Veronica Swanson Beard

As you know, we’re sort of obsessed with finding the one perfect product for everything. So it’s no surprise we think of the apparel brand Veronica Beard, whose main mission is to help busy ladies simplify oh-so-stylishly, like a soul sister.

Like her co-founder sister-in-law (whom we featured in the spring), Veronica Swanson Beard has a little troop of kids – boys aged 7, 5, and 1 – and a surefooted approach to the dance of business-running and parenting.

So of course she was capable of tackling the latest challenge for the Beard brand: denim. “Our goal is to design the must-have pieces of your uniform and the thing we wanted most was denim – the kind you’d feel polished enough to wear to a meeting or a dinner with your parents or boss.” And as an alum of Narciso Rodriguez, Alberta Ferretti and Parsons, we trust that she got it right. (Find out for yourself this October).

Save room in your denim drawer and now enjoy this in the meantime: good advice from a woman fit to give it.

My Everyday

I take my boys to school and head to the office where I move between design, sales and PR all day. I’m home in time for bathtime and then I put the baby to bed. For the older kids, it’s homework and roughhousing followed by a book at bedtime.

I’ve Got This Nailed

Always give kids two choices – for food, movies, outfits, play dates etc. They feel empowered and you know what you’re dealing with. But only buy clothes and shoes you would want your kids to wear!

The Pregnancy Uniform

Mine was a Veronica Beard blazer, blouses from Zara, J Brand maternity jeans and Isabel Marant booties. It’s really important to feel yourself when you’re pregnant. There is nothing worse than feeling like shamu the whale in a bad outfit.

New Moms, Listen Up

Stay home for the first two weeks and limit visitors to people you wouldn’t mind sobbing or leaking in front of.

The Magic Ingredient

Amparo, our beloved nanny is essential to helping me keep it together. She lives with us and my boys think of her as family. She allows me the freedom to run a business and have a happy marriage and not feel guilt about my kids 24/7.

The Perfect Moment

Bonfire on the beach at our home in Locust Valley, Long Island. There is nothing more magical than watching your kids chase fireflies, chow s’mores, and feel special because they’re staying up late!

#Momfail

They inherited my insatiable sweet tooth and I did nothing to prevent it from happening. Ice cream is a particularly lethal vice in the Beard home.

Best. Purchase. Ever.

The Sit’n’Stroll. I CANNOT believe it took me three kids to finally buy this machine.

How To Travel With Tots

Each kid has their own roller suitcase that holds their toys, lovies and DVD player. I get a good meal in them and then it’s junk all the way – whatever they want as long as they behave and stay in their seat.

Say What?

In our house, cuddle cuddle means snuggle time.

3 Hours Alone, 3 Hours With Him

Alone: Hunting through vintage, thrift and antique shops anywhere in the USA.
With him: Dinner with my husband at Il Cantinori.

I Still Don’t Get It

Cooking. And downloading pictures.

You Can’t Do It All, So Do This

I had to make the decision for myself that once I get to work, it’s all about business unless there is an emergency with the kids. They respect my love for my business and know that they’re always my first priority.

I Never Have Enough…

Wipes and LL Bean totes.

Becoming My Own Mother

I say and do everything she does! My mom would drag us around to all her favorite antique and thrift shops and now my boys have to do it too. I always let them pick out their own piece of treasure so they don’t mind it too much.

Photo: Courtesy of Claiborne Swanson Frank

Alice Ryan

Family: Husband Kirk Miller, daughter Elliott Grace (3), sons Grey (7) and Barnes (4 months)
Lives: NYC, East Village; weekends on the North Fork of Long Island
Spends her days: Running her own PR and events company for luxury brands like Bonpoint and Estee Lauder

What are you obsessed with right now?

With a 3-month-old baby and two older children, finding better methods of organizing my schedule, investing the time for work and client meetings, ensuring that family time is uninterrupted and that my husband doesn’t feel like a spare part.

What’s stressing you out right now?

1. Finding the right double stroller so that my nanny can maneuver the streets of NYC with my youngest two.
2. House hunting in LA and trying to determine if life is truly better on the other coast.

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What song do you never skip over when it comes up on shuffle?

Chris Brown’s “Fine China” – I only listen to Hip Hop and R&B. It doesn’t remotely mirror the person that most people see, but I don’t listen to anything else.

What TV show are you into right now?

I’m not a TV watcher, but I’ll get totally immersed in a show during a flight and can happily watch Ray Donovan on repeat.

Favorite form of exercise?

