A big part of getting (and staying) on the fitness track is: Inspiration. As such, we will be sharing stories of strong, sexy women here on the blog.
Meet our first pair of muses from Saddle Row.
Saddle Row is a boutique fitness studio that specializes in taking the traditionally outdoor sports of spinning and rowing into a chic and streamlined indoor environment. Scores of people have joined the Crew, and with good reason—it’s addicting, fun, and the workouts kick ass.
Monica Preysler Dizon is a Schwinn-certified indoor cycling instructor at Saddle Row, and she is also certified to teach group boxing fitness. She is 25.
Gianna Llanes is 23 and is an Underground and Resistance Cycling Instructor at Saddle Row.
Here are excerpts from our chat with these two millennials:
What do you prefer ROW or RIDE? Why?
M: RIDE!! I love the rush of adrenaline you get from riding to the beat of the music and being in a room filled with people moving to the same rhythm. That sense of working together, creating energy in the room and pushing yourself further than you thought you could is unlike any other! G: I would have to say ride, too. I’ve always loved all forms of cardio and being on that bike gives me the feeling of invincibility!
How often do you workout?
M: Usually 3-4 times a week! Excluding the times I teach. G: I teach cycling thrice a week and go to the gym thrice a week.
What do you do before a workout?
M: I make sure to have a light snack and stretch before any workout. G: Drink lots of water and listen to some good RnB for that extra energy.
What do you do after a workout?
M: Stretch and hydrate! G: Eat!
What is your favorite piece/s from the STU X Saddle Row collection?
M: The crop top and floral leggings.
G: The peek-a-boo harem pants! They’re so versatile!
The favorite Nami Harem Pants are made with ultra soft terry fabric.
Finish this sentence: “If I wasn’t a riding/rowing instructor I would be ____________________.”
M: A makeup artist! I love making people feel good about themselves. G: A sports reporter and television host - which is what I’m also doing now!
These girls and their boundless energy are definite fit-inspirations. Whether you’re 25 or 35, a workout should be part of your life. As Monica says “Have fun! Don’t feel the pressure to push yourself past your limits or compare yourself to anyone in the room. We are all in different stages of our fitness journeys.”
Let’s get moving.
Your Purveyor of Beauty & Wellness,
PS – STU's first Movement Guide Shop will be at Saddle Row Powerplant, on Aug 31 to Sept 2. Come join us as we saddle up and shop! #Seek&SaddleUp
Ghafy styles the Tampico kimono jacket, making it day-to-night appropriate.
We met Ghafy Borres IRL during our pop-up in Power Plant Mall last Christmas. She would come to the shop almost every week to check on the new arrivals and would always leave with loot, often clothes, sometimes shoes, accessories or home stuff. Needless to say, after her nth visit, we became familiar with her easy smile and feminine demeanor so she was a natural pick for our next Seeker Spin series.
"I hardly shop anywhere else but Seek nowadays!", she tells us when we get to her flat which, incidentally looks a lot like STUs aesthetic, too. Ghafy works in corporate so she doesn't get to play around with fashion much saying, "we have a conservative dress code, so a lot of what I have I can't really wear at the office. I only get to wear these (clothes) on weekends and after office hours." We're happy she got to do so during our shoot, and even styled a top with swimwear---a first in this series! Read on for more of her signature style.
Describe your style Blended, natural, and comfortable. If I will be noticed, it is because of the unity of my look. I don't have a stand-out piece since my personality is very subdued and I am not comfortable with anything ostentatious. Since I like the casual and comfortable look, I always put a touch of shaginess, so my look is never too polished.
Shoe or Bag girl Shoe!
Style icons Bridget Bardot, Kate Moss and a very strong influence on my day-to-day look is my sister, my personal stylist, Chef Borres.
Shop alone or with someone Shop alone with tips from my sister
Siluria long tulip skirt with a simple tank top and Cora and Bear Tango slides. Cosala tulip linen pants with a Kaayo scarf and Coco Lola Arriba earrings. Galeana maxi dress layered under a long sleeved top. Kislev tiered puff sleeves polo as swim cover up.
Until our next Seeker! See you online!
