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Mother Essentials: Bunnie Hilliard of Brave + Kind Bookshop

Written by Katie Hintz-Zambrano

To be brave and kind is all we can hope for our children—and ourselves. It’s this pair of key values that Decatur, Georgia-based mother of two Bunnie Hilliard has made cornerstones of her business, Brave + Kind Bookshop. The thoughtfully curated neighborhood spot (and online shop) boasts an intentionally diverse and inclusive selection of children’s books—and a few grown-up books to help us all do better as human beings! Below, the vibrant mother of daughter Andie, 12, and son Avery, 8, shares her current Mother Essentials—a do-it-all dog leash, fitness must-haves, and (of course) good books included.

Sea Salt Hand Cream.I discovered this on a retail therapy run with one of my best pals. It’s thick and glides on so decadently, it’s like a mini tube of luxury. With all of the hand washing we are doing to keep germs at bay, my hands get super dry. I bought all they had in the store and immediately added them to my desk, night stand, car, and bag.” Kala Style Sea Salt Hand Cream, $13, Anthropologie

Peloton Rides With Tunde Oyeneyin. “I am #TeamTunde and #BlackGirlMagic. Her sweat looks like glitter, her words of motivation move me, and her playlists get me fired up and ready to ride to the moon and back.” @tune2tunde.

Liberty Print Scarf. “My hair is generally in a top knot or braided. This classic and pretty fabric takes it up just a notch and can be worn as a headband, mask, or neckerchief.” Ann Mashburn Anyway Georgina Liberty Scarf, $50, Ann Mashburn.

MCMC Fragrances. “I had stopped wearing fragrances when I started having kiddos, but now that they are big kids I have added it back to my routine. A friend gifted me a Noble Perfume Oil rollerball and it now lives in my daily bag. The scent is both soft and spirited and I dab a bit on my drive to the bookshop and when I read the words ‘Noble’ it reminds me to be.” MCMC Noble 10ml Perfume Oil, $45, Burke Decor.

A World Full of Spooky Stories. “I love, love this one we are currently making our way through. The stories are kooky, creepy, and sometimes make us laugh out loud. What I like most is that it entertains both my 8- and 12-year-old and allows for some intentional and connected family time.” A World Full of Spooky Stories: 50 Tales to Make Your Spine Tingle, $22.99, Brave + Kind.

Schoolhouse Tea Kettle. My husband burned my copper tea kettle when he tested it out on the fire pit. I replaced it with this lovely tea kettle (that only I am allowed to use). A welcome addition to my freshly painted kitchen. I love to wind down with a nice cup of tea—and a good book, of course.” Enamel + Wood Kettle, $129, Schoolhouse

Loveseen Lashes. “These natural-looking falsies give me just the daily slay I need while wearing my mask. I still feel seen (and super cute).” Cate Lashes, $22, Loveseen.

Air Hockey Table. “Since we can’t go to our favorite bowling alley and play fun arcade games (and eat delicious pizza and fries), we have brought games (and fries and pizza) to us. My 8-year-old is the reigning air hockey champion and I have the best belly laugh while attempting to take his crown.Phoenix Air Hockey Table, $1,099, Pottery Barn.

Journal. “I’ve been journaling since I was in my twenties and now, as part of my morning routine, I jot down what I’m grateful for, my hopes and prayers, and the mundane goings on of daily life. In my mind, my kids, or great great great grand kids will stumble upon a treasure trove of my journals and discover all that I pondered as a woman, mom, and friend. Hope they find something naughty and something fun.” Colourblock Journal, $26.99, Papier.

Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee. “We had been staring at our slate gray walls for a few years and the last 9 months inspired the need for a change to our habitat. It’s like we let the sunshine in! Super fresh and airy I am completely smitten with the refresh.” Swiss Coffee Paint, $10.99 and up, Benjamin Moore

KN95 Mask. “I keep a bag of these in my shoulder bag (along with my laptop).” KN95 Face Mask, $65 for 60 masks, Amazon.

Rishi Turmeric and Ginger Tea. “I’m a big fan of all of Rishi’s teas, but especially the turmeric and ginger. Any time I get a tickle in my throat or just want to wind down after a long day, it feels like intentional ‘me’ time.” Turmeric + Ginger Tea, $8.99, Rishi.

Noom App. “I’m down a few pandemic pounds already! I like this app because it gives me daily tips and encouragement on being mindful about my food and no guilt about having moments of indulging my sweet tooth.” Noom.com.

Fanny/Crossbody Bag. I’m newly obsessed with fanny packs and have amassed a collection of all types. Casual, everyday, dressy, athletic. My favorite was the one gifted to me by a friend made by Big Bud (they don’t make them anymore). On my current wish list is this sleek and minimal bag from Dagne Dover.” Ace Fanny Pack, $55, Dagne Dover.

Day Designer. “This is the third year in a row I’ve opted for this planner. I love that it prompts me to write down the top three things I want to accomplish. It’s part of my morning routine to prep to seize the day.” 2021 Weekly Planner, $59.99, Day Designer.

Libro FM. More books! This app supports small businesses, too. I’m currently listening to Barack Obama’s A Promised Land.” A Promised Land, $45, Libro FM

Hands-Free Dog Leash. “Finally! I can drink my coffee and change my podcast and take a peek at emails all while walking my dog Brodie. I truly feel like I am going to rule the day with the level of multi-tasking that happens.” Rose Gold Hands-free Dog Leash, $47, Etsy.

For more Mother Essentials, peep our past columns with author Rio Cortez, Kido Chicago owner Keewa Nurullah, small-space mama Laura Fenton, Citizens of Humanity creative director Marianne McDonald, Curasalve founder Kelley Williams, Trade Street Jam Co. founder Ashley Rouse, Weelicious and One Potato founder Catherine McCord, Milky Mama’s Krystal Nicole Duhaney, mega-influencer Chriselle Lim, Matana Organics founder Gabriela Babila, interior designer Susan Work, author Tiffany Dufu, Les Gamins founder Veronique Nguyen, Lonny editor Angela Tafoya, Wiley Body founder Vanessa Wade, DockATot’s Roma Patel, designers Anna WallackCynthia RowleyRebecca Atwood, and Dana HaimOlympian Alysia Montano, cookbook author Hetal Vasavada, model and muse Slick Woods, children’s author Serena Minott, clean living expert Kristian Henderson, Oakland retail queen Sherri McMullen, wellness influencer Joanne Encarnacion, author LaTonya Yvetteand many, many more!

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  1. Mindy says...

    Bunnie and Brave + Kind are a treasure to our community, thanks for highlighting her stellar taste for books and life’s staples!

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