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Blogger, Lifestyle, Mother's Day

Your Soul Style: Two Moms and a Baby

May 4, 2016
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In honor of Mother’s Day we caught up with heymama member, Jenny Greenstein, wife, mother, and all around good soul, who shares what being a mom is like in her two-mama household. Jenny is a freelance stylist, consultant, style coach and founder of the Your Soul Style blog, which she uses as a platform to empower others to find their OWN rhythm, become their OWN style-makers and be the most beautiful version of themselves (ROCK ON MAMA!).  

Jenny is looking forward to a Mother’s Day of pampering with a massage and some good food, but admits that what she’s most excited about is spending undistracted time with her two girls, daughter Vida and wife Dina. Read below to hear more from this soulful mama as she shares her experience raising a child in a same sex household. #GIRLPOWER.

I recently got super emotional while going through my iPhone and finding a photo which included not one, not two, but three positive pregnancy tests. I was trying to free up space on my camera roll for more photos of my beloved daughter, Vida, but this was one I couldn’t part with. Despite her being nine months old, a flood of familiar feelings came rushing in from that day. Since we are a lesbian couple, it had been close to two years of planning for this moment. There was so much to set-up before we even started the clinical part of the process. When I found out I was pregnant, I remember screaming, crying, and jumping around my apartment like a crazy person. In the truest sense, it felt like a dream come true. Up until then, I was losing hope that motherhood would actually happen. And there was nothing more in this world that I wanted than to become a mama. I craved it so deeply and it occupied every inch of my mind and body. Thankfully, on our sixth round it worked, and the soul we were waiting for found us; she was perfect and worth the wait.

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Motherhood has easily been the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I like to believe that all mamas feel this way, but with more planning to consider as a gay couple, I think there is naturally an extension of gratitude. It was a long, hard, and taxing process, but I don’t resent it. It was a blessing in disguise and has contributed to my overall experience. I’m not sure I’d be the same type of mother had it come easily. Don’t get me wrong, I face typical challenges that all women do as first time mothers, but the deep-rooted gratitude helps me manage those difficult mama moments. It reminds me to remain selfless, focused, and grounded when I think I’m losing it. It always brings me back to my center. Perhaps that’s one of the benefits of parenting in a same-sex relationship; because it is impossible to follow a traditional, biological path, it requires us to step outside of the knowns. It took a huge investment of time, emotions, physical commitment, money, and resources to make it all happen; we wouldn’t have gone through with it if Vida wasn’t truly and deeply wanted.

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Life with two Moms is the same, but different. While I don’t believe that men and women in modern day society should conform to stereotypical parenting roles, there is cultural defining behind genders. However, the lines are blurrier when it’s two women. Dina and I tried to figure out who would handle what when I was pregnant, but like many parents find – planning ahead of time was useless. You just can’t know until you know, which has been my daily mantra since giving birth. Once Vida was here, we organically fell into our roles; me, the primary caregiver and Dina, the second parent. I sort of predicted that would happen, but we still exhausted the conversation beforehand. Although our current individual responsibilities are more concrete now since I nurse Vida and manage her sleep/nap and eat schedule, there will be constant shifts as she gets older. If there is anything I’ve learned as a parent, it’s that everything changes, and nothing stays the same! A week could go by where Vida is close to sleeping through the night and Dina and I go on and on about how we’ve finally hit our stride, but then the following week she’s up 2-3 times a night for days straight and we’re crying over exhaustion. It often seems there is no escaping the great baby sleep debacle whether you’re two moms, two dads, one dad, one mom, one of each sex, or whatever! We do experience crossover of responsibilities and become territorial about what we each are handling, but I assume that happens in all relationships. Or maybe that’s just par for the course when dealing with two of the same sex?

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It gets a little tricky when Vida calls, ‘mama’ since we have no idea if she’s talking to one of us or both of us, but eventually she will understand she has a ‘mommy’ (me) and ‘mama’ (Dina). For now, we both respond. I joke with Dina and tell her that there are too many cooks in the kitchen, but in all seriousness, I do believe that who we are to Vida has everything to do with who we are as individuals (rather than what our gender is). I also believe this is how it should be if you were a man and woman too. Every couple finds their own version of balance, and although we’re not a perfect system (who is?), we have created one that makes sense for our family.

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Since I became Vida’s mommy, I’ve crossed over into another side of life. While Vida was the one who arrived earth side, I experienced my own rebirth too. I’m not the same person anymore. A light which I never knew existed was turned on and my purpose here has changed. There are moments when I think about the future and wonder what life will be like growing up with two moms. Both Dina and I have a father and a mother so won’t necessarily be able to relate to Vida’s experience, but that will be integrated into the values we teach her as she evolves, demonstrating that it is our own uniqueness which makes us beautiful, and what makes you different is what makes you, YOU. Being the daughter of two strong, confident, and empowered women is more than I could ever ask for my child. As far as I’m concerned, Vida having two mommies makes her the luckiest girl in the world.

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Photos by Sari Wynne @sariwynneruff

Celebrity, Fashion, Lifestyle

Jaime King On Body Shaming, Sapling Child and Oprah

April 6, 2016
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How did your collaboration with Sapling Child get started?

I first saw Sapling Child on Instagram and had a few pieces sent to me. I quickly fell in love with the quality and kick-ass design. Even though I had never done a baby line, I have always been passionate about supporting small businesses; my mom was a seamstress, artist and owned a small pottery business (a similar concept to Color Me Mine).

I often think back to when her store first opened and reflect on how much of an impact a person of influence could’ve had on the business. Ultimately, this is why I have gravitated towards working with a small business, like Sapling Child. As a person of influence, I think it’s important to help small businesses and to partner with the people who are creating these businesses and help them take things to the next level. Plus, I love the idea of working with kids. Kids are such free beings they help us adults rediscover the world.

 

Jamie King Sapling Child

 

What was your inspiration behind the collection?

I really wanted the clothes to tell a story about growing up in the Midwest under the big, beautiful, sprawling black nights with glowing stars. The galaxy bear print was inspired by connecting the dots in the night sky. I connect with all things ethereal, so I created a blanket where baby could be swaddled about in a sunset-like ombre print. It’s one of my favorite pieces from the collection and so beautiful that I had one framed! My other inspiration for the collection is Japan. Japan is an amazing place and I am struck by its organic and serene beauty, which was a major design component for the Pliny print.

Overall, I just wanted the collection to exude a feeling of hominess and simplicity. When I was a little girl, I used to lay in the grass by the train station, listen to the trains pass by, and dream about all the things that I would do and all the places that I would go. It felt much simpler then, back in the Midwest at that time. People used to stop and say hello on the street, or come by the house to borrow sugar. I feel like there isn’t enough of that in the world anymore.

What was it like the first time you met Peta?

You know it’s interesting, technology is very much a mixed blessing. Technology these days has the ability to pull us away from the ones we love and at the same time make us feel so close to people that we barely even know. That’s the way it was when I first met Peta. I felt like we were together for so long before we finally met since we had been working via skype and chatting on social media.

Jamie King Sapling Child

How has your life changed after having kids?

There aren’t even words to express the feeling – even when I’m covered in spit up. It’s just the way they look at you and smile and they are SO not afraid to be honest and open. As adults, we are losing that in our world, we become afraid and fail to express ourselves. Children are different though, they just love you unconditionally.

I’ve definitely reprioritized my time after having kids. My kids are my #1 top priority. I haven’t been away from them for more than a night since they were born so I’m probably overdue for a good vacation.

What advice would you give to new mothers?

Be gentle with yourself, there’s no right or wrong way to do anything and don’t listen to anyone else’s point of view. If you want to breastfeed, great. If you don’t, great. There is honestly no right or wrong way to do it, as long as your child is taken care. Give yourself a break and forgive yourself for any judgments that you place on yourself. Just take a deep breath and let things go. There are people out there who try to tell you what to do, but they don’t know what’s right to do for you!

