My Mom

My Mom | Urbanic

In honor of Mother’s Day, I’m dedicating this post to my mom, Olga Tantaros. She is beautiful, gracious, and so lovely inside – that if you were to meet her she would most likely shake your hand with both of hers.  Her sheets are always folded to perfection and she believes dinner should be had every night with a proper table setting. Although she doesn’t love to cook, she has done it for us for as long as I can remember. My two sisters and I are the light of her life. She’s been invested in us since the time we were born and been by our sides through every endeavor, victory and hardship.  She’s believed and supported Urbanic from when it was just a little card line made in my living room, and is still front row when it comes to all that is happening with our shop. In fact, I’m guessing she’s reading this post right now, since she subscribed to the blog.  Any type-os’ mom?

Thanks for being such a good role model of motherhood for me. love you.


Florentine Frames by Cavallini & Co.

Family Time in Paris


It’s been one year since our family trip to Paris . . . . .


paris01I’m so happy to be finally blogging about it (and re-living it).  We stayed in a darling apartment in the 7th right by the Eiffel tower and could actually see it from our window!
paris05paris03We stayed for 2 weeks and spent most of our days adventuring around town – seeing sites, hopping on carousels and digesting the beauty and rich culture of the city.
paris04Love locks on the Pont des Arts
paris07paris06The metro got us everywhere. Definitely not easy with the two boys, but the kid-stand on our stroller was a lifesaver, enabling us to get down all of the narrow streets without taking up too much room.
paris08We ate as many baguettes, croissants and baked treats as humanly possible.
paris09Rue Cler –  Our daily morning go-to spot for produce and groceries
paris10Flower stand in Ile Saint Louis + Hanging floral display at Merci
paris11We discovered marionette theaters, lovely parks, book shops, patisseries and boutiques – lots of boutiques! Being that we are shop owners, this was beyond inspiring.
paris12Night in the City of Light


Our days were packed with exploration. At night during our walk home from the metro, we’d look up to see the Eiffel Tower sparkling above us on the top of the hour. It topped off each day with the very magic that started it. I literally have goosebumps right now remembering how special this was for all of us.

Joshua made a little video of our treks in the city for our family.
(Since videos don’t show up in the subscription feed, click this link to see it.)

P.S. If you are thinking of planning your own trip to Paris, I would highly recommend heading over to the Oh Happy Day blog to get some great tips.

{all photos by Parcel Post}

post No.789 Date Night

Joshua and I were honored when the folks over at Emma Magazine contacted us to see if we could share with their readers what we consider fun date ideas.  I’m lucky enough to have a romantic husband who likes to make sure that our time together (when were not with our little ones) is creative, adventurous and fun.  He often leaves notes on my desk with date options to pick from depending on what mood I’m in.  I always love what he comes up with and have a special box where I save all of them.  We shared with Emma 3 options that he recently offered me.


Multiple Choice Date Ideas  : Parcel Post

option 1 :
Flea Market Picnic
A Sunday morning Rose Bowl flea market date where we each get to choose a treasure of our choice followed by a picnic at Lacey Park  (our favorite park in South Pasadena)

option 2 :
Old School Arcade
This date would be to the Redondo Pier where there is an old school arcade on the lower level.
We’d get to play pinball machines, air hockey and challenge each other at skeeball.
After we’d grab dinner at the crab shack.

option 3 :
Bingo & Cupcakes
This date would be a hunt for a local bingo night and then going out for cupcakes afterwards.

For the record, I picked #1!

You can check out the article right here (we’re on page 43)

Happy Valentine’s Day


*A (+J)

date night

Post No.786 Our Woollen New Year’s Cards …

Hi Parcel Post readers! I’m so happy to finally be getting a chance to catch up on some blogging over here. Last month, us Woollens sent out New Year’s Cards to the people in our lives.  While visiting my family on the East Coast we discovered some old railroad tracks with carrier trains parked along them.  We had a fun (and extremely cold) day exploring and were lucky enough to have my sister with us who is a rad photographer.  She snapped some shots of our adventure and we ended up choosing the one below for our card.  I then worked with my friend Min of Paper+Cup for the layout (we offer her line at Urbanic)  and I made the liners from a photo of a rug I found online.  The Hatch postage stamps could not have been any more perfect with our color scheme. Thanks USPS for finally offering a cool stamp!

Woollen Family New Year's Card on Parcel Post

Woollen Family New Year's Card on Parcel Post Woollen Family New Year's Card on Parcel Post

family photograph by Anastasia | card photos by Parcel Post

Post No.778 Cutting Down Our Christmas Tree

I share a lot on this blog about things going on in the shop, but from time to time I like to put up some of the happenings in our family life as well. This post is really special for me to share with you today as it captures a cherished day in our lives.  A while ago I had heard about a train ride at Fillmore and Western Railway that takes you to a Christmas Tree farm where you can chop down your own tree. This was a totally new experience for us and we thought it would be lots of fun for our little guys – so we bought our tickets!  Our friends Danielle and Kevin of The Why We Love came aboard with us that day and captured the details of our quest to find the perfect tree in these beautiful photos and Super 8 video. We are SO lucky to know them and are completely in love the creative way they captured our experience. Their style of photography is so “us” and it’s such a treat for us to have our family portrait in motion!!  They added a few additional pictures to their blog as well right here. A huge thanks to them for them for being beyond amazing and to Cyd for her sweet post.







