Crafty Mamas: Part II

We had the opportunity to chat with Tine Debroux, owner/maker/magician for one of our favorite lines: Under Aurora.  Her story of motherhood as a catalyst for starting her own business and as the inspiration for her best selling coconut oil spray is so exciting to us as makers. It's interesting to hear how becoming a mama opened up new avenues on her creative path that might not have otherwise shown themselves. Read the rest of her story below....

Becoming a mother was a major turning point, not only in my personal life, but in my professional career as well. After having my daughter Sadie I decided to start working for myself, which allowed for flexibility in my schedule but opened up a new set of challenges, mainly finding time to do my work while being a full-time mama. When she was younger there was a lot of working during naptime or in the evening after bedtime, but now that she's in preschool there's a little more time to get things done. There's still a lot of answering emails and doing social media while waiting in the hall for her to get out of school but I try to make it a point to put the phone away when we're spending quality time at the park or on walks through the woods. Now that my daughter is five she's able to help out a lot around the studio, doing things like counting bottles for wholesale orders or handing me labels to apply. She says she wants to be my business partner when she gets old enough, which always makes me smile.
One of Under Aurora's most popular products, the Coconut Oil Spray, was a direct result of being a new mama. Coconut Oil had been recommended to me to use as a cloth diaper-safe alternative to over-the-counter diaper rash creams. I found it difficult to use when it solidified during the winter so I began using a liquified (fractionated) version which could be sprayed from a bottle, and added a bunch of soothing and healing plant botanicals. It worked so well that I started using it on my own skin and then started giving it out to friends. After it completely cleared up a friend's eczema I decided to start selling it as an all-purpose body and hair oil.

Thanks for sharing your story, Tina!  We appreciate you and all of the other mamas out there...


Erin + Nicole

Crafty Mamas: Part I


We sat down with Sarah Martinez, of SnoogsAndWilde, to talk about being a Mom and Artist and how she balances momma time with creative time. In addition to being a busy mom and artist, Sarah just completed the build of her new studio, so exciting! Check it out on her instagram feed @snoogsandwilde to see more of her work and life and read on to hear her thoughts below:

I love this question!  And I literally ask it to myself on repeat daily.  I've got two beautiful boys, Leo who just turned 7 and Beau who is 1 and a half, along with my incredible husband, Brook, who is a true partner in every sense.  They are my heart! I also run a creative business from my home studio that requires me to paint, draw, communicate for partnerships, fulfill daily orders, and keep my books.  It is work that I love, like really, really LOVE.  It is certainly a lot to try to balance, but it's AWESOME and I wouldn't trade any of it!  
I feel like balancing momma time with creative time is a constant dance between making choices that will nourish my family, my work and me, AND the ability to let go and laugh when everything seems to go insanely bonkers - which it does, often, for sure!
Our house is messy and our clothes are dirty, we run late, we're outside a lot and our dinners are often a shadow of the of the complex culinary experience that I had envisioned earlier that day.  But my husband and I are present to our kids, we're patient and loving and fun and we consider that an important win.  The same challenges of chaos happen in my work life; my studio space is a sprawling mess, I am always in sweat pants, I have piles of new work wanting to be made print ready, paintings lined up needing to be signed and varnished, finances that need to be organized etc. but, I realize what a gift it is to work for myself doing what I love and I try to let go and not sweat the small stuff.
I don't always succeed - sometimes I'm in tears over the small stuff and I often feel like there is more that I could and should be doing, both in motherhood and in my creative life.  The "do more, be more" feeling is hard to shake, but I try to take it moment by moment, choice by choice and decipher what is truly important from what seems so pressing. 
Sometimes those choices are as simple as drinking my coffee as slowly as possible while watching the birds or taking a yoga class or putting work aside to watch Leo do endless summersaults because it means everything to him that I see each and every one.  Other times the choices seem bigger, like deciding to slow down work to be home with Beau while he's still a baby or taking the chance on building a new studio space because things are growing.  One of the most helpful choices that I made after Beau was born was I hiring an amazing studio assistant. She does printing and packaging, art scanning, and website management and helps bounce ideas around.  This was such a live-saving decision because having the help of my assistant has really afforded me the time to continue on the creative end of things, which is the fun part, and also totally imperative!  
It is important to me that my children see me working hard at something that I love - I want them to see the successes, mistakes, frustrations and accomplishments that are part of it all.  I want them to know that they too can make a life by  bringing their unique voice and passion into doing what they love - and have a lot of fun doing it!!
All in all, the balance of motherhood and creative business is pretty incredible and both aspects inform and inspire the other.  The whimsy, innate confidence and nonjudgmental posturing of my children is so inspiring to me and I try to bring those qualities into my studio when approaching a painting or a conversation with a collaborator.  At the same time, I find that my parenting is more patient, receptive and less stressed after I've spent the afternoon working in the studio.  So aside from trying to create a balance (which is a constant effort), there is that nice naturally occurring balance and I'm grateful for that - well, I'm grateful for all of it, really!

