Unleashing the Brass Jeweler in Me

Mika as a Brass Jeweler

A few days ago, I attended my very first (and private) “craft” workshop and created my own crafts in the form of handmade (and handstamped) brass jewelry! This was all made possible thanks to Kim Tiam-Lee of Pulseras by Kim (and our workshop venue, Hey Kessy at UP Town Center). 😀

Mika and Kim (photo courtesy of the Pulseras by Kim Facebook page)

Mika and Kim (photo courtesy of the Pulseras by Kim Facebook page)

Even though it was my first time to do something like this, I’ve always loved all kinds of jewelry, so it’s no surprise that I enjoyed seeing the blank brass pieces turn into my own masterpieces!!!

From cutting to shaping to handstamping each letter, Kim taught me how to do everything just by using our hands! ❤

My starter kit came with the cute "Jewelry Maker" pouch!

My starter kit came with the cute “Jewelry Maker” pouch!

the materials (photo courtesy of the Pulseras by Kim Facebook page)

the materials (photo courtesy of the Pulseras by Kim Facebook page)

cutting the brass (photo courtesy of the Pulseras by Kim Facebook page)

cutting the brass (photo courtesy of the Pulseras by Kim Facebook page)

handstamping each letter (photo courtesy of the Pulseras by Kim Facebook page)

handstamping each letter (photo courtesy of the Pulseras by Kim Facebook page)

learning how to work my way through these little nasty jump rings! haha (photo courtesy of the Pulseras by Kim Facebook page)

learning how to work my way through these little nasty jump rings! haha (photo courtesy of the Pulseras by Kim Facebook page)

and voila! (photo courtesy of the Pulseras by Kim Facebook page)

and voila! (photo courtesy of the Pulseras by Kim Facebook page)

During the two-hour workshop (we extended a little bit after that! haha), I was able to make two necklaces, one ring, and two bracelets (one bangle and one brass on leather).

It may look easy, but I’m telling you that you need to strengthen those hand grips and whatnot in order to cut and shape the brass like a pro! That’s why I really admire Kim. She’s a full-time architect, and yet she’s still also able to run her business ALL on her own — as in she’s the only one who creates all her products! She even doesn’t hesitate to share her blessings and knowledge through her workshops. So kudos to her, really!!! 🙂

(photo courtesy of the Pulseras by Kim Facebook page)

(photo courtesy of the Pulseras by Kim Facebook page)

(photo courtesy of the Pulseras by Kim Facebook page)

(photo courtesy of the Pulseras by Kim Facebook page)

(photo courtesy of the Pulseras by Kim Facebook page)

(photo courtesy of the Pulseras by Kim Facebook page)

Kim encouraged me and said that I can already start my own brass jewelry business after everything she taught me. I really enjoyed the entire process of making brass jewelry, so I’m not dismissing that idea. In the meantime, I’ll practice more by making some FREE brass jewelry for my close friends (lucky y’all!!! haha) and buy my own materials. After that, I’ll let you all know if my creations can finally be made for public consumption. Wahahahaha!

Who knows? I might even make the jump from being a wordsmith to a certified brass-smith, silversmith, even goldsmith?! #bigdreams

I'LL LET YOU KNOW IF MY CREATIONS ARE OKAY FOR THE PUBLIC ALREADY!!! :P (photo courtesy of the Pulseras by Kim Facebook page)

I’LL LET YOU KNOW IF MY CREATIONS ARE OKAY FOR THE PUBLIC ALREADY!!! 😛 (photo courtesy of the Pulseras by Kim Facebook page)

Well, as Nelson Mandela once said, “it always seems impossible until it’s done.” And since I’ve already tried doing it (as in the brass jewelry making), it’s up to me to follow through and see where all this passion project goes. Wish me luck!!! 😉

Indeed. #WordyandWorthy

Indeed. #WordyandWorthy

The Blissmakerie 2016: Beautiful Businesses

Collaboration, inspiration, new friends, and more. That’s the Blissmakerie.

