In times of transition—from one moon to the next, from this season slowly ebbing or flowing into the one which comes after, or from the liminal leap between one phase of life to another—we always find ourselves coming back to the essentials: focusing with intention on what we put on our bodies (and in them), the ways we occupy or time (or don't), what brings us together around our tables, and the precious spaces where we lay our heads can give us a star-map for navigating through changing waters. 

Whether it's building homes + homesteads that celebrate living simply and well in both Joshua Tree and on a small island in Casco Bay, Maine, launching a celebrated line of small batch California olive oil/elemental oil-based skincare, or making time to attune to her body every day, Alison Carroll—effortless style maven, co-sweetheart with partner Jay/co-founder of Wonder Valley, and almost-mama-to-be—has spent the past seasons focusing on these timeless, alchemical basics. We caught up with Alison to talk about maintaining balance through simplifying, staying in cadence with the rhythms of the sea and sky, and a dog called Lefty who feels like home.


Alison wears the Claudia Dress  




You split your seasons between Joshua Tree and a small island off the coast of Maine. How does sense of place affect the rhythms of your days?

These two places couldn’t be further apart — geographically, culturally, climate, or plant-life — so life is pretty unique when we're in each place. In Joshua Tree, we are there during the winter and spring, when days are shorter with cooler temperatures. We have frequent fires inside and it’s long, hibernation-like sleeps for me. We are spoiled that the winter is still rather mild and most of the year I can enjoy the outdoor bathhouse we built for a soak or shower with a view. The constant between the two spots is that I cook a lot for us and there’s time spent outdoors in nature. In Joshua Tree, that looks like daily walks or longer hikes in the boulders behind our house that border along the national park. In Maine, summers here are incredibly brief and there’s a great urgency to milk every moment from your day. We’re up with the sun and our home is on a scenic, small cove that’s a working waterfront for a handful of fishermen. There’s usually time spent on the water in Jay’s boat or a swim on the beach out front of the house.  We’ve also been renovating the island home the past year, so the rhythm here does include a good amount of projects and physical labor. Our team is on west coast time so there’s a sweet spot in our mornings where the emails are quiet and that’s our window to really enjoy the island. A favorite activity is to boat over to the cafe across the way, grab coffee and breakfast sandwiches and then take it to the sandy beach to swim. Or to read or fish on the boat, that’s lovely. Jay built us an incredible wood-burning oven out back so a great evening ends there making pizza or grilling some lobsters.  


The journey into motherhood can feel both all-encompassing and highly focused. In work, in life, and now in this new chapter of the great adventure, how have you balanced the necessary stripping away of excess with allowing space for expansive growth?

It’s been a liminal time for me, not quite who I once was but not who I will be next when this little girl comes. In work, that’s been a time to get clear on how to set my team up for success in my absence and how to shed some of the many hats us entrepreneurs wear and find more support. I’m really focusing my energy on the tasks that I enjoy and that are really unique to my role - which is primarily product development. At home and on a personal note, it’s been challenging for me to adjust to the limitations of my body. I have a habit of taking on too much and burning out, so pregnancy has already been a great teacher for me in slowing down, asking for help, giving myself permission…Most importantly, this baby is something we've wanted for some time so I’m trying not to inundate myself with all the things to do, prepare or look forward to and just trying to savor this growing baby and changing body while I can and connect with her.


The things we put in, on, and around our precious bodies are all deeply connected. What feels important to you?

I feel pretty sensitive to my environment. Scent and lighting play a big part of that—so having a soft lit room and incense burning is my ideal space to work in. Food is most important to me in affecting my mood, though. It’s been new to be able to grow food, so visiting the herb garden out back and cooking simple, healthful meals for us is important to me (which also helps balance out all the ice-cream I’ve been eating this summer). Avoiding synthetics (fragrance, fabrics, chemical based beauty products or cleaners) always makes me feel really good and in balance. With our home renovation we've chosen unfussy linens and synthetic-free foundational pieces (like the Avocado Green Mattress) I feel good about—especially necessary for our sweet and growing family





Alison wears the Dad Cardi, Lou Tee, and Standard Overall.



Alison wears the Amari Dress and 1930's Bandana  






How do you want to feel in your clothes?

Like myself, not like I’m wearing a costume.

How does your personal style speak to that?

There’s certain silhouettes that feel really good on me—high waisted pants, button downs, oversized sweaters. And I know the color palette that works best for me. I tend to be a uniform-builder for my closets. I am particular about fabric choices and will always gravitate towards natural materials. I love a good vintage hunt for home and wardrobe, a lot of my closet and style is beloved found pieces.

Where, when, and how do you feel most at home?

With my sweetheart, Jay. We build beautiful spaces together that hold a lot of meaning to me, and we like the putting-together of a home. But it's really him and our dog Lefty that feel like home to me.



Follow Alison on Instagram here, and learn more about Wonder Valley here. Photos by Jay Carroll.

Find out more about Alison's Avocado Green Mattress here.

Shop Alison's OZMA picks here.







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