Becoming: Nadia Cates

Meet: Nadia Aguilar Cates  

Nadia is the Founder of Casa Palomí and Ella Rises and a proud mother of 6. Nadia’s passion for her home country has shaped her professional pursuits. With Casa Palomi and her culinary background, Nadia shares her love for Mexican cuisine (especially tamales!) through virtual cooking lessons. After relocating to Mexico for several years, she found a deep connection with her heritage, which has inspired her to empower Latina youth to connect with their roots through Ella Rises. In honor of Día de Los Meurtos, we are excited to have Nadia share how her rich culture has influenced who she has and continues to become. Because we all come from somewhere and somebody.

What do you consider yourself? Ex: designer, artisan, entrepreneur, activist, etc.

  1. There’s definitely an entrepreneurial spirit in me, and I also consider myself a creative. I love to take concepts and bring them to life. For example, Casa Palomí’s pan de muerto class – an amazing Mexican sweet bread – that I did last week. I’ve never done that before but it’s live now and a success with those who have taken it!

How has your childhood influenced what you have become?

My childhood has very much influenced who I am. I was born in Mexico and raised in Southern California. I became a U.S. citizen in grade school. For a long time, I carried shame around my story because people made fun of me and others with similar backgrounds.

I am no longer ashamed of where I come from, and I can honestly say that my story and heritage empower me. I’ve reclaimed a call to uplift and empower those with a similar story.

There’s a quote by Gloria Anzaldua about this that resonates with me. In her words, “I am from the land of the North and the land of the South. Indigenous blood runs through my veins. It calls me, and I honor it. What I once saw as disadvantages, clearly defines me, strengthens, and empowers me.”

What aspects of your Mexican culture have most inspired your work? 

Mexico has such a deep, rich, and consistent cultural heritage. I’m inspired by all of it, but especially the music, food, and textiles. When I can, I meet and work with artisans. I learn about the history of the places I visit and return to them or remain in contact with the people as often as possible because that connection is what inspires me the most.

What learning experiences have been critical to becoming an entrepreneur?

I think the reality of many entrepreneurs is that you ‘fail into success.’ I’ve tried and continue to try different things. When learning opportunities have appeared, I have taken them – most recently, with successful entrepreneurs and women, who I admire, offering mentoring classes!

Which people were instrumental in shaping the trajectory of your life?

There’s so many, but closest to my heart have been my parents, sisters, my husband, and each of my children.

What is a piece of advice that you’ve carried with you and who is it from?

I’ve always had different guiding statements that have inspired me. They’ve evolved and changed over time, but they’ve helped empower me. A couple I like right now are  “There has to be discomfort to change” and “If we don’t heal the wounds of the past, we cannot expand to our full potential; we can learn from it and be empowered by it.”

What sets your work apart from other brands? 

My work is designed to connect you with the beauty of Mexican heritage and reflected in that you will hopefully see your beauty and strength at the same time.

Was starting your own business or taking on entrepreneurial projects always your ultimate plan? Did you always know that you wanted to incorporate Mexican culture into your work?

Such great questions. I’m a mother of 6, and that’s the most important work in my life right now. But deep within me, there was always a desire to create, but I just wasn’t clear on what that was … until I moved to Mexico. It was then that I knew whatever I did, it would be to preserve our heritage.

What does your daily routine look like? 

Routine? What’s that?

My oldest is 12, and my youngest is 10 months. You could say I’m a slave to my kids’ schedules. I work during nap times and at night. When we have big projects with Ella Rises or Casa Palomí, I always find help. My husband is pretty good at loading up the kids and taking them somewhere when necessary.

What is inspiring you lately?

The Ella Rises girls and the challenges they face. And the female leaders and artists who are participating with Ella Rises. See the second to last question.

Tell us about your current project(s).

At Casa Palomí, we share our heritage with the community through food. We’re currently offering a virtual pan de muerto class for Day of the Dead, and friends from all over the world have signed up for our class! Follow @casa_palomi for more details.

Ella Rises is an initiative to empower Latinas in high school through virtual art and mentoring classes taught by Latinas. This historic project has never been done before, and 125 girls registered for Ella Rises 2020! We meet every Monday and Thursday in October. For more details, check out EllaRises.org

You’ve done culinary school, tamales, catering, all sorts of things. Tell us about your journey!

You know, it is all rooted in my continued journey to discover where I came from and the culture around all of that. Check out @casa_palomi on Instagram –  it’s visually captured there. I think you could say I’ve been on a journey to becoming for a few years now. And, I wouldn’t say that I’m there yet.

What designers/creatives/entrepreneurs do you look up to from the past or present?

Luis Barragan, a Mexican architect, came to my mind. I love his work! I often turn to it for inspiration, and I love his use of color and thoughtfully-curated spaces.

My culinary school maestros, Yuri de Gortari and Edmundo Escamilla, still inspire me today. They ignited a spark of love and reverence for my heritage, and I’ll forever be grateful for that.

I am also inspired by Mexican artisans. I’ve been building relationships with weavers and embroiderers. Their names may never go down in history, but I know them and love them.

What is on the horizon for you and your work in the remainder of 2020?

Casa Palomí and Ella Rises are thriving, and I hope we continue to do so through the end of the year. We’re connecting and reaching individuals who seek a space of love, respect, and appreciation for people of different backgrounds. Follow @casa_palomi or @ellarises and join our journey.

