Transitioning to Fall with Sotela

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If you search my blog for the word "Sotela", it appears in 15 blog posts. That's probably as many times as words like "simplicity", or "versatile"...which, as we all know, I over-use like it's my job.

There's a reason for the Sotela obsession around these parts - the brand, all about creating clothes that flow with your fluctuating body, is one of my most worn and most loved brands to date. You can check the many, many blog posts for even more details on why I love Hanna and which pieces I wear from her past collections, but today, it's all about the Sand Collection

Perhaps the most versatile Sotela collection yet, the Sand Collection celebrates all body types with easy to wear and easy to style pieces that can fluctuation throughout seasons in life and in the year. I'm working with the Barcelona Shorts and, although I was admittedly hesitant at first, they're truly the "unsung heroes" of the collection for a reason. 

Like every Sotela piece I own, the shorts are made of 100% tencel, my all time favorite fabric (with a close second going to linen) for it's seasonlessness, versatility, and durability. Tencel is made from wood pulp fibers, in a closed loop process, meaning it's not emitting any harmful toxins or chemicals and doesn't require any to be made. It feels like silk, has the perfect natural wrinkle of linen, and can be worn almost endlessly without washing (seriously, I only wash my clothes when I absolutely have to). 

The Barcelona shorts are a warm-weather twist on Sotela's best selling Ryan Trousers (see my sweet friend Emily's blog for an amazing example of styling them). High-waisted, with two small pleats, and a slight wide leg, these shorts remind me of vintage silhouettes with a modern, versatile fabric. I've worn them with crop tops, swimsuit tops, bodysuits, sweaters, cardigans, tees, and just about everything else I could think of. And it all works. All of it. 

As the weather cools (rather quickly) and drifts towards fall, I'm planning to extend my summer wardrobe as long as possible - these shorts included. Since they pair so effortlessly with tops of all kinds, I'm reaching for them more often than my jeans, knowing I can layer up on top. 

As amazing as each piece in the new Sand Collection is, I don't know if the Barcelona Shorts can rightfully be called the unsung heroes anymore - because I'm singing their praises all summer long and into the fall. 

**Use the code “Simply10” for 10% off your order from now until 9/17!**

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*This post is in partnership with Sotela. All thoughts, photographs, and obsessions with Tencel are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make SL&Co. possible!* 

Minimal Bohemian || A Late-Summer Lookbook

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Natural fibers, neutral colors, easy silhouettes. These are a few of my summer-style must haves. 

Although I'm not one to shy away from bold colors or prints (ahem, my favorite MATTER Prints pieces), I've found that the days I feel most comfortable and "myself" are the ones when I'm wearing easy/versatile pieces that can be dressed up and dressed down with the least amount of effort. I've thought before about trying to "define" my style and although I feel like my personal style is constantly in flux, "minimal bohemian" seems to sum up my go-to style. 

When I thought about what kind of Lookbook I wanted to work on for Summer, these were the kinds of pieces that came to mind. Clothes that made me feel feminine. Clothes I could throw on and not worry about ruining or getting dirty/wrinkly as I chase around two littles. Clothes that were well-made and would last a lifetime. Minimal bohemian, classics with an effortless twist. And so, these four pieces are the ones I'm excited to spotlight. All from conscious makers, all handmade, all from brands I contacted specifically for this season and this piece. 

For me, these brands and their handiwork inspire a sense of whimsy and embody the carefree style I love, especially for real day to day living. There's nothing fancy, elaborate, or flashy about them. They're real clothes for real women, and I can't get enough. 


The Brands: 

Magic Linen

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Based in Lithuania, Magic Linen is a small, family owned business using only organic linen for their stunning array of home goods and apparel. Each piece, from their king-size bedding to their beautiful tops, jumpsuits, and dresses, are cut and sewn by hand, taking up to two weeks to create before being shipped to their new homes. 

