Ahhh…I’m now finally coming to the part where people have debated over and have their
own wisdom about since the beginning of time: Love.

On Love & Marriage:
To me, it's not just diamonds and flowers that make a marriage. Little things add up (i.e.:
being considerate, listening emphatically to grouses, encouraging him/her to pursue dreams, stealing kisses and hugs now and then, giving gifts to one another including diamonds & flowers, etc.). Making these small, simple steps over time will yield bigger, happier relationship results.

I can’t deny that there are toxic people out there, where he/she is a nitpicker, degrades you,
or made you shoulder all the wrongs in your relationship instead of taking personal
responsibility. While I would urge you to start believing you deserve better respect & love unto yourself, please don’t hate yourself for meeting these people in life. No, there is no
point trying to seek revenge on that person who broke your heart, or you trying to punish
yourself to redeem your mistakes. Consider these experiences as necessary lessons to
teach you two things in love: one, to reflect on your thought patterns on love and how you
love yourself. And two, let it reveal to you the kind of partners you are attracting because of
your current beliefs in life. For example, if you noticed you have been attracting jerks,
consider if it is because you believed that you don’t deserve better for yourself, or you are
afraid of being alone.

The journey to find love can be hard for some of us, but when you finally found that someone who deserves your love, you may initially question the authenticity of that blessing. You may ask, “How do I know he’s The One? How would I know he won’t be another jerk I have dated in the past?” The answer is, your gut instincts will effortless guide you, tell you if that person is The One, or something’s off with him/her. In my case, my whole being - heart, soul, mind and gut instincts - agreed in unison that Giden is a uniquely wonderful person meant for me, whom I am so lucky to marry.

If you are wondering what crucial traits to look out for in your Mr. or Ms. Right, here are
some benchmarks to start with: Find someone who has the humility and openness to
learn, grow and change. Someone who is arrogant, have stubborn walls around
their hearts, or prefer to remain in their comfort zones…sorry to break it to you, but these
people are not able to progress far with you. Solid, fruitful relationship requires both partners
to be trustworthy to each other and they know when to give-and- take. Don’t be a sucker who constantly takes it all from your partner but you don’t give anything back.

I believed that the most doubted beatitude in the Bible is this: It’s more blessed to give than
to receive. Expanding on that theme, give your time to your loved ones. That is the most
valuable gift you can give them because you don’t want to regret later in life about taking
their presence and time for granted. For our case, time is a scarcity as work always gets
ahead of us. But when we can, Giden & I made it a point to really treasure our time spent together. We indulged in music, singing, playing the guitar, have meaningful conversations and playing chess (I ALWAYS LOSE, haha!). These moments spent with your loved ones, adding it all up, they add value to your life.

On building business with your significant other/spouse:
I am not going to lie and tell you that everything is wonderful and flawless. We have our fair
share of ups and downs running a business together. Anything you can think of going wrong, will be wrong. It’s already a challenge to upkeep a marriage for most people, what more running a business with your other half, it’s double the challenge. As time goes by, with patience and love, we’ve found our ‘formula’ of keeping ourselves alive as co-founders and as husband and wife. Though, my advice is, do not attempt this if you are not ready - it’s not for the faint hearted.

However, if you only intend to build a lifestyle business, by all means, go ahead and
do it. After all, it is a wonderful enterprise to do with your partner, because you both share
the same passion and motivation to realise a common goal, a very strong antidote for
a solid relationship.

Of course, there’s no regret in doing this, I just learn to deal with the cards that are in my hands and keep learning.

Few days ago, I wrote about worrying about people’s thoughts on how I dealt with it. This week, I want to share about something some are afraid to acknowledge it, for various reasons. But I believe that the more you try to deny it, our relationships with others and ourselves will be affected badly. I’m talking about emotions and feelings, including fear.

Here are the lessons that I’ve reflected on.

On Emotions and quitting the bad ones:

All feelings in this world can be condensed into 2 categories - fear or love. Positive feelings that makes you feel healthily good about yourself such as joy, gratitude, excitement etc and they are all connected to love. Anything that makes you worry, angry or sad, it is all comes from fear. DON’T BE AFRAID of negative feelings immediately. When they come, it is alright to acknowledge their presence, because they are indicators that tell you where you stand in life and the underlying reason(s) why you feel that way.

