24 Hours With …

24 Hours With … Maia James from Gimme The Good Stuff

With so many resources available for non-toxic living, it can feel a bit overwhelming. Add to that the panic-stricken feelings the subject can induce, and avoiding the topic altogether might feel more appealing. Maia James, founder of Gimme The Good Stuff, somehow balances deep knowledge in non-toxic living while also being totally realistic, reasonable and personable—a rare combination! Her web site is full of well-researched and well-reasoned recommendations—it is definitely worth a look (I was really surprised about some things I learned from her). As a Huffington Post writer and celebrity consultant, Maia devotes her career to helping people, particularly mothers, reduce toxins in their lives. Maia lives with her family in New York, and this is her 24 Hours.

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Do you work inside or outside of the home? If outside of the home, what are your hours? I work inside my home, in an office in my apartment.

What is your childcare/schooling situation? My older son is in kindergarten all day, and so I work during the younger one’s nap, after they both go to bed, and then a couple of mornings a week I have a babysitter here to play with my 15-month-old while I work.  All other times, I try to just be a mom for the boys, and not be multi-tasking with my iphone in one hand, trying to surreptitiously check email while reading Curious George. I sort of pull this off, but not always as well as I would like.

What is breakfast, lunch and dinner like in your family? Pretty chaotic. My one-year-old only wants to eat with a fork, so it’s always a huge mess. Breakfast is usually oatmeal with chia seeds and maple syrup, or French toast which we make with sprouted bread.  Lunch is often leftovers from dinner, but I admit to doing a fair amount of whole-wheat mac and cheese with broccoli thrown in! My husband often makes dinner (lucky me)—often either salmon or chicken, with a vegetable and a grain, like quinoa, brown rice, or kamut, which the kids like with butter and tamari. We make pizzas on premade crusts when we feel lazy, or sometimes a pasta with shrimp or veggies. I don’t eat meat, but my boys do, so sometimes I’ll make homemade tofu burgers and my husband will make grassfed beef burgers for himself and the kids.

Do you meal plan or wing it? Do you like that? A little of each. I sort of plan in the morning, so that during the afternoon I can start prepping dinner a bit…but I definitely don’t lay out the week’s meals every Sunday. I wish I could be that organized!

What is the most challenging part of your day? The stretch in the late afternoon to early evening when I’m waiting for my husband to come home can feel really long, and I know it’ll only be worse this winter! My husband now knows that if he stops on his way home—be it for a 6-pack or toilet paper—he may have his head ripped off for daring to be delayed even 5 extra minutes!!

What is the easiest part of your day? When the kids are finally in bed and I sit on the couch and do work while my husband lets me monopolize the TV with terrible shows like The Bachelor.

In terms of running a house with a family, what do you feel like you have figured out? [Long long pause]. I think I’ve figured out how to prepare meals with two kids underfoot pretty well. Sometimes that means letting the baby bang on pots at my feet, sometimes I’m holding him in one arm while I stir and Felix is playing on the ipad.

Does anything still stump you? Most things! I still can’t believe it when I visit people with kids and their homes are spotless and perfectly organized. I just don’t have a good handle on this yet. I feel like I walk around cleaning and picking up ALL day, yet the place always is a mess.

How do you take care of yourself and recharge? As I mentioned, every night I get a little recharge by putting my feet up, watching something mindless on TV, and drinking either a Kombucha, a good IPA beer, or a glass or wine. I actually find working on my business relaxing because I so rarely get dedicated time completely to myself!.

If you had an extra hour in your day, how would you spend it? I would love to have one solid hour of time just devoted to snuggling or being silly with my kids, without feeling like I need to be doing anything else at all.

Any other tips you’d like to share? Get a handheld vacuum cleaner! Somehow it took me 5 years to do so, and it’s changed my life.

What does a usual 24 hours look like in your house? The kids are up at around 6:30 a.m. and my husband leaves for work really early—the boys and I have a little lazy time in our jammies, reading books or snuggling, and by 7:00 we are up eating breakfast, then getting dressed, brushing teeth, cleaning up, packing lunch, and out the door at 8:20 to walk my older son to school. From 8:45 to noon I either have a babysitter and I work or I take the baby to the park/a music class/to see a friend. Then we eat lunch and I put him down for a nap, and then I nearly sprint to my computer to catch up on the piles of work that are always waiting for me! Wolfie wakes up at around 2:30, at which point we have to leave immediately to pick up his brother. We often run an errand after this—grocery store or other shopping—or sometimes I take my older son for a playdate. We get home by 4:00 or so and I start dinner by 4:45 so the kids can eat at 5:30, which is usually around the time my husband gets home. After that it’s the standard bath-cleanup-stories-bedtime routine, with the goal that the kids are both sleeping by 7:15! I try to get myself in bed by 9:30 since I always read for at least an hour before going to sleep (mostly The New York Times on my phone but ideally a bit of fiction, too!).

