Triccie opens up about her beautiful Tali beach home through her love for stories
Driving up from the congested streets and fast-paced lifestyle of Metro Manila, Casa Sofia was nothing short of a relief. Fresh air, gorgeous interiors, lots of open space, and a breathtaking view of the sea welcomed these weary travelers. For the tired city soul, Casa Sofia was the perfect remedy.
What was more overwhelming than the ocean views and interiors of Casa Sofia was the hospitality of Triccie Wirman, who brought to life the vision of the home alongside her husband Olli. Clearly no stranger to hosting guests, Triccie insisted on giving each of our team members the best spots in the house to rest in after the drive. Her darling of a daughter Sofia, whom the casa was named after, rushed into the kitchen and emerged with glasses of freshly-squeezed juice. “I like to teach them while they’re young,” Triccie shared with a proud smile.
Casa Sofia is a beach home where the Wirman family can enjoy nature and great open spaces
Triccie started opening up about her travels and her love for interesting design pieces. It became clearer to us where Triccie drew her inspiration: stories. The designer was a natural born storyteller. As she told us about her upcoming shop, which would even showcase Philippine artwork, she suddenly excused herself as her children demanded beach time. Our second realization about her: she valued family over everything else. And so we spent the day basking in the warmth of the sun and newly found friendships.
Later on, we got Triccie to tell us more stories about Casa Sofia and her journey as a designer.
Triccie is a fan of all things eclectic which is evident in her homey dining area
Wooden lounge chairs and a giant chess set complete the experience of peering out over the sea
1. Describe your vision for your Tali home.
Casa Sofia was really meant to be a place where we can enjoy what we love most: family time and nature. We envisioned a place that we can call home every time we are in the Philippines. The Philippines, in general, is beautiful and rich in natural resources. If only we can utilize this God-given gift and choose to live surrounded by nature - moving to provinces or seaside areas instead of flocking to big cities - then the vision we have for Tali as a haven for fresher air, healthier food, greener surroundings where children can run freely may also become a reality for many.
2. How do you integrate your love for locally embroidered and woven pieces into your lovely beachside home?
It actually didn’t take much effort to integrate hand woven pieces into this home. Since my family is privileged to live in places where people love to make things by hand (specifically in Southern Spain and Finland), and because of my longtime passion for everything embroidered, colorful and asymmetric, it came naturally for me to implement this in Casa Sofia.
You know that saying, “home is where the heart is”? This has never been truer in my case. When I put my heart into certain things, it just comes naturally to bring it with me wherever I go.
Triccie's personal style and taste are as colorful as her Moroccan room
3. Which room do you spend the most time in? Which room do you spend the least time in?
I would say the living room, dining room, and the kitchen. These rooms are where friends and family gather together to talk, play, and to just have peace. They are also places where we eat - something which we really love to do. Cooking is a big part of our life hence the big kitchen in Tali. My 8-year-old daughter Sofia, whom the house is named after, cooks and bakes for us weekly in Spain so she feels right at home in Tali.
The room we use the least would be the one outside the house since it is reserved for guests. I keep the room untouched to maintain cleanliness and orderliness for the next occupant.
The interior architect loves to collect vintage pieces from her travels
4. If you could change something in your home, what would it be and why?
As a beach house, I would prefer it to be a bit more on the raw side: a typical beachside home would be with a personal touch. But since this is our main home in the Philippines, we had to keep it sturdy enough to survive extreme natural conditions like typhoons, earthquakes, etc.
If it were up to me and my husband, our ideal tropical vacation home would be a nipa hut style house where everything comes from raw nature - from local produce down to using a pump to draw water from natural wells. Solar panels would serve as the main providers of electricity and water heating. Pots and pans set on firewood are used to cook our food. In general, a more eco-friendly home.
Casa Sofia hinted at the Wirman family's love for raw and sustainable design
Golden hour: the house allows ample natural light in for beautiful beachside afternoons
5. During your travels, what are the things you keep in mind when hunting for home pieces?
My husband Olli thinks I have an old soul, which is probably why I love antiques. The more history, the better.
