Back in Stock... Margaret Solow - Wabi-sabi necklaces!

The Margaret Solow wabi-sabi necklace is the perfect mothers day gift... (even if you are just getting it for yourself!) - Wabi-sabi is the beauty in all things Imperfect, and I really love the idea of that... there is a book too.. Wabi-Sabi: for Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers by Leonard Koren ($9/paperback) and I also think that there is a book on how to wabi-sabi your home (like that idea too!).

But mostly, I just like to wear my wabi-sabi and think about the beauty in all things imperfect, I think I live by that rule!  Wabi-sabi is a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. It is the beauty of things modest and humble. It is the beauty of things unconventional. Wabi-sabi represents a comprehensive Japanese world view or aesthetic system but it is difficult to explain precisely in western terms. Jewelry designer Margaret Solow translates this idea in a necklace, in which she drops silver into sand and makes a hole from which she threads a red cord. There are no two pieces that are the same, each imperfect for you to wear around your neck on a 18" red nylon cord with a sterling silver clasp ($48) - also available in gold ($150).

Happy Mothers Day... (just an idea!)

to find the margaret solow wabi sabi necklace - click here


LIKE us on facebook and twitter!

Yes, I am making my way into this century and we do HAVE a facebook page and twitter, I actually have an intern from the University of Rhode Island helping me out (say HI to Katie!) with these things so that we can be smart and be on FACEBOOK and TWITTER! I don't know about you but I do use facebook and it's pretty addicting and fun to find people from your past, I had no idea I knew this many people in my small High School. And good for business... yes it is! It can get the word out there faster than anything, although I have to say that I still just love my blog, so don't worry, it's always my main focus.

What we will be different on facebook is that we 'may' announce specials or quicker kind of deals for shopping on Nonchalant Mom. We are planning on a monday 'spotlight' item in which we will talk about something we LOVE and can't seem to live without, we've got a lot of those...

So follow us on Facebook or Twitter by clicking here:


Thank You!



A customer contacted me the other day and asked me to suggest my favorites for the season for her three girls.. and I thought to myself, hmmm, why didn't I post this before!! You know that I LOVE everything in my store or it wouldn't be in there but here are some of my favorite, FAVORITES:

click on image to see larger

top row from left to right:
wovenplay dresses - darger dress + posie dress
atsuyo et akiko crown tank dress
wovenplay tutu skirt + lucky fish turtle t-shirt

second row from left to right:
lucky fish peacock dress
tuss halter dress (and soon my halter pantsuits will be here... shhh its a secret!)
jada sun suit - this is ALWAYS my favorite piece -- it isn't summer without this!
makie madras plaid dress in pink or blue.. LOVE them both

third row from left to right:
it isn't summer without kit+lili dresses, these are hands down my daughters favorite dresses... always! (left to right: christine in chambray or clovers, stella dot dress, sarah chambray dress)

fourth row from left to right:
kit+lili mandy dress
super sky skirts are really the runaway favorite this year and everyone seems to love them!

I also want you to know that these are not my favorites just for now but ALWAYS! these pieces will stretch into multiple seasons and bring some fun into your already there wardrobe! I suggest wearing everything barefoot! or if you HAVE to wear shoes we like veja, superga or bensimon... just get out there and be bright and have fun!!

click here to visit nonchalantmom


T-magazine does it again!

I have been meaning to post about the Spring Design issue for a few weeks now (it's been sitting on my desk and I can't stop picking it up and dreaming!). I knew when I saw this cover that I would be interested... how could you not love that! If you didn't catch it you still can online and among the fabulousness that the issue is I loved The Dinder House, this will go down in history for inspiration for me (although it does look a little un-lived in) and I also loved the incredibly inspiring landscape design of Judy Kameon.

Let's start with the Georgian Manor; Dinder House, reinvented by London designer Ilse Crawford. Talking about re-inventing a home; move the kitchen to the living room, change rooms into bathrooms -- the result is a completely different living arrangement. The family is welcome and each room is wide open, everything is spacious and no-one or nothing is cut out.

cabinet by Studio Job

My very favorite part was this custom marquetry cabinet by Studio Job (top image) - it transforms this room from cold to family cozy! (it is a work of art in itself!) Somehow Ilse warms up the rooms with just one item, it's a bit of a lesson in restraint... a lot of it in fact! Take a room and distill it down to it's bare purpose and this seems to be what she have done with their entire house -- VERY unique and VERY lovely!

Turn to the next pages and you will see... beautiful landscape design!

