stacey_bendet

When it comes to motherhood, Stacey Bendet Eisner is about as hands-on as it gets. The founder of Alice and Olivia and mom to two precious girls (Eloise, 5; Scarlett, 3) whips up specialty “green milk” drinks for the girls each morning and takes on crafts with a Martha-esque fervor. Yet she’s seemingly always decked out (literally, like in ball gowns) with full makeup and signature oversized vintage sunglasses – looking fun-loving, lithe and seriously together.

So just how does she do it? She starts each morning with an hour of yoga (before the girls even wake up), is committed to a mantra of ‘love yourself’, and focuses just as much on the fun parts of parenting (lemonade stands for charity!) as she does on the tricky tasks like disciplining her strong-willed daughter.

Lest she seem a bit, well, perfect, read on for her #momfail and somewhat unhealthy habit – plus more juicy details from the gorgeous and zany life of the A+O cover girl.

Everyday Namaste

I’m a hardcore Ashtangi, do it every day – some mornings at home and a few days a week with Eddie Stern.  Most of the time I’m all glam, but every morning I’m with my people – a bunch of folks covered in tats and sweat. It’s one of my favorite parts of the day.

Post-Pregnancy Secret

Yoga while pregnant is so soothing for yourself and the baby. It was the intense practices I did while pregnant that helped me bounce back right away – I was stronger from practicing with all that extra weight!

Wisest Advice

My dad always said, children are 80% hardwired at birth and 20% is up to you to mold. It’s so true. It’s important to recognize their strengths and weaknesses and keep that in mind every day. We call Eloise ‘The Little Force’ because she’s such a dynamo but can be bossy. My role is to teach her kindness and compassion. My youngest is an adorable glutton. She’ll hang out on the floor, staring at the ceiling. When I ask what she’s doing, she’ll say, “I’m just being happy.”

What’s In A Name

When Eric [Eisner] and I were dating, he lived in LA. I always stayed in a hotel, so he called me Eloise, plus that was my favorite book. When I was pregnant, I just knew I had a little redhead girl in me, and I was right! The second time, it was his love of The Grateful Dead, which he always listened to while I was pregnant. I love the song “Scarlet Begonias” so…

Newest Craving

I’m usually a healthy eater, but I’ve recently become a sucker for the Ice Blendeds at Coffee Bean because they opened one near my office. I never drank coffee until my second child, but I haven’t slept a full night since she was born – it’s always something. They were great sleepers in cribs, but once they got into big girl beds, it was all over.

My Learning Curve

Discipline is sometimes a struggle for me. My oldest is strong-willed and was jealous of her little sister. Her teacher pointed out that I was letting her be the boss and I totally was! I was talking to her like I was her buddy, not mom. So I stopped asking her and started telling her what to do. It didn’t come easily to me, but her tantrums were controlling my life. It’s so important to set rules and boundaries – kids actually want that. I don’t like being strict, but setting parameters has really helped her behavior.

Current Closet Crush

My favorite pieces change daily, but I’m currently obsessed with a hand-dyed silk ribbon-stripe skirt. It’s being made for Alice and Olivia next spring, but the samples arrived in the wrong colorway, so it’s mine.

Stacey Bendet, Chef de Cuisine

I make the girls whole wheat quinoa waffles in the mornings. Cut to… we’re staying at the Pierre Hotel while our home is being renovated, and the girls experienced real waffles. They told me I need to learn to make waffles like that. I’m in big trouble!

Meet George

I think up creative projects in advance and don’t waste time on the set-up because their attention spans are short. We made up a character named Naughty George and paint him doing mischievous things, making up stories about what he did. We’re creating a whole book!

The Key To A Good Vacation

My advice is: BRING HELP so you can truly relax and rest. It’s not a real vacation if you’re busy with the kids the whole time. It’s important to do things to make yourself happy and to have time alone with your husband.

Simply Put

Love yourself. The happier you are, the better you’re going to be with your baby.

Last Word

Instead of “bothering”, Eloise says to Scarlett, “you’re fathering me.”

Keeping Her Day Job

I’ve recognized with harsh reality that I have the worst singing voice in the world. Ever. You see moms singing lullabies to their babies, and it’s so sweet, but not with me!

Be Nice

In response to things like the Boston Marathon bombings, I started the Kindness Project, which is an effort to spread a message of love, kindness and peacefulness via beautiful watercolor murals in public places with positive messages attached to them. People are welcome to take, share or add their own. We do the same thing with the kids outside on our stoop. It’s a good way of teaching them about sharing and kindness. They get to paint and practice writing.