There’s too much mommy bullying. I remember once I posted a picture of my kid in his car seat right after I put him in the car – he looked so cute! I hadn’t had the chance to strap him in because I wanted to capture the cute moment. You would not believe the number of comments I received from people yelling at me for demonstrating ‘unsafe practices.’ Bottom line is that we’re all out there doing the best we can.

The reality of being a mom is that it is an exhausting and selfless job, but it is also the most rewarding thing you’ll ever do in your life. I feel so grateful that I was even able to have children and to be a mom, especially after having endometriosis, it’s just a miracle that I have children.

 

Be gentle with yourself, there’s no right or wrong way to do anything and don’t listen to anyone else’s point of view. If you want to breastfeed, great. If you don’t, great….There are people out there who try to tell you what to do, but they don’t know what’s right to do for you!

 

Jamie King Sapling Child

 

You speak out a lot on the effects of body shaming on social media. It’s become something close to your heart as you’re in the public eye and had negative comments directed at you when you were pregnant. What do you think we can do to change women’s attitudes towards each other and instead inspire them to support one another?

I am a human rights activist because we cannot survive without one another – I support all people. I find it sad that a lot of the time it’s women that are doing these hateful things to each other. It’s so hurtful to me when I hear women speaking ill of each other, like I don’t understand why people need to make each other feel less than they are. I’ll never get used to it. The injustices will never be ok. I mean, how boring would it be if we all looked the same and had the same opinions.

There was a time when I gained weight due to my endometriosis (pre diagnosis) … my agent called and they wanted me for a movie but they wanted to know why I was fat. I was working out and I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t eat. I was so unhappy.

I’ve also been shamed for being skinny, but that’s really just my natural body type. It was still really hurtful to hear people say I needed to eat a hamburger and when I was pregnant they said that I was hurting my baby. In my perspective, they were actually the ones that were hurting my baby by saying negative things about me because it made me really upset. A mother’s sadness is what is really impactful to the child.

I think people can change things by speaking out and leading by example – that’s what feels right for me. I want to be a positive example to other people because I don’t want my children, or friends, to feel unloved just because random people in the world are putting out negativity.

 

I am a human rights activist because we cannot survive without one another – I support all people.The injustices will never be ok. I mean, how boring would it be if we all looked the same and had the same opinions.

 

What makes you feel beautiful?

My children. When I’m with my kids and they look at me and say “mommy, you’re so beautiful.”

What is been your biggest pinch me moment?

Oprah recently bought one of my Sapling pieces. I could not believe it; It was just such a wow moment… I literally wrote pinch me on Instagram. When you make something and someone with such great taste, like Oprah, understands what you were trying to accomplish, it makes you really proud. She understands the component of peace and reflections I wanted to portray in my line. That made me so proud, you know, to know that Oprah really understood what I was trying to say.

 

Oprah recently bought one of my Sapling pieces. I could not believe it; It was just such a wow moment… I literally wrote pinch me on Instagram

 

Does motherhood make you feel more motivated to express yourself creatively and develop your career?

Yes. I’ve always been creative but now I’m not as willing to jump on a plane to fly all the way around the world for a job. I just want to focus on my kids and live life as authentically as I can. I have a journal that I’ve always kept track of all the creative things I like to do. I feel like now I am finally going through and checking off all the things in my journal, like write a book, make music, be a theater artist. I never just want to sit around. I am always going to be doing something creative with other creative people. I don’t believe in excess and waste. I don’t do things just to do them, it needs to be something really special, I have to see a gap in the market, and then I can just go for it and, like, really jump into these projects.

To see more of Jaime King please follow her on Instagram.

Contributors, Fashion, Lifestyle, Pregnancy

Rachel Pally: 5 Things Every Pregnant Woman Needs & How Jessica Simpson Paid for Her House

April 5, 2016
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Tell us about your business before becoming a mama? What was your entrepreneurial journey like?

I started my business in 2002 after graduating from UC Berkeley. I studied Geography and Modern Dance and in order to complete my dance minor I had to work a certain amount of hours in the costume shop. I absolutely fell in love with the process of making costumes and the way the fabric had to move with the dancers and drape around their bodies.

After graduation, my parents bought me a basic sewing machine and I went to town in the dollar bin at the local fabric store. From there I started making dresses for my friends and myself. It was so much fun! A woman I met (who formerly owned a store in LA) complimented me on a dress I was wearing and when I told her I had made it, she asked if I had anything else I could show her. I brought in my bag of laundry from my car and we had a great laugh about it – she loved all of the pieces. This turned into me sending her batches of my original designs to sell in her store. She encouraged me to pursue my own line and it just took off from there!

What would you consider to be your big break?

A year or so into starting my line, Jessica Simpson wore a few of my pieces on MTV and my phone started ringing off of the hook. I always joke that Jessica Simpson bought me a house. This moment really skyrocketed my brand and other celebrities organically hopped on the bandwagon.

 

Rachel Pally

Any pinch me moments?

Of course! Every time I see someone wearing Rachel Pally is a pinch me moment. I’ve been in the business for over a decade and have made tens of thousands of garments and yet every time I see someone wearing one of my dresses, I still freak out. When traveling with my husband we always seem to run into someone wearing Rachel Pally – Greece, Mexico, Cambodia, Hawaii. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it.

How did becoming a mother change you? How did it change your business?

It completely changed my priorities. While my business is still incredibly important to me (I wouldn’t trade it in for anything), nothing means more to me than my family. Since becoming a mother, I find that I work more efficiently so I can rush home to be with my son. I also stopped working on Fridays after he was born so I could spend more time with him and am fortunate to have an amazing team at Rachel Pally that I can rely on.

 

Rachel Pally Headshot 2016

What are you trying to achieve with the Rachel Pally maternity collection?

I love providing pregnant women with comfortable, stylish clothing that can take them through their pregnancies and beyond. It’s hard to justify spending much money on clothing you will only wear for a few months. Your body changes so fast during pregnancy that what works last month might not work next month. Not having to invest in ‘pregnancy only’ clothing allows women to still dress like themselves and save themselves from spending money on temporary clothes.

What do you think the most important thing is when you are trying to dress your bump?

I have never been comfortable in flowy clothes with a baby bump. I feel more attractive and put together when I show it off. The beginning phases of pregnancy are tough since you don’t have a round belly yet, even though I practically had a beach ball at conception with my second, so draped clothes worked well. Once I started to show more fitted silhouettes seemed to become much more flattering. The most important thing is to be comfortable.

What are 5 things every pregnant woman should own?

1. Maternity jeans
2. a fitted tank dress
3. a fitted long sleeve dress
5. a trendy pair of sneakers
6. a leather jacket.

Why do you think fashion and style are important when you are pregnant?

I’ve found that you generally don’t feel like yourself when you’re pregnant. Since this is the case, it makes sense to at least attempt to look like yourself!

Has your style evolved with the second baby?

I started wearing sneakers. I am NOT a sneaker girl and it has changed my life. I’m so happy that Adidas Stan Smiths are cool right now! My uniform has become a black midi tank dress, a black leather jacket and my Stan Smiths. How did I even survive before?!

What’s on the horizon for you?

I’m due with baby #2 in June, so I’m starting to nest and focus on my growing family. However, I plan to get right back at it once he arrives. Onwards and upwards!

How to, Lifestyle, Photography

Five Foolproof Tips For Taking Great Family Photos 

March 30, 2016
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Everyone asks us…”How can we take a great photo with our kids?” We tapped photographer to some of the biggest bloggers around (Cup of Joe) and child whisper ( she had our girls smiling and jumping on que) Nicki Sebastian to share her secrets on getting the shot.