Summer has come and gone so what's a girl to do with all the cute resort wear she accumulated all season? Presenting the In Betweeners, solutions to transitional dressing when the weather is neither too warm or too wet, and your split between walking the streets and entering an air conditioned office or mall. We mixed and matched a few pieces you probably acquired during the hotter months and show you how you can take it to work, cocktails and even a dressy affair. After all, we're purveyors of conscious fashion and always want to get the most mileage and cost per wear. Here's our take on transitional pieces that, well, transition seamlessly from summer to the rainy season.
Not Your Usual Button Down
The Tarma collared shirt is made of the softest cotton fabric that's perfect for humid days and thin enough to layer under a suit jacket. But what makes this polo shirt unique are the diagonal button closure on the right side giving it a little extra extra. Wear it buttoned all the way up or open like how we styled it below, your choice, your way!
A Spin On The Pretty White Blouse
No denying the surge of the white blouse last summer (and still going strong in other countries summering ATM) so here's STU's version by way of the Kislev. The extra long length makes it ideal as a cover-up in the beach, over shorts and tucked in high waist pants for a seamless look. How cute are the tiered puffed sleeves, though? Boring office wear, it's definitely not!
A Short Suit You Can Wear Five Different Ways
The Montpellier jacket and shorts set is truly the outfit that keeps on giving. We used the top half this time and paired it with a basic white tank and Waslala high waist shorts for a fun, casual Friday look (if you're working in creative) as seen below.
Hope this eases the end of summer and welcome the rainy season in style, per usual.
Amber with her trademark cheerful smile wearing a maxi skirt from our holiday collection while sitting in one of her "thrones".
I seriously think that Amber Folkman was Pinoy in her past life.
The American expat wife (originally from Seattle) has been living in the country for a couple of years now and with open arms fully embraced our ways, culture and even mannerisms that would put locals to shame. For instance, her easy personality, welcoming nature and relatable approach to decorating are very Filipino but she adds the extras, like embracing local products and haunts then generously sharing them to the world in her blog A Momma Abroad. Case in point: I talked about the challenge of finding locations for our weekly shoots and she readily shared about five charming venues right off the bat! Places I've never heard of or been to at that. Amber is one of those people who radiate positivity so much so, that I wanted to bottle some up and take home with me whenever the need arises. I kid you not, she is that infectious.
Her home is an homage to two cultures, the one she was born in and the other, grown to love. Every corner you turn, there's a touch of Pinas, may it be furniture, wall art, figurines, blankets and rugs, even a custom jeepney sign that we all found so cute. We brought our latest home collection to style and play around with, which is very much at home in her abode and just as festive. I'll let the photos do the talking.
Describe your design philosophy in three words.
Pops Of Color
Where do you get inspiration?
My inspiration usually comes from what colors make me happy and the stories around me.
Your home is part boho / part Pinoy / part Wanderluster. How did this come to be?
Ha, truthfully, a tight budget. So many of the things I bought are second hand or from markets and somehow it all works together. One of my favorite things while traveling is buying something from my home, usually it’s textiles. Part of settling into Manila life was inspired by a person design principle which is, bring the culture in. Surrounding my home with the local Pinoy culture has helped me plant roots and educated me about our new home.
How much of your personality is reflected in your home?
I think a lot! When I am in my home I feel happy, that’s a testament that I have created a space that aligns with my personal values.
Design rule/s you like to break?
People often think that to have a nice home you have to spend lots of money, or the other extreme, DIY everything. I’ve met somewhere in the middle. I don’t think you need to buy everything new and spend lots of money.
Best decorating advice you received, why and from whom?
Shop your closets! I was whining to a friend years ago about not wanting to spend so much money on new spaces in our home and she replied, “shop your closets girl.” It’s been one of the best pieces of advice, especially when I am in a creative rut or time crunch.
Decorating hack you love doing?
Large statement pieces for dirt cheap. Over sized black and white architecture prints are one of the easiest ways to make a bold statement for very little money. I feel the same about vinyl wall stickers, washi tap wall installations and maps.
Advice to those who are clueless on decorating a new space.
Surround yourself with colors you love and start simple with wall hanging and photos then move onto larger pieces.
Dream home decor purchase (if money was no object)
I can’t believe I have never pondered this question before! My answer would definitely be a painted family portrait and then a large rattan bed frame.
Favorite STU home purchase?
Hands down my Jaipur basket that sits next to me my the night stand. It’s cheerful, adds culture and inspires me to travel to Jaipur someday.
What’s your most favorite item in your home and why?
