Thursday, August 21, 2014

GIVEAWAY // Win an Organic Moon Dress from Gaia Conceptions!

GIVEAWAY // Win an Organic Moon Dress from Gaia Conceptions from Bubby and Bean!

Today I'm teaming up with long time sponsor of Bubby and Bean, Gaia Conceptions, for a special giveaway featuring a pretty remarkable dress!  Andrea, the owner and designer behind Gaia's gorgeous, eco-friendly clothing, created this stunning piece with the ability to be worn 25 different ways.  If you only had this one dress in your closet, you could literally wear a different outfit everyday for almost a month!  Crafted by hand from beautiful hemp/organic cotton knit, the Moon Dress is also hand dyed and available in 23 different colors.  It's perfect for late summer and fall, and can be easily dressed up or down for almost any occasion.  And now one lucky Bubby and Bean reader is going to win a Moon Dress of their very own (worth $165) in their choice of color and size!

Before you enter, you have to check out this video that Andrea and the Gaia team put together, demonstrating some of the ways that this incredibly versatile dress can be worn.  I'm seriously impressed!

To enter, just use the entry form below.  There are several ways to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway will run through August 28, 2014 and is open to Bubby and Bean readers worldwide.  The winner will be randomly chosen and announced here shortly after. 

Thanks again to Andrea and gang over at Gaia Conceptions for giving Bubby and Bean readers the chance to win this magical dress!  Good luck!

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Home Decor: Our Favorite Simple Lines

By Home Contributor Paige Ronchetti

Our Favorite Simple Lines
one // two // three // four // five // six

Clean lines aren't a trend for me so much as "A Timeless Classic That Will Never Do You Wrong." They're en vogue thanks to the midcentury/retro direction a lot of companies are taking right now, but even when that style eventually shifts into something else, simplicity will always be there like a dependable BFF. (Minus the bottle of wine because, duh, your furniture can't buy wine.)
The thing that makes simple shapes work so well with other stuff is exactly that--they're simple. Because there isn't too much going on, it's easy to pair them with whatever you want. Maybe a geometric side chair? A large scale floral? Damask?! Even if something wild isn't your jam, clean lines still look great all by themselves. It won't shock you to hear that the look lends itself to modern styles really well:

clean lines2

So light! A lot of things in this example are very linear--the chairs, picture frames, curtain rod--but it's not stark. Going with a wood table breaks the monotony and adds some warmth, while the colorful artwork keeps all of the white from feeling blah. If I had a room with that much natural light, I'd have my butt parked at the table all the time.

For those of you who prefer a more traditional swagger, here's how simple lines can work in your place:

clean lines3

You have the clean lines on the floor, bed frame, and windows, but look at that sofa in the corner. The rolled arms! The skirt! The matching throw pillows! All of those features are very traditional, yet they look great with the simple lines that pop up everywhere else. Even global bits like the rug and the pink accent pillow don't look out of place because the bones of the design are so minimal. See? They will never lead you astray.

Do you use any simple, linear shapes when you decorate? What's your favorite piece here?  Do you like the clean lines in the modern room or the traditional room? - Paige

As a fellow lover of simple lines, I am so appreciating this post.  Thanks Paige! In addition to writing for Bubby and Bean as our Home Contributor, Paige is an Interior Designer (check out her biz, The Room Kit), and also blogs over at Little Nostalgia.  You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Farewell Sale and a Thank You

Now and then, I've shared some of the 'behind-the-scenes' of my eco-friendly clothing line, Mountains of the Moon, here on the blog.  It has been a huge part of my life for a very long time.  Before I started this blog and the art shop, it was, for many years, my full time job.  It allowed me to travel all over and have some really incredible experiences while providing a good living.  It began as a labor of love right out of college, and grew into something substantial that taught me invaluable lessons about entrepreneurship, and life too. I've mentioned here, in a couple of posts on small business, how things began to change a few years back - and how, as a result, it has slowly become less and less of a focus for me career-wise.

Last week, I made the decision to close the business.  It was not a decision that came easily, but it was time to let it go.  Today, I emailed a letter to Mountains of the Moon's customers and email list - over 15,000 wonderful, loyal people for whom I'm very grateful - explaining our decision.  I decided to post that letter here as well.  And for those of you who are fans of style-conscious earth friendly apparel, we're having a huge 75% off sale today and tomorrow as well.  (Woohoo!)  There are details about this sale and a coupon code at the end of the letter.  Thank you for letting me share.

