Sakura Bloom Styelathon + A Minimalist Mama

For those of you who know me or follow along with my ramblings and snapshots, you know I love wearing Ronin. Not only is it convenient, but its the closest thing to wearing sunshine I can get. I was beyond excited when Sakura Bloom, a lovely ring sling company whose love and quality shine through each sling made, asked me to take part in bringing back their Styleathon feature.

Now I by no means consider myself on the cutting edge of fashion, nor do I spend the time I use to getting ready in the mornings. The days of showering alone are long gone, as are the primping hours that use to make my life seem all the more glamorous. These days I take solice in my capsule wardrobe and the power of facial moisturizer. Minimizing my choices when it comes to the apparel I grab and the shoes I slip on not only cuts down on my getting ready time, but also my stress level throughout the day.

Like any day that involves chasing around my little guy, I go for comfort and class. I relish in lightweight cottons, stretchable jeans, and my favorite shoes to add that little extra oomph. Today we headed out for a day in Cocoa Village, a lovely little historic town nestled just off the coast of Cocoa Beach, Florida. Not only is it one of our favorite parks, but our favorite cafe lays just on a corner of sweet shops and a bustle of locals and tourists alike.

Florida in the summer, let’s be honest, it’s hotter than the underside of a blogger’s laptop. My buttery soft tee can be found just about anywhere, goes with everything, and has been through hell. Paired with my medium wash Bullhead skinny jeans (the perfect daytime wash), I’m halfway to looking like I didn’t chase a nearly two year old around the house cleaning up Cheerios that mysteriously look like they’re dropping from his pant leg. The finishing touch, my Lotta from Stockholm clogs. Holy smokes folks, these shoes are not only tractor heeled perfection, they’re more comfortable then my sneakers and flip flops. My Nectar Chambray sling from Sakura Bloom gives my outfit the perfect pop of color, a beautiful combination of sunshine yellow and a floral orange. Last, but not least, a simple cross body purse from R.Riveter (If you haven’t checked them out, go now – they’re mission and quality are beautiful, as are the lovely folks behind the handcrafted brand).
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I wish you the happiest of day trips, be it with tiny humans or your favorite giants. For more information on Sakura Bloom, check out their site, Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook and see the wonderful community they have helped create.

To learn more about starting a capsule wardrobe, check out Project Capsule Wardrobe on the blog or #projectcapsulewardrobe on Instagram!

xo Mary

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A Capsule Wardrobe + A Sakura Bloom Sling

When asked to do share some of my favorite looks in the Sakura Bloom Styleathon segment, my mind started spinning. I wanted to showcase my style at it’s best; outfits that would secure me as a fashion force to be reckoned with. But the more I thought about it, the more it sank in. I’m not a fashionista. I’m not a mom who keeps up with every trend. I love simple, classic, and versatile pieces. So why not share outfits created from items I have, items from my capsule wardrobe?

DSC00271Florida is hot. It’s a given. When you move here, grow up in, or visit the Sunshine State, you know shorts will be a frequently utilized staple in your wardrobe. My outfit may seem plain, I can’t tell you how often I wear these pieces. At the core, a simple grey tee and a pair of high waisted shorts from TJMaxx. I default to high rise bottoms on the off chance my stomach may show – stretch marks fit so perfectly beneath the trend!

Next, my favorite Madewell shirt, a light wash of the softest fabric that makes for the perfect overshirt. I wear this thing everywhere… out to dinner, the beach, grocery shopping, everywhere. I bring it in my tote, wear it over dresses, with jeans. This is my anytime, anywhere shirt.

For lazy days, I prefer not to carry around a giant bag. Totes are such an easy accessory that allow room for everything I need, is washable, and a light enough fabric that it doesn’t make me even hotter to carry it. My darling friend Tracy, an incredible designer and artist from LA, owns Yay for Friends. This tote is just one of her adorable designs, all available in neural colors to match perfectly with my capsule wardrobe. I love the words and images printed on the bag, “Eat Well, Travel Often.” I’ve lived my whole life by that motto, and this tote bag is helping me continue on.

Last and probably my oldest go-to, Vans. I may still wear kid sizes, but I rock the hell out of them. I’ve had countless pairs in tons of different colors, but my black Authentics will always be my favorite. Gone are the days of trekking around Warped Tour in checkered slip-ons, hello to chasing toddlers on hot summer days.