One thing that I learnt is the need to quit blaming. I realised that it’s always easy to blame because the 'blame everyone/everything wrong' statements give off the illusion that we are helpless. We mistakenly believe that we don’t have a choice about the woeful circumstances we find ourselves in. When things don't go our way, sometimes we blame our parents, spouses, schools, government, weather, traffic, etc. Blaming comforts us at least for a while, as though it makes us feel and look better off. However, the blame game doesn’t make us in control, it strips us of our personal power and will to bring about favourable changes needed in our lives. Overindulging in the blame game keeps us helplessly stuck in the victim mentality, not to mention immaturity and narrow-mindedness too.

Remember that whatever situations arise upon us, we actually DO have a choice on how we respond to these situations. If you have been feeding on negative feelings for some time, on a deeper level, you are still hanging on to the past. Do give yourself a chance to live in the now, so that you can have a happier future.



On Entrepreneurship:

On one hand, I understand why some people just keep waiting for the ‘perfect’ time to do something, especially if they lack financial, time, information, energy or human resources to fuel their dreams. Some are fearful to chase after their dreams because they are afraid to make mistakes or sacrifices.

Now the thing is, ‘perfect’ is very hard to find. Like one in a million chances. So, when an opportunity you wanted for so long finally presents itself to you, just don’t hesitate. You see, there’s no right timing. You just got to do it. So take up the opportunity first. Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.

Me and my co-founder/husband took great courage to quit our stable day job in order to embark on an unglamorous journey of longer working hours, little to no money and difficult people. We to go through this because we believe in something greater, and that is creating great values to customers and to colleagues who are working together. Our business is not just about the product itself- yes, it’s not just about flowers. It’s about the special moments created when someone conveys their love, affection, support, appreciation and care through flowers.

Entrepreneurship is about creating values to other people. It is not just creating jobs for people to feed their families or pay their bills. I believe in giving hope and ‘feel good’ feelings back to society who are generally rushing for something and forget to love life sometimes. I believe something unassuming like flowers can have a powerful, positive impact to the people’s well-being.

And here's a cheers to your well-being :)

As mentioned in my first post, life is unfair, but it is up to you how you go about it. For me, I choose to pull it through and play the cards at hand the best I could.

In this part 2 (a total of 6), I have learnt that it is through interaction with people that you learn to grow and evolve yourself to become a compassionate, wiser being. Not to say that you cannot discover wisdom when you are alone, but sometimes through people, you discover answers you may not have uncovered on your own. Here’s what I’ve learnt after meeting an assortment of people in my life.

On What/How Other People Think of You:
EVERYONE will have an opinion about you. We’ve accumulated millions of spoken and unspoken messages from our families, communities, religions and cultures, telling us what we must do, be, think and feel in order to be loved, accepted and approved.
When I was younger, I used to be concerned of what others think because I don’t want to be left out. I wanted their friendship, so in order to connect with them, we think and talk alike on most subjects together. After a while, our likings for certain trends changed, so we grew apart. When I went through this with different groups of friends, I realised that what I think about myself is more important than what others think about me. Each of us have our own lives to follow through. They cannot be you, and you cannot be them. For this reason, taking the decision to quit being afraid of what others think is not a one-time act, but an ongoing spiritual discipline.



Sometimes our need for others to tell us we are okay is so subtle and pervasive it can be both difficult and frightening to recognize it in ourselves. Here are a few scenarios I observed from people that might be relatable to you:
  • You are hurt by a friend’s degrading comment but you kept quiet because you don’t want to ruin the friendship and be thought of as touchy or irritable. 
  • Your family wants you to invite their relatives to your upcoming wedding. The thing is, you have not seen them almost your entire life. You don’t feel like it, but you extended the invitation anyway. You don’t want to face your family or your in-laws disapproval, or worse, they harping on this issue for years to come. 
  • You haven’t changed your hairstyle for more than 10 years because your spouse is against you changing your physical appearance. Yet you resented how much time you spend maintaining the same look for so long, that you yearn for freedom to change.

