Today’s feature has been in the works for a while now, and I am so excited to finally introduce you all to Mikaela Wallinder Clifford, founder of Ruth & Ragnar – a Southern California based webstore featuring curated organic kids fashion. Today Mikaela is opening up to Daisy Tribe about her journey from humanitarian worker to socially conscious mama, to creative entrepreneur following her passions and pioneering change in the fashion world. She also shares the inspiration behind her brand, how motherhood changed her forever, and why all the nostalgic eighties moms out there will be flipping over a certain item in her shop this spring!
Tell us a little about yourself and your work.
I’m born and raised in Northern Sweden. After living in four continents around the world I came to Southern California in 2008. My husband and I were set on staying for a year only but we both fell in love with Leucadia and feel this is our home. Our daughter Milou was born in 2011 and is actually named after Leucadia (Milou Kadia).
I have a passion for photography and always loved sewing but life got so busy I forgot how much fun it is! I spent my entire working life after University in the humanitarian field and I have now found a way to incorporate my four passions: sewing, photography, human rights and my daughter into my own company by starting an ethical kidswear line. Ruth & Ragnar is made using 100% organic cotton, entirely grown, knitted and manufactured in the USA. I am using photos I’ve taken in various places around the world to create unique fabric prints that have a story. This way I am able spread awareness about issues I care deeply about while creating funky and fabulous kidswear for the coolest kid on the block!
How did you come up with the idea for Ruth & Ragnar and how has your idea developed as you’ve seen it come to life?
When my daughter was born I struggled to find chemical-free, organic kidswear. Her bed had an organic mattress and soft, organic bed sheets, yet the onesies and pajamas she spent most of her time in were made with cotton grown with highly toxic pesticides. My solution was simply to purchase organic clothing back in Sweden and have them sent here to my home in Southern California. When Milou wore this funky, colorful Swedish clothing, other parents noticed them every single day and I found myself writing notes with information on web stores where these clothes could be purchased in Europe. Eventually my husband jokingly suggested I should just start selling these clothes myself. That’s how the initial idea for selling organic Scandinavian kidswear was born.
It happened the way many entrepreneurs explain it – “If you can’t stop thinking about your idea and you find it very hard to come up with any reason not to pursue it, you’re meant to do it.” There was obviously a huge demand for organic kidswear. There was also a demand for something new and unique. I saw a gap in the market so I decided to start small and see what happened! Since 2011 when I first came up with the idea there have been more stores popping up in the US with some organic lines. It is incredibly exciting to see the change that has happened in the past three years both in kidswear and adult wear and I think Fashion Revolution Day Campaign had a lot to do with it. Firstly by encouraging more people to think about who made their clothes, and also by introducing the market to more ethical and eco-friendly brands and companies. Organic went from being alternative to mainstream. It has been amazing to see this transformation and to now be a part of it!
We understand that you’ve traveled extensively and lived abroad as a humanitarian worker. How do you feel this has affected you as a person and your vision for your brand?
I started traveling as soon as I was old enough and brave enough to and I haven’t really stopped since. Traveling and living in different countries is a privilege and a form of education I never take for granted. It has opened my eyes to various ways of living, surviving and thriving. It has made me more accepting as a person and by being open-minded – the world becomes an incredibly interesting place. I now use these travels as inspiration for a made in the USA kidswear line I’m launching later on in the spring.
Having worked in several post conflict countries in refugee camps and with refugees here in the US, it has become very clear to me that many conflicts leading to these humanitarian disasters are caused by a fight over land and natural resources. Sometimes hidden behind ethnic, religious or racial agendas – resources are often the underlying cause. Be it oil, phosphate, water or diamonds – these are natural resources that are used to create products that we purchase. My travels and previous work has therefore made me realize that my purchasing choices are extremely powerful. The more questions I ask and the more research I do before I make a purchase, the more I help ensure social justice in the world. It was therefore really important to me to only use 100% certified organic cotton in our clothing. For our own clothing line, I also found it important to manufacture in the USA as I want to be transparent and involved in the entire production process. If we as consumers have all the information through a transparent supply chain, we have the power to make an educated decision when we choose to buy from/support a company and a product. I want parents to know who made their children’s clothes and know that the people who grow the cotton are not exposed to life-threatening pesticides in the process.
