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How To Make Valentine's Day Meaningful And Magical For Your Children, In 13 Fairly Simple Steps!

MINA BAIE

LOL. I'm just kidding. I'm not even doing 2 steps to make Valentine's Day special for my kid, let alone 13. Why? Because I don't want to. I used to stress out over making cute little crafts and cookies and things for my daughter, and then I was miserable and exhausted on holidays that she won't understand for years. Years!


Nowadays, I'm much more selective with how I spend my precious time, and I realize that Valentine's Day is not about children (unless we're talking about making them, amiright?!🖐🏼). As we all know by now, it is a holiday mostly designed to make us buy stuff. And it's also to make single people feel bad about themselves...


Hey, I'm still on board with the chocolate-eating, the champagne-drinking, and the flower-receiving. And if we all take an extra moment each year on Valentine's Day to appreciate and adore our Significant Other (or our Significant Self)- that's great. Our lives are often so hectic and full that we are too exhausted to treat ourselves to regular time alone with our partners. So ladies, let's make those dinner reservations, buy that champagne and do the thing! Yes! Or if that's not your style and you'd rather just get the kids off to bed early so you can lounge on the couch and order pizza- Go You! Whatever makes the day special for you, and your partner (if you have one).
And if you *want* to get up early and make heart-shaped pancakes with organic cacao nibs for your children, then Go You! Do it if you love to cook breakfast foods. Do it because your children's smiles are the only gift your heart desires. Whatever. Just don't do it out of fear that you'll mess up your kid's childhood or be judged by the Pinterest moms. I promise, the Pinterest moms don't care. And I also promise that your babies will be totally fine without any special treatment on Valentine's Day. All they need is a box of those little cards with the perforated edges and Disney characters on them. You know the ones I'm talking about. Just make sure they come with the good candy- I'm talking Nerds and Blow Pops. Don't let your kid be the one giving out Good 'N Plenty at the class party.

How do you plan to spend Valentine's Day?

#valentines #designerdiaperbag #momadvice #workingmom #celebritydiaperbag #celebritystyle #streetstyle #momstyle #baby #babybag #babylife #momlife #celebstyle #celebmom

The Momtra that Saved my Sanity: Less is More

MINA BAIE

So in my last post, I talked about becoming a Minimalist Mama and the method that I used to get rid of all my crap. That was fun, wasn’t it? But honestly, minimalism is about so much more than just owning less stuff; It is a mindset that permeates all aspects of your life. It is the pursuit of FREEDOM from excess baggage, literally and figuratively. So many women find themselves stretched so thin they’re on the verge of disappearing entirely- between the rigors of work and family life, women today need minimalism more than ever!

Here are three lessons the minimalist lifestyle has taught me:

Apply simplicity. Don’t do stuff you don’t have to do.  I know how “Duh” this sounds, but as business owners and designers, Jenna and I learned that this it’s not as obvious as one might think. It is really easy to get pulled in fifty directions, but that leads to chaos and confusion. Especially as a mom, there are SO many things that we are ‘supposed’ to do, that create a culture of busyness and disconnectedness in our lives. Holiday cookie baking! Perfect Halloween costumes! Special birthday parties! Cute stuff like happy face sandwiches for school lunches! We have been sold a huge lie that children need constant activities and entertainment to have a special childhood, when in fact the opposite is true. So go ahead and skip that event you were dreading and let your kid play in the dirt all weekend instead. Sit around, recharge your batteries, enjoy your family. Aaaah, minimalism.

