Getaway to Millinocket Lake, Maine

Last weekend, Matt and I took a getaway to Millinocket, Maine, where we rented a cute little cabin called the “Fox Den” at the New England Outdoor Center to celebrate our first wedding anniversary.  I would highly recommend this place for folks who want to be immersed in nature but don’t want to rough it with the bugs at a campsite. NEOC has cabins ranging from the small one that we rented to much larger ones for a big group. Many of them were built not long ago in 2009, and they have some luxe details. They also come with a kitchen so you can cook a simple meal, but there is also a main lodge with a restaurant. You can swim, use the kayaks and canoes out on the lake, use the fire pits, or drive up to Baxter State Park, about 20 minutes north of NEOC. I particularly enjoyed having breakfast on the deck of the cabin and canoeing on the lake.

Here are some snapshots from our trip.

What’s in my summer makeup travel bag?

Folkloriat's summer makeup bag

Last summer I posted what I was bringing in my makeup bag for a trip, and to this day it’s still one of my most-read posts. I think that’s because we’re all nosy and we like to know what other people have inside their bags. Here’s what I brought with me last weekend when Matt and I rented a cabin on Millinocket Lake. The setting was super casual, but we also went out for dinner for our anniversary so I want to look presentable.

Alima Pure Satin Matte Foundation: This is a loose powder foundation with good coverage. I love that this foundation is chemical-free and that the brand carries shades for every skin tone. I have found that the tricks to applying it evenly are to put a base underneath it (I use the Dr. Hauschka translucent makeup listed below) and also to use a dense, synthetic brush such as the one from Alima with the wooden handle pictured here.

Dr. Hauschka Translucent Makeup: This feels like moisturizer when you apply it. It’s very lightweight and it contains natural ingredients like avocado oil and witch hazel. I also really like the subtle herbal scent that it has.

Dr. Hauschka Bronzing Powder: A pressed powder bronzer for fair-skinned people. I am not certain that this is still available in the U.S., and I have hit pan, so I’m on the hunt for a new bronzer to try. Suggestions?

Well People The Expressionist Bio Extreme Mascara: This is my latest find, an all-natural mascara. It is less expensive than the Kjaer Weis mascara that everyone loves so much. I think it works quite well, though on a really humid day it can start to transfer under your eyes after about 5 hours.

Kjaer Weis Cream Blush in Blossoming: I got a sample size of this blush from Spirit Beauty Lounge, and I really like it. It’s a rosy pink and I find it to be really flattering on pale skin. In case you are not familiar with this company, they create nontoxic makeup in eco-friendly, reusable packaging — you just pop out the pan and replace it with a new one.

RMS Beauty Lip Gloss in Bloom: A neutral coral pink that is a “my lips but better” color.

RMS Uncover Up: I apply this below my eyes to help cover dark circles. It has coconut oil in it, which means that it is also moisturizing.

I also brought two brushes and an eyelash curler. The zippered pouch (no longer available) is from More & Co.

 

L’Occitane Repairing Hair Oil

 

l'occitane hair oil

I’m a total minimalist when it comes to my hair. I can’t be bothered to do too much to it. All I want is for it to feel healthy and smell good. My hair routine is usually limited to Shikai shampoo and conditioner and Aveda Daily Hair Repair leave-in treatment when I style it. This summer I’ve added one more product to the mix for a change: L’Occitane Repairing Hair Oil. It has has a scent that combines 5 essential oils: Ylang-ylang, lavender, orange, geranium, and angelica. It’s a strong scent at first that dissipates after a few minutes. The blend of herbal and floral scents is therapeutic and it it feels like I’m putting on aromatherapy oil each morning. Just be careful to only use the tiniest pump– too much will make your hair greasy, but a small amount will make it extra soft and shiny.

The ubiquity of “artisan” goods: what does this mean for the future of craft?

An essay by Ariel Hagan Elwell

Last month on a desperate Tuesday night after a long day of work, I ordered pizza delivery. Out of curiosity, I got the “Domino’s Artisan” option that was supposed to be a step up from their usual offering. The idea seemed so ridiculous to me that I had to see what it was all about. Even the largest of corporations who are in every other strip mall are trying to cultivate the image of being small-scale, slow, and handmade, the image that they have a heart, a face behind the product. Made with integrity, love, and care.

There seems to be an explosion in the use of keywords like “handmade, handcrafted, and artisan.” Consumers are coming to value these qualities more and more. I include myself in this demographic– I am attracted to quality and durable materials, objects handmade by someone in their studio or workshop using skill and creativity. Disposable consumerism, or purchasing cheaply made products, is still riding high. For example, stores like Forever21 market products that will all end up in a landfill in 5 years because their quality and materials are garbage. Teenagers upload “hauls” to YouTube to show off the obscene number of products that they just purchased. Out of this glorified consumption and disconnect between the consumer and the maker, has arisen a counter-movement focused on quality and connection to the maker.

