Hurricane Irene

Just a quick note to say that we are all safe and sound here at Nonchalant Mom. Yes, there were some scary moments during the storm, but we have emerged for the most part in good condition. I just wanted all of you to know that we are keeping up with your purchase orders and shipping seems normal right now. We're working hard, even if everything isn't 100% yet ! Thanks for your patience and kind words of concern and support !


hello long time no blog... right!?

kit+lili on the ironing board, lem lem on the hook in my office, nico nico behind me....

Oh! I am SO behind... our house looks like a photo studio, clothing draped everywhere... photo shoots every morning (when the light is good) and then afternoons spent photographing flats, then all night long entering data and ironing... this is the fun/not so fun part of Nonchalant Mom! I love it and I hate it! But I have to say that it's been more exciting than ever with terrific results on the photo shoots, the coolest collections I have seen in years! (BRAvO amazing designers!) and it's all GREAT!

Then came IRENE... now we spend our days listening to The Weather Channel and wondering if we should board up the house! We decided not to... so I will photograph the aftermath for you, we are just hoping that #2 (our guesthouse) will hold up to the pounding rain and wind... uff da!

ESP no1

ESP no1

ESP no1

nico nico

nico nico

nico nico

In the meantime feast your eyes on our fun photos and check out the collections on Nonchalant Mom, they look great and I hope that you like them... we are about 50% in on the Fall collections right now with kit+lili just arriving, nico nico, the introduction of ESP no. 1, Makie, Lucky Fish, and for women... Lem Lem, yes it's here! I couldn't get anyone to model for me as the Hurricane is taking everyones time, so next week I will have some photos for you to see. For the time being, you can see everything flat on the website by clicking here! (it's sO-O-O-O-o GORGEOUS, it's like couture really, I am amazed at the craftsmanship, the weaving, the textures and the airy lightness of everything!

AND amidst all of this we took a vacation last week to Austin, TX (perhaps this is what put me behind!!). We are in LOVE with Austin but in HATE with the heat! It was craziness and I have never felt something like that before... we practically stayed in the pool the entire time (that's why my kids have such a nice tan... I just couldn't keep enough sunblock on them!!-re-applying every hour.. it was crazy!). But I will give a full Austin report (including the best pools in town!) when I get my life back...

I will be back soon!... Sorry I've been away so long!

love - carina

nico nico




visit nonchalantmom here!


new FALL 2011 collections just arrived!

ESP no.1

We just got a couple of my favorite collections for the Fall season, new to Nonchalantmom is ESP no.1, which focuses mostly on the best fitting jeans I have seen for kids... and then it also happens to have some of the best knitwear too! It's all made in the USA, jeans, t's and the knitwear is made by a small knitting group in the midwest - beautifully made at that! Easy for kids with bright and delightful colors that will make your kids jump for joy!

We also received a fresh batch of LUCKY FISH... I know you all go crazy for it and this particular grouping we pulled together is one of my favorites, I love each and every one of them! so visit Nonchalant Mom now for your favorite back to school clothes!

shop NONCHALANTMOM by clicking here


interview: Monica Patel of Two collection

When I met Monica I had an instant feeling that that she was very talented and that she would be a friend as well as someone who's collection I am crazy about! Monica is one half of 'two', a collection of beautiful caftans that you can absolutely live your life in! They make you feel and look fantastic, they are practical, easy to care for AND they look great... all the time! In talking to Monica I realized that this is exactly what she was looking to create. I thought it would be nice for you all to get to know Monica a bit, because I KNOW that you all LOVE her caftans! (for one thing I can't seem to keep them in stock!)

Carina: To start with, I have to ask you because I use both ways on my website, what is the difference between a kaftan and a caftan?

Monica: It's a toss up, Seems you could use both according to your mood. Kaftan is a Persian word and has a more ethnic touch to it and Caftan with a c seems to be the French version!  Both are used universally..

C: Now, because I think it's such a fantastic story, tell us about how you got the idea for 'two', where it all started, I think there is a wedding involved right!?
My wedding really kickstarted the collaboration we had been talking about doing for years! 

Our wedding was in a gorgeous location near Portofino-Paraggi In Liguria.
When it came to deciding what the guests should wear I  daydreamed about my Indian aunts and cousins wearing their gorgeous sarees. Just something unpredictable and I think fascinating to see out of context!

The way it realized itself, it's an image I will never forget!