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And of course, my sling is Nectar Chambray by Sakura Bloom. Out of the box it is the softest linen perfection in the color of sunshine and floral orange. I’ve gone through so many slings, searching for the perfect one… single layer linen, silks, artisans, but chambray has won my heart. Double layer support is a dream for wearing my toddler and the linen is light and breezy for summer wear.


These photos were taken in Cocoa Beach, Florida, by my stepdaughter… she’s pretty amazing!

Kindred Wrap

Babywearing has become so much more than a functional way to keep our little ones close as we battle our daily lives. It has become an art form, a thing of beauty. Wraps, slings, SSC, all have become a part of our style, our identity, our image.
Through the evergrowing babywearing community, I was able to meet Halli, the majestic and talented woman behind Kindred Wraps. Not only has she created a line that is sure to warm your heart and complete your ensemble, but her mission and dedication to her brand is unwavering. I got the chance to pick her brain on what inspired her to create Kindred and what drives her to share her love of babywearing with all.

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What prompted you to start Kindred Wrap?

I was first introduced to babywearing during a trip to a small village in Vietnam called Sapa. As a textile designer and lover, I was instantly captivated by the traditional dress of the local women; colorful, vibrant and intricate. Over our short stay, I loved learning about these women and their culture, which included an incredible work ethic; hands stained from indigo dying, piles of quilts to be stitched, and fields of rice to be tended. All this while keeping their little ones close, wrapped up on their hip or back; I was in awe.

When I returned home from the trip, my best friend had just welcomed her first little one and had fallen in love with woven wraps. I was so excited to see her using this same beautiful method of babywearing that I had first seen in such a distant part of the world. As I learned more about woven wraps, and watched her and her little one bond through their daily wrap adventures, I knew it was a product I would love to work with and eventually create. As a textile designer I found woven wraps to be a beautifully pure product in their aesthetic qualities and even more so in their function. I dove into researching weaving techniques and qualities, carrier styles and methods. I felt that I had a unique design perspective to offer the market and so Kindred was born.


Kindred is a word that encompasses so much; what is the meaning behind the name for you?

The name came about as I thought of the brand’s mission, which is to provide customers with a quality product that serves to promote bonding with their little ones as they go about the responsibilities of their day. The definition of Kindred is: similar in kind; family; a person whose interests or attitudes are similar to one’s own. From the outset I hoped that our wraps would become a part of the lives of those who use them. It is about serving and celebrating the unique connections within each family.The name Kindred Wrap embodies the brand philosophy of cherishing the moments you have with your family, your tribe, your kindred ones.


What do you love about wrapping and/or babywearing?

Babywearing in all forms is extremely functional. It allows parents and caregivers the ability to nurture their little ones while going about their day. It is the ultimate tool for multitasking and inherently invokes nurturing. Simply put, it keeps loved ones close to experience and share moments together. Wrapping, I find it particularly beautiful for its moldability, its heirloom quality and for its simplicity. Wovens require no hardware, no buckles, snaps or inserts. You simply wrap your loved one close to connect and bond throughout even the most bustling of days.


What is your favorite wrap currently?

KindredWrap_Halli_Pic3My favorite wrap is Tiburon in Honey. It was the first design I created and was inspired by one of my favorite movies, The Sound of Music. To me the design is a modern take on a vintage style and the color, Honey, is so cheery and warm, I just love it.  Also there’s no wrong side which is always a plus!

 


What is your inspiration behind color, design, and style?

As a textile designer, I envision Kindred as a pattern/print brand first and foremost. Every individual design has its own story and inspiration with the first consideration being the modern woman and what might accentuate her wardrobe. I try to offer a variety of moods for our customers from classic stripes to cheerful florals that lend themselves to mixing and matching. I’ve loved creating the Spring ‘15 line, but I cannot wait to share what is coming! I think it’s going to be really exciting. All I can say is it’s less focused on motifs and more focused on mixing textures.


Do you have any words of wisdom for those who find wrapping intimidating or maybe haven’t taken the plunge to try yet?

Honestly, there are so many babywearing products out there, I think it is important to find what works best for you. For those interested in wovens specifically, a great way to begin the process is to visit your local babywearing group to gain firsthand experience and face-to-face mentoring from the very knowledgeable members. It is a great helpline, not to mention an excellent way to test-drive a variety of wraps and fibers before purchasing. Otherwise, there are many excellent youtube tutorials out there to help you develop wrapping confidence. And as always, we are here to offer support and answer any questions with a simple email to info@kindredwrap.com .


