Apr
18

Hello friends! Happy Friday! We’re holding on to Spring Break over here. Enjoying being off-schedule and soaking up as much rays of sunshine we can. Wishing we could have just one extra week. Like Spring Break, it’s hard to believe our 12 Fridays feature is close to an end. This Friday it’s sweets treats by my sweet friend.

THIS IS WEEK TEN!

Time to meet Sarah…

Somehow we always manage to hit the awesome-neighbor-jackpot! Insert Sarah and her adorable family. She is one of the most caring, thoughtful people I have ever met. She has the nicest hubby and three of the most adorable kiddos on the planet! It only makes sense that someone so sweet and incredibly awesome could create equally awesome cake pops. I mean there’s cake pops… and then there’s Sarah’s cake pops. They are heavenly! They are adorable! They are delicious! They are artistic! And, they are 100% made with love! I’m thrilled for you to meet my dear friend and I’m hoping it won’t be long before you try her amazing cake pops because I know you’ll fall in love.

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I grew up in Eastern Washington and went to Central Washington University where I earned a teaching degree. After college I moved to Seattle and worked as an elementary school teacher. In 2005, my husband Josh and I moved to Los Angeles where he completed his law degree and we soaked up the sun for a few years. In 2009, we moved back to the Seattle area and currently live in Woodinville raising our family of three children – Sophie (7), Jake (6), and Max (4).

Q: What does a day in your life look like?
Hectic. I stay home with my kids so a typical day for me is very schedule driven. I spend most of the day dropping off and picking up kids at school, t-ball, softball, ballet and their other activities. The rest of a typical day is filled with helping in my kid’s classroom, homework, children activities and playtime. After the kids go to bed, I usually either work on a cake pop order or just relax with Josh.

Q: Tell us about Sar.n.dipity Sweets. What was your inspiration for starting your business?
I stumbled upon the idea of cake pops in 2011 when I was offered one for dessert. I was intrigued by these tasty, tiny treats. I have always loved baking and creating different desserts so I had to give it a try. My first pop was terrible. Unwilling to give up, I tried again. According to Josh, the next version was much better. My passion for making cake pops was born.

Amazingly, I learned days later that Washington had just passed the “Cottage Food” Law permitting the sale of home-baked goods. It was serendipity. I named my business Sar.n.dipity Sweets, obtained a Cottage Food license and began making cake pops from home.

Q: How do you stay balanced between being a mom and wife, running your business, staying involved at school and finding time for you? Any tips for those struggling with this balancing act?

Finding balance is hard. I have been very fortunate to have great support from my husband, my parents and friends. When I first began my business I tried to do it all. I was a mother by day and baker by night. I found both areas of my life suffered and made a conscious effort to take time for myself. While I have not found the perfect balance, I am learning when and how to say ‘no’. My number one priority is my family, and then my business. Maintaining balance is a constant challenge. I do my best to make sure I do not miss out on my kids while they are young – it goes by so fast.

Q: What do you want your kiddos to remember most about their childhood?
It was fun, they were loved and they had great experiences to bring to their adulthood!

Q: If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, how far back would you go and what advice would you give?
I would probably go back to high school and tell myself not to worry so much.

Q: What motivates you?
Doing things that make my family and friends smile.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Disneyland. I want to take my kids there before they outgrow Disneyland’s magic.

Q: Do you have a favorite go-to weeknight dinner?
Taco night!

Q: What tips do you have for a mom wanting to start their own business?
Go for it! Life is short and you will always be glad you gave it a try!

Want to know where to find Sarah’s amazing cake pops? On the web, http://www.sarndipitysweets.com and on Facebook, Sarndipity Sweets.

Until next time.

xo,
Kristie

Apr
11

Happy Friday friends! With spring break upon us, there is a definite excitement in the air. I imagine from here on out, we’ll be going at warp speed to the end of the school year. Maybe I should wear a helmet or just put up post-it notes around the house reminding myself to slow down. Actually, that’s not a bad idea. Slow down. Breath. Hug more. Eat an apple (what I really want to say is eat a donut). Laugh. Signs will be made, but before I break out the markers, it’s time for you to meet another AMAZING woman for this week’s Friday Feature.

THIS IS WEEK NINE!

Time to meet Heather...

Before my photography+advertising+public relations+graphic design life, I was a PE major. True story. My heart belonged (and still does to some degree) to Physical Education. My first semester in the program, I met Heather. We had classes together and ended up going for the same gymnastics coaching job. Apparently we impressed them because they hired us both! Oh brother, what a job it was though. Heather and I still laugh about it. We also had the funniest dog combination you could imagine. Heather had “Barney” the Beagle and I had “Belle” the Great Dane. Our dogs were the best of friends too. Sometimes it feels like that was just yesterday and other times it feels lifetimes away. Our college days are far behind us, but Heather will forever be a dear friend. Not to mention, my fitness hero! She was born to motivate and encourage others! She’s competed in countless bodybuilding and fitness competitions. Her passion for exercise and health shows in everything she does and I love that her entire family is involved in her fitness movement! Her energy is contagious and her optimistic personality shines. Plus, she looks INCREDIBLE in a tutu! I know you’ll agree!

