Saturday’s schmoozings with…

Traci Costa on What Inspires HerIt’s been a long time since I’ve done my ever popular Saturday’s schmoozings post but I’m aiming to have a comeback. Here’s this week’s interview with local business owner and
simply stylish Mom, Traci Costa from Peekaboo Beans, fantastic everyday clothes for kids.

SSM: What inspired you to begin Peekaboo Beans?

TC: After having Cailin my first daughter, I loved watching her play and seeing where her imagination would take her everyday.  When dressing her for Play, I found the clothing that was available lacked what children really need.  She couldn’t dress herself on her own (small fussy snaps, buttons or zippers), she would have accidents when learning to potty train as she could unzip her pants, and mostly the lack of good quality durable clothing that was available.  Everything was so consumable, wash wear and throw away.  I wanted to create something that focused on the children – so that they could just PLAY.  Play is the work of children, they should be dressed for it.

SSM: How do you juggle parenting and running a small business?

TC: I rely heavily on my support system.  My family is very involved in helping with our children, and at the office too.  I have had to make many sacrifices and I have to keep my priorities at the forefront everyday.  Family first is our number 1 core value at Peekaboo Beans – having this understanding at the office helps.  The team at Peekaboo Beans is exceptional, we are all aligned and on the same mission, this makes everything flow like water.

SSM: Describe your average day

TC: I drop my daughter off to school, head into the office “or the playground” as we dub it.  Our younger daughter stays at home with our Nanny or grandparents.  I spend a solid 8 hours at work, working on all aspects of business with the team.  From Design, to Production, Sales, Marketing, Social Media, Finance, Strategic Planning and most of all having fun.  We laugh all day long at the office – the girls there are also my social life, since I don’t have one outside of work!  I have Board Meetings on the occasion, I sit on the FWE E-Series Committee, I have mentor meetings and I meet my Business Coach 1 per month.

SSM: What have been the biggest life changes for you since being a Mom? 

TC: I guess the biggest life change is how open your heart is.  You cannot understand pure unconditional love until you have children and that is a very vulnerable and scary feeling.  You always want your babies to be safe, healthy and having fun!  The other thing would be the lack of free time.  Every minute of the day is consumed with something.

SSM: How is Peekaboo Beans any different to other kids clothing lines?

TC: Peekaboo Beans mission is to provide ingredients for a playful life.  Our  line focuses
on the importance of play for social, physical and developmental growth in children.  It makes play comfortable, stylish and fun.  The quality is second to none, and the entire line is completely mix and match  for what we call “Daddy-Proof Dressing”!

SSM: What is your most popular product? 

TC: Our multi-functional pieces, skirts that reverse or can be worn as dresses or tops.  Boys pants that are reversible or jackets that have sleeves that zip off – great transition pieces into each season!

SSM: What Fall 2011 styles are you looking forward to?      

TC: I love the new fashion of wearing sweet socks with heels.  I love the simple 60’s inspired dresses and skirts and there is lots of lace detail this fall.

SSM: What are your top five items you think a simply stylish Mom must have in her wardrobe?

TC: Oooh only five!! ?  Perfectly fitted jeans, a fabulous pair of heels, something sparkly, a fab white tee, great jacket and an amazing purse!

SSM: Finally, do you have any words of encouragement to words to other creative Moms looking to start their own business? 

TC: Find something you are totally passionate it about.  It has to get you through every dark day that presents itself.  When you are growing a business, tough times and hard decisions are made on a daily basis.  But probably the most important this is to have a strong cash flow plan in place.  Cash is king, and it iswhat will stop your business in its tracks if you don’t plan properly.

Thanks for your time Traci and best of luck with Peekaboo Beans!

xxo, SSM

Saturday’s schmoozings with…

Another Mom/daughter power team (like here), Jennifer Gray and her daughter, Shaughnessy Chow-Domos, co-owners of trendy, Yaletown boutique Jennyfleur loves… I had a chance to chat to these two lovely ladies about their boutique and their fashion highs and lows. 

SSM: Tell me about Jennyfleur Loves, how it came about, where your name comes from and the aim of your boutique?

JG: We thought of the name originally as it is a take on the name Jennifer – we just liked the name – and because the boutique is filled with all the things that we personally love.. we wanted to share our finds and the things we love with our friends and customers. Jennyfleur Loves… is owned and run by my daughter Shaughnessy and myself. We are completely hands on and every item in our boutique has been personally chosen by us – we spend quite a bit of time carefully choosing brands and styles that we would actually wear ourselves. Both of us love to have a little bit of a unique style, so we are constantly searching the globe to find those things to suit both of our taste. It seems to work, because we have a broader approach to fashion as it comes from both of our perspectives, therefore our store appeals to other mothers and daughters just like us.

SSM: What sets Jennyfleur Loves… apart from other Vancouver boutiques?