{photos by The Why We Love}

post No.769 Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween from our family to yours!

One of the coolest things about this Halloween (besides how squeezable my little elephant was) is the gumball machine costume that Joshua made for Javin. He pulled an all nighter constructing this thing and it came out amazing. We had it rigged up so that people could turn the little dial in the front and Javin would push a gumball through the hole to them from the inside. It ended up that the costume would slide down every time he went to push it, so instead when the people turned the dial, his little hand would come out from around the side with a gumball – analog style. We were cracking up ALL night (as were the recipients!)

Hope your night was a great one.



{photos by parcelpost}

post No.766 Happy Friday & Another Year.

I celebrated a birthday this past week and it was one of those days where everything that was planned went completely wrong.  I’m proud to say I had a decent attitude about it and as the day went on it got to the point where it was almost comical. That evening I was supposed to go out on a boat through the marina with some good friends.  The boat ended up breaking down so we were landlocked with a sunset picnic!  It ended up being one of the most memorable (and fun) nights of my life. This really got me reflecting on how when things don’t work out the way you planned them to, they often end up even better.

Happy weekend all, and here’s to the curve-balls in life that lead to adventure.



post No.707 Happy Mother’s Day

To all of you mommas out there, Happy Mother’s Day! Here’s hoping all of you feel appreciated, celebrated and relaxed on this special day.  Being a mom myself has really made me thankful for the person my mother has been to me throughout my life.  I have so much appreciation and respect for all that she did for me growing up and although I can’t fold sheets as perfectly as she can, I’ve learned quite a bit from her.  It’s an honor for me to now be a mommy to my precious little boys.  It’s definitely a daily challenge to juggle the duties of work and motherhood, so it takes weekly discipline to set aside time to be intentionally present with them and try to separate myself from work completely.  I haven’t mastered this by any means but am determined and committed to continually try my best for them.  I realize that they’ll only be little for such a short time in the grand scheme of life and I want to be with them as much as I can.

Some of my favorite family times are our early morning walks together. We put the boys in the wagon and go on sunrise adventures (for me the destination usually yields coffee!) Anyway, Joshua put this video together the other day of one of our morning strolls so I thought I would share it with you.



post No.678 Bonjour from Paris!

Hello all, I’m writing you from Paris France today! Myself, my husband and our 2 little boys had an opportunity to head to Paris for a few weeks and have fallen madly in love with this city. (I’m so dreaming of opening an Urbanic here one day). This is my first time and I’m truly inspired. Obviously by the art, amazing architecture and beauty all around, but also by the pace of the city. People seem to be enjoying themselves everywhere. I’ll be blogging Urbanic stuff and posting more pics from here for another week or so.

‘Til then,  au revoir!


post No.655 Merry Christmas!

This holiday season at the shop has been an absolute whirlwind. I was just thinking about the wrap class we had this year and how it feels like it was decades ago. Many of you often ask what it’s like to own a business, and I will tell you it is a lot (like really a lot) of hard work – especially this time of year.  We’ve all been covered in glitter around the shop wrapping gifts for people and working like busy elves to help people find the perfect gift and keep the store stocked and looking good. Joshua and I put our whole hearts into our work at Urbanic and inspite of the heavy workload, we absolutely love what we do. There are many reasons why, but the one I am feeling the most this morning, is the people we are surrounded by.  Our staff is priceless. They are like family to us and we share a special bond with them that is like no other. Our customers are AMAZING. Yes, ‘all caps’ amazing. Day in and out I’m impressed by how interesting and cool the people are who shop at Urbanic. Our neighborhood does rule (so a little to be expected) but getting to know and interact with such wonderful folks on a daily basis has been an absolute reward. I love the relationships I’ve made over these last 5 years of being in business, and it’s YOU people that make doing all of this such a delight for us. Those of you who read and interact with me here on the blog bring me everyday happiness. Although I haven’t got a chance to meet many of you personally I feel like I’ve built some really fun relationships and looking forward to a new year full of goodness and meeting more of you here on Parcel Post.  Anyway, all this to say, us Woollens wish you a very Merry Christmas (or whichever holiday you celebrate). I’m SO ready for my annual Christmas collapse onto the sofa and to spend some quality time with my boys. The picture below was from our little train ride excursion to a tree farm where we (victoriously) chopped down our tree.



{photo by our dear friends The Why We Love}

post No.645 my sister Ana …

I feel lucky on a regular basis to come from a family full of creative people. My younger sister Ana, just released a book of her photography. It’s called 365.  She literally took a photo a day over the 365 days of the year and combined them into a hardbound book. I love her poetic angle of seeing life and the way she captures human nature.  That being said, I couldn’t help but to post this video clip of it for you to see. They are limited editions, so if you want one for yourself or to give as a gift you can snatch them up right here.

post No.624 my birthday in the ER.

