Keep the Spark Alive

So excited to share with you guys something that has been a year in the making! Last year my schedule just wasn’t lining up so I couldn’t participate but I am so glad Kristel didn’t give up on me. And honestly, I feel like I have so much more to say on the topic this year than I ever would have in the past. And that’s saying a lot considering we’ve been together since high school!Kristel runs the site Wife Complex and then this yearly conference called Keep the Spark Alive. All for women and men who are striving to be their best selves in all their roles, specifically with their partners.

Kristel interviewed 20+ different women in business — truly juggling it all about how they Keep the Spark Alive. It’s a free conference and you can opt-in right here!

I won’t share all that we talked about there but I will tell you that this year has tested my relationship with my husband each and every day. He works 7 days a week. He comes home exhausted. His body is absolutely shot every single day. He goes to bed at 8 pm. He has never been so invested in his work: building our dream house. Building our life and wanting to make sure everything is perfect but also that it doesn’t take too long. The highs and lows of having subs bail on him, show up late, over charge, under deliver. And that’s just what’s on HIS plate.I’ve been solo parenting the better part of 7 months all while trying to run my own businesses and trying to maintain that sense of family and fun even if Russ can’t be there. The point of all this is that times of high stress, no free time, life decisions and changes, physical exhaustion, parenting, there has been one thing that has kept our relationship strong through it all. And it’s perhaps the least sexy thing I can think of. But it created a system that allows us to prioritize our relationship no matter how the odds stack against it. With that cliffhanger I’ll send you to my page to sign up! I hope it uplifts and helps you all, a great marriage is hard and challenging but so worth it. You deserve it, we all do!

Photos by Hayley Kaze.

KEEP THE SPARK ALIVE SIGN UP

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glasses for kids [giveaway!]

Brought to you by Jonas Paul Eyewear.

Jonas Paul Eyewear

Jonas Paul Eyewear makes the most darling spectacles and shades for children and we’ll be giving away a frame of your choice to TWO winners! But first, we couldn’t share Jonas Paul’s story without sharing a little bit about the company’s namesake, little Jonas himself:

Story Behind Jonas Paul Eyewear from sprout: visual storytelling on Vimeo.

These specs are stylish and sturdy and the passion and heart behind the company, two parents, is what made us fall in love with these little frames.  Since our boys don’t wear glasses (yet!) we wanted to call on you readers that have traversed this experience before with your kids. Here’s what you all had to say:

Jonas Paul Eyewear

What were some clues that your child might need glasses?

Camille – “At the grocery store or Target I could not put Mason (16 months) down on the ground. He would scream and almost have a panic attack. He either had to be held or put straight into the cart. Come to find out, he couldn’t see and the shiny floors and the reflection of the lights scared him, he couldn’t tell if it was water or slippery… The most obvious sign came a little later when we noticed his eyes crossing.”

Paige – Ethan (9 years old) was sitting really close to the TV, asking what time it was from the back seat, and squinting his eyes.

Linda – Both my husband and I wear glasses so we were always on high alert, turns out ALL seven of our kids wear glasses! For us, just like the dentist, we take our kids to the eye doctor at age three. Most of our kids didn’t get glasses until age 5 or 6. Headaches are always a good sign of problems, so look out for that!

Julie – Our situation is unique because Amelia’s (age 4) vision was fine! But she had an eye muscle issue. Her eyes would turn outward when she was tired or trying to relax, causing her distress and aggravation especially watching TV or movies. It’s important for parents to know that passing a vision screen is not a guarantee that there are no issues. If you suspect anything is “off”, see a pediatric ophthalmologist!

Lauren – Jack (5 years old) was having trouble focusing at school, his handwriting was hard to read, and his eyes were always wandering.

Jonas Paul Eyewear

How did you prepare them for getting glasses?

Camille – Mason wore an eye patch to correct a lazy eye situation, we let him pick his stickers to decorate it and he felt special and unique. By the time he got glasses he was so excited he could finally see he never took them off!

