We’ve been proud to feature such great working moms in our work/life balance series. Today, we’re featuring the very talented Allyson Wiley. Allyson is a photographer in Sonoma and we’ve been honored to work with her on many events. Here she shares with us how she balances it all:
1. Tell us about yourself and your family:
I am married to a wonderful New Zealander named Nigel and we have a son, Micah (2.5 years old). We are expecting our second baby any day now, a little girl. I am a photographer who has worked in the industry for over 10 years – and I’ve photographed just about everything under the son. My passion lies with photographing the human connection – families, celebrations, etc. I LOVE what I do. Most recently I opened a wedding studio where couples can find resources for their wedding day and gather inspiration. This has been a great venture as it has allowed me to strengthen my relationships with other ‘industry professionals.’
2. What are you 5 favorite things to do with your kids?
- Making Forts – my son and I love collecting blankets from around the house and hiding from ‘daddy.’ For me this is a nice way to connect with him and usually involves cuddles and stories in our little “cave.”
- Making Pizza and Baking – I love letting my little guy help me in the kitchen. I feel like there are a lot of teach-able moments and he takes such pride in what he makes, its great for picky eaters!
- Searching for Animals – I’m lucky enough to live in a town with lots of livestock (horses, cows, etc). My son ADORES watching the animals – so we make this into little road-trips.
- Walking – Usually after dinner we take our Jack Russell for a walk around the neighborhood. I let my son hold the leash, and we collect rocks and look at bugs. Watching him discover new plants, animals, etc is so fun and he loves the sense of responsibility that ‘dog walking’ provides.
- Taking his picture – a little cliche I know as I am a photographer… but I adore his little expressions and it makes me feel as if I am freezing time. I like to record all his milestones, his first haircut, his first trip to the zoo, etc. The expressions he makes are priceless to me. He is used to my camera now, and we have a great time re-living his experiences at home as we look at the images.
3. How do you juggle work/life/kids?
I feel like this is an ever-changing, ever-evolving task. I am constantly re-evaluating if everything is working for me and my family. What I have learned is that you will always feel pulled in different directions when you own your own business. You can ALWAYS be doing more (blogging, networking, editing, marketing) but learning to prioritize and manage your time efficiently is key. Checking in with yourself once a month and re-evaluating is key. While my kids are young, I want to make sure that I am being a present mother – not letting the time slip by. I try to stick to a work schedule. I’ve learned that I need to work outside of my home – because otherwise my work filters into my home-life and I find myself checking emails and trying to squeeze in work – when really I want to be focused on my son. Dedicating certain times to work, and certain times to dates with my son has been a great way to balance it all. I love family trips to parks, zoos, etc are great – and I try to turn off my cell phone, and really enjoy them.
We love throwing first birthday parties – and when we get to play with fun themes we love it even more! We were honored to plan Reese’s First Birthday Safari this year. Reese’s First Birthday was a very special day. The Safari Party inspiration came from the birthday girl herself; Reese loves animals and her parents wanted to incorporate fun, live animals into her celebration. Being that Reese is very girly, the color scheme was pink leopard print. The children had bean bags to play on, a binocular making station, different food stations, a smash cake and dessert station featuring safari animal cookies, but the greatest activity of the day was the Live Safari animals. Reese loved seeing the snakes and baby alligators, and it added an unexpected and lively aspect to the day.
Check out more of this party on Daily Candy.
Event Planning & Design: A little Savvy Event
Photography: Melanie Duerkopp
Paper Products: Print Your Party
Cake & Cookies: Crisp Bake Shop
Linens: La Tavola Linens
Rentals: Classic Party Rentals
Safari Animals: Classroom Safari
1. Tell us about yourself and your family:
I’m married to my “college sweetheart”, Tyler, and we have one amazing son together, Christopher, who will be 2 in May. We moved to Marin County from San Francisco six weeks before I gave birth, and it’s been a whirlwind ever since! I launched Children’s Eyeworks later that year (Fall 2011) in an effort to bring what I had always loved doing home with me. Owning a Web-based business has been a blessing because it allows me to do what I love from home so I can spend every single day with my son. It can be difficult to switch gears from a tantrum-taming, story-reading, lunch-making mommy, to a composed business woman answering a phone call, but I make it happen!
2. What are your 5 favorite things to do with your kids?
-Farmer’s Markets! We have a Farmer’s Market nearly every day of the week here in Marin, and we definitely attend one, if not two, a week. Christopher enjoys the crowds, puppet shows, live music, and of course all the delicious fruits, veggies, and breads we pick-up.
-Music Class. Every Friday morning we head over to music class where we sing, dance, and play. He really enjoys music and I want to nurture that.
-Pool Time! We are fortunate to live just a short walk way from our community center pool where we often meet up with friends and neighbors for a fun afternoon in the sun during the spring/summer months.
-Reading. Christopher is a super active boy; he was walking at 9 months! Yet, he really, really enjoys being read to and will sit still book after book after book. I love watching him study every picture, point to things and “ask questions”, and make connections. You can just tell the gears are turnin’!
