“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.”
― Henry David Thoreau, Walden
Lowercase's journey began in 2015 with a love of eyewear and commitment to American manufacturing. After decades of decline, American eyewear manufacturing was all but extinct, giving way to an industry dominated by overseas production. "We want to breathe new life into American eyewear through a focus on high quality, small batch production. An integration of new technologies with traditional techniques is driving our vision forward. "
Jamie and Casey Davis, co-founders and owners of Portola Paints & Glazes, were born and raised in Los Angeles to a family of artists. Mentored by their father, a high-end custom home builder, Jamie and Casey inherited a deeply rooted love for design and color, and found their passion for the arts at an early age when they began exploring photography, painting, and architecture.
Using his dad's hand me down Nikon 35 mm camera, Jamie developed and honed his skill set in photography, while Casey became enamored with mixing natural pigments and investigating the alchemy of color. Drawing inspiration from their artistic pursuits, their extensive travels, and the vibrant Southern California landscape they call home, their work quickly grew beyond the lens and the canvas to create the flourishing palette of hues, textures, and finishes that would form the Portola brand.
Similar to a sponge, our skin absorbs whatever we put on it — including all those lotions, makeups, perfumes, serums, etc. we've used before without knowing exactly what's in them. It can be intimidating to pick juuust the right one with so many options. We've been there.
But with a world of beauty products swirling around us, we honed in on 10 ingredient-conscious brands who craft intentional and natural products that are kind in every way. Each values the wellbeing of body, mind and the environment, so you can feel good about using them in the day to day. We owe it to ourselves to treat our body well however we can! It will do the same to us in return. So why wouldn't you give it the good stuff?
Jumpsuit by Ola Mai
In the space of a month, my heat broke in 11 degree weather, my zipper failed at work while I was going commando, I woke up with a cockroach on my head, my husband definitively left me for the great city of LA, my parents closed our family restaurant of 63 years without telling me. And most surprising of all- l was laid off.
Halfway through January, at the culmination of all these events, I start to wonder when my white lady breakdown is going to come. When am I going to sit on the floor of the bathroom praying for the first time, or refuse to take a balloon from a child on the bus? When am I going to have the desire to buy an Italian chateau or walk across the desert alone?
Because to have a breakdown, I'd first have to be heartbroken. And I'm not heartbroken, not even a little. Sure, in the past I've had my share of pain in every shade of the rainbow, but these days my main qualifier is "relieved."
Shortly before Christmas, I write to my friend Marlee and am surprised to find that I am so decidedly not heartbroken I title the email "heartbread." Because sourdough takes up more space in my mind and soul than most anything else.
On the last day of 2017, she writes back:
It can get so incredibly dark and sad
the grief circles back in the most unexpected corners
and you just have to meet it
and let it in
and then usher it out.She's right. The very next day I'm at an engagement party and a woman tells a story about my friend and her fiancee. My friend was throwing a party and she forgot something, so her fiancee went to the store to get it. She called him a dozen different times- she forgot this, she forgot that, oh, he left the store? Can he please go back to get one more thing? And each time he said yes, I'm here to help you. That is where grief met me, in the middle of a room full people raising glasses of champagne to the happy couple. Grief said, remember that day last summer when you asked your husband to pick up a box of peaches from the farmer's market and he looked at you and said, why is that my problem?
That night, lying in bed, I start to consider how very fortunate I am to not have to answer questions like that anymore. I sleep soundly through the night for the first time in three years.
Please don't think that the beginning of my year was easy or painless. Please don't think that I am some kind of superwoman who is "OMG SO BRAVE." Please don't think that I am callous or cold, that I do not mourn the loss of hope I had put into my work and my marriage. Most of all, please don't confuse my lack of brokenness with a lack of exhaustion. Shit hitting the fan will wear out the calmest among us, if only from explaining said shit to everyone you know until blue in the face. Me? I've been sitting in a room with a cow shitting into a tennis ball machine pointed at a cyclone for the better part of two years. At the end I had nothing to show for enduring the shit storm, so I began to clean up after it. And that wore me out too.
