Emily Ulmer - portrait photographer

I met Emily Ulmer online... and I fell in LOVE with her portraits of children, just simply the most beautiful approach to a child's portrait that I have come across. The kids seem so comfortable and relaxed, at home in her settings. I really have to wonder how hard she works at them because they feel so effortless - no that there is any lack of talent, on the contrary, it takes a trained eye to catch these moments and also to have the foresight to create these quiet settings.

Emily began her career taking portraits of young people in a that pivotal moment of transition from adolescence to adulthood. She has since become attracted to another key moment in life, that of childhood. She tries to capture the most natural state, without the romanticizing interpretation of adult eye. "I usually photograph children in their own environments, in order to capture a sense of their world" she says.

Emily is working on commissioned portraits as well as childrens photography, she is located in Los Angeles, California... you lucky guys.. if she was only closer to Rhode Island!

Thank you Emily for such beautiful work!


exercise, exercise, common everybody do your exercise!

I am one of these people that can't really stand to go to the gym, I have never been able to do it... when we lived in NYC we used to bike up to Chelsea Piers and while my husband went to "work out" I went swimming laps... that's the closest I ever got to the gym. But really, it was just an excuse to use the sundeck. Since I was 18 I have been doing Iyengar yoga, not very regularly, but pretty constant. The best yoga teacher I have ever had teaches out of Boston - Karin Stephan (she is doing a retreat on Cape Code later in the summer which I will give you the full details in a post to come) - you can visit her website YogaMacro for more information on her classes!

I know how your life can get so busy, surprisingly so if you have a new baby and as your children get older it is somehow STILL surprising how little time there is in your life. So here I come with a solution! You may remember when I wrote a blog about exercise cleaning and I still think this is a good idea... but how about in the summer, there is so much work to do outside and I think it completely counts as exercise (I actually asked my doctor and she felt its a good source of exercise as well).

So here is an idea, take it one step further, you know how you go to the gym every day, well how about yard work every day, just an hour! I don't know about you but my kids can pick up sticks in the yard (just to keep them busy) while I rake leaves -- hold your abdomen tight, twist with aerobic agility, and pull the rake back with strong arms! Mow the lawn... don't just stand behind it and push but use your whole body, energize your whole body and push the mower up hills, and don't take the easy route!

The point is that you can be creative in your exercise, it doesn't have to happen in the gym to keep you fit! Remember the Karate Kid! WASH YOUR CAR! Bring your exercise home... take stock in doing housework, yardwork and chores. Our bodies were made for much more rigorous work than sitting at a desk and working so remember you need to keep using it for that!

I know I go on and on about hanging out laundry but it's really my favorite time of the day! -- it may sound weird but, it's calming!

(I know that this has nothing to do with anything but a monk mowing and smoking... loved this image!)


Wakefield, Village Street Festival

 (my nonchalant mom table of goodies at the Wakefield Village Festival)

Our town had a Village Street Festival last weekend and it was exciting to see so many people in our town! It seemed to be pretty much locals as the tourists have yet to arrive this week. There was face painting, the local fire department served hot dogs and hamburgers, a karate exhibition by the Karate studio, and a young girl who figured out how to make whipped bananas! - they were delicious! just banana, nothing else... crazy, but ohh soo good!

All the town merchants came out to the street for a fun afternoon! In the evening there was a big music festival and a lighting of fire in the river... it was all fun and games! The kids were blowing balloons, playing chess on a GIANT chess board and that general running around!

I hope that you can come next time as this will certainly be an annual festival!

(that's my mother-in-law with her wonderful sunglasses! - she LOVES green!)


nonchalant kids collection on SALE!

We are going to start fresh next season and wanted to clear things out so we have marked down all of the past Nonchalant Kids collection, even what WAS on sale is marked down even more... I went a bit crazy!

I didn't make a collection for this coming Fall, it just didn't happen. BUT I am very excited for next Spring 2011 and we are going to bring you something cute, sweet and just easily playful! I promise!

But for now, check out the sale -- and when it's gone... it's gone!

Lot's of things are just $20!!

Have fun and I hope that you find something for your kids from Nonchalant Kids!

click here to visit Nonchalant Kids on Nonchalant Mom!


teachers gifts

This may be a bit late for some of you whose kids have long been out of school, we had an extra week due to the floods earlier in the year. So tomorrow is the last day of school for our son and TODAY I just thought about the teachers gifts... bad mom!

BUT to redeem myself, it's not like I didn't put any thought into it, I have in fact been thinking about it since two months ago a customer bought a whole bunch of Margaret Solow necklaces as class gifts for a few teachers and I thought that was a really thoughtful and beautiful idea (and maybe I will do that next year!).