1. Location, location, location

If possible, choose a location that means something to you and your family. If your home or apartment gets sufficient natural light, try an in-home session and then take the kids outside and walk around your neighborhood block if weather permits. Or maybe they’re beach bunnies and love the water, or perhaps they have a favorite park that your family frequents on a regular basis. The more familiar the backdrop, the more at ease your little ones will be!
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2. Sartorial selections
When deciding what to wear for a family session, comfort is key! Wear something that reflects your style—try to shop your closet for part if not all of your outfit, or if you insist on buying new, be sure it’s something you or your family members would wear on a regular basis so everyone’s distinct style personality shines through. Also, make sure everyone tries on their outfits well before the shoot and that the kiddos are happy with your/their outfit choices—and ensure that each and every ensemble moves and breathes. Natural family photos require lots of movement and play, so the last thing you want to worry about is a stiff, ill-fitting dress, an itchy shirt, or pants that your child just loathes! Lastly, if you’re hoping to coordinate with your family members, avoid anything too matchy-matchy. Staying in the same color family/palette (ex: all earth tones or all light neutrals) and/or adding mixed textures and coordinating prints is always a good idea!
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3. All of the light 
Light is one of the most key ingredients in the making of a great photo. If you’re doing an in-home session, be sure to turn off any overhead/artificial lighting and shoot near windows and doors for the best natural light. If you’re planning to do an outdoor family session, aim to schedule it within one to two hours of sunset—nothing compares to a glowing golden hour image. If it’s an overcast day, not to worry—clouds can provide nice soft, even light and you’ll have a bit more flexibility with angles. On a similar note, sunrise shoots can be just as gorgeous and dramatic—and they’re great for little ones who are wide awake, fresh, and ready to go at the crack of dawn!
 
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4. Go with the flow
I know, I know—easier said than done! Prepping for a session and the anticipation of the shoot might be stressful at times, but think of it as a special opportunity for you and your family members to enjoy each other’s company (while a trained professional documents your unconditional love for one another)—it should be fun! Great family photos don’t necessarily mean everyone’s looking at the camera and smiling simultaneously. In fact, my favorite images—and my clients’ favorite images—are the ones that capture family interaction, sweet gestures, and emotions of all shapes and sizes, all of which have nothing to do with “saying cheese.” If your little ones are feeling timid and aren’t in the mood to smile or laugh, just go with it—capturing quiet moments can be just as meaningful, and any frantic coaxing on your part can have the opposite effect.
Katya Libin and Amri Kibble with their daughters
5. Eat, sleep, get psyched!
Just as you would prep for a test or an athletic endeavor, make sure you and your family are well-rested and well-fed before the session—and bring plenty of snacks and water to refuel during the shoot, as well as a change of clothes just in case. Also, be sure to psych up your kiddos by talking about the session days in advance and hyping up the photographer as a “special friend” or heck, even try describing him or her as “famous” in order to excite your tiny starlet. Involve them in the outfit selection process, show them where you’ll be shooting, even consider bribing with a small treat for a job well done. My daughter, like most kids, loves to be in the know, and any surprises (unless they’re of the gift-wrapped variety) make her anxious and unsettled—the more informed, the better. All that said, meltdowns happen and nothing ever goes exactly as planned. If your child completely loses it, wait it out and try not to get flustered. As a parent and family photographer, I’ve seen it all, and everyone’s patience will ultimately pay off—I promise.
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Fitness, Health, Lifestyle, Look Good

4 Bite-Size Workouts You Can Squeeze Into Your Busiest Morning

March 28, 2016
Fast Squat Work Out

Mama of two, Jessica Hughes knows how hard it is to find the time to workout. Her newest addition is only a few months old, so she understands the importance of fitting exercise into your schedule. This Inspired her to put together some mini workouts to get us toned and out the door fast!

This workout is a circuit, which means you have to complete all four workouts in one round. Do this 3 times, and I promise you’ll be feeling it AND feeling fit.

Fast Work Outs1. Push-up To Row: Get in girly push-up position (middle picture).  Do a push-up. Then pull your left arm back until your upper arm is parallel to the ground (right picture). This is called a row. Drop back down into girly push-up. Then right arm row. Alternate between left and right side and complete 20 times.

 

Fast Work Outs

2. Front Kick to Back Kick: If you don’t have great balance, you can use a wall or chair to support yourself. Stand straight, then lift your left leg and kick forward until your foot is. Still standing on your right leg, slowly swing your left leg back and kick backward.  Complete 20 times each side.

 

Fast Work Outs

3. Knee to Elbow: Stand straight, then lift your left leg to your left elbow and crunch your obliques (the side of your abs). Repeat for your right side. Do this 20 times.

 

Fast Squat Work Out

4. Squat to Curtsy Lunge: Drop down into a normal squat, thighs parallel to the ground (middle picture). Then curtsy lunge to each side. Stand up to give your legs a break, then squat and curtsy lunge to each side again. Repeat 20 times per circuit.

You can learn more about Jessica on her Instagram @happilyhughesfitness and her website happilyhughes.com and her heymama profile here.

#STARTUPSTORIES, Fashion, Give Back, Lifestyle

#STARTUPSTORIES: Carly Burson’s Adoption Journey Inspires Her To Help Women All Over The World

March 10, 2016
Carly Burlson with her daughter and a teepee

Tell us your startup story? What is Tribe Alive and where did the idea originate from?

When I began my adoption journey, I knew that becoming a mother would profoundly impact my life; but I never imagined that it would alter the course of my life’s work. Although adoption presents opportunity to support a child, I was struck by the desire to address the core issue of child relinquishment on a global scale: namely, the economic insecurity facing women in the developing world. Tribe Alive was born from my decision to utilize years of experience in the fashion industry as a platform to alleviate poverty among people in the developing world.

 

What’s your previous background?

I built a career in visual design and merchandising and spent the majority of my years working with Ann Inc. and J.Crew.

Carly Burlson with her daughter and Tribe Alive pillow

What’s been the hardest thing about being a startup what’s the biggest obstacle you had to overcome?

Finding balance is always something I struggle with. Start ups are nonstop and require an impossible amount of time and attention. The time I’ve invested in building this business over the last couple of years has taken a toll on my personal life. I’ve had to really re-evaluate how I run my business and how I find time for my family and friends. It takes being extremely intentional with my time and recognizing that I can’t be all things at once. Some days I neglect business responsibilities, other days family responsibilities. It’s a constant balancing act.

I began to look at the root of the issue and realized that adoption was not a solution, but merely a bandaid.

 

What’s been the most impactful thing that you’ve learned starting your business from the ground up?

That I can not do it alone.

Tribe Alive product

Tribe Alive Pillow

What was your first step to get things off the ground after you had the idea for a Tribe Alive to help women in poverty stricken countries?

I first reached out to different non-profits (that I knew of in the developing world) that had years of experience working with marginalized people. I knew I had the tools and resources needed to be successful in building a brand, but I wanted to partner with organizations that would effectively guide me to truly impact the lives of women living in poverty. These organizations have become my lifeline and became the true champions of Tribe Alive.

 

How did you get the capital to start your company did you raise money or do a kick starter?

It was a combination our own savings and a crowd funding campaign that we launched in the beginning.

Carly Burlson working on Tribe Alive and her daughter

What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received?

Be patient.

 

Do you have a mentor?

I have many, but I would have to say that our non-profit partners (who are on the ground in the countries we work in) are who I lean on most. Most business owners seek out other successful entrepreneurs as mentors, but I never wanted Tribe Alive to become just another business that forces me to become lost in the hustle. Our partners keep me honest, humble, and grounded to my original mission. Without them I could easily fall into chasing growth, becoming focused only on financial success, and making decisions that do not honor the dignity of our artisan partners.