 Apply intention and focus to the things that do matter. When Jenna and I started Mina Baie, we had a pretty clear vision, in an overarching ‘this is who we are’ kind of way. But as we got going, it was shockingly easy to get hung up on things that didn’t really contribute to the vision. We began the process of designing our bag, and I cannot even begin to tell you how many suggestions we entertained. People were all like, “Put 36 pockets on the front!” “It needs backpack straps!” “It’s going to have a zip-off changing pad, right?!” We tried to listen to all of the input, and the bag really started to go a direction we didn’t want it to. At one point, I looked at a sketch and wondered who the hell had designed this bag, because it sure wasn’t what I had envisioned. So we stripped it all away. We refocused on what we really wanted to accomplish with the bag, and put all of our energy into those few things. And when people asked if the bag came with this or that or included this bell and that whistle, we remained confident with our design, because we know that the bag does what it does perfectly, and doesn’t do what it doesn’t do at all.  As the great Ron Swanson says, “Never half-ass two things. Whole ass one thing.” With each new product that we design, we create focus points to really hone in on what we want the product to do well. That has helped us maintain both cohesiveness and versatility in all of our products, without sacrificing our vision.

Get to know yourself and what really works for you. Ditch everything that doesn’t. Even if your methods are unorthodox or straight-up weird, just embrace who you are as a businessperson (or a parent, or just person!), and create systems that cater to you! As a mom, this looks like me making the same thing for breakfast every single morning. I save time and mental energy, and that is what works me. In the work arena, Jenna and I quickly realized that we were utterly incapable of working at the house. Children and the hubbub of children and children stuff just rendered us completely useless. So instead of straining to create systems that would allow us to limp along, we just said, “screw it.” And in doing that, we discovered what Does work for us- and you know what that is? Working in bars. Pretty awesome, right? Minimalism.

How have you applied minimalism to your lifestyle? What have you gained from doing less? We’d love to hear from you below! 

XOXO,

MINA BAIE

#designerdiaperbag #momadvice #workingmom #celebritydiaperbag #celebritystyle #streetstyle #momstyle #baby #babybag #babylife #momlife #celebstyle #celebmom

Minimalist Mom

MINA BAIE

I used to hear the word “minimalism” and I pictured people living on a prairie somewhere, dressed in full skirts and aprons and a pair of worn leather shoes they had fashioned themselves. And they had no tv and definitely no iPads or makeup or designer clothes. After they cleaned up the single pot they cooked dinner in each night, and the shined and put away their shared family spork, they sat in near silence and read from one of the two books on their shelf. In other words: pretty bleak. 

But then something changed- I don’t know whether our culture as a whole changed, or if the arrival of my daughter exposed me to a different corner of the cultural zeitgeist, but all of the sudden I decided that these minimalists were onto something. Come to think of it, this happened around the time of my baby shower, when I was huge and aching and in full-on nesting mode. I remember sitting in my living room with dozens of boxes and bags of gifts and hand-me-downs. It was more overwhelming than the prospect of motherhood itself. Where the hell was all this stuff going to go? I fully believed that I needed it all, or rather, I might need it all at some point and therefore needed to hold onto all of it to avoid catastrophe and failing as a parent altogether. And then there’s a whole other level of this, that I never really experienced until becoming a parent; people give you all kinds of crap and you feel suuuuuper guilty giving it away. It was a gift! What kind of ungrateful a-hole gives away the hand-crocheted bunting that your grandmother’s coworker made for your sweet little one? Yes, it may be a choking hazard and a fire hazard, and it’s made of that scratchy acrylic yarn that was big in the 70’s. But dangit! It was a gift, and dear old Pearl has been such close friends with your grandmother for years.   

Anyway. The point is: the struggle becomes very real when you become a parent. I think we all go through a near-crisis where we are pretty sure all the stuff in our house has come to life and is conspiring against us. 

I was lucky that a friend of mine came to my house in those early days and said, “You should just get rid of all these things! They aren’t happy wasting away in your linen closet, so you should just set them free!” She was right. My grandmother’s friend Pearl had already received the joy that gift-giving brings, and I wasn't obligated to keep it forever. And with that, I felt free to pass the bunting on to the next stage in its journey. Whether that next stage was with a new family, or in the landfill… well, that’s none of my business. “Onto the next!”, I declared. 

