Photo via Juice Because by  Irving Crea Photos

Photo via Juice Because by Irving Crea Photos

First off (and I've said this before), but I am so stoked and honoured to have been part of Juice Because's #gotmylk campaign for so many reasons. I have always been a huge fan of this local juice company, what they stand for, and how they've executed their shit - literally a couple of bawse babes killin' their game. The amount of milk bottles I've hoarded from consuming their juice probably says a lot about my obsession (their charcoal lemonade JUDY is the best on the market, and has gotten me out of some sticky situations *ahem teaching hungover af). Also, the premise of this campaign is iconic. Who didn't grow up wanting their own milk moustache? A lot of the celebrities I idolized at the time all had their very own milk moustache, and I used to be fanatical about buying magazines just to collect the print ads. Seems so crazy this day and age. 

A couple of nights ago, I listened to the IG stories of a fitness influencer I religiously follow about the body positivity movement, and how there's a lot of controversy right now about representing the ENTIRE spectrum of diversity, specifically in women. I thought back to the time I idolized celebrities in "got milk?" ads, and recognized I never really had anyone in mass media I could relate to, except the odd token Asian, who often at that time was super nerdy and definitely not Filipino. This is probably why I favoured my Hawaiian Barbie so much - not only because my love for Hawaii started before I knew it, but she kinda sorta looked like me. This idea of diversity in race being underrepresented is not a new one. But as of late, this idea of representing diversity in female body types in the media has been an ongoing topic.  

Since the release of the iconic Dove ad, the door was opened to feature many women of all shapes, sizes, colours, creeds in mass media. "Love yourself, just the way you are" is often the message given and one I also preach. But it was brought up that right now if you're not on either end of the body spectrum (slim + chiseled fit or plus size + curvy) then often you're not represented in the imagery we commonly see. My first thought? Marketers will never catch a break. There is no way to fully capture everyone, I totally get it. Imagery in the media has come along way since I was young flipping through magazines, but we still do have the opportunity to change the rhetoric around it all. Wouldn't it be nice if we got to a point where a woman is a woman in an ad and not just fulfilling a certain size and demographic quota? Reality is we still see colour, and size, and shape, and even orientation. Woof. 

I then reflected on where I'm at in my journey... my best friend put it so well: I'm training for life. I mean, I get my workouts in for the most part, I'm attempting to eat more plant based but can't quite cut the chocolate and cheese, and don't get me started on my love affair with a good Old Fashioned. I mean, aren't we all trying to make better choices while still trying to live life? No, I'm definitely not the size 0-2 I once was, nor do I have the defined muscles I once did. I'm not skinny, nor am I considered large. And yep last time I checked I'm still standing tall at a mere 5'3" on a good day. I can see why marketing someone like me, to me, would not be considered aspirational because it can come across as kinda average. I'm ok with that, it's working for me. Would it be rad if a little Karleen out there saw what I was up to, and thought it was pretty cool? Absolutely. Is that a reality? Maybe, maybe not.

Where I have a tough time is what I consider normal vs. aspirational is most likely different from your idea. I willingly choose to fill my feed with things I find inspirational, people who I believe are up to cool things, or stand for ideas I can relate to. I have made a conscious effort to weed out things that have negative affect on me or on the way I think. So, I think this debate goes both ways. Those responsible for projecting imagery in the media have the duty of being inclusive, positive, and inspirational for all races, shapes, orientations (And damn well better add in a darker, shortish, Filipino gal where they can lol). But I also challenge that media doesn't entirely happen TO us. With so many outlets to receive images and ideas, we need to recognize that we are willing participants in the game too. Much like you choose to surround yourself with certain people, surround yourself with brands, companies, and accounts that put out things that excite you and align with what you believe in or that you think are straight up dope. Straight up.

VLNCA | The Proposal...

5 years ago today I starred in a surprise flashmob beautifully conspired by Winifrey and about 100 of our friends and family. #spoileralert, I said YES.

One of the best days of my life so far, second only to our actual wedding (and when Common pulled me on stage to rap to me). If you have 10 minutes, grab a tissue and relive that day with us. 

Karleen ValenciaComment
A love letter to Studio Revolution.

With the announcement that Studio Revolution was sold and would be evolving, I, like everyone else was shocked. Receiving the news only hours before the rest of the world, I didn't actually know what to think in the moment... and really for the days to follow. I think my boy Travis described it best, "like getting dumped" with the old "it's not you, it's me". However, I fully understand the why, and can completely empathize with our bossbabe Mal's difficult decision.