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

2 Boys (Brodie, 10 Bradley, 8)
4 dogs (Chichi, Haus, Valentine and Happy)
1 Husband (Clay)
Not quite an entrepreneur yet…more of a Family Business Woman…Full time with Parents (Ed and Connie) & brother (Ted) @ Davidson Insulation & Acoustics, Inc…Misc. odds and ends with Clay @ Henson Contractors, Inc.
CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
CrossFit Kids
AFAA Personal Training and Group Exercise

Q: What does a day in your life look like?

5:00-6:15am Gym/Run with the girls
6:30-7:45am Get everybody ready for the day
8:00-2:45pm Work @ Davidson
3:00-5:45pm Homework (kids and myself) prepare dinner, misc. Henson Contractors stuff
6:00-7:45pm Activities (Baseball, gymnastics, workouts)
8:00-9:15pm Eat, finish homework, BED!


Q: How has fitness impacted your life? 

Has always had a huge role since the time I started gymnastics @ age 6. Love it, can’t imagine not having it!

Q: Any advice for those wanting to start an exercise routine?

Find a person or group to help motivate you and hold you accountable. Get it done early in the day. Do activities that you enjoy. Set small goals, register for fitness related events (races, competitions, etc.) Have fun!

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? 

Get-up early. Have a plan to accomplish for the day/week/month/year, but be flexible.

Q: What do you want your sons to remember most about her childhood?

Family time, Love, Respect for self and others, Fun and I hope I instill a love of fitness in 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?

College; be true to yourself; don’t change to fit somebody else’s ideals or stereo-types

Q: What motivates you?

Everything…

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Back to California to visit more of the state. Only went to LA and didn’t even get to see half of that but I did get to see the CrossFit Games and Muscle Beach! And I made it before I was 40.

Q: Do you have a favorite go-to weeknight dinner? 

Grass-fed hamburger

Q: What tips do you have for a working mom wanting to start their own business?  

Get back to me in a year….

Until next time.

xo,
Kristie

Apr
07

Call me a hopeless romantic, but I ADORE love stories. I can watch When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle or The Holiday over and over again. So, having the chance to photograph dear friends where they met almost 20 years ago, was a special experience.

It was their sophomore year, they were 19 and living in a co-ed dorm at the University of Washington. Mutual friends and a game of volleyball brought them together. It was love at first spike, um, I mean sight. This year they’re celebrating their 14th wedding anniversary and are blessed with three of the sweetest kiddos. I loved hearing their history and being able to capture it in this moment. I’m grateful to have these amazing friends in my life.

Harry: I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible. -When Harry Met Sally

 

Until next time.

xo,
Kristie

Apr
04

Hello friends! And just like that, April is here and another Friday too! Which mean it’s time for another 12 Fridays Feature! Today’s feature is one that I’ve looked forward to all week.

THIS IS WEEK EIGHT!

Time to meet Heather…

Heather is the sister of one of my dear friends. Not only do we both have bloodhounds that we’re sure are distant cousins (based on their love for all things fluffy, rugs and food from the table), we’ve also both experienced the unthinkable, a high risk pregnancy that resulted in being hospitalized for several months on bed rest. Thankfully, both of our stories have happy endings. Heather’s experience, however, motivated her to establish High Risk Hope, a nonprofit organization that is near and dear to my heart. Heather and the team of High Risk Hope volunteers touch the lives of women and their families who are experiencing a high risk pregnancy resulting in hospitalized bed rest through support, encouragement, information and resources. Heather is an absolute inspiration to me and a blessing to so many in the Tampa Bay area. I’m grateful for the work she’s doing.

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I have been married to my husband Bennett for almost nine years and we have two children, Claire (7) and Hill (5). I graduated with highest honors from The University of Florida with a Master of Accounting and Bachelor of Science in Accounting and am also a Florida Certified Public Accountant. I am the founder and Executive Director of High Risk Hope (HRH), which is our family’s third baby. In my down time, I love to scrapbook, bike and practice yoga.

Q: What does a day in your life look like?
I wake up around 5 am and start my workday answering emails and posting to HRH’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. The kids wake up at 6 and we are all out the door for school or work at 7. I head to the HRH office at 7:30, and leave at 2:30 to pick up the kids from school and shuttle them to afterschool activities. We are usually home by 5 and the kids do their homework while Bennett cooks dinner. We all say grace and eat together as a family every night where Claire wants to hear (and provide) details of everyone’s day. At 6:30 we read to the kids and put them to bed. After bed time I usually spend an hour or two wrapping up any outstanding HRH items, hang out with Bennett and am in bed by 9:00.