Tribe Alive bag

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a similarly structured business that gives back?

I would advise that it’s a venture that needs to be entered sensitively. There are many social enterprises out there that do not take the dignity of their artisan partners into account when marketing themselves. I want to see social enterprise move in a direction where companies stop exploiting the hard lives of people living in poverty, and instead incorporate ethical practice and giving back into their model, because it’s the right thing to do.

 

When did you adopt your daughter? What was the experience like and how has it influenced your life professionally and personally?

We adopted our daughter a little over two and a half years ago. It was an extremely difficult and long process, but one I wouldn’t trade for anything. I always knew we would start and grow our family through adoption . Adopting my daughter completely changed my life, but also my view on child relinquishment.

I began to look at the root of the issue and realized that adoption was not a solution, but merely a bandaid.

I did not want my legacy to be raising other women’s children, but instead to create something that would empower women to the point that child relinquishment need not be the option.

Poverty is the main cause of the orphan crisis in the world; and I can think of no greater injustice than a women not being able to keep her child simply because she’s poor.

This realization has completely changed the course of my life.

Poverty is the main cause of the orphan crisis in the world; and I can think of no greater injustice than a women not being able to keep her child simply because she’s poor.

 

How do you work with the women in these countries and how are you able to provide jobs for them?

We partner with incredible non-profits who facilitate our production in every way. We design everything in house and then source it through our partners, who manage design sampling, production management, quality control, out of country logistics and most importantly maintaining safe and inspiring work environments for our artisans.

Tribe Alive bag

What do you think makes a good boss?

Empowering your people to take ownership in their roles and contribute to the growth of the company. I want Tribe Alive to reflect our entire team and not just my own vision.

 

What do you look for when you’re hiring people?

Passion, integrity and creativity.

 

What’s your the five-year goal of the company?

We started working with a handful of artisans in Honduras and Guatemala, and in one year we’ve been able to employ hundreds of impoverished women and operate out of five developing countries. What I love most about running this type of company is that our victories are never enough. It always feels like we can be doing more; and I hope the beautiful burden of bringing these women employment never leaves me. If I’m asked this question tomorrow or ten years from now, my answer will always be the same. We just want to employ more women.

It always feels like we can be doing more and I hope the beautiful burden of bringing these women employment never leaves me.

 

What’s been your biggest moment of feeling like what you’re doing is making an impact?

There are so many stories I could share that ground me in my quest, but our Honduran artisan partner Eugenia’s story is one closest to my heart. Eugenia started working with us in January 2015 and was part of a small project. At the end of the production she told me she was going to use the money that she made to buy her daughter a computer for school. I remember seeing the pride she felt in her eyes.

I returned to Honduras in July, to check on a much larger production, and was able to speak with Eugenia again. She asked me if I remembered when she said she was going to buy a computer with the money she made from the last job. When I told her I did, she said, “Well now I’m building my own house with the money from this job.”

Stories like Eugenia’s keep me going. If Tribe Alive existed only to give Eugenia an opportunity to put her children in a home of their own, then that alone would make my sacrifice even sweeter.

Carly Burson's daughter painter

How many countries are you currently in?

We currently work in Honduras, Guatemala, Haiti and India and hope to re-establish partnerships in Ethiopia this year.

Why do you think it’s important that we invest back into women? How do they support the community and help it to grow and be healthy?

We believe that women are the key to our future. Not only are women more apt to inspire and mentor, but also they are statistically more inclined to spend their money in ways that benefit the whole. Women spend the majority of their money on food, healthcare, home improvement, and better schooling for their family. It’s called the ‘muti-plier effect.’

When we invest in women, women reinvest in the health and wellbeing of their communities. When you reach one woman, you reach one hundred more. We’re interested in positively affecting generations to come, which why we choose to invest in women. Women pay it forward.

Women spend the majority of their money on food, healthcare, home improvement, and better schooling for their children and family….When we invest in women, then women will reinvest in the health and wellbeing of their communities. When you reach one woman, you reach one hundred more.

 

How have you seen Tribe Alive impacting the lives of the women who are creating your products?

Our jewelry is made in a small community in Honduras where alongside our non-profit partner we employed over 70 women last year at living wages. The immediate impact of employment is that these women were able to provide for their families – fill bellies, send their kids to school, afford medicine – but our impact goes far beyond providing for the basic necessities. Those 65 women have children, friends, sisters and neighbors who watched them get up and go to work every day with pride and represent that there is hope for something better. When children witness strong, capable and self confident mothers everything changes and hopes and dreams are not only formed but viewed as a possibility. We’re in this to impact the lives of our artisan partners but more importantly the lives of their children.

 

Do you personally visit all the communities where your products are being produced? If so what has that experience been like?

Absolutely. It’s the most important part of my job. I have become very close with our artisan partners and have loved being able to share our lives with each other. Last year I was in Honduras for four weeks working alongside our partners on an important production and will never forget a moment I shared with one of our jewelry makers, Estella. After working together all day she looked at me and said “the only difference between you and me is that you’ve had opportunity and now I’m more like you.” I think the realization of how closely connected we all are has had a tremendous impact on my life. I’m grateful for experiences that have taught me that all people are pretty much the same and it’s small differences that divide us.

 

If you could have one wish for your own daughter what would that be?

That she grows up with the realization that we are all connected and it’s our job to take care of one another.

 

What’s an average day in your life like?

Pretty average. I first get my daughter off to school each morning, followed by a run with my pup and then home for coffee and emails. The rest of the day usually entails different meetings with different members of our team or Skype conversations with our out of country partners. I spend at least an hour a day designing and creating new ideas for the line and need that time each day to fuel my creativity since so much of my work is operational. The days I’m out of country working alongside our partners are what I live for the most.

 

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

My life. I have so much to be grateful for. My family. My work. My friends. It all motivates me to get up and live each day.

 

You can learn more about Tribe Alive and purchase their gorgeous products here, and see Carly’s Heymama profile here.
Photo credit Hilary Rose Walker of ourstylestories.com.

Business, Contributors, Lifestyle

Pitch Perfect: A Beginner’s Guide to Fundraising

March 1, 2016
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So you’ve got a start-up? Congrats. But unless you’ve also got a trust fund or an unusually strong revenue stream from the get-go, you’re probably considering raising money to keep your business going, and growing. There’s no right or wrong way to go about this, but I hope that some of my own mistakes and successes can help steer you in the right direction. Best of luck, and go get ‘em, girls.

 

Pitch Yourself Not Your Deck

I cringe when I think of my first presentation. I arrived with my pitch deck on an iPad and proceeded to read it to the investor. The whole thing. Slide by slide. She must have known immediately that this was my first meeting, but she patiently let me go through my very stilted talk, and then she switched her attention from the slides to a simple conversation. Don’t be a dummy like me. Your pitch deck should be sent separately as a way for the investor to get a general overview of what you do, but your presentation is a verbal explaining of your industry, your business and your future plans. You should come prepared to discuss anything in your deck, but don’t present the deck itself unless there’s a specific request to do so.

 

Use the Buddy System

I took the first few meetings on my own, not wanting to drag everyone along for the fundraising rollercoaster. But our first investor quickly jumped in and suggested that we’d have a more powerful presentation with two people, and my head of product became my go-to gal. She’s more technical than I and could more eloquently discuss product roadmaps and upcoming developments, while I was the industry person who knew the backbone of our travel business. It’s crazy to say, but I think we actually had some fun along the way. We helped each other practice (yes, talking to yourself is totally acceptable when you’re preparing for these meetings), and it was so nice to have a support system when walking into, or out of, a stressful meeting. I couldn’t have survived without her!

