Lifestyle Features

Move on, make a choice, make it blissful: Lessons from Blissmakerie 2015

Tina Santiago-Rodriguez - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines – Last month, my dear friend and fellow blogger Martine de Luna of MakeItBlissful.com invited me to be part of the first Blissmakerie for 2015. The Blissmakerie is a gathering of women who “wish to inspire others to ‘make things blissful."

This translates to “making the most out of life,” whether it means having grateful moments in the middle of our everyday routines; planning to meet a goal or tick off a bucket list item; or even starting a passion project and seeing it through to completion.

The Blissmakerie is also a community event that brings together creatives, bloggers, small business owners, working women (moms and non-moms), and celebrates the unique gift of every individual. It encourages “collaboration over competition,” and “inspiration” leading to action.

I wasn’t able to attend the first Blissmakerie last year — when Martine first launched it in December 2014 — so I was ecstatic that I was able to attend this year’s first Blissmakerie. It actually became a birthday-gift-of-sorts for me, because it was held on September 13, my birthday.

The beautiful elements of a Blissmakerie

Every Blissmakerie actually has no set program or format, but is characterized by the following elements present in each gathering:

  • Inspiring women from different walks of life, mostly bloggers, working women, single or married
  • A beautiful venue — styled by a styling collaborator — set to inspire your senses
  • A hearty and beautiful meal provided by each Blissmakerie’s event partner
  • A soul-stirring talk and testimonial by a guest “blissmaker,” i.e. a woman who followed her bliss, whether in business, through an advocacy, or a passion
  • The Blissful Box: A curated box of delightful, handpicked items from brands that inspire with their stories as much as their products and services

The September 2015 Blissmakerie

We were 39 women gathered at Mateo's Garden Café in New Manila that day — all excited to spend an afternoon together, full of meaningful conversations, delicious food and inspired fellowship. Warmly welcomed by the Blissmakerie team, I could tell each woman present at the event was truly happy to be there.

One of the highlights of the day was the short “testimonial” by the featured "blissmaker" for the day, April San Pedro from Davao City. April is the proprietor of two successful passion-based businesses, Yellow Hauz (a coffee shop) and Artisan (a design studio). She shared how tragic events in her life eventually became the jumping point for her journey towards entrepreneurship.

April also talked a bit about something that is very close to my heart, i.e. loving what you do and doing what you love. Her educational background and previous work experience are actually very different from what she is doing now, which is mainly focused on graphic design and art. I could relate so much to her because the work that I do now as a writer, editor and “media missionary” is totally different from my educational background as a physical therapist.

Mateo's founder, Ms. Grace Valerio, also took the time to share the beginnings of their resto-café with us, and emphasized the importance of collaboration in growing a business.

We also had inspiring conversations at our respective tables, initiated by invited guest business owners and sponsors. It was lovely to hear the story behind Paper Pliers, one of the Blissmakerie sponsors, from the founder herself, Anrea Sahagun.

To make the gathering even more memorable, each of us was given a black notebook and chalk pen markers from Craft Carrot. We used these materials to write our “word for the day.” Here’s mine:

Finally, to cap off the event, we were all gifted with “Blissful Boxes,” which included items from Lulu Swing, Elin, Niqua, Philosophy, Vanilla Story, Paper Pliers, 23060PH, and Urban Ashram. (Thank you all so very much!)

I learned — or rather, re-learned — a lot from the Blissmakerie, and I’m sure everyone present did too. It was truly inspiring and uplifting to be together with like-minded women — all of whom are committed to doing their best to live their best lives, and to make things blissful. Special thanks to the Blissmakerie team for a wonderful event!

In this photo: Seated — Margaux Lucenia, Ms. Grace Valerio, and Lala Tuazon, the owners of Mateo’s Garden Café. Standing — Martine de Luna, April San Pedro, Carmel David, Audrey Angcos, and Rikka Redrico
In this photo: Seated — Margaux Lucenia, Ms. Grace Valerio, and Lala Tuazon, the owners of Mateo’s Garden Café. Standing — Martine de Luna, April San Pedro, Carmel David, Audrey Angcos, and Rikka Redrico

Musings of a wife, mom and woman: What I re-learned from the Blissmakerie

In the hopes of inspiring you, our dear readers, to “make things blissful” as well, I’d like to share with you three important lessons that I re-learned from the Blissmakerie. I believe these life lessons apply not just for us wives and moms, but for every person who wishes to be happy in life:

1. Your past doesn’t define your future.

April’s testimony reminded me of this truth that my friend and “Kuya” Bo Sanchez always says: “Your past does not define your future.” (He even wrote a book about this!) Whatever the tragedies or trials that have wreaked havoc in your life, move on. Keep moving forward. You have the power to change your future.

2. You always have a choice in life. Choose well.

As a wife and work-at-home mom of three (plus one on the way!) who also homeschools, I often struggle with the choices I face every day. I struggle with choosing joy over guilt; choosing to count my blessings over complaining over my burdens… and so on and so forth.

So it was refreshing to be reminded that I should always make the right choices. To choose to “make it blissful,” to see how I am “truly rich and blessed” despite all my challenges. I encourage you to do the same.

3. There is always a blessing behind every burden.

Life isn’t always a bed of roses. Sometimes — or many times — there will be lots of thorns in our path. However, we need to always try to look at the bigger picture. Look at the trials that have come your way, and see how they have become your “treasures” and even made you stronger. Find the silver lining in every cloud that overshadows you. You are blessed in so many ways.

The ability to make things blissful isn’t something that we can get overnight. It’s a process; it’s a daily choice. It can be challenging… but it is possible! So make that choice today. You’ll be truly grateful once you do so.

For a “behind-the-scenes” look at the first Blissmakerie for 2015, feel free to visit Martine’s site. May you be inspired and encouraged by what you will see!












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