We hope you all enjoyed Sarah's kind and gentle approach to her work, family and self. We love hearing about how other makers create balance and comfort in their lives. Happy Mother's day, Sarah and all of you other mama's out there!

xo, Nicole & Erin

Maker Profile: Lauren Hernandez of Artumie Candle

Each month, our Maker Profile blogposts will introduce you to an artist that we carry at Shop Asterluxe. We are deeply inspired by the makers we carry, their process, how they stay inspired and the rituals they incorporate into their day.  We hope that these interviews help spark your fire and bring a little inspiration into your creative process as well.  Read on to learn about Lauren Hernandez, the magic maker behind Artumie Candle.

Asterluxe: Do you have any daily rituals or habits that help you feel grounded?

Lauren Hernandez: This is something that's always a work in progress for me. Most recently, I have found that starting or ending my day with some exercise really helps me feel grounded. It can be a 10-minute workout as I listen to NPR or a speed walk around my neighborhood. Also, starting my morning off with some tea, away from my computer or phone, helps me visualize and mentally prepare myself for the day ahead.

AL: What is your favorite thing about your studio/workspace?

LH: The creativity. My space is filled with the best smells, plants galore, and inspirational materials that I've gathered on trips across the US. I literally have mason jars filled with items from nature that I've picked on hikes, from California, to Arizona and Illinois. We use them to remember the aroma of nature and inspire new scent development.

AL: What is your biggest challenge in being an artist/maker?

LH: Time management. Being a mostly one-person business, managing time can be a real issue. I've continued to work 9-5 jobs in order to fund the operation and business as it grows. Finding the time to work on each stage of the Artumie business can be a challenge. But, a rewarding one!  It's important to allocate time for creative brainstorming, working on product development, making large amounts of products in a short period of time, and more.

AL: What is your favorite part of your creative process? Least favorite?

LH: Artumie is all about bringing the smells of nature into your home. With that said, my favorite part of the creative process is actually being outside and exploring! I try to remember the small moments that in return, translate into a scent that evokes a memory of being an adventurer.

AL: What motivates and inspires you to be an artist/maker? 

LH: Ultimately, it's my loyal customers. At first, I really liked the idea of having something of my own. However, as Artumie grows, there is nothing more inspiring or rewarding than hearing from happy customers. Whether it's at events or markets, social media, or beyond. I check Instagram everyday and, simply seeing a customer's picture with their newly purchased candle, puts a smile on my face :)

AL: What do you do when you hit the inevitable creative rut?

LH: Hitting a rut is hard! Whether it's creatively or from simply being tired due to a lack of time. When I hit any type of rut, I find it helpful to take a break and reset by doing something I love, for myself. Whether it's going for a run, taking a day off, seeing a movie, or doing some yoga. Taking a break helps me refocus on what to prioritize. It can be easy to lose perspective and it's important to be able to reset, however you do it!

AL: What are you doing to recharge and energize when not in the studio working?

LH: Cooking or exploring. I find cooking to be very relaxing and see it as another creative outlet. I also just love to explore. Whether it's vintage shops or local music around our home base in Chicago, or traveling and experiencing new things.

AL: If you weren’t an artist/maker, what would would you be doing?

LH: Hearing from loyal customers is the most rewarding aspect of Artumie. Some may say I am a little customer obsessed, even. That's why I am also a marketer at heart. When I am not working on developing the Artumie brand, I am in advertising and marketing for start-ups or non-for-profits.

AL: Where do you get inspired: people, books, blogs, etc?

LH: I am mostly inspired by other small businesses and local makers. I love seeing all the unique talents that a person can bring to their own business, in a way that reflects passion.

Does any part of Lauren's story resonate with you?  Do you have some of your own rituals and creative processes you'd like to share?  Join the conversation in the comments below!

xoxo,  Erin & Nicole






Practicing Mindfulness

 If you're feeling overwhelmed, with a million tasks and thoughts, you probably feel like a time out for meditation is one of the last things you have time for.  The truth is, it's one of the best things you can do to care and prep yourself to better handle life's crazy curveballs. We've discovered the power of mindfulness practice in our day and just 10 minutes can be the tweak you need. Below we share some of our favorite apps and posts for making it easy to carve out a few minutes for yourself.


Headspace- gentle explorations on how to improve mindfulness

Stop, Breathe and Think- guided meditations personalized to you and your current emotions


Zen Habits: Stepping out of old habits and into deeper mindfulness

Becoming Minimalist: A guide to recognizing more moments that matter

So, give it a shot! You might be surprised :) If you have any great meditation links you'd like to share please post them in the comments below.


Erin & Nicole



Super Smoothie Recipe

We are feeling the effects of all of the eating/drinking/merrymaking of the last few weeks BUT, this smoothie recipe is giving us new life! It is filled with all of the good stuff: omega 3's, antioxidants, protein, iron, super powers!  Give this a shot if you are feeling a little tired OR if you're getting the inevitable winter cold. Our smoothie recipe will do you right. Follow the highlighted links below to learn more about each ingredient and/or to purchase.

1 tsp matcha

2 tbsp chia seeds

1 banana

1 cup frozen fruit

A handful of fresh spinach

1 tsp maca powder

ginger and turmeric tincture

1 Cup of water