Archive for March, 2014

Mar
27

Hello friends! Happy Friday! It’s hard to believe we’re just days away from welcoming April. Where did March go? Before I know it, Spring Break will be here (you’ll hear no complaints from me) and then the Summer. Just thinking about Summer makes me do a little happy dance at my desk. Luckily, no one is around to see, otherwise, strange looks would be coming my way. And, before I fall off my chair, it’s time for this week’s 12 Fridays Feature.

THIS IS WEEK SEVEN!

Time to meet Jennifer… 

You know those people you meet that leave a lasting impression on your heart? Well, Jennifer is one of them. Our friendship began in high school. I was a sophomore and she was a senior. We cheered together, were in a service club together and were a part of the yearbook committee. Jennifer was someone I was looked up to. With her genuine heart, she inspired kindness, love and spirit. Nothing has changed! It’s not often that I get to see her, but when I do, my heart is light and bursting with joy! She just has that way of lighting up a room with her smile and making everyone around her feel good. I always thought she’d be a teacher, taking after her amazing dad, or use her incredible singing talents. I love that she is doing both! I’m thrilled for you to get to know my talented friend. It won’t take you long to adore her!

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born & raised in Tampa, Florida and now live in Palm Harbor with my awesome hubby and three of the most awesome kids. I am a singing teacher for ages 1-18. I love to cook, run, and spend time with my family. I try to stay active trying new exciting things. I want to experience all I can with my family. I’ve even been told I’m a pretty cool mom!

Q: What does a day in your life look like?
Hectic! Right now I’m working on getting my teacher’s certificate to become a music teacher in Pinellas County so I’ve been substituting. Because of this my days are never the same. On a crazy busy day where I’m subbing & have lessons at night I will head to the school fairly early after strategically planning who will take/pickup my kids to and from school. After substituting I have to hurry up and get everyone dressed & fed before we have to head out to my lessons & the kids’ various practices. Tyler’s practice begins at 7pm so he can stay home to complete his homework. Troy luckily has his black belt class at the community center that I teach my lessons & poor Isabel has to go along for the ride.

Q: Tell us about Standing Ovation & Show Stoppers and Wee Sing.
I direct two performing groups comprised of all of my students taking private singing lessons. Standing Ovation is for ages 5-12 and Show Stoppers is for ages 13-18. The singers perform at various community events throughout Hillsborough & Pinellas County. Several of them have competed in singing competitions as well and have sung The National Anthem for several of Tampa’s sporting events. Wee Sing is my preschool singing program where children ages 1-5 sing familiar nursery rhymes along with songs incorporating sign & foreign language. This class requires interaction with parent & child however grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends are welcome. I teach these lessons out of Safety Harbor Library, Tarpon Springs Library, Dunedin Library & Childlife Preschool. All three of these groups hold a special place in my heart because all three of my kids have been able to participate and when we sing in the community my hubby works my sound system so it really is a family affair that I’m extremely proud of.

Q: Where did your inspiration for music and singing come from?
I would definitely have to say my parents. I grew up in a very musical family. My dad is a singer and plays trumpet. He has been playing & singing since he was 13. He was my singing teacher as a child and gave me a strong foundation to all musical genres. My mom has always been a big help with my singing even though she didn’t get the singing gene. I always joke with her saying “if you could sing you’d be a great singer!” She was a dancer most of her life so she has great rhythm and a strong musical ear. She always wanted to be a Rockette but chose to be a mom instead. Because of this my sisters & I were always putting on talent shows for the family during the holidays with our cousins. They have always been my inspiration growing up and now my children are my inspiration. I see how my lessons have influenced them because Isabel sings with my preschool group, Troy sings with Standing Ovation, and Tyler plays piano at our recitals. This year he plays trumpet in his middle school band using my father’s trumpet. It’s one of my greatest accomplishments in my life.

Q: How do you stay balanced between being a mom and wife, owning your own business, staying involved at school and finding time for you? Any tips for those of us that struggle to do this?
I have to admit this is something I’m still working on. It’s easy to get stressed out trying to spread my time and be the best mom/teacher/wife/PTA member. I suggest buying a good calendar and highlighter. All kidding aside, my best tip would be to not worry about being perfect. We as moms can not be everywhere at once. Don’t be afraid to say no if you can’t do something and more importantly don’t be too proud to ask for help.