Paige – We always presented it as a cool and positive thing. Letting him pick out his glasses, no matter what he chose helped get him excited. He was actually sad that it would take a week to get them in the mail. Now Ethan isn’t Ethan without his glasses, it’s become a part of him!

Linda – Since all their siblings had glasses the younger ones were usually jealous they didn’t get glasses too! I would always say “Don’t worry, your day will come!” 😉 We had little reward systems in place so if they were caught without the glasses they put a quarter in the jar, and then when they had quarters they could buy an ice cream from the ice cream truck. Worked like a charm! Like the other mothers, I always let my kids choose their glasses!

Julie – I talked to her about glasses and how they will help her eye to “stay still”. It helped tremendously that I wear glasses. And now I refuse to wear contacts at any time, because I don’t want to send her the message that I look better without the glasses. I recommend parents in glasses to help their children through the change. My daughter is ok with her glasses because I am ok with mine.

Lauren – I pointed out all the cool people he loves that have glasses, grandpa, uncles, other friends. I brought his glasses to school the first time, brought them to him and asked the other kids in the class “Doesn’t he looks so cool?” Most agreed and now he loves them!

Jonas Paul Eyewear What do you wish you would’ve known before this experience?

Camille

  •  If your child is young take them to a specialist, get them on the right track right off the bat!
  • Be diligent about what the doctor tells you to do. If he says patch, PATCH! The discomfort is worth it in the end.
  • Buy the glasses you like, but then get their glasses professionally fitted and buy a warranty and even a back up pair. Getting scratched, dropped, lost, will all happen to your kid.

Julie – I would have gotten anti glare lenses for her. Also, back up pair! Also, LittleFourEyes.com! Amazing resource with a Facebook group of over 2,000 parents of children in glasses. The group is invaluable for anyone just starting on the glasses adventure.

Lauren – Take your prescriptions to Costco! The doctors office is so expensive.

Thank you to all of the mothers who participated in this post! How cute are their little bespectacled darlings?Moms Share Their Advice on Getting Kids Glasses

Ethan // Amelia // Jack // Mason

Now for the GIVEAWAY! Two winners will get to pick their favorite frames either in optical or sunglass form, and there are two ways to enter to win!

First, all you have to do is leave a comment letting us know why you’d like to win! We will pick the first winner from this post’s comments.

For a second chance to win, all you need to do is share this post on Facebook and we’ll pick a second winner from those who have shared the post.

Easy enough right? You have until Thursday April 24th to enter, and we’ll notify each winner then! Good luck!

All photos except directly above are by Jylare Smith Photography!

Autism Awareness Month

We’re so honored to have Luke and his mom Keisha for today’s Meet a Small Fry. April marks “Autism Awareness Month” and it is a diagnosis that effects 1 in 68 children now. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention didn’t start really tracking Autism until the early 2000s, and since then numbers have increased by leaps and bounds. Now, we don’t have any answers, we wish we did, but we are so appreciative of Keisha to shed the light on her experience with Luke and her thoughts on early diagnosis.

Autism Awareness Month

“Autism. One word that changed me as a mother, wife, and human being forever.  It is a word I couldn’t say for almost a year without sobbing every time it was said out loud. There are really REALLY hard things that come your way as a parent when you have a child struggling with tantrums, self regulation, sensory issues, language delays, social awkwardness, or any of the signs of autism.  Autism Awareness Month

You naturally have these dreams as a mother when you’re pregnant with your baby of what they will be like, the friends the will make, the things they will say, but when those dreams you’ve been dreaming about don’t seem to be happening, it pierces your soul.  You long for those special moments with your child that never seem to come.  You want them to tell you about their day, show excitement when you take them to a new place, or interact with the neighbor kids… it eats you up not having those moments. But when they do happen, we call them extraordinary normal moments at our house.  Because we’ve worked so hard to get them.  It has taken countless hours of therapy to have that moment where your child kindly shares a toy, or says something to you about what they did at school that day.  When those moments happen that you’ve longed for for who knows how long, it brings you to your knees in tears of joy.

