Browsing Category

Fashion

Fashion

9 Tips for a Beyonce Worthy Maternity Shoot

March 22, 2017
maternity shoot

We know that many of you don’t feel your most beautiful while pregnant but trust us, you are. In our opinion, there is nothing more incredible than seeing a pregnant mama and her belly, glowing skin and all. You may think that you’ll never want to see that belly again, but once life moves on and you’re chasing after a toddler, it’s nice to look back and reminisce about that moment in time when you were creating a tiny human. To help you capture the moment, it’s best to do a little prep work. You know Queen B had her team to make her twin announcement look epic so we’ve asked HEYMAMA member, Katie Lopez give her 9 tips for making this moment memorable. Read on…

 

  1. Timing is Everything

The best time to take maternity photos is anywhere from the beginning of your first trimester to 35 weeks, depending on how big you are. Keep in mind, every woman’s body is different. You want to have a firm, round belly, but you don’t want to be at your biggest. If you’re like me, my face got swollen towards the end and I was feeling a little puffy…ok, a lot puffy.

  1. Light It Up  

As a photographer that loves natural light, lighting is key for beautiful photos. If we’re shooting outdoors, I like to take photos about 2 hours before sunset when the light is a little softer. I love to back-light my subjects to give them that glow-y look and further enhance that pregnancy glow everyone talks about. If we’re shooting indoors (the couple’s home for example) I like to shoot near a window. We can achieve a mood-y look with beautiful shadows, or a soft, airy look depending on how much light is coming in through the windows.

MichelleAndrew-0026

  1. Location, Location, Location

For me, location and lighting go hand in hand. My favorite photos always end up having 2 common factors. Very simple, non-distracting backgrounds and beautiful, natural light. You don’t have to have an awesomely dramatic or unique setting to make great photos. Sometimes I end up shooting in the corner of a bedroom against a white wall. Beautiful light can turn a seemingly uninteresting location into something incredibly beautiful. Some of my favorite locations are the beach, an area with greenery (like a garden or a park), or the couple’s home.

  1. Wardrobe, Please!

Show off your bump in something you feel beautiful in. A few of my favorite things for mamas to wear are…

  1. A long flowing dress. This looks especially beautiful on the beach where the wind catches the bottom of the dress. It feels very romantic and ethereal. Hello, pregnant beach goddess!
  2. A lace or silk robe with your bump peeking out. I love this look for an at-home maternity session. It feels very relaxed, natural, and a little bit sexy in the most beautiful way.
  3. Wearing boyfriend jeans, a slouchy sweater, and a top knot while sitting on your living room couch could even look really effortless and cool.

maternity shoot

  1. Photographer

This may sound obvious, but choose a photographer whose style aligns with yours. Photographer styles can range from a more lifestyle, organic feel to a more styled, editorial vibe. Ask to see other maternity sessions the photographer has shot before and imagine yourself in them. If you can’t see yourself laying in a milk bath with flowers floating around you, maybe that photographer is not the right fit for you.

  1. Get Glam

Unless you are really good at doing your own hair and makeup, hire a professional. Experienced makeup artists and hair stylists know what looks good on camera. You’re probably paying a lot of money for a photographer, so it is well worth paying to have your hair and makeup done by a professional too.

maternity shoot

  1. Keep It Natural

In my opinion, props and themes are not timeless and can be a little on the cheesy side. You don’t want to look back 10 or 20 years down the road and say, “Why was I dressed as a 50s pinup?” or “What’s up with the huge flower crown on my head?” My best advice is to avoid the kitsch and think timeless. Unless you’re Beyonce who can decorate and dress up till her hearts content.

  1. Strike a Pose

The most flattering poses for pregnant women is standing or lounging. Keep in mind your bump can get lost or squished while sitting.  My go-to pose is standing at an angle (rather than being completely in profile) with the front leg bent a little. This will give your body a beautiful S shape. Same things goes for laying down – make sure your limbs are bent a little to achieve gorgeous curves. Hands are also another important thing to consider. The obvious choice is to have your hands on your belly. I definitely think you should have a few photos holding your belly, but to avoid the same pose over and over, I like to have my mamas lightly brush their hair back, gently hold their dress, or softly touch their leg. Subtle things like hand placement can make a pose feel less “pose-y”.

  1. All In The Family

This is an exciting time for your partner and kids too so you’ll want to have a memory with them as well. There is nothing sweeter than your guy kissing your forehead or your toddler hugging and kissing your belly. Make sure to snap at least one photo of your family before the new addition arrives.

maternity shoot

Katie Lopez is a Miami-based photographer. Follow her adventures with her family here.

Fashion, Living

Molly Fienning Takes Babiators to New Heights

March 7, 2017
babiators

Babiators are easily one of our top “go-to” brands for our kids, so we’re excited to introduce you to their co-Founder, Molly Fienning. After graduating from Harvard in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Molly lept into a career at IBM. But as the legend goes, she was soon selling covetable kids eyewear from her kitchen table and gaining a cult following with one of the best customer service policies we’ve encountered (you lose ‘em, they’ll replace them!). Read on to hear what Molly has to say about making a dream into a reality.

babiators

Babiators hold a special place in our hearts. I mean, is there anything cuter than a baby in sunglasses? How did the idea for Babiators originate and did you really grow the brand to a multi-million dollar business in under 5 years from your kitchen table?

I might be biased, but I agree there are few things cuter than a baby in shades! The idea for Babiators originated from my time as a military spouse. My husband Ted was a fighter pilot for the Marine Corps, which issues aviator sunglasses to protect their pilots’ eyes from sun damage and glare. I thought, why not make aviators for babies – aka “Babiators” – to protect kids’ eyes too?

When we launched, my partner Carolyn and I cold-called hundreds of children’s boutiques from our dining tables. Within nine months, we were retailing our shades in 75 stores and had signed Nordstrom up to become our first major account! Today, six years later, we’re in 3000+ doors and Nordstrom is still a great partner of ours (we’ve also added major accounts Bloomingdales, Saks, Buy Buy Baby, Diapers.com and others). We’ve sold over 1 million pairs and generate ~ $6 million in revenue annually.

babiators

“When we launched, my partner Carolyn and I cold-called hundreds of children’s boutiques from our dining tables. Within nine months, we were retailing our shades in 75 stores and had signed Nordstrom up to become our first major account! Today, six years later, we’re in 3000+ doors and Nordstrom is still a great partner of ours. We’ve sold over 1 million pairs and generate ~ $6 million in revenue annually.”

Wow! Your growth is amazing! You just launched a new frame style, The Navigator. We’re so excited to have a new style option for our little ones to get them to wear shades. Why is it so important for kids to protect their eyes and how do Babiators accomplish this? 

We believe that kids are born to explore, a truth we love and wouldn’t change for the world. Outdoors on awesome explorations, however, children receive three times the annual sun exposure as adults. In addition, kids’ eyes are even more susceptible to sun damage than adults’ eyes because of their larger pupils and clearer lenses.

At Babiators, we’re spreading the word that 100% UV sunglasses aren’t just a stylish fashion accessory, they’re a healthy necessity. No matter what the brand, we’d love for all parents to protect their kids’ eyes from harmful UV rays.

babiators

You co-founded the company with your husband. Do you have any advice for mamas wanting to start businesses and successfully work with their spouse? Any tips you’ve learned along the way?

I love working with Ted. There is no one I trust more in the world, and our goals are completely aligned for the business. That said, there have definitely been moments that weren’t easy. We learned that it’s important to set boundaries so “talking shop” doesn’t take over the relationship (for us, the rule is no work conversations after 7pm). We also love using the MBTI personality type analysis. There’s a short online test you can take to learn your MBTI type and thus discover how you work/communicate/stress differently from your spouse to honor your own and his or her needs.

babiators

“Outdoors on awesome explorations, however, children receive three times the annual sun exposure as adults. In addition, kids’ eyes are even more susceptible to sun damage than adults’ eyes because of their larger pupils and clearer lenses.”

You’ve created a cult following with your brand. What was the moment when you first realized your business was a success and what did that feel like?

I first realized we were onto something in a hospital at 3AM, the day after our first son was born! I was feeding him and couldn’t fall back asleep, so I picked up the latest issue of US Weekly (while my husband slept on the ground next to me). I opened the page to a photo of Mariah Carey’s baby nursery, where her son, Morocco, was propped up in his crib and stylin’ in our Black Ops Babiators!