I’ve also learned that I don’t need much to thrive. It’s hard to notice our own over-consumption until we get far away from it and live in a place where such luxuries aren’t available. After living in a tent in Western Sahara ten hours away from the closest convenience store I realized that all I truly need is access to drinking water, food and the clothing on my back – everything else is a want, not a need. When my grandparents grew up they had one set of nice clothing and they were to be worn on special occasions – and they were treated like the expensive, special possessions they were. Today, we often buy clothes to be worn a couple of times just to be thrown away as they are “out of fashion” or made so cheaply and poorly that they don’t last through a playdate at the playground. I therefore really wanted to make clothes that last; that can be inherited from sister to brother to grandchild. The best way to help reduce our footprint is to, as Vivienne Westwood famously stated, “Buy less. Choose well.”
Can you tell us a little about your experience with Factory 45?
Sure! In June this year I was chosen or, rather, Ruth & Ragnar was chosen as one of ten companies to join Factory 45, an accelerator program for Made in the USA. Ten companies with original ideas and a passion for sustainability worked together with sustainable fashion guru Shannon Whitehead, to create and launch their products. I came into Factory 45 feeling intimidated when I looked at the nine other companies. Among them were Designers from Parson’s School of Design in NYC, a businesswoman whose bags were sold in huge stores such as REI, a successful television host and a Wall Street Finance Director. What I quickly learned though was that we were all starting a new chapter and we were learning together. We had all decided to commit to creating something sustainably and entirely made in the USA. What Shannon Whitehead did so wonderfully (apart from running a kickass program) was selecting a group of individuals from very diverse backgrounds as we all brought something to the table and were able to help and support each other tremendously. I went from being terrified of opening my mouth during the conference video calls to being known as the girl who asks a million questions. I went from being intimidated by these creative people to making friends for life.
If you have a prototype, a design or just an idea and you’d like to make it a reality – this is the program for you. It will be hard, but it will be oh so rewarding. Having someone behind you who catches you when you fall and helps guide you to get back up again is priceless. Having someone to pick up the phone and listen when you’ve had a few too many suppliers tell you “no” in one day has been invaluable to keep me going. I couldn’t find the supply chain that lived up to my sustainability standards – I was told it didn’t exist. So I created one. Without Factory 45 I’m not sure I would have been able to have the confidence to keep pushing.
How did you come up with the name for your company, and which 3 words would you use to describe the Ruth & Ragnar brand?
Can I only pick three? When I was really young my incredible mother decided to become a nurse. She studied at college during the day and worked at the hospital at night to be able to support me and my two sisters. To make this work, my grandparents helped raise us. My grandfather Ragnar taught me how to ride a bike, how to build things from scratch, paint the house, how to swim, how to garden, compost and pick raspberries at the exact right time when they are ripe to perfection. My grandmother Ruth was born 1921 — the same year women fought for the right to vote in Sweden, and she is a true feminist at heart. She is a fighter who has instilled in me good values, everyone’s equal rights, the importance of languages, being able to help yourself and to always help people in need. When I thought of the key words for the clothing I’ll be selling (Colorful, Comfortable, Fun, Sustainable, Organic, Happy, and Handmade) I immediately thought of my grandparents as they helped make my childhood all those things. Ruth & Ragnar is my tribute to them.
Your little girl is adorable. How did becoming a mom influence your work?
I know it’s a cliché but the minute I held Milou in my arms for the first time my whole world changed. She needed me. I needed her. I wanted to spend all my time with her, give her all my passion, energy and devotion. I also want her to grow up in a world where human rights are respected and where all humans are treated equally. So I needed to find a way to spend that time with her but still continue to work towards a better world. That’s how the initial idea prompted by my husband’s suggestion to start a clothing company actually became reality. On top of offering curated organic kidswear from amazing brands, which themselves have incredible stories and products, I am creating my own brand that I will use, like I mentioned, as an avenue to spread awareness about issues I care deeply about.
We love all of the fun designs you’ve chosen to feature in your shop. What was your favorite item in your closet as a kid?
