MagicLinen is continuously amazed by the inspiring people in our community and today we wanted to share one of the gems with a wider audience. When we discovered Lauren from Lala Earth we were charmed by her dedication to sustainable lifestyle and homesteading and all-things herbal. We hope you can find some inspiration in her story too!
Please introduce yourself and what you do
My name is Lauren and I am a mama, herbalist, and homesteader in Vermont. I live with my husband Liam, our son June, our dog Huckleberry, our two cats – Sassy & Maslow, and 20 chickens. I’m currently 28 weeks pregnant with our second son, and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome him this spring! I run an online shop (www.lalaearth.com
) where I make and sell wildcrafted skincare products and herbal tonics. My most popular products are my elderberry syrup, wild mushroom face cream, and the golden egg serum (which is made from hundreds and hundreds of our chickens’ egg yolks!).
Could you please share your story of becoming an herbalist? Why did you choose this path?
Back when we were living in Boston, I worked as a mozzarella cheese maker. While I loved my job, the hours were early and long and I dreamed about working for myself. I also always knew I wanted to be a mom and was determined to create a lifestyle where I could make a living from home. I was interested in organic and healing food, and it seemed like herbs were the next logical step for me. I started off going to a year-long herbal apprenticeship, and an advanced apprenticeship the following year. For a while, I actually thought I’d become a clinical herbalist and see clients, but my true love was making products. I started off with just making things for my family and friends, but everyone I knew encouraged me to expand. My husband helped give me the final push, and I opened up an Etsy store. I started with only five products, and have since expanded to my own website with dozens of offerings!
How did you become interested in sustainability and natural lifestyle?
In my early twenties, my boyfriend at the time moved to Canada to help a friend build a passive solar cordwood house, and I decided to help out. What was meant to be a two-week trip turned into four months. That is where my dream of homesteading came alive. For the first time in my life, I daydreamed about canning, raising chickens, having a garden, and being really connected to where I live. I wouldn’t move to my own homestead for about seven years, but that experience made me clear about what I wanted and what I was working towards. I think sometimes there is a misconception that you have to own a home and have a lot of land to live a homesteading lifestyle – which is certainly not the case. Cultivating a small herb garden in your window or on the porch, buying local produce and canning it to use later in the year, learning how to make your own self-care products, nurturing a sourdough starter, learning how to ferment, etc. are all small ways to make an impact – on your health and this planet.
What are your best practices and tips for leading a sustainable lifestyle? Any tips&tricks one could easily implement at home?
I think the best practices are the ones that stick, and that all comes with time. Trying to make too many changes at once can backfire, so take it slow. Over a decade ago I started with removing all toxic cleaners and skincare products from my home. I replaced them with handmade/ all-natural alternatives and have never looked back. Shortly after, I got really passionate about food and how it is produced. It’s important to me to eat organic, but even more important to support local wherever possible. Getting a CSA, going to a farmer’s market, or supporting a farm stand is an important way to vote with your money, ensure you are eating nutrient-dense foods, all while supporting the community of people where you live. To me, sustainability means reducing waste as much as possible, whether that’s through recycling, having a home compost, buying secondhand, or repairing what you already have.
We know you’ve recently renovated your beautiful home in Vermont. Could you share the process? Did you face any challenges?
The process was a bit more complicated because of Covid. Our renovation was pushed back a year and the building material costs rose quite considerably. We didn’t want to hold off much longer because one of the reasons why we wanted to renovate is because our old house had a lot of lead (which we only discovered because our toddler had elevated lead levels). Making our home safer, especially when we have young kids, became our top priority. We also knew half of our home would be unusable for a while so we wanted to finish this project before bringing another baby into the home. We started in May 2021 and were able to move back in by October. We technically never moved out, but we stayed upstairs and on our screened porch. Living without a kitchen for five months with a toddler was definitely not ideal, but I’m glad it is behind us!
Did your sustainable lifestyle/preferences impact the home/kitchen renovation in any way? If so, how?
Definitely! I tried to source as many local materials as possible, and for those that were further away, as environmentally responsible as possible. Our white oak floors and cabinets were sourced/made less than an hour away, and sealed with a whey-based sealant from Vermont Natural Coatings (instead of polyurethane). Our light fixtures were hand-forged here in Vermont (and even the glass was handblown here), and all of our tiles were made by Fire Clay Tile from out in California. Their tiles are handmade from start to finish and incorporate a ton of recycled materials. I tried to pick pieces that were timeless and fit into our 1880s farmhouse while making sure my decisions were aligned with my values. We are very happy with the end result!
What are your favorite MagicLinen products?
I discovered MagicLinen years ago when I was looking for quality sheets
for our new organic mattress. Once I tried them (especially the fitted one) there was no turning back. I love how stretchy the elastic is which makes changing the sheets a breeze. The fabric is so cooling and very easy to clean (and hardly ever stains) which to me is important since we share a bed with our toddler and two cats. The baby boy arrives in May and will also be in the bed with us. I've been so impressed with the colors and how many different looks you can achieve simply by changing the color of your bedding. I also love everything made in the waffle material - especially the blankets
and bath towels
. They feel so thick and cushioned and are super comfy. The towels dry very quickly and are longer than typical towels, which means they still wrap around my pregnant belly. Can't recommend this company more highly!