Olivia Youngs

Name: Olivia Youngs
Occupation: Blogger, freelance writer, and mother.
Background: My background is in writing about parenting and health. I started my blog as an outlet for creativity, but it grew into a full-time job.
Home: Right now, we live in a renovated trailer in the mountains of Colorado, USA.
Family: My husband and I are kept busy with our two little girls (5 and 3 years old), and in May, we will welcome our third baby.
Instagram: @simplylivandco

You are a mother of two, soon to be three. Do you feel like a pro at this point?

I'm not sure there's such a thing as an expert in motherhood – it's one of those areas where I constantly feel challenged, in the best way. But I've definitely learned a thing or two over the past five years. Mostly, it's about learning patience, both with myself and my children, saying sorry a lot, and letting my kids explore the world around them in new ways every day.


What have you been thinking about lately?

Lately, I've been preoccupied with all things baby! There will be almost four years between the new baby and my current 3-year-old, so I feel a bit rusty when it comes to taking care of a baby. I'm refreshing my techniques for natural birthing, equipping our small home with everything we'll need, and trying not to overdo it. Being pregnant is tough!

You are all for simplicity. Tell us a bit about what that means for you and your everyday life?

That's right! For me, living simply is a total mindset shift that fundamentally affects most of the daily choices I make. Our most obvious and recent change toward simplicity was deciding to move into a trailer and free ourselves, both financially and spatially, to travel and live with fewer things, which we always wanted.

Living simply also means I try to be as conscious as possible when I shop – whether it's new clothes, food, home decor, or anything, really. I look for ethical or second-hand options and carefully consider if a purchase is a "want" or a "need" before spending the money.

Life isn't simple, but trying to slow down and simplify the things I can control has been so beneficial for my family and me.

You focus on ethical fashion in your blog and other media. What are your best tips for other moms who want to make sustainable choices?

I could talk about this all day ;) My biggest tip for anyone before diving into ethical fashion is to slow down. Make lists of what you really need, pare down the wardrobe you already have, and invest in quality pieces that will last for more than one season or two.

Ethical fashion is generally more expensive than "fast fashion" counterparts, so I always suggest shopping second-hand first (absolutely the most sustainable choice, in my opinion) and then supporting ethically produced brands. For things like maternity clothes, which you'll only need for a short time: look for second-hand options OR invest in quality pieces (like from Boob) that will last long after pregnancy.

Finally, take advantage of people like me who love researching brands and have spent countless hours interviewing, emailing, writing about, and testing products from ethical brands. I always strive to curate my blog to be a real resource for people and make ethical shopping a bit more accessible.


What are your 3 best tips for low-waste living?

I'm no pro at low-waste living, but I've tried to implement small habit changes that really add up over time. Here are my top three:

Bring a reusable water bottle and coffee mug wherever you go. Most waste-creating decisions happen when you're on the go, and having your own mug and bottle can prevent many of them.

Buy things that are made to last. Most of us throw away SO much waste every year, whether it's cheaply made clothes, home decor we don't truly love, or random knick-knacks we've collected over the years. Instead, buy things that won't wear out as quickly (and recycle your clothes when you're done with them!) and be extra picky when adding new items to your home or wardrobe.

Keep your reusable bags in your car or on your bike. Whether you drive, walk, or commute to the store, having your reusable bags in a place where you always see them and have them ready will ensure you never forget them again.

What do you hope to pass on to your children?

SO many things, of course, but I hope that if I do one thing right as a mom, it's teaching them, through words and actions, that they are enough. I never want them to feel like they're not enough or struggle with comparisons, as so many women do today.


What is your best advice for other new moms?

Take care of YOURSELF too! Having a baby is overwhelming and requires a lot of adjustment, and you might feel selfish when you dream of having some time for yourself or taking some time to take care of yourself. BUT to be the best mom you can be for your baby, you need to make sure you're healthy, rested, and doing things that make you feel like yourself. Give yourself some peace of mind, and the rest will fall into place.

Name three things you wouldn't want to be without in your parenting life?

It sounds strange and not necessarily parenting-related, but for me, a creative outlet is crucial to my mental health as a mom. If it weren't for my blog and this little job, I don't think I would be the mom I am to my kids. Nature! We intentionally moved to a tiny, remote community in the mountains because both my husband and I want our kids to grow up in an environment where they are free to explore, play, get dirty, and appreciate nature. We love visiting cities, but for us, home will always be where we are surrounded by nature. Can I say coffee? ;) Because it has saved my sanity more than once.

How do you want the world your children grow up in to look like?

It's scary to let children grow up in today's world, but I hope, at least for my girls, that they grow up in a world that shows everyone love. As parents, we play a very important role in creating such a world for our children.

What is at the top of your wish list?

I'm very much into experiential shopping and can't think of many possessions I want that I don't have, so I'd say that at the top of my current wish list is a family vacation to somewhere tropical and relaxing once the baby arrives!