Halfway through January, at the culmination of all these events, blue as the moon at the start of the year, I think, I need a real solution. I decide not to drink or smoke or work for all of February; to sit with my thoughts and pain and desires; to look Grief directly in the eye. Immediately I am uncomfortable with the idea, not only because my bank account and all of society and history are staunchly opposed, but because what lies on the other side of it is so foreign to me. I notice myself seeking out other numbing quick fixes- my phone, TV, neurotically cleaning my house- often. I try to remind myself that noticing is where stopping starts.Here I am at the end of the month and I am frustrated to report that Grief is a demon who never dies and healing is a process that shows no signs of an end point. Oddly enough, embracing both of these facts has been as good of a baseline for comprehensive health as any. The more times I look Grief in the eye, the more worn down his path to the door becomes.
Hannah Messinger is a Tenneesee based food writer, photographer, stylist, and cook.
Read More and Follow Her @hmmessinger.
Tell us a bit about yourself — your background — what led you to become the maker you are today?
I'm a voracious learner. I read and listen to more audiobooks than might be healthy, but it's an addiction I'm okay with. When I'm making and creating, time stands still. I forget to eat or move or sometimes even take a breath. I crave that kind of focused making time — when I don't get it, I feel suffocated.
I have a degree in landscape architecture, which gave me a solid foundation of design principles, as well as a healthy appreciation and understanding of the systems our world functions in. We were taught to see spaces as a series of overlapping systems. We were required to dig deep into those layers, including but not limited to psychology and culture, socio-economics, ecology, geography, etc. Considering all of the systems, we were encouraged to design for form and function — they weren't mutually exclusive and, in fact, done well, each could make the other better.
I come from a long line of creative makers. My dad made beautiful dollhouses, and my mom was a talented seamstress. She enrolled me in sewing classes in third grade. That's that first time I remember using my talent and skills to make the things I wanted to exist in the world but couldn't seem to find. If I couldn't find the purse I wanted, I'd get some funky vintage fabric and make it. If I couldn't find the top I wanted, I'd deconstruct one and turn it into something I loved. I started with friendship bracelets, seed beads and fishing wire. My mom gave me her old Tupperware box to keep them in, and I made pieces for both myself and my friends all the way through college.
After graduation, I worked for a small landscape architecture firm in downtown Baton Rouge. I'd leave that day job and go straight home to make jewelry into the night. I spent a lot of time exploring new techniques and materials; I took classes and read lots of books. My husband, who was much more entrepreneurial-minded, encouraged me to make MIMOSA and LLC and apply to sell at our local arts market. I was slowly picked up by local retailers and added new shows and festivals to my schedule, as well as an online shop. Eventually, I left my day job to pursue jewelry full time. My background in landscape architecture prepared me for creating pieces that go beyond aesthetic adornment. Everything we designed in school had to have a "why," and we didn't include elements that weren't adding to the form or function of the experience of the space. The way I approach jewelry design is exactly the same. I consider so much more than trends — each piece is rooted in creating experience, solving a problem, telling a story or raising awareness.
In the last few years, the MIMOSA team has grown to 6 employees working full time to bring our work to more people in the most quality way.
Describe your brand in 3 words.
Purposeful. Approachable. Generous.
SXSW is on the horizon and we know you are already dusting off your favorite boots. So, if you are heading to Austin for the music or just ready to ride the wave of energy in the city, we put together this list of brands and makers you should check out while you are there.
Justin “Raif” Raiford grew up traveling the world with his family where he got to experience many different cultures, cuisines and landscapes. Living in different countries Raif's mother often times had to make things from scratch that they couldn’t get such as clothing, crafts and other comforts that reminded them of home. This always interested Raif and a passion for how things worked and how they were made was born. His passion for knowledge lead him to culinary arts school where he found himself researching ingredients and where they were from. As a chef his passion for ingredients greatly influenced his dishes and what he created in the kitchen. With success in the culinary arts field he started to research the ingredients in everyday products. Wanting a simple more natural product he started to create his own products that looked visually pleasing and had benefits for the skin, hair and body.
The Good Hippie
The Good Hippie™ is a small-batch, natural, artisan line of skincare + beauty, handcrafted in Austin, Texas. They believe the ritual of the bath and daily skincare routine should be a time of indulgence. A time to breathe deeply, and nurture the body and mind.
They know that real ingredients produce real results. It is with this intention that they source the highest quality, therapeutic-grade, freshest, most vibrant gifts of the Earth to inspire their products.
Their formulas are concentrated, containing only ingredients that have been carefully selected for their beneficial properties and ability to enhance, nourish, and protect.
Photo By Nathan McDonald
“The idea began on hot southern summer day in New Orleans, Louisiana - The kind where sweat drips and the air smells of cut onions and smoke. A reverent nod to a place where porches are open and lights are always on.
