How old are your kids and how long have you lived in Westport? Bronson is almost 7 (January 27th) and Clinton is 4.5 (May 15th). We moved to Westport in August, 2017, so just under a year and a half 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 was the daughter of a healthfood-loving Mom who cooked dinner every single night. (I was the one who had the “weird” healthy chips and cookies in her lunch at school before they became the norm.) I found a love for dance at age seven, and started working AND working out at gyms in high school and throughout college and grad school. Good food and exercise were always a big part of my life, and I knew I wanted to go into this field before I started college. I received my B.S. and M.S. degrees in Nutrition and Exercise Science from Cornell and Columbia Universities. I began my career working as a Clinical Dietitian in NYC hospitals and as a Personal Trainer at New York Sports Clubs, and over the years moved into solely private practice for Nutrition and Training. I now specialize in pediatrics, weight loss, sports nutrition, allergies, GI health, pre/post natal, and other areas of clinical and lifestyle nutrition. I provide in-office, concierge, remote, individual and group Nutrition Counseling. In addition to my private Manhattan and Westport, CT-based practice for adults, children and families, I appear regularly in various news, lifestyle, and entertainment stories for CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox News, Parenting, Golf Fitness, Vogue, People.com, Forbes.com, and other media outlets.
Since we moved to Westport, I am definitely spending less time in NYC, and working on growing my business here, as well as expanding my online and social media presence and reach.
What is your favorite family activity to do in Westport or the surrounding towns? We love having the beach less than ten minutes from our house! Whether it’s a summer day at the beach, fall/spring hanging at the playground, an evening BBQ with the kids, an adult party by the cannons, trick-or-treating at the homes by the water, or celebrating the 4th of July on the sand, we have enjoyed and created SO many memories already at Compo!
What was your most memorable family vacation and why? We have two regular family vacation spots that Michael and I enjoyed for years as a couple that our boys have grown to love as well: Vail, Colorado in the winter and the Hamptons in the summer.
Every February we have gone with Michael’s family and friends skiing. Vail is where I learned to ski (at age 27!), and both of my boys started ski school at age 3. Every year they create memories with their cousins and friends, talk about it all year long, and get very excited to go back.
While Vail is a very busy, active trip, we love our week in the Hamptons at our friends’ house for a more relaxing vacation. We have less of a schedule, spend time at the pool and beaches, love boating with friends, going into town, and spending time with our NYC friends. Mike and I actually got engaged there!
What is the best white lie you have told your kids? The Tooth Fairy DOES exist! My older son started losing teeth at age 5. Now that he is almost 7, he is starting to ask a lot of logistics questions about how this magical creature operates (as I did at his age, with LONG notes under my pillow). I will try my best to keep the fairy-tale alive as long as possible because they grow up and get big TOO quickly!
What is your proudest mommy moment? There are so many. BUT, I would have to say a recent experience was definitely my proudest. A little background: I was THE shyest kid growing up. I clung to my parents’ legs, and would never let them leave me alone at birthday parties, even when they began becoming drop-off events. I even was given the book “Little Miss Shy” as a party favor at one birthday.
Bronson has always been super friendly, outgoing, and full of confidence. When he mentioned that he “may be speaking” at the Long Lots Annual Winter Sing-Along Concert (where the kids sing as a grade and all the parents come to watch), I smiled and nodded, but then dismissed, and honestly forgot about it. Sitting in the auditorium last month, I watched in awe, as he was THE ONLY first-grader to step forward to the middle of the stage in front of all his classmates, teachers, and parents in a full auditorium. I was so surprised and proud!!
What’s your favorite app right now- for you- and for your kids?
Me: Instagram. I mainly use Instagram as a platform for work to share food/exercise tips with my clients and followers and gain additional clients and work projects. BUT at the same time, I can keep up with friends, see what’s going on in the world AND check out the latest in fashion trends and home décor. But for all the reasons I love it, it also becomes dangerous: I may go on to post a recipe, then end up (what I like to call) “falling down a rabbit hole” spending too much time on unimportant browsing!
Kids: An app called “Sight Words” that teaches kids to read and spell. Both my boys love it, since you can select their age/grade levels. When they were younger they and I both loved Elmo ABC and Elmo 123. Both of these Elmo apps have so many creative and entertaining ways for the kids to learn their letters and numbers.
What’s your can’t live without beauty product? It’s so hard to pick just one! The first would be sunblock. Back when I was young, I was a sunbathing queen, but now I am religious about sunscreen for my kids and I. My hands down favorite line is MD Solar Sciences. It contains only physical (zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) not chemical blocks, and rubs in smooth and creamy. Even my boys prefer this one to others. They make a tinted version too for the face so it won’t leave you white and pasty.
I also love Oribe hair products. Their shampoo, conditioner, masks, leave-in oil, dry shampoo and anti-humidity spray have allowed my naturally curly hair to be better-equipped for humidity and beach weather!
What’s your favorite restaurant for a family dinner? A night out with friends? Bar Taco was our family-friendly go-to even before we moved here (while house-hunting) because we all love Mexican and the boys could run around outside before they had to sit down for a meal. They always have crayons and a coloring book and easy options on the kids’ menu. We also enjoy Sakura, Rio Bravo, Little Barn, Spotted Horse, Julian’s, and Little Kitchen. Since the kids are getting older it is definitely easier to take them out to a variety of places.
With friends, we love going to Oko, Barcelona, Artisan, Tavern at Graybarns, Le Penguin, and even Terrain. Since we’ve only been here 1.5 years, I know there are others places I haven’t even tried yet!