Piola my creative partner who helped me get started with Two was herself inspired to do a similar thing at her wedding in Rio. I sent her several sarees for her to play with. She ended up wearing a fabulous dress by a great Brazilian designer, Maria Bonita. Drop dead gorgeous. and had made all the kids dresses and her post wedding loungewear  of the sarees for post lounge wear. Piola looked stunning in them and I knew this was a match made in heaven. She is incredible with details and I adore her, even when she cooks, the onions are minced perfectly..!

At that moment I knew we had to do it. It felt right to me.
My goal is to modernize the textiles and find a way to make it wearable for someone's daily life, make it chic and push it to the next level , always keeping in mind, comfort and wearability is key.

The sarees themselves inspire us!

C: Tell us about the name: Two - I have a problem writing it, because I never know weather to capitalize it or not, I really just want to use your logo each time I write it because I love it so much, did you make it?
M: I wanted to design something with a handmade ( imperfect but perfect) feel that I would still like in the long run!

Yes!  the logo is lowercase but in an email i capitalize the T so it doesn't get lost among the too's and two's! I find it suits us..... we're happy..!

We came up with the name to represent mother and child and the  collaboration between us.
We want to eventually make items for both..in a design studio curated way.

C: How are you changing the world with your caftans?

M: First of all, I am flipping out on how much I am learning about sarees. I have always been in awe of them, the draping, the colors, just beautiful.

The part I love is that we are helping to save a tradition by turning it into something wearable for modern day. It's so satisfying to have that knowledge as its such an enormous part of Indian culture.
There are villages that depend on the future of handwoven and handmade sarees.. I wanted to make wearable items that can actually help keep a tradition alive, and make my customers happy.

Our goal was to make an item that lasts season after season, unique, special and so comfy you can't NOT wear it.

C: Tell us about the fabric, I think the sarees you choose are fantastic! We want to know more about them...

M: Most of the sarees are individual in weight, style, design
we design each dress/caftan according to how each sari drapes

I like to work with natural fibers that are super soft and wearable. Sarees come with a good amount of starch so I always prewash and treat them to get them soft. 

Now my 2 yr old toddler, Henri recognizes a sari.
He'll see me washing the fabrics and up and say, "Mommy, Sari?" 
it's the cutest thing.

This season we are testing out all types of fabric primarily handwoven and some prints. I am excited to go to India to pick out my own textiles face to face next season, as the past two years I have been sourcing from home...so I could be with the kiddies

C: Can I come with you!?

C: If you put you and your partner together I think you guys have lived all over, how did this inspire you?

M: Piola is a mix like me-she's half Spanish and half Brazilian, I am half Italian and Indian and it's almost like having two separate worlds, plus the one you are living in. I think it has allowed us to be exposed to each other cultures and learn about them at a faster pace. really hands on and gives you that curiosity and love for traditions and culture.

C: When I met you, you were about to leave on a vacation that I wanted to go with you on... it sounded great... how was Puglia, Italy in June?
M: Puglia was great. June was quiet and relaxing, we went with the kids and stayed in a residence called Masseria Alchimia owned by a Swiss German woman who fell in love with Italy years back. 
She's lived in Puglia for a while now and even owned a Trulli.

Caroline sold the Trulli and bought a Masseria and did a great job renovating it into a home with several apartments. One great thing about it, was having a kitchen to cook for the kids and room to roam. it reminded me of a Barbie kitchenette from the 70's. The property is surrounded by OLD old  Olive trees. There is a latteria, farm around the corner with ricotta and fresh cheeses..
Everything is White washed . My husband was ready to move there & the sea has beautiful tones of green and blues.

What i love is seeing the old mixed with the new, we were walking through Ostuni and there was a beautiful piazza with modern chairs everywhere and classical music (think cinema paradiso) playing. Just the juxtaposition of the old and new, culture with modern. I LOVE THAT. 

The downside,
The trip was a lot about being in the car to the beach to the hotel, to towns, I think with a baby and a toddler I would be happiest with a market on the corner and a beach front apartment so we could reallly RELAX. It was a little tough getting the kids to the historic towns and keeping them happy. 
Their schedules were off and after a while they got used to it. but next time it's beachfront with a mini market.

C: Tell us about where you stayed.


happy mistakes...

makie fall collection 2011

While we were photographing the new Fall 2011 Makié collection, I was taking photos of Sander and I couldn't fit him in the frame anymore in the hallway where we usually shoot (best for white background and luminous light) because he is too TALL! wow! how time flies... So I went outside and photographed him through the window and the images that came out were amazing!

another through the window photo... those are our rocks outside!

Sometimes there are just these happy mistakes and they are the BEST! Pretty soon Sander will grow out of the clothes... but while we still have him I will always use him... he is the best model, always a smile (well almost!)

in 2004 our first season wearing Erica Tanov kids

Thank you Sander!