I literally jumped for joy on the hospital bed after seeing Babiators in print for the first time. My husband woke up startled by my bizarre behavior and we broke into laughter. We have since seen some of the coolest Hollywood kiddos around sporting our Babiators from the children of Sarah Jessica Parker to Khloe Kardashian to Rachel Zoe. Ellen DeGeneres even featured us on her annual Mother’s Day Giveaway episode – a pinch-me moment, for sure.

babiators

You have a charitable component to Babiators as well, delivering sunglasses to hospital pediatric units. Tell us more about that.

For the past few years, we’ve donated hundreds of pairs of Babiators to hospitals around the country, and we’re now ramping up a larger effort this year – which we’re calling our Future’s So Bright campaign. 

This campaign was inspired by a brave boy named Finn Blumenthal, who was born with Congenital Heart Defect (CHD) disease and whose mother was looking for a fun and heartfelt token to lift spirits after her three-day old son’s open heart surgery. The nurses brought him back to his mama in our Rockstar Red shades and his newborn hair styled in a mini-mohawk! It had a profound impact on us that Finn’s family’s “bright spot” during those difficult days at the hospital was Finn styling in his new Babiators. He is an inspirational 2.5-year-old and a VIP member of the Babiators family!

This month, we launched limited edition “Shark Finn” Babiators (in shark gray, as sharks are Finn’s fave animal). We’re donating 10% of proceeds to the American Heart Association for CHD research. Please check them out for Finn!

 

Through this Future’s So Bright campaign, our dream is to offer more moments of fun and play to other children facing difficult times in hospitals. If a pair of Babiators can make one sick child happy during his or her hospital stay, that’s enough for us.

babiators

Quote you love: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

Best advice you’ve ever been given?: Life is short, do what you love.

babiators

What are your 3 pearls of mama wisdom?

  1. Love What You Do. Building a business is a long road, so it is important to truly love what you’re doing. You might not love every aspect of your job, but a general feeling of excitement to show up most days and produce work is crucial. Otherwise, it is easy to burn out.
  1. Be flexible.  If something isn’t working, it is ok to adjust your path. We all learn through experience and need to be adept at changing course (instead of holding steadfast on a failing decision and going down with the ship).
  1. Persevere. As mothers, we all know that there is no quick fix to success. We’ve learned resilience as we love, care and fight for our children. It is not dissimilar for your business. A million small decisions contribute to whether or not your business thrives. Take that next baby step directly ahead of you, and keep on trucking.  

babiators

“If something isn’t working, it is ok to adjust your path.”

Exlusive heymama perk! Want to get your kiddos geared up in the latest shades? Babiators has offered 25% off using code HEYMAMA25 until April 1st, 2017.

Molly Fienning is the co-Founder of Babiators and lives with her husband and two children in Charleston.

Fashion

Thank You Destiney Green for Bringing Us #MomCrushMonday

March 6, 2017
Destiney Green

We love starting the week off on a high note with moms we are crushing on. This week’s mama is extra special because she’s the OG mama who invented the term when she founded her site, Mom Crush Monday. Two years ago, when Destiney Green gave birth to her daughter Honor, she found herself looking to other mamas for inspiration. To this day, she chooses to leave judgement at the doorstep and welcomes all mamas making motherhood work on their own terms. Now, she’s working on several side businesses that she’s hoping will take off in 2017 ,and we can’t wait to tag along for the ride.

 

On Motherhood

If anything, I think becoming a mother has allowed me to become more focused and driven. I’m suddenly here for a bigger purpose, and everything is for her. I have to be my best self so that she will have her best life possible. I try and keep that in mind, and with that be very mindful of all of my choices. It feels like less of a juggling act that way. I use my Passion Planner and my phone planners daily. I have reminders not only for appointments and things to do, but more importantly for me, reminders for how I want my mindset for the day to be. It helps me stay focused.  

Having my daughter really set me on the path that I’m on now, and I’m so grateful for that. After having Honor and discovering the world of handmade clothes and small shops, I fell instantly in love with children’s fashion. It really was the start of me building up my presence on social media and making connections. I’d love to have my own line eventually. Stay tuned.

Destiney Green

On Finding Inspiration

I love strong women and seeing women succeed and do great things fuels my fire to be my best self. Women supporting other women is my jam and it inspires me endlessly which of course, is the whole reason why I started Mom Crush Monday. I also love to travel and see as many places as possible. I’m currently based in Salt Lake City, UT but I’m itching to relocate. We’ll see!

Destiney Green

On Life Lessons

I live by daily affirmations and putting things into the universe that I want to happen. So daily, my daughter  Honor and I talk about what kind of day we are going to have. We have a series of affirmations such as,  “I will be my best self today.”, “I am going to achieve my goals today.”, “I am strong enough to handle anything that is thrown at me.” It’s a super simple method to maintain positivity. These are the types of reminders I leave on my phone too, so that they pop up and ask me, “Have you taught Honor something new today?” or “What have you done to make yourself better today?” It’s an accountability practice.  

Destiney Green

What are 3 things that might surprise us about you?

  1. I’ve lived in Utah my entire life, and I only skied for the first time this winter.
  2. I’m really silly. I show my serious side a lot on social media, but in person, I’m always goofing around.
  3. I only sleep about 4-5 hours most nights. I always have something on my mind I want to work on, and it keeps me up so I just make use of the time and keep working.

Destiney Green

Favorite Quote?

“Knowing what you want will motivate you. Knowing why you want it will make it happen.”

Business, Fashion

Dare We Say It? Lustworthy Nursing Clothes

February 28, 2017
teat and cosset

How many times have you been out in public with a screaming babe in one arm, frantically trying to undress while maintaining some shred of decency with the other? Why hasn’t anyone designed clothes that are lust-worthy, yet made for the breastfeeding mama? That’s exactly what Peggy Economou wondered after the birth of her daughter and she decided to do something about it. Inspired by the luxe fabrics she found while living in Italy, Peggy has created a line that is both functional yet exudes such quality and style, you’ll want to wear the pieces long after your breastfeeding days are behind you. Read on…

 

Finally! Someone has designed super stylish, wearable and functional clothes for the breastfeeding mama. Bless you! How did the idea for your line, Teat & Cosset come to be?

My daughter Dafne was born in December 2014 in the dead of winter. None of my clothes had easy breastfeeding access, so I ordered a few tops online. When I got them, I was surprised by the poor quality, questionable functionality (buttons on the shoulder?!) and they looked tattered after a few washes. I ended up spending a lot of money on things that I didn’t even want to wear while I was nursing, let alone afterwards. Fast forward to trying to soothe my crying baby during night feedings and I felt like I couldn’t open my pyjamas fast enough and I thought, “why not use snaps instead of buttons?”. The first pieces in my line were PJ’s and a night shirt with snaps and then the line grew to a cohesive 15-piece collection. My goal was to create a collection that didn’t look or feel like nursing wear that was free of stretch jersey and looked like clothes I would want to wear when I wasn’t breastfeeding.

teat and cosset

What is the story behind the name, Teat & Cosset?

I originally wanted to name the brand after my daughter, Dafne, but it seemed so anonymous and I felt like it would be lost in a sea of other brand names. I decided to make a list of all the names that described the brand and its values; breast, nursing, luxury, quality, pamper and then looked at synonyms for all the words. One of the words that stood out was ‘teat’. It’s a strong word that definitely caused some backlash, but you can’t make everyone happy, and I decided to stick with it. I then paired it with “cosset” as I just loved the way it looked and sounded and it means, to pamper. Our goal is to pamper moms and help them feel like themselves again while they nurse so “Teat & Cosset” was the perfect marriage.

Your pieces are so beautifully designed – we want the Vivian Shirtdress and we aren’t even breastfeeding! You don’t have a background in fashion. Did you have someone who really influenced and helped to develop you in the early days? A mentor? What was that like?

Happy to hear you want the Vivian! That was the point of the collection; to create pieces that any woman, not just a nursing mom, would wear.  Although I don’t have a background in fashion, I’ve been drawing and painting since I was a child and art and design have always been my passions. I used my own experience nursing to design pieces that were beautiful and most importantly, functional. We used vertical stripes in our AW2016 collection to hide possible leakage and to create slimming lines, and zippers on a few pieces, and snaps in others, for easy access. During the early days, I showed my ideas to a friend, Virgil Sparks, a freelance fashion designer, for feedback. He helped me tweak the designs to create a high end line and has been a great sounding board and source of inspiration. He’s now part of the team and consults on styles, trends, colors and fabrics to create a cohesive line each season.

teat and cosset

You manufacture your line in Italy. Tell us more about that decision.

