Purveyors of the Uniq | Seek The Uniq

Purveyors of the Uniq

July 11, 2020

(Stay) At Home with Marinez Yu

An interior design graduate from La Consolacion College in Bacolod City, Marinez kicked off her career as a visual merchandiser for Robinsons Department Store and Bayo Inc. She would eventually become the founder of accessories brand Yucastina - safe to say, a business that was founded out of her love for anything and everything DIY.

Marinez also enjoys traveling, preferring to visit museums and crafts stores over other typical tourist spots. When her feet are grounded on her motherland, she finds herself collecting art pieces by local artists as well as fabrics with quirky patterns.

Who are your design heroes?

I'm a big fan of the works of the Craftsmith Guild team, Kenneth Cobonpue, Vito Selma, and Marimekko. I also follow and get inspiration from a lot of Australian designers on Instagram and Pinterest.

Tell us about your design process in decorating your home.

First thing I do, I envision that the space should feel playful, inviting, and comfortable. For the look, I lean more towards industrial, recycled, upcycled, and DIY. Thus making the whole design inexpensive. I get my design inspirations from our travels, it may be from the hotel that we stayed in, a quaint coffee shop, a restaurant we dined in or just about anything that struck my fancy.

Second, I consider the size of the space. We live in a 150 sq.m. home, I have to consider the furniture pieces that I choose.

If you could sum up your design aesthetic in a song title, what would it be and why?

I usually listen to 90's alternative music when decorating/designing or putting together Yucastina's next collection. But there's one particular song on repeat on my playlist. It's Everlong by Foo fighters. This song just gives me the good vibes, gets me in the mood. It helps me think outside the box wherein I think of ways to make use of different materials that are not commonly used and make them functional. I also make use of the furniture pieces in a different way that can add aesthetic to my space.

What’s your favorite hosting hack?

It has to be DIY or inexpensive or make use of what you have around the house. I always keep in mind how I can create a welcoming and fun atmosphere without spending too much. You have to be prepared with a handful of entertaining essentials such as a self-serve area--an oversized tray with different cocktail ingredients that guests can use to make their own cocktails. We also like playing board games so we have a trolley tucked in a corner with different board games. You don't have to do over the top flowers instead add some greenery may it be a plant or cut leaves from your garden and place it in a vase or do candles instead as a no-fuss centerpiece.

Which room do you spend the most time in? The least time in?

My favorite spaces are our bedroom and my craft area. In the bedroom I spend most of my time reading, this is why I like investing in nice and good quality bed sheets. The craft area is where I design accessories for Yucastina. I spend the least time in the living area since I live with my two other sisters, an area that always gets crowded.

We know that you deal with a lot of DIY projects. Are there any hacks or tips on sustainability?

Buy furniture pieces that are practical and multipurpose. Like a low stool that can also double as a side table. Look for products that are made using recycled materials or buy pieces that can be recycled or repurposed. Find products made with recycled materials or buy pieces that can be recycled or repurposed. If ever you want to build your own DIY furniture piece, use reclaimed wood. When looking around for eco-friendly furniture do your research first before buying.

What’s on your quarantine playlist?

Putumayo world music, French cafè lounge music, Hillsong united, BTS, 90's Alternative Music, UDD, Bamboo, Urbandub, Cynthia Alexander, Pinikpikan

If you could wear only one color for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Black. My go-to outfit is always a black shirt dress

Is there anything about your home that you wish to change?

None. I love everything in our house and wouldn't want to change anything. It's still an ongoing project. Since this is an old house, we are working on improving the natural lighting and ventilation.

Give us your five favorite Instagrammers.






How do you hope your guests feel when they visit your home?

Our home is a reflection of our personalities as a couple and we love hosting guests in our home. When we invite people to spend time in our house, we want them to feel welcome and comfortable. Since we were on a tight budget when we suddenly decided to renovate my mom's house so we can move in, we had to get creative on the materials that would be used. Some of the chairs are from a garage sale that we just refurbished.

Plants or flowers?

Definitely plants! Although I love receiving flowers also.

What does home mean to you?

