How to Woman Up – Key Takeaways from the BDJ Rendezvous with Fellow Bellas


Are you looking to start the year right and finally become the woman you have always wanted to be this 2017? Belle de Jour (BDJ) Power Planner hosted an event for its community of ‘bellas’ (BDJ is a planner/journal provider that offers a community for its users to come together). And there’s much we can learn from it. Called the ‘BDJ RENDEZVOUS: Woman Up!’, the event featured discussions that aim to equip us with the self-awareness that would help us battle insecurities and pursue our goals head-on. They invited women who have successfully carved their own paths to greatness to speak at the event. These women shared life lessons that we could use to take our own steps toward living the kind of life we have always wanted.


Expressing Oneself through Style

Shaira Habon is a fashion stylist, entrepreneur, blogger, online influencer, events organizer, speaker, lecturer, host, and MA student. A young entrepreneur, she managed to leverage her Social Media prowess, using it to become her own boss. She established Shy Shop, an online store with six brick-and-mortar branches in the Philippines and thousands of customers from all over the world. She also has in her arsenal a network of celebrities she provides sponsorship for. She started with a very limited capital, purchasing accessories from a local supplier and posting them on her online Facebook store, and with only her friends and relatives as her initial buyers. She has come a long way from her humble beginnings.

You can read more about Shaira Habon on her blog, Wander With Me. You can get a glimpse of her sense of style on her popular Instagram account: @ShairaHabon.

During the event, she talked about “Expressing Oneself through Style”.

Shaira Habon defined the key difference between Fashion and Style – “Fashion is the relationship to the external. Style is the relationship to the internal.”

Fashion is a process that matches what is out there (trends, societal expectations, propriety) to what you are wearing. You may ask yourself, “Is what I am wearing “in” right now? Is it fashionable? Am I conforming to trends? Will people love it?”

Style is the process that matches what is in here (your perception of who you are, your sense of self, your identity) and how it is expressed and reflected in what you are wearing. You may ask yourself, “Is this who I am? Does my outfit properly express who I am as a person? Does it accurately reflect what I am feeling at the moment?”

Fashion places emphasis on the clothing. Style puts the person on the center stage. Now how do you reconcile these two concepts? Shai Habon had this advice to give: Choose an attire that matches your own personal style, and wear a few or even a single fashionable or trendy piece as an accent. 

It is important that you define your own personal style. One that matches your identity as a person. You must not lose yourself to fashion or to trends. It is also important that you build your self-esteem and confidence. Shai advised that we stand in front of our mirror naked. We should confront what we hate about our body. Because if we cannot accept ourselves as we are, we cannot expect the same acceptance from other people. Also, we must acknowledge what we love about our body … our key assets. And learn to emphasize them. We should learn to focus on the positives, she said.

Everything Shaira Habon said is in keeping with my own style philosophy. What she had to say were almost a reiteration of what I have already written on a previous blogpost: How to Avoid Becoming a Fashion Victim.



Pursuing an Active Lifestyle

Noelle de Guzman, known as the Kikay Runner, is a recreational runner who is passionate about running and looking good while she’s at it. She fell in love with running on 2009 and ran her first marathon on 2010. She has never looked back since, actively participating in footraces and triathlons. She also teaches swimming, yoga, and dance. She is passionate about inspiring and helping people achieve their wellness and fitness goals. She is currently a brand ambassador for Ceepo Bikes and Mizuno Running. You can catch her at her blog: Kikay Runner: Run a Beautiful Life.

At the BDJ rendezvous, she taught the bellas to pursue an active lifestyle by coming up with a goal that puts the bigger picture into perspective (helping one stay motivated). Then breaking it down to smaller and doable goals. Your goal may be to have a beach-ready body, by which you may come up with a smaller weekly goal of, say, working out for five days a week. You can then break down this weekly goal to daily and even more doable goals of, say, exercising for a certain number of minutes a day.