Deciding to produce my line with small manufacturers in Italy has allowed me to have greater control over all of the pieces. I don’t need to send a tech pack and CAD drawings to a factory in China hoping they’ll get it right. By looking at a detailed sketch, my Italian manufacturers know exactly what I want and then make the first prototype with my input along the way. We work on the piece together through various fittings and adjustments until we have the final design. The creative process is so different than elsewhere when you have talented and experienced manufacturers involved in the process.

Screen Shot 2017-02-24 at 5.48.07 PM

What advice do you have for mamas wanting to start a business of their own?

  1. Just Do It. The most important thing in starting a business is just get started. Stop talking about it, and do it.
  2. Think Small. I can’t emphasize enough to start small and keep startup costs low. There will always be unexpected expenses along the way and you need to be able to roll with it. Although I think our first collection is great and each and every piece is a staple of a woman’s wardrobe, it would have been easier to start with a collection half the size in terms of warehousing and initial production costs.
  3. Be patient. Your business will rarely be a success overnight.  You probably won’t sell anything the first day or even the first couple of weeks after you launch.  Set a good size budget aside for marketing – whether for trade shows, a marketing consultant or events.  You can have the best product but people must know about it to buy it.
  4. Do not underestimate word of mouth. I didn’t realize it’s importance in the beginning, and it turns out most of our sales come this way.

teat and cosset

Every mother’s breastfeeding journey is unique. Do you have any advice for mothers who may be struggling to make it work?

Yes! Don’t be afraid to seek support and professional help. Breastfeeding should not be painful after the first couple of weeks and if it still is, there may be a problem with the baby’s latch. A lactation consultant can help you through the process. Sometimes, no matter how much help you get however, it still may not work. If that’s the case, I would tell mothers to be easy on themselves and to give themselves a break. Pumping exclusively may be an option or formula is always an option too!

Have you discovered any new or favorite products for mamas who are breastfeeding?

Ever since we launched my line, I’ve discovered a ton of new brands to help breastfeeding moms. I love Oat Mama, which are granola bars, jam-packed with ingredients that are milk producing. I also love the beautiful lace bras from The Dairy Fairy. I wish I had known about them while I was nursing! And of course, I love the Naya pump, which I will save up for if I have another baby. It uses a new technology that is supposed to make pumping a lot more comfortable.

teat and cosset

We love your story so much. You left your banking career behind to travel the world and fell in love along the way. You now live in Tuscany with your husband and baby girl and are kicking butt in your career. What has been your biggest surprise and learning so far?

My story sounds like a sappy movie sometimes!  I did leave my career, travel and fall in love but there were definitely bumps along the way too. I remember when I started my travels the movie Eat, Pray, Love had just come out and I got that reference a lot, which I wasn’t very keen on!

My biggest surprise was how easy it was to leave everything behind. I wasn’t feeling fulfilled working in banking and letting everything go, from my apartment, to my job, to my stuff and my lifestyle in general, it felt very liberating. I needed and wanted a change. Although I was often lonely while traveling, I found that the most illuminating and special moments I experienced happened during that time.

What I’ve learned is how much better a simpler life is. I’ve also learned that what you do for work doesn’t define you. When I was working in NYC, I remember the first thing people asked me was what I did for a living. In Siena, I’ve known people for years and I still don’t know what their job is! It’s nice to talk about things other than work.

How do you feel motherhood differs in Italy compared to your mama friends back home in the US?

All moms are different and I don’t want to generalize too much. But what I can see is that Italian moms, and maybe European moms in general, are a bit more lax about certain things and aren’t so busy. I don’t know any Italian mothers who take their babies to music or language class either. In fact, I don’t think they even offer anything for children under the age of 2 here! I think a lot of it has to do with the simplicity and slower pace of life in Italy. There isn’t this enormous sense of competition either. I can tell you that applying for pre-school was an absolute breeze here. NYC moms, please don’t kill me!

teat and cosset

The area where Italian mothers aren’t relaxed however is with layers and they tend to overdress their kids for the weather. The last time we went to the park it was a unseasonably warm day and most of the kids had jackets, scarves and a few even wore hats. You can spot the American kid a mile away wearing shorts, a tee and sandals. Every time I pick my daughter up from her grandparents house she has a handkerchief wrapped around her neck so she doesn’t get a sore throat. If it were up to them she’d be wearing a turtleneck all year round.

You must be surrounded by constant inspiration living in Italy. Who are your mama muses?

I still pinch myself when I walk around Siena’s historical center. Everything is art. Most of the city’s ‘palazzi’ were built in the 1200’s and the fact that these buildings still stand, perfectly preserved, is awe-inspiring. It is a wonder to think about the time and effort it took to make such works of art; works that we can still appreciate hundreds of years later. It makes me sad to think that the newer, cheaper things we build and make today won’t last very long. It is also what I think about when we make the clothes in our collection. Will this piece last for the next 10 years?

I don’t really have any one mama muse per se. I admire all moms because I now know how much effort it takes to raise a child. Since becoming a mother, I can say that I have a greater appreciation for stay at home moms because staying at home all day with a small child is probably the hardest job ever.  

teat and cosset

You are a big believer in self care (Amen!). What is your favorite way to recharge?

My go-to place to recharge is a beautiful spa called San Giovanni Terme, which is (luckily!) a 15 minute drive from my home. My husband and I try to go as often as we can and make a day of it. We soak in the thermal pools in the morning, and then have a healthy lunch at their beautiful restaurant overlooking the Tuscan hills in the afternoon. The natural minerals (sulphur and calcium bicarbonate) found in the water, help me feel reenergized and my skin feels amazing afterwards. Plus, the alone time with my husband is essential. For those wanting to do a cleansing, detox bath at home, I love Pursoma.

What are your 3 Pearls of Motherhood Wisdom?

  1. Keep setting and writing down your goals (weekly, monthly, yearly, etc) and when you reach them set new ones.
  2. Be grateful for what you have. I find myself feeling much happier when I remind myself of all the good things in my life. I try to do this at night and in the morning when I wake up.  
  3. Concentrate on one task at a time, in all aspects of your life – family, work, hobbies. I find I stay more present that way and do better work.
  4. I have a bonus one! Tidy up after your children only once a day, at the end of the day!

Photos by Michelle Grant

 

 

Fashion, Living

An Intimate Affair: How Career, Kids and Love Drive These Couples Together

February 14, 2017
richer poorer

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, we are on a roll celebrating all things amour and wanted to pause to get to know some of our favorite couples. We’re eternally fascinated by those couples who have found their forever mate, and doubly fascinated by those that can grow their love and a business at the same time. We thought it would be fun to take a behind-the-scenes peek into the lives of real couples making it work and play dress up in our favorite innerwear from Richer Poorer (we live in their pieces, after all).

TyLynn & Bee

richer poorer

It’s pretty sweet when your passion project turns into a full blown business and garners the attention of such heavy hitters as the Coveteur, Inc. and Vogue. Effortless, sensual and feminine, TyLynn Nguyen is a line of lingerie that dreams are made of and so is the couple behind the brand, TyLynn and Bee Nguyen. We go inside their cozy abode in our first Conscious Couples installment and hang with the couple wearing their favorite pieces from Richer Poorer.

Managing two careers can be all consuming. What’s your secret to making time for your relationship?

Bee: We spend a lot of our days together since we both work for ourselves and our secret is to find that balance. We make it a point to separate work from our marriage as best as we can, which is often times rather impossible, but we manage do it! We really love watching our shows and movies together as well as dating each other, that is key to any successful marriage – date your lover.

TyLynn: Planning ahead is essential! I also value multitasking and listening to each other and talking even when you don’t want to. I cherish our time after 8:30pm the most. The kids are asleep and it’s nice to be able to sit quietly next to each other since we are non stop all day up until that point.

 

Are you into astrology? What are your star signs?

Bee: I am a Virgo and TyLynn is a Cancer. I believe it is helpful to know and understand what characteristics are typical with each astrology sign. Doing so has helped me better understand how to navigate my wife’s moods and temperament, and I’m sure she too, has figured out the idiosyncrasies that come along with my birth sign.

