Meet Cristine of YOYA - Westport Moms

  How old are your kids and how long have you lived in the area? I have two girls – Mila is 20 and Uma is 15! I moved to Westport about 2.5 years ago.

How did you end up where you are now in terms of your job, or whatever passion project it is you might be doing? I originally launched Yoyamart as a concept store, focused not only on kids, but on lifestyle items and art collectables as well. The next step was opening Yoya, focusing more on baby and feminine/old school styles. When Covid hit and I had to close my beautiful shop, I needed to figure out what was next for my career. It allowed me to refocus on my original plan – a concept store. That’s why I’m so excited to be here in Westport starting a beautiful new Yoya chapter with CasaYoya! It’s been a strange year of endings, beginnings, and wild changes, but I’m thrilled to say that Yoya has evolved in to something new and beautiful since the pandemic forced us to close our West Village doors last year. Rather than saying goodbye to Yoya, I’ve decided to expand – not just kids, but a lifestyle brand that includes home decor, women’s designer clothing, and more. It’s not such a departure from the original inspiration behind Yoya – a curated concept shop of my favorite things. It’s all about thoughtful selections, trusting my instincts, and above all, being creative. I want to do it all – beautiful children’s designers, home decor, interior decorating, women’s clothing, and art pieces. And on top of it all, my new studio space in Westport will operate as an appointment-style shop where you can come see the items in person or have a consultation for a design project. I’m thrilled to have the chance to begin again with exactly the kind of business I’ve always dreamed of having.

What was your best memory from 2020, a strange year we know… My daughter Mila goes to school in Paris, and as sad as I was that she had to miss such a fun and important part of college, it was WONDERFUL when she was finally able to come home. I got to spend time with my whole family without distractions.

What are you most looking forward to this year? Launching CasaYoya! I’m thrilled to get back in to curating a shop and expanding on my interior design business. And (fingers crossed), traveling safely again with my family.

What is the best show you have recently (binge) watched? AND/OR what is the last book you read? In terms of shows, I watch mostly embarrassing soap operas, most recently The White Lotus! I also recently watched 9 Perfect Strangers and I’m obsessed. I just started reading Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney, the author of Normal People. So far I’m loving it!

What’s your favorite app right now- for you- and for your kids? I have a newfound passion for gardening, so my favorite app at the moment is called Picture This. You can take a photo of any plant or flower and it will recognize it, AND tell you if they’re sick and how to treat them! My kids are older, so I guess they use TikTok? I used to love the app that turns off the wifi in the house after a certain time of night. Amazing parenting app for those weekday nights where they won’t detach from the screen!

What is one food you could not live without? Fish, like salmon and branzino. I love it all – especially when my husband is on the grill!

What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you? It took a lot of hard work to get me to where I am today. My move to New York wasn’t easy breezy – I worked three jobs while in school and really learned how to hustle! I’m so grateful for those years even though it was a struggle at times! It taught me to be resilient and began my never- fading love for the city.

If you weren’t doing what you are today, what do you think your career path might have been? I would probably still be involved in something design related. That’s one reason I’m switching things up a bit with CasaYoya – I’m excited to use my creative side in a new way.

What was your most memorable family vacation and why? In 2010, I took my kids to Tulum for 2.5 weeks for Christmas / New Years. We were there with tons of friends so it felt like a big family celebration. Tulum has always been my happy place, but being there with my kids was unforgettable.

What is the best white lie you have told your kids? “Mom! Did you order my new toy?” “It’s in the mail!”

Are you a morning person, or a night owl? Definitely a morning person – I’m out by 10pm most nights and up at 615am most mornings! We all know sleep is important – but for me, early to bed and early to rise is the only way!

What thing has surprised you most about being in the suburbs? How DARK it gets! New York City truly never sleeps – the lights are always on! And I deIinitely got used to that.

What is the [irst thing you do when you walk in the door after a long day? My dogs Oso and Luna don’t give much of a choice – I greet them and tell them how perfect they are! And I always burn some palo santo – it’s such a soothing scent for winding the day down.

Who in your life was – or is – the greatest inspiration for what you’re doing today? My kids were and still are my #1 inspiration for everything I do. My daughters, Mila and Uma, are unique, playful, and thoughtful in very different ways. Yoya may be an extension of me, but my kids make me who I am, so it’s really all about them. I want to work hard not only to provide for them, but also to inspire them to follow their dreams!

Cake or Pie? 
At a movie: Candy or Popcorn? Popcorn
Pancakes or Waffles? Pancakes
Iced Coffee or Hot Coffee? Iced
Beach or Mountains? Beach
Puzzle or Board Game? Puzzles
Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate
Reading or writing? Reading
Ketchup or mustard? mustard
Watch or play sports? play
Winter or summer? summer
Comedy or Drama? comedy

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