 

Listen to Feedback

It’s tough to take criticism when you’re in the “dream big” phase, but remember: if you’re lucky enough to get a meeting with the prominent angel investors or venture capitalists, you’re also talking to some pretty smart people. You may know your industry and the intricacies of your business better than they do. But they understand markets and have underwritten more than a few successes, so take note of negative as well as positive feedback they share. It could help make your start-up stronger, and you’ll know which touch-points to address in future meetings.

 

Don’t Waste Time

Your time, and that of investors, is valuable and limited. For every moment you’re out pitching, you’re not running your business. Before you request meetings, look into the investor’s sweet spots. A quick search on Crunchbase can tell you where they’ve put money before, so if you see them only funding high-tech space-age stuff and you’ve got a low-tech retail business, there’s probably not a fit there. Find people who get what you do and target them. Everyone (including your business partners who are trying to run things without you while you’re fundraising) will appreciate it. Oh yeah: and don’t take meetings outside of office hours. If someone’s too busy to fit you into their weekday calendar, they’re unlikely to fit you into their portfolio. Saturday drinks? That’s something different, not a pitch.

 

Chin Up

Fact: most companies are ultimately not venture-backed businesses, and part of what you may find while prepping for your pitches is that yours isn’t. If that’s the case, don’t despair. And even if you’re successful, you’ll have some passes along the way. We made it through to the final rounds with one very important, and very cool, venture fund. They seemed to like us, and we were thrilled at the opportunity to work with them and their kick-ass portfolio of companies. When they decided they weren’t ready to make an investment, we were devastated. But the next morning, I met with one of our other investors, and she gave me a much-needed pep talk. If it’s not a fit, better to know now than to take money from them and then risk that your view of the business is different than theirs. I walked away knowing she was right, and that I was very lucky to have backers like her who could provide the business advice I needed, as well as the occasionally pick-me-up to get through the down moments.

 

So strap in and get ready for a seriously intense rollercoaster ride. If you forget to exercise and have a few too many consolatory cocktails over the next few months, that’s okay. Just don’t lose sight of the reason you started this business in the first place—to create something special. Good luck!

 

Henley Vazquez is the co-founder of the luxury family travel site Passported and a heymama, to learn more about Henly you can check out her profile here.

 

 

Editor's Picks, Food, Lifestyle, Mommy and Me

Raising Our Next Generation Of Foodies in New York City

February 29, 2016
The Kids Passport Kids Cooking Class

 

KidsPassport_Cooking_6

This past weekend was an important milestone for my little family, at least in my mind. It was my first day trip out ALONE with both girls. (SCARY!) Sure I’ve taken them each out separately and we’ve been out with my husband and friends, but with the gorgeous weather on Sunday, it was about time for a girl’s day. My new go to for kids’ classes, The Kids Passport had so many options for us this weekend like Yoga at Monkey Do!, Music at Recess, and art at the Brooklyn Museum and I decided it was time to take the plunge and give Daddy some down time. We went for a cooking class at Allergic To Salad at Stomping Ground.

The Kids Passport Cooking Class

The Kids Passport Cooking Class

The Kids Passport Cooking class
Mari and I are really into cooking together. we’re real foodies. We’re a family of adventurous eaters, but this class would also be awesome for anyone with a little one who pretends to be allergic to salad! Mari and I cook dinner together a couple nights a week (it’s our special time) and I really struggle with letting her use the peeler, knife and the grater. All shiny objects she’s dying to get her little hands on, so this was like a training course for us! First thing the teacher went over were “best practices” on how to grip and hold and be safe with all of those tools. Hurray! Mari was much more willing to listen to the teacher’s guidelines than my nervous instructions of “Be careful. Slice away from you!! Eeek! Give me that!!” at home. I have nightmares about trips to the emergency room, every time she gets a hold of the peeler.

 

The Kids Passport Cooking Class

Cole Slaw was on the menu. Not exactly a kid pleaser right? Mari loved it!! I guess when kids are the chefs, they are more willing to try new things and it was delicious. The kids peeled, sliced, grated and measured all on their own (under a close eye) and we sat around on tiny stools and enjoyed their handy work after.

The kids Passport

Stomping Ground where the class was held has a cute little play space we took advantage of afterward – reading, climbing and making new friends. They have a sunny little front area where I snuggled my little monkeys and read a few books before we headed back to join the daddy for brunch.

 

Apple Coleslaw Recipe

4 apples, cored & grated
4 carrots, peeled & grated
2 cups grated cabbage
1-cup cilantro, chopped
*Dressing (whisk and pour over apple mixture)
¼ cup of mayo
¼ cup apple cider
3 tbsp honey
1 tsp mustard
½ tsp salt

 

As a partner of ours, The Kids Passport treated us to some classes to experience it first-hand and we took full advantage. The Kids Passport is offering 20% off your first month subscription with code HEYMAMA. Sign up here!

Amri Kibbler with her kids Mari and River

Artists, Business, Design, Lifestyle

8 Works Of Art To Start Your Collection That Cost Less Than a Vespa

February 17, 2016
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Danielle De Buck is the VP of Digital Development & Marketing for De Buck Gallery, but before that she spent 10 years as Senior Sales Director for Alice + Olivia. Noting the opportunity to utilize e-commerce to engage people with art outside of the traditional gallery setting, she created DB Concept where art is shoppable in a series of “look books” showcasing each month’s featured works of art in elaborate settings.

 

Art is like an accessory to me. Just like the perfect accessory can dress up even the most basic outfit, the right artwork in your space can add so much excitement and change the overall presence of the room. Most people think collecting art is only for the wealthiest individuals, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s just about finding the right pieces that speak to you and make you feel something. Don’t be afraid to spark up your home or office with a little vibrancy. Bonus – these are not just pretty things; they are actually investments as well.

 

My top picks for bringing your space to life and starting your art collection:

1.  Kelly Reemtsen– Reemtsen depicts the modern day woman perfectly – not only does she dress impeccably; she’s also as strong as anyone and does everything, including all the housework. Her works are vibrant and portray women who are powerful and independent, which all of us mamas are.

 Kelly Reemtsen

Twister Sister, 2015, Etching with gouache and silkscreen on paper, 40 x 40 inches, $8500

 

2. Reemtsen’s Vespa prints are also a fun way to add a pop of color to your wall!

2006Vespa.pink

Vespa (Pink Right), 2006, Screen print, 14 x 11 inches, $500

 

3. Carson Fox – Fox’s sculptures instantly add texture and depth to any room. Sculptures centering on minerals, crystals, and geodes are preposterous and wondrous, proving that nothing is more perplexing, complex, and extraordinary than nature. And they really are remarkably beautiful, accessorizing your wall.

 Carson Fox

Pink Rock Urchins, 2014, Cast resin, 16 x 16 x 10 inches, $4200 each

 

4. Joseph Cohen – Cohen’s works evoke a sense of calmness. Minimal in color, they are both painting and sculpture, providing different angles to be seen and different textures transformed. He uses materials such as paint, pigment, varnish, diamond dust and gold to create his unique works, that seemingly drip down and fall off the bottom.

 Joseph Cohen

Proposition 327, 2012, Pigment, silver, gold, rust, diamond dust and varnish on birch, 37 x 32 inches, $7000

 

5. Tahnee Lonsdale – Whimsical figures, architecture, and other objects populate vibrant fields of color that suggest anything from domestic interiors to wild landscapes. At once both detailed and dreamy, Lonsdale’s work leaves just enough to the imagination.

 Tahnee Lonsdale

Aqueduct, 2015, Acrylic on canvas, 47 ¼ x 35 ½ inches, $7500

 

6. Dion Johnson – Brilliant in color, Johnson’s works are a feast for the eyes. He creates what almost looks like digital landscapes totally transforming the space they are in. His paintings provide a visual experience in any room they are in and are sure to brighten up even the darkest room.

