Hello, Bonjour...

Hello, Bonjour...

Written by Tanu Srinivasan, for CouCou

For Astrid Motsenigos, a picture is truly worth a thousand words.  As the founder, owner, and creative director of CouCou, Astrid utilizes her discerning eye to procure brands that effectively craft a photojournalistic story for the customers of her award-winning children’s boutique.  Located in Boston’s bustling South End district, CouCou is one of the city’s crown jewels.  One of the few independent children’s boutiques in the city to carry a full selection of children’s clothing and toys, it has cemented its status internationally amongst social media's more sartorially-minded mothers.  Over the last several years, CouCou has become the exclusive   New England stockist for many coveted  children's clothing and toy brands, such as Misha & Puff and Soor Ploom.   This fall, CouCou adds another feather to its cap and welcomes acclaimed children’s brand Bonjour Diary to the store.

Bonjour  Diary, founded by Anne Millet in 2014, has paid homage to the vintage children's fashion styles of the 1950s and 1960s since its inception.  Silhouettes, such as the apron dress and balloon sleeve tops, are reinvented season after season and infused with Anne’s latest inspirations.  Clothing is produced in tandem with her partners in India, who hand embroider, hand block, and hand dye the pieces.  Her collections are launched in limited drops throughout the year.  

The brand hit stratospheric heights with its highly anticipated SS20 collection, "Marie's Garden," a reimagining of a children's garden party.  The irony of the festive theme, debuting in the midst of the Pandemic, did nothing to dampen customer anticipation.  Instead, the entire collection sold out worldwide within mere minutes.  Chalking up the excitement to COVID angst would not only  do a  disservice to the sublime collection, but would also ignore Anne's ace in the hole, photographer Claire Guarry.  

Claire's direction brought Anne's vision to life and her SS20 captures have become emblematic of the  Bonjour  brand. Claire has once again reunited with Anne for the AW21 collection, a spiritual sequel of the SS20 Marie’s Garden collection.    Shot in the Bay Area's Marin County, Claire and her team scouted a location so picturesque it could double as Heathcliff's moors or Middle Earth.   Against the backdrop of the rolling hills,  fields of wheat, and quintessential NorCal mist, Anne's creations come to life.  Soft creams and royal blues, moss greens and earthy hues. Hand-knit cardigans and a selection of  coordinating home goods round out the collection.  

Curating edits for CouCou is a very personal labor of love for Astrid. For her first Bonjour collection, she drew inspiration from the young girls that she has seen grow up with her store.    Her edit includes the beloved embroidered balloon sleeve blouses that have been cut in a more generous dress length for fall, luxe and textured pajamas for slower New England days, and structured trousers for older girls who opt for demure yet stylish options.     For those new to  Bonjour Diary, it can be easy to be overwhelmed by the vast choice of options.    

However, Anne is deliberate in her designs and creates multiple styles in each fabric so that her customers are not left empty handed after each highly competitive launch.  Her autumn apron dresses made in corduroy or the quilted reversible jackets are excellent additions to any young girl's wardrobe.  However, pay close attention to Anne's take on the trendy patchwork concept, which somehow feels familiar yet so incredibly unique. 

Bonjour Diary's AW 21 collection launches October 25th at 8:30 am ET.    For more information on the upcoming Bonjour Diary launch, follow @coucou_boston on Instagram.  Below is a preview gallery of all styles  that will be carried by CouCou in this upcoming launch. View gallery on laptop or desktop for best viewing, 

About the author

Tanu Srinivasan is an attorney by day and a full time mother to her three stars (Bianca, Leo, and Kai) by day *and* night.  Her interests include slow fashion, travel, fine dining, and trying to make her husband laugh at her jokes.

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The Geography of Learning

The Geography of Learning

Reflections on Homeschooling

\

written by Cathlin Sentz

photos by Elizabeth Alison


"Homeschool is woven into our family life, through chores, meal prep, playing."

We school at the table I grew up eating at, my brother and parents snugly seated one to each side throughout my childhood. Now my children gather round, tipping in the same caned chairs, with both leaves fully extended - the sort of opulence of space reserved for only the most special occasions of my childhood. Christmas, Easter, very big parties that held the promise of cousins and filling up on appetizers.  It wasn’t always this way. First with my eldest in our little rental, at a hand me down table from my college years that broke quite rudely when I leaned on it during a weather lesson. Bolted together again, it served til the next table, a solid oak beauty my husband rescued from a university and restored for our kitchen. From there to here, with many a stop then and now on couches, babes in arms, reading, laughing, marveling at extraordinary bits of history and at the cruelty of the English language in all its absurdity. 