JG: We are always looking for unique brands and trends and never play it safe when it comes to fashion. Our buying is not limited to any particular geographical area – if we find something special- it becomes a necessity to have in the store. We are also conscious of the fact that not everyone has the same budget, ensuring that there is something for everyone. We carry everything from clothing, jewelry, shoes, handbags, nail polish as well as fun little gift items. You can spend as little as $9 or up to $1600. Many of our clients pop by to purchase gifts for their moms, daughters and girlfriends because they know that can find something within their price range that they won’t find anywhere else. Customer service is very important to us – we want everyone who walks through our doors to have an amazing and unique experience. We welcome those who simply want to drop by for a chat over a cup of coffee or a beverage which we always keep on hand. We want to create and comfortable and friendly environment for all our friends and customers and most of all we like to keep it fun! We are just a phone call away any time -  even when we are not in the store we are happy to answer questions.

SSM: One of my favourite activities was shopping with my Mom, Jennyfleur seems to specialize in providing for Mother and daughter – how do you bridge the gap of style and age?

JG: There are alot of trendy moms out there – just because you have kids doesn’t mean that you have to lose your individual style. Our customers range in age from around 13 to over 70. Not only do we get moms and daughters, but grandmothers as well. There are certain looks that will work for any age  – for example a mother or a daughter might like the same jacket but in the end, each will style the look completely differently to suit their own age group and personality.

SSM: Who are some of your favourite designer that you stock right now that would suit a Vancouver Mom?

JG: DV by Dolce Vita is one of our favourite brands for every day living because it is fashionable and affordable at the same time. Whitney Eve injects femininity into all her pieces allowing them to be worn in a casual setting to a more formal setting. We are looking forward to carrying many new brands in the fall, Cameo, Style Stalker, Finders Keepers, Maison Scotch.  And of course the biggest trend this summer in footwear is TOMS shoes – which every mom needs. As well, We are going to be carrying TOMS for little ones as well in October.

SSM: What are your favourite trends we are seeing this summer?

JG: The maxi trend seems to have taken over and we are loving it!

SSM: What are your personal key staples in your wardrobe?

JG: White sheer button up shirt and wide leg trousers, Jeffrey Campbell Shoes.

SCD: Pants, white button up shirt, Jeffrey Campbell shoes.

SSM: Do you and your daughter ever share clothes, if so what items?

JG: YES! We share just about everything – except shoes only because our feet are different sizes.

SSM: Biggest fashion purchase regret?

JG: Acid wash denim way back when… I can’t even look at the new version of it today!

SCD TNA pants

SSM: Vancouver Moms often have a clothes allowance, if we were to splurge and invest in something, what would you recommend?

JG: Both Shaughnessy and I agree that having a classic handbag goes a long way in completing your look. It is well worth the investment and depending on the bag, should last for many years.

SSM: What are your best selling products at the moment?

JG: People are crazy over TOMS shoes right now – they are affordable, comfortable, fashionable and with their one for one program where they donate a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair purchased, Vancouverites appreciate all those things. Our Wildfox Couture baggy beach jumpers have been a great seller – they are so soft!

SSM: What items should a simply stylish Mom never be seen in outside of the house and gym (my biggest gripes are Uggs and Lululemons)?

JG: Well, you have just said a couple of our gripes as well, but besides that we both agree Crocs  – they should be saved for the garden only!

SSM: Finally, a fashion minute with you both:

Favorite shoes:

JG & SCD: Fluevog, Jeffrey Campbell

Favorite stores:

JG & SC-D:Topshop, Bloomingdales

SCD: All Saints

If I was attending the Oscars I would wear:

SCD: Zuhair Murad

JG: Marchesa – I love the glamour!

Favorite magazine:  Vogue Italia

Shopping is:  A complete high for both of us – that is why we do what we do with a passion.

Last purchase:

SC-D: Felix and Andriks ear cuff from our store

JG: Jeffrey Campbell Page One Suede Wedges

Favorite clothing era:

JG: The 1930′s and 40′s – I love to watch all the old movies sometimes just to see what they are wearing. I have to say I also have a place in my heart for the 1960’s as well.

SC-D: The 1960′s – Givenchy!

My inspiration:

Both: The Sartorialist

Thank you ladies for your time and best wishes with your fabulous store!

Readers; have a lovely weekend, I’m off to Bowen Island for two days, what are your plans?

xxo, SSM


 1058 Mainland Street
Suite 110
Vancouver,BC V6B 2T4
Photos courtesy of Jennifer Gray and frockon

Saturday’s schmoozings with…


… 4 year old blogger and budding fashionista Tallulah of This Is How I Stroll. Tallulah’s Mommy is Erika Pantages, a local simply stylish Mom and founder of Dirty Laundry a gorgeous kids fashion line. Erika is also the Moms and Kids contributor for one of my go-to blogs Vitamin Daily. It was a great honor and pleasure to be able to interview these two gorgeous ladies.

SSM: When did you start blogging and what inspired you and your Mom to start doing this?

Tallulah: I started blogging soon after I was born inspired by so many wonderful products and clothing I was given as gifts or that my momma picked up.

SSM: You certainly have an eye for style, is that due to nature or nurture?

Tallulah: A little of both – inspired by stylish great grandmothers and my momma has been in the fashion industry for a long time.

SSM: Your Mom is certainly a simply stylish Mom, where are her favourite places to shop a) in Vancouver b) internationally c) online?

