positive energies to attract positive feelings and thoughts. Prioritize above all your relationship with God, then with family, followed by your friends. You’ll soon notice the changes in your life when you surround yourself with love and happiness all the time. It seems like nothing’s going to go wrong and if ever there will be hurdles along the way, you’ll breeze through it and know that you can rise above it.
3. Realize Your Self-Worth.
Let’s face it: We can’t “be” all or “have it all.” There will always be people who can do things better, who are more popular than us in our circle, who are richer or have traveled more. Do not let what others have undermine what you have in your life. Look deep inside you and learn to see your beauty and value. Through the eyes and love of your family and friends, you should realize how special you are as a person. You should realize that and affirm that to yourself.
The fact is: We don’t need to always keep up with everyone else. Because in fact, living slowly and savoring the moment is always better than rushing and being chased by people and circumstances. Once you’ve realized your self-worth, there will never be a need for you to compare yourself to others. It is true freedom, when we don’t feel the need to impress others and get their approval.
These things will make you love and appreciate yourself more and make you live your life more liberally. You will feel the freedom from others’ opinion of you.
Follow your heart’s desire.
Live according to what makes you happy.
Live more meaningfully and find your contentment in that.
Have you ever experienced trying to keep up with others and living to impress others that you forgot about yourself? What did you do to address it?