ALWAYS GROWING

I wouldn’t dare to promise this is our forever spot, we are always growing and changing, adapting, everyone needing new things. I am growing ever more comfortable in bending to accommodate. It’s this flexibility and fluidity that is the hallmark of homeschooling, one of its finest qualities, and also one of the most daunting. It isn’t the sort of thing done in schools, the biggest to grapple with - that home and school therein does not look like “school”. All the differences - the simple geography of where we school not least among them - these are our features, not our flaws.                                        

A modern school is structured around working hours and when people are most likely to vacation - those things don’t apply to us, so it’s not a paradigm we need to submit to. It doesn’t take 6-8 hours a day. It doesn’t divide children by birthdate or reading level.  It doesn’t  require strict    adherence to sitting at a desk or permission slips for field trips. It allows us the opportunity to revisit and reexamine the paradigm in myriad ways. These are our features, not our flaws. We can practice math, bake, study history, play piano and go pick blueberries in a day. The kids know that to progress in anything whether it’s writing skills or dance, singing or physics, they practice throughout the week and year round. We are consistent pursuers of learning. 


Homeschool is woven into our family life, through chores, meal prep, playing.   Schooling multiple kiddos across multiple grades further echoes the nature of family life.  Helping each other along and building each other up, waiting for and on one another with forbearance, recognizing  “disruptions” as opportunities to  practice  fondness, tenderness and a  willingness to come alongside those that are littler or different or need to do something an unexpected way.                                       

"Curiosity is foundational, a love of learning

is my responsibility to nurture"


These are our features, not our flaws. These are the seeds of grace and flexibility, diligence and patience. Together we are growing, knit together more closely for loving each other through dull times and gnarly ones.  As we’ve traveled between tables.  I’ve learned not to get bogged down by curriculum or what   pencils to use. Each of my children requires different things of me and the curriculum - but the key is me. Curiosity is foundational, a love of learning is my responsibility to nurture. Regardless of curriculum I am the constant, and any curriculum will live or die at my hands, around any table. I’ve learned not to exhaust myself looking for magic, my children and I are the magic. This is our feature, not our flaw. 

Cathlin Sentz  is an Idaho living, homeschooling mama of three and childrenswear stylist. 

Follow her on Instagram @cathlins for inspiration on more homeschooling philosophy and for a beautiful journal of her family.

And for more of Elizabeth Alison's gorgeous photography, visit her website or her Instagram page @elizabethalison



Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type.

Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book.

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type.

Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book.

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Vicarious Dressing by Tanu Srinivasan

Vicarious Dressing

by Tanu Srinivasan

Moms:  How many of you have been dressing vicariously through your kids over the last year and a half? 

If you are anything like me, you probably have been channeling all your creative energy into dressing your minis - it is more fun that way, right?

I personally have been guilty of letting my own style fall by the wayside as I entered last year’s lockdown just two weeks postpartum.  I was hopeful that my style lapse was temporary and that I would shake off the fashion funk once my maternity leave was over.  However, things got worse in the world and work became indefinitely virtual.  To top it off, I found out I was pregnant again with number 3.  At that point, I threw in the metaphoric towel for a while and focused once again on dressing my kids.   

Now, another four months have passed, I am postpartum for the second time in one year, and I am ready to burn my maternity dresses (ok I’ll try to donate or sell in the spirit of sustainability).  It’s time for me to start embracing a new personal style.

I don’t know about you, but I have found myself embracing the whole “clothes are meant to work with your body and not vice versa” mantra. That means embracing clothing that is both comfortable and stylish. Fabrics that feel like a dream against the skin, silhouettes that are cut generously yet still remain flattering. These are not options that exist in a hypothetical Venn diagram. We only need to look to many of the children’s brands that we adore for our children.


Many of these brands have women’s lines with actual hidden gems - silk, billowy dresses, luxe velvet jumpsuits, cozy merino wool cardigans… After all, if we trust these brands when styling our children, why not trust them for ourselves? CouCou, my local go-to clothing store for my children, has a fully stocked “mama” wardrobe for this fall.  

I love all of Astrid’s picks and with an unlimited budget and events to attend every day, I would buy it all.  However, if I had to edit my choices down to a few styles for my new and improved “back to school” wardrobe, I would opt for the following:  

The Louise Misha Ottica Dress in Bohemian Flowers (100% Silk) I’d love to pair this beauty with fleur de Lavande Collegien tights and coordinating clogs. On extra ambitious days, I would pair this dress with the Louise Misha Fifi belt and twirl down West Broadway to my heart’s content.  

Louise Misha Ottica Dress, CouCou Boston
Louise Misha Ottica Dress, CouCou Boston


Another style that caught my eye was the Emile et Ida (“E&I”) braided denim overalls.  