Autism Awareness Month

I think that is the ironic thing about autism for me is that I hate it but I love it all at the same time.  I hate it because it is something I can’t control or fix (and I’m a control freak!)  I hate it because it makes Luke different and not always in a positive light for others around him. I love it because it is a part of Luke, and I’m obsessed with him – every part of him.  It has introduced me to families that are fighting so hard and accomplishing miracles every day.  It has changed me as a mother for the better, I’ve gained so much patience and understanding for all children.

Autism Awareness Month

I’ve become a fighter, an advocate, and it has brought out this passion and fire I never knew was inside of me.  I have a mission as a mother.  I’m out to help my son Luke and all children with developmental delays have a better chance. At the end of the day, I just want my son to be happy, and right now he is.

Luke is one of the happiest kids I know.  He is really never in a bad mood.  His smile lights up the room as well as his words. I melt to butter when he tells me I’m the best mom in the entire world.  He’s fiercely loyal.  Confidence in who he is is remarkable. If you say you are a goofball to him, he will promptly correct you with “No mom, I’m Luke- the kid.” Obviously from that statement, being literal is one our family favorites about him. There is no messing around with that. EVER. (We learned never to say ‘liar, liar, your pants are on fire’)          His sidekick Graham (our almost 2 year old) is his greatest treasure. I write about their relationship here. Trains fascinate him. But most importantly, he loves to be loved.

Autism Awareness Month

If Luke and I could leave you with one challenge it would be this, don’t wait!  If you think your child has signs of autism, find help immediately, even before a diagnosis.  Our pediatrician gave us great advice when we were starting to address Luke’s issues, he said this “Keisha, ages zero to five you are laying and building a foundation and structure like you would with a house.  You can add and remove rooms etc. if you need to. After five it becomes more difficult and you are just working on the finish work and decor.” We’ve taken that to heart and hit therapy and early intervention hard and we’ve seen results.  There is help out there, it can be hard to find, but it is out there. And one last thing, love your child (with autism or not) for who they are, and celebrate the things they are good at.”

Catch up with Keisha and Luke via her blog about Autism, Toast With Cheese.

Photos by Chelsey Searle.

meet a small fry: hattie

We’ve been itching to feature Miss Hattie as our “Meet a Small Fry” for months, but we worried our words couldn’t adequately do her justice, luckily a picture is worth a thousand! Daughter of Susan Petersen, creator of the Leather Moccasin phenomenon known as Freshly Picked, Hattie is a firecracker filled with sass, cheekiness, and intelligence. She loves to perform (catch her in action in our Valentine’s Day film here) and delights in sharing her passion for singing and dancing. Wickedly smart, sweetly sensitive, and hilarious to a fault, we often tell Hattie she should have her own TV show. Small Fries, meet Hattie:
meet a small fry meet a small fry
What is your name? Hattie Mae Petersen.

How old are you? I am 7 years old.

Who is your mom? Oh, Susan May Petersen.

What does your mom do? She makes money.

Who is your dad? Christian Israel Petersen.

What does your dad do? He does work to make wood.

What do you want to be when you grow up? Chair lift operator.

What is your favorite food? Frozen yogurt.

What food do you not like? Tomatoes and mushrooms.

What is your favorite animal? Hummingbirds and butterflies.

Where do you want to live when you grow up? I want to live in Canada.

Who do you want to marry? I have no idea.

What does dad say? “Bye, I have to go to work”

What does mom say? “Don’t touch that!”

What do mom and dad do after you go to bed? Watch TV.

What is your favorite song? Call Me Maybe.

What is your favorite movie? Epicmeet a small fry

Where is your favorite place to eat? Panda Express.

What is your favorite book? Caps for Sale.

What would you buy with a million dollars? 7 Mermaid Princesses.

What do you dream about? I dream about flying.

What are you scared of? I am scared of sharks.

Why is the sky blue? Because.

How would the world be different if animals could talk? Then you would know what they’re saying.

If you could be invisible for a day, what would you do? I wouldn’t panic.

What are 5 words that describe you? Cute, smart, funny, bouncy, crazy for cookies.

What was a time that you felt lucky? When I went to the zoo.