I actually also love anything eclectic: mixing the old with the new. In Tali, for instance, the dining table is a 100-year-old cooking table (passed on to me by my dad from his grandmother) that is a bit too high for the dining chairs as it was used in the past as a place to prepare food not to dine on. The altar was salvaged from an old church in Bohol, the main lamp in the living room is made from twigs picked up from the beaches around Batangas - some examples of simple details that make each piece special.
Every year I join antique fairs in Scandinavia and Central Europe to look for things that have a story behind it - that story is what I keep in mind when on the hunt.
6. What is the best bargain you’ve ever gotten when hunting for home pieces?
The best bargain was a kilim rug I picked up for free at a home demolition site in Madrid, Spain. My profession takes me to reform sites around Europe once in a while and while searching for antique tile stores in Madrid, I came upon an old building that was once a small palace. Sitting in a dumpster was a perfectly preserved Persian kilim rug together with an 18th-century antique table. I asked to take it and the foreman, who had no clue of its value, happily agreed. To find such treasures in the trash was more than a bargain - it was a miracle.
Creativity has no bounds: Triccie had a lamp made out of pieces of wood she picked up in Batangas
A clay-colored shelf with trinkets draw attention from across the common room
7. Who are the people/artists who influence your style?
There is no one person or designer that I really follow. Practicing interchangeably in Spain, Italy, and Finland, I am constantly exposed to the diverse and rich culture implemented by the people in their daily way of life. That is what inspires me. I believe that there is a designer in every one of us and that one's environment and experience are key influencing factors in the development of taste and style.
8. If you could visit any home in the world, whose would it be?
My husband's ancestral home named Ratula in Finland. When his grandparents were still in their 50's, they embarked on this project to lovingly restore a 17th-century lakeside manor. It was once a summer home to one of the aristocratic families that followed the Czar and Czarina of Russia, Nicholas and Alexandra, during their summers in Finland. The place is full of history so I imagine the interior alone would be mindblowing to any art collector, designer or home lover.
I was also told that my husband's grandmother Tuulikki, who was an avid interior designer herself, continued to beautify the place with her unique style and love of antiquities through the years. She even restored original frescoes herself. The place has so much in common with my personal passions and interests that I know I am destined to see it someday.
Triccie enjoys finding quirky things and mixing old with the new
The Wirmans designed their home specifically for their lovely family to enjoy
9. What are the things you consider when designing a home for your two kids and husband?
Safety and comfort above all.
10. What makes a house a home?
Family, love, and togetherness. No design or material object can ever replace the spiritual bond and happiness a loving family brings to make a house a home.
Mariana Bantug opens up about her yoga journey as well as her love for beauty and wellness
A petite lady with one of the most charming faces we’ve ever seen, yoga instructor Mariana Bantug embodied the saying "beauty need not be loud" by arriving with no fuss or fanfare. Mariana popped into the studio quietly - which was how we imagined yogis typically moved - but it wasn’t long before we discovered that she was quite the chatterbox. Before we knew it, she had us firing one question after another - all of which she gladly answered.
Her demeanor and movement rival that of the most dignified ballerinas so we were surprised to know that calmer yoga classes gave her a bad case of unrest. “I feel like I have to move more in the middle of the class,” she reveals with a small laugh.
Mid-conversation, a woman emerged from a class and expressed her curiosity at our equipment. “We’re doing a feature shoot – that explains why I’m wearing makeup,” Mariana answered her female friend. Peering closely at her face, Mariana clearly had another talent tucked into her yoga waistband: achieving the no-makeup makeup look.
This would, however, come as no surprise. Mariana is not just a guru on the mat but on beauty essentials as well. She may not advocate wearing makeup while working out but she is a self-confessed makeup junkie.
We sat down Mariana for a conversation on all things yoga, wellness, and beauty.
Not all who wander are lost: breathable muscle tees are great cover-ups for yoga
How did you get started with yoga?
I was very active as a child and I played a few different sports well into high school. After college, I was looking for a way to stay fit and improve my flexibility (I was strong but could barely touch my toes with legs straight!), so I tried a few hot yoga classes at a Bikram Yoga studio. I was hooked on that for two years before shifting to a Vinyasa practice, which proved to be highly sustainable and fulfilling for me personally.
