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Charting the style of daily life...with the mouth of a sailor.

Gone FoxSea-ing

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I’ve been a busy maker over here these last few weeks…

I started playing around with some looks for an event promo, and really enjoyed the freshness of the crisp and bold color. Perhaps I’ll take it further and do a bit of a makeover one of these days.

With a larger than normal slate of orders and upcoming events, I needed to produce bigger batches of product. My husband is such a gem, and he helped me tackle the labeling - which is not fun.

I’ve been lacking a little in the swag department, so I whipped up some new pins (#SaltyLady) and made some business card samples, so I could share Universal Oil with potential new fans. Fingers crossed…

My Herbal Lip Balm is back, because it’s that chapped lip time of year everyone loves so much. It always surprises me how much people ask for this product, which I initially started offering as a promotional item.

I was asked to create something for a local company’s holiday client appreciation gifts, so I bottled Universal Oil in a small rollerball for the first time then decided to add it to my regular stock offerings! #FoxSeaOnTheGo

I love a good bath, as does my smallest human. I really dig the ritual of a nice bath, so I teamed up with a local candle maker to help me create the first ever FoxSea bath candle. This first batch isn’t exactly what I want (not a reflection of my candle partner, but my own issues) but it’s got tons of potential! Stay tuned…

This summer I decelerated, both with FoxSea ish + my freelance writing, which is the great part about being freelance. However, it took me a bit to get back up to speed and I’m not sure I can sustain another deceleration. This busy last quarter of 2018 has reenergized me and I’m excited to keep up the pace!

Whew!

Face Palm

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I know I’m always going on and on about using clean skincare, and I do so because there are so many compelling reasons why it’s important. I believe simple, clean, minimal skincare is best, and if you can incorporate freshly made products into your routine, even better! Reading labels is key to knowing what you’re absorbing through your skin as well as ingesting from your packaged foods. I’m getting in your face today about discontinuing the use of palm oil.

Currently, it’s used in so many consumer products, and its popularity is killing the orangutans. Palm oil is found in approximately half of the products found in grocery stores, like frozen foods and margarine as well as personal care products like soaps, candles, cosmetics and household cleaners. And it’s not always easy to see it written on the label, because there are so many alternative names for the ingredient:

Read more about the issue from the experts, because I’m definitely not one of them:

The Effects of Palm Oil

Palm Oil Producers Wiping Out Orangutans

Sir Richard Branson: The Race to Save One of the World’s Most Pristine Ecosystems

Simple and clean living is great for you AND the sweet orangutans, who don’t have a voice in this fight or their future. It will take even more effort in reading labels, and we’re bound to slip up here and there, but if palm oil products start becoming less popular, an alternative will be found. Money talks, as we all know too well.

48 Hours in The Mitten

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I’d never explored Northern Michigan, and kept seeing all these amazing pictures and posts from the area. So I packed up my family for two days and made the 5 hour trek north. It’s safe to say we fell instantly in love.

We arrived late on Friday night so we got up and out early so we could have maximum exploration time. Our first stop was for coffee, of course, and we landed at Blue Boat in Leland. The cappuccinos were perfect and the kids loved their cherry steamers - with sprinkles!

We stopped into a few shops and explored Leland’s Fishtown but it was WINDY AF so we sat down for a second breakfast, so we could get some protein into the boys and strategize our next moves. My second breakfast was a club soda + a damn fine cup of tomato carrot bisque in an unassuming, cash-only diner called Early Bird (can’t link to it, because they don’t have a website) that my husband totally judged by its outward appearance.

I’m amazed by how much Northern Michigan looks like the East Coast, and I kept closing my eyes, listening to the waves crash and could SWEAR I was on Cape. But there was a distinct lack of salt in the air…

The Leland home we stayed in was so charming, and the same was true for its environs. The mass of yellow leaves, both on the many, many trees and the ground, was spectacularly beautiful. I love looking through family homes, see how they personalize a space, how their chattles, collections and all the other stuff of life mixes with the decor, transforming the rooms into a tangible scrapbook of sorts. This is especially true inside well loved vacation homes, where the best version of the family is presented (generally speaking of course, and only because the stresses of daily life aren’t typically in play while on vacation). This particular home had piles of heart shaped rocks, no doubt collected over the many years, as well as beautiful driftwood scattered on the dining table as a centerpiece, and as accents elsewhere.

