How old are your kids and how long have you lived in Westport? Our son Axel is 6 and Lucas will soon be 12. We moved to Westport in 2017, after a year or so renting in Darien and Rowayton. Prior to Connecticut, we spent seven years in Stockholm and London, and many years in New York City before that. From day one moving to Westport, we’ve been renovating a house on the Saugatuck River that dates back to the 1780’s. We’re preserving the look–the soul–of the house and maybe one day we’ll be finished!
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 started out working in fashion (Liz Claiborne, JCrew.) After seven years, I left my career in merchandizing and design to do two things: write and make a difference in our world. They were rather broad goals, but that was my mindset then, still in my twenties. Quitting my career took nerve, especially while working in a bar/night club to pay my bills, but the decision to pursue what was on my heart opened new doors.
I led writing workshops for the homeless and for teens in inner-city schools. These experiences and others showed me that writing has no limits to building confidence and creating self-awareness. The idea led to Lift the Lid, a nonprofit I founded that encourages writing and raises money to improve underfunded schools. Most recently, it led to Bridging Minds Collective, the online community I started whose focus is on communicating our political beliefs with reason, respect, and responsibility. We are the voices of America.
What is your favorite family activity to do in Westport or the surrounding towns? Oh, we have many favorite local activities. Playing tennis at Long Shore is one, especially when the sun is setting. We love to go out paddle boarding, when the tide permits us to paddle home, that is. Of all the fun activities for kids in Connecticut, Lucas and Axel love The Adventure Park in Bridgeport. They could spend all day climbing and ziplining between the trees!
What’s your favorite app right now- for you- and for your kids? Our family’s favorite apps could fill a book. I’ll narrow it down to Audible, NPR, G (Goop’s travel app) and Ted Talks for me. Jonas loves Omnibus and World Memory Sports Council, and my boys have consistently turned to Spotify, Cut the Rope, World of Goo, and SCI Go.
What’s your can’t live without beauty product? Dr. Tanya Futoryan’s All In One tinted sunscreen at Westport Dermatology and Laser Center!
If you could pick one restaurant or store to come to Westport that isn’t here now, what would it be, and why? Balthazar. Westport needs a hip French brasserie!
What are you most excited about in life right now? In July of 2019, I launched an organization called Bridging Minds Collective. BMC is an online, women-led organization that promotes political communication between all people. Our country is calling for unity right now, and BMC is putting theory to practice 24/7 in our active Facebook group. We believe learning the skills for civil, fact-based communication needs a place on the internet, and we’ve created it.
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you? Well, I’ve been a contributor on Fox Business. That still surprises my liberal parents. People also seem oddly astonished when I mention I wrote a book. (It took me ten years.) It’s titled I Always Cry at Weddings, and I’m proud to say it still attracts new readers and earns five-star reviews.
If you weren’t doing what you are today, what do you think your career path might have been? I suppose, if I had stayed the course, I’d be an executive at a fashion house, but I can’t imagine it.
If you had 24 hours to do whatever you wanted – what would you do? I’d stay local and spend it at home with my husband, boys and two turtles Dhara and Dhevi. We’d play games, read, watch movies and eat takeout from favorites like Rizzuto’s, The Whelk, or Organika Kitchen. Outside of Westport, Burningman and Zermatt come to mind.
What is your most marked characteristic? Compassionate.
What was your most memorable family vacation and why? We love skiing in Zermatt, Switzerland in late March, when you can almost ski without a jacket. Skiing between Italy and Switzerland is very cool, but last year we stepped it up and spent a night on the mountain in an igloo. Memorable, yes, but cold enough to induce a panic attack!
What is the best white lie you have told your kids? Caffeine will stunt your growth. I also told my kids something along the lines of the devil invented sugar.
What is your proudest mommy moment? I have a proud mommy moment every night I put my youngest to bed and we sing our prayers and the good night song together. I’m not sure how long this tradition will last with him. My older son, until he was around nine years old, would never let me forget…or fall asleep before we finished. I know I’ll long for these moments one day.
What do you most value in your friends? Empathy. Humor. Adventure.
What is your greatest regret? Regrets come and go. I tend to put emotional stuff like that behind me. I suppose my latest greatest regret is not yet having finished my second novel, the sequel to I Always Cry at Weddings. When it comes to goals, it’s all about what you prioritize: being there for your family, maintaining friendships, following the calling of your heart to create, transform, engage and make a difference. They’re all wins in my mind, so even if my progress in one area is slow, well, I just have to remind myself that it’s okay.