We cherish classic values, at the same time being modern, opened to a world and new ideas, doing our best with a lot of enthusiasm and hard work. These principles reflect in the goods we deliver – we choose the most organic fabrics and enjoy the process of making items by hand than going to big factories.
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I'm wearing: 

Why I Love Them: 

These pieces are timeless and such high quality. The skirt transitions perfectly from warm weather to cold (I chose the color with holiday parties in mind). The dress is breezy, but thick enough to wear all year - I'm obsessed with the buttons and long sleeves. 

Magic Linen values the beauty of the process as much as they value the end result. I can't wait to pass these pieces on to my daughters one day. 

Aurorei 

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Dreamed of, designed, cut, and sewn in Brooklyn, New York, Aurorei creates pieces that are quite literally effortless. The one-woman show's goal is to create functional pieces that can be worn multiple ways through multiple seasons, both in the year and in life. Their linen and leather goods are durable and all made with ethically sourced fabrics from a traceable mill in Osaka, Japan. 

I've owned Aurorei's Multi-Way Shirt for almost a year and reached back out to them for this lookbook after eyeing the high-waisted pants for months. 

We hope to create design that is multifunctional, multi-gender, and simple to understand, that will truly become a “new companion” for your life.

I'm Wearing: 

Why I Love Them: 

These pants have a vintage feel while being endlessly flattering. I've paired them with crop tops, tanks, tees, sweaters, kimonos and more and I can't seem to find anything that doesn't work with them. Aurorei is the embodiment of slow fashion and supporting women owned businesses is so worthwhile.  

Arraei Collective

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You may recognize this piece from a few weeks ago on the blog (and from the sheer amount of times I've worn this tank in real life), but Arraei Collective has fast become a favorite brand of mine both for their beautiful designs and for their eco-friendly practices. 

I had been hunting for a versatile cami-esque tank for the summer and was amazed at how "above and beyond" this piece went. More than just a basic, it's reversible, crop-able, and made from a hemp/silk/organic cotton blend that is so easy to care for. Arraei launched earlier this year and I can say from experience that they'll be a brand to watch as their collection grows. 

The Arraei woman exudes confidence through graceful self expression, knowing that she is harmony with herself and the planet.

What I'm Wearing: 

Why I Love Them: 

Arraei creates pieces that flatter every body type and style and, even better, will never go out of style. Their fabrics are the definition of sustainability (100% plant-based and ethically sourced) and the versatility is unmatched. 


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**This post is in collaboration with each brand mentioned. Although I wasn't compensated for promotion, I received pieces after reaching out specifically to partner with each brand. Thank you for supporting the brands who make this blog possible.**

Cultivating Lagom with Lakeshore Dry Goods

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More than anything, savoring is about gratitude...It’s about keeping in mind that you live right now, allowing yourself to focus on the moment and appreciate the life you lead, to focus on all that you do have, not what you don’t. Cliche? Totally.
— Meik Wiking, "The Little Book of Hygge"

I've been known to obsess over "atmosphere". I can never sit down to work until the room feels cozy enough. I've purposefully gone to cafe's that are a bit more expensive, just because I appreciate the "vibe" more. I like to feel inspired, at ease, home-y, whether I'm writing a blog post, hosting a get-together, or just spending time with my family. If you read my blog post on cultivating a sense of home in "unlikely" seasons, you'll know that this phase of our life has been anything but home-y. We're currently in-between homes and, true to myself, I've found ways to create cozy, intentional moments even when we have no space to call our own. 

It's usually as simple as a familiar routine, hanging up some simple decor to make our temporary room feel like home, or for me, of course, creating a little "coffee corner" for myself to wake up in each morning. 

Believe it or not, I'm not the only one who is obsessed with atmosphere and "coziness". 

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It turns out that there are entire cultures and lifestyles built around this idea of "the art of creating intimacy" and coziness and the more I learn about it all, the more it speaks to what my soul already loves and craves. 

I've spend the past few months reading three books on the subject. 