I grew up in the eighties so unfortunately I didn’t have the cool velour seventies outfits that my older sisters were dressed in. My wardrobe consisted of neon colors, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and lots of leggings. I did have this amazing reversible sweatshirt which I thought was the coolest top ever! I have been waiting for thirty years for reversible sweaters to make a comeback and I am THRILLED to announce that one of our brands, Filemon Kid, has brought them back! We will have a lovely turquoise reversible sweater with raccoon prints in our shop this spring. It is made with GOTS-certified organic cotton only and printed with non-toxic water based dyes. Come get one before all the other nostalgic eighties moms find out about them, hahaha!
What inspires you?
Everyday life! We live in such a beautiful part of the world. It’s difficult not to be inspired when you walk down to the beach and get to see a breathtaking sunset nearly every night. I have some amazing friends and family that inspire me daily. My husband has more energy than anyone I have ever met; he literately cannot sit still for a second – always doing research, coming up with new ideas, surfing, organizing or just playing with our daughter. I watch him with amazement every day. Also, San Diego is so diverse and fun to explore. I’ve spent a lot of time in City Heights which has such eclectic atmosphere with lots of African and Asian shops, restaurants and community events. El Cajon offers a unique mix of American, Hispanic and Arabic culture and while North County may be less multicultural, it sure makes up for it in coastal beauty. Since 2011 I have also gotten to spend every single day with my daughter and watched her learn, create, grow and develop. How could I not be inspired?
Do you have any advice for living a creative life?
Let go of your fears. I never saw myself as being creative, I have always been afraid of what others might think. There are “real” artists out there, “real” craft makers, what might people think of me? Once I became a parent I started caring far less about what people think of me. I guess I am just too busy living my life. Once I let go of my fears I became more creative because I allowed myself to be. Let go of your fears and do what you want to do, if you have the means to.
Where can we find more Ruth & Ragnar?
The best way to get updates and the latest news about Ruth & Ragnar is to sign up to our Newsletter on our website www.ruthandragnar.com. We are also love to share articles and updates on Facebook. For fun photos of our clothes and life with a three-year old, check out our Instagram account. Join the conversation on Funky Kidswear and sustainable fashion and any other topic under the sun with us on Twitter.
Anything else you want to add?
The Ruth & Ragnar webstore, featuring curated organic kids fashion, launched in February 2015. I wanted to make sure parents didn’t have to do the extensive and frustrating research I had to do to find sustainable clothing for their children. I have done the research for them. At Ruth & Ragnar we are offering organic exclusively. You can be 100% sure anything you order from our webstore is made entirely with 100% organic cotton, no exceptions! Happy shopping!
Wow, thank you Mikaela for sharing so much of yourself and for all the beautiful photos you provided! You are truly an inspiration. It’s been a joy to get to know you better, and I am really looking forward to watching your brand take flight later this year! I have to sign off now – I’m running over to ruthandragnar.com before the 80’s inspired reversible turquoise sweater with raccoon prints is all sold out! Ha! Take care everyone.
Last week I promised an awesome lineup of Creative Features in February, and our next feature doesn’t disappoint. Today is the first time we are featuring a food blogger, Alexandra of Confessions of a Bright Eyed Baker. I first came across Alexandra’s work on Instagram and instantly fell in love with her dreamy feed, full of beautiful photos of everything from cupcakes and cookies to truffles and ganache. Her blog is just as amazing – gorgeous photos with easy to follow recipes – mixed in with the personal anecdotes of a twenty-something California girl. Today Alexandra is sharing the story behind her food blog, how she gets those perfect pictures, and her advice for living a creative life. I hope you enjoy learning more about the story behind this Bright Eyed Baker!
Tell us a little about yourself and your food blog.
I started my blog, Confessions of a Bright Eyed Baker, a couple years back when I was in school, and at the point it was more of an impulsive shot than anything. I had no idea if it would be successful or where it would lead me, and I definitely didn’t think it might become a career! But little by little, I realized I was really passionate about what I was doing – and not so passionate about what I actually went to school for – so this became my full-time focus. Now I’m just a girl in her twenties trying to make my dreams a reality!
Have you always loved baking? How did you get started, and how have you transitioned since then?
Not particularly. Growing up, I mostly remember making the occasional batch of homemade cookies, plus box-mix brownies – but it was really nothing I was especially crazy about. Then at some point – I’m really not sure why – I started baking more often and finding recipes on food blogs, and my interest in it grew. Since then it’s been an amazing experience because it’s really something I taught myself how to do, and I went from following recipes to a T to creating my own recipes all the time. It’s a bit baffling to think back at how much progress I’ve made!