TyLynn: I am a cancer and he is a Virgo. We are so perfect for each other and our ways! I am emotional and feel all energies that come to me, and he is a thinker and strategic problem solver. It works.

richer poorer

“The key to any successful marriage – date your lover.”

Do you have any shared hobbies? What are some of you favorite activities to do together as a couple?

Bee: We both really love design, art and fashion. We plan on doing a lot more traveling as seeing the world together is important to us. We have also been talking about taking up tennis and golf together since there is a really nice Country Club near our home. Spending time with our children is also very special to us, with our busy lives, ensuring that our children know and feel how much they are loved and honored by us has always been our #1 priority. Watching them grow into their own personalities is such a blessing!

TyLynn: There’s so much to us. We are completely our own people but we come together in areas like art and fashion. He has particular tastes and likes to expand his mind and ideals all of the time. I think that really resonates with me because I am in constant need of a new book or an adventure. He fulfills those desires for me.

Can you remember a moment when you were going through a rough patch and your partner really supported you? How did they make you feel better?

Bee: My wife is hands down my biggest supporter and she has always made it a point to vocalize that every day. I have been a serial entrepreneur for as long as she has known me, 10 years, and we have been married for 7 of those years. When you work for yourself, there are plenty of times where you just sit back and wonder how and why am I doing this? It’s those days that having TyLynn by my side simply reminds me of why and who I do this for – my family.

TyLynn: Since we work for ourselves, it feels like those moments can tend to happen more often than not. He has given me some great advice. My favorite is, “ You have to be content in all storms and blessings.” He has helped me learn to take each moment as a blessing, no matter what.

When do you think your partner is the most sexy?

Bee: I think my wife is the most sexy all day long! I especially like when she hops out of her bath and is getting all oiled up using her many skin products. Is that TMI? LOL

TyLynn: I love when he’s laughing. Bee has such a joyous, manly laugh. Also, his ability to be so loving and gentle which is something I find the ultimate masculine turn on.

Best relationship advice you have been given or that you give?

Bee: Best advice is for all the fellas out there reading this, just try your best to listen or at least have your lady think you are listening to her. Just kidding!

Really, it is about being great listeners. I am learning to not be so caught up in my own thoughts all the time, so as to make sure that I am present enough for my wife as well. It’s a work in progress.

TyLynn: Be open to falling deeper and deeper in love. Be open to let go of what you believe love should be, and let love form itself around you.

richer poorer

“ You have to be content in all storms and blessings.”

TyLynn is wearing the long sleeve crew tee in black

Bee is wearing the crew pocket tee in heather grey 

Amy & Jay

Richer Poorer

Next up, the adorable Amy and Jay Small. Amy has her own design studio and is the co-founder of A Hotel Life and Jay, the Owner of an insanely popular hair salon, these two have gotten married, had a baby, survived two months of hospital bed rest and overhauled a warehouse in Central LA all in the last two years. There’s a little magic between these two and we want to find out the secrets to their romance.  

What qualities do you see in your partner that you feel makes them successful in their career? And as a partner?

Amy: Jay has a zen like quality about him that I noticed from the day we met. He’s incredibly detailed and meticulous which is why he’s such an amazing hairdresser. As a partner it means he takes the time to hand write me sweet letters and cook beautiful meals.

Jay: Amy is incredibly calm and thoughtful. She is calm in the morning, afternoon and evening. The way she’s able to listen, understand and perform is what makes her great both in her career and as a partner. From the early days of our relationship to present day I am amazed daily at how she accomplishes so many things gracefully with a smile.

What’s been your proudest moment for them career wise and personally?

Amy: Once we had a baby on the way we knew it was time for him to move his salon out of our house. He found this incredible space that needed a lot of work and tore it to bits from floor to ceiling. I saw how nervous he was about what might happen with his business, but he was slammed from the moment he opened the doors. It’s a true testament to how great he is at what he does to see how loyal his clients are.

Personally, it was seeing him become a dad. He is so hands-on and helpful, and so deeply in love with our little girl- I can’t imagine a better partner in parenthood. He prioritizes spending time with her over everything else; and to see them cuddle and giggle together is the greatest gift.

Jay: A proud moment was when she asked me to join her on a trip to Petit St. Vincent. It was a writing assignment for A Hotel Life, a travel site she’d co-founded that year with a friend. Here we were taking 3 planes and a boat to this beautiful private island that had maybe 10 guests on it, and all I could do was stare at Amy in awe for making it possible. At that point I knew I should stick by her because wherever she ended up was going to be magical.

Personally, no day will ever bring me more joy then the day she gave birth to our baby girl. Telling jokes in between pushing, the same look in her eyes of appreciation from the beach in St. Vincent, despite the slight change in situation.

richer poorer

“I think the toughest yet most important part of a relationship is learning how to adapt to your partner’s needs and making it a point to put them first as often as possible. It’s so easy and satisfying to be selfish, but selflessness ends up benefitting us both even more.”

What is your favorite way to unplug from work and have fun together? Do you go out or stay in? Do you schedule in downtime/fun activities or are you more spontaneous?

Amy: We try to cook dinner together at least three times a week- it’s a great way to unwind yet stay connected and conversational before the TV comes on and we veg out. Sunday is the only day we have off together so we usually try to plan activities that we can enjoy as a family- like taking Georgie to the aquarium and meeting up with friends later for brunch. And we always like to have a future weekend trip on the calendar as something fun to plan and look forward to.

Jay: Our favorite way to unplug is to sit on the floor in the living room and enjoy a tasty meal. We split our time between cooking at home and ordering in but regardless once we both settle into our positions around the table the day is officially over. We go through moments of binge watching shows or me pretending to not like the Bachelor.

What would you each say your partner’s dream perfect day alone would be. No peeking!!

Amy: A game of tennis, a trip to Blue Bottle for coffee, a few hours of drawing and like, ten or eleven naps.

Jay: Amy’s dream day alone would start with a great cup of coffee and a beach. Then, there would be a breakfast of bacon, eggs and one pancake; followed by yoga, massage and pool.

What do you think the most challenging part of being a good partner is and how do you meet that challenge?

Amy: I think the toughest yet most important part of a relationship is learning how to adapt to your partner’s needs and making it a point to put them first as often as possible. It’s so easy and satisfying to be selfish, but selflessness ends up benefitting us both even more. We each encourage the other to go out and do things for ourselves; he’ll watch the baby so I can go get a pedicure or have a drink with a friend; I’ll encourage him to go get a massage. It’s gratifying to give each other these little ‘gifts’ of alone time and makes us appreciate each other a lot.

Jay: The most challenging part of being Amy’s partner is being as efficient, kind and thoughtful as she is. I find myself in awe of how she manages so much. My strengths are in consistency…always bringing coffee in the morning.

amy-and-jay_heymama_richer-poorer_nicki-sebastian-photography-21

“It’s easy to get the romance part down, but it takes knowing how well you can fight and make up and navigate smoothly through doubts and downs before you can really recognize the possibility of spending your life with someone.”

When do you think your partner is the most sexy?

Amy: On a Sunday morning with bedhead, in a white t shirt and sweats, bringing me coffee in bed.

Jay: I find my partner to be the sexiest when she wakes up in the morning. While she sits next to me sipping her coffee, regardless of how much sleep or what the day has in store, she is happy. The moment I realized that Amy always sees things on the bright side was the minute I told myself I would never let her go. She is a unicorn.

Best relationship advice you have been given or that you give?

Amy: Love is a marathon, not a sprint. We can get so caught up in finding the one and locking them down that we forget to pay attention to the nuances that really make a lasting relationship work. I always tell my friends that I think Jay and I knew we’d get married a week after we’d met, but we made it a point to date for two years before even entertaining the idea of getting engaged. It’s easy to get the romance part down, but it takes knowing how well you can fight and make up and navigate smoothly through doubts and downs before you can really recognize the possibility of spending your life with someone.