24 Hours With … Erin Boyle from Reading My Tea Leaves

If you are not already reading Erin Boyle’s blog, Reading My Tea Leaves, do click on over. You will be so glad you did. Erin is a freelance writer and former editor for Gardenista. Her aesthetic is beautiful, simple and approachable, and she shares the details of her daily life in a thoughtful and helpful way (her tiny living tips are my favorite). I was thrilled when Erin announced last year she was expecting a baby so that I could see her take on motherhood, and future posts did not disappoint. Lucky for us, Erin has agreed to share her 24 Hours with Simple Baby.

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Do you work inside or outside of the home? If outside of the home, what are your hours? I work inside the home, outside of the home, in cafés, libraries, and in other people’s offices in as many hours as I can wrangle.

What is your childcare/schooling situation? Right now we’re flying a bit by the seat of our pants in terms of childcare, relying on a combination of family, babysitting, and early morning/later evening work trades between me and my husband.

What is breakfast, lunch and dinner like in your family? Simple, harried, peaceful, respectively.  

Do you meal plan or wing it? Do you like that? We do a little bit of both. I really love the ritual of stopping by the grocery store or farmers’ market each day and letting the produce guide me, but we’re working on getting better about having staples planned (and in the house) so that on nights when we’re tired and don’t make it to the market, we’re not tempted to go out to eat instead.

What is the most challenging part of your day? The mid-afternoon on days when I don’t have childcare are tricky. Since I’m just making the shift from a full-time position back to freelance, it’s been a challenge for us to hire all of the help that we need, but we’re working on it!

What is the easiest part of your day? The morning. I wake up early, my husband makes us both coffee, and I log a few hours of work before he leaves for work.

In terms of running a house with a family, what do you feel like you have figured out? Working together with my husband. Every single thing is a team effort.

Does anything still stump you? Of course! There’s a new challenge every day. Thank goodness.

How do you take care of yourself and recharge? By taking a long, slow walk.

If you had an extra hour in your day, how would you spend it? See #9!

Any other tips you’d like to share? Breathe more.

What does a usual 24 hours look like in your house? We’re still in the very new baby stage, so the days are fairly predictable: early mornings, early evenings, and as much sleep and work as possible in between.

24 Hours With … Photographer Jenn Hopkins

Many of you have probably already heard of Jenn. When she isn’t capturing her handsome boy Sawyer, Jenn is making babies and brides all over the Southeast shine on the other side of the lens. As a mother and small business owner, Jenn juggles a lot every day and does it beautifully. Here is her 24 Hours:

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Do you work inside or outside of the home? If outside of the home, what are your hours? Inside and outside. As a professional photographer I spend about 8+ hours a day editing, answering emails, coordinating photo sessions, marketing, advertising, promoting sessions, networking and other admin duties. I also work outside when I’m shooting. Every Saturday I photograph weddings all day, away from the house, and my sweet son 10-12 hours at a time. My hours are all over the place. I worked hard to find a good routine for my baby, and I use his nap times to work as quickly as possible! Then into the wee hours at night if I have a lot of deadlines.

What is your childcare/schooling situation? I have an amazing, angelic, perfect, sweet, kind, loving sitter. Shes Sawyer’s 2nd Grandmom. He hangs out at her house which is just down the street 2-3 days per week so that I can get in a full days work uninterrupted or so that I can go on photo shoots. I wouldn’t be able to run my business without her. They sing and learn songs, they’ve even done some arts and crafts as gifts for me. I cannot get over how lucky I am to have her.

What is breakfast, lunch and dinner like in your family? I am a single Mama so I hate to admit it but my nutrition usually comes 2nd to my son. I am constantly picking up things like bananas and avocados for him and forgetting to get myself some grown up food! Meal planning is something I try very hard to do, but after my baby, and running my business its hard to squeeze it in. I tend to eat out too much!

Do you meal plan or wing it? Do you like that? I am working more on meal planning, but winging it lately has been the theme in our house.

What is the most challenging part of your day? Day times. It is so hard to try to balance being a single mom, spending amazing quality time with my son, AND run a business. Before I had my baby I used to work about 10-14 hours per day. No way that’s happening now, so I am trying to keep up with my clients’ needs as well as my son’s.

What is the easiest part of your day? Night time! I love my bed time ritual with my son. It calms and centers me just as it does him.

In terms of running a house with a family, what do you feel like you have figured out? I feel that I have our “schedules” figured out. My son’s routine is pretty predictable right now, so I know that at certain times of day we play together and spend time just us. Because his routine is pretty set I know that Ill be able to get to all those pressing phone calls and emails and deadlines in just a few hours or minutes, and it allows me to really focus on our time together. I don’t feel as pressured knowing that at say, 12pm when he goes down for a nap I should have at least an hour to get back to my clients, and that I don’t have to do those things when my son and I are having “our time.”