Tallulah: In Vancouver all the little shops popping up in Gastown are fabulous – but favorite long time shopping places include Moule, Fine Finds, The Block and a good sale at Holts!  Throw in a great vintage store and we are set! Internationally not much beats NY for me!  Online she loves the British site ASOS and in the USA Kirne Zabete and Catherine Malendrino for inspiration.

SSM: What are your favourite shops and places to hang in Vancouver?  

Tallulah: Great kids shops for me are Hip Baby, Dandelion Kids and EIO Kids (and my momma loves their big sister shop Beauty Mark of course)  We spend most of our time at the beach or great local parks (like our amazing neighborhood water park in Strathcona)

SSM: I see that your favourite colour is pink, we are seeing plenty of that in the stores this summer, what are some of your – and your Moms favourite fashion trends at the moment? 

Tallulah: A great floppy hat, long flowing skirts and jumpsuits and fun wedge shoes.

SSM: Before your Mommy was a Mom, how did she spend her days?

Tallulah: Co owning a fashion label Dirty Laundry ( and consulting in the fashion industry.

SSM: Do you have any words of wisdom for any other four year old fashionistas out there?

Tallulah: Wear what feels great that day – keep it feeling effortless

SSM: Finally – Erika and Tallula, time for a style minute, say the first thing that comes to mind:

Favourite thing to wear -

Tallulah: any dress with jeans under

Erika: long dress

Favourite shoes - 

Tallulah:  my biker boots

Erika:  ballet flats

Most regrettable fashion purchase: (meanwhile Tallulah has left the interview and has gone to play…) - 

Erika: too many to mention – but they always seem to find a good home!

I know I look good when -

Erika: I feel great with one look in the mirror.

Most prized accessory -

Erika: My beautiful Alexander McQueen scarf from my husband

Last purchase - 

Erika: In NY – some great white linen pants

My most coveted movie/tv show wardrobe -

Erika: Breakfast at Tiffany’s

My style -

Erika: Classic with a fun twist

Thanks so much for your time Erika and Tallulah, you are both two of Vancouver’s most simply stylish ladies!

Happy Saturday!

xxo, SSM

Saturday’s schmoozings with…

Sue Sinclair, Founder and Chief Executive Mom, Raspberry KidsSue Sinclair of Raspberry Kids!  I absolutely love Raspberry Kids – it is a wonderful online store that has the most superb items! Sue and her partner Sally are super picky (in a good way!) about the items they choose to sell, so therefore they only sell the best of the best. There are so many gorgeous items for the SSM as well as her kiddos. I had so much fun perusing Sue’s warehouse, I really would’ve walked out of there loaded down with boxes and boxes of fabulous items. Also, Sue is married to an Australian which further proves she has impeccable taste! Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing Sue and finding out more about her amazing store and how she juggles running a business and being a SSM.

SSM: What inspired you to begin Raspberry Kids?

SS: My desire to launch Raspberry Kids came from the need to find a flexible work arrangement that allowed me to balance (I’ll use that term loosely) my role as a mom with that of my business.  I was able to combine my background in sales and service with my interest in technology and the added bonus was when I realized how passionate I was about sourcing high quality children’s products that weren’t typically readily available in the Canadian market.

SSM: How is Raspberry Kids different to any other online  kids store ie. what do you feel sets you apart from your competition?

Lunchskins Reusable Sandwich Bags Fruit Series Pear

We have the juiciest looking logo?!  We weren’t honestly sure at the beginning what set us apart but from what we’ve heard over the years, our amazing customers really seem to love that we choose our products very carefully and that they know we have vetted them and will only add the best of the best to our offering.  They also have told us they look to us as leaders and innovators in the industry and love the new products we add to our site.  Lastly, we hear time and time again about what great service we provide and while we don’t like to toot our own horns, we do take customer service very seriously and want to ensure customers are wowed by their experience, so much so, they spread the “word of mom” about us.

SSM: How do you find balancing Mommyhood and running a business?

I don’t honestly believe balance exists and I’m very realistic about that.  What I do believe is that we have choices and mine is to work very hard and seldom “shut it off” in exchange for the flexibility to be there for my kids and work on my own terms.  That means I can attend family appreciation day at the school, take the kids to appointments and run around doing errands while multi-tasking and keeping up with what is going on at Raspberry Kids HQ.

SSM: Do your kids get involved in some of your business decisions?

SS: My daughter, Jamie aspires to work with me and the kids are my biggest fans.  They tell everyone about the store and of course are adorned with Raspberry Kids products.  We drive a Raspberry Mobile (logo wrapped mini van) and one day the kids put their windows down and kept shouting “Toys for sale” so they are now officially part of the marketing team too!  If my daughter had her way, the entire shop would be comprised of pink and purple so we are still working on honing their eye for design and quality when it comes to product considerations!  They definitely get to test their fair share of toys, lotions & potions, feeding gear and whatever else comes our way!

SSM: Regarding style, what are your top 5 wardrobe staples?

SS: Jeans, Flats, Blazers, a few “accessories” that I rotate and recently, I’ve been digging skirts & dresses a lot!

KOR Vida Hydration Vessel 750 mL Natural FinishSSM: Summer is fast approaching, outside of work where in Vancouver are your family and you going to be spending your free time?