Your Instagram feed is dreamy. Do you take all the photos yourself? What kind of camera do you use?
Yes! I do all the photography. My Instagram feed is a mixture of iPhone photos and dSLR photos – right now I use a Canon Rebel T2i. It’s nothing super fancy, but I’ve learned along the way that you can take amazing pictures with a basic camera and basic pictures with an amazing camera; so much of it comes down to learning the right techniques and developing your own style.
What inspires you?
Honestly, I find inspiration everywhere, in my work and in my daily life, but more than anything, people doing what they love inspires me. There are so many crazy-talented people in this world, and seeing their work just boggles my mind. It makes me think bigger and work harder. Plus, it seems to me like the people who are living their passions are also the most uplifting people, and I find that really moving.
What’s your favorite way to spend a Saturday morning?
I try to take a break from all the blog work during the weekends, so for me, the best Saturday mornings are when I can sit outside, have a breakfast treat, read a good book, and just relax. And drink coffee – there always has to be coffee!
Do you have any advice for living a creative life?
Find inspiration wherever you can. Chase your dreams. Believe in yourself! There’s a lot of what looks like perfection in this world and it’s easy to compare yourself to others and feel inadequate, but the truth is that nobody’s perfect, and when you let others inspire you instead of bringing you down, you open up so many new possibilities for yourself. And really, creativity stems from passion, so if you can follow your passion, your creativity will grow in leaps and bounds.
Where can we find more of your work?
All the big stuff is on my blog www.brighteyedbaker.com, and you can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Stellar @brighteyedbaker. My work is regularly featured on Honest Cooking, SkinnyMom, and Pepper Passport as well.
Thanks so much for sharing with us today, Alexandra! I love your energy and passion, and your advice to let others inspire you instead of bring you down. I’ll definitely be following to see where all of this takes you!
Back in December I had the pleasure of tagging along with the husband on his conference in Long Beach, California. Long Beach was beautiful, warm, even in December, and vibrant with its diverse population. If you asked me what I did while I was there, my first response would be: I ate, I ate A LOT. When I know I’m going to be traveling somewhere, the first thing I start researching is not what to do, but where to eat and what to eat. I’m a bit eccentric like that. So I’m going to share with you some of my favorite Long Beach spots to eat during our stay. If you’re ever in the area, I totally recommend you check them out! In my next post, I’ll share with you on where to go and what to do while in Long Beach.
The Breakfast Bar
This place is incredible. And by incredible, I mean, I threw away my carefully researched list of new breakfast places to try and ended up eating brunch at the Breakfast Bar three days in a row (it would have been four if my husband hadn’t encouraged me to try somewhere new. I still regret that decision). In addition, when we bumped into some conference goers who had also mentioned that they had gone to the Breakfast Bar for brunch, all four of us excitedly exclaimed in perfect unison: “It was sooooo good!” True story. So what kept me coming back for more? The Naked Cakes. They came highly recommended so I ordered them (twice) and was not disappointed. Whole wheat berry buttermilk pancakes with berries on top served with a side of eggs and bacon or sausages. The nutty flavor and gritty texture of the wheat berries all within a fluffy pancake was an amazing combination. It left me quickly researching how to make pancakes from whole wheat berries, because I needed to have these pancakes in my life once I left Long Beach! And what left my husband drooling and returning back to the Breakfast Bar with me three days in a row? The Eggs Papi. A deliciously savory breakfast sandwich with rosemary sourdough, a sausage patty and a poached eggs all topped with a spiced hollandaise and a side of potato pancake. We were in brunch heaven. This place really knows how to serve up delicious food! Do not leave Long Beach without having brunch here! Bonus: The patio is dog friendly. My Tips: If you come here on a weekday and check-in on Yelp, you get a free sangria or coffee. Also, make a reservation for brunch even if you don’t think you’ll need one – it can get busy quick.