Jay: I have three pieces of advice…

1. It’s the small things that matter. Glances, laughs or hugs.

2. Start with clear alcohol end with brown.

3. God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason, shut up and listen.

amy-and-jay_heymama_richer-poorer_nicki-sebastian-photography-5

Amy is wearing the scoop V tee in black

Jay is wearing the long sleeve crew tee in heather grey and white

Photos by Nicki Sebastian

This post was sponsored by Richer Poorer

Fashion, Living

Love Story: Friends First

February 13, 2017
Amy Anderson

And now for the last in our three part series, we peek into the love story of Eric and Amy Anderson. You may know Amy from her popular blog, Parker Etc. but we wanted to know a little bit more about what keeps the love flowing between these two love birds. Raising their adorable little ladies in Brooklyn, Amy and Eric relish the simple things. From a handwritten note to a full-on kid-assisted art project, celebrating the day to day keeps the home fires burning. And if anyone knows a good locksmith, they’re looking to get into their old apartment building stat.

 

Thank you for taking the time to talk all things love with us! How and when did you meet?

Amy: We first met briefly at a charity event in the West Village. Fast forward a few months and we ran back into each other at a post church gathering with mutual friends. We hung out in larger groups for almost a year, while I had a huge crush on him, but would barely speak a word in his direction. Thankfully, he’s a persistent and patient man!

Eric: We met at a charity event/art show in New York City… I was photographing and met Amy, then we became part of the same little community and started hanging out more from there.

What was your first date? Can you remember what you or they wore?

Amy: Our first date was unintentional. We had been friends for almost a year, and I had an extra ticket to a concert, so we went together. He ended up walking me all the way home along the Hudson River to Hell’s Kitchen from Bowery Ballroom. Basically 5 miles! We ended up getting Red Bull’s, sitting on my rooftop and watching the sunrise. I have no clue what I wore, but it was probably my staple all-black-everything, but thankfully comfy shoes apparently!

Eric: She doesn’t consider it a date, but we went to see Josh Ritter in Brooklyn as “friends.” Ended with a solid side-hug. I can’t recall what she was wearing at all, just that she only answered me in one word responses!

Was there a pivotal moment that made you realize you had found “the one”?

Amy: Honestly, I think I knew in my gut right away when we started dating. Eric was a bit old fashioned (which I loved) and he vocalized early on his intentions for our relationship. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, it made me feel secure and I knew the relationship wasn’t to be taken lightly.

Eric: Watching the sun rise on her midtown NYC rooftop was pretty epic (and waiting for the train in the middle of the night most other nights). There was never enough time when we were together and our dates always stretched far into the night.

 

Amy Anderson

What 3 words describe your partner?

Amy: Patient. Really patient. Did I mention he’s patient?

Eric: Intentional, committed and sassy.

How would they describe you (no peeking!).

Amy: Intentional, loyal and a bit sassy.

Eric: Committed, Scattered, Protective

How do you make your partner feel special? Can you think of something super thoughtful your partner did for you?

Amy: Eric travels a lot for work, so the kids and I always try to have something special waiting for him when he gets back home. It can be a special dinner, a craft or drawing Parker has created, or a fun family activity we’ve planned to all do together. Eric is way more thoughtful than I am, so he’s always putting together surprise date nights, planning weekend trips upstate or leaving really sweet notes around the house in the mornings before he leaves for us to see when we wake up.

Eric: We have a pretty consistent flow of give and take. I try to do little things to make things easier for her day to day, and she does the same. I know she loves surprises, either big or small, so even if it’s just surprising her with some fresh flowers and bagels on a Saturday morning, that makes little things special. We regularly leave notes for each other around the house. I travel a lot for work so it’s nice to have constant reminders that the other is thinking about them.

How often do you go out sans kids? Do you have family near by or who can you lean on to watch the kids?

Amy: We try to do date nights as much as possible, but sometimes the best ones are just after the kids go to bed and we make dinner, drink some wine, watch a movie and then stay up late talking. Being able to just relax together is a date scenario I’ll take any day! We’re thankful for a wonderful network of sitters through our church and sweet friends that love on our family.

Eric: We try to, not easy with a 6 month old… but also actually like hanging and relaxing with the girls on the weekends more than trying to go out in the city. We’re now living a bit closer to family, which we’re very excited about.

What do you like to do on date night? What would be your ultimate fantasy date?

Amy: I’m always up for anything, but what I don’t like is going to the movies. I don’t want to pay a sitter to have time with my husband to then sit in a dark room and not be able to talk to him! So I’m always behind on what movies are out! I love surprises and Eric is great with always finding ways to incorporate surprises into our date nights. My ultimate fantasy date would probably be to find someone who lives in my old building to let us in so we can have a picnic date night again on my old rooftop. I’m such a sentimental sap!

Eric: Simple dinner at our favorite neighborhood restaurant, then maybe a drink or show. Amy used to work in the music industry, so we went to a lot of concerts during our dating years and we still enjoy seeing shows together when we can. Reminds us of being younger!

Amy Anderson

 What is your favorite outfit that each other wears?

Amy: When he wears slim black jeans, a button down and his favorite wax canvas jacket. Two thumbs up!   

Eric:Jeans and a t-shirt works every time. I prefer her casual outfits than her more dramatic ones.

Amy, finish these sentences: The first thing we do in the morning is divide and conquer the kids. The last thing we do at night is pray we get a full night’s sleep.

Eric, Finish these sentences: The first thing we do in the morning is make breakfast for the family. The last thing we do at night is let out a big sigh and congratulate each other on keeping everyone alive for another day!

What’s your fondest memory together?

Amy: The weekend Eric proposed. He told me to meet him at Grand Central Station at Platform 27 and that’s all I knew. We went up to our favorite Hudson Valley town of Cold Spring (where we actually also got married), and he asked me to marry him down on the pier. Our friends traveled upstate and surprised us the next day, throwing us a party and a massive dinner complete with celebratory toasts. We felt so much love and support!

Eric: All night cross-borough walks through Manhattan in the early days… when the weather was nice and we’d finish dinner, we would just walk the city for hours and talk. We had so much more energy back then! That and traveling Italy last year. Probably our best trip together yet!

What’s in your travel couple bucket list?

Amy: A relaxing stay in the English countryside. I’ve always wanted to take Eric to London so I can show him around my old stomping grounds. It was a really formative time in my life when I lived there. So we’ve always wanted to do a few days in the city and then head out to the country… it’s just so gorgeous!

Eric: More small trips to Charleston or Montreal. We really love exploring together whether it be just a day trip or a full week trip. Also, looking forward to taking the whole family to see National Parks here in the few years as the girls get older.

Amy Anderson

Do you have advice on how to stay in synch when you can’t get away for couple time?

Amy: Make time together at home – even if it’s just an hour after the kids go to bed. Be intentional and always keep communication open about everything.

Eric: Communication is key. Just talk to each other.

Lots of couples start to dress alike, accidentally walking out in matching looks…do you have a go to couple style?

Amy: Well, being New Yorkers we definitely tend to walk out of the house looking like we’re about to attend a funeral together. Monochromatic everything is a problem in our household… children included.

Eric: We usually look like we are headed to a funeral… all black all the time.

 

How do you plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year?

Amy: Honestly, we try to not make a big “to-do” about it and just make sure to write each other little notes. We’re a big love note type of couple, and find either cheesy or cute cards, and write down things we’re thankful for and love about the other. I literally have a huge bag full of notes that I’ve kept (again, super sentimental over here!).

Eric: I’m off to Santa Fe on Valentine’s Day, so we’ll just have a nice little Valentine’s breakfast with each other before I head to the airport, but I’ll probably leave a few love notes behind.

AnaLoveStory_6

Photos by Ashtin Paige

OUTFIT DETAILS:

Me: Sweatshirt / Jeans / Shoes (similar) / Jacket / Jean Jacket

Eric: Shirt / Jacket / Jeans (similar)

Thank you Old Navy for sponsoring this post.

Business, Fashion

Want To Look Good in Bed? Read This.

February 10, 2017
Lunya

We have a confession. We wear sweats to bed. You too? Let’s make a resolution to put an end to that habit right now, k? Thankfully, Ashley Merrill is here to save the day because everything she produces for her luxurious line of sleepwear, Lunya, is incredible. If you’re looking to up your bedroom game and slay the #hygge Insta trend, this is about to become your latest obsession. Ashley is also an incredible supporter of fellow mamas both through her relationships and involvement in her community. Basically, she’s giving us all the feels and we wish we could hang with her in LA for a week (or two).

Lunya

Quote you love: “Be the change that you want to see exist in the world.” Gandhi

Best advice you’ve ever been given?: Build the airplane while flying.