Our (Huge!) Farewell Sale and a Thank You

Dear Friends,

Mountains of the Moon began 15 years ago in a tiny Oregon apartment, with some fabric scraps and a hand-me-down sewing machine set up on a cardboard box.  I was right out of college and didn't even own a computer.  At the time, there was no such thing as "eco-fashion."  There were a few companies who produced garments made from hemp and organic cotton, but I wanted to take things further.  I had a vision of designing fashion-forward collections that were earth conscious without sacrificing style.  I decided to call the line Mountains of the Moon (after my favorite Grateful Dead song), and began sewing one-of-a-kind designs and selling them at music festivals throughout the country.  To my surprise, people liked them, and they sold out - again and again.  I continued to sew, set up a website, and began to make steady sales online in addition to vending at festivals and events. My dream business was on the path to becoming a reality.

Things continued to grow.  I hired a team.  We added a t-shirt line to the mix, as well as accessories and other goods along the way.  In 2005, the business had gotten to a place where I was no longer able to keep up with the sewing on my own.  I continued to design and sew the prototypes and samples, but began working with local manufacturers to produce full collections in larger quantities.  We set up a wholesale program and began to sell to stores.  In less than two years, over 100 boutiques worldwide carried our collections, we were showing at Chicago and Portland Fashion weeks, and my designs were exhibited on two separate occasions at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art. I spoke on Mountains of the Moon's behalf on fashion panels and at green events, produced eco-fashion events in Chicago, and worked on the side as an eco-minded fashion stylist for several bands in the music industry.  I was, and still am, incredibly grateful for this success.  It was a magical time, getting to do what I loved and meeting so many amazing people (you!) along the way.

Sometimes paths take unexpected turns, and over the past few years, things began to change.  Almost 90% of the boutiques who carried our clothing have closed, and website sales dramatically decreased as well.  We sent another newsletter a little over a year ago where we were very candid about how the economy and (sadly) a decline in consumer demand for eco-friendly products had affected Mountains of the Moon over recent years. We hoped that maybe things would change, and we put a great deal of effort into attempts to make it work again, but in truth, keeping Mountains of the Moon afloat has been challenging for a while now.  The expenses of keeping the website/ecommerce system and other business necessities active are now greater than the sales we make.  And although my energies have admittedly shifted to focus more on other ventures (more on that in a minute), we always said that as long as we were breaking even, we would keep Mountains of the Moon open.  Throughout 2014, we have failed to break even.

My wonderful long time employee Kari and I, after many months of discussion, have made the decision to close Mountains of the Moon, once our remaining inventory has been sold.  Although we would love to continue to keep it running despite the losses, it's just not financially possible anymore.  That said, we do plan to keep the spirit of Mountains of the Moon alive.  We will be shutting down the shopping portion of the website once our inventory is gone, and we will no longer produce clothing or vend at events, nor will stores carry our clothing.  But we will keep the name, and the website will remain active on some level - even if just to share our story.  Our minds and hearts will also always stay open to the possibility of creating product for Mountains of the Moon again someday in the future.

The cliche of doors opening where other ones close has proven quite true for me. Some of you have become readers of my other project, the Bubby and Bean Blog, over the the past 3+ years. And some of you have become customers over at my greeting card and art company, Bubby and Bean Art.  I started the blog as a companion to Mountains of the Moon, as a way to talk about small business, fashion, green living, design, DIY projects, and other things that inspired me.
It is now, in addition to the art shop, a full time business of its own.  Just as I am grateful for the success and joy that came with Mountains of the Moon, I am grateful for success and joy that accompanies the Bubby and Bean businesses.  I hope that you will stay in touch, and join me over there.  I will also continue to stay active on our Instagram, Twitter and on our Bubby & Bean Facebook page.

Before I go, I want to mention one more change - the one that has brought about the greatest gratitude and joy of my life.  On December 28th, 2013, my daughter, Essley Morgan, was born.  And as sad as I am to have to let go of Mountains of the Moon (my other baby!), I realize that perhaps everything truly does happen for a reason.  Whereas Mountains of the Moon demanded constant travel, Bubby and Bean allows me to work from a home office/studio while I care for my daughter.

Although it depends on how quickly inventory goes, this will likely be the final sale newsletter that you will receive from Mountains of the Moon.  So we've decided to make it a big one.  Today and tomorrow only, take 75% off (yep, 75% off) your order at, with coupon code THANKYOU. (*See below for details.)

And speaking of thank you, I want to end this by saying just that.  I could go on and on about how much I appreciate the support that you, our customers, have given Mountains of the Moon over the years.  Some of you have even been with us since the very beginning.  All of you - new customers and long-time friends alike - will always hold a special place in our hearts.  So thank you.  A million times, thank you.

