Cleaning through transitions to Fall

We’ve made it to September, or as I like to call it…
“Mom gets her house back month.”
We often think of springtime as a time to cleanse and refresh, but fall is also a natural time of transitions and resetting. With the kids back to school, it can be a great opportunity to do another deep clean of your house and it can feel so good to get everything organized again after the frenzy of August and summertime.

Cleaning house with your family’s health in mind

Fer A Cheval liquid soap - Urban Collective Boutique - Bellingham WAAt Urban Collective, we sell a really amazing line of cleaning products from a company called Fer Á Cheval. We sell their laundry detergent, stain-removal product, dish soap and an all purpose spray. This company is from Marseille, France’s oldest city, and is one of only four companies left in the world today that can legitimately say they make true Marseille soap. While dozens of other companies claim they do too, Fer Á Cheval and three others are the only companies that still use the traditional recipes and production process to truthfully claim the title. These soaps only use olive oil and other plant-based oils and never contain any artificial dyes or scents. They also use a traditional five-step production process that occurs over the course of 10 days.

Basically, these cleaning products aren’t your run-of-the-mill cleaning products. Each one is made with intention and with your family’s health in mind. All the soaps are organic, biodegradable and allergen free.

As you bring clean, fresh smells back into your home, it can also be nice to restock your supply of candles. Candles bring sweet aromas to your spaces, and from a design perspective, they’re such a simple way to add a little intentional color.

Delightful scents as your transition into fall

Vancouver Candle Co | Urban Collective Boutique BellinghamVisit Urban Collective in Barkley Village, where we carry several lines of candles, but one of my favorite staples are the candles from Vancouver Candle Co., a Vancouver Canada based company. All of their candles are made from local and ethically sourced materials. They are made from premium soy waxes that are carbon neutral and a renewable resource so you’ll feel good about having them in your home.

Even though summer is winding down, I appreciate the months during the year when the seasons encourage taking some time to refresh and organize my home. It always feels so good once I do. I hope you give it a try this fall season and perhaps you’ll feel what I mean.

Urban Collective is located in Barkley Village right on the corner of Newmarket and Barkley. We’re open until 5 p.m. Stop by anytime and shop local.


Design tips to make summer last forever

August can be a weird month. It’s basically the peak of summer, but it doesn’t have that hopeful expectancy that June does. As the last full month of summer, it can also feel like the last chance to get in as many lake days and popsicles as possible, before it’s too late.

The good news, at least as far as interior design goes, is there are simple ways to maintain that summer energy in your home all year long. Here are two ideas keep summer alive, at least on the inside, until next June.

Find summer furniture pieces

that will look good all year long. In my store right now, I’m selling a line of wicker chairs from Safavieh, a high-quality home furnishings store based in New York.

These chairs, the Tana wicker side chair, exude calm beach vibes. Their contemporary design makes them an elegant addition to any space, while also being really comfortable. The muted gray color of the wicker makes me think of sipping Earl Grey tea while watching the tide come in.

Use a summer-themed coffee-table book.

I’m so excited to be selling Stephen Fleteren’s 2018 book, Surf Tribe, in my store right now. Fleteren is a Belgian photojournalist, known for his striking black-and-white portraits. He has won multiple awards for his photography, including the German Henri Nannen Prize in 2011 and in 2012, he won the National Portrait Award in the Netherlands.

This book is gorgeous. It is full of beautiful portraits of several generations of surfers from around the world. The portraits show young surfers, icons in the sport and old legends, tied together not by sport or competition but by a deep respect for the ocean.

The foreword is written by surfer and journalist Gerry Lopez. He writes:

“Surfing is all about surfers, even if the surfers always say that it’s all about the waves first, then their surfboards. This is why this collection of portraits is so provocative. Getting surfers to articulate coherently what it is that makes them tick is a fool’s mission. Surf Tribe asks the readers to fill in the blanks themselves.”

It really is an incredible window into a world I would love to know more because I am a wanna be surfer at heart.

Farmer’s Market at Barkley Village

Last thing: the Wednesday farmer’s market at Barkley Village is still going strong! If you haven’t been yet this year, the market runs each Wednesday through September from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

It’s been so fun having the market in this neighborhood this year, and Urban Collective is right around the corner, open until 5 p.m. each Wednesday. Stop by on your way to pick up your veggies or check out the live music the market hosts each week.


