Maternity Underwear

Companies I love, Motherhood

Since my last post, we fixed up our house (almost finished) and had a baby…so this blog has been VERY neglected.
Anyway, continuing on my journey on ethical and sustainable clothes shopping boat there were a few items I discovered while I was pregnant that were life savers, such as maternity underwear. Admittedly I bought them too late, at the end of my pregnancy when it was obvious my regular underwear wasn’t going to stretch anymore and I needed to stop being a cheap ass (because who wants to invest on clothing they’re only going to wear for like six months, right?! (how silly of me thinking that)) and get myself something more comfortable.

Enter Storq. I’m not entirely sure how I came across this company – probably through Instagram – but I immediately fell in love with the simplicity of the products and the color palette spoke directly to me: black and white! To top it all off their products are all made in the USA and the company was founded by a very cool mama!
Reading My Tea Leaves

I ordered their underwear bundle which includes panties, a bra and a pair of socks for $65 and my pregnant body had never been more thankful. The fabric is the softest lenzing modal, the bra has no clips and nothing has pesky labels, nothing digs into your body or rubs you the wrong way (see what I did there hehe). This is also my favourite nursing bra, because you can just pull it to the side and your boob just pops out; you don’t have sit there fiddling with the clip, which if you’re a first time mum and are trying to get the hang of breastfeeding, that clip can be an absolute nightmare. It also accommodates your boobie pads, because nobody likes milk on their shirt.

Storq Underwear
Full disclosure when I washed these guys a few bubbles popped up, but I contacted their customer service – who were extremely speedy (because they’re in LA) and helpful – and they assured me this one a one off and took care of me. All in all though, the comfort and happiness of having underwear that fitted that well and felt that good on my skin far outweighed the little bubbles on the fabric. So if you’re pregnant or nursing don’t be like me and wait until you’re 30 weeks pregnant to get new underwear… head over to Storq and treat yourself! I promise they’re not paying me to tell you that… I just like to share my favourite finds; BUT if you use this link, both you and I get $15 off a $100 purchase … hey, I’ve got my eye on the diaper bag 😉

Pictures via Reading My Tea Leaves and Storq.

Our Little House

Home Renovation, Personal

We’ve now owned our house for just over three years and it’s still far from looking like the home we want it to. There are a lot of factors that have contributed to this, e.g. the fact that it’s divided into two completely separate 600sf apartments (upstair/downstairs) with only outdoor stairs; it’s also a 1919 little craftsman cottage, and though the electrical has been redone, that’s really about it. Shortly after moving in we redid the upstairs bathroom because it was just awful, and we love it (it’s now white and black subway tile, black walls and hexagon floors); we loved it so much we stopped all remodeling after that!

The biggest challenge in deciding what to do with our house has really laid on the fact that it’s divided. We had thought of remodeling both apartments, renting them out, and hopefully moving somewhere with a little more space, but when the City informed us that we weren’t actually supposed to have two apartments, and that whoever did that did it without a permit *insert frustrated sigh here*, it kinda of really threw us off balance.
After about three months of trying to figure out what to do and sitting down with our favourite architect, we realised that there was only one option: making it one 1200sf house. Though it was frustrating that all of a sudden we were forced into one option, it did provide some clarity. After all, we do live in a great neighborhood: we’re pretty much smack down the middle of town, down the street from the river and one of the best parks in the city (which will be handy for when kiddies come along), and from what I hear, a great school district (again, for when kiddies come along).

We’re still trying to figure it out, but the gist of it *insert super excited face here* is putting in a spiral staircase, making a master bedroom downstairs with a walk-in closet (can I get an Amen?!), converting the old living room into a small bedroom, the old bedroom would become a landing and hang out area. The upstairs would remain pretty much the same, the bedroom will be an office/guest crashing quarters, and eventually we’ll redo the kitchen because God knows it needs it!

Of course, this is all going to take a while, we like to do things mostly debt free which means that sometimes things take twice as long and we also want to make sure we LOVE everything we do, but now we have direction! And below you can see my inspiration (it’s mostly decor, but you see where I’m going with it)….