What style of yoga do you enjoy teaching the most?
Vinyasa 1 and Power yoga.
What has helped you improve your teaching since you first started?
My students — all of them, from the most advanced to total beginners. Every class I teach is an opportunity to learn from them.
Mariana wears the Atsui x STU Iro on the mat
What do you feel is the most important skill a yoga instructor should possess?
Their own practice. Not in the sense that you need to be able to execute fancy or advanced postures, but in the sense that a regular personal practice always influences how you teach. It’s a way of making time for yourself — of filling your cup before you can fill others’.
On a teaching day, what are the things that we can find in your bag?
Water, a couple of towels, Yoga Love, extra clothes, and a jacket to throw on after class.
What do you consider when picking out activewear for practicing yoga?
Fabric quality and garment cuts. I don’t mind paying more for fabrics that will maintain their quality even after lots of washes, and since I’m on the flat-chested side, I only need light support from my bra tops. I also tend to prefer black or printed activewear, so that sweat marks are less likely to show (I sweat a lot!).
Inject a little fun into your yoga wear with lace-up pieces
What is your beauty routine like on a daily basis?
I wash my face with a mild cleanser in the morning, evening, and after yoga. I always, always wear sunscreen even if I’m mostly going to be indoors. I use moisturizer only as needed, and the same goes for toner. I feel things out a lot when it comes to my skin.
Makeup-wise, I feel strongly about NOT wearing any makeup while engaging in any sort of exercise, so you’ll see me bare-faced during practice and while teaching. Gotta let that skin breathe! When I’m not doing yoga, I enjoy wearing makeup — especially mascara. It makes all the difference.
Pinstripes or tropical print?
How do you handle stress and pressure? Do you use any beauty and wellness products to help you get back on track?
I try to take a pause and close my eyes so I can focus on my breath. Candles are big mood-setters for me — scent in general, come to think of it — so if I can, I’ll light a candle or put on my diffuser and that helps me maintain a more stable state of mind.
What is your daily diet like?
Breakfast is usually oatmeal (steel cut — none of that instant stuff!) and almond butter. For lunch, I try to have something filling, like lentils and beans with veggies on the side. And for dinner, I like having rice meals.
Headbands that match our workout top? Why not.
Mariana's secret to stress relief: closing her eyes and focusing on her breathing
What do you do on your non-practicing days?
A lot of errands, chores, and general housekeeping. The errands are an opportunity to practice staying calm even in stressful situations, while the housekeeping activities have a meditative quality in themselves, so my yoga doesn’t just exist on the mat — it’s in my everyday life, too.
What can you say to someone who is intimidated to practice yoga?
Yoga is for everyone. I fully and truly believe that. That said, there are many ways to get into yoga. If it makes you feel more comfortable to practice at home while watching a YouTube video to start, go for it. If bringing a friend to a group class helps, that’s a great idea too. If reading or studying yoga philosophy is more of your jam, then explore that freely. Ultimately your yoga is what you make of it, and the only way to figure out what that looks like is to openly explore yoga’s different facets. If you’re already interested, that’s a start and there is nothing to fear in the journey to yourself.
Follow Mariana on Instagram at @marianabantug. You may also catch her classes at Beyond Yoga Rockwell.
*Shot on location at Beyond Yoga Rockwell
La Fiera Mezcal prides itself in Guerrero's passion fruit curado
Mezcal is gaining ground worldwide as drink connoisseurs clamor for more history, soul, and tradition in their glasses. Andrea Villela, the founder of La Fiera Mezcal, joined some of our seekers in Mexico for some mezcal tasting - with a serving of history on the side.
La Fiera Mezcal is a group dedicated to bringing artisan mezcals to tables across Mexico. It was birthed in one of the nine Mexican regions that produced mezcal: the state of Guerrero. Andrea, who grew up in Guerrero, knew mezcal as a typical part of the meal table during baptisms, weddings, birthdays, and the like. One day, her mother brought a bottle of mezcal to a family book presentation and it became an instant hit. La Fiera Mezcal was born not too long after.