Fourth of July decoration ideas

I love the Fourth of July, but I secretly grimace at a lot of the decorations I see.

As you will know if you visit my boutique in Barkley Village, I’m all about simplicity and understated accenting to decorate for holidays or seasons. The 4th feels no different. Here are three simple ways to dress up your house in red, white and blue that will keep your space elegant and welcoming.

Use Accent Pillows

Especially in outdoor seating areas where people might be gathering for a barbecue or to chill next to a friendly game of croquet, adding some pastel blue throw pillows to the furniture is a great way to decorate for the 4th.

We have some really lovely light blue cushions from Walter G in the store right now that would fit the bill.

Walter G pillows - Urban Collective Bellingham Boutique

Use creative plating.

For your white, consider getting some of the Creative Co-op plates we have on sale right now. These plates are matte white ceramic with a crimped edge to make them look like paper picnic plates. I love these.​

Creative Coop - crimped plate Small - Urban Collective Bellingham Boutique

They’re heavy enough to withstand some serious barbecue sauce and such a cute play on a classic look. We have them in two different sizes, a small and a large.

Use flowers.

I find red can be kind of an aggressive color to base a decoration scheme around, so I recommend getting your red from a few red flower arrangements.

Flowers are decidedly not aggressive and are a great way to incorporate a bolder color scheme without overwhelming your guests’ senses. Potted geraniums are a favorite choice of mine.

However you take in your red, white and blue this year, I hope you get to enjoy family and friends, stay safe and maybe take in some fireworks.


Spring House Spruce

As the weather clears, it finally feels like there’s a natural desire to embrace the sunshine and the rebirth happening outside. Inside your home, there are so many easy ways to clear away the stagnation of winter and get your spaces back to feeling healthy and alive.

Here are three simple ways to invite springtime into your home that won’t break the bank.

Clean

Start by simply devoting some time to a deep clean of your home. It feels so good to get into all those corners you ignored all winter and walk away with a house that’s free from any residual dust layers. To spark your cleaning inspiration, we wanted to tell you the story behind the line of household cleaners we sell at Urban Collective.

Fer Á Cheval is one of only four companies in the world that still produces soap using the traditional recipe and process unique to Marseille, France’s oldest city.

Fer A Cheval liquid soap - Urban Collective Boutique - Bellingham WA

The designation, Marseille soap, is a coveted designation, because it’s hard to earn. True Marseille soap, like the soap made by Fer Á Cheval, is made from olive oil and other plant-based oils and doesn’t contain any artificial ingredients, dyes or preservatives. To be a true Marseille soap, the soap must also be made using the traditional five-step process that lasts at least 10 days. About seven years ago, these last four remaining truly Marseille soap-making companies actually formed a union to protect their business and guard against the hundreds of other companies that claim to produce Marseille soap, but don’t actually pass muster.

Use Colors

Bring the colors of spring into your home by adding some simple accent pieces to your rooms. Blues and greens, especially pastel blue and green, are a wonderful complement to the natural growth happening outside. Mauve or coral colors can be a great accent, bringing warmth into any space. Adding a coral vase or a soft, blue pillow to the living room can be just enough to liven up the whole space. Candles are another very simple way to add accent colors and vibrancy to a room.

We source our candles with springtime allergy-sufferers in mind.

The candles, Illume’s Elemental collection, are all essential-oil based, so they shouldn’t trigger any sniffling and might even alleviate some allergic inflammation.

Illume Ceramic Candle Urban Collective360 Bellingham WA

These candles all come in soft, earth tones with natural, herb scents like citrus cedarleaf and rosewood cassis. They also come in three different sizes: a petite tin, a larger glass and a terracotta pot that’s about 17 ounces big.

Add some chlorophyll

Take a page from nature’s playbook and bring some indoor plants home. Adding greenery brightens up any space, and, if you buy the right kind of plant, it can do some of that air-purifying work your spring cleaning might not have gotten to.

