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!

Teach Your Children Well

I use to worry that my son would either break things or break from things. I made sure corners of tables were covered, our expensive items were put of reach, and doors to the bathrooms shut tight. But where does that leave me? Worrying constantly about my material possesions, all replaceable. Missing moments of my son becoming aware of more than just wooden blocks and felted books.

Once I came to the realization that I’d much rather spend my time introducing my son to new, exciting things, I relaxed. I still get a heart attack when he decides to scale the back of the couch and tightrope walk on its arms, but when it comes to handling my camera or typing on my laptop, not holding my hand playing in the backyard, or running to the big kid slide without any hesitation, I relax.

If you have a toddler, you know what I’m talking about when it comes to mess. Ronin will start out with one outfit, be shirtless for lunch, second outfit before nap time, pants come off at some point, and don’t get me started on little outings resulting in ice cream soaked shirts or ketchup filled pockets. Learning is half the fun. Seeing sprinkles and ice cream dripping from his chin to his shirt, learning the right side of a spoon, cleaning himself up with a wipe, those are the moments I know will shape him. All it takes is patience and a change of clothes.

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He’s learning, growing, testing his limits. And that’s just fine with me.

Succulents + Clippings

After joining the craze of succulents, I wanted to try and grow a few myself. A small variety of crassula was the perfect way to start. I have been reading up on just how to perfectly use clipping to grow new plants, so now I’ll share with you what I’ve learned! For watering, fertilizing, and basic care, my favorite resource is the Cactus & Succulent Society of San Jose. They can tell you much better than I can how to keep your little organisms healthy and thriving.

I started my endeavor with a small succulent, only $2.50 from Home Depot and already starting out a healthy life. After a month of insuring the little guy’s health and survival, I started my project. Carefully, I pulled the lower leaves from the stem. You should here a healthy snap as it seperates. Do this to a few to start, or if you’re in it to win it, as many as you like. The top cluster can also be plucked and treated in the same fashion.

The clippings then need to callous over at the break point. I gave mine a few days to be sure they were dry before taking them to the next step. With a wonderful, sun filled window in our kitchen, I took a shallow dish, a layer of succulent soil (which can be bought at garden centers everywhere) and laid the clippings on top. Plenty of sunshine and a spritz bottle to lightly mist the soil, along with a smudge of patience is all you need now.

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If you’re like me, you check your plants daily… oh ok, like ten times a day. At first I was so concerned that I had pulled the clippings from the main plant for nothing, but sure enough, after 11 days, tiny roots began to shoot from the calloused ends. As the clippings continue to grow and blossom, I’ll post more information and photos!

If you’re looking for an easy, fun, and incredibly cute DIY project, check out my Hipster Horticulture tutorial on how to make a sweet succulent terrarium.

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!

Project Capsule Wardrobe: The Button Ups and the Denim

Whittling down your wardrobe to be a sliver of what it once was is a difficult task. Let’s face it, there’s a flannel you have that you wore to an epic concert one night or a pair of jeans that got you through high school. Take a second and ask yourself…

Have I worn this in the past year?

Does it fit?

Is it in wearable condition?

Am I able to add this into my capsule wardrbobe?

Did you answer no to any of these? If ya did, to the giveaway pile it goes. If yes to it all, keep it! It must have weathered the closet for a reason.
For me, I love the versatility of button ups. As an over shirt or on its own, with skirts, leggings, or pants, over a dress elegantly knotted at the waist, the options are endless. I hoarded flannels from years ago and had three chambray shirts collecting dust.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetThere were four that made the cut: Madewell Chambray, Old Navy Flannel, Cotton On Green Button-Up, and an ancient HM 3/4 Sleeve Flannel. Each item has been worn recently and embodies a neutral class that I love for any outfit.