Morning Stretch No. 5, 2015, Acrylic on canvas, 30 x 40 inches, $8000

Fuse, 2013, Acrylic on paper, 23 x 33 inches, $3000

 

7. Sebastian Blanck – A figurative painter, Blanck’s images focus on intimate peeks into daily life, capturing the different personalities and moods of his subjects. He uses watercolor and collage to create these images in a small-scale setting. Bonus – he will do a commissioned portrait of your family that will be a lifelong keepsake.

7) Sebastian Blanck

Sophie, 2015, Watercolor and collage on stretched paper, 14 x 12 inches, $2600

 

8. Alice Lancaster – A painter and designer, known for her humorous and colorful exploration of female sexuality, body and mind. Lancaster is always experimenting with shape and color, often pushing her figures into complete abstraction and forcing the viewer to search for the figure in a sea of lines.  We love the dialogue this creates in a room.

alice-painting

Morning Stretch No. 5, 2015, Acrylic on canvas, 30 x 40 inches, $8000

 

To see more visit www.debuckgallery.com/concept for their latest installation featuring many of these artists. Contact dbconcept@debuckgallery.com for a free consultation at your home within the tri-state area.

 

#FeelGood, Balance, Lifestyle

#OFFICEMAMAS: Workouts Over Manicures? The Mamas At Self Magazine Keep It Tight And You Can Too

February 10, 2016
Mariel Osborn
The mamas of SELF Magazine having a meeting

The mamas of SELF Magazine having a meeting

 

Liz Plosser at SELF Magazine

Liz Plosser, Deputy Editor

Working at a fitness oriented magazine like Self you must have access to every new trend and class, what classes are you currently obsessed with? Yes, I literally try everything. Major job perk!
My go-to for the past couple of years has been The Class with Taryn Toomey. It’s a full-body strength-and-cardio workout that weaves in spiritual elements like meditation and deep breathing and mindfulness. I leave feeling completely energized and peaceful and calm…it’s amazing.
I’ve always aspired to do more yoga and Y7 Yoga—candlelight, excellent playlists, challenging flow—is the one studio that’s finally gotten me hooked. I can’t wait to check out their new studio the next time I’m in L.A.
Recently, I’ve really gotten into Exceed Physical Culture for HIIT workouts. The classes are always full and the activities at each station change up, so 45 minutes flies by. Plus, I love using kettle bells and every one of their classes utilizes them!
Finally, SoulCycle is my happy place to break a big sweat. I never ever tire of their “you do you” vibe and the energy in the room.

What kind of workout can you do if you only have 20 minutes?
I interviewed Bob Harper, the celebrity trainer who’s on the Biggest Loser, for self.com last year. He gave me a 10-minute turbo workout that he swears by, and it’s savior on days I cannot squeeze in a full-fledged workout. Essentially, you alternate push-ups for a minute then and jump squats for a minute with little to no rest. It’s ridiculously hard—which is good! You definitely feel happy, strong and clear-headed after getting through it.

What would you will sacrifice to squeeze in your favorite work out? Sleep? Night out?
Sleep…I’m forever sacrificing sleep for fitness. I try to meet a friend at 6am SoulCycle once a week, and run at 6am twice a week. With a baby and toddler twins who are often up in the night, that 5 a.m. alarm is pretty brutal, but I never regret getting it done. The rest of my weekly workouts are at more sane hours.

How are you able to fit fitness in your schedule? Do you have any tricks or rules that help you to manage your time? I feel like I’m a better person—mom, wife, friend, editor—when I’ve gotten my endorphin fix. So it’s not a question of whether I’m going to work out, it’s how and when. Every Sunday, I canvas my upcoming week and figure out what workouts I’ll do on what days and at what time. I try to do three super-early workouts on weekdays so I’m home before my family wakes up in the morning, one lunch-time workout, and then I puzzle in one or two others. I have dumbbells and a yoga mat at home so I can always build myself a workout if it’s too crazy trying to get to a class or the gym.

Is community a part of your fitness lifestyle with Self? Do you work our with your co-workers? One of the most amazing things about working at SELF is that we’re all living and breathing the wellness ethos you see in the magazine. So we’re constantly supporting each other in our fitness goals—whether that means finally trying dance cardio or signing up for a half-marathon. When we moved from Times Square to One World Trade Center last winter, we organized a “fitness crawl” with a weekly SELF class at various nearby studios to get the staff familiar with all of the awesome nearby fitness options.
Over the summer, we launched SELF Run Club, where we brought in coaches from different brands like New Balance and Brooks to lead evening jogs once a week along the West Side Highway.
Instead of a breakfast or drinks meeting, I love to set up a sweat date and then talk over a juice afterward. There is nothing like endorphins to prime you for a productive meeting.
And staffers will often do impromptu or scheduled workouts together. Editor-in-chief Joyce Chang and I have done sessions with various personal trainers, and Entertainment & Special Projects Director Rebecca Sinn and I often meet at The Class or SoulCycle. It’s amazing how much easier—and more fun—fitness is with friends by your side.

Favorite healthy snack on the go?I love the Gladiator Cookies at JuicePress. They are often sold out, so it’s a score when I can find them.

Morning or evening workouts? Morning! Life almost always gets in the way of a late-day workout, so I don’t even give myself the option of scheduling one. Plus, when I get it done early I get to enjoy the positive vibes all day long.

Mariel Osborn

Mariel Osborn, Photo Director

What’s your motivation to be and stay healthy? My kids of course! I want to be limber and able to run around for them for years to come. Also we just bought a house with 3 floors so I need to be able to get up and down the stairs for at least 30 more years.  Plus, when I work out I am happier, and being happy makes everything better.

Has working at Self influenced this? Working at Self with so many likeminded, inspirational moms and women has definitely influenced a healthy life style. I was drawn to working at Self because of the positive, overall voice of being well in your whole life, not just physically, but well-being in your overall health, mental health, etc.

How do you incorporate a healthy and active lifestyle to your home? I have two kids and two dogs so I am constantly running around. We are outside being active as much as we can. We can often be found outside playing with the dogs, but on rainy days we have been known to work up a sweat with a good dance party.

What tips do you have for any mamas that are trying to start exercising, while still spending time with their kids? Liz Plosser, our amazing deputy editor and mom of three, has ALLLLLL the answers. Whenever I feel like a slug I can go to her Instagram and learn how to use my baby as a weight. Strap your kid in a baby carrier and do some lunges, you get cuddle time and a leg work out at the same time. Sneak in a squat or a baby overhead shoulder press whenever you can. Every little bit helps.

Favorite fitness class? I love a sweaty yoga class or SoulCycle for an efficient sweat.

Favorite healthy snack on the go? I’m not above eating one of my son’s fruit/veggie squeezy pouches.

Morning or evening workouts? Morning for sure. whenever I work out in the morning I find my head is clearer and, let’s be honest, as the mom of a four month old, I’m asleep by 9pm most nights…9:30 is pushing it. As we say at Self, get #upnout!

 

Rebecca Sinn Rebecca Sinn

Rebecca Sinn, Entertainment and Special Projects Director

Working at a fitness oriented magazine like Self you must have access to every new trend and class, what classes are you currently obsessed with? The Class from Taryn Toomey. Besides being like visiting a therapist and the gym in one, I love the sense of community and people it brings together, too. I’ve learned so much from these strong, entrepreneurial spirits on life, acceptance and forgiveness.

What kind of workout can you do if you only have 20 minutes? I’ll do a circuit from my friend who you can find on Instagram FitKitty74. Her workouts are efficient and very challenging, perfect for a limited amount of time.