Cherry Republic in Glen Arbor was really cute and charming, though a little tourist trap-y, but that’s ok, and to be expected. Michigan’s cherry scene is something, apparently. We tasted a few delicious things and left with a sixer of cherry lambic and a cherry pie to eat back at the house.

We explored the various towns like Sutton’s Bay, Glen Arbor, Northport, in addition to Leland, and were thrilled to find accessible beaches and harbors in all of them. We spent a long time on a beach within Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park, where the boys drew in the sand and enjoyed a rock throwing competish, while I tried to put them all in my pockets. Naturally, Ryan was snapping away with his DSLR.

Michigan is all about promoting their waters as “unsalted” and free of sharks. I’m cool with no sharks, but I love my salt, so I brought my own. #BYOS #GetFoxSea #ABP #AlwaysBePromoting

Cold and windy November was so lovely and delightful, I’m not sure we’d be able to handle the charms of the warm, in-season months!

So yeah, as cliché as it may be, we’re pretty smitten with the mitten…

So That Was October 2018

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I love autumn, even though something dramatic happens with my family every October. This one was no different (I’ll spare the details), but I managed to have plenty of high points mixed with the low, and without my full prescription of Xanax, no less!

From left to right, top to bottom: Finally hung my French Paper Co. posters, with binder clips because let’s face it, I was never going to get around to framing them. | “Faux-ritos” at Bird & Cleaver. | I just really love my adidas NMDs. | Made a couple of special request XL Uni Oils! | I cherish any and all Cape beach pix sent my way from a beloved neighbor. | My favorite ramen. | Felt cute at the time. | The f^ck!ng Beastie Boys released their amazing book, making my month! Year! Life!

HALLOWEEN!

BDF made it easy on us this year, choosing a costume we could easily order. PCF did not. Many hours were spent making/assembling the Daft Punk costumes. But the helmets are now on permanent display at Chez Fox, which we’re all pretty excited about.

One more thing: This October marked one year since the gallbladder surgery I didn’t think I’d see the other side of, so I’m feeling pretty good this Fall, thankyouverymuch.

One Woman Army

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Daddy, the Colonel, insisted I ride side-saddle. He said it was the only way for a lady to ride, so graceful. Silly of him. Nobody rides side-saddle now, but it’s the only way I know. Just kidding. Those are lines from Auntie Mame. My father indeed was a Colonel in the Army, however I never called him Daddy and I don’t know how to ride a horse.

What my father did teach me was an appreciation for the armed services. He knew from an early age he wanted to be career military and started his Army development in a youth program when he was 14. Some people are just really compelled to serve. There’s a lot more I could share about his impressive military career, however the point of all this is much more fluffy: I really like camo prints. And olive drab.

I can spend hours (and do) in Army/Navy surplus stores. I have loads of authentic garb and regalia plus many commercial pieces, mostly from J. Crew. I don’t ever need camo to “come back in style” because I just never let it go, trends be damned. And I know I’m not alone. There are always plenty of options from major retailers, designers and brands.

The trick is making camo pieces feel more fresh and interesting than last season, so I’m loving this slightly muted camo print by James Perse. It helps that James Perse and the like make softer versions than the United States Armed Forces, who care not for comfort but durability. This jacket can be worn so many ways (dress it up! dress it down! yada yada yada, you know the drill) and I’m forever a fan of sweats (pants, shirts, you name it).

Then there’s this soft as hell sweatshirt in a color they’re calling Artillery Pigment, which is quite creative, I think. I wonder how many different ways people have tried to make the color Olive Drab sound less D R A B?


I think it goes without saying, though if it did, I wouldn’t feel compelled to SAY IT NOW: One piece of camo goes a looooong way, so do not ever wear more than one camo print ANYTHING at one time. I know they say there are no rules in fashion, but I’d argue that point on the subject of camo alone. It’s important to also shy away from trying to look too authentic in store bought military gear. Stolen valor is really insulting, and wearing camo looks more like a costume when overdone. Aaaaand one more point: My father always felt the need to approve the patches and pins I’d randomly pick out from surplus stores, because he said something could be offensive in its use or placement. If you don’t have a member of the military to consult, the best thing to do is talk with the staff at the surplus store for guidance before making a purchase of pins, patches and other embellishments.


There’s this song that I love (and love to sing), that perfectly captures for me what motherhood feels like.

