moms you should meet: macaire

You guys, this series sat on the shelf for years and I am so happy to bring it back today with Macaire of Half Pint Shop! Macaire of Half Pint Shop Half Pint Shop is a curated kid’s boutique with an online shop as well as a brick and mortar store in Chicago! Half Pint Shop is filled to the brim with our favorite kid brands like Oeuf, Tiny Cottons, Nico Nico and other brands that we’ve loved since the start. (Catch the designer list here.) But what about the woman behind Half Pint? Let’s meet her!Macaire of Half Pint ShopMacaire is from Wisconsin, moved around a lot and got her degree in Advertising, PR and Journalism. She has two boys Eyan and Jude (6,3) and started Half Pint Shop in 2014 and have had the brick and mortar shop near their home a year ago.Macaire of Half Pint ShopWhat inspires you most about children’s clothes?
One of my favorite moments in the shop is seeing children thrilled with their new outfit. That’s why I do it – I love stocking clothes that parents and kids both love. I wish I was creative enough to design! I’m always in awe of the designers I work with.

Do you have favorites for your kids?
I can’t pass up a good, quality basic – my favorites are Gray Label and Nico Nico. My kids love how cozy they are and that they allow them to look stylish while still playing freely. I always mix in fun prints from Winter Water Factory and some of my favorite special pieces from Bobo Choses. Most of these favorites are organic or made from sustainable fabrics.Macaire of Half Pint Shop

Any brand or owner’s stories that you find particularly interesting or inspiring?
We’ve always supported parent-owned brands – it’s something I’m very proud of. Parents know the market best and pour so much love into their designs. One local Chicago designer, greyboy, is creating an amazing unisex line of clothing with witty, city-inspired designs. She does it all in house with her own illustrations while raising her two boys.

I’m also so inspired by Oeuf – they are a family owned business and have built a beautiful brand. The sustainable furniture they design works for the nursery and home – their mini library is one of my favorite pieces! I also love how they are so transparent about the makers behind their products.

Macaire of Half Pint ShopWhat do you feel is the hardest element to being a working parent?
Oh, the highs and lows of being a working parent! I really wouldn’t have it any other way. I love having something for myself and feel lucky that I’m also able to be with my kids all day. When I opened the store we were online only because I didn’t want to leave them. But now that the store has grown and we now have our studio, I feel even more of that “mom guilt.” I constantly feel like I’m not doing my best in all categories. Or I feel bad that the kids are in the shop and not outside at the park. I often remind myself of how lucky we are to be together and I have an amazing support system – my husband helps immensely and my mom even works on the website! I’ve also learned to say yes to help in the store and with the kids, and to also take some time to take care of myself.Macaire of Half Pint Shop

Any successes or things you’re really good at or proud of in this realm?
Word of mouth – I’m always grateful and flattered when someone stops in because a friend referred them. I’m also proud of how long we’ve been in business (3.5 years!) and that our brick & mortar just celebrated it’s one year!

What’s in your “mom on duty” bag?
Snacks! Granola bars and apple sauce pouches usually. An essential oil blend – usually balance for me and the kids. Stain stick. Cars/toys for the boys. Hair ties and bobby pins. And our trusty CTA train card so we can always take adventures.

What are three things you can’t live without personally?
• Always having a book with me. If I ever get a free moment in the day I love to read a chapter or two.
My Apple watch. It allows me to see important messages without picking up my phone and disrupting my time with the kids.
• Chapstick. I usually have 2-3 floating in my bag!

For your kids?
For Jude it’s having a train or car in hand at all times. Eyan has hit a huge Minecraft stage – lucky for me he’s really into the books!Macaire of Half Pint Shop

Any good books, music, podcast episodes, or other things you’ve been loving lately?
I read the Red Queen series on a recent road trip – I love books that you just get lost in. In the shop I’ve been playing a lot of Haim – the boys and I both love them. And with the recent cooler weather in Chicago I’ve been getting out my fall candles. It’s my favorite season!

Who would play you in a movie about your life and why?
Hmm this is a hard question! Keri Russell is my favorite (her sweaters!) but I’d have to pick a comedian for sure – probably Abby Elliott. When I first met one of my good friends she actually mistook me for her.

Thanks so much for being here Macaire! I totally saw myself in her desire to do everything with the kids in tow. Small Fry has been that way since the start, too! Its not easy but I am grateful! If you know a mom we should meet, email hello@smallfryblog.com! Find all our Moms You Should Meet here.

SaveSave

Moms You Should Meet: Oryana

This post is in partnership with Uber. Sign up here to become their newest driver, where you can earn extra money driving, on your schedule.

By Emily.