Q: What do you want your kiddos to remember most about their childhood?
I want them to look back and feel as though they got to do everything they wanted and feel as though we supported them even though they didn’t follow in each other’s footsteps. I love that they each have different interests and feel like they can nurture them.

Q: If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, how far back would you go and what advice would it be?
I have always been a worrier from as little as I can remember. I would go back to that time and tell myself not to sweat the small stuff.

Q: What motivates you?
My students. I have such talented students with great talents and music is really growing with the incorporation of live and electronic music. I also love how country & pop singers have come together and rappers as well. Music is universal.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
My ancestors are from Spain and Italy so I would love to travel Europe. My son Tyler has always been fascinated with Paris and I have always wanted to travel to England so I can try using my best British accent.

Q: Do you have a favorite go-to weeknight dinner?
I make a mean Chicken Piccata. It’s delicious, low fat, and really easy to make. My youngest and oldest kids even like it. Troy is really picky but he’s starting to try new things and I believe he’ll love it fairly soon.

Q: What tips do you have for a working mom wanting to start their own business?
Just jump in head first while you have a strong passion. Don’t worry about planning everything out to the last detail because you will learn and grow as your business does. I’ve been teaching for 14 years and it has evolved with all the stages of my life. I have never regretted taking that leap and following my dream.

To inquire about lessons you can view Jennifer’s website at www.standingovationflorida.com

Until next time.

xo,
Kristie

Mar
27

“An optimist is the human personification of spring.” -Susan J. Bissonette

Such a lovely afternoon at the University of Washington.

Until next time.

XO,
Kristie

Mar
21

Happy Friday friends! This is one week where Friday couldn’t come fast enough and now that it’s here, I’m doing a little happy dance. In the words of Pharrell,

Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof… Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth…

Maybe it’s that spring is finally here or that I’m photographing a family that I’ve been looking forward to getting in front of my camera for months or the possibility of maybe, just maybe sleeping in this weekend. Regardless, it’s Friday and that’s reason enough to be happy! And, speaking of happy, I can’t wait to introduce this week’s Friday Feature.

THIS IS WEEK SIX.

Time to meet Johanna…

She’s a dreamer, an artist and a creator of beautiful jewelry that is as lovely and as unique as her. Johanna is the owner and designer of Good Girls Studio, a business I’ve loved watching grow. Her artful designs are so full of heart. I’m certain you will love them as much as I do!

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Johanna Ely and I’m a mom to thee most hilarious 12yr old boy who I lovingly refer to as The Boy ;) I’m also a jewelry designer, Pinterest addict, lover of vintage, bird crazy, guinea pig owner and DIY’er!

Q: What does a day in your life look like?
No day is really typical for me but most mornings start off with a 6AM alarm clock (blech, not a morning person!), followed by getting The Boy off to the bus stop. I work out for about 30 minutes and then drink my smoothie while having my quiet time with God and write in my gratitude journal. If I skip those last two, you probably don’t want to be around me that day…lol! Then it’s shower time & putting my face on. Through the past 7 years of owning my own business & working from home I’ve learned that I feel much better and much more productive if I shower & get ready for work like I’m actually leaving the house. I used to end up in my jammies all day and felt gross by the end of the day. After that I usually get sucked into FB land but I try to get right into the studio to start working on some new jewelry. If I’m not designing jewelry, I will take photos of jewelry I’ve made and list them online. The afternoon is spent between making more jewelry, answering emails and some social media fun. Other days I’m running around town dropping off jewelry or being a happy homemaker. No two days are ever the same!

Q: Where did the inspiration for Good Girls Studio come from?
My late grandmother “Mama Lou” left us a ton of costume jewelry. I had taught myself the basics of jewelry making and since most of the jewelry she left us was …well…tacky, my mom suggested I revamp it into something we could actually wear. I now use around 95% vintage jewelry in my designs. As for the name “Good Girls Studio”, I AM thee good girl. True statement, you can ask my mom!

Q: Who are your fashion icons?
I love the quirkiness of Zoey Deschanel, the confidence of Katherine Hepbourne and the over-the-topness of Elizabeth Taylor.

Q: How do you stay balanced between being a mom, owning your own business, staying involved at school and finding time for you? Any tips for those of us that struggle to do this?
I keep everything in the calendar on my phone and set multiple reminders, otherwise I tend to forget. I keep a list of notes on my phone as well that I check throughout the day. I’d probably be lost without my iPhone! It is a daily balancing act juggling mom mode and boss lady. Being able to switch hats throughout the day is imperative! I try not to beat myself up too much if I don’t accomplish everything on my to do list. Being a mom is what’s most important to me and sometimes playing a game with The Boy is more essential to our well being than my making another pair of earrings. Honestly, I don’t make much time for myself but it’s the sacrifice I make to do what I love.

