Life and South

The women of Life And South: Mia, Indy, Marie, Lucien and Apol.

Women in tribes. There’s no denying how far or how high they can go as long as they have each other.

Meet Mia, Indy, Marie, Lucien and Apol, collectively known as Life And South. They’re all mothers, wives, friends, daughters and entrepreneurs who decided to form a group to help other mompreneurs deal with the demands of motherhood while juggling a small business—and the importance of having a glass of wine (or two) at the end of a tough day. Each of them are known for their craft, slowly but surely gaining followers and inspiring other Girl Bosses to follow their dreams. They document their everyday lives and a lot of behind the scene shenanigans from their respective businesses in their IG account, with a light and humorous commentary that’s both entertaining and endearing.

I met each one of them at different points in my life. Apol of @goodluckhumans was a colleague in Summit Media who worked for Good Housekeeping as their Editor. We were in our 20s then and having the time of our lives in publishing. Apol was also one of the first people I knew who bravely lived in Boracay for a month before it was considered cool. That was where she met her husband Pierre who swept her away to France where she first started her handmade dolls business. Stuff of romance novels, I tell you.

I met Marie of @pottlyntubby three years ago when I was consulting for my friend’s fabric store, Townes. We reached out to her to partner using our fabrics on a limited run for her adorable teepees and beanbags. My friend and I were both in awe of the stylish and model-like lady in front of us who was generous with her smile and time. Later on, I would feature Marie in SOS at her new home, where we laughed some more while munching on her mom’s excellent cooking.

I attended Indy’s @shedreamsinink very first workshop for School of Styling last 2015 at my client-turned-friend Em’s apartment rooftop. I was impressed with how she turned the plain concrete space into a creative haven filled with flowers and greens with her signature relaxed aesthetic. She too was a charmer, always smiling and super friendly; it was hard not to warm up to her. I may have made a mediocre paper flower that day but I won’t forget the sense of community her workshop brought. Nowadays, School of Styling has fully booked workshops until the end of the year!

Mia @sotruenaturals, @travellingtrunkph, @popupkids and Lucien @littleluli, I met that day and both ladies were sweet and accommodating. I’ve been following their accounts and enjoying motherhood through their eyes.

The main speaker that day was Len Cabili of Filip + Inna, a brand I’ve been obsessed with ever since I discovered it a few years ago. I was so stoked to finally meet her in person that I (along with the whole room) was bursting with excitement! She talked about her journey as a woman, designer and entrepreneur; the challenges, failures and triumphs that made her into the person and brand she is now. For Len, success didn’t come overnight; she once had to trek a whole day up several mountains just to meet with her weavers! She credits her unwavering faith for her success and it was amazing how, after numerous hurdles, everything fell into place for her, down to a serendipitous meeting with designer Tory Burch. How’s THAT for inspiration?

Apart from these Power Women, I met other Girl Bosses in the event, some of them I already follow on IG and it was so nice to finally put a face to the brands; met new acquaintances that were quite promising, too. They graciously allowed me to take their photos for SOS and here they are!

I urge you, mompreneur or not, to take a peek into these ladies’ lives, get inspired to do what you’ve always dreamt of because they’ve got your back. I do too.

Girl Boss Len Cabili of Filip + Inna.

Bliss Mabini does her magic on the video. I work with her a lot in Seek The Uniq. Kamille, (in maroon) is her niece/slash assistant quietly shadowing her.

My seat mates Leona, Joana and Auiee.

Meet the ladies

Ethel of @stylemelittle, who I found so cute!

Audrey of @googooandgaga and @inloveandmadness

Kimi of @bananaramaph, @galeriapaloma, @theframingstylist, @theartreport

Janice of @mommymundo

Abbey of @Coobie.ph

Jane of Working Mom Magazine

Indy of @shedreamsinink

Mia of @soaperstarmama, @sotruenaturals, @layaliving, @travellingtrunkph

Joana of @heyjowph

Czarina of Nami Resort

Valerie @internatioval of The Cracking Monkey

Georgia (middle) of @empiremacaron and friends

Cyndi of Moss Manila

Meryll of @community.co

Marga of Celebrity Mom

Atty. Tina of @fluffypwets

Chal of Jeron Travel and DJ of Goluntian

Anika of @wearanika

Leona of @theinspirationseekers

 

 

Anna

Anna’s wildcard look: dress and earrings, Seek The Uniq; skirt, vintage by Jaeger; shoes, SM Parisian; bag, Accessories For Me and Mom.