What is a piece of advice you’d give to women who are considering starting their own business? 

I turn to a higher power for direction. If seeking divine direction resonates with you, I’d recommend praying, meditating, going out in nature, and reconnecting with our creator. Then, create a statement of what you want to be, look like, and do. Rewrite it in the present tense, start repeating it daily, and keep seeking divine guidance.

What is the best advice you’d give to a businesswoman on determining her brand’s mission? 

When someone asks me for advice, I try (not perfect at it) to just listen to what they have to say. I believe that we often have or already know the answers to our questions.

Are you where you want to be in your life?

Katie Richardson, the creator of the Puj Tub, once told me “You’re right where you need to be.” I’ve taken that and ran with it. So, to answer your question, “I’m right where I need to be.”

Is there anything more you’d like to “become?”

Definitely! I embrace myself fully with where I am, but my journey of growth and progress continues. A millionaire would be nice too since I would love to invest more in my wildest ideas to help people. 🙂

Day of the Dead

For this feature, we worked with Nadia on creating this portrait, honoring both her, this unique time of year with the face mask, and the catrina in honor of Day of the Dead. This Mexican holiday typically involves friends and family coming together to pray and remember those who have passed on. It is seen as a festival of celebration rather than mourning. Ofrendas, or offerings, are often set out with pictures of ancestors and tokens that represent them. Thank you, Nadia.

You can find Nadia

Casa Palomi
Ella Rises

The House That Lars Bought: Interview with Paul and Brittany

Working with Meta

Meta and I met when I first moved here almost 8 years ago. We were basically wearing the same type of dress and crown braids and it was like looking at a mirror. Over the years, we’ve bonded over our shared love of design. Somehow our styles are super similar. But whereas I focus on Lars with all the crafts and such (even though I studied and practiced interior design in the past), she is OBSESSED with interiors and spends every waking hour thinking about it. I’ve never seen anyone so passionate about it.

Here we are in the Bahamas where we were teaching some styling classes on a cruise ship. Ha! Just typing that makes me LOLZ.

Why are we working with a designer?

This is precisely why we’re working with her. She knows the current designers, processes, local artisans and contractors, trends, classics, lingo, vocabulary, history. It really is the perfect marriage.

Before we get started designing, like her other clients, she sent us her questionnaire and here’s how it went:

I can’t wait to share more with you this week. We’ve already got our eyes on the first room. Stay tuned!

You can learn more about Meta Coleman:

@MetaColeman_ on Instagram
Meta Coleman Portfolio

If you liked this, you might also like:

Affordable Rugs Under $1000
Introducing our new house
Our new floors

Printable Birthday Party Decor

Part of why I enjoy birthdays so much is because they’re an opportunity to do what you really want to do. If that means skydiving, go for it! It’s your birthday. If that means staying inside and watching The Holiday, 10 Things I Hate About You, or Roman Holiday on repeat, go for it! If that means eating a decadent cake that is not diet-friendly, by all means, go for it! Diets and I are have never been friendly anyways… 

At the moment, a huge bash might have to wait. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate!! Now more than ever we all deserve a chance to party. These printable birthday suites are the perfect solution when you want fun decoration without too much fuss. Since releasing our original printable birthday party decor, we have been dreaming up even more unique themes. Whether you are planning your own party, a dinner for your quarantine buddy, or baby’s first birthday, pick out the perfect printable suite below!

Rainbow Birthday Party

Printable Birthday Party Decor

Of course we started with a rainbow theme, and this one works for all ages! This rainbow birthday theme can go as many directions as there are colors in the rainbow. Planning for your miracle child? Plan a rainbow baby party! Your mom is turning 50? Ditch the dark “over the hill” cards and plan an “over the rainbow” party instead! We can

This Rainbow Party Decor Suite includes an invitation, bracelets for party favors, a birthday crown, and more! Check out the full printable suite here.

Lemon Birthday Party

Printable Birthday Party Decor

The fun colors of the birthday suite printables make for the perfect theme, whether your birthday feels sweet or sour! The rest of the decor comes easily once you’ve got a theme down! In fact, we have a few other DIY projects from days past that would be darling with the birthday suite. This lemon wreath is one that stands out in my mind. Or, plop some freshly sliced citrus in the middle of the table for a citrusy centerpiece like we did here! And the colors of our original balloon kit have the perfect fruity feel!

This Lemon Party Decor Suite includes a banner, straw toppers, party hats, and more! Check out the full printable suite here.

Garden Party Decor

Printable Birthday Party Decor

Another thing that comes much easier when your party has a theme is planning the menu. Thanks, theme! When paired with this printable garden party decor, fruity desserts are always a hit. I went through a popsicle phase a few years back and wrote about three I loved: lemon creme, pineapple pink lemonade, and berry lemonade! These are perfect for when you want a treat but don’t want to turn the oven on. Who said every birthday party HAS to have a cake? 

We designed these themed set for a dreamy summer outdoor party (it doesn’t even have to be a birthday party, an excuse for a party is good excuse.) However, as we head into winter I am starting to daydream up an indoor garden party. Hear me out — paper flower garlands and greenery turning the living room into a summery dream. Sounds like just the thing for seasonal depression, right??