Thank you for launching your gorgeous sleepwear line, Lunya. We can finally leave our sweats for the gym! What’s your start-up story?

It started one day when I walked by my bedroom mirror and marveled at my outfit – I was wearing my husband’s old shirt and rolled up boxer briefs. Some might say I had let the wheels fall off a little. I realized I had picked this outfit based on comfort. It made me wonder, could there not be something comfortable that didn’t look like I’d hung it up at 28? This realization sent me on a mission to find comfortable, flattering sleepwear but my only choices were uncomfortable, sexy lingerie or frumpy, traditional PJ’s. The sleepwear options available didn’t match the modern woman I wanted to be.

You shifted careers when you launched Lunya. Did you have a mentor to help show you the way?

Many people inspire me but I’ve never had a formal mentor.  My husband is an entrepreneur and his passion has been endlessly motivating for me.  He is a an innately confident leader who has built something sensational despite not having the perfect background for it. Watching him forge an unfamiliar path has empowered me to do this on my own. As a behind the scenes supporter for him,l I watched him get comfortable with the new and unfamiliar and learned that no one really knows what they are doing. If it was a well travelled path it probably wouldn’t be a good business idea because everyone would be doing it!  

I’ve also been lucky enough to connect with many female entrepreneurs in the early stages who have lent kind and supporting words like Susan Feldman from One Kings Lane, Jane Wurwand from Dermalogica and Jennifer Hyman from Rent the Runway. I also have a number of people who inspire me as well rounded people; my mother and her girlfriends and of course, my dear friends.

Lunya

You were recently nominated for the Los Angeles Business Journal emerging fashion brand award. Congrats! What goals do you have for Lunya in the upcoming year?

Our goal this year is to continue to refine the brand and to grow! We want to hone the voice to be one that reflects the witty, intelligent, inspiring women who work here and wear Lunya’s products. We have an incredible team and a life changing product. We see this year as an exciting year for the company to actualize a lot of goals…and maybe a slipper? I’ve been dying for a game changing non-grandma slipper.

We love that your pieces are so versatile and can also be worn out of the house (hello school drop off!). Innerwear as outerwear is such a big trend but it can be tricky. Which pieces also look good on the street? How would you style them?

We say we are inactive wear because we create intentionally designed pieces to optimize for comfort in a way that doesn’t sacrifice cool. And yes, this totally works for the morning Starbucks run! I love layering the Hazel Pima Romper with a long sleeve underneath, like the Two Way Tunic, and often pair it with some cool high tops. We also have a Pima Long Cardi coming soon that looks rad layered over the Pima Sleep Dress.  

And now, we must tackle the bedroom. What is one thing we all need?

It depends how stressed and sleep deprived you are. After a long weekend with a sick kid, this is looking kind of appealing. I’m kidding (kind of). I love having tons of pillows so that when I sleep I’m in a nest of pillows.  It was a habit my husband and I picked up while I was pregnant (and while he was sympathy pregnant) that we never really parted with. For the odd day that you are “in the mood”, I recommend Lunya’s Washable Silk Dress… it flatters the body and rocks just the perfect amount of side boob. He can send thank you Instas to me at @ashleylunya.  

Lunya

You’ve confessed you have a passion for green juice. What’s your “go-to” recipe that we can try at home?

I bought this super cool juicer and went to the Farmer’s Market and bought tons of amazing greens because… who in their right mind spends $8 on a juice? Fast forward to three hours of chopping, washing, and cleaning later and I can confidently tell you that the best green juice is one you don’t make yourself. $8 is a deal. Lol. I like to buy the green juices with cayenne and ginger because I’m masochistic like that.

Women supporting women is something you are a believer in. Tell us more about how you get involved in your community.

Lunya has just started working with Girls Build LA which is an awesome organization that helps to inspire young women in lesser privileged areas learn to be entrepreneurial problem solvers. I was excited about this organization because when I think about my own experience founding a company, I am grateful to be surrounded by opportunity and helpful connections. It’s easy to take for granted the leg up circumstances can provide. Girls Build LA is helping to give these girls tools and connections to forge a bright future for themselves in a way that really excites me.  

What are your 3 pearls of mama wisdom?

1) They will do what you do, not what you say.  Be the woman you always dreamed of so your littles will reach for their dreams.

2) Don’t forget about yourself. It’s easy to fall off your own priorities list but at the end of the day, when you fulfill your personal needs you will be a happier and less resentful parent.  

3) Starting a business and having kids actually have a lot in common. Nobody knows what they are doing.  We’re all just doing the best we can with the information we have.

Lunya

Ashley Merrill lives in LA with her two littles and is the CEO of Lunya, a sleepwear company that makes a woman feel confidently comfortable.

Fashion, Living

The Ultimate Mama and Little Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

February 6, 2017
Valentines day gifts

I don’t know about you, but we have been feeling like we all need a hug. Valentine’s Day is around the corner and we’re going to press pause on real life and indulge in a little extra lovin’ this year. The uber-talented Aisha Alkayali from The Gift Pick has a special knack for finding the most splendid must-have gifts, and she’s curated the ultimate mama and little gift guide for us. We’re sure these picks will bring a few extra much needed cuddles, don’t you think? Enjoy mamas!

 

  1. Sweatshirts

Valentines day gifts

For mama: IYL Couture, $62

Valentines day gifts

For your little: ILY Couture, $36

 

  1. Earrings

Valentines day gifts

For mama: Jennifer Meyer, $475

Valentines day gifts

For your little: Nordstrom, $14

  1. Aviator Sun Glasses

For mama: Rayban, $200

Valentines day gifts

For your little: J. Crew, $20

  1. Nail Polish

Valentines day gifts

For mama: tenoverten, $135

Valentines day gifts

For your little: Amazon, $15

  1. Bracelet and Necklace

Valentines day gifts

For mama: Starling Necklace, $70

Hey Mama Valentines 5

For your little: Starling heart bracelet, $35

  1. Shoes

Valentines day gifts

For mama: Vans, $55

Valentines day gifts

For your little: Vans, $32

  1. PJ’s & Dress

Valentines day gifts

For mama: Roberta Roller Rabbit, $95

Valentines day gifts

For your little: Roberta Roller Rabbit, $55

 

  1. Swim Suits

Valentines day gifts

For mama: Net-A-Porter, $280

Valentines day gifts

For your little: J. Crew, $59.50

 

  1. Handbag

For mama: Rebecca Minkoff, $195

For your little: Nordstrom, $24

  1. Travel bag

Valentines day gifts

For mama: Ban.do Duffle, Macy’s $55

Valentines day gifts

For your little: Ban.do Pouch, Macy’s $10

 

Aisha Alkayali  is an LA mama to two littles and is the Co-Founder of The Gift Pick, the ultimate destination for coveted gifts for all ages.

Fashion

MEMBER PROFILE: Amy Nobile

January 5, 2017
0

Name: Amy Nobile

Company: ASH + AMES

Title: Co-Founder

Website: www.ashandames.com

Instagram accounts: @ashandames and @amynobile

Kids: 2

amy nobile

We love spending time with heymama member, Amy Nobile. This bestselling author, turned television producer, turned jewelry company co-founder is juggling work, life and motherhood with style and grace. This mama is also whip-smart, has an inner stand-up comedian waiting to get out and spends her free time building schools and houses in Haiti. Oh, and she is one of the friendliest and loyal women we know.  

Words you live by: “Everything happens for a reason” and “Life is about connecting with others on a meaningful level without expectation”.

Best advice you’ve ever been given?: The only guarantee in life is change.

amy nobile

Your business partner is also your best friend. What advice do you have for women wanting to collaborate with friends?

That’s such an excellent question – and we get asked it a LOT, since business partnerships with close friends statistically don’t work out well. We started out writing books on motherhood and marriage and had a shared set of values both personally and professionally that were really strong. We also trust each other implicitly, and when there’s an issue between us we confront it, get through it, and poof! It’s gone after that. Also, we have very complementary skill sets – so we can divide and conquer pretty easily. But definitely expect some bumps in the road in that first year as you’re figuring roles and responsibilities out.

A portion of your proceeds go back to women in developing countries. Tell us more.