What would you sacrifice to squeeze in your favorite work out? Sleep? Night out? Definitely a night out, but more recently a manicure. With a toddler, sleep can be unpredictable, so I learn to give up more personal time in order to fit in a workout and its not that hard to do your own nails in front of Dowton Abbey!

How are you able to fit fitness in your schedule? Do you have any tricks or rules that help you to manage your time? When I think about setting a schedule for myself, I often get bogged down in the rigidity of that, so I just try and think about how much better workouts makes me feel and make more time for them- start from a positive, so its not about what you can and can’t fit in. If I have plans with someone, I’ll try to get them to come with me to a workout instead and grab a juice after. Yes, its less time to chat, but you feel so much better, it makes it worth it. We’re also really lucky, the city offers so many options, it’s a wonderful thing to have at your fingertips; I find that if I have a meeting in a different part of town, I’ll look to see if there’s a class near there I could do to make it feel like I’m not traveling all over the place to jam everything in.

Is community a part of your fitness lifestyle with Self? Do you work out with your co-workers? My favorite person to work out with is my coworker Liz- as a mother of 3, and one of the most hardworking women I know she motivates me constantly. But, I love hearing about what other colleagues are into or are trying out – everyone has their own spin on fitness and what makes them feel good.

Favorite fitness class?Eve’s Soul Survivor at Soul Cycle and Taryn Toomey’s The Class

Favorite healthy snack on the go?A banana, or Clean Green Protein at Juice Press

Morning or evening workouts?Morning

 

Erin Hobday

Erin Hobday, Managing Editor

What tips can you give us to stay fit and healthy while also having a jam-packed schedule?
Get up really early. My day starts at 5:15 AM. I find that fitting my workout in before the crack of dawn guarantees I’ll get it done, and it gives me energy for my day. I workout mostly at home now —I have weights, bands, a mat and few workouts and DVDs that I use, and that helps me save a ton of time and it means I have no excuse not to workout.
Make a fitness date. Making workout plans with friends helps keep me accountable, and it’s a way to multitask. On the weekdays, I workout with my husband —which is good for both of us. We encourage each other and keep each other motivated. I also have a good friend who I go to SoulCycle with on Saturday mornings. I look forward to spending that time with her, and it feels like a real treat at the end of a long week. After class we go get a juice or a coffee and talk —it feels indulgent (girlfriend time!) but it’s also a super healthy habit.
Prep healthy basics on Sunday. I plan a week of healthy dinners over the weekend and post the menu in our kitchen. And I totally rely on Fresh Direct —it’s such a time-saver and prevents impulse spending on junk food. I also make a few healthy lunches for the week on Sunday, so it’s easy to grab in the morning on my way out the door. And we use the slow-cooker at least once a week to make healthy dinners.

Do you have a go-to exercise that you do everyday? If so, what is it? I  do a combination of cardio and resistance training using BeachBody DVDs at home. I like T25, the 21 Day Fix, and lately I’ve gotten into Insanity Max 30. I used to go to the gym every day, but since becoming a mom, I find working out at home to be so much more convenient. I also love to run outside when the weather is nice.

What was you routine like to get in shape post baby? I decided to run a half marathon when my son was 6 months old. I was also working out with a trainer —doing strength moves, etc —but the race really pushed me to be consistent and make time for running. I started training right around when I went back to work (my son was 3-months old or so) and I would do my long runs early on Saturday mornings. It was helpful to use that time to let the stress of the workweek go, and take a little time for myself. I’ve run the race each year since with my sisters, who are also both moms. I love that we have this fun fitness tradition!

What do you love about working out? How does it influence the rest of your day? I love how working out makes me feel both in the moment and throughout the day. It reduces my stress levels, and gives me tons of energy. I would be a very grumpy person without exercise. It’s so important to take care of yourself first so you can take care of everyone and everything else. Exercise is how I take care of me.

Favorite fitness class? SoulCycle!!!

Favorite healthy snack on the go? Hmmmm…. Fresh fruit and Trail mix. I have a few I like from Nature Box, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s that I keep at my desk so I have something to grab on busy days.

Morning or evening workouts? Morning!!!

 

Kari Molver
Kari Molvar, Deputy Editor

What do you love about running? My approach to running has really changed over the years. I don’t run to change the way my body looks anymore (although that’s a nice bonus!) but how I think and feel. It gives me such a mental boost—during those long runs, I can think clearly through whatever is on my mind (what should I cook for dinner? What are my goals for the month?). I rarely get time completely for myself, so I savor my runs as a chance to recharge my mind and body.

How has fitness changed in your life when you became a mom? Yes! I used to view it as a chore or something I “had” to do. Now it’s a treat to have that time for myself. I also think it’s important for my girls to see how being fit and active is a priority in my life. They know it’s workout time when mom has on her windbreaker and sneakers. And I can’t wait for the day when we can go on runs together! #SquadGoals!

What do you do when you’re feeling totally overwhelmed with everything? I try to break down any problem or situation into steps, and then move 1 step at a time. I make tons of lists, so I know exactly what I need to attack first and stay on track. This helps when I have multiple stories I’m editing and writing on my plate at once.

What helps you relax and release? Talking to friends, and other moms who can relate to the pressures we all face! This helps put everything perspective and reminds me that I have a lot to be grateful for, and very happy about!

What’s your beauty regime like? Any tips to help keep a well-rested complexion even when we’re always on overdrive? My beauty routine is VERY simple. I’m all about the basics. I find that washing my face every night during the week is the single best tip for clear skin, although not that interesting! I also think that finding creams that do more than one thing—like exfoliating and hydrating at the same time—helps cut down on time.

Do you incorporate fitness into your family and social life? If so, how? When the girls were young, my husband and I used to pile them in the stroller and take long walks to the park. Now being “social” about fitness means following other friends on Instagram who inspire me to live healthy. Everyone should follow @LizPlosser!

Favorite fitness class? I’m a SoulCycle rookie, but plan to do more Spinning this year.

Favorite healthy snack on the go? That’s It dried fruit bars. I have a sweet tooth so this is my healthy fix. There are no less than 3 bars in my bag at any time!

Morning or evening workouts? Morning, but I’ll take whatever I can get!

 

Melissa Martin SELF Magazine

Melissa Martin, Fashion Director

How does keeping active influence the other aspects of your life? Do you feel like succeeding in your workouts and fitness goals reflect on your career and home life? Working out for me definitely comes from a desire to improve my overall heath and strength, but even more so it’s mental – I do it more for the soul than the body. My daily workouts enable me to operate at peak performance in other aspects of my life.  They improve my energy level and confidence, and I’m more patient and positive throughout the day. I also look at my workouts as much needed quality time for myself – more a luxury than a chore. All of these qualities make my work and home life more valuable, and an added bonus is I have more swimsuit options come summer.

What’s your favorite place to shop for fitness gear? Net a Porter sport. Current favorite brands are The Upside (most comfortable sports bra), Laain, Outdoor Voices, Tory Sport and Ballet Beautiful.

What kind of music do you listen to when you work out? I listen to a large range of music and it really depends on the type of workout or the season. In the summer, I tend to run outside more and I like to listen to more mellow music or Seventies rock – I think the hippie vibe makes me more reflective (I mean, if I have to push myself an extra mile or up a hill, I’ll switch to Miley Cirus or old Wu Tang Clan). For dance cardio, it’s hip hop all the way and if I’m doing ballet, I’ll listen to piano concertos. So the mood really dictates the music for me.

Fitness wear has been infiltrating fashion for a while now are there any fitness/fashion pieces you wear on the street and vice versa? Yes, I have a Tory Burch Sport track jacket and track pant that I mix into my wardrobe. I also love ballet leotards equally in the studio or with a boyfriend jean.