I believe that Etsy was the catalyst for this shift when it launched in 2005. An artist working out of his garage in the middle of nowhere suddenly had an easy way to sell his work on the internet to consumers anywhere in the world. This was revolutionary for the arts & crafts market. In 2013, Etsy sales surpassed $1 billion. “Artisinal capitalism” (1)  is flourishing. In fact, because the handmade label is so meaningful, companies like Nordstrom have partnered with Etsy makers to capitalize on this one-of-a-kind image. Martha Stewart has created a new online shop called “American Made” via Ebay where her empire sells products from independent makers and designers (2).

Not only do consumers want an alternative to the things they see as negative such as unfair labor, environmentally harmful practices, and poor quality, they are attracted to the opposite characteristics: well-made, original products made by identifiable, happy individuals through simple materials and superior craftsmanship (3). According to design expert Michele Varian, “People are all of a sudden realizing there isn’t a tactile handmade quality to things anymore and people don’t know how to do it themselves. There’s a real curiosity about that now (4).”

Mainstream companies are piling on to this bandwagon. West Elm has begun to tout supporting artisans as one of their business values. There is a section of their website entirely devoted to goods designed or made by independent artists. The company has committed $35 million over the next 2 years to increasing its offering of handmade goods (5).

So what does all of this mean for artisans? What does it mean for consumers? I can’t help but feel as though the companies are exploiting the creativity of the artisans as a marketing tool. But if these collaborations boost support for artisans’ practice, and facilitate increased consumer access to ethically made goods, I’m inclined to argue that this is a positive shift for our economy (6). It’s just since companies who are so far removed from the homespun, like Domino’s for instance, attempt to use the artisan lingo to attract consumers, I worry that the handcrafted bubble is going to burst when consumers get sick and tired of hearing that literally everything can be labeled “artisan.” Do we need a new word to describe goods that are truly handcrafted? In the meantime, I think it’s up to us as consumers to do our research and figure out which labels are authentic and which are just for show.

 

(1) “Ecommerce Enablers,” Mar2014, Vol. 119 Issue 2, p8-9. 2p.

(2) “The art and craft of business; Artisanal capitalism.” 4 Jan. 2014: Business Insights: Essentials, 19 Apr. 2014.

(3) For more on the meaning of crafted objects for the consumer, see Peter Korn, Why We Make Things and Why it Matters (Jaffrey: Godine, 2013), 57-68.

(4) After the Jump, on Heritage Radio Hour, episode 74, 2014.

(5) After the Jump, on Heritage Radio Hour, episode 71, 2014

(6) This could be compared to the sustainability initiatives of many corporations. Does it matter if they’re motivated to be “green” to make a sale vs. conserve the environment as long as they’re doing it?

 

Going up to camp!

 

camp-essentials

If you’re from away, you might interpret this as “heading up north to go camping,” but here in Maine, when people mosey on out of town for the weekend to stay at their summer cottages, we call it “going up to camp.” It seems that every family that has been here for generations has a camp. My family is originally from the South, so we don’t have a camp, but lucky for me, I married a man whose family has two camps, one on each side of his family. Last weekend, we booked it west to visit his grandma’s camp and spent the day in the sunshine. Grammy was beside herself with excitement since about 10 family members showed up unexpectedly. Nothing makes her happier than a big family get-together.

Here are the items I always bring when I go up to camp.

Camp Essentials:

  • A book to read and a notebook so I can journal. Right now, I’m reading Why We Make Things and Why it Matters by furniture craftsman Peter Korn.
  • Sunglasses. I am notorious for either breaking or losing sunglasses, so I can never invest too much in them. I got these at Whole Foods.
  • Sunscreen. Right now I’m using Badger Balm’s Aloe Sunscreen, SPF 30. It’s 100% natural, 87% organic. I love to support this company. They are ethical through and through, in terms of both ingredients and business practices.
  • Lip balm. Currently I’m using L’Occitane’s Organic Shea Lip Balm.
  • A baseball and gloves. You never know when you’re going to feel like throwing a ball around. Especially fun if there are kids in your family.
  • In addition to the items pictured, I bring a swimsuit and towel, my camera, flip flops, iced tea, and lots of snacks. Some of my favorites are snap pea crisps, watermelon, and veggie pasta salad.

 

A few snapshots of our day at camp…

emma-ducks-camp

Emma, the cutest little peanut, watching a mama duck and her ducklings

wildflowers

Wildflowers…Indian Paintbrush and Clover

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