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Ashley Muir Bruhn Feature

I’m lucky enough to call Ashley a friend, but I originally discovered her blog Hither & Thither many years ago, long before we met. I love Ashley’s blog because reading it makes you feel like you’re having a great conversation with a good friend. A friend that has a fountain of knowledge on everything from where to stay with kids when traveling to Mexico City to the best baby registry picks, to how to design a nursery the size of a closet! So I thought who better to kick-off our  tastemaker series with. In addition to hand selecting her favorite Bitte items, which you can shop here. Below she has answered some of our questions about motherhood, blogging and how she makes traveling with kids look so effortless.

We’re long time fans of Hither and Thither, how did you get started blogging?
Thank you so much! I started it with my husband Aron after moving to New York and feeling like I wanted a record of our newlywed years there. At first, it was intended solely for our families and friends, but over the years it turned into something with a broader community—who I value so much. It's really been an incredible experience, writing Hither & Thither these past six years.

You started Hither and Thither long before you had kids, did your approach to blogging change after the arrival of your son and daughter? If so how?
I recall naively thinking how exciting it would be—as a mother—to have this whole new range of experiences to talk about with readers. But then it hits you how much harder it is to actually process and write about those experiences once the child arrives! I feel like I still have so many pregnancy and maternity-related topics I'd love to discuss with readers... once I find that moment to really sit down and think about it. There was also a time when I thought I would try to keep that side of my life separate and I even started a completely distinct "mom-blog." But being a parent is so integral to who I am; it didn't make sense to compartmentalize things like that. Every decision is filtered through that lens, now.  

Some of our favorite posts of yours are the ones about traveling with little ones. You seem to do it so effortlessly, what are some of your top tips for family travel?
I definitely am of the opinion that, if traveling is something you want to do, you just have to go for it. You'll worry about the flights, there will be some memorable disasters, you'll think you're missing out on some nightlife (you probably are)... but if you want to see the world, you should just do it! There will be compromises but it's all worth it! 

I think you have to manage your expectations about how much you will do or see in a day. And it helps to let go of some of your routines—let them nap on the go or stay out late, for example. But, ultimately, I feel like it often goes so well because vacation tends to mean you put your work away—and instead of trying to multi-task with your kids, you're free to follow their lead and say yes to that super-slow nature walk where everyone stops to look at ten million ants. If you can make that possible, it really is easier.

Where would you love to travel to with your kids that you haven’t been to yet?
I would love to stay in Amsterdam with the kids and get around by bike. We ride together a lot, here in Davis, and I feel like it would be so lovely to do the same in the Netherlands—surrounded by canals and coffeeshops. 

 

We have also always admired your home style from your blog. You seem to be able to marry a stylish grown up home while also keeping it kid friendly, what’s your trick?
Thank you for saying so! We have tried to choose things that are beautiful to us but also hard-working. For example, we have the Eames molded plastic shell chairs in our kitchen and I'm certain that part of the reason they've stood up as such a classic design is how easily they clean up. My daughter took the red crayon to one a few weeks back, but it cleaned right off! (That said, she won't be getting ahold of markers any time soon.) 

Has your home or personal style changed much since having kids?
Not tremendously. Moving to California from New York probably had the biggest effect: I found myself wanting a lot more light wood and bright white—a sunnier space. It's probably related to having kids, however: their stuff inevitably gets strewn about by the end of every day, so I love having a bright, calm space to balance the chaos! 
 
What are some of your kids favorite items to play with?
Hudson is really into finding bugs in the backyard, donning a cape and revealing his super powers, or finding nooks and crannies to disappear into and hide. Skyler wants to do whatever Hudson is doing—but often in a pair of my shoes or while carrying around blocks or other little wooden figures that fit tightly in her palm. 
 
What are some of your favorite items of theirs? Do you plan on keeping and saving any special toys or clothes as heirlooms?
It all seems so precious, it's hard to let go of any of it! But I think I'll try to limit myself to a few small toys, like those little Holztiger wooden figures that have been so loved; their first pairs of walking shoes with the imprint of their tiny feet still visible in the leather; and the layette each had when he or she came home from the hospital.
Thank you Ashley for sharing your advice and your Bitte Picks!
Photography by Michelle Drewes

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