Noelle de Guzman stressed that losing weight, or other such fitness goals, is a “lifestyle” or a way of life, and not some sort of a crash diet. It must be an ongoing effort that you are willing to follow religiously. She also advised that you choose an exercise or activity that you enjoy so you get a better chance at following through and actually “pursuing an active lifestyle”.

I am personally very opposed to crash diets, as they only lead to gaining more weight than you’ve started with. And it just takes a toll on the quality of your life, and yes, on your happiness. I feel so strongly about it that I actually discussed the topic in-depth on a previous blogpost. You can check it out here: Know Your Body – a Life-Changing Dieting Hack.

At the end of de Guzman’s talk, a bella stood up to ask about how she should handle being intimidated by snobbish trainers or fellow exercisers at the gym. Neoelle looked visibly aghast (apparently genuinely feeling for the bella) and advised the bella to just ignore them, telling her that everybody started somewhere. Those people were not always as fit as they are now. This is a good reminder for all of us who are just getting started on an endeavor and are feeling intimated by people who have already made it. Everybody started somewhere!



Unlocking Your Potential

Noelle Rodriguez is a holistic health coach, yoga instructor, world traveler, and budding writer. She is also the founder of LiFE, a yoga center that provides a holistic approach to wellness by integrating a sense of community – as well as good food, art and music – into the practice of yoga.

Noelle used to work a corporate job, juggling varying roles in marketing, finance and media. She was thriving in her role, but felt uninspired and deflated nonetheless. She found herself stuck in a cycle of unhealthy choices. She wanted real change and decided to brave the unknown.

She successfully crafted her own path, and she chose one that led to a life centered around wellness. She stressed that though her life appears to be all roses and butterflies, her journey toward achieving it was a difficult uphill battle that involved bouts of self-doubt. She mentioned that one of the key mistakes she made was that she tried to do everything on her own. Everything is so much easier now that she’s found herself a team of like-minded people.

Her early struggles taught her that stress is more internal than external. That everything is a matter of perspective. That if you learn to take a positive approach to stress, you would be better able to overcome obstacles and improve as a person. This is an advice I keep hearing from successful entrepreneurs. You must be willing to embrace discomfort and to face challenges head on. Because that is the only way you could level up. If what you are doing is not scaring you, it may not be something that will take you a step further. To use a familiar metaphor …  We all have played games like Mario and stuff. It’s all easy breezy on level one. Then it gets harder as we go up a level. The only way we could make sure that it stays comfortably easy is if we stay on level one. But then we would also not be getting ahead or winning the game. It’s the same with life. If we take the right perspective, we will learn to appreciate the challenges, surpass obstacles, and both enjoy and win in the game of life!

As Noelle Rodriguez emphasized in her talk, one of the ways you could reach your goal is by building yourself up into the type of person that attracts the right opportunities and the right tribe. The type of people you attract into your life depends on the type of person you are on the inside. So focus on yourself first. Toughen up, and build your confidence.

At the end of her talk, a bella from the audience asked how she could do her own yoga regimen at home, citing interest in the practice because she noticed apparent serenity among people who were into it. I personally noticed how Noelle herself had serenity emanating from her very countenance. If it is peace of mind that you seek, yoga is definitely worth a try.



Leading with an Impact

Dubbed the walking Philippine travel and tourism encyclopedia, April Cuenca has built quite a reputation for her expertise in the field of local travel. She has traversed 50 provinces in the Philippines and is determined to venture out to the remaining 20% of the vast Philippine archipelagos she has yet to reach. She is passionate about tourism and making the experience accessible to as many people as possible. Her passion led to the creation of two of the most promising start-up ventures in the Philippines’ travel scene – the FlipTrip and Tripkada.   

FlipTrip is an online travel platform that provides both tourists and locals with ease of accessibility to off-the-beaten-path destinations in the Philippines. Tripkada is a mobile app that allows individuals to easily join crowdsourced group trips organized by travelers who are curated and vetted by Tripkada.