There comes a time, when you feel that you have pleased others long enough. Your heart and gut feeling will tell you what to do next. So, when you are given an opportunity to speak for yourself, do stand up for what you believe is right, but still be respectful to others. There will be a few rotten apples who will begrudge you for being strong. But then again, it is their problem, not yours. The mature ones will be supportive of you and you will gain their respect instead.

Cheers to all.

 

So I celebrate my 30th birthday last month (15 June). I meant to write this post earlier but hope it’s still not too late.

Thank you to those who took time to join my unicorn-themed birthday party, for all your birthday wishes and your lovely gifts. I may not have said it enough, but you guys really make my day with your presence and love!

Some of you may be wondering, “Why unicorn party? The unicorn is a mystical creature that’s non-existent.” To me, a unicorn is a personification of ‘faith in the unbelievable’. I believe in daring to dream and making changes in life.
My birthday is not just a time to party and celebrate another age milestone. Wise men have said that new wisdom comes on one’s birthday, especially when you take the time to look back on how far you have come. There are many things that I had reflected on and learnt, but let’s start with one lesson today about life in general:

On Life:
As much as I would like my life to be a fairy-tale filled with immortal unicorns, I cannot run from this truth: Life is not fair, it is never fair. You can only choose so much in life and wished things turned out differently. Deal with the cards at hand (be it a good card or a bad card) and learn the tricks to play it well to be the winner.

You see, I did not come from a well-to-do family. Due to mismanagement of funds, my family often fell into debts, which caused me much despair during my childhood days. I remembered how devastated when I was just 9 years old. That time, I was studying in a private school, which I loved because I had friends and teachers whom I looked up to. But my dad had to transfer me to a government school because he could no longer afford my private school fees. As I grew up and was about to enroll into university (cue: sky-high tuition fees), I had to take up a partial scholarship, partial PTPN loan and work part time – all at the same time. I remembered I always was the first to leave a party or friends’ gathering, just because I had to rush to work.

Despite these circumstances that forced me to work hard, I never let hardships bring me down. Instead, I was determined to pull it through. This same determination applies to my journey as an entrepreneur. When I was thinking of starting BloomThis with my husband, we didn’t start off with strong financial support. Nobody knows who I was either then. But after calculating and considering the risks needed to start the business, I just stopped all the “Sure, ah? Can do this, meh?” thoughts and jumped on a bandwagon. I never turn back after that decision, and I don’t regret it. My past is what made me strong today - to believe in myself, and my dream of building a business empire.



Stay tuned to this blog to read more of Penny's birthday reflection

 

We often hear that Carnations are a must have during the period of Mother's Day. Carnations are already popular all around the year with their fringed petals and myriad of colurs but they seem to have a mysterious tie to mothers.

Carnations have been the traditional choice to be given to Mothers and here's the story behind it. The first ever Mother's Day was celebrated when Miss Anna Jarvis wanted to recognise the love and sacrifices of mothers.

She carefully picked out 500 stalks of Carnations to be given out to all the mothers who were at a service. Miss Anna Jarvis specially chose Carnations out of the many popular flowers because her own mother was particularly fond of them.

Thus the celebration of mothers came to be and Carnations became the symbol of Mother's Day. It's no surprise that the Carnation is still recognised as the symbol of Mother's Day. Carnations are thought to embody some virtues of motherhood. Carnations are known to last longer that other flowers which brings out the quality of faithfulness. The fragrance and beauty it emanates alludes to the love of a mother. 

So if you are unsure of what flowers to get for your beloved mom, Carnations will always be your best bet! 

 

 

The Cure For Pain

March 31, 2017

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We all would like to have a life free of pain to enjoy doing the things we love. However in our modern life, we spend large amounts of time crouching over our laptop causing us to have tense necks and backs. Over long period of time, our muscles become weak and overcompensate for our poor postures. 

So when our friends over at the pslove company approached us with samples from their pain relief products, we were more than happy to try them out. The pslove company specialises in using heat to relieve discomfort in your muscles. The patches are non-medicated so you wouldn't have to worry about being allergic to the ingredients used and the patches heat up to a temperature of 45-60 degrees.

We gave the samples to our team mates to try and here are their opinions after testing the products. 