If you could make one rule that everyone had to follow, what would it be? Always wiggle your tooth so that it will fall out.

If you could give a gift to every child in the world, what would it be? Something that they’ve always dreamed of.

What is your favorite place in the world? Thanksgiving point.

And because behind every performer is a mom holding their breath in anticipation, here’s what Hattie’s mom Susan has to say:

“Hattie is the best girl I know. She is the best parts of me and the best parts of every woman that I’ve known before me. I try my best to teach her about the world around her and give her the tools necessary to navigate her life. But, I am constantly in awe of her and her capacity for love, her imagination, her compassion and her creativity, and I wonder how it is that this little girl has taught me more than I could ever teach her. And that is the understanding that I’ve come to, that seeing the world for a second time through your child’s eyes and borrowing their innocence and wonder to do so, is the true gift of being a mother.”

Catch up with Hattie and Susan via Instagram @freshlypicked and Freshly Picked’s blog and shop.

Want more to meet another Small Fry or two? Check out Ollie the Imaginator, Zuri the Old Soul, and Oscar: Lover of Vacuums.

Moms You Should Meet : Norrinda Brown Hayat

July’s Mom You Should Meet has been such a pleasure to get to know and research for today’s post. Norrinda Brown Hayat is one of those women you can’t help but soak up everything they have to say, and if you’re anything like us, you’ll be in tears by the end, too!Moms You Should Meet | Brown Betty Bakery

Norrinda is a lawyer by day and round-the-clock entrepreneur, she splits her time between Washington D.C. where she is an attorney with the federal government, and her hometown of Philadelphia where she runs the city’s most beloved bakery, Brown Betty Dessert Boutique.

Norrinda grew up in Southwest Philadelphia, and spent much of her childhood in her grandmother Betty’s West Philadelphia kitchen. She graduated from Dartmouth College in 1999 in History and then from law school at the University of Virginia in 2002.

In 2004, Brown Betty Dessert Boutique’s first location was opened. The vintage-modern bakery quickly became the go-to spot for cakes, cupcakes and other sweets. It wasn’t long before Brown Betty developed a reputation for rich confections, reminiscent of the fresh-out-of-the-oven nostalgia desserts from her grandma Betty’s kitchen that filled Norrinda’s childhood.Moms You Should Meet | Brown Betty Bakery

On top of lawyer, baker, mother and wife, she recently added “book author” to her impressive resume with the release of The Brown Betty Cookbook!
Norrinda and her husband Fareed are the proud parents of baby Kingston and are expecting their second child this fall. Family is everything to Norrinda, with a strong connection to the generations before her and to come. Read her awesome interview below!
Moms You Should Meet | Norinda Brown Hayat

1. We know as a business owner you take on so many roles – accountant, PR, book author, janitor, you have to do what you have to do. What is the hardest part, the most rewarding part, the part you never want to do again, the part you could do all day everyday?

I do not think there is any of it I would never want to do again. I have loved it all really. I used to wake up at five a.m. and frost cupcakes and then sell those same cupcakes upfront and to be honest I miss being in the kitchen and behind the counter sometimes. Early mornings in the bakery were really quite serene to me. Plus, in those days, I really got a chance to know the staff and the customers and there were definite benefits to having that frontline interaction. I guess I am at the point (especially now that I have a family) where I feel like it is not a question of whether I WOULD do certain things, but if I SHOULD be the one to. If I had to be the one to mop the floors still every night, frost the cupcakes and sell them, is the business growing properly?

What I love most is the brand development and planning for the future. That’s the exciting part for me. What I dislike the most is facing an unsatisfied customer. It still upsets us when a customer is disappointed in our product.

2. What’s your typical day like?

If I am running the bakery and going to my law offices I wake at around 6 a.m. and start getting dressed and making breakfast. Then I take Kingston to his program. I head into the office. I usually try to respond to Brown Betty emails and calls during my commute. I will do legal work for about eight hours from the office and return calls and emails for Brown Betty over lunch. Then I meet Kingston and Fareed. We will have dinner out or head home for dinner. Then head to the park or do some other activity with Kingston. I will give Kingston his bath and do his bedtime routine. He goes to sleep between 8 and 8:30. We are lucky once he is asleep, he does not wake up! So Fareed and I will both start working again for a few hours. We may watch a movie or discuss the news after that and then we go to bed around eleven p.m.