The Sky Room
Upon researching places to go in Long Beach and seeing pictures of the Sky Room, this place quickly went to the top of my Long Beach Bucket List and it did not disappoint. The Sky Room sits atop The Breakers Hotel, and was once a luxury oceanfront resort built in 1926 that has gone through various changes in ownership and hotel names. It is now currently a… wait for it… retirement home with the Sky Room Restaurant and Bar located up top. But don’t be put off by that, this place is a really unique gem. Being that it was built in the 1920’s, the building definitely has a lot of character with its prohibition era style that I find oh-so charming – and they even have an elevator attendant! Once you ascend the 15 floors up the elevator to the restaurant, you are greeted by a friendly hostess, soft jazz music, candle lit tables and breathtaking views of all of Long Beach, including the marina. This place is romantic and sexy and is the perfect place to grab a drink, enjoy a romantic dinner, listen to live jazz music, or go dancing later in the evening. And if you travel up the narrow stairwell that goes above the restaurant, it will take you to the most amazing rooftop bar with unparalleled views of the city. Their dinner menu is filled with top notch selections of steak, seafood, pasta, soups and salads – but if you’re on a tighter budget like we were, they have the most tantalizing happy hour bar menu. From the happy hour bar menu, I highly recommend the Prosciutto & Goat Cheese Appetizer and the My Burger Can Beat Up Your Burger – and from the dessert menu, the Almond Joie, which is a coconut and almond mousse with chocolate. I instantly fell in love with this place the moment I set eyes on it – or should I say, sank my teeth in it. It’s a must-go-to when you’re in Long Beach!
Pier 76 Fish Grill
I’m not a huge seafood fan, so I completely overlooked all the fabulous reviews about this place when researching where to eat. But when a large group of conference goers were heading here for lunch, I obliged and went along, even though I had eaten a large brunch just a few hours prior. This place made me want to love fish and wish that I did, really. Everything looks so fresh, healthy and flavorful with the abundance of colorful vegetables and herbs used in their food. Since I was still pretty full from brunch and admittedly hadn’t eaten a single vegetable in 48 hours – like the true Californian I’ve become – I ordered the side kale and tomato salad with avocado added. The salad cost me a whopping $4. Four Dollars, people! The portion was huge for $4 and I couldn’t even finish all of it! Plus, the salad was delicious beyond belief. And their strawberry basil lemonade was a must – and free when you check-in on Yelp! Note: Pier 76 is great for large groups, because it’s spacious and you can pay at the till. That way, you don’t have to wait for the check to come or deal with the headache of splitting a check with ten people.
Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles
When it’s past midnight on a Saturday and your party of 20 people is on the prowl for some good greasy food, where do you go? Roscoe’s! By 1 am, this place was still hopping and jam packed full of people eating delicious looking chicken and waffles and all kinds of southern food. I was stuffed from eating everything in sight from morning until night, so I didn’t have the capacity in my stomach to order my own meal and consume some of those world-famous chicken and waffles I wanted to try (next time). However, I did sample a few bites of some southern staples like grits, biscuits, gravy and the likes – which were delicious. Judging by comments on Yelp, my friends comments on the food, and the speed at which they devoured their meals, this place was a smash hit.
Cinco De Mayo
This totally unassuming Mexican restaurant is where it’s at. If you want affordable, authentic Mexican food – come here! This place is touted by many for being the real deal when it comes to Mexican food. With limitless chips and salsa, delicious $2 tacos, $5 quesadillas or nachos that you make you feel like you’re in Mexico, you really can’t go wrong. It’s a no-frills type of place, which is great because you can come as you are from the gym, work, or in conference attire like we were and feel totally at home at this place. Note: Cinco De Mayo is cash only, but they do have an ATM in the restaurant if you forget to take out cash before hand.
I had wonderful time eating my way through Long Beach, CA! Have you ever been to Long Beach? If so, what are your favorite places to eat there?
*A special thank you to Roger Howard for the beautiful Long Beach panorama and to our friends at Yelp for providing some of the food pics.
It’s been fun to introduce you to Bay Area designer Stella Carakasi over the past two weeks. In case you missed the first few days, here’s the lowdown: Daisy Tribe was invited on an exclusive, behind the scenes visit to the Stella Studio in Berkeley. Our NorCal team had a great time exploring the studio, trying on pieces from Stella’s collection, meeting some of the amazing people behind the brand, and of course taking pictures to document the whole thing for our readers. The Stella Studio is located on 10th Street in Berkeley’s Gilman District. If you live in the area, you know that the Gilman District is the new hot spot in Berkeley, with tons of cool shops, restaurants, and artist lofts popping up all over. The neighborhood is buzzing with energy and excitement, and the Stella Studio is right in the middle of it. The boutique is open and airy, with tall windows and high lofty ceilings. There’s a relaxed California vibe to the space, which you feel from the moment you walk in the door. The walls are adorned with a few well-selected paintings by Yarra McClure, and of course, there’s the clothes! Row upon row of soft, elegant pieces from Stella’s current collection line the floor of the boutique.