With Love and Eternal Gratitude,
Melissa Baswell Williams
August 2014

UPDATE: We are selling out of inventory faster than we can keep up in the system. If you place an order, PLEASE check your email as we'll be emailing those with orders we can't fill throughout the day. Sorry for any inconvenience!

*75% OFF COUPON: To redeem, enter code THANKYOU in coupon code box at 75% will automatically be deducted from your order. Valid 08/19/2104 through 08/20/2014 only. May not be combined with payments made with gift certificates or store credits. Valid only for clothing (not art and greeting cards). Coupons cannot be applied after purchases have already been made. PLEASE NOTE that all sales are FINAL during this promotion.

Monday, August 18, 2014

10 Great Basil Recipes

10 Great Basil Recipes // Bubby and Bean
1. Fresh Basil Hummus, The View from Great Island  //  2. Thai Inspired Basil Margarita, Rachel Cooks Thai  //  3.  Layered Sun Dried Tomato and Basil Spread, My Recipes  //  4. White Pizza with Tomato and Basil, Cooking Light  //  5. Basil Pots de Creme with Balsamic Strawberry Reduction, Food Babbles  //  6. Basil Quinoa Cakes, Greatist  //  7. Fried Mozzarella, Basil, & Nectarine Stacks, Etc //  8. Succotash Salad with Basil,  The Kitchn  // 9. Ricotta and Basil Fritters, Taste //  10. Lemon Snow Pudding with Basil Custard, House & Garden   

As summer begins to wind down (noooo!), I become more appreciative than ever of the little harvest that we get from our container garden.  Getting to walk outside each day and pull a couple of tomatoes from their vines or carrots from the dirt is a simple pleasure in which I relish, and one that I miss throughout the winter.  This year, our tomatoes, usually the shining star of our garden, haven't done as well as usual.  What has proven to yield all sorts of fresh, green goodness, however, has been our lone basil plant.  It continues to flourish, and I continue to try to dig around online in search of new and creative ways to use it in recipes.  For this edition of 10 Great, I'm sharing some of my basil recipe finds with you.  Some I've tried, and some are on the 'to make' list.  Some are more traditional, and some are quite unusual.  But they all contain this deliciously fragrant - and surprisingly healthy - summer herb. 

Are any of you growing basil this year?  What is your favorite basil recipe?  Here's a quick tip: throw a couple basil leaves in your morning smoothie.  I did this as an experiment and fell in love - it's incredibly refreshing.

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Friday, August 15, 2014

Hip Mom, Smart Mom, Stylish Mom: Savannah and Jenny of Maiedae

Hip Mom, Smart Mom, Stylish Mom: Savannah and Jenny of Maiedae

Last month, I introduced a new series to you guys called 'Hip Mom, Smart Mom, Stylish Mom.'  I explained that when I was pregnant, I thought a lot about what kind of changes would take place in me after the baby arrived, and if it would be difficult to maintain my individual identity and style.  I knew that I absolutely wanted Essley to come first, without question - but I also knew that it was important to continue to stay true to who I was, and to continue to enjoy the things that made me ME, pre-baby.  Well despite much less sleep and free time, a consistently messy home, and a wardrobe that is rarely wrinkle-free or truly clean, I can honestly say that I at least make a conscious effort to be somewhat stylish, to create a relatively healthy balance between work/family/life, and to remind myself that it's neither necessary nor appealing for me to fit into the mold of the stereotypical, traditional mom.  I'm lucky to know (and constantly meet) other moms who feel the same way that I do.  These women are committed mothers who defy convention.  They are true to their kids and true to their families, but also true to themselves.  These moms are hip, smart, and stylish - and I'm thrilled to be able to share, in their words, what makes them that way.

For the second post in this series, I'm excited to feature two hip Atlanta-based mamas with whom I've established friendships as fellow bloggers over the past few years.  The two of them have been best friends since college, and together run a fantastic company called Maiedae.  Their babies are only a few months younger than Essley, and it's been fun to be able to share our pregnancies and now watch our little ones grow and go through milestone so close together.  Welcome the hip, smart, and stylish Savannah Wallace (above left) and Jenny Highsmith (above right). 