Home to me is my safe haven, my comfort zone, and my sanctuary. It's a reflection of the personality of the people living in it. It's a place where we can truly be ourselves, where one feels secure, free, and relaxed. It's where I don't have to be perfect; a place that you long to return after a hard day; a place to take pride in. A home is where you can feed off of positive energy. It is a place that evokes love, light, and happiness.

Photography by Kyle and Alen Velez.

5 Benefits of Soy Candles

5 Soy Candle Benefits

If you're familiar with the food industry shift towards healthier alternatives, you would know that soy has been enjoying its glory moment as an alternative to dairy. Surprisingly, another one has jumped on the soy bandwagon (and for all the right reasons): the fragrance industry.

If you noticed a sudden interest in soy candles within your circles, know that it's not just a random fad to change things up in the world of scented candles. There are apparently many benefits to switching out to soy candles - and some of the main ones are concerned with your health.

Fun fact: soy wax was developed by a group of students from Purdue University in 1996. They were tasked to develop a birthday candle from a renewable resource and ended up figuring out how to solidify soybean oil.

They are safer than your typical candles.

While candle fumes are not fatal in small sporadic doses, we can't deny the fact that cumulatively they may have unwanted effects on one's health. Paraffin wax, which is commonly used in most candles today, is made from leftover by-product from the petroleum refining process. Once burned, studies have shown that small doses of carcinogens are released into the air - and they are the same ones that your car exhumes when it burns petroleum.

On the other hand, soybean wax is completely carcinogenic compound-free. Just make sure that the oils used for fragrance are natural and not synthetic. Watch out for the wick material as well.

You will need to do less cleanup.

Unlike paraffin wax, soy wax does not create black soot when it burns. This makes it easier to clean up the surrounding areas (and your favorite candle holders too at that). This also gives you the ease of decorating your candle area without worrying about ruining any of your favorite fabrics.

Soy wax is a renewable resource.

Soy wax is a natural, renewable resource that is completely biodegradable. The production of soy candles also helps support soybean farmers without making nature groan even more than it already is doing now.

It's vegan.

For our vegan Seekers, you will be delighted to know that soy candles are completely plant-based. It's also good to read a bit about your source to make sure that no animals were used for testing during the process of product development.

It lasts longer.

Soy wax has a lower melting point compared to paraffin wax, which means that it will burn longer and slower. No need to feel anxious over your candles burning out too quickly. Also, a slower burn means a more gradual release of oils. Make sure that your soy candle is using essential oils for a healthier and fuller aroma session.

June 26, 2020

(Stay) At Home With Rachelle Medina

Rachelle Medina aka "museum girl" takes us on a quick tour around her color-splashed home

Interior designer Rachelle Medina is best remembered as the editor-in-chief of Real Living Magazine for 15 solid years. Behind the stylized pages, the more casual version of Rachelle is someone her friends would call a "museum girl", as she loves to visit museums or art exhibits at least once a week. This quarantine, she has settled for online art documentary viewing with her son, who has an inclination for the arts himself. Rachelle also identifies herself as a Philippine heritage fanatic, to a point where she dares to enter structures that are ready to fall on her head. 

Since vacating her spot at Real Living, she has been writing for different lifestyle websites like Spot, GMA News Lifestyle, and ANCX. She has also been working as a consulting content editor for the websites of SM Home and Manila FAME.

Get to know the former EIC (and her lovely space) in our exclusive home feature:

The designer's living room is a hodgepodge of old things - the chairs are by Benji Reyes, the sofa throw is scrap fabric from Schumacher, the paintings are by Fred Ramirez and her son Goldo

Keeping crystals nearby are a must for Rachelle

Who are your design heroes?

I admire a lot of designers, but my true design heroes are all the homeowners I’ve met. I think I’ve seen more than 2,000 actual homes in my lifetime (yup, I counted!), and the best ones always tell a story.

And it’s the really personal homes that I never forget. These homeowners usually don’t even have an interior designer; they just fill their spaces with things that they love. Some are messy and others are crazy, but these homes are just full to the brim with personality, memories, and life.

Tell us about your design process in decorating your home.
My home is terribly modest and small, and there was no real design process. But I made it a point to make it colorful, since I wear black all the time—it would be incredibly dreary if my home was in black, too!