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you? My favorite hobby and passion from age 7 on was dance. I took tap, jazz, ballet, modern, lyrical and pointe. I performed in local shows, recitals, dance competitions, and my middle school and high school variety shows. I was a student teacher for younger girls. I took lessons throughout college and dance classes in NYC. I even performed in a Dramatics NYC Hair and Fashion show post-grad school. My last and final performance was at my wedding. We were one of the last to get married of our friends, so we want to do something different and fun, and we successfully kept this a secret form all of our guests. Mike and I took dance lessons for 6 months (while I grew up taking classes, Mike was not much of a dancer) to learn a choreographed dance to a medley of “How Deep is Your Love?” and “Staying Alive”. At 11 pm I secretly changed out of my wedding dress into a short dance-appropriate dress, surprised our guests as we stepped out onto the dance floor, and shocked them all when our dance went from slow to full-on “Saturday Night Fever” complete with a lift and flip that Mike nailed!
What are you most excited about in life right now? I love watching my kids grow and learn daily, while they are thriving in this amazing town. Seeing the world and new experiences through their eyes is amazing. Listening to their logic/trains of thought and the funny things they say often has me in stitches.
I am also excited about growing my Nutrition and Personal Training Business here in town. I do currently have private nutrition and training clients, have run a few group classes, and have been a part of many fun events. Stay tuned for MORE!
If you weren’t doing what you are today, what do you think your career path might have been? I may have done something in fashion or party planning. I have always loved fashion, and started fighting my Mom about my outfits at age 2. I also have so much fun planning the details of my kids’ birthday parties. SO, I definitely would have been in a creative or detail-oriented sort of field.
If you had 24 hours to do whatever you wanted – what would you do? If this 24 hours could be in a warm vacation spot, that would be ideal. I would even take a perfect summer day in town. FIRST and foremost, I would get a great night’s sleep. With two young kids and work, I find it hard to make this a priority. Then I would work out and have a slow breakfast (either out, or at home) and take the time to sip and enjoy my coffee (instead of taking gulps while packing backpacks and making sure the kids are dressed and have their teeth brushed). Spending a relaxing morning at a pool or beach in the sun would be ideal. Next would be lunch and maybe some strolling/shopping with friends. Finally, I would love a quiet dinner with my husband, and maybe some friends as well, to round out the evening. I would end with checking in on my kids and/or kissing them goodnight. Because even when I am out/away from them, I am always thinking about and/or worrying about them!
What is your most marked characteristic? I am a perfectionist. As a kid growing up and a student in school and college, this-at the same time-could be my best and worst characteristic. I always wanted perfect grades, to look perfect, to dance perfect. This is why I always had an innate drive to do my best at everything I did. The downside to this was that I was often too hard on myself, and sometimes spent too much time making things “perfect” and not living in the moment. As a working Mom of two boys, I have learned and accepted that not everything can be perfect and done exactly to my liking. Sometimes some things just have to give and I’ve become OK with that!
What is your greatest regret? Not going to business school for my MBA. After getting a BS in Nutrition and Exercise, I continued on to get my Masters Degree in the same field while I completed my Dietetic Internship. I found a lot of the coursework to be repetitive of my undergrad classes. If I knew then that I would be running my own business, I feel that an MBA would have taught me so much more.
What is one piece of advice you would pass along to other moms? Lean on one another and always accept help. I don’t know what I would do without my mom friends, Mom, Mother-In-Law, and my babysitters. Having other Moms to talk to/rely on and being able to take a break from the kids and #momlife help me stay sane and feel human. It truly does take a village.
“This too shall pass.” Issues with kids are often just a phase, and before you know it, what seems rough and difficult is over. That is…..until the next phase!
What has been the most difficult age with your children to date? What helped you overcome the challenges at that time? I truly feel that each age brings its own challenges. When the boys were babies they had so much “stuff”. Lugging around the bottles, diapers, changing pads, multiple outfits and dealing with strollers and carrying my big boys was physically demanding. Feeding, changing, and napping kept us on a strict, busy, non-stop schedule.
Once the kids started moving (crawling / walking), they had to be watched and followed like hawks and everything in our NYC apartment had to be rearranged – no more glass coffee table, moving cleaning supplies and dangerous items to higher shelves, etc. Then they wanted to walk everywhere, and I couldn’t keep them in the stroller: they would scream and drag their feet in protest and/or run off when out of the stroller.
From 18-30 months, both boys had extended “terrible two’s”. They were jumping out of their cribs, had to be re-sleep-trained in a bed (AKA no sleep for us!), were very impulsive, and had plenty of tantrums. It was nice that they began to talk and communicate. Meals became a bit more adult-like making it easier to take them out to eat, travel, and be on the go without taking so much “stuff” along.
The threes brought me potty-trained kids (no more diapers) and preschool (giving me a break!) But as my mom (and my grandfather) always said: bigger kids, bigger problems. Age three and up brings the mental challenges: we want to make sure they do well in school, behave for their teachers, and get along with their friends and classmates. They have more activities and interests = more driving and running around for Mom. They have bigger ideas and opinions, want to dress themselves, fight bedtime and showers, and nag a lot more!
Through ALL of this, I rely on family and friends for advice and shoulders. My Mom and Mother-in-Law (who had two active boys as well) are always happy to listen and give advice. From day 1, I’ve always had friends with babies and kids at the same stages and ages (one of my best friends and I gave birth on the SAME DAY to our first boys!). I feel that is SO important: having friends to go on a stroller walk, just hang/complain, drink coffee and wine on playdates, Moms’ nights out, and even girl trips when you just need a break with someone who fully understands you!