The spider plant can be a great choice, especially for people new to plants, because it’s very resilient. It also filters carbon monoxide and other toxins, and it’s non-toxic to pets. Another great option is aloe vera. Aloe is great for soothing summertime sun burns, and it also clears the air of formaldehyde and benzene, which is found in varnishes, floor finishes and detergents. We also found this awesome infographic that shows the best air-filtering plants, according to research from NASA. Take a look.

If you want more plant ideas or advice, come visit in person! We’re lucky to share our space with the flower and plant store, Olio. Stop by for your cleaners, colors and chlorophyll Monday – Friday from 10-5 and Saturday from 10-4.


It’s all about Galentine’s Day.

Before I get started, I just have to get one thing out of the way: I’m not the biggest fan of Valentine’s Day. I loathe the weird pressure around giving gifts and dressing up – though I don’t hate dressing up. Then there’s the horrible awkwardness between single and dating friends, and the even weirder awkwardness between unofficial couples. I just want to throw the whole thing out and order Thai food. But it’s not all bad.

I know we can’t totally skip Valentine’s day, but this year you can catch me on February 13th celebrating Galentine’s. It’s a day for women, by women, and it’s our choice how to celebrate it. (Thanks, Leslie Knope.)

Valentine’s Day Gifts for Him and Her, and a Little Something for Yourself

galentines gift giving
Urban Collective Finds

I found the inspiration for my store treasure-hunting through antique stores growing up. I want everyone to have that feeling while searching through the shelves at Urban. While wandering the store, cleanse your mind of the red and pink, and just look with your eyes. You are sure to find a heartwarming gift for your special someone, and maybe something for yourself, too.

Home Decor

Urban Collective is stocked with items that bring me joy from table linens and candle sticks, to pillows and rugs, and so many other fun rotating items. All over the shop, there are hidden gems at every price point.

Sweet Treats

What better day to treat yourself than Galentine’s Day? This time of year especially, I tuck gummy treats and candies around every corner. Don’t forget to grab something to feed your sweet tooth.

Girl Meets Dirt

One of my all-time favorite brands, these artisan bitters and preserves cover my shelves. Each fruit comes from a small orchard, grown in the salty breeze of the San Juan Islands. They are an absolute treat, and I’m not just saying that.

Olio Flowers

bouquet with mixed flowers roses dried berries

You know what kind of flowers you like; you don’t need any one shopping for you. On the way out of Urban Collective, visit Olio Flowers for a gorgeous bouquet or baby house plant. You can even call or email to order a custom floral arrangement.

Okay, so maybe we can’t shrug off Valentine’s Day like last winter’s sweater. But we can make it a little better. Whether or not you’re shopping for someone else, don’t forget to treat yourself. February 13th is for us gals.


It’s Time to Redecorate After the Holidays

The holidays are officially over and the house feels strangely empty. The tree is bare and the menorah has long since been put away. It’s time to wrap up the tinsel and the lights, but the house looks bare without them. Without the happy screams of children and the family banter into the night, everything seems too quiet. Even the leftovers are starting to run out.

We know how to warm up the house for the holidays, but how do we make the adjustment afterward? Sometimes the house needs a special something to chase out the holiday blues. Browse the collection at our local Bellingham store for the perfect addition to your home.

Post-Holiday Home Furnishing Finds

Dining Room

With the pie and candy gone, it’s time to take back the healthy kitchen aesthetic. Spring scents and colors set the tone for the new year. Matching mugs and glasses make way for tea and protein shakes. Find the decor that means renewal to you.

Living Room

Without the lights and decorations, the living room is often left feeling empty. To bring in new flair, it may need a new theme or centerpiece. Browse our extensive collection of accent pillows and throw blankets for a new living room look. The space may also be craving a new table, rug, or potted plant to bring it all together.

Home Office

After a long vacation, it may be tough to come back to the same old office. Try bringing in a little character. The addition could be small like a mug or a figurine, or large like a new lamp or chair. As you browse the shelves, think about what might breathe life into your office space.

Bedroom

Bed with linens.

Sometimes we need a change just for ourselves. A new set of throw pillows can change up the entire mood of the room. Find a piece of decor that brings out the light of the room. Get lost in the array of choices: subtle and bold, familiar and unique. You are certain to find the perfect item to bring home.

Ready to refresh yourself after the holidays? Come visit us at 2955 Newmarket St.