I want to bicycle to town. We could stay on the road...or not.
I want to hesitate and be patient.
I want to stand on the ground and feel it.
I want to pick fresh fruit and feel it drip down my chin with every bite.
The best feelings hurry too much.
I want to remember the day my son and I were silly at the park.
Put. The. Phone. Down.
How does your garden...Your life... How does your spirit grow?
In 2016, my partner Nathan and I spent a lot of time in New Orleans. When I think of our time there, the first image that comes to mind is our slow drive down Magazine street with the windows down, mosquitos and Lead Belly in the speakers. The pace of life changes when you go to a place like that, go on vacation or have no plans in particular - doesn't it? Somehow that becomes luxury.
So, I came home from New Orleans and the questions kept probing:
"Why are we always so rushed?" or "Why do I never have enough time?"
It was met with equal parts frustration and longing for a life I knew I wanted - Something better for myself and something more intentional for everyone I came into contact with. I wanted to be able to have a conversation without multi-tasking and actually look my friends in the eye. I wanted to sit down. I wanted to enjoy cooking a meal and not throw it together.
So, on my next trip to visit Nathan, we made a flag. That's what everyone does when facing deeper, stirring life desires right? I'm a part-time flag maker so roll with it.
Anyway. We made a flag. I never shared it and nothing ever came of it, it was just this gut punch reminder.
Fall 2017 - My best friend Madeline Ellis of Mimosa Handcrafted and I were texting and I told her about this flag made and the idea of "Live Slow." Without hesitation she replied, "HELL YES!" It's important to choose "yes" friends but "HELL YES!" friends are extra important and Madeline is one of those. I kid you not, within an hour, I had a sketch and within two weeks, there was a ring. Madeline and her husband Dawson (the other half of Mimosa) are not only two of my favorite people but they are pillars of the maker community and incredible jewelry makers.
Since then, Madeline and I have been sharing ways that this simple idea permeates our lives. It's saying no to an extra few minutes of work. It's choosing better food not just for our own bodies but for our families, the community. It's connectedness.
It's saying, "HELL YES!" and leaning in.
"There's so much to tell even about this little corner! This is a shot from our first big job, completely designing, renovating and furnishing a house up in Freehold, NY, our introduction to upstate and the life of living where we work. This is the formal dining room, which when we got there was split up into these two tiny dark rooms. The clients loved to host a good dinner party, so we knocked down the wall and turned it into one big room, so big, that you can't even see the dining table in this shot! We added that old beat up farmhouse door to bring some light into the room and a little more flow into the house. We had gotten down the original floors in the rest of the room, but in that entry patch it was a mishmash of all different types of wood, perhaps from when that part of the house was actually a porch, but we salvaged what we could and ended up loving the little patchwork quality of it. We plastered the walls and ceilings in blue, with that split color variation that I just love. The bench is made by Percy with parts of an old porch swing, and that spindly wreath is something I put together with sticks and dried flowers from outside. "
"Paint swatches! I love picking paint colors, but it admittedly, drives me crazy. I can't even imagine how many days of my life have been decimated to the pursuit of finding the perfect color. You stare at those things for hours, check on them at different times of day, look at them from different angles, compare your options again and again, and then you finally settle on something, bring it home, paint a wall, and it looks completely different than the little color chip you've been analyzing. Throw in the fact that I'm color blind - yes, a color blind designer, maybe we shouldn't tell the whole world that? - and it's a serious feat. I like to think I've gotten somewhat better at it over the years, but realistically, I've probably just accepted the fact that it's going to take about 5 color samples to really find what you're looking for. I ended up painting those rooms in a pale gray and hand painting polka dots on the main walls."
