Season-less Seasons || Simply Styled

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I’m oftentimes boggled by the ebbing and flowing of life. The days are long in motherhood, but the years blink by in an instant and suddenly you’re toting your third baby around the zoo, corralling your rambunctious other two, thinking of the days when you were nervous to even leave the house with your first. One thing I’ve come to expect is the “season-less season”, or the constant change. Sometimes it happens slowly, like the growth of a baby or the sharpening of a marriage. Sometimes it’s all at once, like the wake-up call from an old friend or an opportunity you can’t pass up.

For some of us, change is easier to grasp - we look forward to it, savor it, seek it. For others, it’s an ever present battle to hold on to comfort, grasp for the known, and put off change for just another day. I fall somewhere in between each camp, but as much as I’d like to embrace spontaneity and love change, my familiarity, home-loving heart holds on with all its might to every semblance of calm and comfort. Even perceived calm and comfort.

The days are long, but the years are short.

Where do you fall on this “change” spectrum? Does the season-less season irk you too when you look on and see all that’s slipped away and all that’s slipping towards you? Or does it excite you, motivate you, push you on?

I’m trying, not successfully, but really trying, to see the beauty in both sides, knowing that there’s no such thing as the Inbetween and knowing that these season-less seasons, the days that blur into nights, the homework helping, dinner making, business starting, marriage mending, dream chasing/compromising, it’s all pushing us on towards Purpose and Wholeness. If we let it.

These Simply Styled pieces are my favorite (although I don’t do them nearly enough) because they’re not sponsored by any one brand and they give me complete and total freedom to brain dump whatever mess of feelings and words are in my heart at the moment. I get to put on sustainable clothes, write from my heart, and share it with you. What could be better? Only doing it all in person, over coffee, of course.

Let’s talk about something that, aside from my deep conundrum of season-less seasons, is sure to be a debate.

Belt bags. Hip packs? Fanny packs? Guys. They’re back. How does this make you feel?

I, for one, couldn’t wait to get my mama hands on this little one from AWL Snap because I knew just how fun it would be to wear while wearing my babe.

I toted it, and Aria, at the zoo (it was the only bag I brought in, low and behold it’s a true miracle), and wore it behind my back as a shoulder bag most of the day. When AJ grabbed Aria from me though, I seized the opportunity to tighten the strap and test out it’s true fanny pack powers.

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I have to say, I’m not at all mad about it.

My dress is breastfeeding and maternity friendly — by Boob Design, of course (read on for a temporary discount code!) and my shoes have been dying to get out of the mountains and onto some acceptable terrain. They’re by Bendy Shoe (I had the owner write a guest post here several years ago. It’s always so fun to watch collaborations come full circle!).

Yesterday was one of the sweetest, happiest days we’ve all had together in a long time. And it got me thinking a lot about change (hence the above random novel), but I’m in love with this little life we lead and I’m so glad I get to do it with these four by my side.


*This post was in partnership with AWL Snap, and I included other items that have been gifted recently to showcase. All opinions, storytelling, and random musings are my own. Use the code BOOBXOLIVIA for 20% off your order at Boob Design from now until 11/17/19*

What Do You REALLY Need Before Having a Baby? My Top 10 Minimalist Baby Essentials

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Pregnancy is overwhelming as it is but one thing that makes the anticipation of a new little life WAY more stressful than it needs to be is the amount of stuff we’re conditioned to think we need. There. I said it. I think the stress of making registries, compiling lists of things for someone you’ve never met and anticipate things you’ll need without ever experiencing motherhood….it’s all a really good marketing scheme to get moms-to-be to buy way more than they need.

I’ve been there too. When I was pregnant with Evie, my now nearly six year old, I had zero clue of what I would need so I registered for ALL OF THE THINGS. I accepted ALL OF THE FREE THINGS from well-meaning friends and family.

But, as it turns out, I didn’t really need ALL OF THE THINGS.

With each subsequent pregnancy (there have been three so far, in case you’ve lost count), I’ve pared down my baby-essentials substantially. I’ve learned what I’ll really use and what things are just extras that take up space/money/time. Really, having a baby is quite simple. You don’t need nearly as much as you think you do and your newborn won’t take up nearly as much space as you think they will.