I've been pretty silent as I process what this place means to me and has done for me these past 3 years. So I wrote a love letter, 'cuz that's what you do when your heart broken, right?


Dear SRF,

Where do we even begin? You stepped into my life 3 years ago at a time that I needed you the most and didn’t even realize it. You welcomed me with open arms, and even though the AC is hella cold the welcome was always warm. 

I will never forget my first. There was two of us, and the most beautiful unicorn, Mallory… absolutely kicking my ass. By the end of this Surf Salutations class (a yoga inspired class on the instability of the surfboard) I was rocked. Like… I totally sucked. So bad. I thought I had been a solid yogi prior to this moment, but man, this thing called SURFSET changed the game. It became a new multi-faceted challenge I instantly wanted to conquer, but even more so, a place I wanted to be fully immersed in. So I did. 

SRF, you have given me more than you know. A physical challenge that totally transformed my concept of working out and showed me how strong I am. A place of endless opportunities, to escape, to dream… usually about living on a beach someday. A space for personal growth, inside and out, mentally and creatively. Helping me find my confidence in my inner Beyonce, making me feel significant with a sense of purpose. A platform to teach with the hopes of inspiring the same transformations I felt. Most importantly a community, no - a family. Who knew that these four walls would be the venue where I cross paths with some of the most courageous, fun, and electrifying beings anyone could ever meet. You know that feeling when souls hug? It happened here in a big way. 

So, this is it. I am extremely saddened that this month marks the last time I might ever teach a SURFSET class. I take comfort in knowing that the magic was not necessarily in what we did on that surfboard, but it was in what we created as a whole. Thank you, all of you, for helping make huge waves in our community. It has truly been an honour and so exciting to be part of something bigger. 

Riding that last wave with the fullest heart.



Karleen Valencia Comment
Messin' with some RadMen.

Got to shoot with some really talented gentlemen this past weekend. Keep watch for Radical Gentlemen Creative, you'll definitely want them shooting your next big thing...

Who cares...

So I'm in the health and wellness industry right? That means not only am I active like erryday, but I keep up on regular visits to the doctor, dentist, masseuse, chiro, physio, and my mom. WRONG. I was the last person to take care of myself first. In fact, I would be the first person to 'treat yo self' after a long week instead of 'take care of yo self'.

Until I crossed paths with a pretty rad guy that happened to be a pretty rad chiropractor. Enter Dr. Alim Kara from Complete Chiro & Sports Therapy. He convinced me to come in for an assessment and then just see what happens. Perfect timing - I tweaked my back poorly putting down a kettlebell (woof. worst. like c'mon). After some voodoo, otherwise known as cupping, a little acupuncture, and some active release on surrounding areas (ahem* glutes always), I literally felt like nothing happened the following day. 

Ok, so then what. Great, it worked. The key? Consistency. After going regularly, we would discuss how my body was working/feeling after the week of teaching and living in general. Then, Dr. Alim would hone in on areas that get utilized frequently. Even if I wasn't necessarily "feeling" anything "wrong", I couldn't believe how a few simple adjustments could impact my movement. Seriously.

This practice taught me that even just the slightest bit of TLC can make a world of difference. Keep watch... I have so much I've learned from the treatments I've had so far.  

Photos by WINJUAN Photography

Is "athleisure" lazy?
 Taken in Amsterdam by  WINJUAN Photography

Taken in Amsterdam by WINJUAN Photography

Yes. I mean so is wearing all black. But I do that too.

So really... am I lazy? Maybe. I thank God daily that I don't have to wear real pants, can rock sneaks on the regular, AND still come across as knowing what's up. But I believe the athleisure movement is all about intention. The intention is comfort, the goal is style, the execution is up to you.

Large brands are trying to capitalize something that is a lifestyle for some of us - running to and from sweat classes, still having to look somewhat put together because lesbehonest, you're not grabbing that $5 london fog at the coolest coffee stops because you're in dire need of it. Admittedly, sometimes my post sweat outfits are actually fairly expensive. Throw on a Mackage leather jacket, over my Kit and Ace layer, coupled with my Adidas 3-stripe tights, and all black Ultraboosts = MSRP +$1200, holy shit. Not a humblebrag, but a reality check. Investing in quality pieces still rings true when you're still aiming for function, comfort, and style.