SoulCycle has been my only workout since meeting instructor Laurie Cole six years ago. Sometime she encourages me to try Body By Simone, but to date I have not strayed.

What are you getting better at?

Saying that I would love to be there but sadly I can’t make it. I always want to support everyone who helps me, but It’s not always achievable. There is something every night, and once upon a time, I was a little more dynamic after hours!

What are you getting worse at?

Getting dressed. I have my go-to outfits, and the rotation is getting smaller and smaller. Thank goodness for chic girlfriends who inspire me to up my game from time to time.

Would pay good money for…

The perfect wardrobe – I would gladly give it all away and start over!

Career highlight?

Traveling to Japan and Moscow with Ralph Lauren, and everything working out precisely to his liking (even though I didn’t even speak the language!). There were many beautiful events with incredible press, and he was thrilled with me. Sheer elation.

Career lowpoint?

Arriving late for a meeting with Anna Wintour. I’m a subway girl, and somehow I broke my cardinal rule that day and took a taxi. For shame!

Favorite vacation spot?

Anywhere in the Bahamas: Old Fort, Lyford Cay, Eleuthera, and Harbour Island being the favorites. Pink sand and my children on the beach brings unparalleled joy.

Where do you go to be alone?

A tiny nail salon in the East Village that I’ve been going to since I moved to New York. I can close my eyes and nobody needs to ask me a thing.

First site/app you visit every morning?

Undoubtedly Instagram: It covers what I would see in WWD and allows me to glance at the people whose lives and work interest me.

Describe your “comfy clothes”

Always Hatch Collection (whether pregnant or not): The clothes are my favorite look. My latest is the Twilight Romper – it gets a lot of compliments!

Airbnb or resort?

I love a little hotel living, so I will naturally gravitate toward a resort, but One Fine Stay is truly genius – the fancy version of Airbnb.

Pregnancy style: boho or bodycon?

A blend of both – early on, a little less form-fitting is more forgiving but as the bump is more pronounced, a body conscious silhouette is gorgeous.

Favorite brand for you?

I am leaning towards my husbands line Millers Oath. He has made beautiful tailored pieces for some of my girlfriends, and I think it’s time he takes over my look!

Favorite brand for kids?

Bonpoint for the color palette, exquisite fabrics and the most divine party dresses and shoes. It’s the only European element to my all American family!

Babies are…

The center of my universe!

Favorite kids food?

Homemade waffles with apple sauce and strawberry jam.

What’s your “mommy drink”?

Anything that my husband puts in my hand. He favors Hendricks Gin, and that seems to go surprisingly well with anything found in the fridge. Left to my own devices, always a large glass of chilled rose.

To push present or not to push present?

I wouldn’t ever dream of asking for a push present, but my friend Jennifer Fisher has always sent me gold initials when a new arrival comes, so I’ve certainly been spoiled!

On Our Radar: July 23, 2015

primaryicecream

primarysheets

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primarypremama

Ruby Rocket’s
WHO: Kids, grown ups… anyone who loves a popsicle.
WHAT: These new healthy ice pops are made of fruit and veggies – and have a max of 6g of sugar and 40 calories – but trust, they’re delicious!
WHEN: You need to cool off on a hot day.
WHERE: Online or find them near you.

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Modern Burlap Swaddles
WHO: Soon-to-be parents with a minimalist design aesthetic (i.e. don’t want any of that pink and blue crap!).
WHAT: Sweet, chic black and white prints (think XO, shapes, letters) are refreshing stand outs in a baby world of pastels.
WHEN: Makes a lovely gift (hint hint).
WHERE: modernburlap.com

Belly Armor Nursing Cover
WHO: Anyone who wants to take extra precaution against radiation from devices harming your baby.
WHAT: Belly Armor’s new nursing covers cancel out ambient radiation from smart phones, tablets, and laptops by neutralizing 99% of the incoming electromagnetic waves.
WHEN: We all log countless hours on our devices while nursing, so be proactive.
WHERE: bellyarmor.com

Premama Lactation
WHO: Breastfeeding moms who want to increase milk supply.
WHAT: Forget the tea and the pills, this is a berry powder (made of fennel seed, fenugreek, and blessed thistle) you mix with water, like Emergen-C.
WHEN: You want to up your stash.
WHERE: cvs.com

Angie Keiser

The internet can be an icky place. Click bait. “Which color is THE DRESS?!”. Sweepstakes. But then every once in awhile, the beast introduces something so beautiful, so genius, so wonderful you can’t help but forgive it for the rest of that crap. For us (and for VOGUE and Jenna Lyons), it’s been Angie Keiser (aka @2sistersangie) and her wildly creative, adorable 5-year-old daughter Sydney, known to most as her internet nickname, Mayhem – after those kooky Allstate ads.