So herein are a few Nonchalant Mom ideas for teachers gifts:

1) Margaret Solow Wabi Sabi necklaces ($48)- they come with a little note explaining 'wabi sabi' and the beauty of all things imperfect! -just the thing for a perfect teacher!

2) Kit+Lili tote bags ($68-$78)- this is the gold standard, believe me! The teachers LOVE these!! You can't go wrong!

3) Kit+Lili zip pouches ($18-$28)- you can even put things inside for them like... a handmade note from your child, or pencils, even a I love my teacher t-shirt! (or a lucky fish one too... if you have a groovy teacher!)

4) Britt Beautiful Skin ($36) - skin brushing system! for the healthy teacher... give her glowing skin for the rest of her life!

5) Indu Lotion ($24)- maybe in a kit+lili pouch!

6) homemade granola - so your teacher can think of your child every morning... even when school is over! click here to find the Nonchalant Mom recipe or try Dinner: A Love Story, she has a great one too with this great handmade jar idea (well kind of... a little bit of Ikea involved!)

7) Lucky Fish Pillows - pillows or pillow cases - your teacher can think of you each night and wake up in the morning with you!

Teachers are great and I think that they love an end of the year thoughtful gift... at least until 6th grade... or when does it stop!?


crazy cake - guest blog: Jennie Menke

Many of you may remember my friend Jennie Menke, she was going to guest blog and then she fell into the snaffoo of being a soccer mom, well she happens to coach the whole league so I would call that Super Soccer Coach Mom! (capitalized). Unbeknownst to her I am posting her funny crazy cake recipe, just because it's that time of year, your kids are just out of school and have yet to figure out how to play by themselves again without a teacher shuttling them through each move of the day...

On Charlie’s First Official Day of Summer Vacation


He’s already bored. So I told him to go make a cake. Oddly enough, he seemed to take me seriously, so I rooted around in my recipe box for my Crazy Cake recipe. I wonder if I am the only one who remembers this cake fondly? Is it popular? Does anyone still make it?

My mom made it a lot when I was a kid. Then, in 8th grade Home Ec class with Mrs. Kahnne, we made it at school. Remember Home Ec? Oh my gosh, what a lot of who-ha to make a pot of macaroni and cheese. I think the lead up to actual cooking took 75% of the quarter. I remember it being painful. I also remember the teacher said “measure” like “may-zure,” which I thought was distracting. I could remember nothing else after she said it, as the word replayed in a loop in my head. I wondered things like:

  • Maybe she grew up with her mom pronouncing it that way…
  • Why doesn’t she just roll over and say it the way everyone else says it?
  • Does she think she sounds sophisticated?

Then along came Martha Stewart pronouncing the “H” in “herb” and I thought the same things all over again.

Anyway, this cake takes about 10 minutes to prepare and 40 minutes to bake. I am not a huge chocolate person, and I find it just perfect. I have heard of die-hard choco-manics adding tons more chocolate chips or — horrors! — frosting it. Yuck!

Crazy Cake
  • 3 c flour
  • 2 c sugar
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 t soda
  • 1/3 unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 3/4 vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 T vinegar
  • 1 cup (or to taste) chocolate chips (I use milk chocolate)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift together flour, sugar, salt, soda and cocoa into an ungreased 9 x 13 pan.

make three holes in the mixture.

Pour 1 teaspoon vanilla into one of the small holes. Pour 2 T vinegar into the other small one. Pour 3/4 cup oil into the large one.

Then, pour 2 cups water over the entire mixture and gently blend well with a fork until flour is all blended. Just remember to be gentle.

Sprinkle with desired amount of chocolate chips.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean (avoid chocolate chips!)



visit Jennies blog by clicking here for more of her great humor, gardening and great meatless monday recipes!

Thank you Jennie!


shampoodle - collector pants!

I couldn't pass up sharing this photo of the Shampoodle collector pants for babies... my friend gave these as a gift at a baby shower and then we got this photo... Now tell me YOU don't want a pair for yourself OR your baby, or child! -we have them in sizes from 0 (baby) through kids size 6 year and then up to size large in adult! - click here to see more..

They are so perfect for the summertime!

Have a great summer!

click here to visit Shampoodle at Nonchalant Mom


HBO documentary series: Gasland

Throughout the summer on Monday nights HBO has been airing a series of documentaries, I think that this is the third or so already (you can see them all on On Demand, they have all been great so far!) but this one has a real telling story: Gasland - follows Josh Fox while he finds out more about the natural gas drilling practices in the United States. The film won the special jury prize at Sundance 2010.