We intend on spending about two weeks at our family cottage back in Manitoba (armed with eco.kid Outback Jack Bug Spray and Green Beaver sunscreen of course!) but other than that we will definitely be taking in all that our amazing city has to offer.  Some of our fave places to hang out are the aquarium, Stanley Park, the Endowment Lands and the dog beaches.  We also ride our bikes along the seawall from False Creek to Yaletown and then hit a patio at a family friendly restaurant like Salsa y Agave on Pacific!Vapur 4 Bottle Bundle Choose your colors

SSM: Do you have a favourite Raspberry Kids product you can recommend to our Simplystylish Mom this summer?

SS: Wow!  That is a tough question as we’ve added over 250 products from over 30 new and existing brands.  Much of what we offer is geared toward children but we have a ton of items that are fabulous for the whole family.  Specific to summer, my recos would be:  Skip Hop Central Park Blanket, Green Beaver or Badger sunscreens, Kooringal hats for the kiddies, a Kor Hydration Vessel or a Vapur Anti-bottle and Lunchskins and other “on the go” reusable feeding gear.  I also need to give special mention to Hopscotch Kids and Scotch Naturals eco-friendly nail polish for mom and me mani’s and pedi’s.  They have amazing hues and you can feel good knowing they are safe to wear!So Young Mother Cooler Bag Purple Dandelion

SSM: And final words of wisdom you can offer to Moms who own a small business?

SS: Running a small business while raising a family is not for the faint of heart.  I would recommend having a plan and talking to others that are doing what you want to do before you take the leap and being realistic about what running a business entails.  I actually work more now than I ever did and it isn’t easy to keep all the balls in the air but if you are passionate about what you do and work extremely hard at it, persist, innovate and surround yourself with amazing people, the sky is the limit!

Thank you so much simply stylish Sue! 

xxo, SSM

Saturday’s schmoozings with…

Bridget Yorston, co-founder and designer of bec & bridge, one of my favourite labels from my hometown: Sydney, Australia. I was so excited to interview Bridge as I have watched how Bec & Bridge grew from two girls who met at design school to now a international brand worn by celebs everywhere! Bridge is also Mom to the gorgeous Tommy so we chatted about the struggles of running a business and being a committed Mom.

SSM: How was bec & bridge created?

BY: Becky and I met while studying fashion design at university. We became best friends and were soon creating things for both friends and acquaintances alike. It was when stores started contacting us that we thought we had better give ourselves a name.

SSM: What type of women do you design for?

BY: The bec & bridge woman is modern and refined. She loves fashion, however most of the time, doesn’t intend on breaking the budget!

SSM: Where do you find inspiration for your designs?

BY: We are always influenced to a certain degree by the 1970′s whether it’s a photograph, architecture, the people, the parties or the fashion. For our most recent Summer Collection, showcased at Australian Fashion week earlier this month, we looked to Lauren Hutton in her heyday as one who we would like to wear the clothes. She wore relaxed, fluid tailoring just as well as she would wear a mini dress. Frequently finished with an incredible fedora which we love.

The Bianca Adventurer Fedora- Pre Sale

SSM: What are your favourite trends we are seeing on the catwalk these days?

BY: We’re liking minimalism that seems to be filtering through collections at the moment. It’s very refined and chic. We’re particularly loving full suits and crisp shirts something we showed in our collection too.

SSM: Describe your average day as a Mom and designer

BY: If I knew what the average day looked like, I’d tell you. Unfortunately, every day is different and every day is a juggling act! I leave for work at around 10am, once Tommy is fed and changed and the respective sitter has arrived. As soon as I get in the car, my brain switches over from mom to business owner

or mom to designer, depending on what I have on that day. Once in the office, it’s go go go until I check out at 4pm. As I travel home again, the brain switches back to mom mode…’what will I give him for dinner tonight???’

SSM: What are the everyday challenges you face being a Mom and co-running a label?

BY: One of the biggest challenges is remembering my limits. If only I had endless energy levels so I could give the best of myself to both worlds all the time.

SSM: What have been the biggest life changes for you since being a Mom?

BY: Firstly, my husband and I moved out to the suburbs! I never dreamed I’d be ‘one of those families’ (laughs). We love it!
Secondly, it’s extremely hard to go shopping alone or read a magazine, two of my favorite past times!

SSM: As a simply stylish Mom, what is your go-to outfit?

Dream catcher pants

Bastille jacket

BY: A pair of bec & bridge cargo pants that I roll up – so comfy and easy to wash! As I leave the house I throw on my bec & bridge ‘ Bastille Jacket’ which adds instant chic to the outfit. A pair of tan leather loafers or Rag & Bone Harrow boots see me through the day in comfort and style.

SSM: What is one accessory you can’t do without and why?

BY: My large canvas baby bag! It holds absolutely everything from nappies and wipes to lipstick and laptops.

SSM: Finally, do you have any words of encouragement to words to other creative Moms looking to start their own business?

BY: Don’t be too hard on yourself! These things take lots of time of which you have little, so do what you can and try not to lose your cool.

Thanks so much Bridge for your time – which as you said – you have little – and good luck with Bec&Bridge and raising the gorgeous Tommy!