In the middle of the studio are dressing rooms and a super comfy lounge area. The Stella team had so warmly set out some coffee and sweet treats for us – which I’m not even sure we acknowledged properly (because hello, the clothes!) If you come in you have to meet Brittany, one of the super sweet and stylish members of Stella’s team. I got her to model for me since she happened to be wearing some beautiful Stella Carakasi clothing and Janet Harrer jewelry.
Now I’m going to let you in on a little secret and I promise it’s a good one. The back of the Stella Studio serves as an outlet for past collections – so if you love Stella’s clothes but find them to be a little out of your price range, you can find some amazing steals here that you will not find anywhere else. Oh and hey, there’s me in one of Stella’s beautiful coats. Seriously, this coat is so gorgeous and easy to wear, it deserves it’s own post!
After our impromptu fashion shoot in front of the boutique, it was time to head into the design house where the magic really happens. You would never know that connected to this chic little boutique is a huge warehouse filled with everything it takes to run a global brand like Stella Carakasi. After passing through rows of boxes and fabric bolts, we made our way to the offices of the people behind Stella, which were buzzing with activity and excitement about Stella’s upcoming collections. I was so excited to run into Charlene – who has a super important title that includes the word Global Director – because she was wearing Stella’s Tiburon Tunic which I absolutely adore. The tunic is simple and artsy, and looks amazing with anything from jeans and sneakers to black leggings and heels. I don’t think Charlene came to work expecting to have her photo taken – but I really loved her look and she agreed to let me snap her picture anyways. Thank you, Charlene!
We may or may not have seen some top-secret information like sketches of the 2015 collections and a fitting for a beautiful kimono coming out in the fall. Unfortunately if I had seen any of that, I wouldn’t be allowed to show you on the blog, so you’ll just have to wait and see what Stella has in store. And speaking of Stella – did I mention that we met her?! You guys, she was so warm, elegant, gracious, and funny. She showed us around her space and even came out to shoot a few photos with us.
On our way back in, we ran into Vivian, who is one of the partners behind Stella Carakasi and all-around awesome person. On the day of our visit, Vivian and Yarra had just returned from LA, where they were dressing the stars at the Golden Globes gifting suites. I couldn’t leave without getting a few images of Vivian and her sassy red and black cowgirl boots. Her little pup was a total rockstar and happy to pose for the camera.
It was so much fun to get a peek behind the scenes at the Stella Carakasi studio and design house, and meet some of the faces behind the label. I fell in love with Stella’s brand for so many reasons – I love that her clothes are simple, elegant, and easy to wear. She uses natural, sustainable, and eco-friendly fabrics into many of her pieces, and incorporates great architectural and California influences in her designs. And obviously she has a great team behind her. But I think what I love most of all about Stella’s clothes is that they look great on women of all ages and body types. I feel like Stella really gets women’s bodies, and designs her pieces with great attention to detail, so that everything falls exactly where it should. Her clothes work on women of all ages because they are modern and on-trend without looking “trendy”, if that makes sense. It was a great pleasure to work with Stella and her team and hopefully you’ll be seeing more posts about Stella in the future.
Now, if you missed the first few days, I’m going to get you caught up! On Day 1, our Style Editor Delia modeled two outfits that included accessories from local jeweler Janet Harrer. (To read the full story and see more pictures, click here).
On Day 2, we did a a special Creative Feature on Yarra McClure, Stella’s Director of Customer Engagement and an accomplished painter. Yarra shared her creative journey, as well as her advice for finding inspiration and growing as an artist. Here’s a link to Yarra’s story and more photos of her beautiful paintings.
On Day 3, our Healthy Living Editor Kendra modeled three California casual outfits with pieces from Stella’s collection. Lots more photos and links to shop these looks can be found here.