This post, something I should have written a long time ago, answers one of the most common questions I’m asked: what my “baby essentials” are and what do I think an expecting mother needs. (Keep in mind, these are just MY baby essentials. Some moms will find other things more helpful than others. If you have other essentials you’d like to share in the comments to help other mamas out, please do!) These essentials go beyond the obvious things like a car seat, clothes, burp cloths…and dive into the things I really can’t live without as a mama of a newborn.

Your essentials will change over time, but don’t focus on things you’ll need when your baby is 6-months or older, focus on the newborn phase and the first few months afterwards, and your list will be much smaller.

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1. A small bassinet

I’ve co-slept with all of my babies at some point, but the option of a bedside-sleeper, especially when they’re newborns and co-sleeping is a bit scarier, is really helpful. I have a thrifted Moses basket for Aria that I adore but with my other two I had more traditional bassinets and even just a pack ‘n play at one point.

2. A lounger or pillow

Although you’ll spend A LOT of time snuggling, chances are you’ll want to lay baby down at some point. I love Snuggle Me Organic’s loungers but you can get a Boppy or a Dock a Tot too. Babies usually feel secure and cozy in these loungers, giving mama a few minutes of downtime.

3. A high quality sling or wrap

I’ve worn Aria more than either of my other two and it’s been incredible. I started a few days after she was born with a Happy Wrap (a Poshmark find), but once she was a little bigger, I used my Wild Bird sling and haven’t looked back. It’s a thing of beauty to be able to use both hands and sooth your baby, let me tell ya.

4. Cloth diapers AND diaper liners

Deciding to use cloth diapers for Aria felt like a daunting decision (you can read about it here) but honestly, it’s been so easy and natural. The lightened burden to my conscience is an added boost too. We use Glow Bug Cloth Diapers almost exclusively and I’m obsessed with the way they grow with baby, from newborn to potty training. As Aria grows, I’m so glad I discovered diaper liners too. They’re not reusable, but they create far less waste than disposable diapers do.

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5. A small, quiet breast pump

If you plan to breastfeed and want to be away from your baby for more than a few hours at any point in their life, you’ll need a breast pump. I’ll never forget when AJ and I took our first vacation away from the girls when Mara was around 4 months old…I packed my gigantic Medela breast pump and had to pump everywhere from on public transportation to airports and restaurants. The loud squeaking and pumping of the machine only added to the fact that I felt like a dairy cow being exposed in public. This time around, I’ve used a gifted Elvie pump and, friends, I can’t recommend it more highly. Although it’s definitely an investment, if you plan to use it long term, often, or with multiple kiddos it’s well worth it. It doesn’t use any plastic bags, so you can store your milk in glass jars like I do or however you please, AND it’s basically silent and fits right in your bra so you can pump truly hands free.

6. Reusable nursing pads

Another area that’s easy to reduce waste in is by swapping disposable nursing pads for cloth ones. I’ve heard some mamas say that they never needed to use them, but if I didn’t, every shirt would look like I was trying to enter a wet t-shirt contest in a much less sexy way. I added mine to my registry before I had Aria and have used them nearly every day since. You can find them on Amazon and at lots of baby-boutiques or low-waste stores.

7. Mason Bottles

I love these bottles because they convert any Mason jar (typically a 4 or 8 oz) into a baby bottle. You can reuse the bottles of course and pass the other accessories on when you’re done.

8. 3+ Wet Bags

Before I used cloth diapers I didn’t even know what these little bags were. But honestly, I’m not sure how I got by without them before. Not only do I toss dirtied diapers in them at the tiny home and when we’re on the go, but I use them for spit-up covered clothes, dirty burp cloths or even things my older two dirty throughout the day. I have 4 or 5 from Glow Bug Cloth Diapers — they’re made from the same water proof material as their diaper covers — and I never smell or feel a thing.

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9. A sound machine

Before we went tiny, we used noise machines every night, but now that we live in an RV, they’re literally life-savers. We have one in the big girl’s room and one in the room with us and Aria and they save your sanity from baby waking up at every accidental bump in the night. Even if you have lots of space, a sound machine will help your baby sleep longer during naps and nighttime.

10. A few high quality swaddle blankets and swaddlers

Newborns (all of the ones I’ve had, anyway) love being swaddled. However, wrestling a squirmy baby into a large triangle blanket can be easier said than done. I loved getting zip up or velcro swaddlers for my babies that were 400 times easier to handle in the middle of the night than using true blankets were.


