We first met brand consultant and BunBunBook blogger Carly Kenihan when she was on bedrest with her twins. We instantly fell in love with her positive energy, openness and bada$$ style and we became the best of cyber-friends. Fast forward to meeting IRL when we launched HEYMAMA LA and our friendship developed into a deep admiration for this mama that is about as cool as they come. Now, Carly is part of the HEYMAMA family as an official LA Ambassador and we couldn’t be more thrilled to have someone like her representing us on the West Coast. We caught up with this busy mama of twins who just turned one and she shared some touching advice and reflections that are definitely from the heart. Read on…
Carly, we’re so grateful to have you part of the HEYMAMA tribe. Tell us more about your career and what led you to start the BunBunBook.
I started as Fashion Assistant and a Marketing/PR manager in NYC which feels like a lifetime ago! I moved home to the west coast and became the Director of a PR agency for five years where I spearheaded celebrity, editorial and social media campaigns for major fashion and lifestyle brands as well as smaller startups. I now consult for the agency and a few other clients, while I blog about life, style and mostly, mamahood. I launched BunBunBook (originally named after my then daily topknot) about four years ago one night for fun. I love to create content and I love to story tell.
What was the tipping point that really took you from daydreaming to knowing you wanted to take action and turn your passion into a business?
I think it was combination of feeling I had fulfilled my purpose in my current role with the yearn to push my limits and try something new and on my own. The PR and marketing girl in me wanted to continue to bring brands together but also have the flexibility to create. I had a lot of connections and resources from working in the industry so I felt incredibly supported in my endeavor.
How much time do you currently dedicate to your blog versus consulting for other clients?
I spend a lot of my time consulting. I love it. And thrive off of it! But then some weeks are blog heavy, filled with back to back projects and collaborations. Things are always shifting, but my mind is constantly brainstorming. It’s always generating ideas. Even in the car, shower or pilates class.
What are your thoughts on the rise of the micro-influencer and how do you see that changing your business?
It opens a ton of doors. For everyone! Brands have so many more outlets to promote their products through the micro influencers’ genuinely engaged, targeted audiences. Their products can be seen and their voices heard (which helps me, help them!). On the blog side…I receive much more specific opportunities that fit my image and lifestyle. There are a lot of influencers to pick from now so when I’m pitched for special campaigns and projects I feel honored.
How do you manage the sheer volume of engaging in an authentic way with your followers? Do you have any apps, hacks or assistants?
Call me old school but I when it comes to engaging, I don’t use any apps. I set aside time every 24 or 48 hours to chat with or respond to my people directly. I get a ton of messages from women going through infertility or who have premature babies in the NICU so it’s easy to engage with them over shared experiences – it’s really incredible to connect so intimately with women I’ve never met.
I obviously have a lot of fun chatting about lighter topics too! The more I engage, the more I find myself laughing with followers and fellow blogger friends over silly mama and baby things. I’ve found a lot of advice and encouragement.
You have been very vocal about your struggles with infertility. Why was this important to you and what has opening up about this personal journey been like for you?
I was actually pretty silent during the first half of our journey, when it was just me, my husband and our secret savvy life of doctors appointments, trigger shots, and little white sticks. It wasn’t until we started IVF that I shared our story on my blog and realized just how common infertility is. Emails flooded in from women who had, or were going through, the same experience and that’s when I knew I had to keep the conversation going. I felt that even if I never got pregnant, I had a purpose in the space. Last year my twins were born on the first day of National Infertility Awareness Week. They were born two months early, so I don’t think it was a coincidence.
Congrats on your two beautiful babes! What has surprised you the most about parenting two babies simultaneously?
The way I can twist my knees and turn my elbows to take care of these kids! Every day my body is sore from being pulled in multiple directions to hold one bottle in one place while changing a diaper in another. Ha! In all seriousness, these kids have learned patience early as twins, but I’m surprised at how much patience they’ve taught me as a mama. They might be only one year old humans but I am only a one year old mother. And they are my teachers.
What is your go-to advice for mamas expecting twins?
Do not set goals. That sounds awful right? Okay don’t set unrealistic ones. A twin mom told me that when I was pregnant and though this was hard for me, it served me well. From delivery to breastfeeding to even just getting out of the house, I knew so much was out of my control with two. I did the best I could and I do the best I can now.
Also, find other twin moms to connect with! I don’t go anywhere without answering a million questions from strangers about the babies but once in a blue moon I’ll get a “I have boy girl twins,” and I’ll stop for a second. Minute. Then an hour later I have a girl’s number and we’re friends. It’s pretty special!
We love that you are always so optimistic. Even when your twins spent time in the NICU, you saw the silver lining in it all. Have you always been this way or is is something you’ve had to work on?
I try to find meaning in everything. It wasn’t easy to be separated from my twins on their birthday and then leave them in the hospital. I felt robbed of the birth process. But then also fortunate my little 33-weekers were healthy enough for mama to hold. It was a rollercoaster of emotions that I just came to love and accept. Now I try to see beauty in that still and quiet place that was the NICU and reflect on what a sacred few weeks we had there together. Protected from the world. I completely disconnected from life going on outside. And just focused on the two tiny beings in front of me. I let myself feel of course. Be human. But I tried to keep a smile on my face because my little babies needed me. Just as I try to stay positive now, because my little people need me.
You spent over 12 years in the fashion industry and it’s clearly a passion of yours. We love the looks you pull together on your feed. What 3 things are you coveting most for Spring/Summer?
Jumpsuits! Give me all of them. They’re a one stop shop. Like a good maxi, but more functional for all that twisting and turning I mentioned.
Slip dresses – I love that you can layer a duster over, a bralette under, or even throw on a sweatshirt to create a skirt illusion. I love a slip with sandals, even sneakers. It’s really easy to swap out casual shoes for stilettos too.
Athleisure- because mom life! Most days I am literally sweating just getting the kids in and out of the car! And then our long long walks. I need my cute workout pants, tops and sneakers!
You’re a HEYMAMA LA ambassador (yay!). Why do you think it’s empowering for women to work together and what have you learned most by working with other women?
I knew there was something about HEYMAMA when I was on bed rest in the hospital emailing back and forth with Katya, who had just launched a company (#ohheymama!). Life was busy to say the least but there was still time to connect, which I’ve realized more and more each day is so important in motherhood. It’s so important for survival! From pregnancy to babies, heymama has welcomed me into an inspiring group of women and reminded me how powerful we can be when we are supportive of one another.
What’s your beauty secret/obsession right now?
I’m into Honest Beauty’s oils and lotions. I also love Ramona Cline’s facial cream and eye serum! She does the best facials so if you’re in LA and need a gal – I’ll give you her info!! As for secrets, I don’t have any. Please tell me yours!
What’s next for you?
The babies just turned one, so you caught me in major reflection mode! I had these grand plans to have everything “figured out” by the time of their birthday. I thought I’d revert back to living ten steps ahead of myself but I’m understanding the value of staying still for a moment. I thought I’d find that thing called balance and I’m learning it’s okay that I haven’t. Things are constantly changing. I might be 12 months in but I’m a #newmom to two one year olds! I don’t know what I’m doing, so send all the help! Aside from diving into toddlerhood, I’m hoping to keep the conversation of infertility, prematurity and adoption going while also helping and supporting growing families. I also have a few exciting blog and biz projects lined up. It’s been really cool to watch my worlds of blogging and motherhood collide and I’m excited to see where it takes me.
Let it go.
Remember to laugh.
God first, family second and everything else will fall into place.