This Garden Party Decor Suite includes an invitation, name tags, cake toppers, and more! Check out the full printable suite here.

Animal Menagerie Party

Printable Birthday Party Decor

This is our most classic birthday set, a colorful circus of animals! I cannot wait to use this one for a first birthday party for baby boy #2. For this party we also added some DIY felt pennants that can be customized for the birthday kid. Pssst, level up your party EVEN MORE with a simple balloon installation kit.

This Animal Menagerie Party Decor Suite includes party hats, bunting, an invitation, and more! Check out the full printable suite here.

Whether or not you love your birthdays, make this one special! Take time to decorate extravagantly (and easily) with a little help from your friend, Lars. Then do exactly what you want to do. Go to the grocery store and just buy snacks and flowers. Dance obnoxiously to Motown classics. Dress up in a formal gown and don’t bother styling your hair. Plan a fabulous meal for yourself and make someone else cook it/buy it. Eat ice cream straight out of the carton. I won’t tell. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Head to our Shop for even more printable birthday party decor and gift ideas! And you can find all of our Birthday DIY projects here

The House That Lars Bought: Bathroom tile is in!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Floor & Decor. All opinions are 100% mine.

Floor & Decor

In addition to all the projects we’ve been doing here on Lars, Paul and I have been getting our new house in order. We’ve been busy to say the least. We bought the house with literally nothing inside. The previous owners had torn everything out on their way to renovating it to sell. We stopped them mid-reno and bought it which means we had A LOT of work to do to get it into move-in conditions. Mind you, that’s coming from two people who are not very…how do we say…handy.

THANKFULLY, we partnered up with Floor & Decor to give us the kick in the pants we needed to get something in speedy and something within our budget.

Bathroom Tile

Our goal was to get something in ASAP so we could move in ASAP. We bought the house in June and ended up moving in mid September. It was a slightly longer timeline than we were hoping for, but turns out, there’s quite the construction boom right now and getting contractors in has been tough! Anyone else renovating and experiencing the same thing?

Requirements for our Bathroom Flooring

I looked far and wide for bathroom flooring options with the following requirements: 1) couldn’t have a long lead time 2) had to be within our smaller budget 3) had to be nice and functional. I went back and forth on what to do and in my google searching I organically came across Floor & Decor. Turns out, they have stores across the country, one probably by you! I took many trips to go visit them in person (it’s nice to see everything not just online, you know?!) to get a sense of what I wanted.

What I was Looking for in a Tiled Bathroom

At first, I was really into the idea of doing a black and white checkerboard bathroom because I LOVE the look and feel of it. But after lots of feeling it out, I decided to do something less contrasty so I could take my time in designing out each bathroom and not have to feel married to the one look.

What We Went With

After another trip, I decided to go with a classic white–glossy white herringbone ceramic tile in two of the bathrooms upstairs and a white and grey basketweave in the main floor bathroom. They are both classic yet contemporary enough to feel modern yet historical.

Always in Stock!

Both had a lot in stock (and seemed to be a popular choice!) so when I realized that I had measured the rooms wrong (math is not my strong suit!) when the tile guys were installing it, I drove straight to the store and bought more on the spot. So handy! For 3 bathrooms, I spent I think about $300 in product, which I was pretty stoked about!

Sealing the Tile

Once the tile was installed, my beloved former landlord, Richard of 1900 North Carpet and Tile Cleaning, came over and sealed the tile, which adds another layer of protection to the surface, which gets a lot of water and dirt, as you might imagine coming from a toddler. He’s the best in the business and I will recommend him day in and day out.

Anywho, I had such a great experience with Floor & Decor that I really am glad to talk about them. It’s such a great resource! The quick timeline allowed us to get into our house and start enjoying our time together. I mean, look how much fun bathtime is?! Ha! And I’m LOVING how much light this bathroom gets.

This post is sponsored by Floor & Decor. Thank you to our sponsors who allow us to make beautiful, original content!

Voting Resources and New Vote Stickers!

0

Register to Vote

First things first: you need to register to vote! Despite all the confusion and misinformation swirling around, it’s actually a pretty straightforward process, even if you just moved to a new state and you don’t have a license in that state. There are tons of voter resources in this post that should help, plus don’t forget our new vote stickers!

Registering to vote varies by state, so go ahead and google “voter registration,” followed by your state. For all states’ voter information and other valuable resources, check out Vote.Gov. Here you can choose which state you’re in from a drop-down menu, plus find out how you will vote if you’re already registered. If you moved recently, go to your new state’s voter website to find out the steps you need to take to register. It’s pretty easy!

To Vote By Mail, or In Person? That is the Question!

If you live in a vote-by-mail state (check this nifty resource to see if your state is on the list), you may have already received a ballot, or you will soon. Registered voters will receive official ballots a few weeks before the election.

The other option is good old fashioned waiting in line at the polls! Although this one takes a little bit more time, something about showing up to a polling place to cast my vote really makes my heart swell. Plus, you get the cool sticker. You can find your nearest polling place here.

Remember, there is no voting online, so don’t wait until the last second thinking you can do it with the click of a mouse. You will need to mail in a ballot or go to a polling place. 

