Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Some women have a clear idea of how their dream weddings should be like.
Some want fairy tale-like weddings..some aspire for weddings outdoor...others opt for the unconventional ones like the types where in the bride gets to wear red gown and chucks.

Blushing bride
Photo by Wynna Garalde

I, on the other hand, do daydream about THE day as well but not how it will look like or what gown I'd be in.
My dream wedding is more of a situation.
A day when my family is ready to let me go...when I am ready to let them go...when I know for sure in my heart that everything will be alright and that they'll be okay.

Just thinking about it makes me cry.
Equally important as starting a new life with someone is ending the previous one on a great note...
That is why for me, THE wedding day means that I have already made it. That my dream has been realized. That I can already start a new life with someone I love because I've already made sure that the people I'll be leaving behind will be okay.

Until that day...
My sister and I will be happy making other girls' dream wedding a reality.

Wedding at Tukon Chapel, Batanes
Photo by Wynna Garalde

Our first commissioned wedding project is for my sister's office mate and good friend, Bia. The couple both work in the advertising industry so it was no surprise that they wanted quotes to fill their wedding reception.

Popjunklove's scrabble pillows
for the couple's prenup photos

It was a bit of a challenge, for us, because the venue didn't allow the use of tapes and nails. Everything should either be hung or stuck to the ground. My sister and I also had a misunderstanding as to the scope of the venue. As my sister put it, the enormous venue dwarfed the decor.

Good thing the couple was too happy to notice. They assured us that they loved the decor. *sigh* Another good thing that came out from the project was my sister's realization that she loves typography. Now, I often find her doodling words on her notebooks or practicing her calligraphy skills. I have Bia and Pau to thank for that.

My sister and I were more involved on our second commissioned wedding project. It was for my best friends, Anna and Alex, who are both Dubai-based. The bride wanted to have a destination wedding so some of my friends and I went to Batanes last year to do an ocular of the island.

Since we were the ones here in the Philippines, we basically had to arrange almost everything. From admin errands like contacting reception caterers to buying alcohol for the party a week before the implementation of the sin tax law, my friend Manman and I were on top of it all.

My sister and I took charge of the decoration details (of course!!!) With a few pegs from the bride, we created all the details of her dream wedding from scratch.

From the invitation cover...

To the table runners, cupcake toppers and napkin holders...

Every little detail was a labor of love.

The reception was held at Batanes' infamous lighthouse on Naidi Hills. Since the place was already too beautiful as it is, we only needed minor but classy details to boost the venue. I swear, even without the decor, the place is already surrounded by paradise.

Paradise from all angles

We wanted a cohesive look for the reception so there's always something that connects each detail to the other.

Wooden signages all around the venue gave the reception's rustic vibe an extra kick. Most of the lettering were cursive to complement the wedding details that involved calligraphy.

Notice that the signages also had handmade felt flower details. These were incorporated also in almost every decor of the reception.

Since we made use of wires for the flower details, we used it as well to make table numbers, stirrers and bookmarks for the couple's souvenir...all were painstakingly twisted by hand.

In case, you're wondering about the charms used here, these were weathered shards of glass that the bride and I personally picked up from the shores of some of Batanes' beaches. Talk about giving the wedding a dose of local charm! :)

Despite all the stress that accompany weddings, all these were forgotten as soon as the bride walked down the aisle.

All the stressful thoughts and feelings suddenly got replaced by a surge of overwhelming happiness that can put anyone to tears.

Yes, friends, I cried...a lot!
...a lot!!!

Now I'm worried.

I don't think waterproof make up would be enough on my wedding day.

More photos are available on our fb page.
Go visit us for the unframed versions of the photos. :)


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Wednesday, March 20, 2013


So today, I'm going to highlight the many advantages of having extra pairs of hands to help your handmade business. In case you are at a crossroad like me a few months ago, here's an entry that can, hopefully, help you decide as to whether or not hiring staff is the best decision for your business right now.

I read one of those business for the dummies books before and it encouraged entrepreneurs to hire people. The author insisted that instead of using your time reproducing items to satisfy customer orders, owners should focus more on the task of expansion and product development. Tasks that can be taught to others, the author insisted, should be delegated already.

While I would have wanted to follow this advice then, I just didn't have the resources at that time to hire. When I did have resources saved up though, I was still hesitant. I kept telling myself that I'd be able to save more if I do everything myself. I justified this position further by insisting that the quality of our products may suffer if we assigned the production to others.

What changed my mind despite my seeming convincing reasons against hiring was 2012 Christmas season. "You're so thin! It's not pretty! Eat Roma!" or " Where are you? Why aren't you here? It's my birthday. It happens only once a year you know..." kind of comments made me think that maybe I'm doing something wrong. I left my 8-5 job to be free, right? So why didn't I feel free at all? I'm doing what I want..what makes me happy.. so why the hell doesn't I look like the blushing, carefree lady living the dream?