I would love to know what your favourite home decor and remodeling blogs are, or send me your pinterest board links, I’m ready for ideas and inspiration!


PS: If you’d like to follow the remodeling journey or just keep in touch, hit me up on Instagram!
Pictures credits starting from the top: Amy Sia, Garance Dore, New York Times.

Companies I Love: Sseko Sandals

Companies I love

Heylen Thienes wearing Sseko Sandals
At the beginning of the year I spoke about “putting my money where my mouth is” in regards to fashion and clothing; I got a great response from a lot of people, but the biggest question was “what next”, i.e. where do we buy clothing and shoes from transparent companies.
So, I’ve started doing some research and looking at companies whose supply line is as transparent as possible and will be sharing the ones that I like the most.

This week I’m sharing a tried and tested company: Sseko Designs. I first heard about Sseko sandals in 2013 at a Creative Morning talk in Portland. Their mission is incredible. The company was started by Liz Bohannon after a trip to Uganda. During her time over there she realised that while many young women were graduating from high school they weren’t making it to university, the reason being that there’s a nine month gap between graduation and the start of University. The gap year is intended to allow these women the time to work and save up to be able to pay for their education, but what really happens is that they go back to their villages, find jobs and never make it back for their degree. And this is how Sseko was born.
They employs passionate high school graduates, allowing them to save up and work with a clear purpose: to go to university. You can the nitty gritty details and see how it’s working here.


What I love the most about Sseko sandals is that while I (selfishly) know I can feel good about buying them because of their mission, they’re also really cute, comfortable and affordable. The leather sole (which comes in black, brown and tan) molds to your feet and you can mix and match your straps, they come in array of colors and patterns, I currently have the silver and the red ones – and you can also buy cute accessories for them like in the picture above. Perfect for summer vacation outfits. You can also tie them in tons of different ways, though admittedly some are more comfortable than others, but that’s more of a personal thing.
I’ve worn them on the beach, riding my bike, walking around Miami, and can honestly vouch for their comfort (they’re not paying me to say that).

I’ll be honest, while I’ve been trying to make conscious purchasing decisions this year, it’s not always easy. I have small feet and can rarely find cute shoes at thrift stores, nor can I get my head around paying ridiculous prices for over worn H&M tops when I know I can buy brand new ones for only a few extra dollars. But I am trying to buy items that I know I’ll wear for a long time by checking their quality and trying not to buy overly trendy styles that I won’t wear next year.
This is what works for me… what works for you?


PS: keep in touch on instagram!
First picture by Heylen Thienes, Second picture by Sseko Designs via Style Wise

To Put My Money Where My Mouth Is…


When making my tea towels last year, I really wanted to make sure they were of good quality. And it made me realize that I don’t always shop quality.

Over the past few months I’ve been meeting new and interesting people that are really challenging me and the way I think, especially when it comes what I stand for. Something that has really stood out to me is that I don’t always “put my money where my mouth is”.

It all came about like this: I needed a new pair of jeans, and after doing some research (and being heavily influenced by their recent ad campaign), I decided that I needed Madewell jeans. After buying them, my brother-in-law and I started talking about how paying the extra $50-$80 was totally worth it because Madewell probably made better quality clothing, treated its workers better, and possibly didn’t make their clothes in a sweatshop.

And then it dawned on me.

I am so misinformed. I have no idea what I’m talking about. Price difference does not equal quality or ethics in production. It simply means that I’m paying for exclusivity.  Just look at Anthropologie.  Their clothes are a just grown up, more expensive version of Urban Outfitters’.

It brought to my attention how little I know about a subject I supposedly really care about. For example, did you know that we only spend 3% of our annual income on clothes compared to 15% post WW2?* We’re spending less yet buying and throwing away more (because it either goes out of fashion or only lasts three washes).