When the Ohio-based mom and photographer started Instagramming photos of Sydney in paper dresses invented and designed by the then-4-year-old, it was all in the name of play. But fast forward about a billion articles (BuzzFeed, Glamour, the works) – not to mention Mayhem’s Fashion Week debut and CFDA shout-out), and the family (don’t forget dad, Keith!) maintains an IG audience that’s creeping up towards 500k and a J.Crew collaboration that’s just hit shelves (yes, any little girl in your life is going to want this tassel sweatshirt).

But what’s perhaps more surprising than how such a humble hobby could draw up a crowd (“No one has been more surprised than I have that people cared about paper dresses,” Angie told us), is how she’s managed to keep Sydney a curious and generally typical 5-year-old, grounded. Angie filled us in on why they say no more than yes to the requests that come in (no, you will not see a #FashionbyMayhem reality show), the values that matter most to them, and the social media safety precaution you should adopt NOW.

Meet the inspiringly normal, lovely, anti-stage-mom Angie.

Following Her Lead

When Sydney was 2, someone gave her some dress-up clothes she was really into. And then one day she brought me a pillowcase and a clothespin and she said “put this dress on me, mom.” It was one of those frustrating days, and I looked at her and said “that’s not a dress.” As soon as I heard the words come out of my mouth and watched her face – the disappointment! – I realized I never wanted to do that again. I decided that day that if she thought she saw something, I would do my best to help her make it happen. She will do things like take all the toilet paper off the roll because she wants to make something out of it – life gets messy, yes. But the imagination is mind-blowing.

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Playtime 101

Becoming a mother made me define creativity a little differently – more broadly. I was already a professional photographer, so there was a lot of creativity in my day-to-day, but staying at home with a child is a very different type of imagination. I had one big advantage: Having photographed other people’s children for 13 years before having one of my own, I learned how to interact with kids. You have to get down on the floor on their level and be silly in order to get the shot – and totally get over feeling like a fool yourself!

Safety First, Social Second

My biggest advice? Never post anything with a location tag in real time. If we’re posting that we just had a great lunch in Central Park, that was at least a few hours ago.

“Hi, Jenna Lyons here”

I got an email from Jenna Lyons that said “Hey, I read your story, and you might think this is crazy, but I want to do a small collection designed by a 4-year-old. If you think that would be fun, let me know.” We had a call with her and Jenny Cooper, the head of crewcuts, and it was funny because they were like “we have absolutely no idea how this is going to work, but we love that she is doing this and having fun with it.” Before we came to New York, I talked to Jenny about Sydney’s nap schedule to make sure we set up times that were easy for her and never an all-day thing. The team was literally on the floor with her, folding paper and watching the way she works, asking her about colors and showing her how they’d interpret her ideas with beads and other pieces. We could not have been more thrilled – it was a once in a lifetime experience!

Manners Matter

My husband and I have a photo studio, and since Sydney was little, she’s had little jobs around here, like getting bottles of water for clients. We don’t have a nanny, so she’s with us all the time. We always felt it was important for her to be able to interact with adults and know how to behave – we wanted to raise not just a great kid but a great person. We taught her to shake hands and look people in the eye when they come in the studio. Of course, we have our struggles… she is a regular 5-year-old!

No, No, No, YES!

Sydney’s health and well-being is our biggest priority. We’ve had opportunities to do a reality TV show and to read for a movie, but I don’t want to do anything that would dramatize or traumatize my family. When it’s an opportunity for Sydney to learn something – like the J. Crew collaboration – that’s interesting to us.

Aren’t You That Little Girl…

People do come up to her on the street – hey, aren’t you that little girl who makes paper dresses?! – or when she meets someone new and they say “I know you! I love what you do!” – she has a pretty good feel for what Instagram is. We tell her, hey, there are a lot of people out there that have a lot of followers and you’ve gotten to do this cool stuff so that’s how they know you. We try to keep her in the attitude of gratitude… which can be tough when people give her a lot of attention. We try to stay away from anything that becomes too much pressure for someone who’s 5.

Comments = Chaos

Within 48 hours of our story going viral, I knew I could never read the comments. Most of the comments are positive and fulfilling but it only takes one to make you feel bad… and I do not voluntarily do things that make me feel bad!