We founded ASH + AMES almost instantly after a volunteer trip to Haiti, where we saw female artisans making bracelets out of cow horn and wood. For us, there was no point in creating a company unless there was a tangible give back component.  Currently, we give back 100% of the proceeds from all the jewelry made in Haiti right back to those communities. We travel back frequently and enroll kids in schools and build homes. Also, anyone who hosts an ASH + AMES trunk show can donate 10% of revenue to any charity of her choice, which we love.

amy nobile

Can you think of a really challenging moment in your career? Why was it so difficult and how did you overcome it?

After we wrote our best-selling books and did a whirlwind of media including Oprah, Today Show, etc., we did NOT expect to feel so totally stuck. We knew we had more to do – but had no idea what direction to go in, so we dropped everything and headed to Haiti with a group of women to volunteer. Once again, everyone was scratching their heads thinking ‘What are they up to now?’, but we just had a feeling – that really cool feeling when you just know something exciting is around the corner – and followed our gut. ASH + AMES was born so quickly after that.

What does the perfect day in NYC look like to you?

To me, NYC is like a mystical, magical friend that I want to spend every minute with. I honestly don’t love a place more. This city is just as gorgeous to me on a crisp sunny Fall day as it is on a mucky after-the-snowstorm slushy one. And, I feel blessed and lucky to live here every single day.

amy nobile

What’s your happy place?

I love being curled up with my kiddies and husband just about anywhere. Preferably with a buttery Chardonnay and a Sefte blanket around me.

What are your 3 pearls of mama wisdom?

1. Don’t stress the small stuff.  My kids are now teens, and how I wish I wouldn’t have worried about them not eating peas and carrots, or how quickly they learned to read.

2. Savor the really good moments, because in a flash, they’re gone. Don’t worry so much about the really tough moments, because they’ll also pass quickly.

3. Your kids are NEVER too old to cuddle with. My 14 year-old son will drape his arms around me (in public!) and my daughter still lets me crawl into her bed every morning to cuddle.

amy nobile

Fashion

The Best Playdate Ever, Featuring Rockets Of Awesome

January 4, 2017
Rockets of awesome

Our girls, Mari and Lili, are pals with our delivery people because, let’s be honest, packages arrive at our homes at an embarrassingly daily rate (thank you, Amazon Prime!). Unfortunately for our girls however, these boxes are most often filled with boring necessities and not with gifts for them (gets them every time!). But, when a fun graffitied box arrives addressed especially for them? We’re thanking those FedEx gods just a little bit more.

Rockets of awesomeRockets of awesomeRockets of awesomeRockets of awesome

Enter our latest obsession, Rockets of Awesome. First of all, I would pretty much like anything with this name, it’s just plain, well… awesome! Secondly, it makes shopping for your littles as easy as 1-2-3! Enter your child’s likes and dislikes into the site and wait for an awesome box of expertly curated pieces to arrive. You can also send back anything you or the littles ones don’t want to keep with the enclosed self-addressed label. That’s it! You only get charged for what you keep, there is no annual membership fee, and you can cancel at any time.

Rockets of awesomeRockets of awesomeRockets of awesomeRockets of awesome

The first of our four annual boxes arrived in a cool blue box, packed with the most adorable stack of clothes and accessories. Mari and Lili had fun mixing and matching their selections and decided to be twinning with matching pink and silver metallic skirts before heading out to one of our favorite hangouts in Brooklyn, Sweethaus. Even though Katya and I work together all week, we try to make room in the schedule to share some downtime with our girls. It turned out to be the perfect double-date as the girls loved loading up on sweets and hot chocolate and even found little cakes to match their sweet pastel outfits.

Rockets of awesomeRockets of awesome Rockets of awesome Rockets of awesome

As busy working moms, having a box of cool, fun, well-curated and affordable pieces (everything is under $40) arrive on our doorstep seriously made our week. Rockets of Awesome is perfect for finding cute outfits for your littles for any day and any event that could come your way.

Rockets of awesome

Photos by Stevi Sesin

Fashion

A Sit Down With Kelly McKee Zajfen, Co-Founder of Little Minis, Alliance of Moms & a Heart Mom

December 20, 2016
little minis

To say that Kelly McKee Zajfen is a superhero is an understatement. This LA-based mama is truly a gift to our community with her inspiring story of love (her family), creation (her business) and community (her non-profit). As the co-founder of the Alliance of Moms, a membership based auxiliary group that supports the work of the Alliance for Children’s Rights, their mission is to break the intergenerational cycle of babies born to teens in foster care. Kelly is also the co-creator of Little Minis, a line of rompers that has a cult-like following, selling out in minutes and re-selling on not one, but two Facebook groups with over 1200 members! Oh, and if that isn’t enough, she’s also the dedicated mama to four-year-old twins and a Heart Ambassador for the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Inspired yet? Read on…

kelly zajfen

First of all, we love your Little Minis dresses. Apparently we’re not the only ones as you now have a crazy cult following for your adorable creations! Can you tell us about how it all started?

I don’t know exactly when or how it began, but we realized after our first trunk show the love was BIG and more dresses needed to be made. I really dove into meeting customers, speaking with them, and answering emails about requests to understand the growth needed and the demand. They are all limited edition because we use dead stock/vintage fabric so they really are special pieces and I think people really love that. I also love our customers because it’s wonderful to see people coming together over dresses and even trading them!

How does it make you feel to be working so hard on the collection and offer it at a reasonable price only to see your designs being resold for 3x the price?

I think it shows how incredible the pieces are and that the customers appreciate and love the fabrics and styles we choose. Prices will go up because of the cost of production and making them with the best factory, however, I want to keep it at a fair price. Selling it for $400-$500 is way too much for people to afford so that aspect of it is difficult. I want everyone to have a Little Minis!

We heard you had a trunk show where people were lined up around the block! What happened?

It was our very first real trunk show to showcase our season. We had done amazing pop up events before, but summer was a whole new experience for us. We had people lined up 2 hours before we started and we sold out our entire stock in 20 minutes. Needless to say, we learned SO much that day! We learned we needed to make more and we learned the love these mamas have for Little Minis is real.

That’s amazing! With the huge following Little Minis has, what do you have in mind to grow the brand? Any big plans for 2017?

We do have big plans! Be on the lookout for new styles and new rompers, including a unisex romper, coming soon! All those cute mamas with boys (including my Georgie) can finally rock a Little Mini. Also, we’ll be adding more inventory and keeping up with the demand. We’ve recently partnered with a fantastic new factory that has been incredible at production and I want to keep adding new and different styles.

kelly zajfen

“I really dove into meeting customers, speaking with them, and answering emails about requests to understand the growth needed and the demand.”

What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?

I get different advice all the time from so many of my amazing mama friends, however, one I have kept with me was “if something has made you upset, FEEL upset. Sit with it for 24-48 hours and be as upset/sad/frustrated as you need to be and then let it go.” Never hold on too long.

That’s such great advice. Things always look different when you have a chance to cool off! Do you have a favorite quote that inspires you?

“Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb. That’s where the fruit is.” –H. Jackson Browne

You have the most adorable twins! Lily, your little girl, has a heart condition. Can you tell us about her journey discovering this and treating it?

When Lily was 2, I took her in for a sick visit at our new doctor’s office. They checked her heart rate, as they always do when you see your doctor, and they noticed her heart rate was too low. They called in another doctor and a nurse to do more vitals and within 5 min they had called Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA). They said I needed to go there right away because something wasn’t right with her heart. It was probably the most difficult day and week I have ever had. They diagnosed her with a third degree heart block and within 6 months, she was placed with a pacemaker. Nothing can prepare you for this, however my goal and my job really, as both a mother and as a woman, is to make her feel special, empowered and strong, because of it. Lily’s condition has given us both the ability to give back to our community a lot of strength and love that was given to us.

We’re so happy Lily is doing great, what a brave girl! We can’t imagine the toll this took on you and your family. Can you tell us how this experience inspired you to get involved with CHLA and what you do to help?

My little warrior Lily is incredible. When we arrived at CHLA, it felt like a safe and warm environment. From the team that is there to greet you, to the volunteers who are making art for the kids waiting for surgery, to the incredible doctors…I was inspired to give back. I joined the Heart Ambassador Program which enables me to visit once a month to fill goody bags and deliver to the heart patient floor. Kids who have gone through surgery and are with their families are greeted and given a little something to say people are thinking of them. It’s very meaningful for me as I am a heart mom and have walked the floors. It’s a way to say that I have gone through a similar experience and there is a support team for them.  

kelly zajfen

“My goal and my job really, as both a mother and as a woman, is to make her feel special, empowered and strong, because of it. Lily’s condition has given us both the ability to give back to our community a lot of strength and love that was given to us.”