Our Social Media Director Janaia’s picks were up on Day 4, and she showed you two looks incorporating classic, neutral pieces with a modern twist, like this tunic that can be worn multiple ways and the amazing Work It Coat. You can get the details on Janaia’s outfits in this post.
And now I am sorry to say, that like all good things, this series of posts must come to an end. I hope you enjoyed learning more about Stella Carakasi and the team behind the label. You can follow Stella Carakasi on their website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Thank you Stella, Yarra, Vivian, and everyone who made us feel so welcome on our visit!
Every summer I head out to my local farm at the peak of raspberry season to pick fresh raspberries to make jam. As a result, I have acquired quite a large collection of jars that I use for many different purposes around the house. Although the jars are lovely in a very understated way, I thought it would be fun to give them a splash of color. I’m excited to share this fun and simple DIY project with you today!
DIY Colored Mason Jars
– Mason jar
– Glossy Modge Podge
– Food coloring (I used Wilton food coloring gel)
– Fill a mason jar with 1/8″ of Modge Podge.
– Using a clean toothpick, add one drop of food coloring to the mason jar and mix until the mixture is no longer white.
– Swirl the mixture around the inside of the jar, until the entire jar is covered.
– Turn the jar upside down on a paper plate and allow for the excess liquid to drip off (about 45-60 minutes).
– After the remaining mixture has drained onto the plate, place the mason jar in an upright position on a clean paper plate to dry completely (1-2 days).
*After coloring the mason jars, food cannot be served or stored in the jars.
I filled my mason jar with flowers that my little girl picked while on a stroll around the neighborhood. I especially love the way the jars look when the sunlight seeps through the glass.
I also use mason jars to organize my many knitting needles and crochet hooks. I am in so in love with the deep violet color of this particular mason jar.
The best thing about this project is that it was a way to up cycle something I already owned into something even better. Instead of sitting around in my cupboards collecting dust, my mason jars have been turned into pretty containers for a variety of uses. I’d love to see what you do with this project to make it your own!
February is shaping up to be the month of Creativity here on Daisy Tribe, as we have a ton of Creative Features in the queue! It’s fun to meet so many interesting people who are doing all kinds of amazing things – and today’s feature is no exception. Heather Lazark is a talented Northern California photographer based near Sacramento. I’ve been a long-time admirer of her work – and she is one of the few photographers whose images I immediately recognize as belonging to her, even before reading the name attached. Her photos are always sweet, always soulful, always simple yet well-composed. In addition to her lifestyle photography business, Heather spends a great amount of time documenting everyday life with her two little girls – and somehow makes it all look extra ordinary. Today Heather is sharing a bit of her photography journey, a look into one of her special projects (it involves hearts!), and her take on finding that ever-elusive “balance” we all crave. I hope you all enjoy learning more about Heather in today’s Creative Feature.
Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi. I’m Heather, grateful mama of two little loves and admirer of all things creative.
How did you get started in photography and how have you evolved over time?
When I was carrying my first child I knew that I wanted to document the lives of my children as they grew, capturing their milestones and bottling up our memories. From there, photography evolved into an intense gateway to my soul.
How do you continue to find inspiration on a daily basis?
Since I found photography and children came into my life, I see the world as a completely different place. There is beauty in everything, you just have to take the time to look for it.
We love the hearts project that you worked on last year. Can you tell us a little about it?
Two years ago I was inspired by a fellow photographer who blew me away with her February hearts project so I made it a goal to complete one myself last year. Each day for the month of February I shot a different photo capturing some form of a heart. It was so fun that I am planning to do it again this year.
Was it hard to find something to shoot each day? And what advice do you have for someone thinking about starting a personal photography project?
I’ll admit I was a little apprehensive to commit to the project because I wasn’t so sure that I could come up with a new idea each day. I actually found that it really challenged me creatively and helped me grow as an artist. For anyone considering a personal project I highly recommend finding a topic that feels inspiring and diving right in.
We know you have your hands full between your photography business, kids, and mentor responsibilities at Clickin Moms. Any advice for achieving that ever elusive ‘balance’ we all crave?
My goodness, I am still looking for the answer to this. If you saw my laundry pile you would know that I have not found that balance yet. I often remind myself that I have a much more fulfilling life getting down on the floor and playing with my four year old or taking a spontaneous trip to our local nature center together than having a super clean house. Our lives are chaotic, but it’s a beautiful mess. And I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
What’s your favorite way to spend a Sunday morning?