The film will air on Monday, June 21st on HBO at 9pm. So don't miss it!
click here to see trailer

Drilling for natural gas relies on a process of special concern in the film know as hydraulic fracturing or "fracking". In fracking, companies inject, at high pressure, into each well up to 8 million gallons of water and toxic chemicals (like kerosene and eiesel fuel). This fluid fractures underground formations, unlocking natural gas that had been trapped. Filmmaker Josh Fox takes a closer look at natural gas drilling and fracking and their effects on communities in the award winning documentary called Gasland.

If you would like to read more visit the HBO website to see a trailer
Information taken from the Environmental Working Groups (EWG) website


Tomorrow is the last day for Layla Trunk show!!

Friday, June 19th is the last day of the Layla Trunk Show

I will be packing up the remaining items to go back to Layla!

There are still some wonderful items left and a couple of Afghani dresses...

Next week we will have our own FRESH supply of Afghani tops! so if you LOVED the dress you will LOVE THIS TOP!!

In the meantime, take one last look at the Trunk Show page by clicking here just to make sure you are not going to miss your FAVORITE item!

We Love Layla!

Diem Chau - crayon statues!

I am finding myself quite the cheerleader for Diem Chau, this may very well be my THIRD blog about her! Going back to first writing about her amazing crayon statues back in 2008 and then her Blythe Dolls in 2009... Well here we are in 2010 and she is still amazing me!

I received her newsletter and there they were these super cool, very intricate, and might I add, totally chic colors and packaging -- crayon statues of the World Cup Soccer players! (nice one!!) These are so much fun and might I add.. funny! Even the arm positions are the classic stance of each of the players (not that I know them but NOW I do thanks to these little crayon guys!).

I feel as though I should give you some facts here, Diem was comissioned by Wieden + Kennedy to carve 66 crayons for this year's Nike World Cup press kits! Only 11 kits went out each with 6 of the players each -- she banged these guys out in 18 days! It all sounds brilliant and wish I was a recipient! For the time being we can just enjoy a job well done!!

And... dare I mention what a good gift this would be for Fathers Day!! She does make commissions of the crayon sculptures you can email her to get the specifics (but maybe it will have to be next year while Diem gives her hands a rest!)

visit Diem Chau's blog: 'The Pleasure of Tiny Things' by clicking here


Mor Mor's Sour Cream Waffles

We have the pleasure this week of my mom visiting from MinnesOta, the kids love it when she is here but I think that I love it most! She is a clean FREAK and whips this place into shape! AND we eat the best food while she is here... she loves to cook, but not those simple things, she has these delicious elaborate recipes that I LOVE. She is the kind of mom that made stuffed peppers when I had friends over as a kid... embarrassing then but I am so thankful now that I have a taste for the good things in life!

She found her old waffle recipe and has been making waffles for my sister and her kids in the last few months, she is on a bit of a roll with it... you never know when you are going to get the invitation to Margit's house for waffles! I was so jealous that I went out and bought a waffle iron for her arrival, and I am glad that I did... you cannot believe these airy and delicious delights! I remember them as a child but they seem even better now! We paired them with whipped cream and lingonberries and YUM! Amazing! or fresh strawberries when they are in season!

Mor Mor's Sour Cream Waffles

2 eggs - separate the yolk and whites
1 cup sour cream (or buttermilk but she prefers sour cream)
1/3 cup melted better
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda (mix with a bit of water)
3 teaspoons milk

beat the egg yolk and mix in sour cream, flour, melted butter, salt and baking soda/water mix and the milk.

beat the egg whites separately until light and fluffy and fold into batter.

When my mom made them she said "you are not going to like this recipe because it's a little bit fussy" and she is right, but they are darn well worth it and make up for all the trouble with delicious waffles! She also said that she once forgot the milk (runs in the family) and she thinks they taste even better that way!

Any way you look at them they are THE BEST!

These would be a great idea for Fathers Day!!


Jann talks about travelling in South Africa (just in time for World Cup!)

Thank god I started Nonchalant Mom... because this is how I met Jann Cheifitz who IS Lucky Fish. Many times I think what would I do without her in my life, she is so very balanced, calm, and her approach to work is well, just the way I like it! We work great together, "Jann I need more t-shirts!!" is a frequent email subject! But our lives cross paths on many subjects and I love that about her... and HEY, Nonchalant Mom would not be half as cool without her whispering in my ear!

Recently Jann wrote a blog for BozAround, which is a family travel blog run by Vanessa Boz, a self described world traveler! So, where is the hot ticket this summer... SOUTH AFRICA! And who better to ask about that than Jann. She wrote a wonderful blog for BozAround that is filled with tips and information on Cape Town and local haunts from the South African native, and if you think she is hip on New York (well really it's Brooklyn she is passionate about) wait until you read about what she as to say about Cape Town!