Blissmakerie

What’s the Blissmakerie? In the words of its founder, Martine de Luna of makeitblissful.com, it “is a gathering of creative, bliss-making women — bloggers, small business owners and creative entrepreneurs — who believe in authentic community and collaboration.”

the inspiring Martine de Luna of makeitblissful.com

the inspiring Martine de Luna of makeitblissful.com

I first discovered it in 2014 through my most favorite blogger Patty Laurel (I’ve read and continues to read every. single. blog. entry. she posted since 2010 and counting!) when she wrote about the very first Blissmakerie. Back then, it was exclusive to people invited by Martine herself. Fast forward this year, several Blissmakeries have already been open to the public for a fee. So when I found out about this year’s event, I didn’t think twice about attending! I immediately signed up. Haha.

This was my second time to attend a Martine-hosted event (the first was Blog : Inspired back in 2014), and the theme of the Blissmakerie I’ve attended last month (there’s a different theme per event) was “Beautiful Businesses.” It was held at a very Instagram-worthy location: La Creperie in Salcedo, Makati. 🙂

Blissmakerie

Blissmakerie

Blissmakerie

From the moment I read what it was all about, I knew that I wanted it. Although I’m very much happy and satisfied with my current day job (at my dream workplace nonetheless! hehe!), I’ve always dreamed of owning businesses, too. I already have several ideas on my mind about what businesses I’d like to have in the future, and attending the Blissmakerie encouraged me more to pursue ’em — just like the special guests.

The special guests — Maricel Mendoza of A Sweet Cottage and Maggie Leather Crafts, sisters Steph and Lady Badoy of Boqueria Lifestyle Market (they styled the actual event!), and Kim Tiam Lee of Pulseras by Kim (who’s my instant newfound friend! Hi Kim!!!) — all have businesses that started as hobbies/passions.

Maricel of "A Sweet Cottage" and "Maggie Leather Crafts"

Maricel of “A Sweet Cottage” and “Maggie Leather Crafts”

Steph and Lady of "Boqueria Lifestyle Market"

Steph and Lady of “Boqueria Lifestyle Market”

Kim of "Pulseras by Kim"

Kim of “Pulseras by Kim”

It’s empowering, at the same time heartwarming, to know that more and more women have the chance to pursue their passions, turn these passions into businesses, collaborate, and then repeat!

As a millennial myself, meeting Kim was extra special because I could relate to her more, and she really inspired me. She’s a full-time architect and a jewelry maker both at the same time! I’ve always believed that quitting one’s day job (especially if you love it, as is my case) isn’t necessary to pursue other passions — including running a business. It’s always a choice (and mad time management skills, of course!). So Kim, marami pa talaga tayong pag-uusapan! Hahaha!

millennial blissmakers represent! (L-R: Kim, yours truly, Tiffy - thanks for this photo!, and RJ with her baby)

millennial blissmakers represent! (L-R: Kim, yours truly, Tiffy – thanks for this photo!, and RJ with her baby)

Anyway, another thing I love about the Blissmakerie is the Blissful Box! 😉

my Blissful Box...

my Blissful Box…

Every Blissmakerie ain’t complete without it. For each event, Martine and her team collate different brands (some are collaborators), which they think the attendees will love! They were right! I love each item in my own box!!!

...and its contents!

…and its contents!

(For the complete list of brands, click HERE.)

The Blissmakerie 2016 attendees (photo courtesy of Maricel Mendoza)

The Blissmakerie 2016 attendees (photo courtesy of Maricel Mendoza)

goal: to be a blissmaker in my own little way <3

goal: to be a blissmaker in my own little way ❤

And that’s pretty much it! As always, I hope you can also attend a Blissmakerie (or any Martine-hosted event for that matter!). I promise, they’re always pretty, inspiring, and of course, BLISSFUL!!! 😀

[Part 1] So You (Do Not) Want to Invest in Stocks?

Sooo. Investing, huh? For someone who hated math her whole school life (I still do! Haha!), it comes as a surprise, even to me, that one day I’ll be writing about THIS. Lo and behold, today’s that lucky day, dear friends! 😛

But that’s just it. Math isn’t “everything” when it comes to investing. Yes, it definitely involves numbers. But it’s not like we’re going to talk about those infamous X’s and Y’s that always, always appear in math textbooks! Simple math will do here. As simple as 1 + 1. (If you answered 11, hay naku, pabebe ka! Hindi ka philosopher para maging pilosopo! Grrr!)