Gladys, Head Florist
As I spend a lot of my time working on my feet, I tend to get back aches sometimes. So when I got the BackHeat patch, I decided to use it while working. I simply stuck it on my lower back and went on doing my daily job. I found the constant but not too strong heat comforting to my back and helped my muscles relax. 


Beatrice, Business Development Manager
I am always on the go, meeting clients and driving for appointments. The BackHeat patch was very discreet so I didn't have to worry about my clients seeing it. At the same time I could enjoy the warming effect of the patch. The heat from the patch lasted the whole day and it was very soothing.

Sandy, Business Support Executive
Coincidentally, I was having a stiff neck the very day I got the pslove company NechHeat pack. It was quite a lifesaver! It gave me relief from the stiffness of my neck and the heat helped my muscles to relax. I think I would get more of them since I always get a stiff neck from looking at the computer day in day out.

Niti, Assistant Florist 
Menstrual cramps and pain are no strangers to me. Whilst I have tried painkillers, I really don't like to rely on them. The pslove company's MenstruHeat helps me do just that. As the patch heats up, the warmth gives me reliefs from my cramps and just soothes my pain. I think this is really good alternative to hot water pouches which are cumbersome because the MenstruHeat patches are very convenient and easy to use. 

If you are interested to get these awesome, pain-relieving patches, just head on to the pslove company's website HERE

 

In conjunction of International Women's Day, we talk to one of the most inspiring women on our team and probably the key person in BloomThis who ensures you get the most gorgeous flowers every time. 

Meet Gladys! Our head florist who just as her name suggests, is a bubble of joy. She's always energetic and cheerful, which translates into the beautiful flowers she curates on a daily basis. After a few failed attempts to grab hold of her, we finally got her to sit down and tell us more about her colourful life experiences.

How did you start off in the floral industry?
I’ve always had an affinity for the creative field with a particular interest for flowers. Although I never thought of being a florist at that point of time, I was always good with my hands. So when I graduated from high school, my relative introduced me to a job as a display artist at Batu Road supermarket at Chow Kit (now closed down). I had no educational or work experience in this field but I loved learning how to decorate the supermarket according to the festive seasons.

 After 2 years as a display artist, one day a childhood friend of mine invited to go for a flower workshop with her. Honestly I was a 20 year old who did not have a strong passion for anything in particular. In those days, we were more occupied with making a living then living our passions. But since I had always loved flowers and being able to create beautiful pieces with my hands, I decided to give it a shot. And as the saying goes, the rest was history.

Where do you draw inspiration from for your curations?
I simply draw inspiration from holding the flowers in my hand. I will usually start with the flowers I would like to use for my curation. I believe flowers are beautiful and powerful, they are able to evoke emotions and also bring you a fresh perspective. So as I gaze upon the flowers, I will start to visualize how I can arrange them into a beautiful piece of art that is able to speak for itself.

 

What motivates you to work on in this field?
To make a living? (laughs) Obviously we all need to make a living, it just so happens that I have made a living out of something I really love. Being in the flower industry and being able to work with flowers every day has turned into a passion for me. Whilst I was clueless about what I really wanted to do in life back then, flowers have given a direction I want to work towards in life. This certainly has given me the motivation to continue to create beautiful flowers that can bring delight to everyone.

 

What would you say to someone who is interested to be a florist?
The team at BloomThis is pretty young and often than not I am an aunty/motherly figure to them. If you ask them what’s one advice I always give them, it would be “pay utmost attention to the details”. I think it would be the same to someone who has an interest in diving into the floral industry. Flowers have been used to express feeling and emotions for hundreds of years and your customers alway appreciates a well-crafted curation of flowers. That’s why it’s always important to ensure every detail of the flowers have been looked after and to anticipate what your customer wants.

 


This post is part 2 of our Fashion & Flower series. In our efforts to support our local fashion talents, we are glad to have aspiring fashion designer, Elaine New on our blog!

We were GRACEd by some gorgeous flowers from BloomThis!

These amazing ‘GRACE’ comprises red or pink gerbera and white ping pong flowers. These cuties were to be given to the winners, accompanied by the trophies.

These custom tiffany blue BloomThis boxes were filled with Madonna lily, yellow spray rose, white baby's breath, and eucalyptus leaf. Aren’t they gorgeous? They were each given to the judges as a token of appreciation.