2011 Macrobiotic Summer Conference

my gorgeous niece Stephanie, you can look this beautiful too if you eat macrobiotic!

Last week was the 2011 Macrobiotic Conference, I was not able to attend the whole conference but my sister and her daughter were there to give me highlights, it was a huge gathering (attendance was up!) and everyone was as enlightening as ever! With over 30 subjects to choose from EACH DAY of the conference (which was three days) it was an abundance of information and cooking demonstrations and exercising and more... much more! My sister is a big fan of the cooking demonstrations so she loved Yuji Yoshino's Japanese Macrobtiotic cooking demonstration and of course Michio's lecture which is always incredibly inspiring and charismatic, he always makes me realize why I love macrobiotics so much, and this year his lecture was called One Healthy Peaceful World (which is the meaning of Macrobiotics!) and boy does our world need a bit of that today, do you think that there are some unhealthy eaters out there?

If you would like to check out the various classes you can buy the CD's and listen to them at your leisure.. (I love to do this, for long car trips and such). I got: Empower yourself with Daily Self Diagnosis by Warren Kramer, Explore and Balance Your Chakras for Harmony of Life by Susan Krieger, and of course Michio Kushi's lecture, I will write more on them when I listen to them!

In the coming year I will do my best to bring some of the lecturers to Nonchalant Mom and they can give you an infusion of enlightening information that may bring you a bit closer to Macrobiotics for you and your family. If you want to take classes or visit the Kushi Institute in Becket, Mass. please visit their website here.

click here to visit the Kushi store to buy CD's here
click here to find out more about the Kushi Institute

steamed squash, brown rice/barley (w/sesame seeds), pickled cabbage, steamed mustard greens/kale, white beans & kombu and a delicious muffin (can't remember how/what it was made of...)


Schools - Are you sending your child to the right school?

Who really knows for sure? But when our son was very small, and before we had really thought about it I was certain that I was going to send my kids to Waldorf, it was the school that I wished I had gone to so of course I'm going to send my kids there! Then while talking to a friend who had older kids she questioned if that was the right school for our son, my first reaction was "who cares?! it's what's best for him" but this certainly made me think twice about schools, and now, years later I do admit she was right!

We went to an open house for the Waldorf School near us and it was confirmed almost instantly, this was not the school for our son... I was so bummed out, but it turned out that Montessori WAS a great style of education for him, he is now happily in a great public school that we are lucky enough to be in the district of and he couldn't be happier and so are we.

Then we had another baby, four years later, she was a completely different animal, aside from being a girl, she was TOTALLY laid back and easy (you can take a guess at what kind of child my son is... let's just say that he has LOTS of energy). THIS was my Waldorf child, I thought to myself! My point is that my friend told me that different kids need a different kind of education style and she was very right! (thank you Nikki!)

I am bringing this up because I know that everyone is talking schools again (and I am sure that you have LONG signed up for a school) but it's never too late to make changes if you see that it's not working for your child. Take these first few months and know your options, what is available in your town, and make sure that you are making the right choice for your child's personality and not for social or other reasons that don't have anything to do with your child.

There are millions of blogs devoted to this subject but if you are like me, you don't read a lot of blogs and it's possible that you are a little bit laid back about this choice. So if you are, just take a moment and think about matching the personality with the right kind of teaching technique. And if you are looking at your baby, lying on their mat kicking around, you have more than enough time to think about what is right for your child. Don't be afraid to admit that your child may need a stiffer set of rules and may need a different kind of school than you had in mind, or conversely, maybe your child is that flower child that has all the patience in the world and is more in tuned to explore... We are lucky today that there are so many options!

Good luck and educate yourself on school is best for your child.


backpacks and The best of the BEST (2011)...

stripe fleece (soft!) backpack by Pocketo! $58

It's that time of year when everybody goes crazy for backpacks... funny enough, lately I have collected a few that I thought looked great! These are not necessarily for kids so check sizes if you are getting them for kids, and if not check sizes anyhow...

classic english country leather satchel $195
Really my favorite is the Kanken by Fjallraven, I meant to offer them in Nonchalantmom but I never followed up on my order, so no bags this season, let's see if I can get on it for next season! But in the meantime a few have popped up... and they are pretty darn nice!

stripe fleece classic backpack by Pocketo $58

classic english countryside satchel - $195 (or large size $215)
Fjallraven Kånken - $65 (or kanken mini $45)

Chester Wallace $165

The Chester Wallace is more of a messenger style, but super chic! (maybe too chic for kids... no!...) it's made of waxed canvas, so it's waterproof to boot! (because the company is from Portland!). Visit their website here to find out more or buy them here.

the Chester Wallace in action...
The Herschel Heritage backpack ($89)

Quite possibly the back packs my kids will be toting this year are these delights from The Herschel (maybe not the 'heritage' but the more simple one below), a family company that quite possibly builds the finest backpacks, at least the most classic ones I have laid eyes on in a long time!
The Herschel - the Settlement ($70) - notice the very cool brass zipper on this one!