Anyway, I’ve been meaning to write about this topic for quite some time now (hurry and read, this is a limited edition entry! wahahahaha!) but to be honest, what really pushed me to do it is watching those investment scams reported on TV. Poor victims (no pun intended). There were about 10 or so companies on the list. To think that they’ve been reported for quite some time already, and their operations are still on-going… the nerve! So really, SHAME ON YOU, SCAMMERS!

And that’s what we’re going to do here today. I’m here to tell you that if you want to be “rich” LEGALLY, you can’t do it overnight. Not even in a year. Add more s’s to that last word and now we’re talking. 😉

You need yearsss to harvest that “investment seed” you plan to plant. To help you do that, you need “investment fertilizers” to help you make the most out of what you planted. And there are many kinds of investments — business endeavor, hybrid insurance, mutual funds, property/real estate, stocks, even travel. It’s all a matter of priority. I mean, how can you travel if you don’t have money? You’ll get it from your parents? Grow up. You’ll get it from your savings? It’ll run out. You’ll join that fast-money-making scheme that’ll eventually be in downward spiral? Yes, some of those companies might not necessarily be scamming you, but their methods aren’t tried and tested for like at least half a century.

As mentioned, there are many kinds of investments. And there’s no stopping you from having ’em all. Just NOT all at the same time. You’re not Warren Buffett, you know?! But yes, you can be like him… EVENTUALLY!

And if you ask me, the best way to go for Filipino yuppies right now is hybrid insurance and/or stocks. But for the sake of this entry, I’ll focus on the latter: THE STOCK MARKET. 🙂

So what does OWNING STOCKS really mean? Simple — it means you’re being part owner of a company. For example, if you’re a fan of Apple, buy Apple stocks. At least you know that you’re investing your money in the creation of the next iPhone (which undoubtedly sells) or whatnot. And as the sales of Apple go up, your returns increase too. The more stocks you own, the richer you can get. Did you know that the late Steve Jobs‘ salary when he was at Apple (even when he was already on top) was only $1 a month? Yes, A DOLLAR! But I bet you hindi mo lang la-lang-lang-in yun if you knew how many stocks of Apple he owned. I believe he was one of the majority shareholders. And if you could have that many stocks, aba lang, literal na Steve Jobs level ka na! #ediwow Who wouldn’t want to be part of that, right?

BUT that’s the easy way of explaining it. Experts will tell you that a good company doesn’t necessarily equate to having a good stock. And companies price their stocks differently. Apple? The last time I checked, you need at least $200 to purchase one stock. That’s one stock! You can’t just purchase one stock, you should follow what’s on the Board Lot (but that’s for next time). And for my fellow Filipinos, you can’t easily buy Apple stocks unless you have a licensed broker that can trade in the Stock Exchange where it’s listed. I know, sad. 😦

Enough with the Apple example (uy, nag-rhyme! haha!). For the sake of sharing to you my own personal experience, let’s stick to local stocks. If you’re fond of buying from Family Mart in the Philippines, why not buy stocks of Ayala Land, Inc. (ALI) and Stores Specialists, Inc. (SSI)? Research the other businesses of these companies, too.

That’s the thing. My aim is to explain in the simplest way (think layman’s terms) why investing in the stock market is not that hard. But with all the terms that need to be understood, I say do your part too: READ and RESEARCH!

And that’s the first lesson of the day: EDUCATE yourself. SELF-STUDY! I recommend you read the I Wish They Taught Money in High School series by Clarissa S. dela Paz and Sharon W. Que.

(photo courtesy of the Lifestyle Upgrade 101 website)

(photo courtesy of the Lifestyle Upgrade 101 website)

These books are loaded with “investment wisdom,” and they’ll practically open your eyes to the sad reality that is your SAVINGS BANK ACCOUNT < INFLATION. </3

Investing in stocks is the only proven way in personal finance that can make your own hard-earned money beat inflation! But more on that next time. 😀

(To be continued)