i love my usual foundation but it’s pretty decent coverage and isn’t the speediest thing to put on and is that last thing i want to put on when it’s hot out. in warmer weather, i usually save it for special events or nights out. alas, i still like to have a base for my face and color on my cheeks in my day-to-day wear! what’s a girl to do?

thanks to a really obnoxious ad on hulu, a fashionable friend, a local goodie, and a triedandtrue oldie, i found the perfect make-up combo for this summer. voila!

from left to right:

  • booda butter lip balm (made in colorado and so so delightful)
  • maybelline great lash blackest black mascara (my one and only mascara; used after curling lashes)
  • benefit’s cha cha tint cheek stain (recommended by a friend whose only make-up rule is to look like she isn’t wearing any)
  • smashbox bb cream (suckered into it by an ad on hulu and i don’t regret it one bit)

below are some more photos of ramona and me showing off my new rory brinker scarf. i’ve also, it appears, unintentionally included a quasi-pictorial of how i get ramona bean securely in her sakura bloom sling.

(recycled outtakes from our sakura bloom sling diaries exploration.)


if you’ll click through to my etsy shop, ollie’s vintage, you’ll notice two things. one, the banner says “home wares and knick knacks.” two, i am no longer selling home wares and knick knacks.

ollie’s vintage is now selling vintage baby clothing! just like when i was sifting through thrift stores and estate sales for goods for my home and found goodies i wanted to pass on, i’m doing the same with children’s clothing. in my search for unique finds for ramona bean, i’m finding excellent pieces that need to be rescued and passed on to mamas (and papas!) and little ones that have an appreciation for a one-of-a-kind fashion sense.

so though my banner needs some updating (i, of course, am absolutely worthless when it comes to any sort of computer or web design) my shop is ready to go. i’m adding a couple of pieces a day as the kids’ naps and my daily to-do allow. but it sure is nice to be back on the etsy storefront. it’s a great source for beer money 😉

here are a couple of my favorite pieces. (click on them for more info or to make a purchase!) 

(psst. mention A Denver Home Companion when you check-out and get a 10% discount good through the month of june)

thanks to tessa for taking these photos, showing me how to take photos when she’s not here, and how to efficiently edit them. that help is what i needed to get my butt in gear to get this going!


the first nice bag i ever owned was a louis vuitton noe. first designed to hold champagne bottles, something in the style and shape of the bag caught my grandmother’s eye sometime ago in france and it became her go-to purse. upon her death–when family was sorting through her things making piles of what to pass on, what to hold on to, what to donate, and what to discard–my mother found it in the donate pile. she saved it and it became mine.

i love this bag. i love thinking of my grandmother and how she must have felt first purchasing this bag. my grandmother was a classy, chic woman but she was also financially savvy and chose to live simply and smartly. she was not dripping in diamonds and she drove a toyota previa. she was a bargain hunter and bought in bulk. but she also knew the value of a well-made piece; a bag that would last for many many seasons and whose design was timeless. the purchase of this bag was no after-thought for my grandmother, a second grade teacher who took investments very seriously. this was a very big deal. a treat for her. my grandfather understood and supported this mentality. he (a professor of psychology) did the same with the jewelry he would meticulously pick out and buy for her, himself, and his family.

when my grandfather died in january, nearly eight years after his beloved, the family gathered in florida for his funeral. after the service was done and we were lunching on the porch, my mother and aunt and uncle gathered the grandchildren around. my grandparents had left behind a small inheritance as a gift for each of us eight. we were, my aunt instructed us, to do with it what we wanted and that their hope was we would find something meaningful or useful for ourselves that we could remember our grandparents by. i think for some of my cousins that included furniture for their homes. i imagine a beautiful dining room table or a new bed.

for me, for jp and i, we took some of this gift money and bought goats. this was to remember my grandfather, the goat man. it took me a while to decide what to buy to remember and honor my grandmother. our home didn’t need anything. we didn’t need anything. but then i remembered that on my “wish list” for many years has been a nice, black leather purse. it’s been sort of a joke between jp and i. i always ask for one for my birthday or for christmas and it’s always something we’re never in the position to purchase.