Rachelle's "happy wall" consists of artwork from friends: an Irish Galon from Wilmer Lopez, Mai Ongkiko, a sea goddess by Ram Lopez-Vito Bucoy, Popo San Pascual

This medicine cabinet was from Rachelle's grandfather’s clinic in the 1930s, which her late father painted red and gave to her

If you could sum up your design aesthetic in a song title, what would it be and why?

Waters of March by Elis Regina and Antonio Carlos Jobim, since it’s a song about the chaos and craziness and the cycle of life. I just mix all my stuff altogether—secondhand, inherited, dime-store, designer. And I only choose things that I attach memories to, things that make me happy.

What’s on your quarantine playlist?
A friend pointed out that my music was like a Classic Tito’s playlist, and I think he’s right! On loop: Steely Dan’s Gaucho album, Brasil 66, Carlos Lyra’s Influencia do Jazz. If I want to forget about the outside world, I’ll play early-aughts House music by Lars Behrenroth.

A George Nelson clock hanging on the wall was a retirement gift from a friend

A Tord Boontje lamp makes you feel like you’re in a fairy-tale forest

Which room do you spend the most time in? The least time in?

My bedroom, it feels cocoon-like in the afternoon. The least time: my son’s bedroom—all his mess is in there!

How does being an interior designer and a home editor influence the way you decorate your home?
I still remember home styling instructions from my former boss Tina Bonoan, like how to arrange pillows properly (give it a karate chop in the middle to make a notch), and how to style a room in under five minutes—this comes in handy when you have surprise guests!

Made from mouldings from the hardware store, Rachelle had her son's desk custom-made to look like a jeepney

Rachelle's son Goldo has been into art since he was five-years-old


If you could wear only one color for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I wear black, every day, all day. My mother complains about it so I jazz up my outfits with bold and colorful accessories.

Is there anything about your home that you wish to change?
I wish I had the kitchen space to accommodate an oven for quarantine baking.

Give us your five favorite Instagrammers.
@deborah.carminati because her style is basic but not ordinary-basic
@ilardeliza because I am a mixed-prints fan
@fifis.finds to check out all the new Filipino brands
@costarastrology daily, since I am an astrology fanatic
@eamesoffice because I love seeing archival photos of Charles and Ray Eames

The designer's friend Grace Moslares painted her bedroom light gray to make it relaxing, which was contrasted with bright sheets from Crate & Barrel

On Rachelle's dresser: a portrait of Rachael from Bladerunner (her favorite movie), illustrations by Raxenne Maniquiz, and a Bakelite necklace is her mother’s from the 1970s

How do you hope your guests feel when they visit your home?

That they could be at ease, and even jump around in it. There’s a lot of jumping around when my son’s friends visit.

Plants or flowers?
Vegetables! I have a black thumb, but by some miracle, I was able to grow tomato, eggplant, and pechay this quarantine.

Favorite city in the world to shop in and why?
No specific city, but I always shop at museum stores, in any country I go to. In museum shops, you’re sure to find objects and gifts that you won’t be able to see anywhere else.

Rachelle inherited this 1938 art deco dresser from her grandmother, which she restored it myself a couple of years ago

The designer parked her accessories on these shelves for now, but more are in storage in her closet

What does home mean to you?

Home is your personal sanctuary, only you would know what is best for it.

Follow Rachelle on Instagram at @anidemfinds and @goldosmom.

June 26, 2020

Vanessa's Day-To-Night Beauty at Home Routine

Quarantine has given me a lot more time on my hands which allows for more self-care minutes. Even though I don't get to go out as much as before, being diligent in taking care of myself has always been a priority even when no one is watching.

I'm sharing my simple day-to-night beauty routine to encourage busy moms to prioritize their self-upkeep. It really doesn't take a lot - just intentionality and consistency.

Daytime Routine

I don’t like to mix skincare brands as much as possible. I rotate and switch once I finish. I’m currently using Bloom & Topiary skincare.

My day starts by applying the Bloom & Topiary Marula Cleansing Oil followed by the Green Tea and Rose water that I use as both a toner and refresher spray.

I then mix some Drunk Elephant Sunshine Drops into the Bloom & Topiary Nourish and Repair Cream for a bit of a bronze glow.

