The kids are down, your work is done - how do you spend your “me” time, when you get it?
Almost every evening lately, my husband and I dash to the beach with Winnie, our dachshund, and play fetch with her along the shoreline. It's always one of the highlights of my day.
What is the thing you bought in the last three months that you have most enjoyed?
My Porte Bonheur necklace by Marlo Laz. The necklace is, by definition, a good luck charm, and I bought it for myself as a present this summer after having Clementine. I'd like to think it protects us both and brings luck our way. It also brings back happy memories of a west village pop-up my company, Land of Belle, did with Marlo Laz and RAC Lifestyle in the Spring of 2019. These past months have given me a new appreciation for how lucky we were to have our pop-up experiences, getting to know our wonderful customers in a fun and carefree way. I dream of the day when it's safe to open another one.
What is the quality you most like in yourself as a mother?
I'd say I am generally pretty relaxed as a mother, honestly more so than I imagined I would be. Babies are very perceptive to the energies and moods of others and my daughter is very happy-go-lucky and easy going, so I'd like to think a small part of that is me putting her at ease.
What is the quality you most like in one or all of your children that they did not inherit from you?
Clementine is only five months old and we can already see how patient she is. She quietly waits for us to come and get her in the morning, and rarely makes a fuss even if we're running late with her bottle. She is so agreeable and even-tempered, she must get it from her father!
What is the other career you’d most like to try out, given a second professional life?
Actor, Psychologist or Social Worker.
Is there anything that quarantine forced you to change that you would like to - or will - maintain post quarantine?
These past months have allowed me to simplify my day-to-day quite a bit and focus on what matters most to me, which is my family, my closest friends and my work. There's a lot less bouncing around, and while at times I miss elements of life as it was, I really do love this uninterrupted time at home.
How has COVID19 impacted your pregnancy and first year of motherhood?
It's been a double edged sword. The end of my pregnancy was a bit of a wild ride. My daughter was born at the peak of the virus in New York City, and so at 37 weeks pregnant, I was told my husband could not accompany me to the hospital for our daughter's birth. I was devastated. I had been terrified of birth prior to all of this, so the idea of doing it alone was unimaginable to me. It was a difficult decision, but we decided to switch doctors at 38 weeks, in order to move to a hospital that would allow him to be part of the birth. It was a scary time of unknowns, and giving birth in a mask was not ideal, but I am so grateful that we were able to make the switch and my husband and I got to welcome our daughter into the world together.
Because of the virus, this first year of motherhood has been a little different than I anticipated. I never imagined that our mothers wouldn't meet our daughter for weeks after she was born or that our fathers still wouldn't have met her (they are both in Europe and unable to travel). I never thought we would need to be fearful of people coming into contact with Clementine or that figuring out child care for her would be this complicated. It makes me a little bit sad to think that her time with other babies is limited and that she entered a world of such scary unknowns.
That said, I also never imagined that my husband would spend the first five months of our baby's life working from home and getting to see her throughout the day. They are so incredibly bonded because of it and I can't believe in normal times he would have been back to the office full time after just a few weeks. We are also living with both of our daughter's grandmothers and two aunts at the moment, and have been since May. This would never be the case in normal times and I am so grateful that Clementine is surrounded by so many members of her family every day. Life on the commune!
What are the nicest things your partner does for you, and you for them?
So many things. On a grand scale, my husband makes me feel I can accomplish anything and supports me in every endeavor. He always puts me first and is the most wonderful and caring father to our girls (human and four-legged). As for little things, I'd say among the nicest include helping me locate my "lost" phone at least five times a day, and knowing I can't sleep without copious amounts of water within arms reach, putting pretty pitchers of cold water next to my bed every night before we go to sleep.
I keep him laughing and on his toes. And I love the art of a good gift.
How important is routine to you? What parts of your routine are sacrosanct?
I like the baseline of a routine but the freedom to rearrange my time within it. I'd say my mornings and evenings are most important to me, and everything in between is a little up in the air. Work has been crazy lately, and so I am generally at my computer for the majority of the day.
Every morning my husband and I go into our daughter's room to wake her up, feed her and play with her. I wouldn't change that time for the world. Then I have an oat milk latte and check my emails with Morning Joe playing in the background, which is a nice way to ease into the work day.
In the evenings after dinner, I look forward to lighting a candle (Diptyque's Feu de Bois now that it's autumn), doing my skincare routine - Tata Harper's Resurfacing Cleanser, Biologique Recherche P50 toner, Augustinus Bader moisturizer, and La Mer eyecream - putting on my pajamas, getting into bed, and reading a book or watching a show. I am not someone who can just turn off the lights and fall asleep, I like to escape into the lives of others to unwind from my day.
What are your professional goals and how do you go about achieving them?
To continue to build an ever-growing and evolving company that adds beauty and joy to the lives of my customers. I think it's important to keep on keepin' on, surround yourself with smart and talented people, keep an open mind and never stop dreaming.
What are the things that make your home personal to you and your family?
Our antiques passed down by family, the things we've found on travels near and far, the wallpaper, our photography collection, the excess of glassware and plates and napkins, and all of the memories we've made in it.
How important is community to you, and how do you go about building and nurturing it for your family?
So important. I think a big part of fostering community is making the people you come into contact with on a daily basis feel heard and appreciated. The way we feel has a lot to do with little interactions we experience throughout the day, and so I believe it's always worth it to make an effort with everyone in small gestures of kindness, and I hope to pass this importance along to my daughter.
What maternity style or clothing item could you not find this time around that you most wish FH would create?
Great-fitting pants. High-waisted please!
What is ahead for Land of Belle?
We have a very exciting new arm of the business launching in late October, inspired by my daughter, Clementine... Can't wait to share more!