Mother Essentials: Alison Carroll of Wonder Valley
Written by Katie Hintz-Zambrano
It’s a family affair for the team behind Wonder Valley. Created by husband-and-wife duo Jay and Alison Carroll, the brand makes a variety of top-quality olive oils, body oils and cleansers, soaps, towels, robes, and other covetable accessories from their home base in Joshua Tree. After building their own desert home from the ground up, they also brought their design prowess to help renovate the stunning El Rey Court hotel, restaurant, and swim club in Sante Fe. Their latest collaboration? An adorable baby girl, Calley Bo Darling, who just hit the 3-month mark. Below, brand-new mama Alison—born and raised in New Jersey and an expert in all things olive oil—shares her favorite Mother Essentials of the moment.
Beatrice Valenzuela Clogs. “Beatrice makes comfortable and chic clogs that makes me feel a bit more put together, even in sweatpants. It’s hard to pick a color from her collections, but this buttery tan color is my favorite.” Cajeta Clog, $372, Beatrice Valenzuela.
Wonder Valley Hinoki Body Oil. “Our body oil has seen me through the whole metamorphosis of pregnancy and now postpartum. It’s helped keep my skin soft and supple through all the stretching and shrinking and the natural scent always calms me.” Hinoki Body Oil, $85, Wonder Valley.
Hey Gang. “The whole family wears Hey Gang! Their cuts of painter’s pants and jeans are perfect and extremely well made and the custom embroidery options for the kids line are really special.” The Kids Painter Pant, $39, Hey Gang.
Flameless Candles. “We bought a set of these for my daughter’s birth, which was perfect since she came at night during a lightning storm and the glow from the candles was much softer than fluorescent hospital lighting. But! They now live by our bedside, by the crib, by the changing table…so I just point the remote and turn it on while half asleep. The glow is so soft and allows us all to stay in a dreamy state for middle of the night feedings.” Enido Flameless Candles 12-Pack, $28.99, Amazon.
Studio Ford. “The baby quilt of all baby quilts! I really love everything Josie Ford creates, her patterns and color choices feel timeless and original. The quilts she made for Commune Design are particularly beautiful (and also an amazing background to take tons of baby photos on).” Studio Forde for Commune Baby Quilt, $300, Commune.
Wonder Valley Sunray Robe. “This has been my pregnancy and postpartum uniform. I used it as a beach coverup during the summer when I was 8 months pregnant, and it’s a very easy garment to breastfeed in. Taking a shower or long bath is coveted ‘me time,’ and I love to draw out the feeling with this robe. The fabric is really lightweight and it’s such a happy pattern!” Sunray Robe, $165, Wonder Valley.
Girlfriends. “It has been the warmest welcome into the Motherhood Club, I had no idea. I’m hearing from old friends, childhood pals, work colleagues, and other mama-business owners all with the kindest wishes and most helpful advice. It’s truly been overwhelming. Having phone calls and visits with my sister and closest girlfriends are the things that most fills up my cup.”
Agnes Baddoo Tote. “Agnes designed this tote for hauling produce from the farmer’s market, but the compartments work perfectly for a diaper bag.” Market Sac, $305, Agnes Baddoo.
Soba Cha. “I’m resigning to the fact that my tea is often over-steeped and lukewarm by the time I get to it, but I still love the routine of a pot of tea in the morning. I’m still not having much caffeine and the sobo cha has that toasted and earthy quality I love in certain Japanese teas, not too fruity or floral, which non-caffeinated tea options tend to be.” Soba Cha Tea Bags (12-Pack), $18, Onggi.
To Be Magnetic. “A gift I want to give my daughter is working on myself. That’s taken a lot of forms over the past few years, and will never really be ‘done,’ but I love the ease of To Be Magnetic, since it’s at my pace and I can do it any place or time of day. It’s a wonderful program for manifestation work, but it’s also helped me heal old wounds and move around some stagnant energy.” ToBeMagnetic.com.
Wintering Book. “A good friend gifted me this book, which centers around the themes of going inward and the power of rest. This really resonated with me during this tender time of new motherhood, which for me has been a time of cocooning and both feeling a bit of longing for the world, but also pure contentment with staying still, relearning how to rest while being present, and learning from this tiny new teacher.” Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times, $12.54, Amazon and Bookshop.
Bath Time. “I’m an evening bather, always have been. It helps me transition to sleep and I love the unhurried peaceful pace. This has never been more true when having a newborn. My husband Jay will watch the baby or tuck her in so I can have this uninterrupted ‘me time.’ There hasn’t been a lot of routine to the days or consistency with all the other self-care tools in my belt, but a long, hot shower or bath and some self-massage with my body and face oils is the most grounding practice.”
Madre Linen Bedding. “If I’m going to spend so much time in bed, the bedding better be great. Madre Linen fits the bill, with their new bedding line made slowly with care, by hand in Oregon. I’m partial to their Tamarindo color.” Duvet Cover, $350, Madre.
OZMA Sweater. “This has been a season of soft clothes, and I’m okay with that. I’ve made it through my pregnancy by dipping into my husband Jay’s closet, but now that Calley is here, I want the softest fabrics and easy access cardigans—this OZMA sweater has been a favorite.” Dad Cardi, $208, OZMA.
Journaling. “We started a journal when I found out I was pregnant, writing notes and wanting to share who we are, how we felt, how we lived before her and with her. I really love this practice and it’s been a moment to pause and realize how good we got it.”
Spotify Playlists. “Our daughter Calley Bo really is expressing preferences in music and it’s fun to make playlists and see what soothes and delights her. No one, and I mean no one, wants to hear me sing except for this sweet baby.”
Check out more Postpartum Essentials here, and for more Mother Essentials, peep our recent features on author Tiffany Rose Smith, Heidi Baker of OZMA, Phoebe Sung of Cold Picnic, Sach Paneer founder Jasleen Kaur, Essential Labor author Angela Garbes, The Mamas author Helena Andrews-Dyer, Olivia J founder Shae Jones, author Brynne Barnes, Tisha Thompson of LYS Beauty, Blueland’s Sarah Paiji Yoo, Heirloom’s Sri Bodanapu, Lady Falcon Coffee Club founder Buffy Maguire, the mama-duo behind Spring & Mulberry chocolate, and Dear Bella Creamery co-founder Alice Cherng.
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