I was also inspired by this issue with the landscape design of Judy Kameon (this is a completely different story although maybe they should get to know each other...) her completely unique take on gardens gave me ideas that flipped my color relationship completely! I love her use of dark stones, dark painted walls and then bright cactus and hues of purples... just amazing. With our 'possible' plans to move to 'another place' wherever that might be, I can even imagine the Southwest!

be inspired!
click here to view the Spring Design Issue of T-Magazine


BMI testing in schools

I was referred to a link the other day which went to a blog on 'Babycenter', the title of the blog was "they said my daughter is fat" - which intrigued me. It went on to tell a story that some schools are  required by the State to test kids BMI (Body Mass Index) and report the results to partents, they range from 'normal' to 'obese'. The woman writing the article had received a letter that her daughter was on the edge of 'obese', but the mother had a reaction of shame and embarrassment, she was appalled that the school would tell her such a thing (read the full article here). I was shocked by another thing.... what the heck kind of bubble is she living in!? I don't know about you but I think that this kind of testing in schools is a very good idea. And while BMI might not be the perfect way to find out if kids have eating problems or are not eating proper foods, no test is going to be perfect and it's certainly a good start! Obviously the school has to handle it in the right way and discuss all of the issues with the students and families discretely, notify them that the test is going on and explain what the results mean. If you think your school is not doing this correctly, then get involved and help the school to make sure the information is clear, complete and informative for the parents. It's a little ridiculous to complain that they should not even test for this, somehow this person is blind to the world we live in today with very intense eating problems.

I spend a lot of time in our school and while I think that most kids are in good shape and active some are to the point where they can't even run anymore and it's sad! I think that some parents need a wake-up call and take notice and seek some help in working with these kids diets so that they can take a more healthy path. I think that when they are your own kids you don't really notice, it happens slowly and you wake up one day and it is very difficult for your child to turn back. If you catch kids early enough their turn around is pretty simple and easy and just takes some discipline and exercise (and it's a wonderful opportunity to do something WITH your kids not matter what your weight!).

here are some statistics:
  • More than 30 percent of American children are obese or overweight. This is triple the number than in 1980.
  • Overweight kids are likely to become overweight adults.
  • Poor nutrition is everywhere; only 2 percent of school-age children consistently eat well.
  • Kids are less active overall due to today’s fast-paced but sedentary lifestyles. Only 8 percent of elementary school students and 6 percent of middle school and high school students have daily PE at school.
  • 35% of school-age children watch an average of 5 or more hours of TV on a school day.
  • Overweight kids miss school 4 times as much as normal weight kids. If kids aren’t in school, they can’t learn.
  • Low-income and minority children are most seriously at risk.
  • All of these children face serious, yet preventable, obesity-related health risks such as diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer.
  • As a nation, we spend $119 billion annually on obesity-related health care costs. The U.S. economy simply cannot bear continued increases in these costs.

What do you think? (be nice!) - I would love to hear from International parents on this subject... what do your schools do to make sure that kids are eating right?

click here to read full article at Babycenter


salone del mobile - via: karen karlstrom

vitra styled by dieter thiel

My friend Karen is the best window onto the Milan furniture fair, she always finds something good and I like her sensibility. Visit her atelier in Switzerland by clicking here. This year she came back with some photos that had a very playful flair.. party ideas anyone!?

vitra styled by dieter thiel

Karens comments on the fair:
Going through the furniture fair in Milan this week I found the styling at the Vitra stand to be very fresh with a child-like approach complete with croaking frogs, mobiles and balloons, definitely not the usual dull combination of neutral colored glass, books and ceramics... it brought some color and some joy into my day.

She's not kidding, Karen will always find a way to add delightful color to her work!

vitra styled by dieter thiel
 I love the glossy tones together with the dark shades of black and grey, this is easy to translate into your own home and I think that there are many ways to use this 'information' to spruce up your own home!

vitra style by dieter thiel
I know that there is a lot of information on the fair from many sources, even Design Within Reach shared their comment on the fair on their blog (click here)

get inspired!


WASHINGTON dc - travel guide with kids

getting ready to go on our trip to DC... does anyone have more Hervé Chapelier bags than we do... we love them for easy travel. (yes, you have to use muscle instead of wheels!) I recommend pink so that your husband (or anyone else) doesn't steal if from you!

(the buried giant - sculpture at National Harbor)
 We stayed at two different hotels in the four days that we were there, we thought this would give us two different perspectives and it was a great idea. We stayed at the National Harbor the first two nights and then we moved into the city for the last two nights. On the first day we had been on a plane, subway, boat, and car! crazy man...

boat ride to DC from National Harbor

Obama the 44th president.. we tricked everyone with this one!

the beautiful subway system! very efficient!

even my Hasbeens made it to DC!

finally some sunshine! (kit+lili dress!!)

who put that there!?

yes, the garden actually exists.. right on the front lawn!! take note... you can put these anywhere!

The Air and Space museum - the one out by Dulles airport, it has the space shuttle... amazing!!
my chosen mode of transportation

when we found this bike rental place we went crazy! Bike and Roll and don't you forget it!! the best way to get around the city!