Q: What do you want your son to remember most about his childhood?
That I was there for him when he needed me. When I was in retail management I never got to spend much time with him and felt like daycare and my parents were raising him. He is the #1 reason I work from home! Now I’m typically home when he gets home from school and am around to help with HW and make dinner.

Q: If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, how far back would you go and what advice would it be?
I would go back to the beginning and tell myself to make a business plan!! Writing down your goals is crucial. I’d also tell myself that success doesn’t happen over night and I need to cut myself some slack!

Q: What motivates you?
Feedback from my customers gets me motivated. I love it when I hear back from one of my brides or clients about how happy they are with my designs. I also get super pumped to get into the studio after a trip to the flea market! Finding treasures there gets my creative juices flowing and I’m all antsy until I can get into my studio and start ripping them up!

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Paris flea market… I would be in heaven!!

Q: Do you have a favorite go-to weeknight dinner?
I tend to cook food in batches. I’m a single mom and it doesn’t make sense for me to make a huge meal every night just for the two of us. I’ll roast a chicken at the beginning of the week and turn it into other dinners the rest of the week like enchiladas, quesadillas or chicken parmesan. Neither of us really like left overs so I try to switch it up.

Q: What tips do you have for a working mom wanting to start their own business?
Figure out what you are passionate about and go for it! Don’t wait until you have it all figured out before you start or you will never start. Surround yourself with people that are positive and supportive of your venture. This quote always helps me when I get stuck: “The biggest mistake you could ever make is being afraid to make one!”

You can find Johanna’s designs at www.goodgirlsstudio.com. For custom orders or questions, you can email Johanna at info@goodgirlsstudio.com. You can also find Good Girls Studio on FACEBOOK, on INSTAGRAM at @theegoodgirl and on PINTEREST.

Mar
14

Well, HELLO again, Friday! The weeks just seem to be flying by as we are patiently waiting for spring. This week we were blessed with amazing weather. So amazing that I felt summer was almost around the corner and we were going to skip spring altogether. I only wish those days could go on forever. Well, before I get caught up in daydreaming about sunny blue skies, it’s time for another 12 Fridays Feature.

THIS IS WEEK FIVE.

Time to meet Dee…

When your kiddos go to school, you befriend other moms. When your hubby goes to art school, you befriend other wives. That’s how I met my fabulous friend, Dee. We clicked immediately–a friendship like that is truly a blessing. They were new to Seattle, we were new to Seattle, so being tourists together in our own city was fun. Dee is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. She is an incredible mom, has the kindest heart and has an amazing gift for inspiring others. I’ll never forget running the Torchlight 5K race with her a couple of years ago. Our last stretch of the race was up Broad Street, a hilly street that could rival any street in San Francisco. I wanted to die or at least crawl to the finish line, but Dee wouldn’t let me give up and she wouldn’t leave me behind either. She empowered me and I ended up with one of my best times ever. I love that she’s doing the same for others through Zumba and fitness classes. She’s a fabulous person, a great motivator and anyone would be lucky to have her in their corner.

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hmm….well I’m a urban dwelling mom of a wanna-be princess and wife of a funny creative man. I have a background in fitness and education in sports medicine. I use my down time to read, craft, sew, choreograph Zumba routines, and find ways to participate in the community.

Q: What does a day in your life look like?
Up early to teach a class, home before 7:30 AM. My husband and I tag team the day cooking meals, cleaning, errands, activities with our daughter, and personal projects during our daughter’s nap, if she takes one! Teach an evening class then early to bed to rinse and repeat.

Q: How has fitness impacted your life?
It has impacted my life both socially and internally. I get to meet some great people. My classes become my fitness family and I look forward to spending the hour with them! But my heart is the happiest when I see people work hard, meet their goals and smile.

Q: Any advice for those wanting to start an exercise routine?
Remember that exercising is about being healthy on the inside. Looking good on the outside is a bonus!! When you choose an activity, it needs to be something that you will enjoy for years. Not everything has to be high intensity training or body building! Try different activities, class formats, and sports. One of the hardest things to do is find internal motivation to exercise. I love the idea of finding a buddy and joining a fitness class or getting a few friends together and hiring a personal trainer. Group personal training makes working out fun and more affordable.