I’ve been on a makeup detox lately. The only exception is a quick swipe of a Pili Ani Moisturizing Lippie for Zoom meetings.

After taking a shower, I apply the Bloom & Topiary Revitalizing Body Oil as a moisturizer.

Tanning at Home

I make the most of whatever sun I can get with Amazing Maui Babe Browning Lotion and Sun Bum Tanning Oil.

Nighttime Routine

Every night, I like to put on a face mask. I alternate between Karis True Blue Serum and Bonny Hill sheets masks.

I love using an ice roller with a sheet mask. It helps the mask lay evenly on your face and makes the serum absorb better.

Remember, a small step can go a long way - consistency is king. 

What's on your daily beauty shelf?

5 Seekers Serving Some Style Inspo

As much as we love inspiring you with our fashion, home, beauty, and wellness stories, we also get inspiration from you, our dear Seekers. That's why we are always thrilled when you tag, mention, or feature us on your social media accounts. We keep tabs on them btw, so don't hesitate to share your STU finds—from fashion to home—anytime. Also, they're too awesome not to share to the STU community!

You have your own uniq styles, and we love seeing how you wear our pieces confidently. Ahead, check out these five Seekers for some serious style inspo.

Aissa (@aislerchic)

Aissa is bright as sunshine in our Molfetta dress

Aissa rocked this vibrant, feminine look featuring the Molfetta dress. Wearing full-on print can be tricky, so keep accessories to a minimum like how she styled it. We also love that she chose this embroidered bucket bag to pair with her summer-ready ensemble. 

Richelle (@richellejordanfrancisco)

Richelle dresses up her basics with the Terni blazer 

Richelle gives her basics an update in this classic with a twist look. She dressed up her tank-and-denim-shorts combo with our Terni blazer, some fun accessories, and an ultra-chic Rattan bag. We can't help but ogle at her minimalist sandals too!

Mia (@bravethewaves)

Mia lounges at home in the Tarnow dress

Who says you can't look stylish while being comfy at home? Certainly not Mia! She looked pastel perfect in our Tarnow dress—you can still cop the mint version!—with disc earrings, a top knot, and that winged eyeliner. If you're stuck in a rut while WFH, just grab your favorite dress and cute danglers for a style boost à la Mia.

Camille (@camillepatio)

Camille shows us that summer isn't cancelled with our Ruwa bolero set

If you've always wanted to don a crop top (or any belly baring top) but chicken out at the last minute, we recommend that you team it with high waist bottoms like Camille. Here, she kept the focus on the top's print by wearing it with fuss-free white shorts. This look gives us strong vacation vibes! Can we see a show of hands for those who want to bring back this bolero-and-tie-top set?

Katie (@instantgoddess)

Katie in a delicious OOTD featuring our Iznajar set

Katie is clearly a #colourlover (check out her IG for more colorific looks)! She wore our Iznajar set—from our past collections—with flair, complete with her other picture-perfect pieces. Uplift your mood on a gloomy day by going for something vibrant, just like Katie.

Hope your fellow Seekers gave you a dose of inspiration from how they styled their STU pieces. How are you wearing yours? Don't forget to tag us with #SeektheUniq on social!


Dressing Down the Trento

I hope by now, you've grown accustomed to dressing up for the indoors and cherishing it. If you've already started wearing more of your festive pieces, then you have leveled up. Haha! But then again, there is absolutely nothing wrong if you still reach for your sweats or loose tees for comfort.

The question is, can you really wear your fancy clothes even at home? Well, why not! I say, just have fun and find creativity in styling yourself whether for that Zoom meeting or brunch with your family. My fancy choice? The vibrant, one shoulder Trento frock, which I dressed down in four ways for days at home.

Rugged Resort

My version of "resort wear" featuring the colorful Trento dress 

It's still technically summer, so I thought of an easy look to wear if I were by the beach or at a resort. Sun protection is a must so I chose a hat—like the Solano visor—that would serve its purpose while complementing my look. The dress is already a statement in itself so accessorizing with just the visor would do. I finished off with my trusty Birkenstock sandals to break the femininity just a tad bit. 