Heart Melted

Recently, Eloise got up one morning and wanted to have a lemonade stand and give all the money to charity, so that’s what we did! It was all her idea – she’s a go-getter. We whipped up cake pops and lemonade and made $105, and we donated it to the Ronald McDonald House.

Make iRules

The girls are so skilled with that iPad. My little one learned all her letters from an iPad app! I’ve designated mornings for watching something educational, like Magic School Bus or programs in Spanish.

My Go-To Skin Cure-all

Homeoplasmine is amazing for any sort of rash or dry skin. It was only available in Paris, but now you can get it here.

Biggest #Momfail

According to my husband, it’s that I let the girls eat candy, but I’m okay with it because they eat organic, healthy meals all the time.

BS Detector

With my first pregnancy, I was young and sorta clueless. With my second, I was anxious because I knew all the things that could potentially go wrong. I couldn’t be all la-di-dah. I just don’t get the blissful pregnant people, but maybe that’s because I’m a Type-A New Yorker.

With Three Hours Alone

I’d get a facial at Christine Chin and go vintage shopping at The Way We Wore Showroom.

Read Stacey’s Little Black Book of Activities for Kids

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On Our Radar: December 19, 2014

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(Product)Red Aden + Anais Swaddles
WHO: Expecting moms who want to make a statement and a difference.
WHAT: Profits from this jazzy Aden + Anais 3-pack of swaddles – designed by Rachel Zoe, Jessica Alba, and Gwen Stefani – go to Global Fund to help fight AIDS.
WHEN: Limited supply, so get them while you can. Makes a great gift (hint hint).
WHERE: adenandanais.com

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Pure Brazilian Coconut Water
WHO: Anyone looking for a refreshing beverage, especially if you’re sick, nauseous, or hungover.
WHAT: New raw, artisanal coconut water is made from only Anão coconuts from Brazil, unlike its mass-produced counterparts. You can taste the difference.
WHEN: When you’re thirsty.
WHERE: purebraziliancoconutwater.com

Town and Country Diaper Tote
WHO: Parents who are a little bit (or lotta bit) preppy.
WHAT: The Town and Country Baby Tote takes the classic tote and adds a brilliant insert turning it into the perfect diaper bag, complete with monogram.
WHEN: Before you register for some sad chevron number.
WHERE: townandcountrybabytote.com

Stay + Co Baby
WHO: Parents of stylish babes.
WHAT: Cute, comfy layette in simple stripes and camo from two SoCal moms who needed a creative outlet.
WHEN: Naptime and playtime.
WHERE: stay-and-co.com

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shoshanna_gruss

Within 2 minutes of chatting with Shoshanna Gruss, we were smitten. She’s warm, kind, real, honest, funny, and a successful entrepreneur who’s managed to find true balance in her life. But then she told us about her daughter Sienna and their impromptu girls trip to New Orleans, and we almost ditched on the designer to hang with her. “She’ll eat anything, try anything, loves museums, and is always down to explore.” And she’s in a band. She’s nine.

But back to our mom-crush. The mother of 3 (aforementioned Sienna; twins Colby and Angelica are 2) runs a business, sees her friends (albeit not as often as she’d like), takes her daughter to school (and picks her up) every day, reads an occasional book, and travels (with and without kids). She’s the quintessential role model for entrepreneur moms, and we say that without even the slightest eyeroll.

Besides overseeing her eponymous fashion line (that’s been around for 17 years!), she’s also the Style Director at Elizabeth Arden, where she collaborates on the design of new products and acts as a spokesperson for the brand. And speaking of collaborating, Sienna has helped design suits for the babygirl swim: “She’s more rock-n-roll than I am, so our stuff is a little too girly for her. I let her help, and her designs have been best-sellers!”

She talked openly with us about her difficulty getting pregnant both times (the 7-year age difference wasn’t “the plan”), and her good fortune of having 3 healthy kids is not lost on her – her gratefulness is palpable. She’s also shared tips for twins parents, her secret to staying organized, and her terrifying #momfail we give her kudos for sharing.

Meet the smart, beautiful, down-to-earth Shoshanna Gruss.

She’s With The Band

Sienna sings and plays keyboard and drums in a band. Currently she’s in a Rolling Stones cover band with the School of Rock, but her old band, Kings of Brooklyn, played at the Bitter End – it was such a proud moment!

Colby strums away on his ukulele all day long. Some people are born with this.

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Out Of Your Control

Anjelica, on the other hand, is going to be an ultimate fighting champion – she’s very physical. I was an athlete and was the same way as a child. My mom is the most refined elegant woman but was a wild animal as a child. You gotta celebrate the kid you got, not try and make them into what you want them to be!