These may sound shallow so here's another reason. You know that I always consult the Higher Power before making big decisions, right? Here's an excerpt from my daily devotional at the time I was already rethinking my position about hiring.

In case you're not an I-believe-in-signs kind of person, here's another reason why I decided to hire -- I DON'T LIKE WHAT IF's. I don't like not knowing first hand if it will work or not. So just like my decision to resign, I jumped out of my comfort zone because I wanted to know for myself what will happen if I hired help.

 Honestly, I still don't know. Take note that I hired during the lean months of the year so I can definitely say that my staff's salaries are eating up my scarce resources. Here are some advantages though:

1. As I mentioned in my previous entry, ideas are realized faster. Here are some of the items that have long been in my head and have never been realized until now.

New on Popjunklove

2. Another advantage is that I get to say "Yes" to all orders because orders don't pile up. This also means I get to deliver orders faster which also means my customers are happier. Recently, I get this reaction a lot, "Wow. That was fast!" :)

3. I also get to supply faster to stores which carry our items. Since I am able to stock on some products with the help of my four extra pairs of hands, I am able to deliver almost immediately upon request.

Our new keychain plushies are now in Bedazzle

4. Last but definitely, not the least, I get to spend more time with friends. For instance, last weekend, we didn't just attend... we even took charge of the decorations for our teammate's Mayan-monster themed baby shower. Some of the things we were able to do because (I can't believe I'm going to say this) WE HAVE TIME are the following:

a. Mayan-inspired buntings

b. re-usable monster toppers

c. re-usable monster glass decors

d. Mayan-inspired accessories for the guests

e. Monster-in-cleats giveaways (since all of the guests are Ultimate players)

f. DIY Photobooth

We looked like we had fun, right? 
So while I still can't quite determine whether or not the benefits of hiring help outweigh its costs...if priceless moments like these are added into the is, without a doubt, a resounding YES! :)

Sorry for the super long post!
Hope it helps!

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Sunday, March 3, 2013


If ever I’ll get a tattoo...
I want it to be a word hidden on the side of my ring finger.
I used to spend time thinking of what word to put if I’m on my way to the tattoo parlor already.

Faith, love, believe
Dancer, dreamer
...are just some of the words that have been in my shortlist...

I’ve never quite gotten to the point of deciding...
Until now.


Oh! Such a lovely word.

I don’t know.
Maybe it’s just hangover from the movies that I’ve just watched.
But yeah...if ever I do decide to get one...
It’ll be that word for sure.

Another inspiring true story about pushing limits

I am not saying I am an inspiration.
I want to be.
Hence, the word.

To do that, I need to overcome a lot of challenges first.
“Hurdles”, I believe, is the common factor in all success stories.
Without it, you can’t claim victory for something that may have just been handed to you.
To inspire, you need to get something you’ve never had by doing what seems unthinkable for others.
 In the process, you show them that it’s not impossible after all.

Good news for me.
The life of an entrepreneur seems filled with all kinds of hurdles along the way.
Believe me.
The hurdles just keep on coming.

Before I go on to the current one, let me give you a recap of the hurdles that I’ve already conquered... to jump start this entry on a positive note.

First, leaving my stable job to follow my dreams and be a full-time entrepreneur.
Second, transitioning from a struggling entrepreneur/breadwinner reeling from the loss of her monthly pay check to a more stable one with savings on hand for the rainy season.
And last but not the least, my latest mini-victory -- learning to accept the fact that I’m not the only one who can do what I do and that others can be trained to help.

Meet Manang Nita, Manang Bebot and Ate Jovee.
Ate Jen was absent during the pictorial.

Yes, friends.
I have conquered the dilemma I shared with you in an entry a couple of months ago.
I have finally hired 4 more pairs of hands to help...
All I can say is...the cost of employing them is worth every penny.

One lesson from hurdling this challenge is that ideas are realized faster.
For instance, these keychain plushies and pins here have been in my mind FOREVER.
It’s only now that they’ve come to life.
Thanks to my 4 beautiful hired crafters.

Keychain plushies
Handmade pins :)
Complete album soon on Popjunklove

I would have wanted to end my story there.
It sounded like a happy ending already, right?
Unfortunately, there are still hurdles to face because like I’ve said...they just keep on coming.


With 4 hired hands, joining bazaars may no longer be enough.
Especially if you have uber hardworking employees who only take 15 minute lunch breaks despite insisting they could take longer ones, it’s not unlikely that you’ll end up with too much stocks on hand with only a few venues to display your items.
If I don't dispose of my items soon, I may have to let my staff go. 
Worst case scenario as far as I'm concerned.

This leads me to my second dilemma...

Christmas season had been good  to us so I was able to save a little for expansion.
In fact, a spot even opened up for us in a known commercial area so the dream of owning a shop seems too real now.

However, I just have enough to open.
I heard stories about shops needing at least months worth of resources to stay afloat on lean months.
I don’t have that yet.
If I do open, the shop should earn on its first month.
Best case scenario that unfortunately, just doesn't happen all the time.