The Herschel - classic ($45)

The Herschel - survey ($50)

What's backpack will YOUR kids be toting this year.... come on... tell us!


NYC - July 2011 - travel guide

McQueen exhibit at MET
the LINE for the McQueen exhibit sunday morning at 8:30am!

I'm not really sure how to title these posts but sometimes when I go to New York City I feel like it is a particularly inspiring trip and I see exciting new things that I want everyone to see! This trip had a few highlights that hope that you will be able to see and visit. Top of the list was the McQueen exhibit at the Met, since it is closing on Sunday, August 7th I am not sure that you will be able to see it but you can go to the Met's website and go through the exhibit with Andrew Bolton (the curator) via a video by clicking here. The exhibition took my breath away, I waited 2 hours in a very long line, but everyone was intent that it was not a waist of time and we were all rewarded... when I entered the first room I felt the tears well up in my eyes it was so beautiful and this talent was now gone. I don't think I have seen anything so breathtaking. (The Museum will offer extended hours during the exhibition’s final week. On Thursday and Friday, August 4 and 5, the exhibition will be open until 9:00 p.m. On its last two days—Saturday and Sunday, August 6 and 7—the exhibition will remain open until midnight. After 9:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, visitors may enter the Museum through the 81st Street entrance only.)
NYC girl via sartorialist

NYC girl via Sartorialist

NYC girl via Sartorialist

The New York street were filled with girls in little dresses, cinched with belts at the waist or like one young lady in a black/white polka dot dress with a fluorescent yellow sash! They all looked so lovely and put together, it was only the tourists that had on shorts and tank tops... (even the europeans!?). Smart looking older men who were up early in the morning, walking fresh and straight, so well groomed and handsome with a yoga mat trailing out of their backpack! I love New York at this time when only the die-hards are in the city, and they somehow epitomize it.

the fat radish

Here are some places to visit on your next trip to NYC:

THE FAT RADISH - possibly the best meal I have had in a very, very long time and the gorgeous young lady that was our waitress... she was amazing AND nice, where do they find them? The atmosphere is just about a notch above perfection, casual, easy and not screaming anything in particular.

sue tsai of nico nico with me at dinner

The Fat Radish is located on the Lower East Side, but I will call this the LOWER Lower East Side (or LLES) because it is on Orchard Street just above Canal, and I thought the LES was cool this part of the neighborhood is like something out of San Francisco, clean store fronts and streets. Don't miss Project 8 just up the street, an amazing store and there are others in the same block...

Sue Tsai of Nico Nico stayed at the Mondrian Hotel in Soho, she said it was perfectly placed and I would have to agree, next door to Jil Sander, DeVera and Opening Ceremony it's on a fairly quiet street, but you are still in the center of it all, it's located at 9 Crosby Street (just above Canal).

Hampton Chutney Company - on Prince btwn Crosby and Lafayette

Some other things I saw/noticed:

-When you are hungry and don't want to make a big deal of it.. don't foget Hampton Chutney Company. I never leave the city without a dose of their delicious Chai (on Prince btwn Crosby and Lafayette).

-Even though it was SUPER hot in the city, many of the nicest places did not have AC blasting... I loved that, just comfortable enough, when it's hot outside there is nothing wrong with being warm, it's something akin to preserving the dead when it's freezing cold in some places (it's completely un-healthy).

-Priorat wine... we tried a couple and they were delicious! From Spain and good for it!

-Peasant - when you can't get in anywhere on a Saturday night, just walk down the stairs to the wine bar at Peasant, on Elizabeth Street.

PERFECT summer shoes from Bu & the Duck

-I managed to pick up these PERFECT summer shoes for Franny at Bu and the Duck - they are on sale for $50 - there were just a few left - click here for their link. (hint: if you tell them I sent you they will know which shoes you are talking about!)

Akiko... she is the BEST!

-Akiko, who works for Makié, she is so chic and she also makes extremely lovely jewelry!

summer beach blanket from Steven Alan
-These great, giant blankets from Steven Alan, I have been eyeing them all summer long and finally just broke down and got one when I saw these perfect colors (they are ALL different) only $58!

Thank you NYC, you are such a great adventure each and every time I visit... I can't wait for my next trip!!