Lagom: The Swedish Art of Balanced Living (here)

The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets of Happy Living (here)

The Little Book of Lykke: Secrets of the World's Happiest People (here)

Each of these books are a little bit different, but each one hinges on the Scandinavian culture of slow, thoughtful living, a topic that, not surprisingly, I fall more in love with by the day. The words Lykke, Hygge, and Lagom have English translations, but ones that, I think, fall short of the native meanings. 


hygge

Pronunciation /ˈhʊɡə//ˈh(j)uːɡə/

NOUN

A quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture)


lykke 

Pronunciation/"lye-kee"

felicity, happiness {noun}


lagom

Pronunciation/

Lagom (pronounced [ˈlɑ̀ːɡɔm]) is a Swedish word meaning "just the right amount"... "enough, sufficient, adequate, just right". Lagom is also widely translated as "in moderation", "in balance", "perfect-simple", and "suitable" (in matter of amounts).


Although Scandinavian blood runs deep in my family, I can't claim to fully understand the depth and implications of living in a culture that so truly believes in these ideals. America, quite apparently, is far from the "just the right amount" mindset and our culture of more, bigger, and better has a tendency to distract. 

However. 

One of my deepest longings is to create a slow, thoughtful lifestyle for myself and my family. A lifestyle that doesn't continually need more. A family-culture centered around these notions of "less is more", gratitude, comfortable aesthetic, and experiences over things. Hygge, Lykke, and Lagom are, quite possibly, my biggest inspirations for Simply Liv & Co. other than my desire to grow the sustainable fashion movement. Unbeknownst to me, these concepts were so ingrained in me that I sought to live them out long before I knew what they were called, or even that cultures before me had done so for years and years and years. 

I strive to showcase products here that are both beautiful and functional. Lagom. Just enough. 

When Lakeshore Dry Goods reached out to me to collaborate, I wasn't sure how I was going to authentically share about towels. For one thing, I can't take a decent photo in them and, despite how much I use mine, it seems somehow different than sharing about a glamorous, easily photograph-able "capsule wardrobe staple", like I normally do. 

But, perhaps my mindset was all wrong. 

Perhaps the pieces that you use day in and day out, whether it's straight out of the shower, or in your real-life morning routine, or simply because your 3 and 4 year old love to look like mama, perhaps these are the pieces worth sharing about the most. 

Lakeshore Dry Goods uses organic, ethically sourced and sewn cotton to create their towels, which is noticeably gentler on hair and magically reduces frizz and tangles. Both of which, coming from a mother of two girls with insanely tangle-able hair, is a miracle straight from the hygge gods. 

It might seem silly to link a cotton towel to my "dream lifestyle" but, if I understand it correctly, living a lifestyle of "lagom" is about surrounding yourself with things that are both beautiful and functional. My girls look forward to each bath time, knowing that at the end, they'll cozy up with their very own "big girl" towel, just like mama does. 

I've been known to leave my Lakeshore towel on for almost an entire day, because it takes so much of the effort out of my normal hair-care routine. It reduces drying time, makes it easier to style my hair, is so much less bulky than a normal towel, and of course, I can focus on other things like making breakfast for my kiddos or enjoying my coffee in the morning for just a few minutes longer. 

My philosophy about enjoying the little things is so much simpler and more do-able when I'm not worried about silly things like spending time on my hair - a philosophy notably Danish and Swedish who are masters at the minimally undone looks. 

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Notoriously low-maintenance and a lover of all things simple, easy, and of course, beautiful, it's no surprise that my love for these simple towels is a reflection of my love for something much bigger: a lifestyle that I'm daily trying to emulate. And choosing the right towel, or the right coffee corner, or the best time to stay in and say no - it's all part of the hygge I'm constantly trying to achieve.

How do the concepts of hygge and lagom resonate with you? 


*This post was sponsored by Lakeshore Dry Goods, intentionally structured around these ideals that I try to portray in my everyday life. All opinions, photos, and obsessions with Scandinavia are my own.* 

Arraei Collective || Elevated Hemp Essentials

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I've shared my love for hemp clothing a few times, but today's blog post takes that infatuation a step or two further with a brand I've been waiting to showcase for several months. 