I talked with Chicago-based Oryana on the phone and within minutes the purpose of this post changed. I was inspired, I got the chills, and I even teared up at one point, not at all what I expected when we were planning this post. So much of Oryana’s story resonated with us, whether it be Nicole making it work as a single mom, or Jenna being far away from her family, or myself. If I listed how many different jobs I’ve tried or number of times I switched my major, you’d see we all (and maybe you as well!) have a little Oryana in us.c21WebOriginally, we wanted to share with you readers how working for Uber has become an amazing flexible income for so many mothers just like us, just like Oryana. We get asked all the time how to work for yourself and make a good living. But that purpose instantly became secondary once we started talking to Oryana. Here’s some backstory…Hayley Anderson PhotographyOryana is an analytical thinker. On top of that when she makes up her mind to do something, then that is that. At 17 years old she had decided after seeing others experience it, that getting pregnant was no reason to marry someone. If she herself were to find herself in that situation, other alternatives just didn’t work for her. She would be a single mother. So when this simple session of daydreaming  became a reality 12 years later, she didn’t have much thinking to do. She knew and that was that.Amelia Lyon

In between the ages 17 and 29 Oryana went to college in Chicago and studied theater. She acted on stage and onscreen and worked hard as a waitress to make ends meet. She went to hair school and worked as a stylist. She moved to New York, she always worked hard. Then, Amelia.

When Amelia was born of course everything changed. With her family spread out around the country, her friends were everything. But as so many of us know when you have a child, interacting with people who don’t “get it” becomes tricky. As Oryana said, from the very start until the day I spoke to her, that it’s just been the two of them.Natalie NortonThen, Oryana decided to finish her degree in theater. With only three semesters left she didn’t see why not, and thought that having a degree as a single parent would help her get better employment. 10+ years older than every other graduate she was also the only one who sobbed as she crossed the stage to receive her diploma. She never knew how much it meant to her until she had it in her hands.Hayley Anderson Phtoography // Sand DunesWith a degree in hand, and small child in her care, employment didn’t come any easier for her. She struggled to make ends meet. Her next venture would be into the world of realty. She got her license and started working with a brokerage firm. She was getting around from showing to showing solely on public transportation. That was when she knew she needed a car. Enter Uber. At that time they were financing their employees car lease and purchases and it was truly the only way she could make it happen. She began driving for Uber and still does. She logs in when she has a couple hours to spare. If she needs to take her daughter to guitar lessons (which is where they were headed when our call began) she logs off. She makes her own hours, doesn’t have to ask anyone for time off or vacation. She doesn’t have to make excuses or feel guilty when Amelia is sick and needs her or if she has a busy day showing apartments. She loves driving for Uber Eat because it’s a condensed and busy couple hours during lunch or dinner.Amelia LyonOryana said during our call that she decided from the beginning that she would never miss out on an opportunity sent her way because her mom was a single parent. Oryana has the drive and motivation, Uber gave her the freedom and mobility to pursue whatever dream she might have.Natalie NortonSo you see now why this experience caught me off guard! Oryana could’ve focused on the struggle, because the struggle is certainly real and her life has never been easy, but she never did. This hard-working, single parent, funny, strong, ambitious, woman is Oryana, and she’s definitely a mom you should meet.

If driving for Uber sounds up your alley you can check out more here!

Note: We certainly wish we could’ve met with Oryana over lunch in Chicago and gotten some pictures of her there, but hopefully some of our latest family photos will due as eye candy for this essay. Thanks again, Oryana, we’re huge fans!! Nicole’s photos by Natalie Norton // Emily’s by Hayley Kaze // Jenna’s by Amelia Lyon

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.

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.

•••

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!

Moms You Should Meet: Kera Thompson

When we heard about a mutual friend of ours, Kera Thompson, of the dreamy and beautiful blog Deep Down, living abroad and raising her family in Abu Dhabi, we were so curious to find out more! Motherhood has such an immense amount of unknowns but moving to a new country and then raising three kids adds even more unknowns to the list.

moms we should meet, kids, lifestyle

 

Kera grew up in small town in Indiana just outside Chicago.  When she moved away to college, she was surprised to find the man of her dreams and they we were engaged ten days later! After they got married, Kera began her study Interior Design in college. Upon graduation and welcoming their first baby, a boy, Kera juggled projects and motherhood and quickly found herself drawn to graphic design. After the birth of their second son they made the great exodus to Abu Dhabi, the capitol of the United Arab Emirates. (This photo by Jamie Beck of UAE’s Burj Khalifa – the tallest building in the world – is one of our favorite photos, ever!)

Kera says after living abroad for four years, that the experience has afforded them so much growth and excitement. Living in a beach-front apartment, surrounded by diversity, only an hour away from the most opulent city in the world, she says that her creative side is never short on inspiration.

moms we should meet, kids, lifestyle

 

Kera loves hip-hop music and bluegrass, photography and decorating her apartment (which was featured on the cover of Emirates Home Magazine.) She lives for the “runner’s high” and has completed two marathons.

Here’s a bit of our interview with Kera:

1. What is the biggest challenge you face as a mother?

“My biggest challenge as a mother is embracing the process of shedding my former ‘self’ and coming into the woman and mother I aspire to be. My role as mother is not something that always feels natural to me. At times, I think of how my life would be different or more exciting if I had chosen a different path. But I believe that parenting is about accepting and embracing the joy that comes from learning to give fully of one’s self. Accepting with grace the ebbs and flows that marriage and motherhood inevitably bring, and realizing that part of the process is about learning how to shamelessly love and care for yourself as well. Ultimately, I hope I will be able to say that I learned to be present and giving in each moment, and that my family feels how deeply I loved them.”