Q: How do you stay balanced between being a mom and wife, owning your own business, and finding time for you? Any tips for those of us that struggle to do this?
I can finally say I have found the balance between home life and work life!! Personal time, not so much!! My husband and I both walk to work and only work part time, on purpose. This allows us to be together more and share responsibilities with raising our daughter and taking care of the duties at home. What really turned things around from chaos to comfy is identifying your intentions for each day and implementing a feedback system. For example, when I wake in the morning I make a HUGE to-do list full of chores and fun activities. Each item has a timeline to keep me focused!

Q: What do you want your daughter to remember most about her childhood?
Ha, she doesn’t have to remember anything because I have so many scrapbooks, pictures, and journals logging our life. Seriously though, that we were there for her in all situations, we shared experiences together as a family and tried to expose her to as much as we could of this world, country, state, city, etc!

Q: If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, how far back would you go and what advice would it be?
Not sure if I’d want to change my future, I feel like the mistakes I’ve made in the past have helped define who I am today. Daily, I try to remember that every day is a new day to make the most of, that life is precious, enjoy the small things like being able to touch the grass and most importantly, my relationships are vital to my happiness, so enjoy them

Q: What motivates you?
People, music, external expectation and deadlines!

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Anywhere that is an eye opening experience. I love the feeling of coming to understand a day in the life of someone in another country; it adds so much appreciation and insight to my own life.

Q: Do you have a favorite go-to weeknight dinner?
Whatever my husband comes up with, because that means I don’t have to cook it!

Q: What tips do you have for a working mom wanting to start their own business?
Learn from others as much as you can. Everybody loves to give advice, so don’t be afraid to ask.

You can find Dee at the Seattle Athletic Club, Belltown Dance Studio, and the Magnusson Athletic Club. You’ll also find her HERE on Facebook.

Until next time.

xo,
Kristie

Mar
7

This week might win the award for the fastest week that snuck by me! It’s like I blinked and here we are! Well, nonetheless, I’m thrilled for Friday! And, I’m thrilled for another 12 Fridays Feature, this week featuring a fabulous duo!

THIS IS WEEK FOUR.

Time to meet Leslie and Aimee…

I couldn’t agree more with whoever said, “it takes a village to raise a child.” And, I’d like to add: when raising twins, it takes an amazing best friend in that village to get you through it. Leslie is that AMAZING best friend! I don’t know what I would do without her! We entered this wonderful and oh-so-crazy journey of motherhood together. She lived in Atlanta. I lived in Tampa. There wasn’t a morning that went by that we didn’t chat. We laughed, we cried, we talked each other out of running away or made plans to meet up with our suitcases in hand. She lifted me up, always put a smile on my face and calmed my worries! She still does!

I’ll never forget the time she sat with me on the phone for over an hour on that dreaded day my boys involuntarily gave up their pacifiers. It was rough and I so badly wanted to give in, but she talked me through it. And, here I thought they’d be going to college with pacifiers, while still in diapers. There is hope! I have countless stories of her being there for me, of her kindness and love. Leslie’s presence in my life is a blessing. There isn’t a friend of hers that wouldn’t say the same thing! She brings sunshine everywhere she goes and pours her heart into everything she does, which has me so excited for Chic Sophistication. It’s going to be amazing–just like her! She’s teamed up with her fabulous friend, Aimee, and together they are creating and designing some of the prettiest wreaths and most fun, unique gifts and home decor. I know you’re going to love their work and if you don’t know Leslie and Aimee already, you’re going to love them too!

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself. WE ARE TWO MOMS, NEIGHBORS AND CLOSE FRIENDS WHO LOVE TO DECORATE, SPEND TIME WITH FRIENDS, PLAY TENNIS AND SPEND TIME WITH OUR FAMILIES.