KindredWrap_Halli_Pic4Check out more of the artistry & beauty shared by Halli and the Kindred community at the social media sites below and order a wrap of your own at kindredwrap.com.

Sling Care: Stains

I’m constantly finding sneaky stains hidden on the tails and rails of my poor slings. No matter how hard I try, keeping a sling clean with a little one is near impossible. I remember the first time Ronin decided to spit milk down the side of our brand new linen sling… my heart sunk. I knew I could wash it, but how?

I was terrified of losing the color, the strength, the general amazingness that is a brand new sling. But after countless other mamas offered advice and support on how to properly go about it. While spot cleaning is possible with just a dab of water and washcloth, this is tailored toward the more stubborn stains that need a little extra elbow grease.

Here’s what you’ll need. Washing machine, Max-Force Oxi Clean gel, and a baby sock. Despite its name, the Oxi-Clean is incredibly gently, smells very mild, and takes out the most resistant of stains (believe me, I’ve gotten out everything from baby blowouts to tattoo ink and everywhere in between).

Set your washer to small load, delicate/hand wash, cold/cold. I usually set my duration setting to short wash as well.

Prep your sling. Apply the gel directly to the fabric following the directions on the label. Let it sit for roughly five minutes, increasing time with severity and color of the stain. Below is a demonstration of ridding my Sakura Bloom Classic Maple of carrot applesauce.

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Lastly, let the sling air dry. I hang mine up as soon as the washing machine finishes to make sure it doesn’t harbor any dingy smells. If time permits, I highly suggest running an iron over the sling before rethreading.

Feel free to ask questions or share your favorite methods of getting your sling clean! 

Minimalist at the Beach

What to do when your fella heads to work and it’s breathtakingly gorgeous outside? Beach day, that’s what. With the salt water and sand just minutes from our house, we popped our teepee and a cooler full of watermelon in the car and started our day.

I normally love sneakily getting a photo of us splashing through the waves or building the most epic of sand castles, but it just wasn’t in the cards today. However, Ronin had on what I can only describe as the most wonderful swim trunks ever and I had to document it. Boden, a company for the whole family, was recommended to me by a friend for their amazing swimwear for little gents. I stocked up on a striped pair and adorable sharks to last Ronin through the summer. They stay on amazingly, with or without a swim diaper  (disposable or not, we use the iPlay reusables from Target).

Besides his O’Neil swim top, sun hat, and towel, that’s all we bring for Ronin. I’m sure slowly that our stock will grow as we add more water toys and sand construction tools, but for now, sticks and shells capture his attention.

As for me, I’m just as simple. A swimsuit, my chambray shirt from Madewell, sunnies, towel, hat and flip flops round out my necessities. I’ve always hated the bulky journey from car to sand and have found most items we use to carry just stay in the beach bag.

For the last few items, I won’t be caught without. Babyganics sunscreen, which we love with a passion for its ability to stay on and save tiny human skin, our Land of Nod teepee, a blanket, cooler for snacks, and one of my Sakura Bloom slings. Nectar was my sling of choice today and let me just say, it was made to be in the sun. It was the perfect brightness to end our trip with as the clouds rolled in over the darkening sea.

That’s it – one trip.

This was just the start of our beach day adventures, the beginning of this year’s fun in the sun. I hope to see you in the waves soon sweet folks!

A Day in the Life, the Rhythm of Our Day


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Every day brings a new life to lead, an adventure unseen, a story to write. The love shared between mother and child is beyond compare. My day begins with the most beautiful sound of rustling sheets and the clutch of a tiny hand on my shirt.

Out we wander into the living room, dancing sunlight through the window panes invites us to join in. While the rest of the house sleeps, the coffee begins to drip into a bottomless cup. After a moment of savoring the sweet aroma wafting from the kitchen, we wake up the girls with a happy, “Hi!” then they’re ready for school and out the door.

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A pile of books line the side of the couch, so many stories to read I can’t even count. But this little man of ours is sidetracked by the simple dock in our backyard. Carefully we take our seats on weathered wood as we watch the fish fly and the manatees hug the shore. All the while, Ronin holding my hand and whispering “wow.” I sip my coffee, the warmth of the sun complimented by the love I have for this life we created.