Q: Tell us about High Risk Hope.
High Risk Hope is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization formed on February 16, 2011 to provide support, encouragement, information and resources to women and families who are experiencing a high risk pregnancy resulting in hospital bed rest, potential premature birth and neonatal intensive care after delivery. HRH serves 1200 families each year at St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital and Tampa General Hospital. With no paid employees, our 100+ volunteers do 100% of the work! This means we have a very low administrative cost so the majority of all donations go directly into HRH projects and programs.

Q: What was your inspiration for starting this nonprofit organization?
HRH’s incorporation date is the second anniversary of my water breaking 24 weeks into my pregnancy with my son Hill. I was admitted to the hospital with Preterm Premature Rupture of Membranes and sent to labor and delivery for the impending birth of a very sick baby boy. The doctors were certain I would deliver within 48 hours and were very grim about Hill’s quality of life, if he survived at all. With the support of family and friends, Hill and I survived over 8 weeks of complete hospital bed rest and Hill came into this world kicking and screaming at 32 weeks gestation. Hill had an uneventful two-week stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and is now a happy and healthy five-year old little boy.

It is hard to imagine, or to adequately convey, how difficult and stressful this type of ordeal can be on a mother-to-be and her family. While in the hospital, I did not receive any type of support from a local or national nonprofit. HRH evolved out of one mother’s mission to encourage other families in similar terrifying circumstances and offer the hope of bringing home a healthy baby.

Q: How do you stay balanced between being a mom and wife, running a nonprofit, staying involved at school and finding time for you? Any tips for those of us that struggle to do this?
I cannot say that I always stay balanced. It is something that I struggle with every day. I am blessed because my career at HRH is fully supported by my family, most of all Bennett and the kids. They are also fully vested in HRH’s outreach, which makes devoting so much of my time to HRH an easy choice. A long-standing fight between Claire and Hill is which one will be in charge at HRH ‘when’ something happens to me.

I try to focus on HRH when the kids are in school or asleep and give my full attention to them when we are together. Some days I do a better job of this than others. I try to cut myself a little slack and if at the end of the day I feel like I did the best job I could for my family and my HRH families, I call it a great day.

One suggestion I would give others would be to schedule some time for yourself every week. You are no use to anyone if you are running on empty. We all need to recharge.

Q: What do you want your kiddos to remember most about their childhood?
I always tell them to enjoy every second of being a child because it goes by so fast. I hope they have memories just being a kid and all that entails (snakes and horses for Claire, scuba divers and eels for Hill), Both of them have been volunteering at HRH since we began so I take pride knowing that giving back to others will be something that is engrained in their character from their earliest memories.

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 hospital the night that my water broke with Hill and tell myself “you will not believe what God has planned for your family, stay strong and have faith.”

Q: What motivates you?
My family. I want to use my time here to leave this world a better place for Claire, Hill and my HRH babies.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Antarctica

Q: Do you have a favorite go-to weeknight dinner?
Anyone who knows me knows me knows I cannot cook. My favorite dinner that Bennett makes is grilled Salmon, zucchini and cubed potatoes

Q: What tips do you have for a working mom wanting to start their own business?
Do your homework and research. Before you file your articles of incorporation, know where you are going, what skills you have, and what help you need to get you there. Find a mentor who is in a similar business but a few years ahead of you, they can offer so much help to a start-up business woman. Once you are a few years out and successful, pay it forward by mentoring someone else. We all benefit from collaboration and you just never know where your mentee might end up one day!

Q: How can others get involved with High Risk Hope?
We have several ways people can help out:

 

Until next time.

xo,
Kristie

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
07

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

Feb
28

Another Friday, which means another fabulous friend being featured in our 12 Fridays feature! Wow, that’s a lot of “F’s” in one sentence, isn’t it? Okay, moving on.

This is WEEK THREE.

Time to meet Lissy… 

When your kiddos play baseball, it’s a huge commitment at any age! Long, multiple practices a week, games on weekends, you just hope that they love it! Well, turns out, my boys did not, but we were committed, so what’s a mom to do? The only thing to hope for at that point is to meet some nice families in the process. Luckily, we did! Lissy’s family was one of them, which makes me forever grateful for baseball despite the long practices! I’ve had the honor of photographing their family twice. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know Lissy, she has the kindest heart and one of the best sense of humors around! Plus, she’s my fashion + style hero… it’s a real thing, trust me! That’s why you’ll be seeing more of her in the coming months! Lissy’s agreed to do a little “What to Wear” fashion segment on my blog–you’ll want to tune in for sure! I’m grateful for my dear friend and I’m excited for you to get to know her as well.