"Our Philadelphia house! This house is really what started it all for us. Neither of us has a traditional design background, so this house essentially became our thesis project. Percy bought the house before we met, and as luck would have it, got laid off the next week. He decided to take it as a sign, and spent the next year renovating the house and learning so many of the skills that are crucial to our lives today. When I came on the scene, he was just getting to the decorating and styling phase of the job, which suited me perfectly! We scoured flea markets - in fact, our first weekend getaway together was to Brimfield - and rearranged furniture and picked out bedding and furniture and tried to create a house that we loved and that represented us as designers. This room was one of the last we tackled. When we started dating it had bright red shiny walls, and that's about it. We saw a picture somewhere of a beautiful grand room with gorgeous molding, and decided that's exactly what the room was calling for. Percy pulled the wood for the project from an abandoned school up in North Philly. Honestly, it was such an undertaking just to get the molding into the house; that the room ended up so beautiful is a true testament to his insanity. I mean that of course in the best way. "
"This is another room that waited a bit before revealing what it was meant to be. It's the sun room from our first job up in Freehold, that has come to be called Shipley Corner in the internet world I think. It was an addition to the main house, and it's lack of original details left us pretty uninspired. For the first two months of the job it was where we slept, surrounded by bags and boxes. It was far away from the fireplace, which basically meant it was the last place anyone wanted to be. But once we started thinking of it as a summer living room, where suddenly everyone would want to be once the warm sun was streaming in, the whole space came together. We painted the floors, covered the ceiling and main wall with white washed barn wood. It ended up feeling like a space that had always been there, filled with Grandma's gardening books and a big old couch we found on Craigslist for fifty bucks."
"Rock Creek! Our latest project, from where I write you this email! There's so much to say about this job, but I'll talk about this picture instead. When we arrived the house clearly had some great bones, but the kitchen needed to be completely redone. Everything felt like a dirty rotting mess. With blue ceilings and yellow walls of course. The floors were covered in linoleum covered in smelly rugs, all of which we happily ripped up. We had gotten some reclaimed ceiling beams from a super sweet guy over in the Berkshires, and were planning on using them for the entire room, until we discovered this little patch of original blue flooring. It wasn't the easy option, but after going back and forth on it for awhile, we knew we couldn't cover those up and not feel at least a tad guilty about it. I kept saying, 'I can imagine how the split in the floor is going to look in a picture, and it looks just like something we would do.'"
"The kitchen! In all it's beauty! You can even see a hint of that split floor! The more we work, the more I really believe that the kitchen is the heart of the home, and this one so perfectly represents the spirit of this house. The owners wanted it to be a place where people would come to be inspired - a place where they could create, get dirty, jump in lakes, pick wildflowers, make cakes and dinners for ten. This kitchen feels like that. It always looks effortlessly perfect, even when it's filled with pots and pans and licked clean dishes. There are shelves and hooks everywhere, so there is always something at your finger tips, there is always a beautiful bowl for the tomatoes. That table started as just a place holder and became almost instantly beloved. The top is so worn that you never have to worry for a second about spilling your wine. The chairs are a mismatched vintage collection that always seems to have a broken leg in the mix. Maybe that's not the kind of design everyone wants, but it feels so true to us. Every time we gather around that table, I find myself feeling so grateful for the food on the table and the company around me. I could go on and on. That kitchen is the bomb. Don't quote me on that. "
"The girl's room! In reality there are no girls, no twin girls at that, but all through the project I couldn't help imagining I was designing this room for them. This project was our welcome into the world of wallpaper, and I'm obsessed. OBSESSED. If you think paint changes a room, wallpaper changes everything. This is Apothecary's Garden from Trustworth Wallpaper, one of my favorites, though truly everything Trustworth does is stunning. I've got a little bucket list to use every one of their patterns."
"The master bedroom at Shipley corner. The transformation of this room is wild. It started with a total creepy dollhouse vibe - low ceilings, busy wallpaper, little shutters on the windows, dark floors, no good. Breaking into the ceiling completely changed the feel of the room, and once we plastered the walls a loft vibe sort of took over. We planned originally to cover up all remnants of the wallpaper, but once we started ripping off the top layer, a softer pattern revealed itself, and we liked it to much to cover it up completely. It's dreamy in there now. Feels sort of like a memory of a room. Since we design primarily vacation homes we like to keep the bedroom simple - big bed, cozy linens, soft rugs, a chair, a place to put some clothes and throw a book, curtains that blow in the breeze and little else."
"The master bedroom at Big Indian, a little cabin that we redid last summer. This house had such a tiny footprint and was designed all wrong, so we ended up basically redesigning the entire layout of the house. The master bedroom, once intended to be the guest room, was renovated to be the bigger of the two, though we still couldn't find a wall big enough to fit a headboard, and so, the headboard simply made way for the window. I've seen some comments about this being something they would strongly frown upon in interior design school but that seems to work anyway. Perks of being self taught! Like all of our bedrooms, we above all just wanted to create a space that makes you want to take a nap. This seems to do the trick. "