We rented bikes for two days... it was a super way to get around the city and see all the sights, I saw dozens of kids complaining about walking around and being tired but our kids were so excited to be on bikes, it worked perfectly! You feel a little weird sometimes riding around while everyone is walking but since it's all National Parks we were assured it's perfectly fine! Rent them from Bike and Roll a terrific company, it's just like bike people to be super nice and easygoing!

The National Gallery
When the lines get long at the Museum of National History get your butt over to the National Gallery, as my husband says "I know a place where there will be NO lines!" and he was right... we spent hours looking at all the art, it's amazing the depth of the art collection at this museum.

after a long day don't stop at the regular vendors make your way over to OLLIES TROLLEY! The best milkshakes and it's right next to the spy museum!

Washington DC is a wonderful place to visit... we loved it and it was amazingly fun, interesting and if you take your time and not try to pack too much into the day the whole family can have a BLAST!

Just email me or comment if you want more details we would be happy to share everything!!

possible mothers day gift?! - 25% off Dupatta Shawls/scarves

We would like to offer 25% off on Dupatta Shawls and scarves from now until mothers day... just in case you don't know what to get yourself... you can get a deal on a dupatta! Actually all Matta scarves are included in the sale so find your fancy and then delight in a deal... (don't you love all this rhyme)

these guys are perfect for this time of year, on cool summer nights and all they way into Fall, get a colorful dupatta and add color to all-white summer looks or your best black and grey NYC attire!

Use code: dupatta25 at checkout and your 25% off will be applied.

click here to see all Matta scarves on Nonchalant Mom


ABC flashcards - learning the ABC's

As you know, our daughter Franny had trouble with her ABC's and suddenly wasn't really interested in learning them... yikes! I wrote a post on my blog and many of you had some great comments and ideas! We used them all AND we made these wonderful flashcards.

One rainy day, we found things around the house that started with each letter of the alphabet, our son got into it and helped out as well, it made for a fun little project that we all worked on together. Through it all Franny got to work on her ABC's and spelling and she loved the project!

So, this is what you will need:
camera, computer, a graphic tool to add the numbers to your photos like InDesign, colored paper and some spray mount.

We collected items as we went along and took photos, when the kids lost interest, I just took photos without them and as soon as they saw that... they ran back and got into the game! It's best to find a wall without any distractions in the background, I like to use a white wall because it just fades into the background, but you can use a bed, table or any kind of 'stage'. It helps to have a staging area for the whole project.

When the photos are done you can simply load them onto your computer, I like to use iPhoto to pump up the color and make them bright and fun. Arrange everything you are working on in an easy folder so that it's all together. Then take the images into your design tool and add the letters, we like to use bright colors for this, and arrange four 'letters' per page so that you are only printing out 7 pages. I like to send my images to our local printer because a laser printer delivers really vibrant color that rarely works on our home printer. But either way can work.

When you have all the pages ready, use spray mount to adhere colored construction paper to the back side (I do this out side because the fumes are bad!). Spray the back side of the images lightly with one coat of spray mount and then spray one side of the construction paper, now put them together carefully. They will come together like cement so you won't be able to move them around after they touch each other. Let the pages dry for a bit and then take a paper slicer and slice out your cards! They come out perfectly neat and professional! (but they don't all necessarily have to be the same size.. that will drive you crazy!)

We use our card all the time and they love them.. and they can make a wonderful keepsake...


see this story as covered in Small Magazine Spring 2011 issue - click here



Washington is beautiful (sans reflecting pool), brimming with vacationers from all over! So far we met a terrific family from Chicago, a delightful couple from Russia and a few ladies on a bachelorette night out!

We rented bikes from "bike and roll" and we are touring the city on wheels!

I'm just testing out this mobile blogger.. So you will hear more as the trip goes on...

using BlogPress from my iPhone


Grazia Magazine - UK

Our Matunuck, RI home was featured in Grazia Magazine in the UK. They published a lovely article that turned into an nice feature. We found out because a friend of ours called from a London taxi and said "I just opened a Grazia magazine that was in the back of the taxi and I said to myself "HEY, that's Franny!".

 I think it's just about time that I need to offer myself for interior design! maybe it's a better career for me... (or maybe I should have done that BEFORE the issue came out!) But really, it's a nice article and funny it comes just at a time when I was reading through all of the responses from our first annual Survey Monkey... and many of you said that you would like to see more of our house (more on the survey results in another blog). Well, first of all I will tell you that it rarely looks as clean as it does in these photos, and secondly if you follow our blog you will know that our house is also UP FOR SALE! (contact me for details).

So here you go... more of our house! I think it looks great and thank you Grazia for the feature!