From left : Ang Tong Yin (Dean of INTI Centre of Art & Design), Dr. Jane Lim (Chief Executive of INTI International College) & Yun Wen Lai (General Marketing Manager of Pavilion Kuala Lumpur)

Here are some of our designs :

(La Gaieté by Anis Sofhea Widuri)


(Le Pitre Triste by Lily Farisha)


(The Antoinette by Elaine New)


(Left : Blumarine by Brenda Chua; Right : The Boundless Shades of the Sky by Bethany Ku)


(Left : Golden Myth by Elaine Wong; Right : Joged by Febrina Kowih)


(Left : Skin by Thepa Anne; Right : Under Mask by Teh Li Yuen)

After the 15 of us showcased our collections and took our bows, the judges deliberated while we waited patiently backstage. The Best Design Award for Creative & Innovative Design was won by Anis Sofhea Widuri, 21; Best Design Award for Ready to wear collection by Lily Farisha, 22; and Best Crafted Design award went to Elaine New, 27.

Yes, I won!


(Second from left : Anis Sofhea Widuri; Fourth from left : Elaine New; Sixth from left : Lily Farisha)

 Not only I had my very first fashion show with my friends and families in present, I also managed to bag myself an award and the beautiful flowers from BloomThis!

The day could not have ended in a better way. Thank you, everyone! <3

Photo credit : EO Studio (www.facebook.com/eostudio.co)

This post is part 1 of our Fashion & Flower series. In our efforts to support our local fashion talents, we are glad to have aspiring fashion designer, Elaine New on our blog this week!

Hi, I’m Elaine New, a fashion design graduate from INTI International College Subang. Today, I would like to share with you my graduate fashion show experience with BloomThis!

17th February 2017 was a momentous day for the fashion design graduates of INTI International College Subang! Titled Unravel, the INTICHANGE 03 Fashion Show featured the works of chosen 15 students, including myself, to present a collection of 4 original outfits designed under our chosen concepts.

To ‘Unravel’ means to disentangle, both a literal process with threads and a metaphorical one in our journey towards becoming fashion designers. The fashion show was about both the unpacking and union of ideas, perspectives, and culture – an unravelling.

 

The fashion show was held in Pavilion Elite, sponsored by Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, and it was attended by public, media, fashion industry elites such as Khoon Hooi and Amir Luqman, as well as our friends and families.

We were also GRACEd by some gorgeous flowers from BloomThis!

(Custom BloomThis boxes on the left and ‘GRACE’ BloomThis boxes on the right)

It was a nervous day for me because even though it was a graduation show and we were already graded previously, an additional judging will be done for 3 categories - The Best Design Award for Creative & Innovative Design, Best Design Award for Ready-to-wear collection, and Best Crafted Design award. It was judged by Justin Yap, a Malaysian Fashion Designer with his own brand called Justin Yap Atelier for bespoke bridal, evening wear, menswear, shoes and accessories; Nurita Harith, a ready to wear and bridal wear Designer and Yun Wen Lai, General Marketing Manager of Pavilion Kuala Lumpur.

(to be continued in Part 2...) 

PENNY CHOO TALKS ABOUT HOW TO SHARE BOTH A MARRIAGE AND A BUSINESS WITH YOUR SPOUSE


This February, we will have two huge occasions that celebrates
two different kinds of love - the Chinese New Year
holidays and two and a half weeks later, Valentine’s Day.
While Chinese New Year celebrates family love in general,
many would associate Valentine’s Day with romantic love.
With this in mind, it’s easy to admire couples who have
managed to stick together through thick and thin for decades.
It makes you wonder: How did they do it? What’s
their secret to a lasting relationship?
In my case, my marriage is still considered a young one
- Giden and I only just tied the knot last year. Naturally,
whenever I post a joyful moment with my husband on social
media, most people easily assume that we are still in the socalled
‘honeymoon stage’ of our marriage. It could be the
case for most couples, but if I have to be completely honest
with you: beneath the surface of our ‘glamourous’ social
media posts online, marriage is about hard work. Marriage
takes not one, but two hands to clap.
Our business has its high and low moments, and so does my
relationship with Giden after office hours. Giden and I have
different personalities and beliefs that have made us who we
are today. Our differences complement each other overall. But
we have our fair share of relationship trials and tribulations,
just like all couples do.
So, how do we overcome those sour moments in our lives as a
couple and as business partners? If I have to sum it up in three
words, it would be this: Balance. Set Boundaries.
Here’s some of our true situations and lessons on balancing
and setting boundaries so that our relationship flourishes,
both during and after working hours:

HAVE CLEARLY-DEFINED BUT COMPLEMENTARY ROLES

When we first started BloomThis, Giden and I did not have
clearly-defined roles as there were only the two of us. At
home, we were supposed to be in our ‘husband-and-wife’
roles but instead, more business ideas to grow BloomThis
flowed into our personal time. Giden even woke me up once
when I was drifting to sleep to chatter excitedly on about
something new and exciting for BloomThis. I remember that
episode resulted in a pillow fight with him in an effort to get
him to let me sleep in peace.
From then onwards, when we do spend time together as a
couple, we make it a point that our focus is on each other once
we return home from office.


BALANCE WORK-LIFE AS EVENLY AS POSSIBLE
From time to time, Giden and I toy with the idea that we should
go for a vacation to spend more time together as a couple. At
first, I was not sure I understood that concept myself at that
time. Vacations seem like a foreign notion. You see, we have
not gone on a trip together as a couple, not even for our honeymoon
one year after our wedding. Perhaps we have not
come to that burnt-out stage where vacations are needed to
rejuvenate our frazzled selves. There is a persistent fire burning
in us that drives us to pour our everything into our chosen
life purpose that was BloomThis.
It came to a point where we had to admit that separating work
and couple time was getting too hard. Because work was couple
time for us. Since taking a holiday was too much hassle
for us, we instead tried bite-size goals we both can achieve
as a couple. We initially tried not to discuss work at all every
Sunday but it was to no avail. We just couldn’t stop talking
about it! So, we changed our approach and set a more realistic
goal, which requires us to pause talking about work for four
hours on a Sunday. This time, it worked better for us.
To add to the abovementioned point, we also made it a point
to bring less work home, and only bring it with us when there
are urgent deadlines to beat.

SET ASIDE ‘BUSINESS TIME’, ‘COUPLE TIME’ AND
‘ALONE’ TIME
When you are married to your business partner, it can be easy to
go days without spending time as a couple or as an individual.
Don’t get me wrong - Giden and I undoubtedly give our best
to each other every moment we can. But there are times we can
unintentionally be our worse enemy when we over-involve
or over-give ourselves to the other, exhausting ourselves in
the process.
Hence, the importance of ‘couple time’ and ‘alone time’. And I
would say, in order of priority, I suggest you do ‘alone time’ first.
If I don’t love myself enough, how am I to love my husband?
So, we discipline ourselves to set aside time to watch a movie
together at home, or to eat out on a Saturday for breakfast. We
also enjoy our own hobbies without the other. I’ll leave him
to play football with his friends and he’ll leave me to practise
yoga during weekends.

LOVE WILL CONQUER ALL,
IF YOU BELIEVE IT AND ALLOW IT

There are some people I have met who have given up on love,
unfortunately. I believe that once a person has made their decision
about something, they will make life choices surrounding
that belief, whether they are conscious or not of the actions
they have undertaken.
Giden and I believe that people deserve to be happy, and that
includes not giving up on love. We always remind ourselves
that the principle of BloomThis is to create moments of love,
joy, hope and happiness. In order to create a positive impact
and translate happy moments to our customers, we must first
be able to relate happiness and joy with and to each other.
Would I advise other couples to work together? One must be
really mature, and objective enough to not let emotions rule
every aspect of your life.
Running a business together means seeing your significant
other a lot, so enjoying each other’s company is crucial. Though
faced with a lot of heartache, tears and sometimes watching
the same moonlight from a different bed, the best decision is
still to work with someone your gut feeling tells you, ‘this is
the someone you can’t live without and is worth fighting for’.
There is nothing like working with someone you know you
can trust completely and sleep soundly with in the same bed.
BloomThis wouldn’t grow in manpower size, or be where it
is today, if I didn’t have Giden.

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