The blog is filled with dozens of links to amazing restaurants, hotels and sites and rather than going into detail here I am going to ask you to click directly through to BozAround. (because for all of you who do NOT have a blog you have no idea how long it takes to write a blog with this many links!!) BUT I want you to be able to click through and see all the fun and beauty that South Africa has to offer and hopefully you will be travelin' soon!


click here to visit BozAround


road trip anyone!? - tada shop blog

(somewhere in Canada-Lake Superior in distance)

Hadley and Holly from the Tada shop asked if I would write an 'Essential Road Trip' blog for THEIR wonderful blog. The Tada Shop blog is mostly about their shopping expertise which is honed for their website Tada Shop, but also includes exciting information on happily living with your kids in which they talk about games, playtime, creative time, travel and much more! We have been working hard to make Nonchalant Mom available at Tada Shop and should be ready soon... (if only I could be a bit more technical!).

In the meantime, I am guestblogging with them about our Road Trip across Canada and back (well, all the way to Thunder Bay and back to Rhode Island). It's filled with tips on how to pack (which, depending on how well you know me, my surprise you?!), what to bring and not to bring and some tips on how to generally keep things going while you and your group are in close quarters. We love a good car trip and I would recommend it to anyone!

So here is the entire blog:
or click through to Tada Shop Blog)

We have been obsessed with Carina since seeing her in Domino magazine ages ago and love her approach to life, the products she stocks her store with, and well, her! She fills her blog with inspiring ideas for kids activities so we figured what better person to weigh in on the SUMMER ROAD TRIP!


Last year we took the time to go on an extended car trip around the Great Lakes, our destination was an Island on a lake in Northern Minnesota and then back to Rhode Island in two weeks. We drove the Trans-Canadian Highway through the tops of the Great Lakes, it's kind of funny even when you look at the map, there is ONE road through Canada and while you are on that road it certainly feels like it's the only road for miles around. We stopped to eat from 'chippie trucks' whenever we could and then we hit local diners and such for dinners. As soon as you come down through Thunder Bay, Canada and back in the USA it's an immediate change of scenery, and instead of just driving through beauty, you can feel the change in the United States. Roadside stops in Grand Marias really stood out for their smoked fish sandwiches and small health food stores.

Just in case you think that you need to prepare yourself for a trip like this, we are here to say that you don't! (although it IS a good idea, it's not necessary). So if you find yourself with some time this summer, without plans, and not much money I would completely suggest a car trip. And don't worry, your kids will be so excited about the trip that you won't need to plan for entertainment as much as you think you do! Let them in on the map directions (I would even get a map so that the kids can follow the progress on their very own), finding signs for directions, exits, and number of miles to the next stop. When things start to get rowdy in the back seat, make a pit stop, let them help clean the windows on the car, take a bathroom break, and even take the moment to chew a stick of gum, you will be amazed at the troopers that you have along with you!

Our drive took two weeks and we had to hustle it on the way back a bit, so give yourself time to relax and drive at a good pace so that when you stop you can enjoy yourself a bit and not have to take off early in the morning. We planned a mix of camping and staying in small hotels along the way and this broke things up a bit and worked out very good. We found the camping in Canada really amazing, beautiful and natural, while in the USA it was slightly more crowded. But if you do your homework on the towns in which you would like to stop, I am sure there would be a treasure in each day! The point is to not expect too much and just plan on keeping it cool with your family and rolling with the punches.

Wovenplay's Sun Suit is Carina's "favorite summer piece of all time!" and on her packing list!

As for what to bring, don't pack all the practical stuff you would 'think' that you would want on a car trip. In that I mean have some fun and bring the crazy stuff... On a road trip, this is where you are out of your element and have a good time! I have a friend who is an amazing Womens Clothing designer, she is super chic, always... when we traveled to Sicily together she would wear Prada to the beach, I thought she was nuts but really... if you have the stuff you just have to wear it, don't let it sit in your closet! This is especially true for kids clothes, they will outgrow it anyhow and you don't know how cool a totally worn out Makie dress can be while camping or playing at the beach, why not look completely amazing all the time instead of just for a wedding! (expensive also means that it's made well in my book!). We also don't bring along tons of games and things on road trips, yes, I think that the correct games and learning apps loaded by a parent onto an iPod touch is great, but on the other hand a slinky bought at a gas station in Des Moines, Iowa can become all the rage! (if you brought it along it wouldn't have that appeal). Our kids both have an old fashioned radio with earphones (we use these wonderful ones by iFrogz that are colorful and the kids LOVE!).

Good Luck and maybe we will see you this year as we plan to camp our way through the Grand Canyon... somewhere around there... let us know if you have any ideas!

Very warmly - Carina

click here to visit Tada Shop
click here to visit Tada Shop Blog