My shopping habits may have changed due to the limited shopping options in Bend, but I’m still shopping quantity and not quality.  I don’t do enough research about how things are made or where they were made. We all know about the the collapse of the factory in Bangladesh where over a thousand people died, but we (or rather I) choose to ignore it, brushing it under the carpet so that I can continue shopping guiltless at H&M, Primark and GAP.


So what to do? My answer? Research. That’s my goal for this year, if there’s something I care about, I need to do my research, and take action. Follow through with what I say I stand for.


I’m going to begin by choosing quality over quantity, even if it means spending a little more.  Buy more clothes that will stand the test of fashion trends rather than buying the $7 pleather skirt on sale, that quite honestly I’m not sure I’ll wear again. Look for companies that are truly making a difference in this area, or at least making an effort to.

I’m not sure how that’ll make a difference, and perhaps I’m being naive by thinking that it could make a difference.  But maybe if I choose to support companies that support a healthy and sustainable production process, maybe those companies will grow enough to act as an example for others? Just maybe.

We’re all making New Year’s resolutions right now, and I’m making these mine:  To put my money where my mouth is, to research and know what I stand for. To make things and change happen and build for the future, not just for now.

What are your new year’s resolutions? And what are your favourite ethical companies to shop at?


Further reading:


Tea Towels

Passion Project


When it comes to decorating my house I have one simple rule: it must function and it must look good. It’s one rule because there’s no choosing between them – it must be both.  We live in an old mill house (1919 to be exact), and our part of the house is just over 600sf.  When you have limited space you cannot afford to have things that just look pretty and take up space, and (call me superficial but) likewise you can’t have ugly things because they’ll likely be on display… all the time.

Which is what gets me about tea towels.

HT-TeaTowels2I go to shops such as Anthroplogie and drool over their beautiful tea towels, only to come home and find that that’s all they do: look beautiful.  They spread lint all over my dishes and then leave them half wet.  It drives me insane. Not only are they costly, but they’re rubbish!  And that my friends, is why I decided to take matters into my own hands.

After doing a bit of research I found that linen is one of the most absorbent fabrics, most GOOD tea towels are a linen/cotton blend.  I wanted to make sure these worked, so I tried both the 100% linen and the linen/cotton blend and the pure linen won by far!  My sister and I did a test run last week and there was no lint and no water.  So they function. And to make them pretty, well, if you know me, you know that I live for stripes and polka dots so it was a no brainer as to what the pattern was going to be.


I loved hand painting, sewing and playing with the patterns, thinking about what they would look like hanging on the oven handle or kitchen island, and I even added a little ribbon on the back so they can be hung too.

I haven’t been this excited about a project since, well, I can’t remember.  But bottom line is that these have been an absolute joy to work on and I hope that you will enjoy using them too.  You can now buy them in my very own shop, or you live in Bend, they’ll be on sale at Armature Bend, and at Craft-O on December 13th and 14th at the Old Iron Works Arts District.

Close Up Patterns

I’d like to thank my wonderful husband  who drove me around Portland looking for supplies and my incredible studio mates (Kelly, Karen & Gabe, Leah and Wallis) at Armature who have all shared in my excitement and really encouraged me to make these!


Invitations: Jana + Eli

Client Feature, Design, Stationery, Weddings

JANA + ELI TOGETHERA little over a month ago my brother-in-law got married to his beautiful bride.  This is one of the weddings that I have probably been the most involved in, being a family member, bridesmaid (Seth was the best man), visual coordinator and of course, wedding invitation designer.  We all worked hard to make this wedding happen, from assembling countless of invitations to getting coffee and driving away with the bride and groom’s cake on our hood and it was so much fun.

When designing wedding invitations I ask all my clients about their engagement story, and ask them tell me if there are any icons, objects, or places that have real meaning in their relationship, for Jana & Eli it was the South Sister (where they got engaged). They wanted an invitation that would truly represent who they were, where they’d been and their wedding style: country vintage with a hint of modern and that’s how this design came along.