Never knew what I was signing up for
Knew it was hard but not this hardcore
Never gonna stop, never gonna give up on you
No matter what I do

Wanna give you everything I never had
Love you and teach you good from bad
Never gonna stop, never gonna give up on you
No matter what I do

What I do, I do for you the best I can
Build a life for you with my own two hands
Never gonna stop, never gonna give up on you
No matter what I do

Here I am baby, I’m your one woman army
I’d fight for you, I’ll die, I’ll be your protector
Here I am baby, I’m your one woman army
No matter what may come, I won’t surrender
— Kate Earl

Sometimes parenting is like going into battle. Good thing I have so many olive drab coats.

Fresh Eats: Spicy Cauliflower & Carrot Soup

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It’s soup season! Okay, every season is soup season (I especially love chilled soups in the summer), but fall and winter is PEAK soup season. There’s nothing like cozying up and tucking in to a great crock of soup.

I’m forever scanning Pinterest and Instagram for new soup ideas and recently came across this one for my husband to make. It comes from @anna.culina in Baden, Switzerland, whose feed looks amazing. Screen shots of ingredients and instructions are below, as well as linked to her original post, simply because I really didn’t feel like typing it all out.

Please share with me all your favorite soup recipes (for Ryan to make, and for me to eat)!

Get FoxSea

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I hate asking people for money, but I really want you to #GetFoxSea. 

FoxSea Skin is natural, organic beauty products that are effective and luxurious. I make each batch right before delivering it to stores, meaning the ingredients are fresh. For now, FoxSea is has a small, tight radius in Northeast Indiana. Would I like to widen that radius? You betcha. For now, FoxSea products can be purchased at a handful of boutiques, who also ship, by the way…

Please support my small side hustle by shopping FoxSea skin at The Find, The Trove, Idlehour Boutique and Salon Renew, all small, women owned businesses themselves!

Dig Yourself

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Authentic is a word that’s thrown around a lot, and for good reason. As I age, I understand its meaning, and its weight, more and more. It’s said there are no original ideas, and since we’re all influenced by many factors on the daily, sometimes it’s hard to know if yours is truly yours.

I believe while one singular idea may not be original, the way that idea is applied, married with other ideas, carried out by a single person, can transform it into an original. I’m not the first person who loves nautical style, as well as mermaids, rainbows, narwhals and unicorns, has a large (and growing) adidas collection, embraces a bold lip color, loves pink, always wears sunglasses and invests in handbags and lucite costume jewelry, but perhaps the way I blend all those things makes the mix uniquely me.

I’m not a fan of straight up copying - at all. I don’t like it when someone blatantly bites my style, and I go to great lengths not to bite anyone else’s. I’ve returned unworn/unused items when I see them elsewhere in my circles or too many times around town. There are, of course, exceptions, but those pieces are in the minority.

I’m particularly annoyed by the cookie-cutter vibes happening among style bloggers on Instagram. I am not a style blogger, but I follow a ton of them, and am now unfollowing them, one by one. I’m bored by the same shots over and over - it’s not inspiring or interesting. Now, I am guilty of some of these things, too. I recently posted a doormat pic, complete with pumpkins! How basic. Please shout at me if this becomes the norm. But more and more, I want to see unique people, dressed uniquely, doing unique things, making unique things, in unique places. I want to see a unique point of view, and something a bit more real. I’m bored with the fashion blogger template of Louis Vuitton bag + coffee combo. It’s played. Don’t even get me started on the smokey eye and full face of makeup all day, erryday. The Kim K standard of beauty is so distasteful to me. But I think I’m getting off track here…

I’m a long time Bob Dylan fan, and bought his children’s book, Forever Young, for my firstborn as soon as it came out. We read it a lot back then, but after a few years without cracking the spine, it’s back in our regular rotation. The book takes Dylan’s legendary lyrics and couples them with charming illustrations that encourage kids to know themselves, love themselves and to be courageous and strong in the face of adversity. Good lessons. That Bob Dylan is pretty wise - I think he’s going places.

One of my favorite messages from Dylan, shown on one of the many placards in his iconic video for Subterranean Homesick Blues, and included in the charming illustrations by Paul Rogers for Forever Young, is Dig Yourself. Yes, indeed. Revel in what makes you you. Love you. Be you. I am uniquely me. You are uniquely you. Let’s keep it that way.

DIG YOURSELF.