-Visiting the Grandparents! We love our day trips to Sonoma to see my parents, and our week-long trips to San Diego to see my husbands parents/family. There is always something new to do or learn when the grandparents are around. It’s fun to watch his relationship with each grandparent growing and blossoming, and I am happy to know he is so loved by so many.
3. How do you juggle work/life/kids?
It’s not easy! I try to get a lot done first thing in the morning, when Tyler is still home and can help with Christopher, during his naps, and in the evenings after he’s gone to sleep. He recently started attending a toddler program every Tuesday morning, so that’s another chunk of time that’s strictly reserved for work. Exercise is a really big part of my life and helps keep me feeling balanced, energized, and stress-free; the gym is my “me time” and I don’t know what I would do without it! And above all, I’m truly fortunate to have such a loving and supportive husband who is not afraid to roll up his sleeves and help out wherever he can!
We’re kicking off a series of interviews with working moms who are sharing how they juggle work and raising children.
Tell us about yourself and your family:
I have two amazing kiddos, Aden, 4 and Isabel 2. We just recently relocated to Sonoma from SF and love it!
I own my own interior design business, currently located out of Sausalito. I work full-time and my husband stays home with the kids. I love what I do and work long days to support my family. It’s not easy but am able to take long weekends with them Fri-Sunday since I’m gone Mon-Thurs with long days and commuting. I mostly do residential design with a focus on family friendly design. It’s a ton of fun and I wouldn’t be able to work this hard if I didn’t love my job!
What are you 5 favorite things to do with your kids?
-I love having a yard now! Simplicity of just playing in the warm sun, doing crafts, getting dirty and gardening.
-Being new in Town we always have a new adventure on the weekends. Finding a new farm, exploring how vegetables are grown, petting goats- whatever!
-They love the beach so making a trek over to Bodega Bay is great. Watching them play in the ocean and get creative with sand is so fun.
-Reading stories at night. It’s my special time with them to snuggle on my lap and read. My son is even memorizing books, so he’ll read to me, makes my heart happy.
-Dance parties! We often wind down the day with loud music and just get silly dancing. Def a highlight seeing pure joy in their eyes as we all act goofy and dance in our living room!
How do you juggle work/life/kids?
It’s hard! I’ve only been working full-time for a year so it’s always a struggle. I have been working less days but longer days. That allows me a three day weekend. I actually unplug from work and am completely present when I am home now. Living in a small town has helped us slow down our life and enjoy the little things. Luckily, I have the most supportive and hard working stay at home father raising them. That helps take the stress of worrying about them during the day off my shoulders. I think as a working parent I am always trying to reinvent the right balance. Time for myself, time for my kids, time for my husband. I try not to be perfect but do what’s best for all of us!
We are all pretty happy so I think it’s working!
Mother’s day is quickly approaching, and we wanted to share some of our favorite gifts for the moms in our lives.
This adorable Pinhole Press Photo Book would make any mom happy.
These Rifle Paper Co. coasters are beautiful, and would definitely make a statement sitting on any mom’s coffee table.
Want to do something special for mom? Get her a Birchbox, and each month she’ll receive a box full of high-end beauty samples.
This Know It All Pencil Set is just a fun, cute gift for mom.
These Eleni’s New York Color Me! Cookies are a very fun gift. The cookies come with a 4 pack of edible ink pens, so your little ones can create edible works of art.
This one is all about the kids!! Here are our favorite presents for kids – what’s on your child’s list this year?
This modern dollhouse is amazing.
We love this book, Me Without You, which lets your child know how much you love her.
Get your child a set of Jacks! It’s an oldie, but it’s an absolute favorite.
This Plasma Car is the perfect gift for kids!
A cute crayon caddy for the little artist in your life!
Also for the artist in your life – my favorite book – Illustration School: Let’s Draw Cute Animals by Sachiko Umoto.
We’re back with our Holiday Gift Guide! Today we’re focusing on the grandparents. We’ve rounded up all of our favorite gifts for your little one to give their Grammy or Gramps this holiday season.
Here are our picks for the top gifts for Mom this Christmas:
This “Mama” ring is delicate and gorgeous. Such a perfect gift to celebrate any mama.
This BAGGU reusable bag is perfect for trips to the grocery store. With three different sizes and many color choices, these bags are a great stocking stuffer for mom.
Welcome to our Holiday Gift Guide! Over the course of the next week we’ll be sharing all of our favorite gifts. Here are our top pics for the babies in your life.
Every baby needs a Sophie! This giraffe teether is the ultimate baby accessory.
ABC Flash Cards – cute & smart. They might be for older kids, but it’s never too early to introduce letters & animal names. Also, they make great wall art for a nursery/kid’s room.
This Bestever Lamb Baby Mat is a great way to ensure tummy time play, from even the most reluctant of babies. We love how soft & cute they are!
Looking for something fun to do this weekend? Join A little Savvy Event and Allyson Wiley at Ramekins! Bring the whole family for an afternoon of holiday cheer! Purchase your tickets here, and enjoy arts & crafts, cookie decorating, a family photobooth, live music and much more!! We look forward to seeing you there on Sunday!