If you’re thinking this philosophy sounds sorta familiar, that’s because my friend had read Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. She loaned it to me, and I slowly picked my way through it over the next few months.

4 Ways KonMari Changed my Thinking and my Life 

1.       I thought I would just learn how to get rid of crap, but I actually learned how to truly appreciate my things- I rediscovered items I had long since forgotten or lost amidst all the clutter. In order to really love your things, you need to be able to see them. Give your stuff some room to breathe, and watch them come back to life! 

Once I had rid my closet (and my baby girl’s closet) of all the excess, I became reacquainted with my own style. I was able to rid my closet of dozens of pieces that I never wore, and I had a much better handle on what I actually liked and needed. 

Note: check out Capsule Wardrobes if you are looking to seriously simplify your wardrobe.

2. I learned how to shop. Now, instead of just running through the stores and buying it all because I might need it someday, or because I saw Kim K wearing something similar, I take items into my hands, close my eyes, and visualize it as part of my home or wardrobe. Do I really love those jeans with the rips on the actual ass cheek part of the pant? No. I do not. When it comes to ass ripped jeans, best to put leave 'em on the shelf. 

Now, be prepared for onlookers to be alarmed by this ritual. I mean it is truly bizarre to see a grown woman clutching a pair of jeans to her chest, eyes closed tight and mouth moving slightly because she is clearly talking to herself. And I’m actually quite certain this part of the KonMari method was never supposed to be performed out in the world. But it’s been very helpful to me, and I highly recommend it! Plus, you get the added bonus of totally freaking out fellow shoppers. Win, win. 

3. Almost anything can be replaced. This is the 20/20 Rule of Stuff. 

A lot of moms hold onto all kinds of gadgets and accessories because we *might* need them and don't want to get caught without them. So we plan for the worst, and allow fear to clutter our minds and our closets.

Here’s how the 20/20 Rule of Stuff works: I had the NoseFrida, the FeverFrida, and the ButtFrida (this has another name, but I reject it in favor of "ButtFrida"). We only really used the NoseFrida. The FeverFrida and the ButtFrida remained in their original packaging for nearly a year, until l finally listened to Marie Kondo and kicked them to the curb, based on the Rule that nearly all of those ‘just in case’ items can be replaced in less than 20 minutes and under 20 dollars. So far, that has been very true for me. Letting go of that ButtFrida was tough, but my daughter is nearly three now, and we haven't needed it once. If we had a random gas-passing crisis, I could run out and replace it for less than $20, and in less than 20 minutes. You might be thinking, "butt that adds up!" And here's the thing: no, it doesn't. In over two years of living minimalist, I have thrown away a TON of 20/20 items, and we have only had to replace two. 

4. I learned to value quality and versatility over a ‘good price’. This is related to no. 2, but is an important point in its own right. As I combed through my wardrobe, confronting bad fashion choices and impulse purchases from times past, I recognized in myself a need to feel like I got a good deal. The many unworn garments, clearance tags still firmly attached, told me that I needed to get a grip. I had bought all of this crap, thinking I was saving money, but it was all a waste (Marie Kondo wouldn’t call it a waste, but whatevs). I realized that the pieces I loved the most, my few wardrobe staples, were all well-made, beautiful garments that could be styled many different ways. I can’t even tell you how huge this was for me, and for Mina Baie. When we designed the Mina Bag, we had the option to choose cheap fabrics in trendy prints. But my partner and I had our hearts set on the Mina Bag playing the long game; It had to be made from genuine leather and luxury hardware. And it had to be perfect for way more than just toting diapers. It’s an investment, so we designed it to be so much more than just a diaper bag- it’s an overnight bag, a carry-on bag, and a work bag, all in one. Moms can buy it and use it for years, instead of buying lots of cheaper bags that will just end up shoved in the back of their closets, cluttering up their lives. 

I hope you feel inspired to minimalize your life after reading this! Do you have any tried and true minimalist hacks that could help other frazzled mamas? Leave a comment below, and let us know.