“I only truly found my own style when I got married,” says Anna (who is half-Korean), when I met her, clad adorably in a long-sleeved dress and brogues. “Is that outfit something you’d wear for work before?”, I ask and she answered with a resounding yes; it was her version of corporate attire and I thought it was so cute and unexpected. Being a stay-at-home mom affords Anna a lot of time to browse the web for inspiration as well as posing techniques which, much to my surprise, belies her ladylike persona. As soon as I started shooting she moved gracefully like a pro, the shy, soft-spoken girl out the window. “I don’t want to wear what everyone else has so I love going to ukay ukay (thrifting). I like the thrill of the chase!” The black pants she wore here was a Roberto Cavalli steal in the most luxe fabric and cut. She’s also a staunch supporter of local retailers that are growing by the number everyday, citing online shops she frequents both for shopping and the aspirational aspect. I even discovered a few from her! We have the same fashion heroes: Jenna Lyons, Tamu McPherson and Mikka Padua of Seek The Uniq and spent a good amount of time dissecting why they’re super chic and effortless. “In college, I wore basic stuff like everyone else. You can say I’m a late bloomer when it comes to fashion.” Embraced it, she did, full throttle, nevermind that her husband teases her sometimes when she comes out of the room. In true fashionista form, Anna shrugs it off and walks out with a skip in her fabulous shoes.

What she does stay at home mom

Personal style As a mother, being practical comes first. I always try to keep it  simple considering I have no yaya. Sometimes I like looking polished yet irreverent and I swing between being a minimalist and maximalist.

On the importance of appearance After I got married and became a mother, I got to discover who I was. I now know what looks good on me and what doesn’t and more experimental than when I was younger. I also stopped caring so much about what other people think of me (sartorially speaking). And when i am in that kind of attitude, I noticed, I am more stylish and free.

Her days be like I’m a stay at home Mom who sometimes misses the action in the corporate world. Don’t get me wrong, I love spending time with my daughter but sometimes I really miss being in an office setting. To combat this feeling, I structure my time with my daughter as if according to a meeting schedule. We have arts and crafts time for a two hour period. Sometimes we have reading activities. Other times, we watch our favorite Disney films together and talk about why we liked the movie so much. We sometimes try to re-enact the scenes between the characters – all while doing the the dishes, laundry, cooking and cleaning in between!

Favorite designers and shopping haunts Lately my purchases have been online and I’ve been motivated by supporting our local brands. When I’m not online shopping, I’m usually bargain hunting in ukay ukay or flea markets. I love the the thrill of the chase because you never know what you’ll get! Having no visual merchandise pushes my creative boundaries and best of all, I don’t have to worry about running into someone with the exact same outfit. In the rare occasion that I buy from a retailer, it’s Zara, H&M and Mango for their shoes or accessories.

Favorite brands/designers
Delpozo
Rejina Pyo
Johanna Ortiz
Palmer Harding
La Double J
Oak and Fort
Maggie on the Rocks

Top 5 closet staples 

Skirt
Dress
High waist Jeans/ trousers
Polo
Accessories! I’m into statement earrings lately.

Celebrity crush I am such a huge fan of Tamu McPherson! I admire her grace and elegance, how relatable her fashion sense is and just the way she carries herself with so much ease! She is the epitome of cool without trying too hard.  I also love Lyn Slater for her substance and take on fashion.

Reading material 

Man Repeller
Pinterest
WhoWhatWear
Apartment Therapy
Refinery29
Club31 Women
Desiring God
The Better Mom
Unveiled Wife
Bloglovin’
Minimalist Baker, Forks Over Knives
Stylecaster
Vogue

Current uniform polo and jeans (or skirt), paired with mules or sneakers.

Statement earrings from Ken Samudio, Cathy’s Bags, Eric Manansala, My Dearest Rina, Peron and Seek the Uniq.

Date night with the hubby: Top, thrifted; trousers, Roberto Cavalli (thrifted); shoes: Janeo; earrings, Eric Manansala; bag: Savoy

Active wear: Hat, top and sweater, Nike; shoes, Zara.