On the days that I work exclusively for the bakery I try to pack as many meetings in as possible. I may grab an eight a.m. train into Philadelphia, grab breakfast at the train station before I get picked up and head straight to my first meeting, which varies depending on what the bakery has going on. Somedays are filled with non-stop media meetings and others are with business development meetings and sometimes there is a mix. Sometimes I have time to grab lunch in between and sometimes I do not. Now that I am pregnant again I have to eat and my Dad is kind enough to meet me wherever I am and bring me lunch. I usually try to chat with the bakery’s manager and hang out with the staff either before or after the meetings start just to get a sense of what’s on their minds, what customers have been saying and if they have been facing any challenges. Always at the end of the day I debrief my Mom and partner, Linda. She is the mastermind in the kitchen and lets me and my sister, Norrina, handle the business end, so we report back to her after a busy day of meetings what we have planned, so that we all stay on the same page. And then I go back to 30th Street station to head home. Those days are probably the most challenging, but also the most rewarding. At the end of them, I feel like I really advanced the ball.

3. How has adding a baby and one on the way changed the way you do business?
I am trying to work smarter. I try to ask myself whether I am the only or best person to do every task that I do for the business or what value-added I bring as opposed to a member of the team. Things that can be delegated, I pass along. It is not that having me there wouldn’t make a difference, but I try to decide whether the difference is big enough in the larger scheme of the business and the brand and do only those things where the answer is yes. Previously I thought I had to be involved in everything. Now with kids, I am also more efficient. I work on the train instead of daydream or call a friend. I work at night after Kingston goes to bed instead of watching TV or reading a book. I try to use downtime to be productive.

4. How do you balance motherhood and family life and your business?
My husband would likely tell you I do not have balance because I work a lot. But I do try! I used to work literally twenty hours a day if I had to between the firm and the bakery and I definitely do not do that anymore. Now I want to leave time to play with Kingston, laugh with Fareed and sleep eight hours every day! I have tried to make those three things non-negotiable and sometimes that means every email is not answered that I intended to, some meetings are shorter than they would otherwise be or I say no to engagements I would otherwise attend. That is easier said than done and some days I am better at it than others, but that’s my goal. I also have to say, I would not be able to keep up the pace I do if my husband was not so supportive, really hands on with Kingston and better at cleaning than I am! We also have part-time help in the home and my parents are really great about helping out wherever they can as well. So I have a village that helps me keep my life as closed to balanced as possible.

5. Do you have any must-have products as a mother?
For me: my Clare Vivier Minisac. I am a big bag or clutch kinda girl. But that just isn’t practical when you are at the aquarium or the park with a toddler and need your hands free. So I decided to give a crossbody a try and it has changed my life. I don’t even think about it for hours. And it is cute enough that I still feel like me.

For Kingston: We are California Baby crazy over here and have been since Kingston was a small baby. I love the bubble bath/shampoo, lotion, sunscreen and bug spray, in particular. You don’t mind that you have the scents on you after bath time and the sunscreen is so much easier to rub in than any other baby sunscreen we have tried (which you wouldn’t think is a big deal, but Kingston only gives us a couple of minutes to get it on before he runs off). Right now we are also fans of the Zoli Baby Straw Sippy cup
because it has this weighted straw that moves around with the liquid.

6. What do you want your kids to remember you for in fifty years?
I will want my children to remember that I loved them with everything I had. That I tried to make this world a better place for through my work outside of and inside of the home. I want them to remember my laugh. And, I want them to remember my cakes (of course) in the same way that I still remember my Grandmom and Mom’s cakes. Those cakes were made with so much love!

More Moms You Should Meet: a bloggera writeran artist, a designeran ex-pat, and a magazine editor!

Photos by Courtney de Jauregui of ErinheartsCourt.

