How to create a mindful home…(with kids!)
This is the second in our regular series where we explore the rituals and routines of the people who inspire us most. Welcome to the warm, light-filled home of Jana Blankenship.
Some people have an “a-ha” moment that sets them on a wayward path. Some stumble upon it, following their gut towards their dharma, and some it seems were born to live the wayward life. Jana Blankenship, the creator of the clean beauty range, Captain Blankenship is definitely the latter.
Despite beginning her career as an art curator, Jana was mixing her own scents since she was a kid, and began concocting natural perfumes for herself - and her friends - in her twenties. When one of the coolest stores in San Francisco wanted to stock her products she decided to make it into a business, in what she says was the “most backward way possible – without a business plan” and Captain Blankenship was born. But it wasn’t until she fell pregnant that she decided to turn the passion project into a full time gig, and as she told forbes.com “I just realised I couldn't wear so many hats—I didn't want to wear so many hats any more. So I decided to pour my energy into the business and growing a family.”
With a mantra of “beauty wild with nature”, it’s no surprise that Jana’s products are all deeply connected to the natural world, with environmental impact and sustainability always front of mind. Nowadays Jana juggles two children, a husky and a proudly female-run business that’s expanded well beyond her kitchen with lines in both Sephora and Target in the US, and available the world over. She is, indeed a wayward woman.
We chatted with Jana from her home in Gardiner, New York to talk about how she creates a soulful space and finds calm even in the midst of raising two young children.
You have said that ritual is the anchor that colours our days… so what are those rituals for you
One ritual that I do every day is walking, running or hiking with my husky Vuka. It is something I look forward to daily, getting the time and space to clear my head, daydream and get some fresh air. I find my best ideas come to me when I am out running in the woods. With my kids, I am also up with them every morning, sometimes to watch the sun rise. I love getting to ask them about their dreams first thing in the morning. Mila is five-and-a-half and Caspian is three and it is so entertaining and such a delight hearing their storytelling abilities when they describe the dreams they just had.
Why do you think rituals are so important in life?
They are moments to be fully present to focus and bring some respite and joy to life. They mark our days with meaning and define us. Even something as ordinary as washing your face, applying deodorant or brushing your hair is a powerful ritual. It is nice to be able to take some pleasure and relish the feelings, smells and sensations you encounter in your daily, weekly, monthly or annual rituals.
How do you make something that’s seemingly mundane or into a ritual?
I think it really just takes a shift in perspective. Instead of rushing through the everyday tasks, try to slow down and be present for them. My father is dying and I have been talking to him a lot lately about the things in his life that brought him the most joy and happiness. He was reminiscing about when my brother and I were growing up and he would help get us ready for school, send us off and then walk our dogs. How these simple, seemingly mundane activities brought so much meaning to his life and how much he enjoyed them. It really made me realise that these are the types of rituals that define our lives and leave a lasting resonance. It has made me try to relish in these same activities that I do everyday with my family.
“It really made me realise that these are the types of rituals that define our lives and leave a lasting resonance.”
Tell us a little bit about your house and what makes it home for you…
This house is a sanctuary for myself and my family – that’s what makes it home. It is where the play of our lives unfolds daily and the everyday dynamics of our relationships takes place. We chose it because it suited how we like to be together and move through space. It is open, warm and welcoming.
How did you know this house was the one for you?
We had lived in the Bay Area (in California) for seven years and when we moved back to New York I was definitely concerned about feeling claustrophobic and trapped in the winter. I wanted a house with a lot of windows so even when I was inside, I could feel outside. We fell in love immediately when we walked into our house. The Douglas Fir wood on the floors and ceilings give the house a lot of warmth. It has a lot of windows and once we saw the view of a field, river and mountains, we were sold. I love to gaze out those windows year round and see foxes, eagles, deer and our happy husky Vuka running around.
How do you make your space feel soulful?
I love that most of the artwork in our home has a personal story to it or was made by friends or myself. Much of the furniture in our house came from my childhood. I find having furniture, objects and art in our home that feels like old friends makes our house always feel soulful and like a sanctuary for me. Only put things that you love and that have a positive association for you in your home.
What else do you do to create a high vibe space?
I am definitely into crystals. As a kid I had a rock collection that I was obsessed with and as an adult it hasn’t changed much. When we moved to this area I had no idea the mountains behind our home have crystal veins running through them. One of my favourite things to do is go crystal hunting. Our house and yard are covered in clear quartz crystals I have found. My husband even got me a 400 pound crystal cluster from the mountains for Christmas last year… he knows me well! I find having crystals in the home really enhances focus, energy and positivity. It is hard not feel calmer when you hold a crystal to your heart. I have crystals at both entries to our house to welcome visitors and protect the space. I have my favourite crystal I have ever found - a large quartz point - on my bedside table to promote restful sleep. I am so grateful that I have been able to find these crystals myself and clear them under a full moon. The crystal industry isn’t the prettiest place. Child labor and unsustainable mining practices overshadow the industry boom. You can source responsibly harvested crystals. I always recommend asking your source where they get their rocks from and, who knows, there might be some interesting specimens not far from your door too.
How do you keep your home energy peaceful despite having two young children?
As a mama of two young children, I know well how quickly a clean house can get dismantled. I try to tidy at the end of each day and when possible get my kids to help me clean. I want them to learn the value of a clean home and how to tidy up after themselves. I also like to use an essential oil diffuser in our home with blends I make myself. My kids know how cuckoo I am about scent and I love teaching them about it too. I also love to spray our room sprays around our home to clear and freshen the air.
Speaking of your energy cleansing sprays (New Moon and Meteor), we love them here at The Wayward. What was the inspiration behind them?
The Meteor Spray was one of my earliest products. I wanted to create a multipurpose essential oil based spray that instantly freshened up my space, my hair, my old sweaters, my car, my dog, my linens… you name it. The scent was an inspiration from full moon walks I took at night in Northern California by the ocean and through forests. The scent of organic vetiver, pine and ylang ylang essential oils is very celestial to me. To me, it evokes the damp earth, surrounding trees and stars overhead. I love how the scent clings like a cloak. I spray it on myself every morning. The New Moon Spray is a more recent addition. I dreamed it up after having children and not wanting to smudge by home for a bit. I love burning white sage and palo santo in my home as a ritual, but with small children the smoke wasn’t ideal. I decided to create a spray that harnessed the power and potency of both palo santo and white sage essential oils. To these oils, I decided to add sweet orange and ruby red grapefruit for a crisp freshness and cade (smoked juniper) for a dash of smoke. I love spraying New Moon when I set an intention but also love to spray it on myself and around my home for cleansing.
Discover the Captain Blakenship range here.