Once daddy is up, breakfast is served and daily plans are made. Is it to the beach today, to blanket our toes in the sand? Or to Amma and Bopa’s house to share in smiles and Spaghetti-os? Our days are filled with endless possibility, but always the water calls and we    answer with resounding love.

After apples and oranges, now scattered artfully chaotic on the floor, our dock once more becomes our resting place. With the warmer weather and the salty seas, the manatees once again show their sweet noses. We watch with wonder, with an uninhibited sense of whimsy as these gray hued mermaids play gently at our feet. As noon passes, his eyes begin to sag. With a hug of my neck, he settles in the sling. I hold him close in a linen embrace, reading my book and smelling the sweet little head nestled under my chin.

The brightness of day is hugged by the soft embrace of night, and the setting sun slips slowly beneath a technicolor blanket. With a belly full of a home cooked meal, a bath becomes a an adventure to an underwater kingdom. I scoop out a squirming toddler, towel him off and on go pajamas. Our night wraps up with kisses good night, more books with pages skipped clutter the floor below.

Our day together is finally through, as I sing a lullaby passed down through motherhood. Twice I sing and with a brush of my lips on his forehead, the sleepiest eyes close with the sweetest of dreams. All the while I hum to myself, as I turn out the lights, that lullaby I hold so close to my heart. The first song he heard, when he entered this world, the last song I’ll sing when I leave this earth…

“I see the moon, and the moon sees me.

Down through the leaves of the old oak tree.

Love let the moon that shines on me,

Shine on the one I love.”

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And with that ends today, but on to tomorrow, where I’ll shower him with more love, more kisses, more snuggles.

Olivia Hayes

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Things have changed a lot since I had my first child, Abbigail, almost six years ago now. Back then I did own two carriers, one infantino brand that I was given for my shower and one pocket type sling that I paid an arm and a leg for. The infantino one was just ugly and I felt like my baby was just dangling and flailing all over the place. So, I bought the pocket sling. Sized, unadjustable, scary. I attempted to use it a few times, with my daughter in cradle hold and having a death grip on it because there was a serious chance of her falling out. It didn’t take me long to give up and get out the stroller.

This tiunnamed-5me around, social media introduced me to the wonderful world of baby wearing before I was even inpregnated for the second time. I would see all of the babies on Instagram wrapped up in wovens, buckled in their colourful Tula’s & overcome by some of that famous Sakura bloom sleepy dust. My heart fluttered. The mothers and their squishes just looked so connected, so in love. I just knew that baby wearing would be a big part of my next child’s life. So when I got pregnant, I stocked up. I got myself a woven, a ring sling, a buckle carrier, a mei tai. All of the options. And once he was born I couldn’t wait to put them to use.

In the beginning I was determined and although there was a big learning curve I began using my carriers daily. More than I want to admit we ended up in a hot frustrated mess with me giving up and walking away but it finally happened. We got comfortable. We began wearing properlly, in confidence, easily and efficiently.
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Now it is our go to soother.  Whenever Atticus is cranky or teething or just down right miserable we grab a carrier and his eyes light up. He quiets down. Gets curious and watches me carefully as I meticulously arrange and adjust to fit his little body tightly next to mine. I slip him in and he sinks down, curls up and gets comfortable. I can feeling his breathing get softer. He rests his head on my chest, his eyes get heavy.

So close, so comfortable. There is nothing better. We feel as one as we stroll around our house and Atticus softly slips into a deep slumber. The world goes quiet, at least for us.

I am so truly thankful for the opportunity to fully appreciate and explore the world of baby wearing this time around. Not only is it so convenient, it really creates a beautiful, unbreakable bond between a mother and child. Opening up and introducing babies to all aspects of the world but remaining close and calm, curled up next to their mothers, hearing their heart beats but also being allowed to participate in the activities going on around them. Such a beautiful community has been created by baby wearing and I just hope that this trend continues to spread ❤️

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Follow Olivia on Instagram here!