Voting Resources for Americans Living Abroad

If you’re an American expat living abroad, you’ll need to take a few extra steps to vote. That doesn’t mean you should sit out though (please don’t sit out!!). Even the astronauts in the International Space Station are voting!

Here are some great resources for absentee voters: from the US Department of State, VoteFromAbroad.org, and The New York Times.

It’s OK to Brag (With Vote Stickers!)

Once you’ve voted, you need to show off that “I Voted” Sticker! But what if you voted by mail like so many are doing? Not to worry. We have a printable for an I Voted! Pin, an Embroidery Patch Pattern (tutorial here), and of course our new Vote Stickers.

The Importance of Voting

Thomas Jefferson said, “We do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.” So please use your right to vote and participate! Sources are already speculating the 2020 election may have the biggest voter turnout in history.

Use our voting resources and don’t forget to use our vote stickers for afterwardyou can throw them on your water bottle, laptop, or anywhere you want to proudly display them.

Becoming Interview: Stacey Fraser from Pink Chicken

Stacey Fraser of Pink Chicken

Stacey Fraser is the founder and creative director of Pink Chicken and worked in the fashion industry for 15 years before taking a break to be with her kids. In the meantime, she started sewing the most adorable clothes for her girls and herself, and before long, people were asking her where she got them. Thus, Pink Chicken was born! 

Psst…we dare you to look at the amazing textiles on their website without wanting to buy them all!

Here’s Stacey:

What do you consider yourself? Ex: designer, artisan, entrepreneur, etc.?

I think mostly a designer.  That is how I started Pink Chicken, my love for designing textiles and kids clothes… the business side I have grown along the way.

How has your childhood influenced what you have become?

Well, both of my grandmothers were in the fashion business.  Mimmers was a wedding dress designer, but growing up I would go to her sewing cabin in NC and help her with anything she was working on.  And Mimi, had a women’s clothing store in OH.  I would spend a few weeks there every summer.  I loved to be in the store, sit in on buying appointments in the back and see the customers!

What learning experiences have been critical to becoming an entrepreneur? Did you go to business school?

I started my career working for big corporations in designRalph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Gap… it was the best training ground for me. In all of those places, I learned the business side of fashion and how to build a brand.

Which people were instrumental in shaping the trajectory of your life?

All of the women in my lifemy grandmothers, my mom and my sisters.

What sets Pink Chicken apart from other brands?

We like to think of ourselves as a joyful brand!  Our clothes are no-fuss, always stylish and our dresses put a pep in your step.  We design all of our own fabrics and/or work with artists… so we have original patterns in joyful colors. We care so much about what we do here and I think our community can feel it.  We also pride ourselves in great quality so the dresses can start as a dress, end up as a tunic, and get passed down to little sis.

Was starting your own business always your ultimate plan?

No, not at all. I was taking a year off of work after my second daughter was born and started making dresses for them during their nap times. People used to stop me on the street and ask where they were from. I thought then maybe I was onto something.

What does your daily routine look like?

Well, that has definitely shifted because of Covid. When I open my eyes in the morning, the very first thing I think about is my iced coffee.  Once I’ve downed that, I make breakfast for my daughter and husband.  Not having to rush to the office every day does have it’s silver linings.  We have started going back one day a week to collaborate on our fabrics and designs in person.  It has been so great to get back.  And for dinner lately, we have been going out most nights to support our neighborhood restaurants. In NYC right now all restaurants have outdoor dining permits and it’s been really great. 

What is inspiring you lately?

So much really. My girls, their resiliency during this crazy time.  My oldest daughter was a senior when Covid hit… she missed a lot, including graduation.  Of course, she was disappointed but had a great attitude about it… also my team! Our little Pink Chicken team is like a family. I am so proud at how everyone has transitioned to working from home and still has the dedication and passion to their work every day.  I’m grateful for both.

What is on the horizon for you and Pink Chicken in the remainder of 2020?

We have our Holiday Collection that launches mid October!  We are so excited about it. The Holiday dresses have become a flock favorite!  We LOVE seeing holiday pics of families in our dresses.  Ultimately, the very best part of what we do!  And we are bringing our favorite gifts that we have in store online to our website for a killer Holiday gift guide!

What is a piece of advice you’d give to women who are considering starting their own business?

It has to come from the heart, from your passion.  That will get you through the ups and downs.  I think being your authentic self gives you the ability to connect with people in a meaningful way and that goes for your brand too.  And then also—think about what are you doing that is different from what is already in the market?  What is your point of difference?  It could be your product, your giving back mission, how you run your company and the people you employ.

Are you where you want to be in your life?

Yes. I always dreamt of living in NYC, being a clothing designer and having a family. I am a hard worker and hustle every day, but I am living the life I always dreamed of and am so grateful. 

Thank you, Stacey!

You can find Stacey and Pink Chicken here:

Pink Chicken website
Pink Chicken on Instagram

Look out for a giveaway with Pink Chicken later this week on our Instagram!

Introducing…the interior designer for our new house!

Finding our dream designer

It’s rare that your friend is ALSO your dream designer–it’s a serious dream come true. And Meta has always been on board to do it, even when we discussed my theoretical house one day years ago while we were living in a basement apartment. Knowing that she was just as excited about our new house as I was, was such a relief. Meta lives and breaths interior design. It’s truly her passion and calling.