Does anything still stump you? Every day I juggle my business and my baby. It is hard for me to sit down and work when he’s just a room away napping. I feel like I should be doing laundry, or sterilizing something! I try to save all the daily home tasks for the evening.

How do you take care of yourself and recharge? That is a good question— I am still learning to do this. I do take some evenings for myself once he goes to bed for the night. I snuggle up with all the terrible reality television that’s been stacking up on my DVR or I take time to chat with my girlfriends or bury myself in my kindle. I try to do this a few nights a week. I turn off my computer so that it doesn’t call to me, which is a struggle when your office is in your home. I instantly feel like I’ve taken a part of my life back. I feel recharged and ready to tackle anything new that pops up the next day.

If you had an extra hour in your day, how would you spend it?
A bubble bath!!!!! That sweet indulgence has gone by the wayside now that my boy is here. Who has time to fill up the bath tub!?

Any other organizing tips you’d like to share?
My to-do list is essential. Every night I rewrite my to do list while I’m sitting in bed decompressing. On pretty little paper with my favorite pen.  Pressing matters go on top, and non pressing matters on the bottom. I start the items that MUST get done the next day, all other items can happen as I have time. That way, when my son goes down for a nap I can work through each item. Crossing them off. It also makes me feel accomplished to write a new to do list each night. I start fresh the next day, not with a list covered in scratches and check marks. It keeps me efficient as I only get little bursts of time each day to really work.

What does a usual 24 hours look like in your house? Because of the nature of my job I never seem to have a day like any other day. I work weekends out of the house mostly, so on those days I wake up with the baby, get him fed and happy then leave him with my wonderful, kind, selfless mother who watches him while I go off to photograph families and weddings. On weekdays usually, my son wakes around 8am, we spend about 2 hours playing and off to nap time he goes for an hour or two while I check things off my to do list. Usually answering client emails and phone calls. When he wakes up its time to eat again, more play time, although this is the part of the day that if we have errands we run them! Back down for a nap, and I edit and work on client images. After this nap he is usually up for the day, so we get dinner ready, do household chores together, etc. After dinner comes bath time then bedtime! For my son, not for me. I usually work for another 2 or 3 hours before I go to bed as well :-) Then we start it all over again!

24 Hours With … Courtney Carver from Be More With Less

Have you ever read a blog and felt it was written just for you? That is how I feel about Be More With Less. I have been reading Courtney’s work for several years, and I find it incredibly inspiring and also very actionable. Each post is full of little gems that truly help me create a simpler, better life for myself and my family.

Courtney was kind enough to share a bit of her wisdom with Simple Baby, and I am truly honored. Her daughter is now in college, so her life is quite different from when she had a young child at home. Still, I think we can learn so much from her day. Courtney is particularly well-known for encouraging a morning routine—something I wish I was more consistent with. And if only we could so easily adopt her wisdom that the challenges of young children are fleeting. It is so good to be reminded that today’s hurdles will not be there for long. Read on for more inspiration.

Do you work inside or outside of the home? If outside of the home, what are your hours? I usually work from home, but I can work from anywhere. I love working at the library, local coffee shops and from wherever if I’m traveling.

What is your childcare/schooling situation? My daughter just finished her first year of college and is spending the next year in Australia on a working holiday visa.

What is breakfast, lunch and dinner like in your family? During the week, I am usually on my own for breakfast and lunch. I almost always eat fruits and veggies for breakfast. My favorite is steamed spinach and apples with almond butter. Dinners and weekend meals I share with my husband.

Do you meal plan or wing it? Do you like that? I sort of fall in between. I have a few go to meals that I like, and I really enjoy eating the same few meals all week long.

What is the most challenging part of your day? Taking a lunch break. I really like my work and could work right through the day, but I know that 1-2 hours away from it makes me enjoy it even more.

What is the easiest part of your day? Compared to my work life a few years ago, everything is much easier.

In terms of running a house with a family, what do you feel like you have figured out? Mostly I’ve figured out that the things I worry about rarely happen. I also know that I’m not an organizer so living with less stuff really helps. Now that my daughter has moved out of the country, I’ve also been able to see how quickly children grow up. Almost every crisis or stressful moment as a mom of a young child seemed so overwhelming, but if I had known how fleeting it all is, I would have reacted with more ease in many situations.

Does anything still stump you? Of course! My work challenges me everyday. I ask for help and try not to take things too seriously.

