Stef is the founder of Prim Botanicals, an all-natural line of beauty and body products. Formerly from Cebu City, Philippines - yes, she is Filipino! - she currently resides in Jersey City with her husband and son.
Hi, Stef! How are you?
Hi! I'm good, thanks for asking.
How have your days been lately?
My day starts with my 3 year old alarm clock, Oliver. My husband and I get him ready for school and then I finally sit down for a cup of coffee. I dream about that cup! My son gets picked up at 5:30 and I spend the time he's away working on Prim, a new project called Santo, and fighting the urge to nap all day.
What’s your favorite spot in the house?
On nice days, I like to sit in our backyard. It's still wild to me that we have one! I'm writing this on the sofa with the TV on in the background. I tell myself I just want to get a lot out of this pricey sofa but the truth is, I love working with the TV on – which means I end up rewinding nearly every show I watch, repeatedly!
How do you spend your free time?
I'm constantly on my phone. I do a lot of work on it, but then end up on Instagram and scrolling TikTok. I do love a good podcast, book, TV show, or movie. But yeah, you'll see me in my Stories, haha! Will I sound more high brow if I share my love for classical music?
Any homemade specialties you’ve been making?
I've been really into DIY projects around the house! Mostly painting things. I stenciled some steps and am super proud. Otherwise, I do love to cook – mostly Asian food. And I still make several Prim items myself. When I get going on creating a new scent, I get carried away. It's so fun for me.
What are some of your favorite items in the house?
We moved from an apartment into a townhouse in December, and even though we have more space, we actually have less things.
I wanted to make sure everything in our home was something we felt connected to. I brought back a painting from Manila of a girl looking away, so you don't see her face. I love it.
I also have a snow globe from my grandfather that I've had for over 30 years.
As for parts of the house, I love our black stairs. Painting the staircase black was the first real design decision I made, and it still brings me so much joy.
Walk us through your area and neighborhood. What are some of your favorite spots to go to?
We live in Journal Square, in Jersey City, and it's really such an interesting area. We're only 25 minutes from the city (I don't drive so being near the Path was a must!), and you really get the sense that this area is very much in transition.
The side streets, like the one we’re on, are all lined with homes and trees but then you turn the corner and you feel like you're in the middle of an urban, busy city.
So far we've discovered lots of great food (there's a Jollibee right by the Path!), and we are excited to see what the next few years bring to the area. Gentrification is a pretty loaded topic so without getting into it too much, I will say that the efforts to make this area more of an artistic hub will really be great.