Meta has been designing the home of Hannah Carpenter and I’m all about it! See more here. Photo by Hannah Carpenter.

FAQ

You may be asking WHY I’m working with another interior designer when I studied and practiced it. Simple! And other designers might be able to speak to this too–when you do something for yourself, it TAKES AGES. It’s so hard to design for yourself because I definitely suffer from decision fatigue. PLUS, I haven’t truly practiced it in many many years. I know what I like, but here’s the thing: Meta knows how to push you into new territory and she’s not afraid of risks. I’m not either, so I cannot wait for this ride!

Meta’s philosophy

And here’s the thing–I’m not talking just coping a picture you see on Pinterest and putting it into your house. That’s easy. The magic of Meta is that she takes you and whoever else lives in the house, and uses some sort of design alchemy to produce something new. It all of a sudden becomes an art. She has a number of projects that she’s working on behind the scenes and it’s been so interesting to see her process and her drive to do something new and refreshing. I couldn’t imagine doing this without her.

This is Meta’s beautiful home, which is a beautiful refuge for her and her family. Photo by Meta Coleman.

We haven’t begun the process yet. In fact, she has a thorough questionnaire that she’s having us fill out, and I think we’re going to turn it into a video, so stay tuned! So, we are truly in the beginning stages, but I have a few things in mind already and I know she does too so we’ll see how they align.

Progess of our house

Admittedly, we moved into our house prematurely, but we thought we’d get in with the basics and then move on up from there. So, as soon as the faucet and bathrooms were in, we were too! And now it’s little things like doors…door knobs…things that you don’t realize make a difference but truly do. We’re still a ways away from comfort levels, but all in good time I suppose.

I love this sweet bathroom she designed. Photo by Meta Coleman.

Finally designing the house!

As we continue to wait upon the small things, I’ve found myself sneaking in some “dream” moments, aka moments that get my excited for the next stage because heavens knows I haven’t entered back into that head space since the moment I laid eyes on this house years ago. We got a vanity for our main bedroom that I’m VERY excited about. It’s even better in person (and the quality is superb!) but I’ll be talking more about that later and with such a statement piece as that, it’s lead me down the rabbit hole of…you guessed it, WALLPAPERS! So, yes, you’ll be seeing a lot more soon.

I’ve spent much time in her home office here. Photo by Meta Coleman.

Another thing to note is that her style of designing a home is one that is more organic where we can find out how we live in the space and then enhance its use and function all combined with aesthetics. It’s not FAST fashion, errr: design, but a style that is intentional and thoughtful, which aligns perfectly with my beliefs too.

She worked on the home of our other dear friend, Eva Jorgensen and her husband Kirk. I LOVE this moody room! 

I can’t wait to share the full process with you. Like I mentioned, I don’t promise speed, but I don’t promise beautiful results and I know that will be the case because I have Meta on board. Stay tuned for more! And let me know if you have any questions along the way!

You can find Meta here:

Meta Coleman Portfolio
Meta Coleman Instagram
You can read more about Meta Coleman here in this interview

Our Favorite Women-Owned Businesses

Today we’re paying special attention to some of our very favorite women-owned businesses, from fashion to home goods and more. Explore the list below and click any of the photos to discover ways to support these boss babes! I know this is far from being an extensive list, but here are just a few.

This National holiday – American Business Women Day fell on an extra special time as we have spent this week remembering the wisdom, boldness, and amazing example of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I was a college intern at The National Museum of Women in the Arts when I attended a lecture with the indomitable RBG and fell in love with many things about her. Her work affected women in so many ways and it is an honor to learn from her life.

Women Owned Brands: Fashion

Doen

Shop Doen was founded by two sisters who saw a need for more women-owned businesses. Their why: “Study after study has shown that when women-identifying individuals have positions of power and leadership in companies, there is more focus on equality policies and practices…” The ethereal dresses, flowy blouses, and billowy-sleeved sweaters at Doen have a cult following. These timeless pieces are heirloom-quality and oh so beautifulsee for yourself!

Nicole Saldana 

Image source

Not to be dramatic or anything, but I would die for these shoes. Made by hand in Portugal, this shoe brand has only grown in popularity since Rihanna was spotted wearing them at New York Fashion Week in 2017.

Nikki Chasin

Image source

Whenever I discover a brand like Nikki Chasin, I can almost hear my wallet saying “Noooo!” Sorry. Can’t help it. Can you even handle these prints though? These clothes have a mid-century modern feel I can’t stay away from.

KkCo

Take a quick scroll-stroll through KkCo Studio’s website and you’ll get a major 90s vibe. Don’t forget your mask! KkCo’s collection includes this darling seersucker number that will add a cheerful pop of yellow to any dreary day this winter. You can also check out our other favorite face masks here

Shop Peche

The women-owned business Shop Pêche is based in Brooklyn, NY. The word “pêche” translates to peach, and wouldn’t you know it, but in French, “peach” is a feminine noun. The beautiful staples in their collection can round out any wardrobe. Would you look at that vest? I’m swooning. 

Roam

Roam’s founder, Kay Sides, created her brand when she recognized a need for cool and comfortable shoes that were versatile enough for active lifestyles and everything in between. She says, “I wanted a far reachsomething I could rock in NY, LA, Hawaii, Tokyo, Africa, Paris….around the world…socks in the winter, with sweats or a dress…couldn’t find one for years…so decided to create them!” As the queen of comfort disguised as fashion, I am in full support of this. 

