The Big Break.

Photo from Google

When we started our business few months ago, we started really small. Our capital was just way less than our month worth of salary. We are at the stage of our lives where we have lots of responsibilities already, not to mention bills to pay. So our appetite for risk is low to moderate. Surely we have a day job. We love what we are doing. But we just want to explore and may be try other things outside our usual world.

We love sharing our blissful finds. We like talking about it. We look forward to our “marketing” days, or when we source our products. Slowly, our transportation allowance is covered, then our expenses in the cafés where we usually have our meeting . The next thing we know we are flying to Legazpi, Albay to witness the majestic Mayon Volcano, and of course to buy more native products for sale. Our initial customers were our friends, officemates and relatives who supported us. We felt lucky that whatever items we sell them, they are willing to buy it. However, sometimes we think that they were just really helping us in our new venture regardless of their need of our products. But for them to keep on ordering, maybe they find something unique in our items or maybe find our food products delicious enough.

As we go on, we extended our presence via online. We used all social media platforms to promote our products. We even started this blog despite our zero knowledge in blogging. We always love reading blogs. But making and maintaining one is totally a different story.

We started receiving inquiries from friends of friends then eventually from people we do not know. We answer different queries from various people. Sometimes we get frustrated because no sales pushed through. Not until we received our first order and did our first ever shipping. For lack of familiarization with some of online selling platforms, there were times when we accommodated clients who failed to pay for shipping fees. Nevertheless, we accommodated customers and delivered their orders. In turn, we received positive feedback which eventually led to increased sales.

Our “big break” of being entrepreneurs was when we received an inquiry of several hundreds of native bags needed over a short period of time, just a week to be exact. In our months in the business,  native bags were among the slow moving in our inventory. We were shocked that from this item will come our biggest sales to date. We know that the logistics is not going to be easy. We are just a two women team but we are determined to push through with the orders. We required 50% down-payment for our products. The payment was made via cheque and once cleared, we suddenly felt the adrenaline rush. We knew that this was a make or break deal and we will be facing legal consequences should we fail to comply with our obligations. 

The famous abaca net bag

We contacted all our suppliers. We went to places we’ve never been, messaged people we weren’t in touch for years just to produce what is expected of us. For several days, we were on our toes and experienced series of stress headaches. But we still try to be as composed as much as we can. Finally, we contacted a supplier who can deliver the order. We never did business with the seller. But we have been seeing the business name online and we have done due diligence on it. It is known in the business of local crafts and we think it can meet the deadline we set. 

We did it!

We are tested not when everything runs smoothly, but when doing right and delivering something good despite the seeming adversities. We believed in our products, capabilities and much help from our support system. Hence, we did it!

Admittedly, we still have so much to learn but this experience taught us valuable lessons as new entrepreneurs. Indeed, we are looking forward to more fruitful and blissful days ahead.

Travel Diaries: 12 hours in Legazpi, Albay

As mentioned in our about page, we both love to travel. One random day, feeling adventurous, we decided to book a flight bound to Legazpi, Albay for a day. Hence, the first flight and last flight out schedule for this particular trip. Join us for our 12 hours adventure at the home of the famous beautiful Mayon Volcano!

Sunrise at the plane.
Lovely clouds greeted us.
Awesome view.

We only have basic itineraries. To see the perfect volcano, taste authentic Bicolano foods and of course to bring home some blissful finds.

The weather was great when we visited Legazpi. The majestic Mayon Volcano welcomed us with its stunning view. Indeed, it was postcard perfect!

The view of the majestic Mayon Volcano once we landed at Legazpi airport.

Our first stop was at Oriental Hotel Legazpi. It is one of the pioneer hotels in the city. They have a very relaxing view of Mayon along side their infinity pool. We were supposed to have breakfast there. But upon checking their selection, we realized it’s too continental. It’s almost the same with foods served in hotel buffet in Manila.

Stunning view of the beautiful Mayon Volcano at the pool side of Oriental Hotel Legazpi.