Saturday’s schmoozings with…

with fellow Mom blogger Jill Gott Gleason from Good Life for Less, One Hundred Inspirations and Good Tots. I absolutely love Jill’s blogs - she is a truly simplystylish Mom who always looks fabulous and is enthusiastic, informative – a role model to me as a new Mom blogger.  I had the privilege of interviewing the lovely Jill GG.

SSM:Tell me about the different blogs/websites you write/co-write and what lead you to this. How long have you been blogging?

JGG: My main blog is good life for less… here I document my daily outfits and style in general and also aim to lend a hand to ladies of all walks in how to pull off current trends, dress well on a dime and how to ultimately look and feel amazing!  In addition to good life for less I am the editor of a celebrity style blog called one hundred inspirations (all the outfits are at or around $100) and good tots which is a style and lifestyle blog for moms and kids.  Both of these blogs have amazing contributors so I am not doing them alone. have been blogging for about 3 1/2 years.  It’s definitely a labor of love… but I love it and I can’t picture my life without blogging!

SSM: You also do online personal styling – how did you get interested in that?

JGG: Yes, I also offer online wardrobe consultation services… It was a very organic start.  I suddenly had readers requesting that I suggest items to buy at the change of seasons or for special occasions.  About 8 – 9 months into starting good life for less it instantly felt natural to make the wardrobe consultations into a paid service.  The demand was high and still maintains a good pace.  I get a lot of repeat customers that completely trust me and depend on my service.  It’s so amazing to get an email saying ‘I woke up and felt better about myself because of my outfit’ or ‘I have a special occasion to attend and if you just pick something out for me it will give me complete peace of mind.’  It’s a service that I feel honored to provide.  Plus, it’s tons of fun!

SSM: As a simplystylishMom what are your top five wardrobe staples?

JGG: I love jeans – they are simple and can stand up to date night and scrubbing toilets equally.  In addition to jeans, I can always depend on a classic pair of flats, a blazer for throwing over a t-shirt quick on a harried day, a scarf to spruce things up… and lastly, lots of fun accessories like bold necklaces or fun earrings to feel a little ‘grown up’ – even when surrounded by my children.

SSM: How do you manage time between writing on your blogs, raising children and having time to yourself?

JGG: Oh boy! I never know how to answer this question!  It’s a lot of juggling… but I love blogging and I love being a stay-at-home (or rather, work-at-home) mom.  So I make it work no matter what.  The older my kids get (they are 6 and almost 4) – the easier it gets for sure.  But there are still days that I depend on cartoons more than I should or shoo the kids out to the yard for a moment of peace.  My husband is very hands on as well – he is fine with me handing the kiddos off when he gets home from work and often Saturday mornings are dedicated “Mom Time” – as in, Do Not Disturb Mom!  Any spare minute I get from the kids I am either blogging or half passed out in front of the tv.

SSM: What are the perks of Momblogging? The challenges?

JGG: In general, my days are just as busy as when I was a working mom – but with blogging, it’s completely on my own schedule and with no boss.  At first blogging was a hobby and it was my way to unwind… but with three blogs and offering online services as well now, it’s gone beyond a ‘hobby’.  That is often the number one challenge – treating it as a business and knowing when to stop. I tend to be a workaholic. But overall, I have a pretty sweet set-up and work to remind myself of the freedoms that I and my family are enjoying from my career as a blogger.

SSM: What are your favourite looks for Spring/Summer 2011?

JGG: I am just loving color blocking – it’s a fun trend where ‘matching’ goes out the window and anything goes – how easy is that for a mom!?!?  I also love that wedges are having a good long moment in the limelight.  As a mom I love the height of a heel, but a wedge is way more practical.

SSM: My readers know that I’m avidly against Uggs and sweats – outside the house, do you share that view? What are your suggestions to Moms trying to get out of the sweats and Uggs rut?

JGG: First off, I’m a big Uggs fan.  My alibi is that I live in Michigan… we get like 100 inches of snow a season so good boots are a must! [after a moment of shock, SSM recovers and lets JGG get away with this one!]  But I don’t wear them everyday and I certainly DON’T mix them with sweats!  I’ve always said to my readers that if you catch me in sweats or yoga pants at the grocery store or any where besides the gym you better take my temperature or ask me who died. I just DON’T do it.  I have on rare occasions, but it’s not my thing. My suggestions to moms that are working on getting out of this rut is to work to build a wardrobe that fits you well and that you love. Those two things seem simple, but often they are not.  A lot of times moms don’t have great fitting clothes because we have been fluctuating sizes throughout maternity and post-natal phases and if you have two or three kids (or more!) this can be years and years of weight fluctuation.  So go for basics that mix and match well and that fit your style.  Even if you only have 20 pieces in your closet instead of 100.  Focus on what works and treat yourself to a few new things that will put some pep in your step.  Even a fun new necklace or pair of shoes from Target!

SSM: Any final words of encouragement to Moms blogging and aiming to remain stylish?

JGG:If you are blogging: stay true to who you are and trust your point of view.  Don’t try to be the blogger next door or someone you are not.  Every one has a unique life and voice.  Honor that!  And don’t be discouraged with the growth of your blog – it takes time. To stay stylish: K.I.S.S. (keep it simple silly!).  Focus on what works, what is classic and what you love.  Don’t worry about trends as much as how you feel in your clothes.  $20 jeans can make you feel just as amazing as $200 jeans – tune into your instincts and honor yourself by looking and feeling your best.