GNO: dress, Chic Curator; jeans, Zara; shoes, SM Parisian; earrings, Cathy’s Bags.

What she used to wear to work: dress, vintage by Blair; coat from Korea; earrings, My Dearest Rina; shoes, Pedro; bag, SM Parisian.

Straw bag collection: From Blank, Aranaz, vintage, Darlene’s Handcrafted Accessories, Kultura, Savoy, Etienne Aigner, Market Market find, from a souvenir shop in Nueva Vizcaya, Accessories For Me and Mom.

Weekend wear: dress, vintage from Chadwick’s; inner blouse worn under the dress, Chic Curator; sandals, Posh Everyday; hat, SM Accessories; bag, Aranaz.

 

Joanique x Sofie B.

I had the pleasure of meeting designers Malou Romero and Sofie Borromeo in their joint trunk show recently at Malou’s charming shop in Poblacion, Makati.

Malou is creative director and designer for Joanique, an accessories line that sells jewelry using different mediums like silver and leather, infused with semi-precious stones. She also designs bags made of local materials like rattan and wood, the more popular being her Masskara collection, featuring the colorful masks used in the well-loved festival in Bacolod City.

Sofie designs her namesake brand Sofie B. which features luxe apparel ranging from tops, bottoms and dresses. Soon, she’ll be expanding with an accessories line.

I thought it would be fun way to show off their designs if they styled each other: Malou styles Sofie with her accessories, depending on her outfit and Sofie, in turn, styles Malou in her own designs highlighting different occasions. Read on to see the process and uber chic results.

Meet Malou, mom, designer and lover of androgynous style.

Some of her wooden bags painted in cheerful shades under the MASSKARA collection, inspired by the Masskara Festival in Bacolod City.

Tough meets sweet: her MASSID collection featuring leather and metal.

Meet Sofie, mom, designer and avid minimalist dresser.

Let the games begin!

Looks no. 1

Malou works her magic on Sofie.

The simple shift dress gets a touch of color via the green stones set in silver featured in the layered necklaces from Malou’s MASSKARA collection.

Love how the green pops against the grey.

Sofie styles Malou in her version of sporty, the WILLOW top and CLOVER shorts set with angular cuts and rough edges. A fresh and modern take on casual wear.

Looks no. 2

Since Sofie’s dress already has a busy neckline, Malou chose a simple earring with a flower and evil eye design to keep it feminine with a dash of quirk.

It’s finished off with the black DALIA clutch, perfect for date nights with the hubby.

Sofie styles Malou in the AYANA dress, inspired by flower petals at the hem, featuring her signature raw edges. “I want to show women that unpolished can look chic and elegant at once”, says the designer.

Looks no. 3

Malou wanted to create contrast to Sofie’s feminine top by styling it with the MASSID leather choker and ring for a rocker chic vibe.

“I love the style but not sure about the color”, quips Malou. She looks lovely anyway in Sofie’s MAGNOLIA tent dress that can easily transform from dressy to casual with a simple switch of footwear.

I had to get a photo of their serendipitously complementing color palette. So pretty!

Looks no. 4

Malou styles Sophie’s structured top with earrings and necklace from her KIEK collection featuring black rhodium plated metal and white cowlight stones.

She adds bangles and the RAQUEL clutch from the MASSKARA collection. Ready for GNO!

Sofie describes her JACINTA top as an “unorthodox version of the basic button down”. It has exaggerated collars and sleeves, angular cuts and a structured bodice.

Looks no. 5

Sofie’s simple white tee and pants outfit gets a boost of creativity with Joanique’s jovial MASSKARA flora wooden bag. Malou finished off the look with her LUALA earrings. She can wear this to a concert or shopping!

Sofie put Malou in her CALLOM sky blue double face stain dress that plays with volume: one side is longer than the other, creating a different look depending which way you turn.

I had a blast playing dress up with these two stylish ladies. Drop by their showrooms to meet these gorgeous pieces in person.

 

Joanique    

5925 Algier st. Poblacion Makati

 

Sofie B. 

Fairways Tower

Unit 8C south tower
5th avenue corner McKinley Road
Fort Bonifacio