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Wife of almost 12 years to my best friend. Mom of a Minecraft-obsessed boy and a girl who loves anything sparkly. Shopaholic. Project-aholic. Night owl. HGTV addict. Party planner. I love reading magazines. I love Starbucks and Target. And especially the Targets that have a Starbucks inside. I love Jimmy Fallon. And I really love Kate Spade. I love dressing up but I love sweats even more.

Q: What does a day in your life look like?

My mornings are usually spent getting some good uninterrupted work time in my studio after getting the kids to school. Back to volunteer at their school a couple hours later, back home to work a little more. Back to school to get my daughter, off to her gymnastics class which I LOVE watching, and back to school to pick up my son. After school… park time, play dates, swim lessons, and Starbucks pit stops. Family dinners most nights… then when the kids head to bed I’m ready for a glass of wine and some mindless TV!

Q: Tell us about Shoplissy.

My Etsy shop started out as mostly baby blankets, bibs, aprons, and purses… I love to sew and LOVE fabric. Then after making a party hat for my daughter’s 1st birthday a few years ago, I started selling those too… over the next year, that became the bulk of my business! I love creating something that is a special part of kids’ birthday parties and is often kept as a keepsake… and I love that I have customers who come back every year! Definitely didn’t set out to be a party hat designer but I love it.

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?

Hmmm…. All those things are so important to me and I don’t want to give anything up! I am not the best at balance, I just don’t sleep a ton so I have a lot of hours in the day to fit everything in as long as I stay very organized. That is not a very good answer, is it?

My only real advice is to remember that family is more important than work! I remember my 3 year old daughter had a Mother’s Day event at her preschool a couple years back and they asked the kids questions about their moms. When my daughter was asked what her mom’s favorite thing to do was, she said “Make party hats!” YIKES. Wake up call for me… more time doing fun stuff with the kids, less time working when they’re awake!

Q: What do you want your children to remember most about their childhood?

I want them to remember all our fun traditions we have together… holiday traditions like putting a little Christmas tree in each of their rooms and going to Snowflake Lane, Saturday morning traditions like grabbing a hot chocolate and going to Barnes & Noble, doing “highs” and “lows” of our day at the dinner table, snuggling every night at bed time and talking about whatever is on their mind, yearly getaways to fun places like Seabrook… all those things they always look forward to, and look back on with great memories!

I also want them to remember that I didn’t always say “No”! I love saying “yes” to them when they’re not expecting it and seeing their faces light up! When they ask if we can stop for ice cream for no reason and I say yes! When they ask for a sleepover in the playroom on a school night and I say yes! When we’re at the store and they HAVE to have a toy and they know I don’t give in that easy… and I say yes. Moms have to say “no” SO much… it’s fun to be the bearer of good news sometimes too;)

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 could go back to myself at any (every!) point in time, and tell myself not to worry so much! I’m an over-thinker/obsesser!

Q: What inspires you?

Pretty, happy, colorful things! The bulletin board in my studio is full of clippings from magazines and catalogs that inspire me every day… it’s like my real-life Pinterest. Right now it’s catalog pictures of cute polka dot pillows and bold black and white striped rugs, minty green paint swatches I’m debating for my next home project, magazine pages of bright & fun Christmas decorating ideas for my daughter’s upcoming “Christmas in April” birthday party (yes, unusual theme this year!!), some fabric swatches I have had on there for years and can’t get enough of, drawings by my favorite little budding artist… all things I love and all things that make me happy to look at!

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

In the words of Audrey Hepburn, “Paris is always a good idea!”

Q: Do you have a favorite go-to weeknight dinner?

I LOVE my Breville Panini Press… such yummy dinners in 5 minutes. Most days I am a last-minute dinner maker since I can’t seem to meal plan to save my life, so I like quick and easy dinners that the kids eat without complaining;) Our faves are Tomato/Basil/Mozzarella Panini for us, and Turkey & Cheese Panini for the kids. Breville really should give me a kick back. I tell everyone to buy one;)

Q: What tips do you have for a working mom wanting to start their own business?

Figure out what is holding you back and get around it. For me, it was always money… not wanting to risk a bunch of money to start a business. And that is one of the things I love about Etsy – it allows me to have a pretty, well-organized shop for FREE, and only pay them a small fee when something sells. When the financial risk was taken out of the equation, I couldn’t wait to set up shop and see what I could do.

You’ll find Lissy’s adorable designs at www.shoplissy.com and on Facebook HERE. Lissy can also be reached by email at lissy@shoplissy.com. 

Until next time.

xo,
Kristie