Welcome Savannah and Jenny! Please introduce yourself to Bubby and Bean's readers.
Hey guys!  It's Jenny and Savannah from Maiedae here :) We are so excited to be a part of this new series with Melissa, thanks so much for having us!  To begin with, we'll tell you a little bit about ourselves. We are best friends, business partners, and are both new mothers (Rowan - 3 months and Soren - 6 months).  Our business, Maiedae, consists of a full-time blog that we run together, a print shop, a fancy mixer that we run annually in Atlanta, and a graphic design company that specializes in blog design. We love to share our adventures in motherhood, fashion, baby, home, beauty, wellness, and living a creative lifestyle!

I've never been a huge fan of being asked to define my style in a number of words, but for sake of time and space, let's do it anyway.  Define yours in three words.   
We both love to style outfits differently, but I'd say we both could describe our style as: simple, feminine, comfortable and fun. (That's four, but close enough :)). We love finding basic outfits and adding a little bit of "glam" - like a cute head scarf, a fun patterned kimono, or a beautiful piece of jewelry.  Jenny tends to be more classy and artistic with a boho vibe, and Savannah is more edgy and neutral, but with a dash of boho too. We will ALWAYS pick comfort over anything, especially now that we are keeping up with our new little ones!

What is different (if anything) about your style/wardrobe now than before you had kids?
Actually, for both of us, we've found ourselves desiring more of a "chic, timeless" look than before we had kids. Before having kids, you could find us sporting items from our college wardrobe, but now we really want to simplify our styles and purchase more quality, longer lasting pieces. They have to be practical for nursing, putting in the wash a TON and getting dirty on a consistent basis while still looking good. ;)

As work-at-home moms, what is your usual daily 'uniform?'
A lot of days we're lucky if we get a shower, so some comfy leggings (like these from Seamly Co.) and a flowy tank top or loose shirt are perfect for wearing around the house, running out to do quick errands, and nursing our babes. We both work from home so we are not ashamed to rock the lounge look most of the week. If we have a meeting or an outing planned we try to dress it up a little more, but we love finding transitional pieces that work at home and professionally.

What do you wear when you go out with your husbands or girlfriends? Are your outfits different or the same as when you're hanging with the kids? 
Several times a week, we both try and get a little more dressed up - whether it's for date night with our husbands or to hang out over coffee with a girlfriend. In those cases, we both love wearing some comfy: worn-in skinny jeans, a cute pair of patterned flats, and lots of flowy layers (which is a great way to hide that postpartum tummy). If we want to be really fancy, we'll throw on dresses, but that's usually only for special occasions - aka it's really hard to nurse in a dress so that only happens on date nights.

What are your top three wardrobe staples?
We love a good pair of jeans (usually from Gap or Urban Outfitters), a beautiful, flowy cardigan or kimono, and a comfortable pair of shoes we could wear around all day that also look awesome. We both have huge crushes on Minnetonka.

What are your favorite places to shop for clothing that you'd suggest to other hip/smart/stylish moms? 
Target and Forever21 always have great finds at an inexpensive price. However, we’ve really been focusing on investing in our wardrobe and obtaining quality over quantity. We’ve been loving Seamly Co., Anthropologie, Madewell, and Gap.

What are your favorite places to shop for baby and/or kids clothes?
Some of our favorite places to shop for baby clothes are: babyGap, Target, Carter's, and Little Hip Squeaks. Carter's always have the BEST sales and way cute stuff. We can't get enough of their baby PJs.

How do you 'balance' everything you have going on (work, kids, family, life!) while still keeping a sense of style?
Balance is such an unattainable word but something we are always working towards even if we never, ever reach it. More often than not we don’t spend enough “me” time and find ourselves in desperate need of showers and brushes through our hair. We let ourselves be ok with that and just dive into motherhood head-first. However, we’ve found that it’s really important to at least try to carve out time for ourselves, dress-up, put on some make-up and take that time to feel like ourselves. It’s easy to loose a sense of identity when becoming a mom. You are a soother, source of food, diaper changer, cozy cuddle, fierce protector, wiper of gross things... you are mother. It’s a beautiful thing, but we need to be affirmed and reminded that we are also still ourselves AND beautiful. So while we don’t do this everyday, we do try to make it a priority at least a few times each week.

What is your ultimate favorite thing to do with your family when you have some downtime?
It's the simple things really! We love taking walks, going on new adventures around Atlanta, eating out, visiting with friends, watching an un-healthy amount of Hulu or Netflix and sometimes nothing at all. :)

Thanks again to the wonderful Savannah and Jenny for being our second hip/smart/stylish moms!  Don't forget to pay them a visit over at Maiedae.  You can also find them on Instagram (Jenny/Savannah), Pinterest (Jenny/Savannah), and Youtube.

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