Daydreaming on what my store would look like one sunny afternoon


These thoughts have been in my mind since the leasing officer told me already to sign the offer sheet or the space will be offered to another merchant.
I don’t have an answer yet.
What I know for sure is that I have to make a decision soon.
We’ll see what tomorrow has in store for me.
For now, I’ll comfort myself with this quote that I happened to chance upon today of all days...

I believe with all my heart that I'll get to that light someday and hopefully, be someone's inspiration to reach for their dreams as well.
I just need to find my way through the darkness first.

It all started with my dream tattoo, 
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Sunday, January 13, 2013


Happy 2013 loves.
Sorry for my hiatus here.
I thought I'd be less busy after the Holidays but it turns out that the rush isn't really over yet.
You know me.. I don't like saying no to opportunities..big or small..

Windows of opportunities

I plan to give you a report on how my 2012 went. I'd make time for that before the month ends. *fingers crossed*
For now, I'd like to leave you with an entry I posted on facebook a year ago back when I didn't have a blog yet.
I wrote it at a time when I made the big decision to start out a new business.

2013 is a new year and a new start.
I'm sure most of you made a list of resolutions to make the new year better and brighter.
In case some of you decided to jump out of your comfort zones or are still contemplating on whether or not to make that big's an entry that can hopefully help ease you into the world of the uncomfortable.

Change is never easy.
Sometimes, it feels even the question is...why do it?

August 10, 2010

The things I want often times do not come on a silver platter.
Almost everything I have now…I have to work for.
It’s not easy.
I have to spend hours thinking about it…days preparing for it…and months trying to make it work.

At times when everything seems too overwhelming, I stop and ask, “Is this worth all the trouble?”
I observe those who get everything with not so much as a snap of their fingers.
I question the set up. I question the seeming imbalance.

But such thoughts come and go in such haste I often forget they ever crossed my mind.
When people tell me stories of the so-called ‘fortunate lot’, I actually feel no hint of envy.
I love my life.
I love all the hardships that go with it.

Why be jealous of those who arrive on a jet? 
All they could hold on to after the journey is the splendor of their flying experience.
Those who had to travel for hours and days on land and water, on the other hand, often end up with so much more…
They get to hold on to the memories of people they’ve met, mementos of places they’ve seen, and ideals of culture they’ve experienced first hand…

Last Saturday, we embarked on a journey to Divisoria to jumpstart a business that may or may not work.
4 hours of coursing through Manila’s traffic, 8 hours of bracing divisoria’s streets while begging its vendors to give us discounts, countless hours more just thinking, worrying…

No silver platter, no jet.
But in exchange…I learned, I worked, I lived.


At the recently concluded fair in Assumption Antipolo

Never give up on your dreams, loves.
It's worth all the trouble, I promise! :)

Missing you all,

Roma :)

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012


"Honey, when's your last bazaar?"
"La Vista Bazaar, December 15-16...", I said.

A day after...
"Hon, Popjunklove got invited to the Miriam Grade School Fair so we'll have an event Monday and Tuesday after La Vista. That's the last. Promise. I'll rest after!", I assured him.

Then the day after that...
"Hon, do you think I can still restock for December 19-23? We got invited again in Alabang...", I asked in the sweetest voice possible.

Dead air...
In his sweetest, most understanding voice possible, my guy said, "Hon, maybe you earned enough already? Maybe you should rest after Miriam."
I used the same voice when I asked my Mom and Dad.
It didn't work as well.

Why we love joining bazaars

I can't seem to say "NO" to opportunities.
I know deep down that I may not have enough time to restock for 9 consecutive bazaar days but my mind is telling me that I want to do it and that I have to make it work.
"December only happens once a year", I thought.

As I am writing this entry, I have exactly one hour to confirm my slot in the December 19-23 event.
I still haven't decided.
Dilemma! I know!!!

Amid all the chaos though, God has this to say to me.
He always speaks when I ask.
In case you are at a crossroad as well...
Maybe this verse that I happen to stumble upon today of all days can help...

God opens and shuts doors
There are critical times in our lives when we especially need to know we are hearing clearly from God. It isn't always easy to know His voice from that of our own emotional reasoning. But I know from experience that God can open doors of opportunity that no one can close, and He can also close doors that we cannot open.

I spent many years trying to organize things I wanted to do in life. The result was frustration and disappointment. But I found that if we depend on God, He will give us favor and make things easy for us when we seek Him and His perfect timing. He leads one step at a time. If you take one step forward in the wrong direction, He will let you know before you go too far.

Be aware that His thoughts are above your thoughts. He sees the end from the beginning. All His ways are right and sure. He knows what makes sense for your life and He can make it happen. Hear from Him and you will not be deceived.

Prayer Starter: God, I trust You to open the right doors in my life and shut the wrong ones. Even when I don't know what to do, I have faith that I can hear from You and follow Your will.

Joyce Meyer,  Promises for Your Everyday Life

Is that a YES or a NO?
What do you think?

PS: I miss you guys.

Need to get back to work now,

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