I celebrated my birthday last week (the day after Ian’s) and crazily enough I spent it in the ER.  I woke up that morning with my right eye a little cloudy and as the day progressed, it got worse.  Joshua took me out for a series of fun surprises that day and by dinner I had my party dress on and was ready to hang out with some friends when I realized I couldn’t see anything at all out of my right eye.  It was really scary so I headed to the ER. After a ton of testing they determined I had to see a specialist at another location. At this point it was 9:30 pm.  I explained to them that it was my and asked if I could go home to see my family and friends quickly before heading to the next doctor. They okayed it so I stopped home and blew out my birthday candle and gave everyone a hug.  I love this picture because a.) it’s an actual Polaroid photo not an app. and b.) you can see that I have my hospital wrist band on. At this moment I was pretty nervous as I was still not sure what was happening but got a chance to be surrounded by people I love before rushing to meet another doctor.  In the end we found out that I had a swollen cornea which was such good news in comparison to all of the scary things that it could have been.  To all of you who tweeted and facebook-ed me birthday wishes that day, THANK YOU for those!  It brought me so much enjoyment to read those messages as I sat in that horrid waiting room! It’s now several days later and I can see fine again. In looking back on this birthday I think I will always remember it as a pretty amazing one.  It gave me a chance to really appreciate the people I have in my life, and prepare me to accept the things in life that I might not be able control. Plus, now I get to say I had a team of ER doctors sing to me in their scrubs!




{Polaroid – the why we love}

post No.623 Ian turns 1.

It seems like just yesterday that Ian was born. The year has flown by and I can’t believe he’s already turning 1.  Since he’s in my arms right now squirming around as I type this, I’ll need to keep it short, but wanted to throw up a quick post in celebration of this little guy. This past year has been the most unfamiliar year of my life. It felt like I had to do a lot of learning in order to figure out a healthy way to juggle things. Having 2 kids + the shop is completely amazing and challenging at the same time. There are so many goals I had with our business that I had to put aside. It’s an agonizing feeling to be pulled by your business and children equally in opposite directions. Both mean so much to me, but I realized that the time when my boys are children is so short in the grand scheme of life that putting them first needs to be my top priority.  Today I am all about balloons, an owl shaped cake, and kissing and squeezing him as much as humanly possible. Happy Birthday Ian!

xo momma

post No.598 some days away

Lately I’ve been twitter/blog/facebook/pinterest absent.  We had a little family vacation up North and when I came back I was dealing with computer issues for an entire week which sent me into a (not-good) never land. Anyway, back up to speed finally and have lots up my sleeve to blog for next week.  I’ve missed you all!

Above are some pictures from our vacation. This trip is not something we were actually planning on doing. Joshua and I always get bogged down with work so the time and finances never seem right to take a vacation or even a real day off.  Since we opened the store almost 5 years ago we never actually have. We were lucky enough to have Joshua’s parents lovingly force us to this journey.  They see how much we work and created this as an intervention for us. I realized on this trip how imperative it is when you have your own business, to take time to actually stop and enjoy quality family time and preserve some time without any work or means to a computer.  If you work your own schedule and can completely relate to what I’m saying about never allowing yourself down-time, I totally encourage you to take a baby-step and allow yourself even 1 day off.  It makes SUCH a difference!  (Oh, and please make sure you get a good badminton match in there somewhere as well. haha!)


PS  if you are reading this Lisa and Ray, we can’t thank you enough for stepping in and making this happen for us!

post No.590 Twelve!

Yesterday when we were out at brunch I noticed an elderly couple sitting at a nearby table.  For whatever reason, I couldn’t take my eyes off them. I was captivated by how beautiful they looked. The beauty was not from their physical appearance though, but something that radiated from them together as a couple. Something very real and true.  A visible commitment of staying together till the end.  Partners for life.

Today Joshua and I are celebrating our 12 year wedding anniversary. This is a photo someone took of us on our wedding day right after we changed and were running to the car for our honeymoon. This morning, I’m reflecting on these last 12 years together and feeling so thankful to have him as my partner in life.  Our commitment is still strong and we have some pretty big plans to get wrinkled and grey together …  and hopefully brunch ’till the end of time!

post No.565 home-working

I’ve been working from home quite a bit lately. I really miss being in the store as much as I used to be, but during this special time while the boys are so little, it’s nice to interact with them throughout the day.  I admit, it doesn’t always work out the best for accomplishing the things I need to, but I’m still in a learning process on how to juggle things effectively.  We’ve also started to work on our home!  Since we moved in last summer, we never really did much to make this place feel like our own. Lately we’ve begun to hang pictures, plot out furniture, and even had a family day painting the kids room. My 4yr old has without a doubt found his new favorite past time!

post No.545 ian’s birth announcment

I’m working from home today because I have 2 little sickies needing lots of rocking, tucking-in and cuddling.  In going through a few things on my desk this morning, I realized that I forgot to show you the birth announcement we did for Ian. We inserted them in with our New Year’s cards since it was all happening at the same time.  I can’t believe it’s March today. Yikes, he’s almost 5 months already!


{announcement by Sapling Press}