Susan Alexandra

I have to admit, when I first saw these bags, I gasped out loud! They’ve got that trendy 70s look, and honestly who wouldn’t want to carry one of these around? 

 

Tamara Malas

Image source

Tamara Malas is a beautiful clothing brand founded by and for plus size women. This brand strives to offer high-quality, unique pieces ethically made that “you won’t find at any other plus size label.”

I love what owner and founder Tamara says about self-love: “One morning I asked myself, “What if I were to love myself exactly the way that I am today?” No longer allowing cultural conditioning to dictate the standards of beauty in my life, I poured that energy into creating something which manifested itself in my brand, TAMARA MALAS. I create from a place of inspiration and design with plus size bodies (including my own) in mind.”

Our Second Nature

Image source

The colorful abstract prints reminiscent of terrazzo tile make this an “instant add to cart” brand for me. In fact it was so hard to choose just 3 dresses to feature, so run don’t walk and check them out now!

Oh, and they have kids clothes, too, so you can live out all your matching dreams! 

Truss

These Oaxacan-made handbags showcase their origin city’s amazing color scheme. Tote  your Oaxacan chocolate as you hunt for colorful walls!

Women Owned Brands: Home Decor

All of the artists featured in our Print Shop are amazing women! I love being able to help spread the work of women I know and love personally, or have gotten to know through their work! Find a piece to hang in your home here.

Heather Taylor Home

Nothing we love more than a women-owned business collab! These gorgeous, high-quality tablecloths and napkins would elevate any Thanksgiving table from good to great.

Jungalow

The Bohemian brand Jungalow, founded by Justina Blakeney, covers all your decor needs, from the most beautiful pillows to woven baskets, plant holders, and more. Every item is dripping with color and artistic thought. The Jungalow even features limited edition art prints from women artists around the world! I’ve been a big fan of Justina for years and even interviewed her here! Her work has also been featured on Lars here and here.

Otherland

I’ll put it this way—Otherland candles are otherworldly. They sell five core scents, plus a rotating Limited Edition collection when you want to try something new. Otherland’s founder, Abigail Cook Stone, used to be an art buyer for Ralph Lauren, and she used her artistic background to create heavenly candles.

The Yo! Store

One look at the Yo! Store website, and you’ll fall in love. Based out of Portland, OR, the Yo! Store is a women and children brand offering a smorgasbord of both vintage and contemporary pieces, including clothing, beauty products, and art.

Mimi Ceramics

Image source

Mimi Ceramics hand-makes their amazing mugs, cups, and planters to order. The dreamy technicolor designs are so popular, you have to sign up for email notifications so you don’t miss a new drop!

Women Owned Brands: Craft Supplies

Recently, almost all of our energy has been directed towards releasing our Great Artists! kids course. This course was created to be a resource for parents who have suddenly found themselves trying to work from home, run at home school, and/or a million other things – many of whom are women! Being able to provide resources to help working women in this way is a passion of our entire team.

The women-owned businesses below offer quality craft and art supplies that can make your creative projects even better!

Natural Earth Paint

Need a good boredom-buster? Who am I kidding, right now if you’re not bored you’re crazy busy…there is no in-between. For those of you homebound and needing an activity to do with the kids, I love these Natural Earth Paint kits. They even sell natural face paints—perfect for a certain upcoming holiday…

Ann Williams

The Ann Williams Group brand was founded by a mom, and the name actually comes from her two kids (Amelia Ann and Owen William)! It started with award-winning ideas like the Loopdeloo and Craft-tastic, and the rest is history. For every kids item you buy from Ann Williams, they donate one to The Toy Bank, which gives toys to children in need.

Women Owned Brands: Kids 

Masionette

Image source

Founded by two Vogue veterans, the children’s brand Masionette is filled with endless dreamy options for clothes, toys, and kid’s room decor. We reference them often in our roundups of favorite places to buy kid’s clothing, rainbow toys, and more. And you better believe I’ll be shopping there for boy #2!

Doddle & Co.

One of my favorite women-owned businesses is Doodle & Co. Doddle & Co makes cute and innovative pacifiers and teethers for your little ones. The Pop® pacifier pops into a protective shell when your baby drops it on the floor. No more frantically washing it off and wondering how many germs are still lingering on it! 

Women Owned Brands: Beauty

Olen

Olen Skincare makes high-quality, safe skincare products for you and your children. The kids sunblock and tinted sunscreen for mom are my personal faves.

EighteenB 

Remember EighteenB? This woman-founded skincare brand has been featured on the blog before. I adore their science-based skincare products, created by founder Lindsay Wray (a scientist with a PhD in Biomedical Engineering!) EighteenB is one of our all-time favorite beauty brands, and it has been a joy to work with them!

Other ways to support women

Take the time today to celebrate and support women by shopping from one of these women-owned businesses, including our own! Check out our Women Who Work Series by Libby VanderPloeg in the House That Lars Built Print Shop! In addition, you can also check out our series of interviews with working women – here.

With Halloween coming up, consider dressing up in one of our influential woman costumes! I even dressed up as RBG one year, and maybe I need to bring that costume back this October.

