The 3rd drop of our collab collection with Alyssa (The Honest Mama) is happening today and as we gear up for her larger collection drop we thought everyone should become a little better acquainted. Let's get to it!
What piece are you most excited about in your collection?
I honestly can’t pick just one thing! I keep looking over the entire collection and I love every single item equally. One thing I am definitely looking forward to is the adorable kids’ backpack because I know Everleigh will love it, and I think most little girls would love having this piece!
You started blogging at 3AM back in 2016, what prompted this?
We were in a hotel in St. Louis after a Cardinals game when Everleigh was 10 weeks old, and we had the best day as a little family of three. I was finally starting to feel like I could see some light at the end of the tunnel of those really long and trying newborn days, but in a lot of ways I still just felt really overwhelmed and alone in my new motherhood journey. At that point in my life, I hadn’t yet learned about the importance of vulnerability and its impact on connection with others. I felt a lot of shame in my postpartum struggles and didn’t really feel like I could open up to anyone whole-heartedly, but something told me that there had to be more women out there who were struggling with this motherhood role. Writing has always been my creative outlet and the easiest way for me to express my emotions, so at 3am while my husband and daughter were sound asleep in the hotel room in St. Louis, I started writing and decided to open up a website to share those experiences publicly. It was and still can be terrifying to be super vulnerable without knowing how it will be received or who will be negatively judging, but the healing process that comes with it and the friendships I’ve made along the way have been so worth it.
One piece of advice for a new mom?
Find your tribe and drown out the background noise. Have a support team (or at least one person) in your corner who you can be completely honest and vulnerable with. Whether it’s your spouse, mom, sister, best friend, or maybe even an online community of supportive women… :-) it’s important to have an outlet where you can express what you’re feeling and going through without judgment or criticism. The rest of the Google gurus and unempathetic voices are just projecting their own fears and insecurities onto others. The people in your tribe will be there to validate you with the “me too” or “I get it 100%” moments and should be the type of people who can help you get extra support if you need it. Sometimes you can really struggle without even realizing how serious it is, and no one should have to walk through that journey alone or be harshly criticized for it.
You and Everleigh seem really close, how have you created that relationship?
Since the moment I found out I was pregnant with her, I just felt this extremely strong connection to her and this immense responsibility to never stop working to be a better person for her. She teaches me so much every single day about herself and ultimately about myself and the person I want to be. I’m continuously learning how to gently and empathetically parent her and provide her with a safe and stable childhood while re-parenting myself and healing from my own trauma. I think her being an “only child” also contributes to our close relationship, and I’ve purposely chosen a career that has been conducive to me being constantly present throughout her childhood.
One piece of advice for a newlywed?
Make sure that you both take the time to get to know yourselves fully. Your spouse won’t ever really get to know you and your needs if you don’t even truly know yourself, and vice versa. The majority of arguments in relationships are probably a combination of poor communication, fear of vulnerability, and a lack of really, truly knowing ourselves and our own needs. Some of that will develop and evolve with life experience but it will not come without consistent effort. Learning each other’s enneagram types and love languages can be a basic way to figure out each person’s motivations and needs, and therapy is a great tool to get to know yourself and learn how to cultivate your relationship.
What has been one of your most “pinch me” moments?
Finding out we were having a girl at our gender reveal party for Everleigh! Clayton was “certain” that she was a girl before we even knew, and I was so convinced we were having a boy for the week leading up to the gender reveal. My pregnancy hormones were a mess and I was really struggling with it. I felt like a terrible person for feeling so strongly about gender, but I just dreamed of being a girl mom and having this unbelievable connection with my daughter. I was totally shocked when we found out she was a girl!
Tell us more about your enthusiasm around dance? …We aren’t going to lie; we’ve teared up multiple times watching your most recent reel about dance!
My passion for dance started during a really difficult time in my childhood, and dance felt like this amazing outlet for me, physically and emotionally. I danced at a studio recreationally and then danced competitively for my high school team and found my ultimate calling when I started coaching teams in college. As much as I love the sport of dance itself, I really love the camaraderie that comes with being part of a team that spends so much time together year-round working toward the same goals. I started coaching in 2008 and continued through 2020, with a few short gaps in between since Everleigh came along. It certainly didn’t come without a boatload of challenges, but I’ve had some incredible experiences with dance over the years, including earning seven state championship titles and a coaching Hall of Fame induction. My current dance roles include serving as Communications Director for the IDTA, occasionally judging and choreographing for different groups, and of course my most important role of Dance Mom to Everleigh. She started dancing recreationally at Gallo in St. Joe when she was 2 and became part of their competitive team when she was 4. I’ve really enjoyed watching her own journey with dance and just being able to be a spectator and support person for her.
Favorite podcast? What about book?
My favorite podcast is We Can Do Hard Things with Glennon Doyle. It’s super encouraging, vulnerable, and relatable. I have three favorite books – I can’t pick just one because their genres are all so different! Untamed by Glennon Doyle, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid, and Verity by Colleen Hoover.
What is your most favorite item in your closet (excluding Embolden pieces HA)?
Right now, I’d have to say my hot pink blazer and shorts set. Embolden carried this one several months ago and I totally snoozed on it before it sold out! I was desperate to get my hands on it for an event, so I ordered from another retailer and waited over a month for it to come in at the very last minute. I received so many compliments and felt so confident in it! I love that you can mix and match the pieces to add a pop of color and dress either of them up or down.
Your DIY Home Build is BEAUTIFUL, are you finished? If not, what project is next? Is Clayton for hire?
The ongoing joke is that we will be completely finished with our home by the time Everleigh goes to college! Clayton actually has done other build projects, additions, renovations, and flips, but I’m not sure he should be taking on more jobs until we complete our own! J The ongoing plans that are currently a work-in-progress include the bar/kitchenette downstairs, the built-ins around the projector in the downstairs family room, and the spare bedroom downstairs. We also started adding on a three-seasons room off of our bedroom last fall and need to finish that project now that the weather is starting to cooperate, and there’s lots of yardwork and landscaping projects on the to-do list. It truly never ends! And by the time it does, it will probably be time to renovate!