Seekers are treated to history and drinks by La Fiera Mezcal founder Andrea Villela
Passion fruit is added after agave cupreata is distilled
Often confused with tequila, Mezcal is a type of alcohol made from agave. Mezcal is not necessarily tequila but all tequilas are mezcals. While tequila is made specifically from blue agave (agave tequilana), Mezcal broadens its horizons to include a wider range of agave-based liquor. The two also differ in distilling processes and are usually made in different regions of Mexico.
Unlike tequila, however, a certain mythicism grounds mezcal to community and land. The Spanish conquest of Mexico introduced mezcal as the first distilled spirit in the Americas. The mezcal is also thought of as a drink for the soul because of its healthy spirit. It prides itself in tradition, which makes it more attractive to connoisseurs worldwide.
The bottles are hand-painted by artisans from the Montaña Baja. Leftover paint from making traditional tigre masks are used.
The bottles are hand-painted by artisans from the Montaña Baja
Mezcal is typically served with traditional snacks before a meal in Guerrero. Some of these include stems of the Hoja Santa leaf called tlalnipal, local cheeses, chalupas, pozole de frijol or bean pozole, and a specific guacamole recipe called aguacatada.
Seekers get a taste of Guerrero's artisan mezcals
Our seekers were treated to some of La Fiera Mezcal's passion fruit curado, which is made from adding the fruit to distilled agave cupreata. Some of La Fiera's tasting menu also includes natural mezcals "berrico" and "publio", mezcal de pechuga "publio", damiana curado, and even a smashed maguey worm curado (yes, you read it right: it is made from real worms).
Andrea estimates the alcohol level in a mezcal by blowing bubbles through a cane pipeSalted pumpkin seeds are only one of Guerrero's traditional mezcal accompaniment
More than a mezcal curator, Andrea likes to think of herself as a mezcal explorer. Her exploration typically consists of asking around towns in Guerrero, which once even led her to a 50-year-old mezcal bottle.
La Fiera Mezcal envisions a recognition for Guerrero traditions. This humble movement will continue to grow slowly but steadily until Guerrero's artisan mezcals are celebrated around the world.
Some of us have a favorite beauty sin: licking and picking at cracked, dehydrated lips. While we spend a good amount of time at beauty counters trying an array of cleansers, creams, and serums for our face, we neglect to give our kissers the TLC they very well deserve.
Thankfully, gone are the days when petroleum jelly was the only option for dry lips (don’t get us wrong - we have much respect for THE jelly). We broke down three easy steps to have your lips going from el niño to luscious.
1. Don’t hate, exfoliate.
We can get pretty obsessed with sloughing off dead skin on the face and body, but did you know that your lips can use some scrub love too? The skin on the lips is much thinner than skin on other parts of the body, making it more susceptible to drying and flaking. This in turn allows residue and dead skin to build up on the lips.
To keep your smoochers in tip-top shape, use a lip scrub to slough off pesky build up. We personally love Zenutrients epsom salt in Cotton Blossom and Green Bamboo. Just mix this all-around exfoliant with a tinge of balm and rub all over your lips. Repeat once a week.
2. It’s all in the mud.
Not-so-fun fact: the lips have no oil glands and hair, stripping it of natural moisture and protection. To add to the chaos, saliva on the lips evaporates quickly and takes whatever moisture it can with it.
Restore moisture on your lips with a heavy-duty potion like the GlamGlow PoutMud Treatment. These fun pots contain Sweet Almond Oil, Cocoa Butter, Shea Butter, and Tamanu Oil (among other awesome stuff) to quickly revive parched lips. Slather it on and leave on for 10 minutes.
3. Get your lipgloss poppin’.
Finally, make your lips look oh-so-kissable by layering on your favorite lip gloss. We recommend the Imagic Smudge Proof Lip Gloss, which comes in fun, highly-pigmented colors that won’t budge through coffee or brunch.
Upon application, these no-frills tubes start with a creamy consistency but dries matte. Oh, and did we say they smell nice? They smell nice. You’re welcome.
Seek our full range of beauty products here.
More than 10 years in banking has evidently taught Leigh Carcel one thing: to take risks but to be meticulous about it. The same could be said of her personal style.