We asked around and learned that there’s a local restaurant nearby with selection of local foods even for breakfast. We ended up at Bigg’s Diner. We ordered porkchop with Laing on the side and beef tenderloin tips .

Breakfast at Biggs diner.

After our heavy breakfast, we headed to Legazpi public market. We bought some local products here for Blissful Keeps Shop. They have wide selection of native products- bags, coin purses and wristlets, etc. Reasonably priced foods and other “pampasalubongs” can also be found here. From here, we met Kuya Mike, our tricycle driver. We rented his tricycle for the day for him to take us around the city. He is very reliable and trustworthy. You may contact him at 09301379516 should you happen to visit Legazpi.

Next stop is the Cagsawa ruins. It is a historical place where ruins of the eruption of Mayon volcano on February 1814 can be found. We tried the Sili ice cream here. The level of spiciness is from Level 1 to 5 depending on your tolerance. We opted with level 2,the ice-cream was just right, not that sweet and comes with a hint of spiciness. Surely, it was very refreshing!

Cagsawa Ruins
The colors are perfect.
Pili nuts

We did more shopping here from toys for my son- locally made guitar to more native products. We ate in a carinderia (Gotohab sa Cagsawa) – non aircon restaurant with simple straight forward food. We had coconut soup with fish, laing- made of dried taro leaves and coconut and some sautéed vegetables. The foods are reasonably priced and very delicious.

Sinigang na isda sa buko.
Pinangat

We also went for a quick trip to Pacific Mall for some treat at Graceland, a homegrown restaurant. At Php55, the halo-halo (dessert consists of shaved ice, cheese, nata de coco, purple yam) was really good.


Our last stop before heading home was at Small talk cafe. It is located around 15  minutes from the public market. It is located in a residential area, in what seemed to be an ancestral house. It is homey and has nice interiors. We ordered Tilmok, consists of small shrimps cooked with coconut milk and taro leaves, Pisa- boiled langka (jackfruit) with Bicol patis (fish sauce) and topped with Pili (local nuts) chunks. For dessert, we had apple pie. The food were superb, all fresh and used local produce. The only problem was the service. The attendants were not at all attentive. It was not peak hour when we went but we have to really waive our hands just to get the attention of the waitresses. We would still consider dining here the next time we visit the place but only when we have ample time. Otherwise, we will just skip it and try other cafes.

Pisa
Laing Pasta
Apple Pie

At 6pm, we were seated at the airport waiting for our flight back to Manila. Definitely, it was an awesome adventure for the day. Thank you Mayon Volcano for showing us how perfect you are. Till next time, Bicol!

Breastfeeding Tips from a Working Mom

Photo from Google

I am always hesitant to taking medicines or eating processed foods. When I am sick, which luckily rarely happens, as much as possible I do not want want to take any medicine. What I do is I just take some rest, drink plenty of water and eat some more fruits and vegetables. I do not despise medicines. In fact, I acknowledge that these medicines were products of years of research and indeed cure many illnesses and help save lives. I also cannot deny that I eat processed foods and the convenience they bring us.

But whenever possible, I would only like to nourish my body with tasty, fresh and nutritious foods. I am a believer that taking in natural foods have immense health benefits without the side effects. So when I got pregnant with my first child, I did not have second thoughts of breastfeeding my baby. This desire was there still with my second child. However, despite my willingness to breastfeed them, I was only successful during my maternity leave. After my maternity leave, which is just 2 months, my milk supply dwindled. It was only during my third time of being a mom did I finally got the hang of breastfeeding. I was able to exclusively breastfeed my third child for a year (way beyond my maternity leave. Yay! )

Now my third child is 17 months old. We are already giving her formula milk. I no longer pump milk during office hours, but I still do direct feeding whenever we are together, upon my baby’s demand.