Please share any women-owned businesses you love to support below! We would love to continue to add to our list. Happy American Business Women Day!

We’re having a ….

Ha ha ha! Yes, I’m very thrilled to have another boy–I love my first one so much and he brings me so much joy, how could I not?! I mean, am I disappointed that I won’t do smocked dresses or be able to actually shop in baby boutiques (let’s be honest, they’re not made for boys)?! Of course! But I love the idea of two little rascals.

I have this feeling that this new boy will be the complete opposite of Jasper–dark haired, solemn, shy, obedient…hahhaha! We shall see!

How’s the pregnancy going?

Well, thank you for asking! I had a terrific pregnancy with Jasper so I expected the same, but it has been different. Thankfully, I’m not super sick (except the typical first trimester nausea), but this time around, I have the weirdest symptoms.

For one, I didn’t want sugar until like last month. What a blessing! No treats. I wish it would have lasted. But the desire is back and I’ve since made up for lost time.

Second, and for those of you not interested in female anatomy and systems, tune out, my pelvic floor is not being nice to me. I’ve had problems since Jasper was born. I couldn’t walk and certainly couldn’t run. I tried to do a race in October and the day of the race I could hardly walk. Every time I mention it to my doctor I’m told the same thing (do you kegels) but that hasn’t worked and I have a hunch there’s something more to it.

Then all of a sudden two weeks ago I could hardly walk again. I’m definitely a stereotypical waddler who looks very pregnant, but again, I have a hunch is treatable. Anyone know of an awesome pelvic floor doctor? TMI????? I know.

Lastly, NOSE BLEEDS. What the heck? I’ve never had them before but I have had them nearly every night for like three weeks. So stinking weird.

Other than that, this pregnancy has flown by but mostly because work is insane–especially the the Great Artists! course–renovating a house, and trying to move in tomorrow. Am I going insane? Yes. Most definitely. Send help.

Gender reveal balloon arch

On another note, because of the upcoming baby boy, we made a new balloon arch kit in shades of blues for your own gender reveals (nothing is worth detonating fire over!) and you can find it in the shop now!

Love to you all!

Our Great Artists! Course is live now!

A tool for parents and kids

If you’re like most parents, screen time is both your saving grace and your worst enemy. This Great Artists! Course is the perfect after-school activity that can replace some screen time while still allowing you to get some work done. Or if you are homeschooling, this course can be your art class! I have so much respect for teachers and parents who are homeschooling, and I’m eager to help out in the best way I can: by taking something off your plate. 

This hands-on learning course is full of crafting based projects, videos, printables and more that will simultaneously keep the kids creative and busy. The Great Artists! Course will teach them basic art principles and art history, all while making truly beautiful art for your home. The course program is so in-depth that you can honestly just log your child in and let them learn. All of the teaching components are done in the course itself (featuring a guest teacher, yours truly). You can be as involved as you want! If you’re a working parent, let your child’s Great Artists! Course time be time that you can use however you need to. If you’d like to be more involved, the classes are honestly engaging enough that you’ll learn something new. Honestly, you might even make something you can be proud of!

The Details

When we started out planning the Great Artists! Course, we designed it with kids ages 6-13 in mind. That’s a pretty wide age gap! We are confident that the projects are realistic and simple enough for young kids, but interesting enough to engage the older kids too! All of the projects are customizable. So if you need to tweak things a bit for your classroom, feel free to. It includes instruction on six famous artists, projects, supplies, and so much more. As we were planning this course, we wanted to make this a real resource you can feel good about. Because of this, we designed it with essential Learning Objectives in mind.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

In the Great Artists! Course, your child will:

  • Develop a love of art and history through relatable hands-on projects
  • Learn basic principles of art and design that they can apply to their own artwork/projects
  • Create multiple art pieces that develop fine motor skills, color pairing skills, concentration, and listening
  • Study Art History, including the lives of artists from different cultures, backgrounds and art movements
  • Develop a greater understanding of global cultures 
  • Be encouraged to think introspectively about their own lives, homes, and passions to help them cultivate self-understanding to expand their creative mind
  • Learn to initiate creative play

Art is something I feel really passionately about. Art can be therapeutic, it can train critical thinking skills, and help your child visualize creative solutions to problems they face. Art became real for me in my childhood classes about great artists, and led to my life-long creative projects.  Which is why I feel so passionate about offering this resource to your family! Whether or not you are an art-lover or a professionally trained art teacher, the Great Artists! Course can help your child develop the tools they need to enjoy art and make it.

FAQs about our Great Artists! Course

Click here to find answers to all of your questions, including what the course cost covers, what artists the course includes, and more!

When art became real for me

Art Course for Kids

We had an art course in elementary school that would introduce some of history’s great artists. I vividly recall sitting criss crossed in the multi purpose room with an overhead projector as the instructor taught us about Seurat and Picasso. She always wore fancy floral dresses and her hair was up in tight curls. The room was dark and our legs would fall asleep.

The lecture portion was followed up with a project in class where she would teach us how to create a project inspired by each of the artists. The pointilism assignment was great fun because we created figures and landscapes dots. DOTS! Art came ALIVE because we were doing it ourselves!

At the beginning of COVID as we shifted gears and started focusing even more on stay at home crafts and projects for both you and your kids, I was reminded of my grade school days and thought that we needed to create something that brought alive to kids in the same way that it did it for me.