An apparent perfectionist, Leigh paid extra attention to every minute detail of her outfit – at one point even wearing two different earrings on each ear just to see which one looked better – but also knew the value of collaboration by gracefully and unabashedly asking the stylist for input.
A pop of color in a sea of neutrals: Leigh styled her gray-and-white outfit with red loafers
Leigh put a new spin to the Karis cold shoulder dress by wearing it with shorts and playing with lines
Such structured habits do not come without a softer side – Leigh is, in fact, a highly creative person. Taking one sweep at her beautiful home shows that she is an avid collector of art pieces. A large collection of books sat on massive shelves in her living room, varying from classic favorites to coffee table ones, revealing that she is a woman who likes to keep her mind open.
“I’ve been trying to learn the saxophone because I think jazz is sexy,” she says with a mischievous grin, “but I realized it wasn’t as sexy because of the amount of spit involved.” We picked at the said open mind that even gave us a serving of wit on the side.
Blazers are a staple for putting together travel outfits
A stickler for detail: Leigh has mastered the delicate mix of hues and textures
Leigh's love for detail also shows in her elegantly styled home
Describe your daily uniform.
Since I’ve taken a year off from work. I am mostly dressed casually or in activewear clothes - very comfortable stuff. After 11 years straight of corporate life, it was quite a relief to go casual.
Staple items in your closet that you can’t live without.
I’ve traded in my heels to sandals or sneakers and I’ve traded in my corporate outfit to jeans. However, I do still like blazers - I travel a lot and it helps pull my outfits together.
What is one thing you splurge on?
I splurge on travel.
On normal days, Leigh likes to mix elegance with comfort
Not exactly a sneakerhead: Leigh's love for spinning birthed her humble collection of sneaks
Less or more?
Less. It’s surprising how quickly you can get used to less. First, my closet space has been quite a challenge and even with constant purging, I still can’t properly store my clothes. Second, I think you just realize that there is no need to be too fashionable – just pick out pieces that you like then mix and match them. But of course, less does not mean bad quality.
You shared that you used to design accessories. If you could design a piece of jewelry for Seek the Uniq, what would it look like?
We designed mostly charm bracelets so it would have to be that but with more unique charms.
Which style icon would you want to have lunch with?
I don’t really have style icons but lately I’ve been following the Nordic and Scandinavian girls on Instagram. They just make everything look so elegant yet simple.
A loft full of art pieces and books reveal Leigh's taste for culture
A pair of DIY ribbon straps show Leigh's creativity and resourcefulness with closet
Leigh's favorite fashion hack: oversized earrings
Favorite fashion hack.
Oversized earrings. If I’m not sure of my outfits, big earrings help.
How do you incorporate your personal style into your work wear?
When I was working in the bank, I couldn’t go wild on the colors but I could still make outfits interesting with prints here and there. Nicely cut dresses would be essential. These days, I am enjoying adding color to my wardrobe.
Any advice to readers still trying to find their own style?
Don’t spend too much on clothes, there are reasonably priced brands that have great designs like Seek. :)
We're may or may not have taken the word "lush" a little too seriously
You’ve seen the clothes online, now get to touch, feel and try them on offline.
Seekers will be happy to know that Gypseek Atlas is back with HABITACIÓN, a Guide Shop. We’re unplugging to meet our Seek community face-to-face, as well as to have our lustworthy items available to all of your five senses.
Habitación was created with our Seekers in mind so we turned the space into a lush expanse that will tickle your aesthetic. We threw in some plush seats – and soon, coffee and cocktails – for a full-on lounging affair.
A bright red truck carrying a chock full of woven things? Yes, we did.
It's not everyday one gets to lounge on a chic turquoise sofa
Feel free to browse, hang around or drop by just to say hello. Get to meet the Seek the Uniq team as well - they will personally guide you through our jungle of highly coveted gems.
For Gypseek Atlas rookies, this is how the Guide Shop works:
Our lustworthy items are now available for all five of your senses
Adorn a bamboo bar cart with colored glass and copper to create an instant decorative piece for your home
The kind of clutter we love
We like moving pieces around to keep things interesting
Habitación is located at the new wing of Power Plant Mall in Rockwell Center, Makati City.
We can’t wait to meet all of you!