but now all the purses i had ever had my eye on just didn’t seem right. too trendy. too obvious. too chintzy. too plain. too big. too small. not nice enough. a little too nice. and then i found it: a small minnesota company that has been making their bags in st. paul since forever. i had never heard of j.w. hulme and a look at their website had me curious but not quite convinced. so on my next visit to mn, jp and my mother and i headed over there to take a look. i told them black. i told them satchel. they brought this baby out and it was love at first sight:

pardon my lackluster photography skills.

the fairmount satchel handbag (in a discontinued color) by j.w. hulme. it’s black, it’s slouchy, it’s beautiful. it reminds me of my grandma and i have a feeling this satchel and i are going to be friends for a very long time. hopefully, if i treat her well, i can pass her along to ramona one day.

if you’re in the market for a new bag or luggage or anything leather for carrying goods, take a look at j.w. hulme. made by hand in america w insane attention to detail and respect for craft and quality. also, their employees are incredibly nice, knowledgable, and excited about what they do. we took a tour of the factory floor and watching the process and meeting the people who had created my bag made this experience so much more special and important to the story.

my crazy little ramona,

for photos for this shoot, and for mothers day, i had intended on taking you to the woods. i had wanted to take you to the mountains and show you how your papa and i explore. but, alas, the days got away from us as they are wont to do and i was forced to explore other options. and, as i resigned myself to this adventure–thinking what sort of exploring is done in the urban jungle we tread miles in every day?–i was surprised to realize that, yes, in fact there is always much exploring to be done wherever you are at. wherever anyone is at.

explore (and love) where you live. introduce yourself to your neighbors. invite them over for bbqs. play outside with the other kids. frequent and support the local shops. walk the blocks. find new parks. travel by bike trails and follow the river to new places. be an advocate for your community. live where you can do these sorts of things.

explore communication. explore your expression. explore your creative outlets. talk to lots of different people. learn languages. learn music, even if you never learn to play. read books and blogs and magazines and news sources. learn the latest technology but don’t always rely on it. write letters. say what you mean. do not mince your words. always be kind in your speech. never sell yourself out. mean what you say. stay true to your art.

explore food. try everything at least once. don’t be afraid of the weird stuff. find what you like. know what you love.

explore simplicity. live deeply, live fully. you need not a ton of money or resources to do so. in fact, that may hinder you. explore what it means and looks like to live simply. simplicity, in its many forms, opens up a world full of small joys. and you will be richer for it.

explore tradition. respect what others do in their cultures and in their religions and in their families. create your own traditions and rites and rituals, especially when you grow up and have your own family. you don’t ever have to do something just because that’s how it’s “always been done” but understand that how it’s “always been done” is really important to some people.

explore your style. never let anyone tell you how you should look, act, or feel. that is up to you.

explore your fears. i, my dear, am afraid of vomit. and then i had a baby. and i learned i had to get over that. and i did. i am also afraid of small talk. but i have learned that it serves me well in social networking situations, which i find myself in a lot with your papa’s line of work. whaddya know? now i have met some great friends whose friendship started off with some awful sort of small talk where we both had to get over the mostly-ever-present hump of talking about uninteresting things to get to know someone. and long ago i had a great big fear of not being loved. but then i met your papa and allowed him to show me what being loved looked and felt like. and here we all are now. i have not a clue what your fears will be but i urge you to not let them make you feel small.

love, mama.

read other letters to ramona bean over hereherehere, and here.

this post is done in collaboration with sakura bloom. the sling i am wearing is the simple linen in wheat. the beautiful photos are by JP (taken on his trusty iPhone) and were taken out and about in the lower highland of denver.

the hand-painted infiniti scarf i am wearing is a rory brinker, a new company getting started by a dear friend of mine. the tagline for rory brinker is “wear love around” and i am proud to be wearing this scarf around the places that i love. you can also check out more photos of rory brinker scarves on their facebook page

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