Dream Chasers

Thankful for 100% Whole Mom

100% Whole Mom - Rica Peralejo Bonifacio, Chesca Garcia Kramer, Marilen Montenegro

[Date backtracked. Finally getting this post out of my drafts, yaaay!]

I remember it still, my first ever meeting with the 100% Whole Mom gang—Rica, Chesca, Marilen, plus Teena Barretto and her team. I stepped in the restaurant, just being my awkward self, and was introduced to everyone as the person who will help design Whole Mom’s logo and branding.

I was starstruck. Just a little bit, I mean. I practically grew up with these ladies, except they’re on the other side of the TV screen. And do you remember those notebooks with photos of artistas on the cover? I never really owned one (I would love to get my hands on a Rica Peralejo notebook though, anyone still has them? LOL), I guess what I’m trying to say is, I did know these women growing up, in very (uh) shallow levels.

And then last year happened, and I got to know them in a whole new light—beyond television and notebook covers. Not only did I get to closely work with them, I also got a glimpse of their hearts and their deep love for the Lord.

It’s easy to forget they’re artistas, really! They’re some of the wisest and most kenkoy of women, and their passion is simply.. contagious. They work hard and dream big, and as soon as they knew that this is their calling, they get down to business and pursue it with fierce passion it inspires you to chase after your dreams yourself.

I thought to myself, “yep, these are the kind of people I want to surround myself with!”  Continue Reading

Love Life

Never too late to still say “Merry Christmas!”

I’m pretty sure your Christmas trees are still up and we’re all still enjoying what’s left of the Christmas season (and the leftover sugar cookies). So I’ll just go ahead and finish this Christmas greeting I started drafting the day before Christmas, just before everything went into full-on crazy I totally forgot about posting it.

That’s just how merry and special this particularly Christmas had been—two hands full, and no time for anything else other than wrapping gifts, adjusting to New York’s holiday rush, spending good quality time with family, and chasing giddy toddlers who’ve had way too much stateside chocolates.

It’s my first Christmas away from our family in Manila and therefore have been missing them a lot, but even in the strangeness of this city it’s impossible to not feel home. Maybe because we’re surrounded by Filipinos who still very much uphold pinoy Christmas traditions. Perhaps because we are surrounded with so much love from our family here who have generously stretched their hearts, homes, budgets and schedules to accommodate us.

And then of course, home is wherever I’m with my crew.

This past week is filled with countless of moments where I just stop and marvel at God’s goodness and faithfulness that cushioned us on all sides, amidst the cold weather, the chaos that comes with living in suitcases all month, and the backlog of work I know I have to deal with later. ;) (Sorry for the unanswered emails, you guys.)  Continue Reading

Pursuit Community

Grateful Beyond Words for Pursuit Manila

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As the year is about to end and I ponder upon what the Lord has done this 2015, it goes without saying that Pursuit Manila is high up on my gratitude list. If you follow this blog and my stories about Pursuit Community this year, you already know what a crazy journey 2015 has been for me, for us. More so, if you’re part of Pursuit Manila, you know that God has done something extraordinary this year—in our personal journeys, in our creative pursuits, and in this community.

We started this year a little bit clueless but extremely excited about what God is going to do. The year progressed with God expanding our borders, leading us to unknown territories, surrounding us with women who share the same love and passion for creativity and for the Lord. I’m still pinching myself, really. I mean, people would refer to me as the “founder” and leader of Pursuit Manila, but the truth is, I’m just like everyone else, watching everything unfold in front of me like I can’t believe my eyes. How did it all happen again? 

To say that it’s been a great year is an understatement, and the Pursuit Manila team thought it was just fitting to end the year with a thanksgiving celebration.  Continue Reading

Elsewhere

Giving it Back with Make it Blissful

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[Date backtracked. This Blissmakerie happened November 2015. Better late than never guys! :) ]

When women come together for something bigger than their personal dreams, when brands aim for more than just creating pretty things or making a profit, when people gather to ask not “what’s in it for me?” but “how can I be a blessing?“—that to me is what making it blissful really is.

Last November was a Blissmakerie that’s unlike any other. “Giving Back” was the theme of the gathering, as every single one of the women and the brands that were represented that day came to be a blessing and to give back to the community. From the generous serving of stories, to the giveaways, to the contents of the Blissful box, the atmosphere of giving was evident and what a joy to have witnessed it all up close.

Make a Wish Foundation

Make a Wish Foundation, Philippines was the recipient of all the proceeds of this particular Blissmakerie. Make a Wish Foundation is a local non-profit organization that exists to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. Their mission is to enrich their experience with hope, strength and joy through making the children’s wishes come true.

I remember stepping inside Earth Kitchen that day, seeing new and familiar faces, and knowing in my heart that we were making a world of difference to the life of a little child battling with a disease somewhere. It was all I needed to know that I was right where I should be. Continue Reading

Dream Chasers

Art and Sky: Taking God’s Lead and Pursuing a Passion Business

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“I just wanted to hoard washi tapes,” Jenny Trinidad-Carlos, owner of Art & Sky, would say. She was just hoarding art materials for her own enjoyment, but because she couldn’t help her business-minded self, she thought of a way to sustain her own passion—by creating a business out of it.

A Manila-based boutique arts and crafts store, Art & Sky sources washi tape, paper products, craft tools, and party supplies and sells them online. On top of this, Jenny also co-owns a real estate business called Brick & Click with her husband. She’s my cousin, by the way, and as someone who grew up with her and saw her early dreams of establishing her own business and doing what she loves, I couldn’t be any more proud and happy that she actually ends up living her dream.

That said, Jenny is one of the first people I talked to about establishing Pursuit Community in the Philippines. She’s a creative soul and an experienced business woman at the same time, and I just know that there is so much she can impart to struggling creative business owners about pursuing passions and how to make a living out of them.

And so we invited her to share her story at the Pursuit Manila Made with Love gathering, and her testimony has left all of us feeling inspired and empowered to take God’s lead and use our God-given gifts to pursue what He has called us to do.  Continue Reading

Dream Chasers

Playtime Cakeshop: Building a Sustainable Business from Your Passion

Playtime Cakeshop

Here’s a quick trivia. In the very first Pursuit Manila gathering, when we had to work with a very small budget and weren’t sure yet if anyone was going to show up at all, Playtime Cakeshop sent us some of their specialty krinkles without expecting or asking for anything in return.

And well, if you’ve joined our gatherings or followed my blog recaps, you know that since then, yummy (and pretty!) pastries are always part of our gatherings (and flatlays!) ;)

What I’m really trying to say is, Playtime Cakeshop has played a special role in the early beginnings of Pursuit Manila, and I’ll always be grateful to Thessam, founder and chef, for her generosity. One can expect that someone who’s got a heart as generous as her must have a really humbling and inspiring story to begin with. And so today in our Dream Chaser series, Thessa shares the story about how she pursued her calling as a pastry chef and successfully built a brand out of her passion.

Read on and learn from her! Continue Reading

Pursuit Community

Pursuit Manila: Made with Love at Neil’s Kitchen

Something special happened at Neil’s Kitchen one Saturday in October. Because of an insistent demand from many of our south-based members, Pursuit Manila went to Alabang and had our first gathering at the lovely Neil’s Kitchen. And what could be a better place than Neil’s?

Coming to the south (for me, and for a few who came from Quezon City like I did!) was quite a trip, but definitely worth it! This was the smallest group we ever had for a gathering since the very first one, and intentionally so. We reserved space for 20 people at Neil’s Kitchen and 21 of us came, some old timers and several new ones that we’re so blessed to meet for the first time.   Continue Reading