How do you take care of yourself and recharge? Now that I work for myself I have the flexibility to go a yoga class or take a walk almost anytime, but the daily habit that really helps is my morning routine. It changes depending on what else is going in life, but it typically includes 20 minutes of meditation, 20 minutes of journaling, 30 – 40 minutes of working out or walking and a short yoga practice. I like to do that before anything else.

If you had an extra hour in your day, how would you spend it? Hiking with my dog and husband.

Any other organizing tips you’d like to share? Again, I’m not a great organizer so I declutter and live with less stuff. We downsized from a 2000 sq. ft home last year to a 750 sq. foot apartment with no storage. Clutter shows up quickly in a small house, so I make sure everything I own serves a purpose or adds joy to my day.

What does a usual 24 hours look like in your house? A normal weekday for me looks like this:
Wake up around 6:00.

Walk upstairs to the gym and meditate, write and workout (or go for a walk)
Shower and have breakfast
Take my dog Guiness for a walk
Work for a few hours (write something new, work with clients, social media, develop new projects)
Break for lunch, take a walk with the dog, read a little.
Work for a few more hours and try to wrap it up between 4 & 6 (my daughter lives in Sydney so this is a great time for us to chat online or on the phone)
Enjoy the evening with my husband.
In bed between 9:30 and 10:00
Other days I might meet friends for writing dates or lunch, or work somewhere else. If I am launching something new, I might have another work session in the evening, but that is pretty rare. Also, when other things come up, I can be flexible and love that about my work and life.

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24 Hours With … Sue and Rae from Marbelous

Have you heard of Marbelous? I recently learned about it on one of my favorite blogs, Momfilter. It is a beautiful (and affordable!) jewelry line founded by two moms, Sue Kramer and Rae Olmi. How the company came about is a great story alone (and it’s only their side gig!), but what makes it even more special is that Marbelous has a strong focus on charitable giving—they donate 10% of profits from Marbelous back into the community. They also recently launched a partnership with Christy Turlington Burns and her foundation Every Mother Counts (which supports the United Nations’ goal of reducing maternal mortality by 75% by the year 2015).

So their jewelry is fantastic and benefits many wonderful causes, but the best part? Sue and Rae are best friends and their daughters are best friends and they live next door to each other. I know—amazing. I was so taken with Sue and Rae’s story that I asked if they would share more of their incredible mom wisdom with Simple Baby. I am so thankful they agreed!

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Do you work inside or outside of the home? If outside of the home, what are your hours? We both have home offices which are umbrellas for all of our careers. We both have a few: jewelry designers, filmmaker, interior designer, photographer and of course—MOMS. Of course all of these take us out of our homes often but we love working from home, being able to multi-task it all and still be home when the kids come home from school.

What is your childcare/schooling situation? Our kids proudly go to public school. We both don’t have childcare, just babysitters here and there for the essential time needed to get out and about!

What is breakfast, lunch and dinner like in your family? During the week … it’s pretty simple, breakfast is normally eggs, cereal or smoothies, lunch is packed up for school, we both love putting little love notes in the girls lunch boxes and dinner depends on the day and amount of energy. It can be anything from turkey meatballs, chicken in a pot, kale salad with burgers or some gluten-free pasta with tons of veggies. We all love to eat healthy but all love deserts so ice cream or sorbet are staples as well as cookies and treats on the weekends.  

Do you meal plan or wing it? Do you like that? We kinda wing it by planning it on the same day and shopping for things that afternoon. Since we are both married to Europeans, it’s a very European way of doing things.

What is the most challenging part of your day? Being able to separate work time from family time because unfortunately, working from home makes work time bleed into family time. It’s a constant daily challenge.

What is the easiest part of your day? That moment at the end of the day when the kids are asleep and you get under the cover and take our first deep breath.

In terms of running a house with a family, what do you feel like you have figured out? It takes a lot of work but you can have it all if you schedule yourself properly. Also, leaving some time in the month, for ME time whether it’s a cocktail with friends, a night out to the movies, a pedicure, massage, or a good read of a book. Me time is hard to come by but essential.

Does anything still stump you? Coming up with new lunch box ideas! Kills us!

How do you take care of yourself and recharge? We are both avid green juicers and a shot of wheatgrass a day keeps the doctor away.

If you had an extra hour in your day, how would you spend it? In a yoga class.

Any other organizing tips you’d like to share? We are both super organized because it makes our life easier in the long run. We are both big on design objects as organizing tools, so that organization can give you happiness such as some of our vintage bottle for our gold beads or our handmade bowls for our stock storage. We are design junkies.

What does a usual 24 hours look like in your house? It’s a wonderful circus. Getting kids out the door to school, working during that time on all our career stuff, getting ready for dinner, taking many business calls in-between, getting orders together for Marbelous, having strategic creative meetings regarding the new collections, popping into the city for meetings, and being there to read the kids a story before they go to sleep.