What did I miss? Add your essentials to the comments! I really think anything else is an extra that, depending on your lifestyle, you can probably get by without. Don’t let the typical Baby Lists stress you out!


*This post is part of a long term collaboration with Glow Bug Cloth Diapers. All opinions, images, and creative direction are my own.*

How to Wash Cloth Diapers || with GlowBug Diapers

You may have seen my video on Instagram from last week where I shared my “washing routine” for Aria’s diapers. I thought writing up a blog post on the same topic would be helpful for those of us who’d prefer to see it all spelled out rather than sit through the video.

To catch my first FAQ post on cloth diapering click here.

Before I started cloth diapering Aria, my biggest hesitation (and still the most frequently asked question I get) was about washing dirty diapers and then reusing them….I’m used to the convenience of disposables and switching to cloth mostly required a mindset shift. I wasn’t sure how clean the diapers would actually be, but I figured I’d give it a shot since it obviously worked for every single mom in history until the advent of the disposable alternative.

So I jumped in. And guess what? it’s SO MUCH LESS DISGUSTING THAN I EXPECTED. Sure, diapering isn’t really a blast no matter what method you use and I’ll report back to you once we introduce solids in a few months. But for now, washing the diapers has been a breeze.

Using cloth diapers can seem intimidating at first, but once you jump in, you'll find that it's so much simpler than you expected. Washing is the trickiest part: here's a simple routine to follow.

Here’s the routine I’ve found that works for me:

Step 1: Determine how frequently you’ll need to wash

Since we don’t have a washer/dryer in our RV, I have to plan my laundry days more than most. But even with a washer/dryer in your home, you won’t want to be washing diapers every day. I’ve found the sweet spot is about every 3 days (this means you’ll need about 25-30 diapers to go this long between washes). I usually wash once on the weekend and once in the middle of the week…if it’s a major diaper week sometimes I’ll add in a third day or wash some of the diapers to give me some more time.

Step 2: Decide where/how you’ll store the dirties

Again, since our space is limited, I store all of the dirty diapers in Glow Bug Cloth Diapers’ wet bags. They’re made of the same material as the diaper covers, so they’re water (or rather, pee) proof, and don’t let out the smell of the diapers much. I have 5-6 wet bags total and keep one in the car, one in my bag, and the rest in our room to stick dirties at home.

For people with more space, a diaper pail or something along those lines will work just as well.

See? look how happy I am about laundry day.

See? look how happy I am about laundry day.

Step 3: Separate the diapers

When it’s time to wash, I always separate the insert from the cover. This is an extra step and you don’t necessarily need to do it (you can totally just dump them in and wash) but I’ve found that it gets them even more clean when I separate them.

Step 4: Pre-Rinse

If you have time, a HOT pre-rinse without any detergent works wonders for getting the smell out and getting your diapers extra clean.

Step 5: Wash

I wash everything on hot/heavy duty/extra rinse. If you have an HE washer, it should conserve water and wash in a timely manner. When it comes to water useage, I can promise you that cloth diapers use WAY less water than disposables do in production.

Step 6: Dry

Although most diapers are dryer-friendly, I try to air dry them as much as possible. Sunlight works WONDERS for baby poop stains, so if there is a stain on an insert, letting it dry in the sun usually does the trick.

If I need diapers ASAP, I’ll toss them in the dryer on light heat and they’ll be dry super quickly.


That’s it! Like I said before, it has been so much easier than expected and to any new-to-cloth-mama’s, I’ll tell you what everyone else told me before I started: It just takes a few weeks of trial and error to find out what works for you. Once you do though, it’s the most natural thing in the world.

Any questions? I’d love to help out if I can!


*This post is part of a long term collaboration with Glow Bug Cloth Diapers. As always, all opinions/photos/thoughts on dirty laundry are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands who make the world a little more green.*

#InspiringZeroWaste || An Intro to Cloth Diapers

Oof. After an unintended (really long) break from my own Zero Waste challenge, I’m back! If you’re not sure what #InspiringZeroWaste is, be sure to catch up on the explanatory post here, or you can read my other ZW goals for 2019 here. Have you kept going with the challenge? I’d love love love to hear about it!