For sure my peacock chairs, or my thrones as my husband lovingly calls them. I fell in love with the peacock chair 10 years ago when it was revived in the boho decor scene. When I moved to the Philippines and learned of it’s origin story my heart was won over. The peacock chair symbolizes two things I love very much: home design and the Philippines.
If you could switch homes with someone for a year, who would it be and why?
Justina Blakeney of the Jungalow, because hello, the Jungalow.
A masterful play of mismatched dinnerware.
Bulol salt and pepper shakers add the Filipino touch.
And so does this nipa hut pair.
Her own work nook where the blogging magic happens.
Her favorite straw bag from Jaipur, Eva planter basket and Inabel slides provide the native flair in her work area. Not to mention that gorgeous solihiya couch on the bg.
We adore the family's custom jeepney sign!
Such an awesome way to teach the kids how to count in Tagalog.
Those are wooden candle holders, by the way.
Pinoy accents here and there.
Map of the U.S.A, a reminder of their roots.
The kids corner where they're encouraged to get creative.
Amber has a serious obsession with rugs and blankets.
Paper maché animals purchased in Myanmar found their home at the family's shelf.
Keep your eyes peeled here for our next STU home feature. Until then, go and get yourself those new leaf placemats for a little of the outdoors coming in (without the wilting).
Summer may have officially ended but around here, we're still in denial and prefer to believe that it's "forever"--haha! One way to beat the post-summer blues apart from just planning a trip for the next long weekend? Take your most used summer piece (aka your swimwear) from the beach to the city!
Going Graphic in the Christel
We love the Christel for its classic and undeniably slimming cut, that's why we think it can work with almost any piece in your closet. Since you're already showing some skin with its deep-V neckline, opt for a pair of pants in a wide-leg silhouette. Go for eye-catching prints such as mod-inspired ones to spruce up your basic one-piece.
Casual Cool in the Escobal
Don't be fooled by its "conservative" front, the Escobal means party at the back! We suggest you go casual by wearing it with a pair of paper bag waist shorts. Finish off with either sandals or sneaks; your choice!
Denim Dress Up with the Malcapuya
This Seek the Uniq x Cesa PH exclusive comes in a vibrant orange that is so fun, it can brighten up any look! Orange with blue is a no-fail color combo, that's why we think pairing the Malcapuya with your denims is but an obvious choice. Just add a jacket and take it to movie night with your chicas.
Feminine Frills with the Hula
Go all out girly with the Hula and pair it with a skirt that screams, "fiesta!". With heels and a scrunched up blazer, you're good to go to that party or event. Conscious about your midsection? Opt for a skirt in a high waist cut.
All White Errthang with the Karamiah
Want to look taller or slimmer in an instant? Whip up a monotone outfit! Try the chic Karamiah with crisp, white pants for a sleek ensemble. Add a denim jacket if you're feeling cold.
Here's to giving your swimwear more mileage, stylish Seekers!
Joana wears the Tafeni halter off shoulder dress like a boss.
Pregnancy and fashion don't always jive well together, so I've heard. I can only imagine how challenging it must be to dress around a growing bump, add swelling feet and an all-around heavy feeling to the mix and choosing what to wear every morning becomes more like a chore than a fun activity. It's no wonder that during the final weeks, expecting moms resort to the same knit dress until they're ready to feel like their old, stylish selves again. We shot Joana Gube, designer of Heyjow accessories, and very pregnant with baby #2 merely days before she gave birth last May 2! She was such a trooper, being on strict bed rest and staying in her room, only coming down to do the shoot. Needless to say, we were honored, albeit a bit nervous, as we carefully shot each look and tried our best not to stress her out despite the summer heatwave. I pulled looks a size bigger to fit her petite frame, not once considering bringing maternity clothes since I felt she was too stylish for those! I was ecstatic everything fit and looked smashing on her; more so feeling extra fulfilled we were able to doll her up on her 3rd wedding anniversary (even though she was just having an intimate dinner at home). Jo later sent me pretty earrings with a card saying she needed it (as any expecting mom does) and was happy we did the shoot. This is for all the supermoms out there, hope this inspires you to embrace your curves and dress however you want, whenever you want!
Describe your personal style.
Moody, always changing.
What are the challenges of dressing with a baby bump?