SSM: And one last question – what is something you NEVER leave your house without?

JGG: I always carry a nice hand bag.  Someone stopped me the other day with the usual “cute purse” comment and then she admitted she didn’t have a purse. I felt so sad for her… find a fun cheap purse that you love and then carry it every where.  Also, hospital issued diaper bags are NOT purses!  You deserve more! And I always have sunglasses… I have sensitive eyes, but they are also life savers when I have been up all night with a sleepless kiddo.  I feel better knowing that my under-eye bags are covered when standing at the bus stop! Thank you so much for having me SimplystylishMom!

And thank you Jill G-G!

With the words of encouragement from Jill, let’s go out this weekend and make an effort with our outfits whether we’re going to the park or the supermarket, it’s simply worth it!

Happy weekend!

xxo, SimplystylishMom

Saturday’s schmoozings with…

 Johanna Osborne, creator of Cine Mama.

With a passion for cinema, families and home movies, Johanna created Cine Mama. After her father was diagnosed with a rare disease, she realised how important our memories are to our life stories. During her pregnancy and early days of being a Mom, she realised also how thankful she was for the videos and photos she took as that time can be such a blur in a woman’s life (hear hear!) Cine Mama helps people who are needing to know what to do with their videos and photos, or are disappointed with their own attempts videotaping family events. She takes our dodgy home movies and makes them into fantastic cinemoirs. She also visits your home, party or event and is your personal videographer. Her ‘cinemoirs’ (cinematic memoir!) tell ‘your stories…with your favourite captured moments’.

Johanna is also organising a fantastic event, Haute Mama Sunday, in conjunction with Bopomo Pictures and Jessie Carlson Wardrobe, a special treat for hardworking Moms!

I was blessed to get to interview the lovely Johanna recently…

SSM: What inspired you to begin Cine Mama?

JO: I hosted a play-party with three of my Mom-pals and their babes and I made a video for them to commemorate the day and the friendship we formed as we bonded over our growing bellies and the friendships between our babies. I have a Master’s degree in film and theology so this is truly sacred work for me. The response was so positive that I started thinking: I could really do this…and so Cine Mama was born.

SSM: Who are your biggest customers? What are they looking for?

JO: Some parents think, “Oh, this’ll be easy…just cut here and here and voila: a movie” but then come to realize how difficult it is to do right and that they need a professional to do it for them. Other parents just get overwhelmed with the amount of footage they have and may have seen my work at a birthday party or online and they contact me to step in and take over.

SSM: What do you love most about your job? What are its biggest challenges?

JO: What do I love? I get to fall in love with every family, every subject, every business, I edit. Definitely the relationships I make with the people I work with are the greatest perks. I just love those moments where I’m editing and I start tearing up, thinking, “Oh, this is gooood”. When clients admit they cried upon viewing it, then I know I’ve captured the essence of the people involved and delivered something back to them that reminds them how beautiful life is. I have yet to have a client who didn’t absolutely love what I’ve created for them so it is, in the end, extremely rewarding.

Planning Haute Mama Sunday, I feel totally blessed to be able to work with other Mom’s, the team we have is truly a dream team, and each one inspires me beyond measure. I decided to organize Haute Mama Sunday because it became the norm when I would ask Mom’s if they would like to be featured in their video as well and the stock answer was: “No, I didn’t have time to get myself camera-ready…” That made me think that if we got them ready, then they’d have no excuse to be part of capturing this amazing times in their lives.

Challenges? Getting folks to understand how much time is needed to edit a short piece. I do everything possible to keep the prices affordable but as a Mom, my time is precious so I figure out all the time I’ve spent on something, that I’m only making a couple bucks an hour, I’m not willing to keep that up. In the beginning I wondered why no one else was doing what I was doing, but then I realized that it’s difficult to actually make a decent profit because of the crazy amount of hours needed to dedicate to doing it right.

SSM: How do you juggle parenting and running a small business?

I’m still just a rookie. Ask me again in 10, 20 years…. It’s always a challenge but getting better now that my son is growing more independent.

I edit mostly weekday evenings and my husband hangs out with my son on the weekend so I can have time dedicated to Cine Mama.  First and foremost I am a full-time Mom and wife so when I feel that part of my life is sliding, I try to ease up on Cine Mama projects until I feel like things are more balanced. I’ve had to say “no” to some projects, as I just don’t have enough hours in the day. It was more difficult in the beginning but it’s easier to do when you see how much better life is when everything is balanced. I do short films now so that when my kids have left the nest, then I can start tackling feature length projects. God gave me a lot of stamina (and a supportive husband) so I somehow feel obliged to milk it (and appreciate it) for all it’s worth. Also, I’m the type that loves working from home but I also get to interact with my clients when we do a video shoot, so I get the best of both worlds. I’m happiest when I can work a little; it makes me a better mother because I can eventually, hopefully, teach my kids by example. This Mama is a happy Mama when she has a life too, when she can be creative and contribute.