Good 'ol Birks never fail

Now, where to take this look while we're all anticipating that beach trip? Gardening, reading by the porch, or painting at the terrace, perhaps?

 Pop of Denim

Your white sneakers have been sitting around in your closet for too long. Time to wear them again!

Don't you just miss wearing closed shoes? I know I do! For this look, time to take out those white sneakers that have been hiding in your closet for months. Tie a denim jacket around your waist for an urban feel.

Another wardrobe staple needed for this look: a denim jacket!

Keep the sleeve folded for a more relaxed look. You can also save this for your next movie date or out-of-town trip.

Boho Roots

Care for a feminine yet boho look?

Taking inspiration from Seek the Uniq's roots, I went boho for this getup. I cinched my waist with a braided leather belt and fixed the dress' top part as if it were a blouson. Then, I wore my Lucine leather sandals—one of my fave STU finds that go with almost anything—to complete the look.  

Seek the Lusine leather sandals here

As for accessories, gold hoops or drop metal earrings are best. Choose a hairstyle that would be in theme, like a messy, side braid or loose waves. Heading out for a grocery run or meal take-out? Don't forget your saddle or sling bag!

Pants Out

Won't ever get tired of this combo

Here at STU, we'll always be fans of the dress-over-pants look because this styling hack can easily transform your outfit from chic to modern chic. I chose this cropped, "vintage" STU pair because I love how it highlights the colors of the dress. The Suzano or Limeira pants could also be your alternatives. 

Accessorize your look and treat yourself to a necklace (or two) here

Since the outfit is already color-packed, I went for a neutral pair of mules to balance it out. You can accessorize with a long, chain pendant necklace to keep things minimal.  

Your fancy fashion pieces—like the Trento—deserve to be worn and enjoyed, even while we're still #quarantined. By dressing them down or mixing and matching them with your other clothes, you are actually giving them more mileage. After all: your style, your rules. Just have fun with fashion!

Hang in there, Seekers! Hope we're keeping you inspired.


May 25, 2020

Partners in (the) Climb: Jennifer Yu of Pointe Studio, YogaRat, and MyTagAlongs

How old is your company?

6 years.

How many people do you have in your team?

4 people.

How have things changed for you and your team with the WFH setup?

Our business is not considered an essential business so I just asked my staff to stay at home and focus on the health and well-being of their families. Since the ECQ was declared, I have been the one who takes down the orders, packs the items, prepares the billing statements, and coordinates the deliveries from my house. I have noticed that given our unique circumstances, people have found ways to continue their fitness routines at home since they can’t go to the gym, yoga / pilates / lagree studios, or see their trainers at the moment.

There has been an increase in inquiries for workout accessories like yoga mats, blocks, pads and towels via Facebook, Instagram, Viber, Whatsapp, and SMS. But since my delivery staff are all based outside NCR and can’t report to work, I have been utilizing the services of delivery service providers such as Grab and Lalamove. The items we could deliver are also very limited since we can’t go to our warehouse for a fuller range of items to offer. I am glad I have other online partners such as Seek The Uniq to handle online orders since our physical outlets and partner studios are currently closed.

Please share some photos of what your current home life looks like.

Any movies, books, or hobbies that you can recommend?

I took a castile soap making class a few weeks before the ECQ was declared so I have been keeping myself and my kids busy by concocting our own soap blends at home. My kids still have school so I have also been helping them out with their distance learning activities provided by their school. To lessen the screen time of the kids, we started playing board games and cards with them.

On lazy nights, I have been binge-watching Koreanovelas (my favorite K-drama now is Something in The Rain). I also found time to finally finish a book I have had for a long time, it’s called Grit by Angela Duckworth.

Can you share a 10-minute workout routine to do at home during quarantine?

I have been relying on Instagram and Zoom Live classes from Physique 57 Manila and Elev8 Studios PH for my daily workouts. If you want a quick but effective workout, Pamela Reif on YouTube has great 10-minute workouts; my favorite is her 10-minute sixpack workout video.

I alternate arms, legs, and glutes everyday, but I try to focus on my core daily since this is my problem area. I also use an app called Down Dog which offers free yoga, HIIT, and barre workouts.

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