Small Fry Films : Brooklyn Heights

Part of our tour of New York City was a quick stop to Brooklyn Heights to see Kelsey Nixon. Kelsey has had a whirlwind couple of years, landing her own show on the Cooking Channel called “Kelsey’s Essentials”, giving birth to her first baby, Oliver, and even scoring a Daytime Emmy nomination (nominated with Ina Garten and Giada Di Laurentiis), there’s no arguing Kelsey is busy!

One of the many things we love about Kelsey is that she has a contagious zest for life. Her passion for food bubbles over and inspires. Cooking is her love language, and we loved catching a glimpse of her sharing that with her family. Check out her interview filmed by Jenner Brown of Lumineux Films:

It seems that every parent has a special labor of love that they enjoy doing for their family. Where they go that extra mile because they enjoy doing it: It may be taking beautiful photos, a special Saturday breakfast, assembling a bicycle, a creative scrapbook, or like Kelsey, a delicious meal. We’d love to know, what’s yours?

Catch up with Kelsey on her websiteFacebookPinterestTwitter and @kelseynixon on Instagram.

Moms You Should Meet: Erin Loechner

We’re thrilled to have sweetheart slash internet Bright Spot, Erin Loechner, for June’s Mom You Should Meet! We’ve been big fans of Erin’s for a long time, and felt ourselves attaching and empathizing even more with the recent arrival of her baby daughter, Bee. Her site Design for Mankind (and new extension Design for MiniKind) is internationally recognized, just see the staggering press page here for evidence, and it’s no surprise. Erin’s eye for design and the next big thing excite, and her heart and intellect inspire. We’re not sure there’s any new fans to be had, but just in case you’re an Erin-first timer, here’s a little run down of what you’ve missed:

Moms You Should Meet | Erin Loechner

I grew up in southern Indiana in a very, very small town and headed to university to pursue a career in Media Relations (I wanted to be a news reporter, but my plans were foiled when I quickly learned that most news is bad news and I didn’t have the heart to stomach the delivery of sad stories. It took only one visit to the animal shelter for a personal interest piece to make me flee the news scene altogether!) I met my husband during a semester-long seminar where we filmed a documentary for American Red Cross and American Cancer Society. He was the director; I was a producer, and although we disagreed on everything at first, we slowly agreed on one thing: we were crazy in love.

He was a year older and moved to Los Angeles to pursue film (he won an Emmy!) and I stayed home to finish school. And although it was hard, I credit that nearly-two-year long distance relationship with developing the communication skills that keep our marriage strong to this day. Shortly after my graduation, I moved out to Los Angeles and we married. We bought a house, adopted two dogs and lived six years footloose and fancy-free a few blocks from the beach. I worked a lot of jobs in media, fashion, music, entertainment, advertising and PR before realizing that my dream job didn’t quite exist, so I might have to create it. Meanwhile, I had started Design for Mankind at a job where I’d become an impromptu (highly untrained!) art director as a place to catalog my visual inspiration and share ideas with the team. The blog skyrocketed after I shared our Los Angeles bedroom makeover (this was in 2007) and I’ve been writing and sharing and creating ever since.

A few years ago, we made a difficult decision to move from L.A. to the midwest to help take care of my husband’s father who had been recently diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. It was a turning point for us – choosing family over fortune – and it’s been a cornerstone for our life decisions ever since. We lost my father-in-law a short year-and-a-half later and we still miss him daily, but are so very grateful for the presence we all had in each other’s lives during the hard months of his slow decline.

Since then, we’ve been making an effort to live an intentionally creative life here in the midwest, renovating a home for HGTV.com and partnering with various websites to generate creative content via film, photography and writing. And, of course, I’m still blogging at the same site that launched it all, although I’ve recently added Design for MiniKind to the mix – a place for me to channel my love for kid’s design and modern parenthood.