At first glance, using cloth diapers is complicated and far less convenient than disposables. But what if I told you they were way less intimidating than you think? This overview of cloth diapering will give you all of the info you need to ditch disposables for good.
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When I found out I was pregnant with Aria, I knew, deep down, that I’d be giving cloth diapers a try. With my other girls, I had no idea that anyone even used cloth diapers anymore (other than the most woo-woo hippy-dippy of mamas). But now that I “know better”, I couldn’t let myself not give it a shot.

Anyone who has looked into cloth diapers before knows how overwhelming it can feel at first. Once you go down the cloth diapering rabbit hole on the internet, it’s hard to recover (or even comprehend most of what’s being said). There are an array of opinions, diaper styles, insert materials, liners, wet bags, nighttime routines, washing methods, and weird terminologies to make you go nuts.

But the biggest piece of advice I got from other mamas was just to "jump in and figure it out along the way”. And so I did.

This post, the first of many in partnership with Glowbug Cloth Diapers, is an introduction to cloth, if you will. I hope to answer most of your questions (from my friends over on Instagram) and share a little bit about how the first few months of using them has gone so far. Keep in mind that I’m no expert…I may use the wrong terminology (sorry, Reddit), and I’ll be the first to admit that like all parts of sustainability, it’s not black and white.

When to start…

This is different for every parent and every baby. Aria was fairly small when she was born (7 lbs 14 oz) and there was no way that the One Size snap diapers I had were going to fit her. Although newborn size diapers exist, buying some that I’d only use for a few weeks or months seemed silly. So we used disposables for the first two months until she grew enough to fit into the one-sizes.

The newborn phase is HARD no matter how many times you do it, and so this time around, I intentionally built in extra grace for myself, and disposable diapers was one of those things. Of course, lots of people use cloth from the get-go and that’s amazing too.

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How many diapers do you need…

I don’t need to preface each question with “it looks different for everyone”, but truly, that’s the best answer to most situations. How many diapers you buy will depend on your situation, how much storage space you have, how often you can do laundry, etc. For me, I knew I’d need a few extra diapers because we don’t have a washing machine in our RV (this will of course change when we move out…but for now that’s our reality), so I haul our diapers up to my parents’ house nearby and wash diapers about twice a week. We need enough to last 3-ish days, so my grand total is close to 25+ diapers. If you can do laundry once a day or every other day, you can get away with less than that.

What’s my washing routine…

I plan to do a full blog post on this soon, but I’ll go over the details because this was the most common question by far. As I mentioned, I wash diapers 2-3 times a week (I don’t have specific days, but usually at the beginning of the week and again at the end of the week. Once on the weekend if I need to.) This wouldn’t be sustainable if my parents didn’t live nearby, so it’s due to the easy access to their laundry room that I’m even able to use cloth currently.

When I wash, I typically run them through a rinse cycle first using cold water and a bit of vinegar to get rid of the smell. From there, I wash again on hot/heavy duty/extra rinse using a mild detergent and a bit of Borax to clean deeper. I air dry in the sun when I can but on cloudy/cold day I just hang them inside.

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What about stains? Do they actually get clean?

When you think about how dirty kids get and how frequently blow-outs happen in the baby phase, cloth diapering doesn’t really seem all that strange. Clothes wash out normally, so why wouldn’t diapers?

As long as you’re washing adequately, the diapers will be good as new each time you wash them. For baby poop stains, you can use a regular stain remover, but believe it or not, sunlight works wonders on stains. If all else fails, rub a bit of blue Dawn dish soap into the stain and then wash and let dry in the sun.

Do they work as your baby grows?

Yes! One of my favorite things about Glowbug’s diapers is that they “grow” with your baby. They’re easy to adjust and are supposed to last from newborn to toddler-hood. So far, they fit Aria perfectly at three months. This size guide from Glowbug was helpful for me when I started using them.

Basic terminology?

There is A LOT of information out there and it can get super overwhelming, especially to a new mom who has no experience with cloth. This blog post from Glowbug is super helpful for breaking down each type of cloth diaper and the pros and cons.

How to prevent leaks at night

Double up on your inserts! For my pocket-style diaper, I use two inserts one bamboo and one hemp (with the hemp on top) for nighttime, as per Glowbug’s recommendation. I also use bamboo liners to help keep her dry (and make poop clean up easier). These are the ones I’ve used so far.