This may be my favorite day of the week. On Sundays we sleep in a few extra minutes. Then as I sip on my cup of coffee I make Paleo pancakes and we listen to music and talk about our week. Then we head of to our favorite farmer’s market, full of face painting, organic produce, our favorite vendors, and live music. Sundays are the best.
Where else can we follow you?
You can find me on Facebook and Instagram, as well as my photography website. Last year’s hearts project can be found here – and to keep up with this year’s hearts project – or to contribute your own heart images all month long – use the hashtag #28daysofheartsproject.
Thanks so much Heather, for allowing us a peek into your life and sharing your thoughtful words of advice with us. I’m excited to follow your hearts project this month as well as your creative journey in the years to come!
It’s Day 4 of Stella Carakasi Week on Daisy Tribe! If you missed the first three days, you can get caught up here, here, and here. Today we’re featuring two more outfits with pieces from Stella’s collection, with our Social Media Director Janaia as the model. Janaia was really loving all of Stella’s classic neutral pieces with a modern twist. The first look includes the Defining Moment Tunic and Ready To Wear Leggings.
Janaia loved the little details in this outfit like the draping on the tunic that can be worn multiple ways, as well as the sweet ruched ankle detail on the leggings. We styled this look with black flats for a casual California morning, but I also see it working with heels or ankle booties for a night out.
Janaia chose the That’s A Wrap Top and Work It Coat, along with the Ready To Wear Leggings for her second look.
While the top and leggings worked well on their own, we loved the way that this urban inspired coat pulled everything together. The pictures really don’t do the coat justice, so if you get a chance to visit the Stella Studio in person, this is one item you should definitely check out!
That’s our final look for today – but we still have one more post for you featuring our visit to the Stella Studio in Berkeley – where we’ll introduce you to a few members of the Stella Carakasi team, give you a behind-the-scenes peek at the design house, and even meet Stella herself. Thanks for reading, and we’ll see you next time for more Stella Carakasi Week on Daisy Tribe!
Stylist: Yarra McClure | Model: Janaia Roeder | Photographer: Kati Dias
Today we’re continuing Stella Carakasi Week on Daisy Tribe! If you missed the first two days, be sure to check here for an intro into this amazing California designer, and here to read a Creative Feature of Stella’s Director of Customer Engagement, Yarra McClure. I mentioned in my first post that we would be featuring parts of our visit to the Stella Studio in Berkeley all week – and today we’re going to show you three outfits featuring pieces from Stella’s collection – with our Healthy Living Editor Kendra as the model. The first look includes the Wrap Up Cardigan, Just a Dash tank (available only at the Stella Studio) and Street Smart Jacket (currently sold out).
We paired the tank, cardigan, and coat with brown Tory Burch boots and jeans from Forever 21. The coat helps pull the outfit together when the temperature drops, but the tank and cardigan alone are perfect for our weather here in the SF Bay Area almost year round. All three of these pieces are so versatile and could easily be mixed and matched with other items in your closet to come up with a variety of looks.
The next outfit includes the Mirage Dress and Style To Spare Jacket, along with a handbag from Latico Leathers which is handmade in the USA.
This dress was one of the favorites in our group because it’s perfect for anything from work to a weekend brunch to a night out with friends, depending on how you dress it up or down. We loved it with this sweet crop jacket, which would also look great with a pair of black leggings and one of Stella’s tunics. This look also includes a necklace from Janet Harrer, a local jeweler based in the Bay Area.
The final look includes Stella Carakasi’s Go Everywhere Sweater and Redefined Jacket. You might recognize the jacket from our first post about Stella – both Kendra and Delia fell in love with it and were able to incorporate it into their posts.
The sweater incorporates a sweet open weave detail, which you can see on the arms, a high low hem that is incredibly flattering, and dolman sleeves that are finished with rib knit trim. Like many of the pieces in Stella’s collection, it has a relaxed California feel to it, and is easy to pair with classics that you already own for a variety of looks.
That’s it for today, but we’ll be back with more Stella Carakasi later this week! Be sure to check out our first post featuring our Style Editor Delia, and our second post about a special member of the Stella team.
Stylist: Yarra McClure | Model: Kendra Cardoza | Photographer: Kati Dias