Tomorrow, we are introducing this course and I cannot contain my excitement. I truly am thrilled to share this course with you and your children. It’s one of the best things that we as a team have ever produced. I believe that a passion for the arts can be instilled when your children are young and there is NO BETTER TIME than NOW to do so. Through clever craft and art projects, exercises, and beautiful printables, you’ll learn about some of the greatest artists, perhaps new to you artists who never received their proper recognition, that ever lived.

Are you homeschooling this school year?

Of course, I couldn’t have imagined that this upcoming school year would be such a mix of decisions and emotions and safety concerns. Homeschooling has become a reality for so many more families than ever before, whether desired or reluctant, and we’re hoping that this can be a great resource for you. We hope that whether you are a true home schooling family, this can be a great supplement for your curriculum. Likewise, if you are staying at home with your kids as they learn online, they can use our curriculum to fill their artistic void.

A bit about the course

There are videos and photos, prompts, journaling, and so much more. I really hope you like it. Stay tuned tomorrow for our early bird pricing for newsletter subscribers only through the weekend.

Back to school supplies for every kind of school year

0

Resources for whatever the school year is throwing at you

Recently on Instagram, I asked whether you are sending your kids back to school, trying online classes, or making your own homeschool plan for the first time! With all these options and so many pros and cons, I get that this new school year is throwing a lot more at you than just dodgeballs at recess.

All of these options have even affected our priorities here at Lars. At the beginning of the year, we made a sudden turn and started focusing on #QuarantineCreativity and how to keep your hands busy and your mind clear despite the craziness of 2020. Projects like these, and our 78 homeschool activities for social distancing have kept us sane (so far.) And THIS WEEK we will be launching our biggest and most colorful resource yet! Our first ever kid’s course, all about great artists. More info will be dropping on the blog and instagram all week, and our newsletter subscribers will get exclusive early access to the course at a big BIG discount.

Whether you are sending your kids back to school, thanking the heavens for online classes streamed from the teacher, or creating your very own homeschool curriculum this year – WE SEE YOU. You are working so hard, and you are doing amazing! We hope any resources we are working hard to share can lighten the load even if just a little.

Kid’s face masks for back to school

If you are sending your kiddo’s back to school, you might need some help with the mask situation. A fun new kid’s face mask will be much more likely to make it through the school day!

If you are a teacher or parent in need of your own face mask, you can find our list of our favorite adult masks here!

The importance of learning

Starting a new school year is about a lot more than back-to-school shopping. “It’s about learning, obviously!,” said the imaginary reader of this post in my head. One of the most important processes I learned at school is something I hardly think about anymore: reading.

I bet that most of you learned to read in kindergarten or first grade, and haven’t thought much about it since you left elementary school. The act of reading at this point is close to second nature. You do it without even acknowledging it. Street signs, menus, text messages, even microwave messages are presented before my eyes. And through some miracle that started with a kindergarten teacher, I comprehend that a specific combination of twenty six scribbles (letters) means that my microwaved popcorn is done. Just think – sending your kid back-to-school means they could means they could make YOU a snack instead of the other way around.

For a long time I didn’t recognize the importance of being able to read until I became friends with someone with serious undiagnosed learning disabilities. Despite his challenges, he learned to read in high school. His world exploded! I met him a few years after he learned to read, and it was obvious how much this skill changed his life. 

Respect the process

This story is important for a couple of reasons. One reason is to make you consider the importance of something you do without thought, and appreciate it. Another reason is to acknowledge that learning takes time, and everyone goes at their own pace. This super relevant and encouraging as an adult. It feels like there is a socially-appointed time to learn, and once you pass that time, you’ve missed your window. That rhetoric is so not true!!

I had a class in college with a seventy-eight year old woman, and boy oh boy, she was determined to graduate. We studied together for a test once, and I can guarantee she did better on it than I did. If you are going back-to-school yourself, be proud!! If you have a child starting school again, don’t be upset if they didn’t master times tables or if you weren’t the perfect remote-teacher. No one was!

That is actually one reason why the thought of trying out homeschooling this year could feel like an excited new adventure instead of a last-resort you would never consider if it weren’t for a world pandemic.

Homeschool organization supplies

Have fun, duh!

Of course, learning at school is so important. But it also is supposed to be fun! I have a friend who moved states during the middle of lockdown, and her son has been in desperate need of a friend his age. He started school last week and had an incredible time! He was so tired after playing with new friends that he contentedly fell asleep in the car ride home. That is the dream. 

While you can’t exactly follow your child around the playground all day, you can help them feel loved, special, and excited about the new school year. One easy way to do this is to involve them in back-to-school shopping!! I loved it as a kid and love it still. A fresh pack of crayons is therapeutic, I swear. Sometimes we all need a little push to feel excitement. You, my dears, are perfectly situated to help your kids out in that category. Check out our back to school roundup of products we love for kids (and grownups) heading back to class!

Supplies to make learning fun

Books, games, and other colorful supplies to make learning exciting! If you have pre-school age kids to engage too, check out what books I am reading to my toddler right now.

 

“You’re off to great places. Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way!” – Dr. Seuss

Other colorful back to school supplies

Backpacks

Notebooks

Lunchtime