Although I love-love-love my job, it can easily take over my life. There are no office hours on the Internet – no security guard that locks the doors at night. And I’ve always been a worker bee that has a hard time saying no to projects that sound exciting or emails that ask to be answered. So earlier this year, I made the decision to “slow blog” – maintaining regular hours during the day to answer emails/style photo shoots/freelance write, but to no longer blog just for the sake of blogging. Instead, I’ve been posting when I’m inspired – and only then. It’s been a welcome change, and a change that was fueled in large part with my daughter’s birth. I didn’t want to spend a minute away from her doing something that I wasn’t proud of or inspired by. I realize that not everyone has the chance to choose where they place their creative efforts, and I wanted to honor that choice by focusing on things that truly inspired my heart.

 

It’s been an amazing change, and I’m really grateful for the way my readers responded. I felt loved and embraced and encouraged, and I love seeing fellow bloggers adapt a similar pace. There’s a real world out there – a world without Instagram or Pinterest or TeuxDeux – and I’m on a mission to re-find it. 🙂

We had a little e-Sit Down with Erin, read what she had to say about life, motherhood, and tiny baby Bee after the jump! Continue reading Moms You Should Meet: Erin Loechner

Moms You Should Meet: Katie Richardson

You’ve all heard our love for Puj, but what about the force behind it? Meet Katie Richardson: the founder and designer for Puj Tubs and other awesome products!

puj

Even as a young girl Katie loved creating and making things, so naturally when it came time for college she studied Industrial Design. It was in college where she met her husband, the father of her three boys, and her business partner. We are so excited to have such a revolutionary designer for this month’s Moms You Should Meet!

1. What has been your most fulfilling job outside of motherhood?

It didn’t take me long to realize I wanted to design for myself and not freelance. Very early on I received encouragement from family and local baby boutiques that said my baby shoes, bags, blankets, etc. were “hot”. I figured, “what do I have to lose” and went for it. In the beginning, I spent a lot of time developing the Puj brand to have a solid foundation. I believe in family, freedom, simplicity and WOW! These core values still stand and are what give direction and meaning to everything we do at Puj. I design all my products to have a soul and meaningful purpose. People can sense the love and care that goes into all of my products and it is very fulfilling. I receive emails from moms all over the world whose lives have been improved by Puj products. It always makes me emotional because we are now connected in some small way.

richardson fam

2. What’s it like working with your husband?

I am a wife, mother, and designer (in that order). We are a very adventurous family who loves traveling all over the world or finding adventure in our own backyard. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world when I work side-by-side with the man of my dreams. He believes in me and helps me to see my potential. We work really hard to make our dreams a reality and it is so rewarding to share that with the whole family.

3. How do you find a career/home life balance that works for you?

Because I am a full time mother and work in my “spare time” I have to be flexible. It’s important for me to know when to put down my work and play hide-and-seek or go have a carrots and hummus picnic in the backyard with my four year old. Work will always be there, but children grow up. This time I have with them is so precious.

4. What is your typical day like?

I am extremely committed to taking care of myself and having “me” time. I start my day at 5:30 am and either bike, run or swim. It is my alone time where I can clear my mind and prep for the day. Exercise is the best stress reliever and I come home a more patient and loving mother. I get the boys off to school and then head to work. Like most entrepreneurs, I wear many hats at work. I am a tribe leader, designer, photographer, graphic designer, stylist, the “boss”, and team leader. I am extremely passionate about Puj and the opportunity I have to connect with other mothers through my products.pujproducts

4. What is your must have mom product – something you don’t leave the house without?

I always keep a little Moleskine drawing pad in my bag so no matter where we are going the kids have something to entertain them. Hungry kids are cranky kids, so I try to keep a water bottle and some sort of snack in my bag. I love little Fuji apples or raw almonds. We prefer glass water bottles with a silicone sleeve like LifeFactory.

5. What is one thing you hope your children learn from you?

I want my kids to enthusiastically go after their dreams. The world has changed and you no longer have to sit at a cubicle and punch away on a computer to make your living. You can design your life to be however you want it to be. The only limitations are the ones you put in front of yourself. Therefore, if you believe it, anything is possible.

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Isn’t she awesome? We love how Katie puts marriage first, carves out “me time” everyday, and is never too busy for a picnic. What did you connect with?