Emile et Ida Braided Overalls, CouCou Boston
Emile et Ida Braided Overalls, CouCou Boston

 
I love the dark wash for cooler New England days and think this versatile style can work with so many of the tops CouCou has in stock for women: the Emile et Ida collar sweater in Lac, the Louise Misha Sarah sweater in Sienna, or the Emile et Ida crepe capucine blouse.  But I personally love the idea of styling a bold pattern with the dark wash and I’d opt for the Louise Misha Ismael sweater in Sienna.  The colors in this particular sweater are so strikingly Boston.  Can’t you imagine wearing this outfit walking down Charles Street with a warm drink in hand this fall?  


Don’t forget to integrate new pieces into your current wardrobe.  For instance, the E&I overalls would also pair back to so many of the blouses I have in my current wardrobe, including the Bonjour Diary women’s blouses I purchased this past spring.  Speaking of Bonjour Diary, for those of us who are fans of the internationally acclaimed children’s brand, good news! CouCou will be carrying Bonjour for fall.  Stay tuned for an inside look into the stunning, upcoming fall collection.  Until then, stay safe and don’t forget we still have one month left before school starts.  Enjoy every minute with your littles.

CouCou, Women's Collection

Click for all of CouCou's women selection.




About Tanu

Tanu is an attorney by day and a full time mom to her three stars (Bianca, Leo, and Kai) by day AND night.  Her interests include sustainable fashion, travel, fine dining, and trying to make her husband laugh at her jokes. 

Read more

Vicarious Dressing

Vicarious Dressing

by Tanu Srinivasan

Moms:  How many of you have been dressing vicariously through your kids over the last year and a half? 

If you are anything like me, you probably have been channeling all your creative energy into dressing your minis - it is more fun that way, right?

I personally have been guilty of letting my own style fall by the wayside as I entered last year’s lockdown just two weeks postpartum.  I was hopeful that my style lapse was temporary and that I would shake off the fashion funk once my maternity leave was over.  However, things got worse in the world and work became indefinitely virtual.  To top it off, I found out I was pregnant again with number 3.  At that point, I threw in the metaphoric towel for a while and focused once again on dressing my kids.   

Now, another four months have passed, I am postpartum for the second time in one year, and I am ready to burn my maternity dresses (ok I’ll try to donate or sell in the spirit of sustainability).  It’s time for me to start embracing a new personal style.

Many of these brands have women’s lines with actual hidden gems - silk, billowy dresses, luxe velvet jumpsuits, cozy merino wool cardigans… After all, if we trust these brands when styling our children, why not trust them for ourselves? CouCou, my local go-to clothing store for my children, has a fully stocked “mama” wardrobe for this fall.  


I love all of Astrid’s picks and with an unlimited budget and events to attend every day, I would buy it all.  However, if I had to edit my choices down to a few styles for my new and improved “back to school” wardrobe, I would opt for the following:  

The Louise Misha Ottica Dress in Bohemian Flowers (100% Silk) I’d love to pair this beauty with fleur de Lavande Collegien tights and coordinating clogs. On extra ambitious days, I would pair this dress with the Louise Misha Fifi belt and twirl down West Broadway to my heart’s content.  

Louise Misha Ottica Dress, CouCou Boston
Louise Misha Ottica Dress, CouCou Boston


Another style that caught my eye was the Emile et Ida (“E&I”) braided denim overalls.  

Emile et Ida Braided Overalls, CouCou Boston
Emile et Ida Braided Overalls, CouCou Boston

 
I love the dark wash for cooler New England days and think this versatile style can work with so many of the tops CouCou has in stock for women: the Emile et Ida collar sweater in Lac, the Louise Misha Sarah sweater in Sienna, or the Emile et Ida crepe capucine blouse.  But I personally love the idea of styling a bold pattern with the dark wash and I’d opt for the Louise Misha Ismael sweater in Sienna.  The colors in this particular sweater are so strikingly Boston.  Can’t you imagine wearing this outfit walking down Charles Street with a warm drink in hand this fall?  


Don’t forget to integrate new pieces into your current wardrobe.  For instance, the E&I overalls would also pair back to so many of the blouses I have in my current wardrobe, including the Bonjour Diary women’s blouses I purchased this past spring.  Speaking of Bonjour Diary, for those of us who are fans of the internationally acclaimed children’s brand, good news! CouCou will be carrying Bonjour for fall.  Stay tuned for an inside look into the stunning, upcoming fall collection.  Until then, stay safe and don’t forget we still have one month left before school starts.  Enjoy every minute with your littles.

CouCou, Women's Collection

Click for all of CouCou's women selection.




About Tanu

Tanu is an attorney by day and a full time mom to her three stars (Bianca, Leo, and Kai) by day AND night.  Her interests include sustainable fashion, travel, fine dining, and trying to make her husband laugh at her jokes. 

Read more
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