my dear ramona,

fun is with you. fun is on the floor making animal noises and reading book after book and pretending the sheep puppet is talking to you. fun is the laugh you give when papa swings you around and when mama tickles your belly. fun is you dancing to the record player and us trying to sneak a video of it. fun is morning snuggles and trying on mama’s jewelry and putting ponytails in your hair. fun is the noise you make when you see the box of cheerios when we walk through the kitchen. fun is petting violet and lacy and your fearlessness w animals. fun is letting you roam free around the yard, watching you learn how to climb rocks and pick flowers and splash in water.

fun is you with our friends. fun is your charisma and inclusiveness. fun is the smile you get when you see nona or diri or lashley or kimmy or miss tara or uncle ko or aunt beth. fun is your love for and excitement for others. fun is knowing you are so loved by them.

fun is celebrating. fun is knowing how to party. fun is throwing parties for no reason. fun is certainly throwing parties for birthdays. fun is good food, homemade desserts (ok, ok: your cake was from a box), bright red lips, unnecessary decorations, lots of different people, tasty drinks (drinking responsibly of course), and a mixture of silly and thoughtful conversation.

girl, has it been fun.

i love you. love, mama.

read other letters to ramona from the sling diaries series: love, style, explorationcommunication, and history.

this post is done in collaboration with sakura bloom. the sling i am wearing is the simple linen in twilight. the beautiful photos are by the unschooled (that’s for you, leigh 😉 ), teenage photographer phenom, luca venter. they were taken in our backyard during ramona’s first birthday party. special thanks to hey! party collective for making it all look so snazzy. 

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my sweet ramona,

you come from two lines of great families. we’re not political families, nor socialites, nor is there old money (or new money for that matter!). but between the powers and the drivers, your history starts w quite a legacy. there are teachers and counselors and coordinators and developers. there are students and doctors and entrepreneurs and artists. there are lovers and fighters and seekers and explainers. i list (and brag about!) these livelihoods and traits to illustrate to you that you can be whatever you want to be within this family. you will be supported and you will, unconditionally as much as humanly possible, be loved.

we are family people. we are tight knit. we like tradition and game nights. we love family dinners. we make fun of one another and we support one another. there are daily phone calls and texted photos showing off our little ones or projects. we do, of course, get sick of each other.

your family believes in marriage and God and hard work and silliness and creativity. we are not perfect. sometimes we fight. always we find a way to constructively make-up. family –and the history of a family– can be messy and complicated. we are not free from this. we are all so different. it is good to have this in your history bc it can help you figure out better who you are. and where you fit into the scheme of things.

this letter does little to fully explain to you where and who you come from or what your history is. ask questions. expect real answers. listen to the stories of your mother and father, your grandparents, your aunt and uncles. get to know us. as you get older you will piece together your own idea of your history and what came before you. this patchwork of the past will explain some things about who you are or why your parents do the things they do. it will probably frustrate you and sometimes, i regret to say, disappoint you. but my prayer is that you mostly discover the pride and joy that i have coming from –or marrying into– these families.  i feel incredibly blessed and i hope you grow up feeling the same.

i love you, minka. love, mama.


read other letters to ramona bean over herehereherehere, 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 megan newton of megan newton photography who graciously did a portrait shoot for the power side of the family. they were taken at the populist, jp’s new restaurant slated to open in denver at the end of august 2012.

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my dear ramona bean,

be kind and clear and honest in your communications. respect others’ opinions. respect your own: mean what you say and say what you mean. i have certainly said this before.

listen well and thoughtfully.

communication is not just speaking and listening. it is using your whole body and all of your senses and gifts and blessings. it can be something you do by yourself in quiet moments. and something you communicate to the whole world when you create something and share it with others.

i believe you can most effectively communicate when you explore and research the world around you; when you open yourself up to learning new things and meeting new people. touch, taste, smell, see, feel, speak, listen, dance, learn, teach. communicate.

i love you. love, mama

read other letters to ramona bean over hereherehere, here, 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 tessa richardson and were taken at my favorite denver store, ironwood.

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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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my minka moo,

before i say anything i must say this: be yourself. this is the most important style advice anyone has ever told me and, i am confident, the most important style advice anyone will ever tell you.

you have probably noticed by now that your mother is not incredibly stylish. i mean, i know a few tricks and follow a few rules but i don’t believe the words fashionable or stylish or trendy have ever been used to describe me. and even though you will roll your eyes at me when you are in jr high bc you cannot believe your mom is not as cool as other moms (trust me, it happens to all of us jr highers) you must realize that i still have style. it’s something i’ve been working on through the years. it goes back and forth, spot on and missing the mark, changing course every few seasons, always with the goal of finding a style i feel most comfortable in. i’m not talking comfortable like socks with sandals (you’ll have to talk to your pops about that one) but comfortable as in the previous paragraph: what makes me feel most like myself and allows me to creatively and honestly convey this to those around me. my style is my wardrobe, surely, but it is also my reactions, my communications, my writing, my causes, my home, my community, my conversations, my actions, my relationships, my habits. it is what i choose to do with these and in these spaces that convey much about my style; lets us know much about others’ styles. and so, because i cannot tell you what shoes will be the best for next season or why one-shouldered tops are apparently acceptable again (i really have no clue about that one) i will share with you some of the “style” rules i find myself more or less following almost most of the time.

smile. but only when you mean it. but find lots of excuses to mean it.

do not read beauty magazines. they will only make you feel ugly (this is a quote from jewel that’s stuck w me).

you will worry a lot less what others think about you when you realize how little they do. pops (the man who will walk in public with sandals and socks) says this all the time and he got it from eleanor roosevelt.

get plenty of sleep and drink lots of water. but don’t forget to find some nights to stay up late and have fun with friends over many bottles of wine (in due time, of course).

buy good quality. buying something bc it is on sale or inexpensive is a false economy (read walden for more information on that). buy what fits, what flatters, what lasts. be picky about what you give a home in your closet.

change your hair color. cut your hair. it will always grow out or back if you don’t like it. also, find a good stylist whom you like and respect and stick with them. don’t be afraid to spend some moola on a hairstyle that makes you feel fabulous.

trends are trends. stick to the classics. or don’t. your mama’s style is pretty much jeans and a t-shirt. maybe some fun shoes and red lips. but if you wanna sport a mohawk or mismatched patterns or lots of glitter, go on with your bad self.

find your own personal outlet of expression. own it.

be kind to people. all people. expect others to be kind to you and others. speak up when injustices occur.

don’t be afraid to leave the house without makeup on. i mean, i usually regret it but it’s totally ok. if you’re in a pinch remember: mascara first. then lips. then cheeks. but remember that you’re beautiful without any of those.

wear sunscreen.

feel free to reinvent yourself — college or travels or moving to a new city are good for that. but do not lose yourself or mask yourself. this goes back to my first point: always be yourself.

i love you. love, mama.

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

this post is done in collaboration with sakura bloom. the sling i am wearing is the essential silk in midnight & pebble. the beautiful photos are by grey paper photography and were taken on the rooftop of linger.

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