Yes breastfeeding while having a a full time job is possible. It is not without challenges but it is doable. Here are some of the things which I did and I hope it helps our nursing moms :

  1. Determination is key. Acknowledge the fact that breastfeeding is hard at first. It takes a lot of effort and time. But just like anything else, once you get the rhythm of it, it becomes easy.
  2. Eat right. Drink lots of water, eat vegetables and fruits and have plenty of soup.
  3. Pump before your maternity leave ends. Take advantage of your time away from work and start building your milk stash.
  4. You need support system. Breastfeeding takes a lot of effort. Many times, doing household chores along with breastfeeding is impossible. It is just very hard especially if you are working full time. So you really need a helping hand so you could focus on pumping milk.
  5. Direct feed your child whenever possible. Dress appropriately for breastfeeding. Luckily a lot of establishments now, mall especially, have areas dedicated solely for breastfeeding. Always do your research where these areas are located. I remember where i had to attend several days of seminars. I called the organizers days before the event and informed them that I need a room to express my milk and store it. The organizers gladly assisted me with my request.
  6. Have a schedule of your pumping session. As much as possible, before you leave for office, complete one pumping session. Then have have the succeeding sessions every after 3 hours. Pump again when you arrive home.
  7. Join Facebook page dedicated for breastfeeding. Research and read materials regarding the subject matter.
  8. Have a lactation massage. Just when I was about to give up my breastfeeding journey, I decided to avail lactation massage. I had it from the hospital where I delivered my baby. The price is reasonable. The result was not immediate but i believe it helped me boost my milk production.

I only have enough milk supplies for my baby. I only have enough milk for the daily consumption of my baby but we survived! Admittedly, breastfeeding your baby is a tough journey but a very rewarding one. Enjoy the moments with your baby!

Product Feature: Honey Beeswax Lotion Bar

In today’s world of rampant plastic consumption and chemically produced products, maybe it’s time for us to re-asses on how we can do our share in reducing the use of plastic materials, shifting on natural and organic products while at the same time supporting small scale entrepreneurs.

Our shop believes that we can enjoy eco-friendly cosmetics and everyday essentials products without causing too much damage with our mother earth. Hence, featuring our best seller Honey Beeswax lotion bar (product of Larry’s Honey) as an alternative product with your everyday lotion packed in plastic containers. It is an all natural, organic alternative to main stream lotions. Our product is made from honey beeswax which is rich in Vitamin E and comes in natural biodegradable packaging.

Beeswax is the main component of our lotion bar. Basically, what is beeswax? In simplest terms, it is a wax produced by honey bees. Bees actually make beeswax in order to form the structure of the hive, they secrete wax from special glands, then chew it up and use it to form perfect hexagon-shaped honey comb.

Product usage: Honey Beeswax lotion bar is an excellent addition to everyday essential products because it creates a barrier which helps seal moisture into the skin. It also protects the skin from environmental toxins and irritants. It is packed with Vitamin A which improves hydration to the skin. It helps soothe skin, locks in moisture, and even has natural anti-wrinkle properties.

Ingredients: Beeswax, olive oil, honey, and Vitamin E oil.

How to use: Warm lotion bar by rubbing on palm, apply generously.

If you wish to know more about this product, just do send us a message. Hope to hear from you!

Atok, Benguet: Northern Blossom Flower Farm

This is a guest post by edgywedgie. He blogs about things that spark his interests such as solo travels, backpacking, beach, sunset, photography, food and everything in between.

You may visit his blog for more blissful travel inspirations in and around Philippine archipelago.

Me and my friend, Arnex decided to make a trip to Atok, Benguet and visit the flower farm there.

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We went on the third week of February when the temperature dropped to 6 degrees Celsius.

A few days before the trip,I booked online the bus going to and from Baguio City. We chose Joy Bus Premiere of Genesis Busline. There are two booking sites to choose from: pinoytraveland iwantseats. I prefer the latter since you can choose your seats.

Joy Bus Premiere bus was super comfy and fast. It’s like riding an airplane. The seats have ample leg space,with a tablet that offers music and movies! Just be sure to bring your own headset. The bus also has a toilet. It also offers biscuits and a bottle of water inclusive of the P760 fare per pax. Clean and sealed blankets are also provided for. The trip is non-stop…

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