Cris honed her love for culture and the arts through her travels
Stepping into Cris Bonoan’s home does one thing: it knocks the wind out of you. Nestled in the middle of the concrete jungle that is Makati, Cris’ home is an extension of the busy city - chaotic still, but the mess made absolute harmonious (and tasteful) sense. It was the kind of chaos that titillated the senses – and we mean that in the most gratifying way possible. The front door opens to a wash of light flooding through gigantic windows, eventually revealing a space adorned with personally curated pieces, each with its own story to tell.
It was pretty evident that Cris built her home around her love for travel. As we wandered around her halls, she was usually not far behind with an interesting travel tale or two. Having lived overseas for many years, Cris honed her taste for culture and the arts through her constant forays. A Malang painting, among numerous other art pieces, hung casually on her living room wall as a testimony.
A colorful table littered with interesting pieces greets you at the door
The doorway is interestingly Cris' favorite part of her home
Confident and quick-witted, Cris’ charm was evident in each room. We leveled with her on the pieces that make her heart flutter, as well as some of her pro tips for the traveling art connoisseur.
Describe your style in three adjectives.
Unique, diverse, and casual.
Who are the people who influence your style?
I can’t really name specific people who have influenced my sense of style; I would say my travels have influenced my sense of style. Having lived overseas for many years has helped me embrace other cultures. My travels to other countries have shaped my diverse sense of style.
Cris enjoys a cocktail in her meticulously curated living room
Intricately carved cabinets are a welcome surprise behind the hefty living room set
We noticed that you have a lot of art pieces in your home. What do you look for when you pick out pieces? Are there artists that your particularly favor?
During my travels, I always make it a point to bring home an interesting art piece from places I’ve been to. I am a very visual person - if I see what I like, it doesn’t matter who the designer or artist is, or whether it is cheap or expensive. I do, however, enjoy seeking and finding a great bargain or a unique piece.
Which rooms do you spend the most and least time in?
I spend relatively equal time in all the rooms in my home. If I'm on my laptop working then I will highly likely be in the study room. Meals are a sacred part of our day and I do most of the cooking so I spend a lot of time in time in the kitchen too. My bedroom is my solace and I spend time there when I want to relax and unwind.
Every corner of the home is filled with pieces that tell stories
Cris pays special attention to frames as much as she does to artwork
During your travels, what are the things you keep in mind when hunting for home pieces?
I try to find items that are unique and native to the country I am visiting, as well as the quality, the history and meaning (for example, I used to collect African masks so I would research on the different kinds of masks and their significance).
What is your favorite country or city to shop in?
Africa, India, Turkey, and all over Europe.
Cris' home tip: copper keeps drinks chilled throughout the day
Cris lounges amongst art pieces collected over years of travel
What is the best bargain you’ve ever gotten?
What advice would you give to travellers who want to hunt for home pieces in foreign cities?
Don’t fall for tourist traps; always look for something unique and native to the place you are visiting. Buy something you truly like - it doesn’t matter whether it matches with your current theme or sense of style as long as you like it. I normally start palpitating when I see something I like. That’s when I know I won’t be able to live without it.
Cris' daughter, Amina, chose soft hues for her bedroom
The mix of romantic and eclectic pieces shows Amina taking after her mom's sense of style
If you could change something in your home, what would it be and why?
I wish I had a balcony. I love plants and unfortunately they don’t thrive in a condominium environment.
How did you marry your style with your daughter’s preference in designing her room?
My daughter has lived with art in our home since she was born and she is with me in all our travels. She's now 14-years-old and she chose the design for her room. Luckily, I approved.
Cool hues and romantic pieces make up Cris' bedroom
Cris shares that the bedroom is her place of solace
Woven trays keep accessories organized and accessible
If you were stuck in an island and could only take one decorative piece from your home, what would it be?
My bed! I'm a creature of comfort.
What makes a house a home?
A house is a home when we create a unique place that meets all our needs and expresses our genuine character. A home is a place where one walks in and instantly feels at ease and welcomed. A house is a home when it feels authentic, not contrived and stiff but a true reflection of the people living in it. A house is a home when it is a sanctuary for you and your loved ones.
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