Our body gradually changes while we’re pregnant, so clothes that used to fit perfectly continually become tight and uncomfortable. Our hot tropical summer weather adds to the complexity of picking out comfy but stylish clothing. Perhaps the biggest challenge though is that you’re constantly lethargic, so it can be hard to motivate yourself to maintain your fashion sense because while you’re pregnant, most of the time, you just want to binge-watch on Netflix and eat ice cream!
Yes or No to maternity wear?
No to traditional maternity wear. They’re personally not appealing to me.
For me, sizing up is the key. I’ll just buy larger sizes (medium or large) and have them custom-tailored so that parts of my body that aren’t as affected with my pregnancy won’t appear too loose and baggy. Sometimes, I wear my husband’s button down polo shirts and pair them with my denim or white shorts.
What do you miss wearing now that your pregnant?
I miss wearing my old clothes and shoes— tank tops, wedges and, most of all, my stilettos.
What garments do you live in nowadays?
Fabrics that are light, cool and breathable like cotton and linen work best for me.
I love wearing jumpsuits and maxi dresses too. I think they’re great maternity wear because they combine comfort and style, all in one piece of clothing. And you can still wear them after giving birth. I spend more time at home now so oversized cotton t-shirts are my best friend!
Advice on how to feel good when you’re feeling blah fashion-wise? (because, pregnancy)
Dressing can be a challenge for pregnant moms no matter how fashion savvy they are—the hormones, the emotional roller-coaster, the extra weight—but I also see it as an opportunity to reinvent your style. The first step to feeling good is to embrace your baby bump—and the physical changes that will take place during pregnancy—instead of trying to hide it or de-emphasize it. Find outfits that accentuate your baby bump because that is your best asset. Of course, as a jewelry designer I strongly advise wearing accessories because they can effortlessly spruce up your outfit and add the “wow” factor to your style.
She's summer ready in the Guacimo embroidered tunic.
Glowing in pink wearing the Limon off shoulder tunic.
A very Happy Mother's Day to all you sensational Seeker moms!
Chow is a picture of easy chic in the Nowra polkadot mini dress and her own platform sandals.
Continuing our Women in Tech series with www.zipmatch.com founder Chow Paredes, property broker turned tech whiz. The real estate veteran has a knack for business solving and shifted her expertise online to reach a bigger audience and take the traditional industry to new heights. This tiny boss lady's own abode is on the masculine side (her choice) peppered with plants, cowhide rug accents and a no-nonsense office chair that she practically lives in. "I work from home so I chose a chair and desk that serves the purpose and goes with everything else in my apartment." Chow's style is pretty simple and basic but she did gravitate towards some of the pieces we brought, even offering to buy them on the spot. We were more than happy to gift the entrepreneur with her choices; she need not compromise style just because of her virtual workspace, no no. We got to know the mini mogul and asked her opinion on the industry and how she describes her style.
How and why did you start Zipmatch?
I've been in real estate selling for thirteen years now so it's an obvious upgrade to traditional ways. I built it as a platform initially to solve my own problems with sales, connecting with clients and making the process more efficient.
Do you think there is a lack of diversity in your industry?
Real estate is one of the most traditional businesses in the world and needs so much innovation. Diversity is key.
Is it tough for women entrepreneurs to get funding?
It's tough to get funding man or woman in Southeast Asia, especially the Philippines where we are behind in technological advancement. Huge population, great opportunity but extremely behind technologically-speaking. The culture and behavior are roadblocks in my opinion.
Do you think women-led companies are capable of scaling? Are you able to do so?
I don't think it's gender that makes a company less or more capable of scaling. Scaling is a factor of (1) readiness of market (2) proven business model (3) people - by this I mean people in your company capable of scaling. All factors have to work in the right time and the right place with the right people. If one factor falls behind, it means the opportunity is not right for the taking; sometimes you have 2/3 or 1/3 working but everything has to align in order to scale.
Instagram quote you live by?
I have my own quote: "Have nerves of steel, a heart of gold and the grit to get one yes out of ninety-nine no's"
Your style in three words?
Classic with a twist of sexy.
The Tylden button down dress in ivory brings out her golden tan.
Paired it with the Cai earrings in tomato.
Where all the action happens!
Tip: work with different textures to make black and white more exciting.
Her living area has an abundance of afternoon light. Really good for photos!
Being out of character in the Luena ruffled back maxi dress. We think it was made for her.
Her little balcony which she smartly decorated with turf to simulate grass.
Vamping it up in the Cala belted trench dress.
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