Mamas Can Have Style Too

Being a mama doesn’t mean you have to forego style. Sure it means you have some new accessories – diaper bags, baby carriers, strollers, you get the idea – but just look around at all the new and gorgeous choices you have! When searching for the perfect baby carrier, I went through about four before I settled on the loveliest, most comfortable one. Sakura Bloom, a wonderful company based out of Massachusetts, has mastered the ring sling. With colors and materials that are made for luxurious, durable, and stylish baby wearing, you’ll be hard pressed to find a sling better! The initial investment starts at $88, but compared to front carriers and name brand wraps, that’s nothing. I chose the Driftwood Linen Sling. It matches just about everything item of clothing I own and hides the daily wear that is easily seen on lighter colors. It’s light enough to use in the summer months (even here in Florida), but was perfect for our winter vacation in Minnesota too!

As for the rest of the outfit, I bask in simplicity. A cotton top, denim, hat, and boots/flats make for the perfect mama-about-town ensemble. I live in my deep denim jeggings from PacSun. Being a mere 5’, these bottoms fit perfect and snug down to my ankles. Jeggings are a wonderful invention. How can you not love stretchy denim? I’m not talking about the kind you buy that are just denim print leggings though – there is a HUGE difference. Belt loops, fly, and pockets make for the real deal, the cream of the crop. With a deep rinse or black denim, you can get away with tiny mishaps that just happen throughout the day while maintaining class and fit Audrey Hepburn would be proud of. Get creative. Be adventurous. Just remember, you don’t have to sacrifice style when you become a mama, no matter what anyone tells you.

Hat – Target

Top – 11:11 Apparel

Denim – PacSun

Sling – Sakura Bloom


Original post on March 17, 2014 on http://www.atlanticdaydreams.com

Tiff Delancy

I have such a deep love for babywearing for many reasons! First of all, keeping my babe close is the biggest perk, of course! I have been able to successfully breastfeed for over two years now and I can definitely say I owe it to baby wearing!  The ease of being able to nurse whenever and wherever is just beyond amazing! Also, the luxury of being on the go with a napping babe snuggled close makes travel – and just life in general – so much easier! I truly can’t imagine how I would get through motherhood without that advantage!

Babywearing has a very special place in my mothering world. I can’t imagine how I could have gotten through traveling, teething, and just day to day life with out it. I feel it plays a huge role in the success we have had nursing for over two years. It makes breastfeeding so accessible anywhere and everywhere, no matter what you’re doing! It’s a luxury and advantage I am so thankful to have!

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Babywearing has also made it possible for me to do yoga more regularly by simply wearing her during my practice! I struggle (still) will finding time away from my little one, (as I am sure many mamas do) so its nice to keep her close while incorporating her into something very special to me. And from that, I have seen a love for yoga of her very own grow and it makes my heart smile!

I am always thrilled to share my love for babywearing and I am so happy to see so many mamas and daddys embracing it as well! We have shared so many cherished moments this way and I will hold them close to my heart, always!

Tiff DeLancy

@namastetiff


Orignal post on Febrauary 22, 2014 on http://www.atlanticdaydreams.com

Mary Hayes

Before Claire was even born, I knew I would want to wear her most of the time.  Although I’m one of the first of my friends to have a child, I was fortunate enough to be part of a community of bloggers who are also mothers, and after seeing them carry their children this way I couldn’t imagine any other way.  Having her be so close to my body at all times has really enhanced that feeling that she’s an extension of myself, as all babies really are to their mothers.  

My favorite thing about baby wearing has been how much I’ve been able to share with Claire.  Rather than having her set down on a play mat while I do simple tasks like the dishes, cooking dinner, putting on makeup, she observes all these things and takes them in.  She gets the same view I do when we’re on a walk in the park, rather than just seeing her feet in the stroller.

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Also, I think that babies can FEEL the difference between being worn and being held.  Worn babies are just provided a closeness – there’s no stress, just warmth and connection.  Held babies may be in someone’s arms, but it’s work for the person holding them and there’s just no getting around that.  Babies are so sensitive and so intuitive, I just have no doubt that when I’m holding Claire she can tell that I’m getting tired or stressed at my inability to pick up my phone or eat my snack.  She is not calmed by someone’s arms the way she is when I pop her into our sling.  For me, being a sling mama has just made all the difference in how I mother Claire, because it’s taken all that “work” of holding a baby and turned it into joy.

Follow along with my on Instagram – @mmargarethayes

and my blog http://www.lightsleeperheavydreamer.com/


Original post on February 20, 2015 on http://www.atlanticdaydreams.com