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I can’t afford to buy as many cloth diapers as I need

Although using cloth diapers ends up being far more cost effective (it’s a one-time purchase that will be used for 2-ish years, as opposed to a weekly/bi-weekly purchase that only lasts a week or so) it can be a sizable cost upfront. If you can’t afford to buy brand new cloth diapers, there are TONS of resale groups on Facebook and other resell sites. If the diapers are in good shape you won’t even be able to tell they’ve been used before. Affordable AND sustainable.


If you’re a first time mama, take all of this with a grain of salt. Adjusting to motherhood for the first time is H.A.R.D whether you have an easy baby or a tricky one. Don’t feel pressure to do cloth diapers perfectly (we still use disposables at night sometimes!) and know that it will get easier with time. Make changes that you can make when you’re ready to make them and know that your mental health and your baby’s health always come first.

What questions did I miss? Let me know in the comments and I’ll answer them next month!



*This post is part of a longterm collaboration with Glowbug Cloth Diapers. All photos/storytelling/creative direction is my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make SL&Co. possible*

HowGood is Your Amazon Cart? This Plug-in Can Help

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If you’re a human with access to the internet, chances are you shop on Amazon relatively regularly. The sheer volume of products available in one spot is too much for our convenience loving hearts to avoid and, despite my issues with their excessive packaging and, unfortunately, morals as a company, I find myself shopping from Amazon semi-regularly too.

Living in a very (very) rural area - yes, I live on a literal mountaintop - I don’t have easy access to places like Target, Wholefoods, Trader Joes, or other health stores within a two-ish hour drive. So when I need to order something quickly that I don’t have nearby, and when I can’t pack up three kids and head to Denver, Amazon is often the simplest choice.

But, being the online superstore that it is, the excessive amount of options can be overwhelming to me. It’s harder than browsing the aisles of a store since there’s almost every option and brand known to man and womankind at the click of a button. I’m used to being picky about what I buy for my family, but ever since I discovered HowGood, it’s made finding healthy products on Amazon much less of a hassle.

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HowGood recently launched a simple plugin for your computer. Once installed, it will give you instant advice about the “goodness” of a product you may be interested in. HowGood believes the path to sustainability lies in transparency, especially when it comes to our food and the products we use in and on our bodies. Since the FDA is notoriously lax when it comes to regulating skincare and often allows ingredients that are knowingly harmful for our bodies, it feels like the consumer can’t rely on “regulations” when it comes to staying healthy.

That’s where HowGood hopes to simplify things.

As a website, they’ve rated more than 1 million products with only 5% earning the highest rating. They’ve build a team of researchers, gathering data from more than 350+ sources, and are committed to telling the story behind our food and other products and hopefully, in time, changing the face of the industry. (Click here to see how they evaluate a product for safety and sustainability.)

Their app, and now their newly launched plugin for Google Chrome, gives consumers access to their research and info on the sustainability and healthiness of a product, both in stores and online. Their plugin currently works on Amazon for baby related products (think wipes, diapers, baby lotions, etc), and they'll soon be expanding to include cosmetics and hopefully even more.

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Although I admittedly try to limit my Amazon shopping, it’s so nice to have the plugin as a backup to check the safety of the things I’m ordering for Aria and my older girls. When things labeled as “natural” or even organic generally aren’t so natural, having a deeper look into the ingredients and even the undisclosed fragrances and other sneaky chemicals that make up our go-to products is helpful. When HowGood gives a product a bad rating, it will recommend other safer alternatives for you to check out easily, without having to dig through the depths of Amazon’s inventory.

You can download HowGood’s app on your iPhone or Android to take with you to the grocery store and you can add their Chrome plug-in to your browser to make your online shopping as toxin-free as possible.

Although I haven’t placed my order yet, these water wipes (I haven’t quite gotten to the level of feeling comfortable with zero-waste wipes yet), Vitamind D drop, toxin free sunscreen, and prenatal vitamins are all sitting in my cart with the help of the HowGood plug-in.

Do you shop on Amazon? Would this plug-in help set your mind at ease?


*This post was sponsored by HowGood to promote their new plug-in. Thank you for supporting the brands and organizations that make SL&Co. possible.*