Favorite fitness class? Tracy Anderson Method

Favorite healthy snack on the go? Raw almonds

Morning or evening workouts? Both, but I definitely prefer the morning. I love starting the day with a feeling of accomplishment and getting it out of the way

 

 

 

 

 

 

#SOCIALBOSS, Interior Design, Lifestyle, Social Media

#SOCIALBOSS: Becki Owens Has 237K Instagram Followers, Four Kids And Will Make Your House Look Like A Dream

February 8, 2016
Becki Owens holding pillows at home

1. What sets you apart from the rest of the interior designers out there?
I would say that I like to design in a variety of styles. I’ve created beachy, traditional, modern and bohemian looks for my clients. I love mixing different styles and that each space turns out unique and individual to my client.

2. You have beautiful remodels on your website, but your Instagram seems more about inspiration than your actual work. Why have you chosen to do this?
I love the comradely that comes from sharing other designers work. I like to take the competition out of it and give credit to great design as a whole. It’s fun to admire and be inspired by beautiful designs. I’ve found it brings us all together in one common creative place.

Becki Owen's living room

3. I read that it is important for you to be the first face your kids see when they come home from school. How do you manage this while running a successful business?
I have to try and be very organized and not procrastinate. My days definitely go at a fast pace. I like to be done with work when my kids get home from school because at that point I’m running to soccer, piano, guitar, making dinner and getting caught up on their day. My husband often travels so one thing we do to stay connected is a weekly tradition of family night.  Sometimes it’s just going out to the soccer field behind our house and kicking the ball around, but we always set aside that time.

4. You have 237K followers on Instagram! How did that start? Any tips for us?
Interior design is a very visual business, so I wanted an alternative place to share the portfolio of my work.  I’ve found that its a lot of hard work and requires consistency, but it’s been fun. It’s all about being a part of your social media community by staying connected on a daily basis.  If you are interested in growing your social media platforms, I’ve found using relevant hashtags to reach people searching for similar topics is very helpful in creating awareness of your brand.

If you are interested in growing your social media platforms, I’ve found using relevant hashtags to reach people searching for similar topics is very helpful in creating awareness of your brand.

Becki Owen's living room

5. How has social media changed your business?
It’s been a great way to connect with people and see what they love in design.  It’s a powerful feedback tool too. I’ve also been able to work with people all over, not just locally. Social Media has a huge reach. For example, recently when I was in Australia on vacation with my family, I discovered I had Instagram followers from the towns I was visiting and it made me realize this really is a global connection. I have a great love of the style and design in Australia so I was flattered to see I was connecting with people from there.

For example, recently when I was in Australia on vacation with my family, I discovered I had Instagram followers from the towns I was visiting and it made me realize this really is a global connection.

6. You have been inspired by your parents who remodeled homes and you followed a similar path. Are your kids as interested in design as you were when you were growing up?
My fourth child loves to come on the job with me. I can tell she is soaking it in like I did. She loves it.  I would love it if one of my children was interested in design. Maybe we would even have the chance to work together one day.

7. What are your next steps to continue expanding your brand?
I’ve just recently started a lifestyle blog in the last year and I love growing that side of my business. I have some other fun projects in the works right now I can’t share yet, but for now I’ve been expanding my team and working on fun new designs.

Becki Owen's in her kitchen

8. You also have an interest in fashion. Does this reflect on your designs?
I think so. I live in a Southern California beach town, and I love to dress in a laid back, bohemian way that reflects the culture here. I definitely see it in my designs through eclectic textiles and accessories and creating comfortable, livable spaces.

9.Would you use the same adjectives to identify your personal style and your interiors?
Yes, colorful,bohemian, global inspired, eclectic, fresh and modern.

10. What do you want to teach your kids about life?
I want to teach them they can accomplish anything they want with hard work and not to be afraid to fail. Also, it’s important to me that they learn to be kind and think of others.

11. What’s your proudest achievement?
Definitely my family. I’m so proud of my 4 four children and who they are becoming and I’m so grateful for my husband, he’s the best.

12. Is there any one thing you believe we should invest in when redoing our home? 
If you going to invest in one thing it needs to make a statement like a beautiful piece of art for your entry or above a mantel. Gorgeous art will have a big impact in a space. The good news is that there is a wide range of art for every budget so it’s a great way to accessorize for everyone.  I love the work of Jenni Prinn, you can purchase some of her pieces at Serena and Lily.  Also, Minted is a great resource to find amazing work from talented, emerging artists and its budget friendly and easy to order.

If you going to invest in one thing it needs to make a statement like a beautiful piece of art for your entry or above a mantel. Gorgeous art will have a big impact in a space.

13. What could be an easy fix when getting bored with an interior?
New pillows and fresh textiles are an excellent way to freshen up a room. There are so many great options right now to create a collected look. I love to mix in a pop of color with neutrals for an updated look.

14. I was stalking you on Instagram and noticed that you were replying to a question one of your followers had. Do you think it’s important to connect with your followers? How can you keep up?!
I really try to respond to questions because I’m really grateful for all the support I’ve received on Instagram.  It doesn’t always happen, some days just get crazy. But that is one of the fun parts of my job, connecting with people.

You can check out Becki Owens on Instagram here and her website here, and her heymama profile here.

Editor's Picks, Lifestyle, Mommy and Me

Your Kids Just Got The Ultimate Pass To The Best NYC Classes

February 5, 2016
The kids Passport shoot - Katya and Amri jumping their kids Dumbo

The Kids Passport heymama Katya and Amri walking with their girls in the Dumbo

We feel so lucky to live in such a great big city like New York, full of so many fun things to do with our little monkeys. There are a million options out there and we kind of think it’s our duty to explore to the fullest. Katya and I will take any excuse to carve out some playtime with the girls, so we were jumping with joy when we connected with The Kids Passport. Access to a whole wide world of kid’s classes without committing to a whole semester? Yes!  Sign us up!  For $39 (for 2 classes) or $99 (for 6 classes) a month, you get access to a slew of classes around Manhattan and Brooklyn that you can just drop in with an hours notice. It’s like Class Pass for kids.  (Which Katya is obsessed with). Being flexible is super important to us! Running our own business schedules changes every week, so we can’t say what class we’ll be able to take every Tuesday for the next 6 weeks.

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We took one for the team to test-drive this crazy awesome program for you! (You’re welcome!) We laced up our mini’s ballet shoes and headed over to Dumbo. Since ballerinas always eat cookies & cupcakes (yes we caved and gave them both) we stopped in to One Girl Cookie for some pre-dance fuel. It had been awhile since Mari and Lili had seen each other; as we’ve been sticking close to home with Mari’s new baby sister, so this was reunion time! Pink cupcakes make everything even better (if that’s possible), and these girls were on fire…

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After more than a few races down the street and happy dances we arrived at the Gelsey Kirkland ballet studio, fully sugared up and ready to dance. I was really impressed at how it’s a REAL dance studio with all levels of classes. We popped into the wrong classroom and a very professional looking dancer was having a private lesson and there was a crazy modern dance rehearsal taking place for a performance. It was all very different than the ballet class studio for the under 5 set I’m used to, but we felt very cool. Check in was a breeze. Mari and Lili ran into the classroom and melted into the class like they’d been dancing here for years.

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Katya and I were able to sneak around the corner to grab a much need cappuccino at Brooklyn Roasting Company and catch up on everything heymama and new baby. That 45 minutes of adult conversation was like a lifeline to this mama who has been cooped up at home with a 2 month old.

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After what seemed like 5 minutes, our little loves came skipping out of class hand in hand, singing songs, and asking for more cookies and a sleepover too.  Success!! Stay Tuned for our next adventure.

As a partner of ours, The Kids Passport treated us to some classes to experience it first-hand and we took full advantage. The Kids Passport is offering 20% off your first month subscription with code HEYMAMA. Sign up here!

Photos by: Belle Savransky