As a family, we've actually been thinking about moving for a couple of years. We love California and have extended family there - but the cost of living is extremely expensive in our California town and we really wanted to buy a house (we've been crammed in a 2 bedroom condo for years and are ready to have some SPACE and some glorious GRASS!). Of all the choices of where to move with healthy living in mind and an outdoor lifestyle, we chose Boulder, CO as the new home town for our family - and our business! Pleni Naturals is now officially a Colorado LLC! If you purchased products from our website within the last few months you may have notice that on your return label the products didn't ship from California; they shipped from our new location in Boulder!
Our transition to Boulder has been pretty seamless. The kids are enjoying their new school, they have friends and are involved in activities, and the people here have been very warm and welcoming. Probably the most difficult part of our move has been getting our condo in California ready to sell (which we did) and the endless paperwork, etc. moving the Pleni Naturals business to Colorado ;). It's all worth it in the end! The kids' have been to a couple of Birthday parties already and Liam recently celebrated his 6th Birthday with lots of new friends at a trampoline park nearby. Rhys' 8th Birthday party is around the corner (a pottery party at the local art studio - she's my little artist) and she is having her first sleepover really soon.
To back up a little bit, about a month after moving from California to Colorado we started looking for a house to buy. Knowing we wanted to buy a house within 6 months after moving to Boulder, we decided to rent a furnished house at first and put our stuff in storage so we wouldn't have to move everything twice. It's been hard and freeing at the same time not having all of our belongings with us! As it turns out, real estate in Boulder is a bit crazy! The market is very competitive and pricey here - just like Northern California (but homes here are not QUITE as expensive). After being crammed in our California condo with two kids for years, we had a couple of prerequisites for the house in Boulder being 1) Super important to have a two car garage. There are many houses here with a 1 car garage and having space for our cars and storage is really important to us 2) We need at least 3,000 sq ft of living space. No more air mattresses for our guests! We definitely wanted a guest bedroom for family and friends when they visited and a dedicated play space for the kids besides their room and 3) The house couldn't be a total rehab job. We just don't have the time or patience for that. If the house is livable as is and we can work on stuff over time - we can do that.
We looked at a lot of houses and there were a few that fit our basic criteria but I didn't like them for one reason or another (weird floor plan, back yard didn't feel private, only a 1 car garage, etc.). Then we found a house we really liked and put an offer on it. There were 8 offers on the house and 1/2 of them were over asking price! What?! Are we in the Bay Area or Boulder?! Needless to say, we didn't get that house. About a week later our real estate agent sent us another listing and the house looked really promising from the photos. I went to see the house and right away - seriously loved it! The house just felt GOOD. It fit all of our criteria and I liked it! This is promising! My husband Shane came to see the house the next day and he felt the same about the house as me. So we put an offer on the house and thought we wouldn't get it because of our previous experience. But guess what?! Somehow we got the house! Yay! We finally have our home that we have been wanting for years!
The house already has some great landscaping but I've always wanted to have a bee and butterfly habitat in our yard so I picked up something called a "garden in a box" that is offered here in Boulder. I am finally digging in some dirt in the ground (as opposed to pots, which is all I could do before in our condo) and it feels so good! I can't wait to watch the bees and butterflies doing their thing in our yard (with all the bunnies, too ...there are so many bunnies around our neighborhood!).
We are getting ready to paint the house with a non-toxic option from Benjamin Moore (their Natura® Paint collection) and will take measures to make sure our home is as non-toxic as possible, as this is obviously really important to us. As I selct things for our new home, I will be referring back to some go-to bloggers and all around nice and well-informed gals Janny - Janny Organically, Molly - Maison Pur, Lisa - This Organic Girl and Suzi - Girl Gone Green (I am sure I am missing a few others) as they have great reviews and tips on non-toxic living on their respective blogs.
I plan on writing another post with what non-toxic options we decided to use in our house and will share in time! Running a product company and blogging feel like two separate businesses for me - but I am trying! :)
Thanks for reading! And Boulder - you have another new local skin care line in town! Folks here love shopping and supporting local and I can't wait to see what new doors open for Pleni Naturals.
PS I am big into local, too. Like the photographer I used to take these photos. Thanks, Haley! She has an awesome feed on Instagram too @motherlovinyogi. Here are a few more photos from our shoot with Haley.
We discovered Cristin (CC) Hurley on Instagram and she is living all of our gardening dreams. CC lives with her family (twins, a sweet little baby on the way and her husband) in California - in her late grandmother's house - the house her mother was raised in! Keep reading to learn more about where CC's garden inspiration comes from and some super helpful tips for starting your own garden! xo, Allyson/Pleni Naturals
Spring, it’s finally here! The time of year that all gardeners long for. The time to dig out your seed packets and start planning on what you want to grow in your summer garden. The time of big harvest dreams, ripe juicy tomatoes, crispy cucumbers, spicy radishes, sugary sweet figs and and the scent of fresh cut flowers straight from the garden.
As a child I could always find my mom in the backyard planting or harvesting something for dinner that night. The earliest memory I have from my childhood garden is when I was four years old. I would pick handfuls of my moms' blackberries right from the thorny vine. I was supposed to be collecting them for the jam she was going to make, but I could never help but taste test a few. They were the sweetest, juiciest blackberries I have ever tasted. When I would pick them they would still be warm from the hot summer sun and burst with sweet juice in my mouth. My mom definitely passed down her love of gardening to me as well as the passion for growing my own nutrient rich organic produce to feed my family. When I grew up and moved out of the house and into my own place, I always had some sort of garden growing even on my apartment patio’s. Whether it was just herbs or a couple of container tomatoes, I always made sure to be growing something. After buying and selling our first home, we decided to move into my late grandmother’s home that my mom grew up in. It has a lovely backyard that we are slowing turning into a little food forest of our own. I was so excited to share the love of gardening with my twin daughters in our new yard, so we began to plant. Every season that passed we tried a new variety of vegetable. We currently have the following growing in our garden; lettuce, scarlet runner beans, purple bush beans, two types of kale, sugar snap peas, golden fall raspberries, potatoes, celery, herbs, squash, pumpkins, beets, swiss chard, tomatoes, a volunteer passionfruit vine, broad beans, garlic, cabbage and dragon fruit. We also have a little patch dedicated to wildflowers and milkweed for our beloved monarchs. The wildflower patch gives our garden a nice bright and refreshing pop of color. We have planted several fruit trees as well. We currently have a tangerine, weeping mulberry, red baron peach, sundowner apple, Santa Rosa plum and my favorite tree of them all is our mystery fig tree. Let me tell you why...
Well this is exciting! The new Safe Baby Products Guide from the Getting Ready for Baby Campaign only recommends Made Safe Certified products, which includes our Apple + Broccoli Hair & Body Wash, Cucumber + Grape Baby Oil and Berry + Olive Baby Balm.
There is so much to think about when preparing for a new baby and this guide makes it easy for parents to choose safe, non-toxic products - they even have an interactive tool to create an online registry for baby and mom. Check it out and please make sure to tell everyone you know who is expecting!