SSM: You are definitely a simplystylishmom, what is your go-to outfit?

JO: Thanks, I love fashion though lately I haven’t been able to indulge, as I would love to. My go-to outfit? Shirt dresses. Because I don’t have to spend time fussing about matching top and bottom. I just put it on and go. It also happens to suit my body-type.

SSM: What are your top five wardrobe staples?

JO: Black pants with a white dress-shirt,  jeans with a baby-doll top, big sunglasses, a hooded double-breasted coat and – for the bad hair days, the demilitarized military cap.

SSM:Any final words of encouragement to Moms starting/running a small business amidst parenting duties?

JO: Accept help or hire it (i.e., don’t be afraid to get a house cleaner). That way you can play with your kids and hubby while a professional does the job in much less time than you ever could. It’s all about time management and realizing that your first profession/vocation/love is being a Mom/wife/friend/human being. And don’t be afraid to put work on hold while you get through a trying parenting time.  Accept that sometimes it is just simply impossible to do both. My relationships with my family will then fuel me to be a better artist in the future.One thing I learn from my work doing cinemoirs is that: Life’s too short. And “quitting” my day-job is not an option…all the money in the world cannot buy the time I am enjoying spending with my son. And when times are tight, I get to be even more creative, which as an artist is always exciting, and the whole point!

Thanks Johanna and good luck with Cine Mama and particularly with Haute Mama Sunday, here’s a sneak peak of the treatment Moms will be getting…

Saturday’s shmoozings with…

Fit 4 Two instructor Dee Clarke. I attended one of Dee’s baby-free bootcamps on Vancouver’s westside and oh-my-goodness, what an incredible workout! A group of Moms sweating it out together, laughing about our latest crazy-kid-moment and enjoying the joint goal of kicking that post-baby weight. I can highly recommend one of Dee’s classes. She is warm, enthusiastic and driven and cares about each one of her Mom’s in her classes. She creates fun and stimulating classes and is passionate about exercising. I was dying to know more about Dee, so here’s my interview with her.

SSM: What inspired you to join Fit4Two?

Dee: I was working as a doula and a parenting worker with Family Services before I went on maternity leave.  Like many women, having a baby made me reprioritize my life.  I couldn’t imagine leaving my baby to return to a job I that did not find fulfilling.  While I enjoyed working with new and expecting families, I didn’t enjoy the type of work I was doing.  I had a very active and wonderful pregnancy and had been a health nut for quite a few years.  Fit 4 Two seemed like the perfect way for me to have a career in health and fitness and while continuing to work with the birthing population.

SSM: How is Fit4Two any different to other fitness options?

Dee: Fit 4 Two postnatal classes are Baby-Friendly which means you can do whatever you need to do to keep your baby happy throughout the class.  You can feel free to feed, change a diaper, cuddle, sing songs, etc. during the class.  We encourage moms to listen to baby’s cues and attend to them as they come up.  I try to be helpful as much as possible if there is a baby who just wants to be cuddled.  I consider this one of the perks of my job. We offer tons of modifications to exercises so that women of all fitness levels, all trimesters (for prenatal), all stages of postpartum and all degrees of sleep deprivation can get a work out that is safe and effective. Many of our participants have issues with their wrists, pelvic floor,
abdominal separation and need modifications or alternative exercises.  We make sure there are plenty of options and progressions for everyone.  We spend a considerable amount of time in our prenatal and mom and baby type classes talking about the core and how important it is to strengthen from the inside out.  Cues like “Lift your pelvic floor”,  “Squeeze your pee muscles” or “Imagine picking up a marble using just your vagina” are not typically heard in other fitness classes! Probably the biggest difference is the sense of community and camaraderie women experience in our classes.  I have many clients from a few years ago who still keep in touch with the girls from their stroller bootcamp class.  They celebrate birthdays together, spend holidays together, etc.  Really special bonds are formed

while sweating it out. I had one participant recently tell me that whenever she is away from class and then comes back, she feels like she has come home.  That says a lot.

SSM: As a simplystylishmom, what is your personal style?

Dee: Honestly, I am a work in progress!  I am still learning what looks best for my body type.  I try to accentuate the parts of my body I like and minimize what I don’t.   When I’m not teaching in my sweats, mostly I’m a jeans and boots kind of girl.  I like funky, fitted clothes that I can comfortably move in.  I have to tell you how excited I am to be attending a Yummy Mummy fashion bootcamp next week. I’m looking forward to getting a professional opinion.

SSM: What are your key wardrobe items?

Dee: Figure flattering dark wash jeans and a great pair of boots.

SSM: Tell me about your diet and exercise regime.

Dee: I’ve been a vegetarian for about 22 years now.  I’m a pretty good cook and have fun experimenting in the kitchen.  I love whole grains and veggies and discovering new (and sometimes sneaky) ways to serve them to my family.  I avoid white flour, white sugar, white rice and processed foods.  Lately I’ve been addicted to steamed kale and broccolini with garlic chili flax oil and a splash of Braggs.  Yum!  I’m not entirely a “goody-goody” eater as my sister-in-law likes to call me, but I do crave foods that are good for me. I get a mini workout in every time I teach, but I try at least few times a week to get in a full-body workout on my own where I really push myself.   I’m usually pressed for time, so I do a lot of compound moves to work upper and lower body at the same time (eg. squat with shoulder press) , or do full-body exercises like burpees.  I like short but intense workouts for their time efficiency and results. My son keeps me active too.  As a big hockey fan he always wants me to take shots at him, or for me to play goalie.  That can really work up a sweat!  We go hiking and biking a lot as a family on weekends and holidays.