2. What is your must-have mama item?

“My iPhone 5! It captures priceless photos, reminds me of soccer practice, calls for back-up, navigates me to play dates, and entertains my kids if I need a moment to think (or try on clothes at Zara).

3. What are your favorite brands for clothes and gear for your kids?

“I don’t typically buy designer clothes for my children, only because I feel that with stores like Target and H&M, I can achieve the same great looks AND have money leftover to spend on myself! (I am a sucker for expensive makeup and skin care.) I love Aden+Anais swaddling blankets, Melissa & Doug wooden toys, my B.O.B Duallie stroller, Britax car seats, I also love the Mustela and Weleda product lines for baby skin care, too!”

4. What is the biggest challenge of living abroad, what is the biggest pay-out?

“The biggest challenge living overseas is being away from our families. We usually make it home only once a year, and that is hard on both the kids and the grandparents! But the pay-out is the fact that my husband gets fifty days of paid vacation with most of our major expenses covered (like housing, car, food and other bills!)… which allows us to afford domestic help, spend entire summers in the states, see the world, and ultimately save for our dream home when we return to the states. Being an ex-pat definitely has its perks!

Kera, thanks for being this month’s Mom You Should Meet, it is so fascinating to learn about different moms leading different lives. While everyone has their challenges and successes, we must say, living in the UAE sounds pretty awesome!

Check out more of Kera at her blog Deep Down, or on Instagram @kera_thompson

More Moms you should meet: a writer, an artist, a magazine editor!

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.

***

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.

moms you should meet: Kelli Murray

Photography by Small Fry contributor Eliza J Photography.

One of our California trip stops was to see San Diego based artist Kelli Murray. We had been developing a major collective crush and knew we wanted to learn more about Kelli’s life as an artist and mama.

Kelli Murray Small Fry

We grabbed lunch and talked about what most working mothers talk about — work and family — and how to happily navigate the two.

Kelli and Rylee

Kelli’s artistic career led her to being a designer for California based clothing company, Jedidiah. Working crazy long hours, but loving the ability to express herself creatively, she then married and settled down in San Diego. It wasn’t until Kelli became pregnant with her little girl Rylee that she really thought about what she wanted for her life and how to achieve it.

While we hear often that family can throw a wrench in the progression of your career, it was Kelli’s family itself that inspired her to go after it.

She knew she couldn’t put in those crazy designer hours and be with Rylee the way she wanted to be, so she scaled way back and took a leap of faith and started selling her art online.

Now a full-time mom AND full-time artist under her own name, we couldn’t be happier for Kelli’s success! Here’s a sampling of some of our favorite Kelli Murray’s art all found at her website here.

Kelli Murray Art

We just love Kelli and are so inspired by her story of motherhood enhancing and propelling her dreams. See more of Kelli at her website, Twitter (@kellimurrayart), and Instagram (@kelli_murray.)

moms you should meet: Casey Wiegand

This beautiful woman is an artist, writer and of mom of three. She is an original, and unique, and has created a path through motherhood all her own. We admire her, and know you will too. Here’s a mom you should meet: Casey Wiegand.

Lunchtime.
Sweet baby Apple was sound asleep and my two “big” kids were eating at the table. I was sitting between them and after a few moments Ainsleigh creeped over and climbed up on my lap. She was facing towards me and grabbed my cheeks, looked me straight in the eyes and smiled….over and over again in between kisses on my cheeks.
Something about the way the sun was shining behind her, something about those sweet dimples that she has. Something about the way her tiny fingers were stroking my hair and clinging to me.
Something about the way she clenches on when she thinks I am about to get up.
She, too, wants it to last.
I desperately wanted to jump up and grab my camera but I
didn’t. I held her tight. Soaked it in. And am doing the best job that I can right now to repaint it as a memory.

The weather here in Texas is changing.
I love the fall. I love the chiminey burning on the back porch, and the leaves that are beginning to fall. It nudges at my soul.

Today I was thinking.

Recently I had to take a personality test for some “work” related things. We wanted to see where we fit best on our team and what roles we could easily be in. There were so many things about the test that were so eye opening for me to read and see written out on paper.

Something that really struck me though was what my results said about me as a mother.
*help their children become who they really are
*support their children’s creativity and originality 
*are good at helping their children get in touch with their feelings
I have no idea if my kids would actually say these things about me or if someday these are ways that they would talk about me as a mother…but I sure hope so.
I desperately want to embrace my babies as individuals…I want to help each one in their own way figure out their purpose, their passions and foster that.
I want them to feel deeply, and learn that it’s okay. I want them to learn to express that.
Motherhood for me is such a joy.
A “life giver”.
I can hardly believe it’s going as fast as it is.
I just hope that I can help my babies find their life purpose…and help them make it happen.
Essay by Casey Wiegand.
Check out her amazing art here.
Got an essay you’d like to share on motherhood? We’re sure there are many of you out there that are moms we’ve gotta meet. Email us if you’d like to submit!