Pictured above: The Snug whale tub spout cover that offers a padding for bathing babies / The Hug towel, a hands free improvement on bathing those slippery newborns! / The Puj Flyte foldable sink tub.

More Moms You Should Meet: a writeran artist, an ex-pat, and a magazine editor!

Small Fry Films: Mother’s Day

Due to popular demand, Small Fry + Lumineux Films present and wish you a Happy Mother’s Day:

Check out this outtake reel that was featured on the news!

Also, a big thank you to Walls by Mur for decorating our set! Find them all here.

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Had to share this direct quote from our own Jenna. Motherhood is funny isn’t it? Submit your own Small Fry Sayings on any of our social networks! #smallfrysayings

Beautiful Lady

moms you should meet: Sarah Hubbell

Meet Sarah Hubbell: the Editor-in-Chief of the recently launched Emma Magazine, which they describe as a how-to guide for the modern domestic (basically Martha Stewart for twenty-somethings!) The magazine is gorgeous and the site and blog are chalk full of inspirational images and content.

inspiring moms, photography, moms you should know

Before Emma, Sarah appeared on MTV, MSNBC, and a slew of adorably embarrassing home videos. Born and raised in Arizona, she received her degree in journalism from Arizona State in 2007. At the time, she planned to pursue a career in broadcasting. However, her plans changed when she moved to Hollywood as the goody-goody roommate on the 20th season of MTV’s “The Real World.” Her subsequent freelance career laid the groundwork and connections that made Emma Magazine possible.

A self-proclaimed dessert snob, Sarah loves baking, easy DIYs, and sn

uggling with her too cute for words (believe me, we tried) son, Hudson. She met her husband, Ryan, through high school speech and debate. It doesn’t get much more romantic than that. Ryan now teaches at a prep school and provides a level-head to balance Sarah’s quirky adventurism. Once New York dwellers, the pair love blending city life with domesticity and dream of moving back to raise their little one(s) in the big city. We were so excited to interview Sarah, here’s what she had to say:

inspiring moms, photography, moms you should know

Photo credit Gina Meola.

What has been your most fulfilling job outside of motherhood?

I feel so fulfilled doing what I do now. I feel like we were created to create, and creating Emma Magazine is such a fun blend of everything I love: home, fashion, DIY, food, entertaining. I get to work with women who inspire me and artists who knock my socks right off.

2. What is your typical day like?

There is no typical day! Every day differs, but pretty consistently starts with morning snuggles with my boy. Ryan usually spends a few minutes with Hudson before heading off to work, leaving the two of us to play and read together until his first nap. During nap time, I try to get as much work done as I can and/or shower if it’s an extra long nap. On days when we have photo shoots, I usually take Hudson to my sister’s, but occasionally he tags along and “helps.” The rest of the day is spent balancing nap time with dinner prep, magazine layout, and mountains of email. Pretty glamorous.

3. How do you find the career/home life balance?
Not easy! I’m beyond grateful to spend lots of time with our babe, but sometimes toy with the idea of a nanny. I know how crucial spending this time together is and feel so blessed to have it, but equally important, I want him to grow up watching me pursue my own goals and passions outside of the home.

4.What is your must have mom product? Something you don’t leave the house without?
Besides my nursing cover (an adorable Etsy find), I swear by the Ergo carrier. He loves it, and I love having free hands.

5. What advice do you have for other mothers looking to “do it all” or specifically get in the publication business?

Don’t do it all yourself. Collaborate! Surround yourself with like-minded creatives. I would never be able to do what I do without the amazing women I surround myself with.

Also, just go for it. Don’t sit on your ideas. Try them out. Fail! Fail big! Then, on to the next thing. Eventually, you’ll find the perfect niche.

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Isn’t she just so inspiring? When we saw Emma Magazine was hiring we were tempted to apply just to hang out with Sarah more! Thanks for talking with us, Sarah!

Check out Emma Magazine here.

More moms you should meet: Casey Wiegand and Kelli Murray.

More awesome mama style here: 1, 2, 3 & 4.