SSM: Any final words of wisdom for my readers?

Dee: It’s important to make time for yourself and to pursue your own health and fitness goals.  Find something you enjoy.  It could be bootcamp, snowshoeing, yoga, Zumba…whatever.  Move your body and it will thank you for it.  It’s never too late to start.  I was a late bloomer and can honestly say that the older I get the better shape I’m in.  Your kids need you to be a healthy active parent.   Besides, it’s much more fun than sitting on the sidelines.

Dee has kindly extended a giveaway to SSM readers: if you would like to try a FREE Fit 4 Two Pre and Postnatal Fitness class on the Westside contact dee@fit4two or check out to find a franchisee in your area.

images courtesy of

Saturday’s shmoozings with…

Email Michelle Addison
Personal stylist Michelle Addison from Jessie Carlson Wardrobe, featured in the Best of Vancouver 2011.  These ladies are style goddesses who come to your home, cleanse your wardrobe, provide you with a shopping list and help you purchase new, more appropriate items! They even have a Stylish Mama package which includes either personal shopping and an outfit list or a wardrobe cleanse and a shopping list. Want some
 words of wisdom from a style expert? Read on… 

SSM: Hi Michelle, How did you come to be interested in styling and start working with Jessie Carlson?
M: I have always been interested in fashion ever since I was a little girl and used to cut pictures out of magazines and stick them on my wall. After graduating from university where I studied fine arts, I got a part-time job at a clothing store and that’s where I really began to gain a professional interest in clothes. I started doing some clients wardrobes whom I met through the store and felt I had a real knack for it.
When Jessie asked me to help her while she was on maternity leave, it completely seemed to fit, as I was returning from a year off with my daughter, Stella and wanted to jump right back into styling. Jessie has impeccable style so I was thrilled at getting a chance to help grow her business.
SSM: How do you and Jessie find balancing Mommyhood and a business?
M: Jessie is doing amazing working from home and loving being a Mom. Our philosophy is exactly the same, we are not willing to put our business before our kids. The pressure to be everything for everyone is very real but we decided to keep our priorities in focus. So far so good. It is so great to be in business with someone who loves being a mom as much as I do.
SSM: Why is styling so important for our Vancouver Mom?Michelle: Good question. I think styling is important because so many mom’s don’t have the time to shop or figure out what the trends are vs. what would suit them. A stylist helps you put together a wardrobe that works for your lifestyle and body. Often after having kids some woman feel that they have no idea what they should wear. Their bodies have changed along with their priorities. An un-biased look at a closet can do wonders for letting go of the past and focusing on today. Finding out what looks good on you can make you feel fabulous no matter what your budget.  Hiring a stylist is smarter, greener, it makes you feel confident in your own skin…sort of all the things required for a simplystylish Vancouver mom…no?
SSM: My readers know my thoughts on this – but what are YOUR thoughts on items such as Uggs and sweats?
Michelle: I would have to say there is never a reason to wear uggs…especially in Vancouver when it rains so much!! As for sweats I again have to say that there are far better alternatives out there…as well as more attractive alternatives. If you were to say that you wear sweats to bed or around your house…I would let that slide.
SSM: What are the key wardrobe staples for our Simplystylishmom?
Michelle: A good pair of jeans(ones that fit YOUR body) a great spring and fall coat(that you love, not just tolerate), a great black heel, ballet flats and maybe some good quality tee-shirts.
SSM: What are your favourite items for Spring/Summer 2011?Michelle: I love all the color!! I am a big fan of all the color blocking they are doing this season and think that you can do wonders with some great shoes (eg.isabel marant poppy bow shoe in blue) and a different color belt. I like all the nudes: a nude cardigan is essential, and maybe a blazer…I love Helmut Lang blazers!! I also like the long skirts…with the t-shirts, not for everyone, but a great option for some.
SSM: Favourite place to find fashion bargains in Vancouver? What are your thoughts on online shopping?
Michelle: Fashions bargains…I like H&M and Zara in Vancouver. And on-line? I don’t do much bargain shopping on-line…too risky and I don’t like have too much in my wardrobe. I like quality over quantityI would have to advise the same for my clients.
SSM: Like me, you are a fan of The Satorialist, what are some of your other favourite style blogs?
I love the Satorialist!!! I like and …and I love!!
SSM: Finally, How can a Mom be stylish without having to spend a lot?
Michelle: I think that a mom can be stylish without spending a lot if she invests in some basics. Stay away from trendier things and concentrate on the key elements. Once you have your basics complete you can voyage into trends. Also accessorizing can be quite thrifty as you can find some amazing belts, bags and scarves in consignment or second-hand stores.

Thanks Michelle for your time and pearls of wisdom!

Happy Thursday!

xxo, SimplystylishMom