A Bushel & A Peck

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Yeah, we went apple picking. I’m not sure I have the bandwidth to wax poetically about the event. I don’t do such things often, but when I do it’s more likely to be about the ocean. Or the soft leather of a high quality handbag. I’ve had a lot of shit going on this week, while my husband’s been out of town, so I’m just tapped, you know? While I just don’t have the words at this moment (one might ask why I’m choosing to blog about it now, in that case) I do have some pictures of our very basic betch apple picking outing. And those are worth about a thousand each, as they say, so in lieu of six thousand words, here are six pix. You’re welcome.

Freelance Nomad

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My day to day is very loosey goosey — I’m always on the go, biting off WIFI wherever I can in between meetings and school drop offs/pick ups. Sometimes I write early in the day, sometimes late in the night, and sometimes, not at all. I’ve gone days pretending my deadlines don’t exist (sorry, EIC) while other days, I eschew showers, proper meals and interactions with adult humans in service to my work. It’s challenging but it’s also quite lovely to be my own boss. I live in joggers, take donut and reading breaks whenever I feel like it, and enjoy the luxury of writing about my favorite things. I am so fortunate to exist professionally outside the walls of a cubicle, outside the rigid M - F, 9 - 5 template. I’m hashtag blessed to be a freelance nomad.

Live a little be a gypsy, get around
Get your feet up off the ground
Live a little, get around
— Paul McCartney, Uncle Albert

Calm Yourself

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There are plenty of things that rile me up these days. When I literally can’t even, I have a few resources I rely on, so I’m sharing here just in case you need them too.

I used to call The Calm Center Hotline, which tickled me because it actually existed, but it’s no longer a thing, sadly.

I’m obsessed with my Sleep Pillow app and use it to create a soothing environment at bedtime as well as when I’m feeling the need throughout the day.

There’s almost nothing as soothing as a lovely cup of tea. Even better is using all the best accoutrements possible to really get lost in the ritual of the whole experience, which is something I really love. I have two favorite teas, one of which is widely available, including here.

If I really need to zone out, I game. I love putting pencil to paper and playing a few games of sudoku (if I’m really feeling anxious, I stick to the easy level). I also love to play Tetris on my old school Game Boy, spider solitaire on my iPhone or Luxor 2 on our XBox360.

And, at the risk of being too sales-y, I often rely on an awesome bath to soothe my mind, body and soul. This is another activity where I really dig the ritual, which is one of the reasons why I make bath and body products (ahem, #GetFoxSea). A candle, ambient sounds from the Sleep Pillow app, a cushy bath pillow and a big ass mound of FoxSea Sea Soak calms me right down.

Wishing you peace of mind, mates.

Top Brass

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Brass accents (brassents? braccents?) are nothing new, of course, but the thoroughly design-y pieces on offer at the moment are trés chic and modern, instead of 80's cheesy, which is how I used to think of brass (remember those awful, cheap, bright brass chandeliers that were everywhere way back when? Ugh).

I love the warmth brass adds to a room, and it's looks spectacular contrasted with cool greys, which is what we Foxes always paint our walls (favorite combo = grey walls + brass accents + tons of houseplants). Go small with a decorative object displayed with books or a slim floor lamp next to a reading chair, or go big with a hammered brass drum coffee table and corresponding side tables in the living room. Even better, go really big and put it all in one room.  

 

Shop these badass brass picks (and way more) at everyone's fav-o-rite store, Target!

Get FoxSea & Get Glowing!

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I'm a pretty terrible salesperson but I do wholeheartedly believe in the products I make. Behold a sales pitch below, with product recs from other skincare lines, because including them makes me feel better about tooting my own horn so blatantly. 

Transitional weather is here, which means it's time to make some tweaks to your skincare regime. Keep that summer glow going with the right mix of healthy beauty oils.

* As the temps start to dip (they'll dip eventually, right?), switch from gel or foaming cleansers to a cream or oil variety. FoxSea Universal Oil can be used as a cleansing oil, or try Burt's Bees Facial Cleansing Oil, which gently removes the dirt and makeup of the day without stripping skin bare.

* The eye area is among the most delicate, and wacky weather can parch the area quickly. An oil serum can do a deep dive to help combat the fine lines and wrinkles that can age a face in a snap. Eye Eye, Captain is my personal fave, but Little Barn Apothecary makes an excellent version, available here.

* A nighttime facial oil is a must for waking up with glowing skin, and is the perfect last layer in an evening regime, because it helps to seal in what was applied before. FoxSea Eternal Oil is an ultra nourishing option, thanks to a super group, if you will, of natural oils known for soothing and moisturizing. 

Okay, that wasn't so bad, I guess...

 

GO BUY SOME FOXSEA!