Onto denim… I say denim because this doesn’t include all bottoms for me. Skirts and shorts will follow in another post, but right now, it’s all about the denim. I’m a believer that jeans can be justified for almost any occasion. Black. Green. Blue. Dark Wash. Destroyed. Boyfriend. Skinny. The choice is yours!

I reserve the right to switch out any pair at any time, but honestly, as a pretty short gal who enjoys skinnier fits, Bullhead is my go to denim. After managing a PacSun for years, I’ve seen their stock vary and denim come and go, but Bullhead has pulled through on top. Varying styles and washes make them a one stop shop for me and always leave me stoked on my purchase.

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From left to right, I have Bullhead Skinny Chinos in Green, Bullhead Black Jeggings, Bullhead High Rise Skinniest in Medium Wash, and Bullhead Low Rise Skinniest in Dark Wash. Like I said, I love my Bullhead. I live in them.

So there you have it, button ups and denim for #projectcapsulewardrobe! Check back in soon for a worksheet to help you sort and plan your wardrobe. Feel free to ask any questions or for help in finding the pieces you need to make the perfect wardrobe for you. Remember, the colors, styles, and number of items per category are completely up to you. Hate jeans? Sub in another skirt or dress. Nothing is set in stone, it’s all about you and your style.

Happy closet purging friends!

Mint & Birch

I’m constantly on the hunt for the perfect accessories to be forever pieces in my dwindling collection of jewelry. As part of my capsule wardrobe, I’ve rid myself of necklaces that have never been worn, rings collecting dust, and bangles that will never fit my scrawny wrists. I was beyond excited to work with the lovely Mint & Birch, an incredible company of handmade perfection.

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With a selection to fit ladies everywhere, you’re sure to find a quality piece of jewelry you’ll want to wear everywhere. Adding to my everyday wear, my Mama Bar Necklace and Nature Inspired Bird Nest Necklac, these gorgeous pieces not only look adorable, but share my favorite job – motherhood. When owner of Mint and Birch, Jessica, sent the dainty nest necklace my way, I doubt she expected tears upon its arrival. Three sweet eggs in a nest. Three. For those who don’t know me, I do have one son, Ronin Riot, but there are two more special young ladies in my life. My handsome fella has two gorgeous daughters that I’ve gotten to know, love, and treasure over the years. The three eggs was more than just a sweet necklace, it was a reminder of how lucky I am to be living my life.

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For those of you who are looking for the perect Mother’s day gift, head on over to Mint & Birch. Choose from an amazing array of custom and already designed necklaces and earrings. Buy them for yourself, you loved ones, or a mom to be… you and they will be awestruck at the simple beauty and charm each piece holds.

Thread Wallets, Card Carrying Minimalism

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I always find myself hoarding gift cards with only a dollar so left, change I’ll never use, and receipts from items I don’t even remember buying. My wallet always seems to take up the most room in my purse. Upon looking, I came across a wonderful company, Thread Wallets.

This wonderful company gives a lesson in minimalism that is both affordable and practical. Simply meant to carry your essential cards, some cash and of course a place for your keys, this wallet proves to be perfect for pockets, purses, backpacks, and anywhere else you might stick it! With a range ofatterns and colors the vary from plain to color block, tribal prints to pineapples, you’re sure to find the perfect match for your life.

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Being a mama, this wallet is more than just paring down for me. My son loves to take all my cards, change, and anything else he finds in my wallet and hide them sneakily around our house. Not only is this call in a little bit tougher for a toddler to pull a card out of, it’s also much easier to hide in my purse or pocket. There’s no zippers to fuss with, snaps to worry about, or ornamentation that has no function.

Being an up and coming company, Thread Wallets has a kickstarter in motion right now, with 12 days let’s! Backers are eligible for great rewards including the new 2.0 wallet, featuring an extra space for cash. These tight knit marvels of the wallet world are perfect for minimizing your cards, carrying essentials, and dropping the extra weight and bulk of the traditional monsters we’ve come to expect. Head over and back this rad brand as they revolutionize how we see and use wallets.