You are also a Co-Founder of Alliance of Moms (in all your free time!). Can you tell us a little about Alliance of Moms and how it was started by your mommy group? What are your goals?

The Alliance of Moms is a membership based auxiliary group, that supports the work of the Alliance for Children’s Rights. The Alliance of Moms creates educational programs to empower pregnant and parenting foster teens in Los Angeles.

It started with just 5 of us mamas who came up with the concept while we were in a “Mommy and Me” group. One of our Founders/Co-Presidents sits on the board of the Alliance for Children’s Rights and had hosted a fundraiser in her backyard to support pregnant and parenting foster teens. The more the 5 of us talked about how vulnerable and underserved these girls are, we felt there was a real need for an organization that was dedicated to providing education, advice, support for these girls in foster care. Thus, the Alliance of Moms began.  It’s very much spearheaded by my 4 amazing Co-Founders, and our incredible volunteers. What started as 5, has grown to nearly 500 members!

What a gift you are providing to the community! How can we get involved to support these girls?

You can join the Alliance of Moms! We host Cocktails and Conversation almost every month that really dives into the programs and who we are, and of course, you can always go to our site www.allianceofmoms.org and read more and join there!

You are a superwoman in our eyes! How are you able to give so much of yourself to helping others while caring for twins (!) and running your own business?

Thank you! I’m pretty convinced every parent is a superhero! I think the key is that every superwoman has super mama friend/family that help! I make sure that I do as much of my work when the kids are in school, and at 3pm, I’m mama. When they go to sleep, I can go back at it with shipping, emails, social media… that stuff. But prioritizing and making sure you stay within the expectations of any job or duty is incredibly important, and not letting it take over the best job in the world, being a parent.

What is your spirit animal and why?

I think a bear! It represents strength and also the connection to earth (I’m a hippy at heart) and I’m so protective of my little cubs. Not to mention, I hibernate in the winter and really feel my best when it’s spring and summer.

Can you share 3 Pearls of Wisdom on Career, Motherhood, and Life?

1. Career: Support the people who are in your community. Investing in the friendships and supporting each other will help you not only grow your business, but your life.

2. Motherhood: Don’t ever compare yourself to other mothers. We are all doing the best we can and often losing our minds. We should all collectively route for each other.

3. Life: Get out of your comfort zone. Often times when I have pushed myself, in work, in travel, in life… I have found I’m more capable and enjoyed more.

kelly zajfen

“I’m pretty convinced every parent is a superhero.”

Fashion, Living, Wellness

This Cult Favorite is the Prescription For Gorgeous Skin and It Doesn’t Come In A Pill

December 14, 2016
bkr

Tal Winter and Kate Cutler are living the dream. Best friends since law school, these two decided to leave their stressful law careers behind and go into business together and launch bkr (pronounced BEE-KER). When faced with toxic (not to mention, ugly) plastic water bottles that did only harm to the environment, Tal and Kate had their “aha” moment.  Why not produce beautifully designed, highly covetable and collectable bottles to replace the trash and help save the world while doing it?  Their celebrity following is enviable, Vogue and Forbes have taken notice and we’re mildly obsessed here in the heymama office.  They’re just two girls who decided to go for it and we’re glad they did.  

bkr

“It didn’t make sense that intelligent, sophisticated people like us were essentially drinking from trash.”

We’re so excited to meet you – we’re big fans of your bottles! What inspired bkr?

We always knew that the prescription for gorgeous skin is sleep and water, but we found ourselves drinking from tons of plastic disposable water bottles. It didn’t make sense that intelligent, sophisticated people like us were essentially drinking from trash. We couldn’t find a reusable bottle we loved, so we decided to make exactly the bottle we wanted: something beautiful, effortless and chic. We knew if we wanted it, other people would too.

What was your biggest challenge in starting the company?

Probably the hardest thing to achieve when starting a company is momentum. You can have a great idea, you can work until you’re falling over, and you can build the best team with the most fabulous people. But, it takes some real magic to gain momentum.

Why do you consider bkr to be a beauty essential?

Simply put, water is the absolute foundation of your beauty regimen. If you don’t drink a lot of water, there’s no point in investing in expensive products! Most people don’t drink enough and if you’re even 2% dehydrated it shows on your skin. bkr helps you drink more water. Our customers always tell us that they’re obsessed, and they’ve never been so hydrated in their lives! We believe bkr is a beauty essential – it’s like a prescription for looking and feeling gorgeous.

bkr

“If you listen to your customers closely, they’ll tell you who you are.”

Why is bkr different than other water bottles?

It’s hard to drink enough water — it’s often considered a chore — but we’ve been told time and time again that bkr is the solution. It makes something as mundane as drinking water a joy. There’s something magical about bkr that changes everything about the way you drink water forever: the combination of how pretty it is, the clean glass bottle, the small mouth — it’s soft and effortless. We describe it as the bottle equivalent of the perfect t-shirt: It feels right and fits right, it’s effortless, and it becomes a staple.

What are your respective roles within the company?

We like to say Tal is the brand voice and Kate is the brand protector. Tal leads the creative direction: her focus is on the brand, product innovation and customer engagement. Kate focuses on strategic growth and distribution ensuring that bkr remains true to the brand, philosophy and mission and also manages bkr’s international expansion.

What sort of marketing have you done to date and what has been the most successful? You mentioned you’ve done a ton of research on marketing of the water industry, but how have you positioned yourself in the marketplace and what tactics have you used?

The most important thing we did was really listen to our customers from day one. If you listen to your customers closely, they’ll tell you who you are. We both did customer service in the beginning and Tal did all the social media for years. We put a lot of effort into writing to bloggers and editors ourselves. Our customers told us bkr was the reason they were finally hydrated and that it was a skin game changer. They were addicted and this was their most loved beauty essential. We listened and now we’re in luxury beauty across the world.

bkr

“Most people don’t drink enough and if you’re even 2% dehydrated it shows on your skin.”

Congrats on your new baby Tal! As busy working mamas how do you make the most of your family time? Any tricks that make the family/career juggle work for you?

Don’t try to be everywhere at once; try to be where you are and be present in the moment. That means that if you’re at home, don’t check your phone, and if you’re at work, try not to worry about your kids every few minutes!

What is the best career advice you’ve ever been given?

Be a problem solver. Don’t just alert your boss or team about a problem: be prepared with three ideas on how to resolve the issue, which you recommend, and why. That’s what really makes you stand out.

Your bottles keep making fashion cameos everywhere from Gisele Bündchen to Natalie Portman! How would you describe your own personal style in 3 words?

Tal Winter: effortless, edgy, relaxed.

Kate Cutler: uniform, timeless, tailored.

bkr

“The water industry took something essentially free, packaged it in trash, and made it sexy. And we looked at the way luxury fashion and beauty brands market themselves. Then we tried to outdo all of them.”

How were you able to market something that is usually so un-sexy like a water bottle as a covetable fashion and beauty accessory?

You might be surprised, but we looked at the way that the water industry markets water — not the way the water bottle industry markets water bottles. The water industry took something essentially free, packaged it in trash, and made it sexy. And we looked at the way luxury fashion and beauty brands market themselves. Then we tried to outdo all of them.

We love that you stay on top of fashion trends with your styles (hello studs!) and colors. How are you able to predict what trends are in the pipeline? Do you use any trend monitoring services or have relationships with the brands?

We’re pop culture, fashion, and magazine junkies. We go to museums, we travel, we surround ourselves with people who are curious, creative, interested and interesting. Our entire team is all that and smart too. We create what we want to have. We imagine what people don’t even know they want yet and we trust our instincts.

What is the startup culture like in San Francisco?

People think it’s homogenous, but there isn’t one startup culture; every company creates their own. At bkr, we try to create a culture of people who like each other, are smart, and genuinely enjoy working together.

Do you have 3 Pearls of Wisdom on Motherhood and Career?

  1. Be where you are. If you’re with your child, be with your child. If you’re at work, work. Everything is a balancing act.
  2. Don’t try to do everything yourself. Ask for help and accept it. Delegate.
  3. You can be an amazing mom and follow your dreams at the same time. (We’re both proof of that!)

screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-10-08-06-pm