Meaningful Names

My kids are all named after grandparents who have passed away. It’s such a nice Jewish tradition to name kids after family members who are no longer with us. When they ask why they have their name, it keeps you talking about people who were loved and special so they feel that connection.

Winter Babies

The twins were born in November during the coldest winter ever, and I’m a secret hermit so we were shut-ins for the first year, and I didn’t feel guilty about it. No one loves a snowstorm more than me – I love being trapped in the house , so it was a perfect year for me!

Twins Must-Have

The City Select Twin Jogger is the perfect twin stroller. They can face front and back, facing each other or not – you can coordinate it a million different ways. It’s easier to have them front and back so you don’t take up the whole sidewalk, and they enjoy it.

Twins Tips

Don’t buy 2 of everything! They only want whatever thing the other is playing with – it’s not about the toy itself. He loves cars and trucks, and she likes to beat him up – whatever he has in his hand, she wants.

Don’t compare them. She is physical, verbal, and jealous; he is totally laid back. They never hit milestones at the same time. It’s a fascinating study of gender.

The Struggle

Sienna is 9 and the twins are 2 – that was not our family plan. It was hard for me to get pregnant both times, so instead of seeing anything as a negative, I am just so grateful that I have 3 healthy kids. The long road has made me never sweat the small stuff because I know how lucky I am.

Perspective

It’s almost a beautiful age difference because Sienna grew up with just us for so many years, and now the twins are as well. I’ve been the young mommy and the old mommy. I was always so nervous with Sienna, but I am less so with the twins. All the things I have watched some super successful type-A moms stress over – getting into the right schools and making straight A’s – I don’t fret about that stuff. My only goal is to keep my children healthy and happy. You have to find your child’s strengths and help them feel good about that, and instill confidence in the places where they aren’t excelling, all while allowing them to be themselves.

How She Does It

I am a super organized person, and I have to write everything down, like with pen and paper. I use a paper calendar, and I have all of them from the last 20 years – they are so helpful with remembering things!

I am committed to dropping Sienna off and picking her up every day at 2:30pm from school. I’ve had my business for 17 years, so it runs like a machine. What suffers is my social life – I see my friends a few times a month, and I plan it in advance (it’s all about being a planner). I have really great help and the women I work with are incredible and the reason I get to be the kind of mom I want to be.

Her Style

I wear a uniform: a Chinti & Parker sweater or Steven Alan button-down, high-waisted skinny jeans (either Citizens or Sevens – I love the high-waisted are flattering and nothing sticks out), and Supergas. I feel casual enough to get on floor with the kids but pulled together enough for work.

The Hardest Part

I struggle with letting them be independent and giving them space to grow. When I see them try something and not succeed right away, my instinct is to go and do it for them, but they need to figure things out on their own sometimes. That’s hard for me.

Biggest Fashion Pet Peeve

That trying too hard look: I see these NY women wearing the highest heels and the tightest pants, and it makes me uncomfortable for them. Comfort, grace, and elegance are so appealing. I like people to express themselves and the non-creativity in that look bums me out.

Ahhhhhhhhhhh

To unwind, I love to listen to that flutey spa music, put my face in a pillow, and lay there and drift off at night. I would love to find more time to read (there are 30 books next to my bed), but I am so tired!

I did just read I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You and Warpaint, about the Elizabeth Arden-Helena Rubinstein rivalry – their stories are fascinating. I get super obsessed with women who have broken boundaries like they did.

My fantasy is to be on a beach with sea glass and beautiful shells, a chair, my flutey music, a beachcomber, and a reader – if anyone wants to give me a present!

Last Purchase

I have a thing with chromatic color, and Solange did this Chromance collection of multi-colored stones – it was a real gift to myself. Women, in general, are not as giving to themselves as men, but I’m changing that!

Secret Obsession

I torture Sienna with crafts like making friendship bracelets, and she is not into it like I am! I love to bake, paint, and make stuff. I have a sketchbook of stuff I have cut out and glued in: things that inspire me, places I want to go. I just took Sienna to New Orleans, and we had the best time. That’s what life is all about.

#Momfail

When Sienna was little, I was holding her on my hip and gabbing away on the phone, not paying close attention to her. She had pulled a knife out of the woodblock and was holding it over herself, and I smiled and slowly just grabbed it from her, praying she didn’t drop it. Then I moved the woodblock to the other side of the kitchen… and started breathing again.

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holiday gift guides

The time to get your holiday shopping done is right NOW. Our 6 gift guides make it super easy.

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last-call-for-him
last-call-for-girls
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last-call-for-village
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