In 2014, April Cuenca and her team entered a competition by IdeaSpace, an early-stage technology incubator and accelerator program for local entrepreneurship in the Philippines. The FlipTrip idea scribbled on Cuenca’s notebook ended up besting 600 other startups, earning them 10,000 US dollars in cash and 30,000 dollars worth of mentoring, business courses, office space, and the like. It also earned them invaluable media exposure and even an invite for Cuenca to speak at the UN Health Assembly held in New York.

While Cuenca’s entrepreneurial journey had its glorious days, it also had its share of failings that left her dealing with people snickering at her efforts. Driven by a passion for enriching lives through travel that has been burning since she was merely twelve years old, Cuenca managed to get past the difficult times and continued on with her journey. Moreso, she built a sense of purpose that allowed her to keep going. For more than just providing ease of accessibility to travel, FlipTrip and Tripkada aim to enrich local communities by providing a boost to local economies, as well as to change travellers’ lives by broadening their perspective through authentic experiences with new and unique cultures. With the many lives touched by her endeavors, April Cuenca is truly leading with an impact. And you can do the same if you allow yourself to be driven by passion and a sense of purpose.


… Let’s all take the brave step toward becoming the woman we have always wanted to be! 


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Author: Tahna de Veyra

Voracious eater. Coffee dependent. Book sniffer. Music addict. Profound thinker. Certified ambivert. Life-hungry maverick. Nonchalant realist. Hesitant blogger.

68 thoughts on “How to Woman Up – Key Takeaways from the BDJ Rendezvous with Fellow Bellas

  1. Great blog post and so very true. Women do need to stand up and by counted and lead by example. Enjoyed reading

  2. I love how detailed your descriptions are of each of the talks – makes me feel like I was there! Couldn’t agree more with never losing your individual style in the midst of changing trends, and making sure that any changes that you make are a lifestyle, not just a fad diet that’ll make you crazy in the short-term and not pay off in the long-term. Sounds like a very powerful event!

  3. Great Blog, i absolutely agree that with passion and dedication you can achieve your dreams. Surround yourself with positive thinkers and find strength to confront the negatives in your life.
    All the best, xx

  4. This sounds like a very cool day with very interesting women! I think also it is important to have your own style. Don’t try to be someone other, rather be yourself!

  5. Reading every one of these speakers’ views was so inspirational! I’m sure you had a wonderful time attending and listening to all of them in person.

  6. This is so well written that I had the impression that I was there! It was so inspirational that I had to Tweet and G+ it.
    Keep doing this great work hun!


    1. Amen to that! That’s something I definitely feel strongly about … how women should be raising each other up instead of tearing each other down. The latter is just petty at best and destructive at worst.

  7. Those women seem like they are very strong and passionate about what matters to them, it must have been such an interesting event listening to each of them talk.

  8. You’ve jotted down each speakers’ points so well, it almost feels like I was there. I agree that women need to stand up and prove themselves without losing their individuality. Thanks for this post!

  9. great post! I feel like we get so caught up “proving ourselves” that we lose ourselves in the process. And I love the point about style!

  10. Loved your thoughts about a good friend of mine, Ms. Shaira Habon.

    Looking forward to more articles like this.

    Hero of and a fellow Living the Millennial Life member.

  11. Thanks for the post. I always love any article that seeks to empower women. And I think style is so important because it is how we present ourselves to the world and really embodies how we feel about ourselves.

  12. Great event! Go girls! I enjoyed reading it! It is so easy to get in the cycle of low self -esteem and this is a positive message about how we can change that! Very nice!

  13. I recently started leading an active lifestyle and I definitely think it has changed my day to day! I also believe in leading with impact. These are great impacts.

  14. I love what you shared about crafting our path so that it is focused on our wellness! It is so true- we really need to focus our decisions more on health and happiness!

    1. So great to hear my write-up made an impact! <3 <3 <3

      And cheers to your journey to becoming the best version of yourself! I am trying to take on the same path as well. Best luck to both of us! 🙂

  15. Such a great post with such a great message. I would have loved to hear those wemon speak. You did such a good job at capturing and sharing all of their stories. Thank you!

  16. Sounds like it was a very inspiring event. I like that each speaker had a different focus but the whole event shared the same message. Thanks for sharing!

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