We followed that through with the decorations, using burlap as table runners, heirloom china, crystal and table cloths for the top table, Eli cut wood rounds for the center pieces, my mother-in-law used pretty sunflowers for the bouquets and our friend made chalkboard signs for directions.  Everybody got involved. Even my parents came out. And it was wonderful event.If you’re getting married in the near future, and would like visual direction and wonderfully designed invitations for your wedding, I’m currently booking for 2015 so get in touchPhotography by Victoria Carlson || See their engagement Story and Pictures

Invitation + JanaJana + Eli 0010Jana + Eli 0003 Top Table + Eli  Wedding PartyEli, Jana - Seth + I

Casual Vintage and Country Feel with Fun Dancing kinda Wedding

invitations, Mood Board, Weddings



Vacation time is over and it’s back to work… So excited to sit down and design beautiful wedding invitations for bride to be Emilee.  She had me at lace and deers, but then she went on to talk about homestyle food and dancing and I was head over heels in love with this wedding.  After she sent me her wedding invitation questionnaire I threw some images together to get the creative juices flowing and I love the tones and textures that we came up with.

She and her sweety will be tying the knot in a gorgeous barn in Southern Oregon in the spring of 2015 before making the big move to Texas.  This beautiful girl will be missed here in Central Oregon, so I feel privileged that I get to spend some extra time with her before she moves, let’s just hope she won’t become a longhorn fan 😉

If you are interested in my wedding invitation services, get in touch by filling in the form at the bottom of this page or by emailing me at!

In the Wilderness

Adventure, oregon, Personal, Photography



Last week I spent seven days in the Malheur National Forest camping. Seven days. No cell reception. No wifi. Not even a landline. Camping.  That is the longest amount of time I have spent, 1. camping, and 2. without any outside communication since I can ever remember.

It was a time spent with family, chatting, hiking, eating and playing Old Mexico.

Since there wasn’t facebook or instagram to distract us we were able to focus our attention on one another, and head to bed earlier and wake up way earlier than usual. This meant I got to see seven sunrises, some I saw with Seth by my side, others on my own.

I always hear people talking about quiet time, but up until this trip, I had never truly realized the importance of being quiet. At rest with my thoughts. Disconnected. It’s amazing the things you can observe and hear (or not hear) once you shut everything else off.  I learnt to listen to and recognize the sounds of the wilderness, deer running, coyotes howling, and a black bear creeping – trying to go unnoticed.

How much time do we honestly take to do this? To have absolute quiet time and gather or expel our recurring thoughts. We don’t. I don’t. This trip showed me how I’m letting the noise clog up my life, leading me to feel disillusioned and ending in a game of constant comparison.

I’m not where I want to be.

Am I failing at my calling?

Is this even my calling?!

Pointless, and hindering little thoughts.

These are some of the things I struggle with as a result of the daily noise. & sometimes it takes a trip into the wilderness to separate the important stuff from the trivial, what really matters and bring things back to perspective.

So today I’m encouraging you to take a trip to the wilderness – whatever that means to you. & then tell me how it went.

When Friends Fall in Love

Passion Project, Personal, Photography

Kat + Cam

It’s a wonderful thing watching your friends fall in love.  I have known Kat for about 7 years now, and over the last 3.5 years (the time I’ve lived in the States) we’ve gotten to know each other even more, talking about life, work, marriage and everything in between.

Kat and Cameron have known each other since college, they’ve always been great friends. But after spending last summer in Europe together something changed, and all of a sudden a different conversation was taking place.  There were some logistics that needed to be dealt with, she was here in Bend, and he was in Hong Kong.  And a 13hr time difference that meant extra effort to make it work. But they did it. And when Cam moved back to the States this summer, he didn’t waste any time in asking her to be his bride… and so he put a ring on her finger and they set a date.


I’m so excited for these two, and it was so much fun taking their pictures. Kat knows I’m not a pro, but like taking pictures so she asked me to do their engagement shoot since their wedding photographer is in Hawaii.  My skills have a long way to go, but it sure is a privilege and a hell of a lot of fun to be able to use them for things like this.