As fun as statement pieces are, I've found that I consistently gravitate towards "elevated basics", be it a crisp white button-up knotted over some jeans, a black tencel jumpsuit, or something like this Cai Camie. It's simple, versatile, and more than a "basic black tank", easily falling into the elevated basic category. 

I had been hunting for the perfect black tank all summer and I'm so glad I waited for this beauty before buying something else. When Natalie, the founder, designer, and owner of Arraei Collective (pronounced "array") reached out to me about her soon-to-launch collection, I was in love from the get-go.

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The design of the tank itself is enough to have me wearing it on repeat - thin straps, reversible design, buttons, slightly cropped, and an easy crinkle material that wears extremely well. But when I kept reading about Natalie's collection and her beautiful attention to sustainability in addition to versatile design, it sealed the hemp-deal for me. 

Arraei Collective's pieces in this first collection are all made with hemp-blend fabrics. My tank specifically is 42% Hemp, 35% Silk, 23% Organic Cotton, all GOTS certified organic. The button are made from coconut shell, so it's truly a 100% natural, plant-based product. 

If you read my blog post from a few months ago featuring WAMA's hemp underwear, you might remember me singing the praises of the material back then. And nothing has changed since then. Hemp is one of the most sustainable plants to grow and use for fabric production for several reasons - hemp requires no use of pesticides or chemicals to grow, it grows quickly and in large, dense quantities, and it's naturally anti-bacterial and moisture wicking. 

The cotton and silk add texture, softness, and drape to the piece, making it such a dreamy fabric to wear often. 

In addition to this tank, Arraei's newly launched first collection features a gorgeous kimono, a dress, a trench jacket, and a wrap skirt, all made with hemp or other plant-based materials and all as comfortable and versatile as the camie . 

Through Arraei, Natalie hopes to encourage her customers to become rooted in the conscious lifestyle - with her pieces as the backbone of a thoughtful wardrobe. 

This summer, this camie has certainly become a staple of my summer closet and I'm excited to watch it easily transition into fall. 


*This post is in paid collaboration with Arraei Collective. All opinions and photos are my own*

Ungalli Clothing || Recycled Fashion for the Whole Family

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There are few things I appreciate more than a "one stop" shop. Buying consciously is tricky enough, but having to shop separate retails for each member of your family (and do the necessary research to make sure each shop fits your values and of course, budget,) is no easy feat. Furthermore, practicality, comfort, and kid-friendliness are huge pluses when I shop anywhere for my girls. 

We're all for the twirly dress and tutu, but when a day at the lake beckons, we need clothes that can translate from home to camping trip and back again. 

Enter Ungalli Clothing. In a few short weeks, these pieces from the family (and eco) friendly store have become our go-to for anything from lounging at home to a campfire to a camping trip turned picnic at the lake.  

Ungalli is a Canadian brand focused on education and transparency. When co-founders (and sisters) Hailey and Bree learned about the effects of the fast fashion industry both on the environment and on the hands and lives making our clothing, they knew there had to be a better, more sustainable option. Ungalli was born out of their desire to spread awareness while creating an earth-friendly, worker-friendly product. 

Their pieces are made with recycled materials, specifically plastic water bottles, which are shredded and refined into yarn and re-made as recycled polyester. One Ungalli tee gives new life to approximately 10 plastic water bottles, which means that my family alone is wearing about 30-ish plastic bottles that would have otherwise ended up in landfill. 

In addition to their eco-friendly fabrics, Ungalli designs and manufactures all of their clothing locally, reducing their carbon footprint and supporting their local economy. 

The brand offers just about everything from tees to joggers to hoodies to hats. There are even goodies for pets and kiddos. Ungalli spreads the love even further by offering custom tee printing for businesses, using their recycled fabrics. 

With comparable pricing, comfortable pieces, and designs that are easy for anyone to wear, Ungalli is lessening the footprint of the fashion industry one tee at a time.

And, just to end on a realistic note, in case you think photoshoots with toddlers is as happy as it looks, here's a shot of Mara, after she fell in the lake. 


*This post was sponsored by Ungalli Clothing. All photographs, opinions, and crying children are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make SL&Co. possible!*