Q: What does a day in your life look like? BUSY!!!!! RUN, RUN, AS FAST AS YOU CAN. WE ARE PROFESSIONAL JUGGLERS—LOL THE TYPICAL MOM DAY CONSISTING OF GETTING KIDS OFF TO SCHOOL, HUBBY OFF TO WRK, CLEANING, VOLUNTEERING, CLEANING,TRYING TO START A BUSINESS, CLEANING, HOMEWORK, PRACTICES, CLEANING…SEE THE PATTERN? ;)

Q: Tell us about your business. CHIC SOPHISTICATION IS PRIMARILY A CUSTOM WREATH MAKING COMPANY WITH A LITTLE TWIST OF FUN DECOR AND UNIQUE GIFT ITEMS. WE ARE SUCH A MIX OF CLASSY ELEGANCE AND FUN AND FUNKY…AIMEE IS THE CLASSY ONE…I PLAY THE FUN AND FUNKY ROLE! ;)

Q: How do you stay balanced between being a mom and wife, owning your own business, staying involved at school and finding time for you? Any tips for those of us that struggle to do this? OH GOODNESS, WE ARE LOOKING FOR THE BALANCE…LOL HONESTLY FOR ME, I LIKE TO GIVE MYSELF ONE DAY A WEEK (DURING THE SCHOOL WEEK) WHERE I HAVE NOTHING TO DO AND I USE THAT AS MY CATCH UP DAY…LAUNDRY, ORGANIZE MY UPCOMING WEEK, AGAIN WITH TE CLEANING. IT DOESN’T ALWAYS HAPPEN, BUT WHEN IT DOES, I AM MUCH MORE FOCUSED AND ORGANIZED. I ALSO TAKE 1:30 – 2:30 EACH DAY TO BE ALONE AND ACTUALLY REST ON THE COUCH. IT’S MY POWER NAP AND WORKS WONDERS. I TRY TO LOOK AT MOST EVERYTHING I DO LIKE…”HEY, I AM HERE AND TRYING THE BEST FOR MY FAMILY, FRIENDS, SCHOOL, BUSINESS”. AS LONG AS MY HEART IS HAPPY, I THINK MOST EVERYTHING ELSE FALLS RIGHT WHERE IT SHOULD. MAYBE THAT’S A LITTLE NAIVE, BUT IT WORKS FOR ME.

Q: What do you want your children to remember most about their childhood? HAPPINESS, FUN AND SECURE!!! AS THE WISE WORDS SAID BY JACK HANDY…YOU’RE GOOD ENOUGH, SMART ENOUGH AND GOSH DARNIT PEOPLE LIKE YOU”. HEY, IF YOU HAVE ALL THAT HAPPENING, SOUNDS LIKE YOU GOT IT RIGHT! ;)

Q: If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, how far back would you go and what advice would it be? OH WOW…THAT’S A LONG LIST…;) I WOULD CERTAINLY ADVISE MYSELF THAT WHATEVER TRIAL YOU ARE IN, IS TEMPORARY! YOU WILL SEE THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL. WORK HARDER IN SCHOOL. IT’S NOT BECAUSE YOU WANT THE BEST JOB, OR MOST MONEY, BUT BECAUSE IT WILL BUILD YOUR CONFIDENCE AND CARRY YOU LATER IN LIFE. GO FOR WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY, NOT NECESSARILY TRYING TO PLEASE OTHERS FIRST. YOU MATTER AND IF YOU ARE HAPPY, THOSE AROUND ARE HAPPY…:)

Q: What inspires you? TOO MANY THINGS…MY HUSBAND, MY KIDS, MY FRIENDS, THEIR FRIENDS. I AM USUALLY INSPIRED BY SIMPLE GOODNESS.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? I HATE PLANES!!!! SO MAYBE THE LOCAL TARGET!!! LOL THE BEACH IS MY HAPPY PLACE AND DISNEY BECAUSE IT MAKES MY KIDS SO HAPPY!

Q: Do you have a favorite go-to weeknight dinner? TACO TUESDAY, BABY!

Q: What tips do you have for a working mom wanting to start their own business? JUST DO IT!!! YOU WILL BE LEARNING THE WHOLE WAY THROUGH. GO AFTER WHAT MAKES YOU PASSIONATE! SURROUND YOURSELF WITH THOSE WHO BELIEVE IN YOUR DREAMS. THEY WILL CARRY YOU…

OUR WEBSITE WILL BE OFFICIALLY UP AND RUNNIN IN 2 WEEKS….SO LOOK FOR US! SEE AS NOTED ABOVE, NOT QUITE READY, BUT CONFIDENT WE WILL BE. LEARNING AS WE GO…MUCH LOVE! :) LESLIE & AIMEE

You can find Chic Sophistication on Facebook HERE and once their website is up and running, you’ll find it at www.chicsophistication.com. You can also email Leslie and Aimee at chicsophisticationllc@gmail.com.

It’s been two years since I’ve seen these sweet faces, which means it’s time for a visit!

Until next time.

xo,
Kristie